The daily grind: 8-31-13

The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!

The daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.

Please note that tomorrow is a planned off day for the column. I’ll give some expanded thoughts in the Monday section today.

Today’s weather watch

Colorado, Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., and Chicago all have a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.

Today’s grind

Today’s choices are heavily owned, which may make it difficult to stream successfully.

Tomorrow’s grind

Pitcher (to start): Wei-Yin Chen has a solid match-up against the Yankees. He remains hard to use due to a low strikeout rate, but he posts solid ratios and has a decent chance to win.

Danny Salazar has the difficult job of squelching the Tigers. To his advantage, Miguel Cabrera is now day-to-day and may be available only to pinch hit. At 19 percent owned, the buy-in on Salazar has been surprisingly slow. I would try to avoid this start, but this is a guy to own and use against almost any other team.

Felix Doubront has the pleasant job of silencing the White Sox, who are completely capable of silencing themselves. As a refresher, Doubront profiles as a slightly below average fantasy starter, which is why he’s at 32 percent owned. I don’t look at him as a keeper or a sleeper unless he figures out how to recover the two mph he lost off his fastball this season.

Brett Oberholtzer is a risky play. In a small sample, he’s shown himself to be an extreme fly ball pitcher who gets by purely on an excellent walk rate. On the positive side of things, he’ll face the Mariners tomorrow. However, the M’s do have some decent power hitters and the game will be played at Minute Maid Park.

And now we get to what’s easily the top pick for Sunday, Alex Wood against the Marlins. About a month ago when owners in my leagues were spending their entire FAAB budgets on Salazar, I picked up Wood for free. Yahoo owners have since decided that they prefer Wood as well, with his ownership rate up to 55 percent. The two pitchers have roughly the same skill set, lots of strikeouts, few walks, and plenty of offensive support.

Pitcher (bum): Andre Rienzo seems solid enough, but the Red Sox are a tough assignment.

I might have tried to sneak Pirates starter Kristofer Johnson into the “to start” section if he wasn’t facing the Cardinals. The 28-year-old rookie doesn’t strike out many, but he keeps things under control by limiting walks. If you’re going to allow a lot of balls in play, the Pirates defense is one of the better units to rely upon.

Kyle Kendrick versus Jake Arrieta is a weird one to make recommendations on since both pitchers are mediocre and both offenses are weak.

The Diamondbacks face journeyman Yusmeiro Petit.

Hitter (power): Justin Maxwell will face lefty J.A. Happ.

It looks like Seth Smith and Brandon Moss will get the nod against Roberto Hernandez.

Mental Health and the CBA
A particular bit of language in the latest CBA could have negative consequences for some players.

New Oriole Michael Morse is paired against Andy Pettitte.

Hitter (speed): Do I even need to mention Eric Young Jr. Remember, he’s only for stolen base-starved owners.

Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra feature well rounded skill sets to go with their game against Petit.

Leonys Martin is still available in a little over half of leagues and Jurickson Profar is down to 21 percent ownership.

Pitchers to come

Monday: Danny Duffy, Jose Quintana and Charlie Morton are the most attractive options for Monday. Reaching a little farther, you could try Travis Wood against the Marlins or Andrew Albers against the Astros.

Tuesday: Edwin Jackson versus the Marlins looks like your best bet.

Wednesday: It looks like Taijuan Walker is at the front of the pack for Wednesday. He’s still only at 26 percent owned.

Noteworthy news

As I already alluded, the Orioles acquired Morse.

Taijuan Walker had a solid debut yesterday, allowing only one unearned run, two hits, and a walk over five innings while striking out two.

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Start Verlander today?  I have razor thin margins in the ratios in my root league, and every time I put him out there I go backwards.  Of course if I continue to roster him then there isn’t any point in not using him.  Do I just have to hold my nose and take my chances?

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

I’m actually sitting him today because I’m over my innings.

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

To give a little more context to that comment, I have 200 IP remaining with Alex Wood, Pat Corbin, Ivan Nova, Cliff Lee, Julio Teheran, and Sonny Gray in the mix for starts and 5 RP to boot. I’m considering Verlander my 2nd worst starter ahead of Gray.


I have 224 IP left with Scherzer, Sale, Verlander, Haren and Salazar.  Now Haren’s brief resurgence is looking ephemeral, and the Indians seem to be limiting Salazar’s workload.  But Kluber might be back next week, and Marco Estrada is on the waiver wire.  So Should I ride Verlander down the stretch and hope for the best or dump him?  There seems little rhyme or reason in how to play matchups with him – he was great his last game against Cleveland, but has since stunk it up vs. the likes of the Twins.  Also, should I dump Haren for Estrada?

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

My concern with Verlander is that if you dump him, an opponent might catch a great end of season run. Better to sit him on your own bench if you have space. I’d probably dump Haren for Estrada, but keep in mind that the Nats face a terrible schedule RoS so things look good for Haren.