Raise your hand if you had Taylor Ward as the second coming of Mike Trout. Nobody? Same here. Let’s look back at Week 1 of the Taylor Ward experience; one in which I was able to land him in two season long leagues but lost out to his almost $200 FAAB price tag in my @EarthFantasyBB league. Ward is 11-24 (.458) with 4 long balls, 10 runs, and 12 RBI over the last week. Sprinkle is his ability to steal a base from time to time (one so far) and this kid is the current fantasy darling. Currently ranked #100 in the Hittertron rankings does not scare me off for a minute. It is time we take advantage of some cost savings and build around our burgeoning star lead-off batter. Add in the protection afforded Ward by Ohtani and Trout and you have the makings of a guy that is going to see a ton of strikes to hit. Now, prior to the picks, there is a small LAA stack here and I really wanted to throw Ohtani, Trout, and/or Captain Caveman Brandon Marsh as OF2, but the first two are too easy and expensive and the third I am just not sold on, yet. He is warming up and I like that, but I am going to wait another week to see if he keeps rolling.
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Sean Manaea, SP: DK: $8,900 / FD: $9,600 – Which Manaea will we get today? I am confident we will not see the Manaea from his most recent start versus the Dodgers. Simply put, the Pirates are not the Dodgers and Manaea is much better than what he showed at his previous turn in the rotation. Throw that Dodgers start (and loss) out as my money says you will get something akin to his first three starts of the season where he averaged 6+ innings, 6+ Ks, ERA below 2.00 and a WHIP below 1.00. Did I mention he is pitching against the Pirates and not the Dodgers?
Shane Bieber, SP: DK: $8,900 / FD: $10,400 – Last time out my guy Biebs was owned by my other guy Taylor Ward. Well, Ward does not play for the Athletics, now, does he? Nope, and that is why we see a nice rebound from Bieber today. Ignore the group of Twitter over-analytical nerds pointing to Bieber’s decreased fastball velocity and watch the guy pitch for 6-7 innings today. Dude is fine and going up against a Sunday Beer League softball line-up provides a nice get-well start for the Guardians ace. The only key to this being a solid day for Bieber is the Cleveland offense. Can the top get on for JRam? Can Franmil find his stroke? If those things happen and the offense can provide four runs today, I see Bieber cruising to a win.
Elias Diaz, C/1B: DK: $4,700 / FD: $2,600 – Catcher with power and average at home (Coors) against a rag-tag Cincinnati pitching staff? Sign me up! Diaz will face a young RHP just called up from the taxi squad (replaces Lodolo) which is just the kind of match-up we bettors crave. When you need a catcher and the Rockies are at home, it almost goes without saying, Diaz must be considered. He hit HR #2 on Friday and I would not be surprised if he doubles down with #3 Saturday against a starting pitcher you have never heard of unless you are a massive Pirates fan.
Jared Walsh C/1B: DK: $4,800 / FD: $3,400 – The overall numbers for Walsh are not impressive (yet). What is impressive is how he mashes right-handed pitching and (see intro) that he gets to experience the Vince Velasquez reclamation project today. With the nasty top three batters on base all day, expect Walsh to have steaks on the menu and for him to eat well. Spoiler Alert – The (small) Angels stack starts here!
Jurickson Profar/Jake Cronenworth, 2B: DK: $4,600 / FD: $3,100 (Profar $3,400) – As I drafted this article, I wafted back and forth between these two Friar’s bats, then realized DFS can be a team sport. With that, I provide two names at 2b, from the same team, with very similar skills, batting from the left side (Profar is switch-hitter) against a RH Pirates starter with an ERA approaching a touchdown. Now, you the reader, being a part of this team can decide which keystone San Diego player to roster. Profar is slightly more expensive, so if your decision is price-based, then Jake from San Diego is the guy. If money is no object then pay up for Jurickson. NOTE: Profar is only OF eligible on DK.
Alec Bohm, 3B: DK: $3,400 / FD: $2,900 – The Fightin’s were no-hit on Friday, so look for them to bounce back on Saturday. As much as a love Taijuan Walker (Seattle homer here), he is coming back after a week plus of minor injury and needs to show he can get it done before I am buying in. I truly feel Bohm is a superstar in the making and the making is taking a little longer than most fantasy pundits estimated. This pick goes a little against my process of rostering hot hitters as Bohm is not on a current heater, but stick with me. For the season, he is hitting over .300 with 14 RBIs. Look at the names hitting in front of him (Harper, Castellanos, JTR, Schwarber) and you can see more RBIs in his future. I have the Phillies showing their pride today and scoring a lot of runs.
Gleyber Torres, SS: DK: $3,300 / FD: $2,600 – I cannot believe I am placing this guy in my recommended plays after he broke my heart (and bank account) last season, but he is better than his ’21 numbers and is better than his current ’22 numbers AND, he is starting to heat up (HR Friday, 3 RBI Thursday). Given KC is not the best hitters park, it is safe to assume the Bombers will chase Carlos Hernandez early and then feast on the bullpen that has logged a ton of innings already. Look for Torres to be right in the middle of the action for the Yankees on Saturday. Torres is only 2b eligible on DK.
Taylor Ward, OF: DK: $5,400 / FD: $3,700 – As mentioned in the intro, fire does not cover the kind of heat ward is bringing to the dish each plate appearance. He is still not getting a lot of attention playing on the Best Coast. Obviously, the Least Coast bias is hard at work because some NYY players hit HRs on Friday. For my money, there is no better OF start right now than Taylor Ward. Add in the ‘Vince Velasquez never lived up to the hype’ ripe to the storyline and you have yourself a nice little combination for success.
Julio Rodriguez, OF: DK: $3,200 / FD: $3,000 –. Give me all of The JROD SHOW on Saturday. Be careful when looking at his stats as they are not indicative of the whole story. His BA looks awful and is only recently above the Mendoza Line (tip of the cap to the former Mariners infielder). He has not hit a HR (yet). His Runs and RBIs are both single digits (now). What are you missing, you might ask? Look a little deeper and you will find JROD is batting over .300 during the last week and has a total of 9 steals on the season. For the record and bragging on my Mariners youngster, those 9 steals are in 9 attempts. He is starting to barrel up the ball and I would not be surprised to see that first HR come off of Jesus Luzardo (LHP) today.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
We are not looking at any rain in the forecast for Saturday. What is nice to see is the 21mph wind in Colorado, especially with Diaz listed above. Torres will be helped by almost 19mph in KC and Bieber will only have a slight wind (12mph) to manage in Oakland.
Doing Lines In Vegas
Though the Angles are on the road they are my small stack and I like plus money on all major betting sites. Same story for the Phillies today; even money and they should bounce back after being no-hit on Friday.