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.
Today’s weather watch
The Twins may see their start time delayed by rain, but the weather should be clearing by mid-afternoon. The Rangers game could be interrupted by thunderstorms if it lasts too late into the afternoon. The start time in St. Louis was moved to earlier&mdash:3:15—because of threat of weather later.
Today is a good day for streaming whether you want one start or six.
Sonny Gray may have top billing for the day against the offensively inept Mariners. As we’ve discussed before, he does everything you want from a fantasy pitcher, from reaping strikeouts to limiting walks and hard contact.
Wade Miley is available in 48 percent of leagues and is pitching against the heartbroken Nationals. Miley had a solid season, improving on his groundball rate but also walking more batters. He should continue to be a good innings eater for fantasy owners next season.
Jose Quintana will face the Royals tomorrow. Quintana’s been a frequent guest of the Grind, so there isn’t much left to say about him. Expect him to be good but not great.
It’s possible that Ubaldo Jimenez is available to some of you. If so, he’s a must start and may even be a potential keeper in some formats. He still walks too many for comfort, which will lead to the occasional meltdown, but the overall package is a mid-3.00s ERA pitcher with over a strikeout per inning.
That John Lackey never really came to be owned in more than 55 percent of Yahoo leagues is insane. He contributed 190 innings of perfectly average numbers across all pitcher categories (excluding saves), which makes him valuable in all but the thinnest leagues. Give him a whirl against the banged-up Orioles.
Johnny Cueto versus Gerrit Cole is the battle of the titans, but both pitchers are highly owned. Cole is still available in 37 percent of leagues and should be universally owned. If the Reds win Saturday’s ballgame, this match-up will be for home field advantage in the Wild Card play-in.
Marco Estrada versus Jon Niese is another game where you can use both sides of the match-up. In this case, both players are more readily available but still a bit scarce (46- and 52-percent owned, respectively).
Estrada is leaps and bounds the better pitcher. Since returning from the disabled list in August, he’s picked up where he left off in 2012, posting an elite strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.79 K/BB on the season and 4.36 K/BB since his return). Niese is a less exciting fantasy asset, similar to Miley with a weaker lineup providing run support.
Pitcher (bum): Scott Diamond is definitely someone to stream against as the Indians attempt to claw their way into the playoffs. Remember that the Indians are the best in the league against lefties.
With the Rays’ loss yesterday, Tampa Bay and Cleveland are tied for the two Wild Card spots with two games left to play. The Rangers trail both teams by a single game. Monday will be used for any tie-breaker games.