Podhorzer and Schechter Lead Projected AL Standings! And the season doesn’t start until Sunday!

Using Clay Davenport’s projections applied to the Tout AL rosters, Mike Podhorzer is going to win Tout AL big this year, finishing 10 ahead of Larry Schechter and nearly 20 ahead of Rob Leibowitz. Here’re the projected results, thanks to onRoto.com‘s Toy Box.

But onRoto doesn’t project the standings based on rest of year projections using only one projection system. They also run them with the BaseballHQ rest of season projections. With BaseballHQ, Podhorzer and Schechter are closer, much closer, but there is also an alsoran, Patrick Davitt, who becomes a contender in a seriously tight race.

Guess we better let them play it out.

Why Jeff Erickson Came in Last in Tout Wars in 2016. By Jeff Erickson

Post mortems are tough. You try to explain your team, your thinking, your approach, and you constantly run the risk of sounding like you’re talking about your fantasy team! Which is a no-no, of course.

Jeff Erickson gives his 2016 Tout Wars team a post mortem. It was an ugly season for Jeff, and he fearless wades into the mess to explain why. SPOILER ALERT: Hitting.

But he does such good, honest job it’s worth the read to learn how to do your own post-mortem. Read it here. It’s on the free side of Rotowire.

Tout Daily Tonight! Third week of final period kicks off at 7pm!

Steve Moyer and Brian Walton have big leads going into the third week, but one stumble can erase those. Jake Ciely, Lawr Michales, Derek Van Riper, Adam Ronis, Scott Pianowski, Jeff Erickson, Jason Collette and Rob Leibowitz trail them, right now competing for the final ticket to the Tout Daily Finals on August 26th.

You can watch all the action at rtsports.com/tout-wars. Or play along for cash prizes or fun, just follow the link to get set up.

Of those competing for the final tickets, Brian Walton, Jeff Erickson and Rob Leibowitz already have tickets. Jeff Erickson already has two tickets!

Adam Ronis has the third highest point total for the season, but doesn’t not yet have a ticket to the finals.

We asked the Touts for their best picks in tonight’s games. Here’s what they told us:


Favorite Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg ($9,200 vs. Atlanta). Favorite Hitter: Neil Walker ($4,200 vs San Diego).


Yordano Ventura ($7,100 @ Minnesota) may not excite, but the Royals right-hander has allowed three runs or less in each of his last six starts while averaging almost 10 points per outing. On Friday evening, Ventura draws the last-place Twins, 23 games under .500 and coming off three straight losses during which they were outscored 32-14.

Neil Walker ($4,200 vs San Diego) is working on a nine-game hitting streak during which the Mets’ second baseman is 17-for-37 (.459), including three home runs and six RBI.  He will take on Paul Clemens of San Diego this evening.


Going high and low with my pitching, riding David Price ($9,200 vs Arizona) and then Jonathan Gray ($6,000 @ Philadelphia), hoping both can twirl away from home.

For hitters I like Ryon Healy ($2,800 vs Seattle) on the low end facing newbie Southpaw Ariel Miranda, and Michael Saunders ($5,100 vs Houston) facing Joe Musgrove.


I’m just playing the role of spoiler and need a DFS miracle tonight, so I am going to go with SP Joe Musgrove ($4,000 @ Toronto). He faced Toronto on August 2nd a and struck out 8 betters in only 4.1 innings pitched. For my top hitter, I am also going try to steal some DFS points with starting Billy Hamilton OF ($4,500 @ Milwaukee) for $4,500. If he gets on base and steals some bases, he’s good for 10-15 points. If he goes 0-4, then I will take the 0 DFS points for the night. High risk, high reward player.


Ross Stripling, SP ($4,400 vs. Pittsburgh) I love his ground ball rates, especially when he’s facing a team like the Pirates who have been mashing the ball in the dirt 49.2-percent of the time over the past week. On top of that, Pittsburgh has just a .292 wOBA which comes with a .095 ISO and 22.7-percent strikeout rate.

David Dahl ($4,600 @ Philadelpha) and Gerardo Parra ($4,500 @ Philadelphia) Stacking Rockies? Come on! How cheap can you get? Well, they’re not in Colorado tonight so the prices are a bit more reasonable. With Dahl and Parra batting fourth and fifth in the lineup tonight against Jake Thompson, I’m looking for a whole lot of BOOM and hopefully very little bust. Thompson’s MLB experience isn’t extensive but when I see lefties posting a .484 wOBA against him, I’m willing to overlook the sample size.

[We’ll update later if more picks come in. Good luck tonight!]



The Final Countdown For Tout Daily!

It’s Week 1 of Period 5 in Tout Wars Daily, by RTSports.com.

All the Touts start fresh, though 11 of them hold tickets to the August 26th Tout Daily Finals. Jeff Erickson has two tickets already, and is pursuing a third. Follow the action tonight at RTSportsc.om/tout-wars.

We asked the Touts who they were picking in tonight’s contest:


I’m rolling with Jose Quintana ($7,800 @ Minnesota) at starting pitcher and Josh Donaldson ($6,800 vs. Baltimore) as my top hitter.


I like Jose Quintana ($7,800 @ Minnesota) and Vincent Velasquez ($6,800 @ Atlanta) as starters. Well, I picked them and hope I like them in the morning.

As for hitters, Joey Votto ($6,500 @ San Diego) and Tucker Barnhart ($2,500 @ San Diego) going against Edwin Jackson.


Top Pitchers..still trying to find a diamond in the rough, I’m going with Ivan Nova ($4,500 @ Tampa Bay). Hoping he’ll put up a good game for all the scouts that will be watching. Staying on the cheap, Kendall Graveman ($5,100 @ Cleveland) has been good his last three starts, hoping for one more at Cleveland.

Top Hitters…Riding some hot hands; Freddie Freeman ($5,500 vs. Philadelphia), Justin Turner ($4,200 vs. Arizona), Neil Walker ($4,200 vs. Colorado) and Aledmys Diaz ($4,300 @ Miami). And went big in the OF with Matt Kemp ($5,400 vs. Cincinnati), Mark Trumbo ($5,700 @ Toronto) and Andrew MuCutchen ($5,500 @ Milwaukee).


Top Pitcher: Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ San Francisco) – After some bumps in the road earlier in the year, Scherzer has been a near-automatic points machine in DFS. There is a risk he doesn’t cash in on the win in a tough matchup in San Francisco, but he is worth the start anyway.

Top Hitter: Trevor Story ($5,900 @ NY Mets). Story’s pedestrian numbers on the road bury a significant split against left-handers and right-handers away from Coors. His match-up against Steven Matz looks very favorable for Story in this light, and while it is a high price to pay, Story is a strong play this evening.


Pitcher: Vincent Velasquez ($6,800 @ Atlanta) – one of the few times all season the Phillies should be heavy favorites on the road; facing Atlanta will do that for you.

Hitter: Jay Bruce ($5,300 @ San Diego)– assuming he isn’t traded by game time, he’ll get to take batting practice against Edwin Jackson for at least a few innings.


Phillies starter Vincent Velasquez ($6,800 @ Atlanta) is a steal at just the 10th-most expensive pitcher. After averaging 13 points over his last five outings, the right-hander draws the power-free Braves Friday night and his mates should tee off on rookie Tyrell Jenkins.

I had been looking at Milwaukee shortstop Jonathan Villar’s ($4,700 vs. Pittsburgh) splits closely, as I just acquired the National League steals leader in NL LABR on Thursday. Villar has a stellar .910 OPS this season against lefties and draws one in Bucs’ rookie Steven Brault Friday night.


Pitcher: Steven Matz ($7,800 vs. Colorado) at home against the Rox, who are better vs. righties.

Hitter: Tim Lincecum is begging to be hit, let Travis Shaw ($4,300 @ LA Angels) answer the call.


Going with Mad Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ San Francisco) and Ivan Nova ($4,500 @ Tampa Bay), who’s been surprisingly capable lately and allows me to afford right-handed Red Sox, who get their turn to paste Tim Lincecum.

Catching Zola! Mission Impossible?

Todd Zola leads the Period 4 race after three weeks by 16 points over Jeff Erickson, who leads Mike Gianella and five other challengers by from seven to 14 points. But as we’ve seen time and again, anything can happen on any given day in DFS, so no one is resting easy today.

Here are today’s picks from the Touts:


I like Madison Bumgarner ($9,400 @ NY Yankees) and Josh Donaldson ($6,800 vs Seattle).


Brandon McCarthy ($4,500 @ St. Louis) and Wilmer Flores ($3,100 @ Miami)


Since it all comes from pitching, I grabbed a pair of starters I like, but guys who are hardly marquee names, starting with Michael Fullmer ($6900 @ Chicago White Sox) trying his very strong skills (9-2, 2.16 with 77 whiffs), pairing him with the equally effective and modestly priced Tanner Roark ($6400 vs San Diego), with a 9-5, 2.82 record and 106 punchouts.

I like a couple of Fish a lot, so Christian Yelich ($4800 vs NY Mets) and Jake Realmuto ($3600 vs NY Mets) are in the lineup against the Mets Logan Verrett and staying with the Big Apple theme, Didi Gregorius ($3600 vs San Francisco) is becoming a very good hitter with a .296-11-41 line.


Matt Shoemaker ($5,900 @ Houston) Seems underpriced given how well he’s pitched this season and how much the Astros strike out.

Alex Gordon ($4,500 vs Texas) He has to start hitting at some point, doesn’t he?


Going with two who should get 7-10 K’s and have a good chance for a W: Tanner Roark ($6400 vs San Diego) and Michael Fullmer ($6900 @ Chicago White Sox). 

Top hitters, I’m looking for long balls tonight from Giancarlo Stanton ($5,700 vs NY Mets), Bryce Harper ($6,500 vs San Diego) and Adam Duvall ($4,700 vs Arizona) plus riding a hot Joey Votto ($6,400 vs Arizona) and Zack Cozart ($4,600 vs Arizona) against Archie Bradley.


Top Hitter: Kris Bryant ($6,200 @ Milwaukee). Taking one of the best home run hitters in one of the best home run parks in baseball is a pretty easy call, even if opposing pitcher Jeff Nelson isn’t necessarily homer prone. I saw Bryant hit his first major league home run last year at Miller Park; hopefully, he can repeat the magic tonight and push my team into the finals.

Top Pitcher:Madison Bumgarner ($9,400 @ NY Yankees).  I was burned (slightly) using Bumgarner last week in what should have been an easy matchup against the Padres but figure it’s worth getting back on this horse against a Yankee lineup that has not hit lefties well this season. The park’s home run factor makes me a little nervous, but in a week where there aren’t a lot of strong options, I feel comfortable using Bum here.


OF Khris Davis ($4,500 vs. Tampa Bay): Davis has not cared about Oakland’s immense pitcher-friendly rep, as he’s hit 14 of his 23 homers at the O.co. His 24.2% HR/FB is also one of the league’s best. Add more gasoline because of his matchup against fly-ball-heavy hurler Jake Odorizzi.

SP Tanner Roark ($6,600 vs. San Diego: Roark’s magical year has included a 2.32 ERA at home, which makes his price tag all the more enticing. The Pads remain a middle-of-the-road offense even when they leave Petco.


At $5900, Matt Shoemaker ($5,900 @ Houston) is just the 20th-most expensive pitcher on the board Friday night. The Angels hurler fanned 13 White Sox last time out and against his Friday night opponent, Houston, this season, Shoemaker has 24 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings and averaged over 18 points per outing.

 Joey Votto ($6,400 vs Arizona) is working on a six-game hitting streak, coinciding with Cincinnati’s current homestand. The Reds first sacker has gone deep in two of his last three games while amassing 25 points. Votto has a nice home matchup with Archie Bradley and the Snakes Friday night.


Pitcher: Danny Duffy ($5,900 vs Texas), at home at a nice price.

Hitter: Jake Lamb ($4,800 @ Cincinnati) is a bargain against an atrocious Reds’ staff.

Tout Daily Picks, Canada Day Edition

We start Period 4 of Tout Daily by RTSports.com tonight. Everybody has a fresh beginning, we’re all equal, at least until tonight’s games start. For the game’s rules, check here.

But nine touts have golden tickets into the finals already. All honor to Brian Walton, Rob Leibowitz, Patrick Mayo, Jason Collette, Jeff Erickson, Patrick Davitt, Tristan Cockcroft, Rick Wolf and Tim Heaney.

Each week we ask who the touts are picking tonight. Their answers follow, and you can follow the night’s action (or play tonight’s game for prizes or for free) at RTSports.com/tout-wars.

Who are they picking?

Phil Hertz

I like Jacob DeGrom ($8,700 vs Cubs) at home. I rostered Danny Espinosa ($3,200 vs Cincinnati) BEFORE last night’s explosion; I’m sticking with him.

Gene McCaffrey

Tough night – risky pitchers abound. I’m going with Steven Wright ($6,800 vs Angels) at home vs. the Angels. If he can contain Trout he should post a good start. Hitter: Daniel Murphy ($4,900 vs Cincinnati) is still way too cheap.

Tim Heaney

1B Victor Martinez ($4,700 @ Tampa Bay): Coming off a six-homer June, he’ll face gopher-ball-plagued Drew Smyly. V-Mart boasts .931 OPS against southpaws.

SP Steven Wright ($6,800 vs. Angels): Sad Angels lineup a perfect target for the knuckleballer.

Jeff Boggis

Top Starting Pitchers Tanner Roark ($6,600 vs Cincinnati) and Ian Kennedy ($5,300 @ Philadelphia) I typically pay top dollar for starting pitching, but in tonight’s contest, I am taking a contrarian approach. I don’t see the value in paying top dollar to roster Johnny Cueto (SP-SF) at $9,000, especially after his latest outing where he gave up 6 earned runs and has a difficult opponent tonight at Arizona. The same also applies to rostering Jacob DeGrom (SP-NYM) at $8,700. His matchup tonight is a tough one at home against Jason Hammel of the Chicago Cubs. Plus there is a 75% chance of rain tonight in New York. Tanner Roark is at home versus Cincinnati and can be rostered for only $6,600. He’s won 3 out of his last 4 outings and has averaged 6 strikeouts per game over this time period. Ian Kennedy has a favorable matchup at Philadelphia and is coming of a great outing on June 26th versus Houston where he struck out 11 hitters.

Top Hitter Charlie Blackmon ($6,300 @ Dodgers) Charlie Blackmon is facing right-handed pitcher Bud Norris tonight in Los Angeles. Against right-handed starting pitchers, Charlie Blackmon is batting .310 with 9 nine home runs and 30 RBIs. Over the past week, Blackmon owns an OPS of 1.072.

Charlie Wiegert

A fresh start is what I need, along with some of that magic I had last year!
Top Pitcher, and the guy who won it for me last year was Clayton Kershaw, who is now on the DL. Maybe that is a sign I should take the pitcher who is taking his spot!?! Bud Norris ($4,400 vs Colorado) had been pitching well in ATL and getting some Ks, which when healthy he always has. Hoping for 8 tonight with 7 innings and a win, get me 20 Bud!

Top hitters..stacking Houston vs CWS and Marwin Gonzalez ($3,500), Jose Altuve ($5,900), Colby Rasmus ($4,200), Evan Gattis ($4,700) and Luis Valbuena ($3,100). Hoping Stro’s score in double digits and this group is productive.

Lawr Michaels

I like Jacob DeGrom ($8,700 vs Cubs) and Steven Wright ($6,800 vs. Angels) as pitchers, and Ian Desmond ($4,900 @ Minnesota) on the hitting end.

Mike Gianella

Top pitcher: Julio Teheran ($7,100 vs Miami) The Marlins offense has been good this year – and there are certainly softer match-ups tonight – but Teheran has pitched like an ace the last few weeks and is priced like a second-tier pitcher. He is one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball by Baseball Prospectus’ WARP. Even if he doesn’t throw another gem, I’ll take the bargain.

Top Hitter: David Ortiz ($6,700 vs Angels) Jhoulys Chacin has struggled away from Anaheim. A Red Sox stack with Ortiz front and center is just what the DFS doctor ordered this evening.

Stephania Bell

My fave picks:

Johnny Cueto ($9,000 @ Arizona) Last outing was an aberration

Michael Fulmer ($6,900 @ Tampa Bay) He’s been a great find this last month (June) and last outing was explained by his dehydration

Mike Trout ($6,700 @ Boston) Captain Obvious, I know. But he’s been on a hot streak even by the standards he sets.

I need a solid outing tonight. Counting on my band of misfits here.

Scott Swanay

Pitcher:  Nathan Eovaldi ($6,600 @ San Diego) On a night devoid of appealing high-end options I’ll cast my lot with Eovaldi.  He won’t be pitching at the  All-Star game later this month in San Diego, but maybe the mystique and aura of Petco Park will inspire him to pitch like an All-Star for just one night.
Hitter:  Mark Trumbo ($5,600 @ Seattle) I’m streaming A’s and O’s tonight, banking on some early holiday weekend fireworks, and hoping my luck will be better than Matt Davidson’s (and Jason Pierre Paul’s).



Period 3: Down to Wire Catching Tristan Cockcroft Edition!

Check out the leaderboard here.

There is one night of picks left, and Tristan Cockcroft has a 14.33 point lead over Tim Heaney, and 20.33 points over Phil Hertz (with a 20.34 lead over Howard Bender) in Tout Daily Period 3 by RTSports.com.

You can follow the night’s contest at RTSports.com. Use the link to join a league for prizes ($$$) or fun (free)!

As usual, some of the Touts have sent in their favorite picks for tonight. Here’s who they’re buying:

Phil Hertz

Recommending Aaron Sanchez ($7,000 @ Chicago White Sox) against the slumping White Sox. For hitting Paul Goldschmidt ($6,800 @ Colorado) is expensive, but he’s been hot and he’s playing at Coors.

Brian Walton

The reeling Mariners have the Cardinals coming to town, fresh off sweeping the Cubs at Wrigley. On Friday at Safeco, St. Louis’ best pitcher this season, Carlos Martinez ($8,100 @ Seattle), will take the mound. The 23-year-old has been especially good lately, having allowed just four runs in his last four starts (29 1/3 innings) for a 1.23 ERA to go with 24 strikeouts.

I am staying with St. Louis for my hitter. Perhaps baseball’s most underrated star, Matt Carpenter ($5,400 @ Seattle), is leading MLB in June on-base percentage at .514, and his .375 BA isn’t bad, either.  I don’t see M’s starter Wade LeBlanc slowing the red-hot third baseman down. (As a side point, Carpenter is also now second base-eligible in many full-season leagues.)

Lawr Michaels

I am trying to exploit the lower end pitching to pick up some points, and Steven Matz ($7800 @ Atlanta) facing the Braves—no matter how hot they have been–coupled with Aaron Sanchez ($7,000 @ Chicago White Sox) facing the Pale Hose, coupled are my chosen path.

As for hitters, a pair of pinstripes—Carlos Beltran ($4500 vs Minnesota) and Didi Gregarious ($3600 vs Minnesota)—facing the Twins and lefty Tom Millone seem like great plays.

Scott Swanay

Aaron Sanchez ($7,000 @ Chicago White Sox) The end is near (at least for his days as a starting pitcher)!  He’s been a revelation—experience the rapture before it’s too late!

Socrates Brito ($3,800 @ Colorado) Stacking hitters for a potential Coors Field slugfest is always a sound philosophy.

Charlie Wiegert

Steven Matz ($7800 @ Atlanta) Going against the grain with this pick as the two teams are going in opposite directions, but hoping Matz gets 8-10 k’s and the Mets can score so he can get a W.

As for hitters, stacking Nick Hundley ($3,900 vs Arizona) and Nolan Arenado ($6,800 vs Arizona) at Coors.

Mike Gianella

Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ Milwaukee) He burned many of us the last time he started on a Friday (May 27, against the Cardinals), but his high strikeout potential facing off against a Brewers lineup with the third-highest strikeout percentage in the majors is simply too much to pass up this week.

Jay Bruce ($5,300 vs San Diego) Bruce is a reliable stand by for me in DFS when I’m spending heavily on the pitching side. Bruce faces Colin Rea, who has a .470 SLG against away from Petco.

Jeff Boggis

Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ Milwaukee) By no surprise, Max Scherzer is the highest salaried pitcher in tonight’s contest at $9,800. He has a good matchup tonight as he goes on the road to face the Milwaukee Brewers. Over the past 4 starts, Scherzer has rewarded DFS managers who have paid up to roster him. For his 4 starts in June, Scherzer has 28 innings pitched, 3 wins, 4 earned runs, a K/BB ratio of 38/3, an ERA of 0.96 and a WHIP of 0.675. That’s money in the DFS bank.

Charlie Blackmon ($6,400 vs. Arizona) Over the past 14 days, Blackmon is hitting .288 with 12 runs scored, 4 home runs, 7 RBIs, and 2 stolen bases. He is at home tonight and faces left-handed pitcher Archie Bradly of Arizona, who owns a season ERA of 4.83. Charlie Blackmon has at least 2 hits per game in his last 4 games played.

Derek VanRiper

Peter O’Brien ($2,500 @ Colorado) It’s amazing that he’s tucked away as a catcher at this price, facing a lefty, and at Coors no less. While it’s extremely chalky, sometimes chalk is necessary.

Thanks to POB pricing, Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ Milwaukee) is much more reasonable as the most expensive pitcher on the board. Many of the top arms are on the road tonight, but the Brewers’ team K percentage is always appealing and the 7.5 O/U makes that matchup one of the lowest on the board in what figures to be a big run-scoring night around the league. I’d rather pay the extra money for Scherzer to get the max ceiling arm than try to navigate the other options in the top price tier.

Gene McCaffrey

Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ Milwaukee) against the Brewers should be a 10-K outing. Carlos Gonzalez ($6,500 vs Arizona) is expensive but worth it. Both are chalk picks but no sense losing to everyone. Beat them somewhere else. UPDATE: Cargo is out Friday night with a sprained wrist.

Tim Heaney

Max Scherzer ($9,800 @ Milwaukee) Going into today’s action, Milwaukee leads all teams with 506 K’s against right-handed pitching. That will send Mad Max charging down Fury Road.

Willson Contreras, ($2,400 @ Miami) Here’s hoping for a repeat of last week’s Peter O’Brien selection, with another underpriced big bat who qualifies at catcher but may not necessarily play there.

Jeff Erickson

Jameson Taillon ($4,800 vs LA Dodgers). I suspect at $4,800 he’ll be heavily owned, yet using him opens up the door to use one of the aces going tonight *and* pay up for a couple of elite hitters.

 I’m going with cheap AZ hitters in Coors—Peter O’Brien ($2,500 @ Colorado), who should be roughly 98 percent owned with his price at catcher, and Phil Gosselin ($2,100 @ Colorado)—and then pay up for Encarnacion + Donaldson against LHP Carlos Rodon in Chicago.

Tout Daily by RTSports.com Period 1 Week 4: Everybody is chasing Patrick Mayo and Brian Walton.

This is the final week of Period 1, the first of five. The top three finishers in the Period win a Golden Ticket to the August 26th final. Tout Daily is sponsored by RTSports.com, where you can play daily fantasy baseball for money or for free.

Check out the Leaderboard here. Mayo and Walton are clearly in the lead, with Rob Leibowitz and Todd Zola a step back and a step ahead of the pack. But there is a group of many, two steps behind, a big week from any of whom could upset the standings in a moment.

We asked the Touts who their top hitting and pitching picks are tonight. Here’s what we heard. (And check out the week by week results, and follow live, at RTSports.com.)

Scott Swanay picks Sean Manaea ($5800 vs. Houston) tonight. Sure, it’s his MLB debut, but if you’re in 20th place heading into the last week of a 4-week contest, and you need to move up to at least third to grab a golden ticket, you’ve got to swing for the fences (if one can use that metaphor when talking about a pitcher). As for the hitter, Marlon Byrd ($4000 at Philadelphia) will be a homecoming for him (although he could say that about playing in almost 1/3 of the MLB parks).  The opposing pitcher, Adam Morgan, didn’t fool many hitters in 15 major league starts last year, and Scott expects that to hold true tonight in his first MLB start of 2016.

Charlie Wiegert says Juan Nicasio ($4500 vs. Cincinnati)  saves some money, and is 2-0 at home with 13k’s in 12 innings. And Top Hitter Brandon Moss ($4000 vs Washington) will take Strasburg deep at home tonight!


Phil Hertz likes Michael Conforto ($4900 vs. San Francisco) tonight against Jake Peavey, and Adam Conley ($5700 at Milwaukee).

David Gonos goes with Mashiro Tanaka ($8000 at Boston) and Robinson Cano ($5300 vs. Kansas City).

Jake Ciely picks Sean Manaea ($5800 vs. Houston) and Michael Conforto ($4900 vs. San Francisco).

Brian Walton says Pittsburgh’s Juan Nicasio ($4500 vs. Cincinnati) was one of the most popular spring training sleeper picks, meaning he was quickly no longer a sleeper. Once the regular season began, he has alternated good and bad starts. The right-hander’s Thursday outing was rained out, giving him an extra day of rest and a shot at the Cincinnati Reds Friday evening. With two pitchers in RTSports, Nicasio’s $4500 salary is too cheap to pass up. Brian watched all four games of Arizona’s most recent series and really liked the way Welington Castillo ($4000 vs. Colorado) is swinging the bat.  He is 11 for his last 31 (.355) with four home runs and nine RBI. Having taken Thursday off, the catcher should be well-rested in his Friday start at home against Tyler Chatwood of Colorado.

Tim Heaney writes that Mike Fiers ($6700 @ Oakland) is a fly-ball pitcher in cavernous O.co Coliseum, plus the home team has the league’s worst team OPS at home (.582), which equals a heck of a value. Derek Dietrich ($3900 @ Milwaukee) should step into the lineup at least against RHPs with Dee Gordon suspended. Can’t think of a better opening for that than slugging in the launching pad of Miller Park, against that skunky pitching staff, this time Zach Davies. 

Lawr Michaels says D-Ped ($4800 vs Yankees) is hot. Oh, Dustin Pedroia, and he likes Sean Manaea ($5800 vs. Houston) tonight.

Ray Murphy lines up Drew Smyly ($7400 vs. Toronto), a lefty against the Jays, which would have been madness a year ago. But this isn’t 2015. This year’s Jays have mustered just a .662 OPS vs. southpaws; Jose Quintana dominated the Jays in the Rogers Centre the other night. Smyly is Quintana’s equal (at least), and has the benefit of facing the Jays in his own dome, which will help keep the Jays in the park. And as long as you’re defying conventions, consider pairing Smyly with his mound opponent, Aaron Sanchez ($6100 at Tampa Bay), and buck the conventional wisdom about starting two SP from the same game. At hitter, Murphy say Melvin Upton ($3300 at LA Dodgers) should be batting cleanup tonight against the struggling Alex Wood. Upton doesn’t have much of a platoon split for his career, but Wood has been shaky and Upton has looked resurgent in the early going. A reasonable 76 percent contact rate is key to his resurgence. Once he puts the ball in play, his power/speed profile gives him a lot of ways to score points.

Steve Moyer likes Corey Kluber ($9300 @ Philadelphia) because Inside Edge says he makes it two fine outings in a row, and Jimmy Rollins ($3400 at Baltimore), because the bargain shortstop allows for frivolous spending elsewhere. Rollins has been hot the past week and faces “Stinky” Mike Wright tonight.

Jeff Boggis says his top starting pitcher is Drew Smyly ($7400 vs. Toronto). If we throw out his first start of the year, in 22 innings pitched Smyly is 1-1 with 28 strikeouts, an ERA below 2.00, and a WHIP around 0.60. Boggis’s  top starting hitter is Gregory Polanco ($5100 vs. Cincinnati). He owns a seven-game hitting streak and is showing very good plate discipline this season. He has increased his batting average up to .329 on the season.  

Mike Gianella’s Top Hitter is Manny Machado ($6,400 vs. White Sox), who isn’t running this year, but otherwise looks like he hasn’t missed a beat from last year’s breakout season. Mike’s Top Pitcher is Steven Matz ($7300 vs. San Francisco), who appears to have recovered from his awful first start and looks like a solid matchup against the Giants at Citi Field. I like the idea of going against a team on the first day of an East Coast/West Coast road trips.


Jeff Erickson says: Just got a lineup in. Hitter is Francisco Lindor ($4800 @ Philadelpha), almost always use him against a mediocre or worse lefty, which Adam Morgan qualifies as. Pitcher was tough – ended up using Aaron Sanchez ($6100 at Tampa) and Juan Nicasio ($4500 vs. Cincinnati) to make everything fit.

Rotoman  likes Justin Bour ($4800 @ Milwaukee) against a weak Kyle Davies, and paired the two premiering pitchers, Michael Fulmer ($5800 @ Minnesota) and Sean Manaea ($5800 vs. Houston), looking for some explosive unfamiliarity on the part of Twins and Astros hitters, and a lot of points in order to climb up from twelfth to the top three in Tout Daily.