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8/14 DFS Pitching Picks: Kershaw Brings Miami Heat

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Tuesday begat Wednesday, and based on the quality of pitching available for the 8/14 DFS Pitching Picks, I kinda wish we stayed with Tuesday, Gerrit Cole scratch excluded. Save for the Dodgers doing us a favor and pushing Clayton Kershaw back an extra day, this shapes to be a meh-like slate of arms.

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My advice: invest in offense. Lots of offense. There have been worse days filled with mediocre to bad pitching across the board, but Wednesday is all about dart throwing for the most part. Fortunately for you, I’m throwing the darts, so sit back, follow the advice and count the long green that hits your accounts early Thursday morning.

8/14 DFS Pitching Cash Game Pitchers 

Clayton Kershaw, LAD at MIA

DK ($11,800)   FD ($12,000) 

No explanation was given as to why Kershaw was pushed back an extra day, but one guess could be that he went about 100 pitches for only the fifth time this season in his last start. That being said, there will be many who will partake in Kershaw in what should be a feast against Marlins hitting.

Kershaw’s K/9 have fallen to “just’ 9.07, but the combination of a 1.94 BB/9 rate and a matchup against the league’s second-lowest scoring offense is a winning pair. Miami is averaging a mere 3.66 runs per game and are tied with Detroit for the Major League worst in OPS+ (78). Starting Kershaw. who has five starts of at least 46 FanDuel points in his last six starts, will eat into your offense, but this is a layup if you’re looking for pitching to amplify your DFS roster today.

Wade Miley, HOU at CWS

DK ($9,000)   FD ($9,200) 

Miley hasn’t lost a decision since June 17, having won five straight in a stretch where the Astros have gone 7-1 when he’s on the mound. Over those eight starts, Miley has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one and has produced a 2.21 ERA and .183 OBA since the All-Star Break. If you’re playing an afternoon-only slate, Miley could be the anchor of your staff, as he sports a 2.05 ERA in four daytime starts this season. Never a big strikeout artist, Miley has added two Ks per nine frames this season, going from a pedestrian 5.58 K/9 to a passable 7.55 K/9.

Miley continues to keep the ball on the ground (52.9% ground ball rate) but one of the biggest contributors to his career year has been a sharp reduction in line drive rate. Hitters had a 23.6% LD rate against him last season; those tables have turned to 16.1% this season. With a solid RA9 of 3.25, my bet is on Miley acing the pack.

8/14 DFS Pitching GPP Pitchers 

Shane Bieber, CLE vs. BOS

DK ($10,700)   FD ($10,700) 

Bieber continues to make a play for AL Cy Young consideration, having struck out 37 batters over his last 32 innings, a stretch that also includes a pair of complete games and 1.69 ERA. The Indians will be looking for a similar effort from him after their bullpen has been gassed over the first two games of an offensive-heavy series entering an early start time on Wednesday.

While he certainly belongs in the cash game section, there’s mild concerns about Bieber that puts him in the GPP pack. For starters, the Red Sox lit him up for three homers and six earned runs in his only other start against them on May 29, yet he earned the win despite going five innings in a 14-9 slugfest. Bieber can counter that by displaying his 80:8 K:BB rate over 63 innings of daylight play. Whiffs and control are locks here, but Bieber’s 44.4% hard contact rate is a sign that his recent run could come to a brutal halt, especially with the caliber of bats the Red Sox will bring to the table.

Stephen Strasburg, WAS vs. CIN

DK ($11,000)   FD ($11,000) 

After Strasburg, the pitching cliff falls. Trust me, you won’t like the landing. He’s looked human over his last two starts after a run that saw him put up at least 46 FanDuel points in four of five starts that included a 74 FD point gem on July 3. Despite the elevated ERA, Strasburg is already +12 in RAR over last season and his 3.9 WAR puts him on pace to approach his career-best 6.4 from 2017.

In what looks like a sign of Strasburg adjusting to age, he’s thrown his fastball under 50% for the first time in his career (49.6%), relying more on his curve (30.2%) than at any other time. Strasburg is whiffing batters at a 29.2% clip, so whatever he’s doing is working. When it comes to his ERA, Strasburg’s 3.28 FIP tells a more accurate story than his actual 3.72 ERA. I’d consider Strasburg in the cash format, but the Reds have the firepower to make him a risk, which is why he falls in the 8/14 DFS Pitching Picks rankings.

8/14 DFS Pitching Punt Play

Cal Quantrill, SD vs. TB

DK ($6,200)   FD ($7,000) 

Since the Padres made him a fixture in the rotation, Quantrill has ripped off a 1.62 ERA in six starts. The early stretch of walks is a distant memory, as he averages just 2.31 BB/9 overall while also holding batters to a .183 OBA since the All-Star Break, a run that has seen Quantrill’s ERA dip to 0.93. He also eclipsed the 100-pitch mark for the first time in his career while throwing seven shutout innings against the Rockies last Thursday.

Quantrill offers just enough strikeout punch (7.33 K/9) and a 2.93 home ERA, a combination that makes him a good low-risk, high-reward option. The Rays are hitting the ball well on the road (+21 in homers), but Quantrill’s recent run will last long enough to slow down Tampa Bay’s methodical lineup.

Brandon C. Williams has covered Fantasy Sports since 2013 when he was selected as a finalist for the FSWA Newcomer of the Year. He is an award-winning writer/editor who has been in sports media for 30 years, having worked with likes of the Houston Chronicle, Fox Sports Net, CBSSports.com, Rivals.com and RotoExperts.com. Brandon is a Fantasy Content writer for the Canadian Football League and will begin his second season as a Fantasy Football Columnist for the Associated Press.

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