Luke Weaver went 5.2 IP and gave up 0 ER on 7 H, 0 BB, and 7 K's against the Pirates. Weaver through 6 starts has a 2.16 ERA (3.18 SIERA). It is a small sample size but Weaver has been excellent in the majors this year. He is striking out 31% of batters, which is likely to regress but his 11% swinging strike rate is above average. He has an average walk rate at 7.6% but his strikeout stuff mixed with his 51% ground ball rate is a recipe for success. The Cardinals have a track record of producing strong starting pitching and Weaver is living up to the bill this year. He will represent a high upside starting pitcher heading into next year's drafts.
Scooter Gennett was 2-4 with a run scored against the Mets. He is hitting .300 with 24 HR, 75 R, 85 RBI, and 3 SB. Gennett is having a career year at the age of 27. The good news is that he is showing the ability to make contact (22% K) and has changed his batted ball profile. He is hitting more fly balls (38%) and hitting the ball harder (36%), which has led to a career year in the power department. It will be hard for him to repeat this level of success next year but expecting 20 HR and 70-75 RBI should not be out of the question if he hits at the top of the Reds lineup and plays half his games in Great American Ballpark in 2018.
Freddie Freeman was 2-4 with a walk and his 25th HR against the Marlins. On the year he is hitting .319 with 25 HR, 72R, 64 RBI, and 7 SB in just 95 games. Freeman is establishing himself as one of the elite fantasy hitters. He is able to contribute across the board in all categories. He has always been able to make above average contact and has developed into a power hitter as well. The overlooked part of his game is that he is a non-zero contributor in stolen bases, which is a huge boost in value over most first basemen. He has done most of his damage this year while playing through a wrist injury. He described it as swinging a "wet newspaper", which makes his success all the more amazing this year.
Dominic Smith was 1-3 with a walk against the Reds. On the year he is hitting .196 with 4 HR, 10 R, 13 RBI, and 4 SB over his first 28 games. The surface stats don't look great but Smith has been unlucky on batted balls (.214 BABIP) despite 36% Hard contact and 53% GB. Hitting for average was Smith's calling card coming up through the minors. He was always able to post above average strikeout rates and his 23% K in his first taste of the majors is not bad either. To become a viable fantasy asset in 2018 he is going to need to hit for average and develop his power into the mid-20s. Even then Smith would still have a long way to go to come close to the upper tier first basemen. He is still very young and has room for growth, just don't expect big jump in year two.
DFS Value Play
Mike Mahtook is in the middle of a career year (.276 with 11 HR and 5 SB in 100 games). He will have the platoon advantage and get a major park upgrade against LHP Brett Anderson. Mahtook has a career .352 wOBA and .244 ISO against LHP. If you look at Mahtook's heatmaps, he likes the ball down in the zone exactly where Anderson likes to throw it. Fanduel: $2,900
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