First a look at the running totals through half of week 17:
Here’s a look at this week’s recs, with team wOBA in parentheses:
Jon Niese – 11.8% ESPN/22% Y!/68% own, 35% start CBS – @PHI (.296), v. CHC (.304)
A pair of bottom-eight offenses punctuates the week for the better-than-you-realize Niese, who gets by with a fair number of strikeouts and an above-average groundball profile despite only having one pitch above 10 percent SwStr% — and that’s a curve at just 10.7. Niese has just one game over 10 swinging strikes this season — 14 versus Atlanta on April 18 — while in every start so far this season with the exception of going just one-third of an inning on July 4, Niese has gotten 14 or more looking strikes. Those numbers jive with his career swing rates, which are all in the 40s or low 50s percentage-wise the the exception of his slider — which he rarely threw and hasn’t since 2010. Nevertheless, we still love Niese this week.
Collin McHugh – 17.7% ESPN/28% Y!/46% own, 25% start CBS – v. MIN (.311), @BOS (.307)
McHugh is 4-9 and that certainly hurts him in terms of fantasy ownership, but there’s really no reason a guy with over 100 innings and 10.1 K/9 as well as a WHIP of 1.08 is even eligible to be written up here. Yet here we are, as McHugh has also struggled a bit with health, making just four starts since July 1. Despite that sporadic activity, McHugh has still managed a 3.04 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 23.2 innings in that time frame — good for an 0-2 record and 1-3 for the Astros. Jump on McHugh this week as he gets a couple of teams that haven’t had much going for them this season in the Twins and Red Sox.
Kyle Hendricks – 6.8% ESPN/7% Y!/31% own, 18% start CBS – v. MIL (.319), @NYM (.296)
Hendricks has been fantastic for the Cubs through five big league starts, with three wins and a 2.10 ERA as well as a solid 52.0 percent groundball rate. His last start in Colorado on Thursday was extremely impressive, as the 24-year-old righty tossed eight innings of two run ball with four strikeouts. That’s a Rockies offense that has a collective home wOBA of .380, or 30 points better than the next team (Toronto and .350). Regression has some serious potential to trip Hedricks up — .245 BABIP, 81.3 percent strand rate, and perhaps even 0.5 HR/9 rate — and the Brewers pose a pretty solid opponent as well, but Hendricks has a nice matchup with the Mets that should help make him a good pickup this week.