When determining which way to go with my daily lineups, there are a couple of things that I look at before even both deciding which players to roll with.
First thing’s first, I always check the Vegas odds, specifically the over/under. One thing to keep in mind is that Vegas lines are made with the intention of getting the public to bet both sides. An over/under of 8.5 is meant to entice as many people who think there will be 7 or 8 total runs as opposed to 9 or 10. With that said, the higher the over/under, the better the chances of a successful DFS lineup selection. It’s a fairly basic concept, but failing to employ it is a quick way to deplete bankrolls.
Secondly, the probable pitchers and the ballparks are factors in every decision that is made. It’s obvious that playing Troy Tulowitzki in AT&T Park against Madison Bumgarner isn’t an ideal situation. It’s not a linear process though. It’s not a mindset of “never start players facing Pitcher A, B or C.” Clayton Kershaw’s career ERA at Coors Field is over 5.00; same goes for Justin Verlander’s ERA at Yankee Stadium over the last four years. This provides a value opportunity because some DFS players might shy away from big name pitchers.
With all this said, here my value plays for Draftstreet as well as which pitchers are favourable for today. There will be a lineup at the end of the article. As is always the case, be sure to check BaseballPress.com for up-to-the-minute lineup information and always double-check the weather.
For those that have been regular readers of this column, or even passersby, you’ll know that full MLB slates can get up to 2500 words here and I finally figured maybe this isn’t the best way to inform the readers about the days’ MLB picks. Most people with families and 9-5 jobs probably don’t have time to read 2500 words every day.
I also wanted to place more emphasis on the players I thought were at the top of their position for a given day. Just simply listing the plays I like out of every games gives no weight to one player over the other.
Lastly, I wanted to place a bit more emphasis on large tournaments (or GPPs). While it’s true, a lot of luck needed to win a tournament with a 1000 people in it, there’s also some measure of skill by knowing which pitchers and which lineups to target.
From now on, this column will feature players/pitchers to target for both GPPs and cash games separately. Each will have their own segment with a bit of explanation at each position. The three options are given to reflect different price points and guys I particularly like will be bolded.
Cash Games (50/50s, Heads-Up)
|First Base||Second Base||Shortstop||Third Base|
|Cron (LAA) – $6730||Walker (PIT) – $5723||Aybar (LAA) – $6793||Alvarez (PIT) – $6705|
|Goldschmidt (ARI) – $6555||Roberts (NYY) – $4332||Andrus (TEX) – $5511||Castellanos (DET) – $5211|
|Davis (PIT) – $5822||Hill (ARI) – $3893||Jeter (NYY) – $4239||Freese (LAA) – $4642|
First Base – Miggy seems like a lock at the position but his price might make him unreasonable in cash games. I’m not a very big fan of the expensive options here tonight, mostly because the match-ups aren’t favourable. Passing on Goldschmidt at his price is going to be hard.
Second Base – This isn’t a very good night for second basemen. Kinsler seems like a good play but he’s crazy expensive. Other than him, there’s not much to get excited about. Probably a good night to punt the position, though Walker is on a five-game hitting streak.
Shortstop – I like Andrus a lot tonight. The price is right and he’s much better hitting lefties than righties. The corpse of Derek Jeter isn’t a bad option either if punting the middle infield altogether is the strategy (might not be a bad one).
Third Base – Brandon McCarthy has been giving up home runs with regularity this year, which makes Alvarez very tantalizing tonight in Pittsburgh. Castellanos and Freese have been very proficient against lefties this year so they’re good, cheaper targets.
|Catcher||Outfield 1||Outfield 2||Starting Pitching|
|Norris (OAK) – $5683||Puig (LAD) – $8954||Van Slyke (LAD) – $5529||Tanaka (NYY) – $24,805|
|Iannetta (LAA) – $5083||McCutchen (PIT) – $8190||Cowgill (LAA) – $5206||Darvish (TEX) – $23,959|
|Ellis (LAD) – $4643||Ellsbury (NYY) – $6954||Parra (ARI) – $5113||Shoemaker (LAA) – $14,064|
|Rios (TEX) – $6295||Choo (TEX) – $4297||Dickey (TOR) – $13,464|
|Davis (DET) – $6060||Jackson (DET) – $3886|
Catcher – I like Norris’ match-up but Oakland at night isn’t really ideal. Iannetta has a great match-up, as does Ellis. I would probably lean Iannetta just because Ellis hitting seventh or eighth doesn’t provide much hope for production.
Outfield 1- Passing on Puig in Coors Field will be tough. For the reasons I like Alvarez at third base for Pittsburgh, ditto for McCutchen. Rajai Davis is always a good bet against left-handed pitching, but I’ll only use him if he’s at the top of the order.
Outfield 2 – Van Slyke is nearly an auto-start against lefties. In Coors Field, even more so. Cowgill has a very good match-up and I will definitely use him if he’s at the top of the lineup again. Choo is more of a shot-in-the-dark, but at his price it’s tough to pass up that talent at the top of that lineup, considering Wei-Yin Chen’s career wOBA against lefties is only 18 points lower than against righties.
Starting Pitching – Tanaka is a lock for today. He might be widely owned, but the other expensive options aren’t near the quality of match-up that he has tonight. After Tanaka, and to a lesser degree Darvish, there is not a lot of good pitching here tonight. It may not be a bad idea to go two top starters with a closer tonight. If not, I’ll risk Dickey against Oakland, he has pitched well against them in a couple starts over the last year and a half.
*NOTE: It’s almost certain the Rangers/Orioles game will be rained out. Keep an eye on things, but it may be necessary to avoid players in that game completely (which is a shame).
Large Tournaments (GPPs)
There are four teams I’m specifically looking at tonight to stack their lineups from GPPs.
- Tigers (vs. Bedard) – Detroit is third in the AL against lefty pitching and have options like Castellanos, Davis, and Suarez that have (and in Suarez’s case, going back to the Minors) done very well against lefties this year and have a cheap price tag.
- Angels (vs. Oberholtzer) – Angels lead baseball in wRC+ against lefty pitching and have the second-best K-rate against lefties as well. Much like the Tigers, they have options like Cowgill and Iannetta that do particularly well against LHP and are pretty cheap. Also like the Tigers, both teams will probably be widely owned in GPPs.
- Dodgers (vs. Morales) – While they’re not one of the top teams against lefties like the Tigers or Angels, they do have guys like Ellis and Van Slyke who have a good price tag today. Also, going into Coors Field is never a bad thing.
- Rangers (vs. Chen) – I don’t have a lot of faith in the Rangers lineup as a whole, but I do like the top of their order with some sort of combination of Andrus/Choo/Rios/Beltre. This is not a team where I’m looking at the bottom half of the order, though.
- Phil Hughes – He faced the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in early June and went eight strong with just two earned runs, two walks and six strikeouts. The Yankees are also tied in wRC+ against RHP with the Kansas City Royals on the year.
- R.A. Dickey – I’m using him in cash games but he might not be bad for GPPs either. He’s pitched well against Oakland and if his knuckler can dance for one night, there is a lot of upside.
- Vance Worley – He has been lights out in a small sample and gets a decent match-up tonight. He’s too risky to use for cash games because he’s typically been below-average for his career, and that makes him the perfect GPP pitcher.
Good luck with your DFS baseball today!