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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 favorable 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.
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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 game 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 italicized.
Cash Games Targets By Position (Double-Ups and Heads-Up)
|First Base||Second Base||Shortstop||Third Base|
|Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) – $8811||Jose Altuve (HOU) – $7461||Erick Aybar (LAA) – $6361||Evan Longoria (TB) – $6697|
|Adam LaRoche (WSH) – $6224||Brian Dozier (MIN) – $7319||Asdrubal Cabrera (CLE) – $5250||Matt Carpenter (STL) – $5967|
|Mike Napoli (BOS) – $4801||Ben Zobrist (TB) – $5307||Eugenio Suarez (DET) – $3709||Nick Castellanos (DET) – $4399|
First Base – Goldschmidt has been killing righties, the Giants, and Lincecum. If he can fit in budgets, he’s a pretty good bet for tonight. Lefties have been tough against AJ Burnett this year so Adam LaRoche has a nice price tonight for the Nats. For those looking to go cheap, Napoli is a pretty good price against a mediocre pitcher tonight in a good park.
Second Base – Altuve has a pretty high floor tonight so for some safe numbers, I’d go in his direction. Also doesn’t hurt to face John Lackey, who’s been absolutely awful of late. Kipnis is starting to heat up a bit and gets a good match-up tonight – Hector Noesi has been very homer-prone against lefty batters for his career. I do like Brian Dozier a lot (match-up and Coors Field) so spending on him presents no issues. For all the struggles that Ben Zobrist has had this year, he’s slugging over .500 against lefties. For his price, I’ll have him in a lot of lineups.
Shortstop – I don’t see a lot of great options at short tonight so it’s probably a good night to punt the position. Tulo is over $10K while both Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes don’t have very good match-ups. Aybar is fine, but I’d rather take either Cabrera or Suarez. For those looking to flat out punt, Suarez is a good play. Over his last couple seasons in the Minors he was much better against lefty pitching, and that trend has continued into his short MLB career thus far.
Third Base – The three most expensive options at 3B are facing Richards, Locke, and Kluber. That means third base is a position that doesn’t need a lot of money spent on it tonight. Longoria is a very good play tonight against Buehrle and I don’t mind Matt Carpenter’s match-up, either. I’ll have a hard time leaving Castellanos off of rosters, though. Sure, he’ll probably hit around sixth in the lineup, but he’s been about as productive as Miguel Cabrera against lefty pitching so far this year. That’s pretty good for his price tag.
|Catcher||Outfield 1||Outfield 2||Starting Pitchers|
|Buster Posey (SF) – $6069||Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY) – $7651||Desmond Jennings (TB) – $5590||Felix Hernandez (SEA) – $25,356|
|Miguel Montero (ARI) – $5155||Kole Calhoun (LAA) – $7036||Josh Willingham (MIN) – $4691||Corey Kluber (CLE) – $20,400|
|Kurt Suzuki (MIN) – $5030||Seth Smith (SD) – $6804||Bryce Harper (WSH) – $4543||Anibal Sanchez (DET) – $17,236|
|Jose Bautista (TOR) – $6671||Austin Jackson (DET) – $4152||Chris Archer (TB) – $14,555|
Catcher – There aren’t really a lot of great options at catcher tonight, which is why I’ll probably lean to Montero. I don’t really have a lot of faith in Lincecum shutting down the D’Backs offense tonight, or most nights for that matter. For those worried about Montero’s .167 career average (60 ABs) against Lincecum, Suzuki in Coors could provide some cheap power (could being the operative word here, it’s still Kurt Suzuki).
Outfield 1 – While I doubt Kole Calhoun will replicate what he did last night, he has another good match-up tonight against Nick Tepesch. Seth Smith gets a decent match-up against Dan Haren tonight, but I’d rather have Jose Bautista at his price (it’s unlikely he’ll ever get much lower than this).
Outfield 2 – Desmond Jennings is among the Tampa Bay hitters who can mash lefties so he’s a pretty good start tonight. Josh Willingham has a career mark of one home run every 12.5 ABs against lefties, and he gets a lefty in Coors tonight. He’s a must-start. Bryce Harper seems lost but his price is still too low for me to keep passing up. Also, kind of like the Rays, the Tigers have a handful of cheap(ish) players that have been pretty good against lefties this year, Austin Jackson among them.
Starting Pitchers – King Felix is typically a strong start but he has his lowest K/9 against Oakland of any team he’s faced at least twice this year (there’s five of them). Considering the strength of that lineup in general, I have no problems fading him tonight. The White Sox have the third-highest strikeout rate against righties as a team in all of baseball, and that makes Corey Kluber a pretty good start tonight (and he has 19 K in 15.1 IP against them in two starts this year). Without Alex Gordon, there’s nothing that’s scary about the Kansas City lineup. Strikeouts or not, I don’t see why Anibal can’t go at least seven innings tonight. Without Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion, the Blue Jays face Chris Archer tonight without their two best hitters against right-handed pitching this year. Considering Archer has already done pretty well in two starts against them (12 IP, 4 ER, 4 BB, 14 K), I like his price a lot tonight.
Large Tournaments (GPP) Lineup Targets
- Tampa Bay vs. Mark Buehrle – This one is a bit tough because Buehrle has been good for most of the year. That said, he has a 4.36 ERA in his last five starts with six home runs allowed. The Rays can put together a very solid lineup against lefties (Jennings, Zobrist, Longoria, Rodriguez) so targeting the top four or five hitters there isn’t a bad idea.
- Detroit vs. Danny Duffy – Duffy has been tough all around this year but so much more so on lefty hitters than right-handed hitters. The bottom/top of the Detroit lineup is fairly cheap all around (Jackson, Davis, Castellanos, Suarez) and all of them have pretty reasonable prices. Targeting them can save money and produce a lot of good totals.
- Los Angeles Angels vs. Nick Tepesch – The Angels showed last night what they can do in a good hitters’ park against a bad pitcher. That should continue tonight. The top of the lineup is particularly interesting, names like Calhoun, Trout, and Hamilton. They’re pretty expensive, but combining them with the cheap options from Detroit should provide some relief.
Large Tournaments (GPP) Pitching Targets
- John Lackey vs. Houston – Lackey has been lit up of late but still has his highest strikeout percentage of any season since 2005. Combined with the fact that the Astros have the second-highest strikeout rate against righties of any team in baseball (neck-and-neck with the Marlins) and there’s potential for a monster night at a reasonable price tonight.
- Zack Wheeler vs. Miami – I just mentioned how Miami has the highest K-rate in baseball against RHP and Wheeler has a 24.1-percent K-rate against righty hitters so far this season. If he can navigate the top three hitters for Miami, he can have a pretty nice game tonight. Again, like Lackey, it’s at a reasonable price.
- Mike Bolsinger vs. San Francisco – Bolsinger went 7.2 with one earned run and one walk (four strikeouts) a few weeks ago against the Giants. He has a very good strikeout rate this year and has an exceptionally cheap price. He can help fit in a lot of expensive bats from the Angels lineup for GPPs.
Good luck with DFS today!
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