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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 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 2,500 words here and I finally figured maybe this isn’t the best way to inform the readers about MLB picks. Most people with families and 9-5 jobs probably don’t have time to read 2,500 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 is needed to win a tournament with a 1,000 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|
|C.J. Cron (LAA) – $6488||Neil Walker (PIT) – $6564||Erick Aybar (LAA) – $7336||Pedro Alvarez (PIT) – $5171|
|Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – $5636||Dee Gordon (LAD) – $6227||Ian Desmond (WSH) – $5034||Juan Uribe (LAD) – $4641|
|Tommy Medica (SD) – $3922||Rougned Odor (TEX) – $3484||Alcides Escobar (KC) – $4526|
First Base – There’s really not a ton of fantastic options tonight at first base. There’s about a $2600 jump between the second options (Cabrera) and the third options (Hosmer) which should tell you something about the gap in expected production tonight. Gonzalez seems to have a decent floor even if the match-up isn’t that great, so I think going in his direction for that price would be the way to go tonight.
Second Base – There were aren’t many great options at first, there are even less at second base tonight. I’ll probably just pay up and go for Walker; he, too, has a reasonably high floor and his price is even cheaper than it was a couple of nights ago when he raked. I’m not even looking to punt the position because the options are that bad. Odor if a complete punt is fine – with hopes of maybe getting into the Angels bullpen early.
Shortstop – This is probably a good position to punt tonight. With Hanley Ramirez out, the top options (aside from Aybar) are facing names like Strasburg, Weaver (injury be damned), Iwakuma, and Hamels. Going against any of those pitches probably isn’t ideal. While Porcello is no slouch, either, he’s probably the best match-up out of all the options. I think it’s worth saving the money and hoping for a couple of singles and a stolen base.
Third Base – This would be another good position to save some money. Going in order of the top five hitters (by price) at third base, they are facing Weaver, Hamels, Chavez (L vs L), Hamels, Iwakuma. I’ll probably take Weaver tonight so I’ll avoid all of those match-ups and go with Alvarez. He’s facing a fastball pitcher and Alvarez is a good fastball hitter. For those looking to save some extra cash, I don’t mind Uribe, either. That said, I think Alvarez is the play at third tonight.
|Catcher||Outfield 1||Outfield 2||Starting Pitcher|
|Chris Iannetta (LAA) – $6045||Mike Trout (LAA) – $10,329||Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) – $5774|
|Salvador Perez (KC) – $5492||Andrew McCutchen (PIT) – $8141||Yoenis Cespedes (OAK) – $4511|
|Mike Zunino (SEA) – $3192||Yasiel Puig (LAD) – $6812||Andre Ethier (LAD) – $4335|
Catcher – His strikeout rate means that there’s a reasonably low floor tonight, but Zunino’s price means there’s also a whole lot of profit potential tonight. I don’t really love the catching options, but I’d go in Perez’s direction if Zunino worries DFSers out there. I would still probably target Zunino, though; his 121 wRC+ this year leads Mariners hitters against lefties and his price isn’t far from the Draftstreet floor.
Outfield 1 – I think tonight is a good night to spend on outfielders. McCutchen has a pretty reasonable price for his match-up, while Puig’s is exceptional. If DFSers save money at positions like third, short, and catcher, then fitting Mike Trout into rosters isn’t beyond question. Just because of his price, though, I’ll have Puig on a lot of rosters.
Outfield 2 – The depth options in the outfield aren’t great. I would use Choo with the sole hope that the Rangers can somehow get into the Angels bullpen early on. The depth options aren’t very good but a complete punt play with Andre Ethier is fine for the outfield. That said, I have no problem with spending about $20K on my outfield tonight, so using the cheap options (unless trying to fit in Trout) isn’t really recommended.
Starting Pitcher – I will be using Hamels tonight even though his match-up isn’t that great; he has to face the Nationals and they are a fairly good-hitting team against lefty pitching. That said, his K-percentage against righties isn’t that much worse than lefties so there is a decent amount of upside here. I’ll use Morton tonight, especially because guys like Votto and Phillips out of the Reds lineup. Finally, it’s not that I have a ton of faith against Paul Maholm, but I have even less faith against the worst-hitting team in baseball by a mile.
Large Tournament (GPP) Lineup Targets
- Pittsburgh vs. Mike Leake – The Pirates are still a top-10 team in baseball (and third in the National League) against right-handed pitching. Leake has also been touched up for seven earned runs in 13.2 innings in two starts against the Pirates so far this year. Just about everyone 1-7 in the lineup is worth a look, but especially the top four (guys like Polanco, McCutchen, Walker).
- Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Ian Kennedy – Like Pittsburgh is one of the top teams in the NL against righty pitching, the Dodgers are ahead of even the Pirates. I would be looking at the guys at the top, naturally, and most have good prices (without HanRam, four guys like Gordon, Gonzalez, Puig, and Uribe can be put into lineups for about $22K).
Large Tournament (GPP) Pitching Targets
- James Shields vs. Detroit – Shields has been volatile this year, and has already been blown up essentially twice by the Tigers (total of 10 earned runs in 12.2 innings). That volatility means that a lot of people may avoid him, and he’s a nice high-variance play that people should look for in GPPs. He has a reasonable price, too.
- Jesse Chavez vs. Seattle – The Mariners are one of the worst teams in baseball against lefty pitching (in fact, they are only trailed by the Padres in wRC+ against LHP this year). That makes Chavez a very nice start both in GPPs and cash games. With just six games on the night slate, there aren’t many pitchers that make ideal targets.
- Jered Weaver vs Texas – That Texas lineup isn’t really very potent after their first four batters and a lot of DFSers may be worried about Weaver’s injury in his last start that they will avoid him tonight. That means a low ownership rate and a high variance play just like Shields.
Good luck with DFS tonight!
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