Today’s main slate features 15 games and starts at 7:05 p.m. ET. Here’s a data-driven breakdown featuring five key stats, courtesy of FantasyLabs Editor-in-Chief, Matt LaMarca.
FantasyLabs is a daily fantasy tool and real-time analytics platform that enables players to test theories, create and backtest models and construct customized lineups. In this piece, I leverage the same tools used by co-founders Jonathan Bales and Peter Jennings (CSURAM88) for each slate.
83 Recent Batted Ball Luck Score – Michael Fulmer
Michael Fulmer has been mediocre over his last six starts. He’s pitched well enough to go at least 6.2 innings in five of those outings, but his inability to strike batters out has limited his fantasy production to a high of 16.5 DraftKings points over that time frame. Today’s matchup, however, might represent a bounce-back spot in the K department; San Diego leads the league with a 25.7 percent strikeout rate against right-handed pitchers, Fulmer’s K Prediction of 7.3 is the slate’s fifth-highest mark.
Even without his increased strikeout upside, there’s reason to believe Fulmer has the potential to improve his fantasy performance, as he’s almost certainly had some bad recent luck. At FantasyLabs, we have a Recent Batted Ball Luck metric that measures the difference between a player’s percentile rank in batted ball distance and fantasy scoring over the past 15 days. Fulmer leads all starting pitchers today with a mark of +83. His batted ball distance of 184 feet over his last two starts is 14 feet less than his 12-month average.
The Padres’ implied team total of 3.5 runs is the third-lowest mark of the day, and the Tigers are currently favored by 0.6 runs. Pitchers with comparable opponent implied totals, win probabilities, and recent Statcast data have a strong historical Plus/Minus of +3.12 and 73.9 percent Consistency Rating. Fulmer makes for an appealing pivot for those looking to avoid the high-priced pitchers like Archer and Strasburg.
11 Pro Trends – Corey Seager and Mike Napoli
At Fantasy Labs we have what are called “Pro Trends” – angles we’ve identified that historically yield value. Corey Seager and Mike Napoli are tied for the lead with 11 Pro Trends on today’s slate even though both batters are on the negative side of their batting splits and are on teams implied for fewer than 5.0 runs.
What these guys have going for them is their recent form. Seager has an average batted ball distance of 260 feet, exit velocity of 99 miles per hour and hard hit rate of 55 percent over the last 15 days, while Napoli has marks of 254 feet, 96 miles per hour and 54 percent. Batters with a comparable number of Pro Trends and recent Statcast data have historically returned value with a Plus/Minus of +2.53.
The biggest difference between the two batters is their lineup spot: Seager is projected to bat second; Napoli, seventh. That difference is reflected in their price tags. Seager costs $5,000 while Napoli is a much more palatable $3,300. Given his spot in the bottom third of the order and the fact that the Rangers game also has a 14 percent chance of precipitation, Napoli could wind up as a contrarian option in a lineup that still has some pop.
81 Park Factor – Left-handed Yankees and Rangers
Park Factor is a 0-to-100 FantasyLabs metric that measures the friendliness of a park based on the handedness of the batter. The top Park Factor on today’s slate belongs to left-handed hitters at Yankee Stadium, whose average of 3.36 homers per game makes it the most long ball-prone stadium in the league this season.
As FantasyLabs Editor-in-Chief Matthew Freedman noted in his recent DraftKings stacking article, Yankees stacks have done well this year. They’ve been the second-most productive team in terms of Plus/Minus — behind only the Nationals — but their average ownership of 5.3 percent ranks outside of the top 10. They have a tough matchup today against Yu Darvish, which could result in reduced ownership despite their strong implied team total of 5.2 runs. The projected Yankees lineup features four left-handed or switch-hitters. Pivoting to them and avoiding some of the more popular righty hitters like Aaron Judge, Matt Holliday and Gary Sanchez will likely enable players to stack the Yankees in a contrarian way.
The Rangers are currently implied for 4.9 runs and are set to face Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who has been roughed up this season with an ERA of 6.34 over his first 14 starts. His recent Statcast data is especially horrid with a 241-foot batted ball distance, 93 mph exit velocity and 39 percent hard hit rate. Texas is projected to use four left-handed batters against him, and No. 3 hitter Nomar Mazara is particularly intriguing with 15-day/12-month distance and hard hit differentials of +27 feet and +22 percentage points. Batters with comparable differentials and implied team totals have a historical Plus/Minus of +1.22.
91 Team Value Rating – Boston Red Sox
Team Value Rating is a 0-to-100 grade showing a team’s value based on its implied run total and collective salaries. The Red Sox lead the slate with an implied team total of 6.0 runs, but only Mookie Betts has a top-30 non-pitcher salary. As a result, the Red Sox lead the slate with a Team Value Rating of 91 in a matchup against Angels righty Alex Meyer, who has a WHIP of 1.44 over the past 12 months.
The aforementioned Betts has spent the majority of his time in the leadoff spot this season, which has historically rewarded him with a Plus/Minus of +1.88 at home. He’s also in good recent form with an average Batted Ball Distance of 238 feet and hard hit rate of 43 percent over his last 14 games. Betts and the Red Sox will likely be chalky on this slate, but Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley could be differentiating options. Projected to bat sixth and seventh, Benintendi and Bradley are both on the positive side of their batting splits and have positive distance and hard hit differentials over the past 15 days.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.