The Contrarian Corner will provide a list of players that can separate your MLB lineups from the rest of the pack. We’ll take a look at those players that will likely be low-owned, who have high-upside for the day. Here is the list of today’s daily fantasy baseball picks in the Contrarian Corner at DraftKings.
Jimmy Nelson ($6,600) – Milwaukee Brewers – Nelson tallied a tough luck 4.93 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) in 2014. All of his ERA estimators painted a more favorable picture of his performance with him totaling a 3.78 FIP, 3.92 xFIP and 3.76 SIERA, according to FanGraphs. His Triple-A work was brilliant with him earning a 2.97 FIP in 17 appearances (16 starts). He struck out more than a batter per inning in the minors last season, so his 18.3% strikeout rate is a wee bit disappointing. The big right-hander kicked off this season in fashion twirling seven innings of scoreless ball allowing two hits, two walks, one hit batsman with nine strikeouts. On a day loaded with top flight starters, Nelson should fly below the radar a bit. PNC Park will award him a pitcher-friendly venue for building on his stellar first turn.
J.A. Happ ($6,800) – Seattle Mariners – I often harp on picking on Happ when he gets the ball, but tonight is a marriage of great variables. The first is pitching at Safeco Field, one of the toughest venues in the majors to score runs in. The second is facing a Rangers lineup that struggles with southpaws. His opponent ranks 24th in wRC+ against lefties (69) thus far this year, per FanGraphs. Notable hitters Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder are much better against righties than lefties, and only Adrian Beltre is a truly intimidating figure in their lineup. Some gamers might be scared off by his .348 wOBA allowed to left-handed batters since 2012, but the sample is small (416 batters) and unsustainable homer issues appear to be the biggest culprit as his ERA against lefties is 5.25 but his xFIP is 3.73. With a reasonably good 21.2% strikeout rate and acceptable 8.2% walk rate, I’d expect brighter days against lefties ahead of him, starting with tonight.
Others to Consider- Jered Weaver ($7,500) – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Yonder Alonso ($3,800) – San Diego Padres – With just a two-game afternoon slate, there are very few places to swerve from the pack. Alonso offers gamers a pivot option at an offensively talented slot in the lineup. He’ll be owned far less than Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. The left-handed hitting Alonso is far better against right-handed pitchers than southpaws in his career (89 wRC+ versus lefties and 113 versus righties), he had a good lineup spot hitting fifth in the Padres last game and he’s in the preferred batters box for facing the fastball/slider tossing Jason Hammel.
Evan Gattis ($3,600) – Houston Astros –This play is a simple one. Gattis is a power grab against a flyball-centric pitcher. Jered Weaver allowed a 47.9% flyball rate last year, and he’s getting tattooed this year. As a quick aside, he gets the nod in the “others to consider” above due to the number of right-handed batters in the Astros lineup and their propensity for striking out. Getting back to Gattis, though, he has huge raw power in a homer-friendly park. His slow start will keep his ownership rate low.
Ike Davis($3,900) – Oakland Athletics- On a 13-game night slate, I fully expect Davis to be a forgotten man. The A’s have made the most of their resources in recent years by platooning players, and Davis looks like their latest success story. He hits in the five-hole which is RBI friendly, and owns respectable marks of a .196 ISO and 124 wRC+ versus righties since 2012. Respectable is not the word that comes to mind when looking at Jeremy Guthrie’s .377 wOBA allowed to lefties since 2012. Gamers who use Davis should be licking their chops in anticipation of favorable results.
Chris Davis ($4,800) – Baltimore Orioles – Many will turn their nose up to Davis since he’s tied for the distinction of being called the second most expensive first baseman and is the priciest option at third base. The number-three hitter for the O’s is your typical boom-or-bust pick with multi-homer upside and oh-fer downside. His raw power resulted in the 21st highest average home run and flyball batted ball distance in 2014, according to Baseball Heat Maps. Reaching the seats a few times with a low-owned player like Davis would put you ahead of the masses, and that’s the aim of a contrarian pick.
Troy Tulowitzki ($4,100) – Colorado Rockies – I’m not sure if Tulo has ever been referred to as a contrarian play, but he is today. Most gamers will — rightfully — cross all Rockies off their list of usable players with them facing Clayton Kershaw. The 2014 NL Cy Young Award Winner and NL Most Valuable Player is a tough assignment for all hitters, but the best hitting shortstop — by a wide margin — is just the seventh most expensive pick at the position. Since 2012, Tulowitzki has totaled an eye-popping .427 wOBA, 159 wRC+, .266 ISO and walked more than he’s struck out. Get your popcorn ready for his plate appearances against Kershaw, but more importantly, get him in some of your GPP rosters and hope for him to put a charge into one of Kershaw’s offerings.
Michael Brantley ($5,200) – Cleveland Indians – Brantley was able to get in some hitting and fielding work prior to being scratched from Wednesday’s game, and his outlook for tonight’s game is positive. You’ll want to double-check the Indians lineup card before finalizing your DraftKings rosters, but Brantley is the classic injury risk contrarian pick. In other words, instead of going against the grain by rostering a player with questionable skills, you’re getting excellent skills with a health risk. If he’s in the lineup, though, one would think the Indians feel confident he won’t aggravate the back injury that’s sidelined him. Mike Pelfrey is one of the worst starters pitching tonight, and the Indians three-hitter offers a well-rounded offensive skill-set for tallying tons of fantasy points.
Others to Consider – Khris Davis ($3,900), Chris Carter ($3,700)