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.
Clayton Kershaw ($14,400) – Los Angeles Dodgers – Your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, that’s Kershaw’s name touted as a contrarian pick. The stud lefty shares the slate with fellow aces Max Scherzer, Matt Harvey and Sonny Gray as well as another half dozen supremely talented arms, and Kershaw is a staggering $1,900 more than the next man up (Mad Max). With the Blue Jays facing a lefty and the night action featuring a few other prices sources of offense, I imagine most gamers will spin down from Kershaw to one of the cheaper aces. Make no mistake, though, Kershaw’s ceiling is the highest. The lefty’s 32.4% strikeout rate is the second highest in the league, and the Cubs check in with the highest strikeout rate (25.1%) against southpaws. Madison Bumgarner just struck out a dozen batters yesterday, and Kershaw should post his share of punchouts tonight.
Andrew Heaney ($7,500) – Los Angeles Angels – Heaney is coming off of his worst start of the season, but far more talented pitchers have been battered by the Blue Jays juggernaut offense, so a pass is in order for the youngster. The lefty has had some home run good fortune (7.7% HR/FB and 4.22 xFIP), but his 3.69 FIP suggests his other underlying numbers support his 3.39 ERA. He’s pitching plenty deep into games averaging over six innings per start, and he’s tough as nails on lefties allowing just a .241 wOBA to them this year. That fact comes in handy for tonight’s opponent, the Indians. Cleveland does feature a few platoons that allow them to get more right-handed bats in their lineup, but key contributors at the top of the order, Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley, aren’t going anywhere. The lefty enters play tonight as an underdog, but a four run over/under total for the Indians, per Pinnacle Sports, doesn’t necessitate running scared from using Heaney.
Others to Consider – Matt Harvey ($11,300), Edinson Volquez ($7,900)
Jesus Montero ($2,200) – Seattle Mariners – There aren’t a ton of right-handed bats gamers can feel comfortable using from the Mariners beyond Nelson Cruz, but Montero looks like one against the uber-giving John Danks. Danks has coughed up a .354 wOBA to right-handed batters since 2013, and in that same time frame, Montero has racked up a .322 wOBA and 108 wRC+ against southpaws.
Chris Davis ($4,300) – Baltimore Orioles – I’m really beginning to love picking Davis against southpaws in GPPs. The fact he doesn’t hold the platoon advantage reduces his ownership, but he remains as capable as any hitter of going deep. In fact, Davis actually has a reverse platoon split this season, with a .252 ISO, .382 wOBA and 145 wRC+ against southpaws and a strikeout rate that’s nearly 10% lower against lefties (25.4%) than against righties (35.2%). The power hitter has been locked in during the second half, and the price reduction he gets from facing Cole Hamels is a nice bonus for rostering him.
Brian Dozier ($4,300) – Minnesota Twins – There isn’t much that’s contrarian about using Dozier against a lefty, but the lefty he’s facing tonight, Scott Kazmir, is a very good one. Also, I expect the likes of Anthony Rendon and Neil Walker to rival or exceed Dozier in ownership. As a result, the lefty-killing Dozier will be under owned. How good has he been against lefties exactly? He’s raked to the tune of a .223 ISO, .365 wOBA and 133 wRC+ since 2013. Basically, when he faces a southpaw, he hits like a first baseman.
Kris Bryant ($4,100) – Chicago Cubs – You don’t need me to tell you that going out of your way to load up on bats against Clayton Kershaw is ill advised. However, if you’re going to do so, do it with a batter who can reach the seats. Bryant fits the bill with five homers and a .208 ISO in 117 plate appearances against southpaws this season. And while I put almost no stock in batter versus pitcher info, Bryant did hit one of those fives homers against southpaws off of Kershaw earlier in the year.
Wilmer Flores ($3,600) – New York Mets – Flores has his faults as an MLB shortstop, but one facet of his game that’s advanced in a big way this year is his ability to punish left-handed pitching. The 24-year old has a .247 ISO, .381 wOBA and 149 wRC+ against lefties this year. He should give some problems to rookie southpaw Henry Owens, and he’s a cheap means of filling second base or shortstop.
Jayson Werth ($3,400) – Washington Nationals – Werth’s ownership might get a slight shot in the arm as a result of him going deep last night, but more likely, his season totals will scare gamers off. Werth has battled injuries and been a shell of his former self this year, but his track record of excellence against lefties is too good to ignore at this price. Since 2013, he owns a .206 ISO, .409 wOBA and 163 wRC+ against lefties. And yes, last night’s homer does provide encouragement that he’s rounding into form. He’ll also benefit from Adam Conley’s struggles with righties. The lefty has allowed a .327 wOBA to the 91 right-handed batters he’s faced in his big league career.
Others to Consider – Mark Trumbo ($3,800), Rougned Odor ($3,400)