This is a pretty unique slate. Not only do we have multiple aces around and above the $10K range to chose from, but we have 9 teams with implied-team totals at or above 4.9 runs. That’s a lot. The trouble is that the mid-tier, particularly the mid-tier priced pitchers, aren’t very appealing. Spending up at both pitcher spots is difficult to do, but you can get there if you target some of the lower priced players in lineups with a high implied-team total. Questions about the slate? Find me on Twitter, @RyNoonan. Let’s dig in.
Jose Fernandez – MIA vs. CIN – $13,400 – It’s easier to save a few hundred dollars of salary and slide down a peg or two to the other studs on the slate, but Jose Fernandez is in the best spot. He’s pitched exceptionally well at home over the course of his career, making him an option every time he takes the mound in Florida, but the Reds are the reason to roll out JFer on Friday. They’re 29th in baseball in wRC+ against right-handed pitching and their 22% whiff rate should make it easy for Fernandez to reach double-digit K’s if he goes 7 or more innings.
Chris Sale – CWS vs. ATL – $13,500 – Chris Sale has pitched well but hasn’t displayed his typically huge swing-and-miss approach this season. He’s been deliberately more efficient, sacrificing strikeouts for ground balls with the hopes of working deeper into games. He’s piling up the wins, but in DFS we want him to be piling up the K’s.
Matt Shoemaker – LAA vs. BAL – $6,700 – I don’t love this spot for Matt Shoemaker, but he does present some mid-tier value, and he offers a ton of upside with his ability to miss bats. The problem is that Shoemaker’s opponent, Baltimore, is a top-3 offense against right-handed pitching and are the league-leaders in ISO. The tournament appeal comes in the form of strikeouts though. The Orioles are striking out 22.5% of the time in these spots, and on this slate, only Jose Fernandez has a better swinging-strike rate than Shoemaker’s 13.9%.
Cole Hamels – TEX vs. MIN – $9,800 – I don’t typically list pitchers who are nearly $10,000 in the ‘Values’ section, but this is a unique case. Last time Hamels pitched he was $12,400 on Sunday and he got shellacked by this very same Twins lineup. Prior to that Hamels had been on a roll, with strong performances in 10 of his past 12 times out, so this over-correction in price has created a buying opportunity that’s strengthened by the recency bias that’ll come from the last box score on Sunday.
Wil Myers (1B) – SD vs. LAD – $5,500 – I love using Padres against left-handed pitching, so Wil Myers is the face of that leverage play today. San Diego is a top-5 offense against lefties, and since they’re the Padres (sorry, Padres’ fans) they’re rarely a popular DFS stack. Myers is the priciest of the bunch, but owns a .382 wOBA against southpaws this season.
Kris Bryant (3B/OF) – Cubs vs. Pirates – $5,500 – Kris Bryant is just good at this whole baseball thing. He’s thrived in the 2-hole over the past few days, and why not move him up in the lineup to get him more at-bats? Over the past two weeks his hard-hit rate is up 11% over his season mark, and his average fly ball distance is up 28 feet. He’s a great play at multiple positions today.
Jake Lamb (3B) – ARZ vs. SF – $5,300 – Jake Lamb is a great tournament play today. He’s getting a negative park shift and is expensive, two things that often drive down ownership. I like him because he’s crushing righties with a NL leading .662 SLG against them, and he’s facing Jeff Samardzija who’s been lit up lately. He’s not missing any bats and is back to his homer-prone ways, giving up nine in his last 6 appearances.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF) – COL vs. PHI – $5,300 – I’ll use CarGo to talk about Coors today. He’s my preferred play here, and in cash games you can’t totally ignore this game, though I think you can and should in tournaments. Marginal players become overpriced and over-owned, and we have numerous viable pivots today with all of the high implied-team totals.
David Ortiz (POS) – BOS vs. TB – $5,300 – David Ortiz is a bit cheaper than he typically is, and that’s due in part to the matchup against Chris Archer. Archer’s been a bumpy ride to be on this season. He’s piling up the K’s still, but his command isn’t there and he’s giving up a ton of fly balls and home runs compared to his breakout 2015 campaign. In a large enough and recent sample size of data, Ortiz holds a .419 wOBA against Archer.
Giancarlo Stanton (OF) – MIA vs. CIN – $4,900 – The days of a discounted Giancarlo Stanton appear to be behind us. Over the past two weeks his average fly ball distance, hard-hit rate, exit velocity and fly ball percentage have all sky rocketed, and he’s coming off of back-to-back double dong games and faces the pitcher with the highest fly ball rate on the slate. Giddy up.
Jason Kipnis (2B) – CLE vs. NYY – $4,900 – Jason Kipnis has been one of the streakiest hitters in baseball since making his debut a few seasons ago, and that trend has continued. I don’t know when that streak will end, but it appears that he’s in the midst of one right now. He’s the catalyst of the red-hot Indians lineup and is worth paying up for today against Chad Green.
Ian Kinsler (2B) – DET vs. TOP – $4,400 – The entire Tigers offense feels a bit underpriced, but Kinsler is my preferred play of the group. He’ll be leading off against J.A. Happ and he enters play with a .399 wOBA and 150 wRC+ against lefties this season.
Jose Abreu (1B) – CWS vs. ATL – $3,300 – On the whole, Jose Abreu has been massively disappointing this season, but I love him today. He’s been much better against right-handed pitching since coming to the States, and his surprisingly high ground ball tendency gets an assist today from Braves’ starter Matt Wisler and his hefty 42% fly ball rate. Only Coors Field has a better home run park factor for right-handed bats, so things could be lining up for Abreu tonight.
Salvador Perez (CATCH) – KC vs. SEA – $3,000 – My favorite catcher on most slates, Sal Perez, is in the perfect spot for Friday. Perez is a free swinger, one who owns a 110 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, and he’s facing Mariners’ starter Hisashi Iwakuma who’s constantly in and around the zone. Sal Perez is not going up there to walk, so he’ll get plenty of offerings to hack at on Friday.
Matt Kemp (OF) – SD vs. LAD – $3,600 – Wil Myers was mentioned in the Studs section, but Matt Kemp at just $3,600 deserves a mention in the Values. He’s displaying massive power against lefties this season with a .415 wOBA, 166 wRC+, and a .683 SLG. There aren’t many plays under $4,000 tonight with that type of power upside.
Greg Garcia (3B/SS) – STL vs. MIL – $3,100 – Greg Garcia looks to be an option for the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter opening that’s vacant with Matt Carpenter’s recent oblique injury. That makes Garcia a viable cash game play tonight. He’ll face Jimmy Nelson who has major negative platoon splits against left-handed bats, and Garcia has some stolen base potential that raises his upside.
Alex Gordon (OF) – KC vs. SEA – $3,000 – Alex Gordon has been leading off for the Royals, and that is a slight bump to his value. Getting a leadoff hitter for just $3,000 is always worth a look, especially today where we need to find some cheaper bats if we’re to afford the pitchers we want to use.
Adam Eaton (OF) – CWS vs. ATL – $3,700 – Adam Eaton was at $4,500 and above for way too long. He’s very much in play for just $3,700 against Matt Wisler. The White Sox have one of the highest implied-team totals of the day at 5.2 runs, so getting their leadoff guy is a smart way to get exposure to that total.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RyanFix) 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.