Kershaw. Cole. deGrom. Odorizzi. Fernandez. Lynn. Teheran. Keuchel. Gray. Shields. Iwakuma. Hamels.
The number of aces and second-tier pitchers on the mound tonight is absurd. Projected totals across the league are down as a result, with only two offenses (Yankees and Tigers) currently projected above 4.5 implied runs.
I think this is a strange night and it should affect the way you construct your lineups, in a couple ways. First, there are so many viable pitching options that you probably don’t need to worry too much about ownership. I’ve stated in the past I’m not one of the DFS players—and there are quite a few great ones against me on this—who always pays for the top pitchers. I’ll fade a guy if I think the ownership will be out of hand.
It’s difficult to even predict which pitchers will be the most popular tonight, though. Hamels looks underpriced at $10,300. I like deGrom a lot at $12,100 against the Rays. Zimmermann is a nice cheaper option at home against the Rockies at only $7500. Kershaw is Kershaw, but he costs $15k.
Because of the difficulties I’m having in predicting tonight’s pitcher ownership, I don’t think there’s reason for me to try to be contrarian at all. The value of going against the grain extends only insofar as you can predict ownership; if you can’t, what are you even going “against?”
The second thing this slate of ace pitchers is doing is limiting the number of stackable offenses, or at least the number that will be perceived as in play. You can be contrarian as hell stacking the Pirates versus Kershaw, but no one is really going to do that. Someone will, actually, but it won’t be me.
I do think there’s going to be a lot of value in trying to hit on an offense facing one of the pitchers I listed above, though. If everyone is on New York, Detroit, Toronto, etc., there will be a lot of benefits in hitting on a contrarian stack. I’m not sure which one it is, but if you accurately identify the pitcher you should pick on tonight, I think you’ll have a really nice shot to make a lot of money.
NY Mets (vs Jake Odorizzi)
One pitcher who might be worth stacking against is Odorizzi. He isn’t underpriced, in my opinion, so I don’t think he’s going to have high ownership. This game is also in pitcher-friendly Trop. However, I like how the Mets’ lefty bats (plus Cespedes) match up with Odorizzi, and I think there’s definitely some upside here with Granderson, Cespedes, Duda, and Conforto. It’s worth noting the Mets are currently getting 83% of public betting money, which has historically been linked to daily fantasy value.
Miami Marlins (vs Julio Teheran)
The Marlins’ situation is very similar to that of the Mets: a bunch of lefties facing a good-but-not-great pitcher. Miami is projected at 3.5 implied runs—a tad better than the Mets’ 3.2. I do think Teheran is underpriced (and potentially even in play in non-Miami stacks given the wide range of outcomes in this game), which should make him more popular of a pitcher than Odorizzi. Because of that, there could be more value in hitting on a Miami stack since it would simultaneously help you and hurt at least a decent number of other players.
3B Derek Dietrich, Miami (vs Julio Teheran) – $2700
You might very well be tempted to pay up for two top-priced pitchers tonight, in which case you’ll need to save a lot of money on bats. Luckily, I think there are a lot of interesting cheap options, including Dietrich, who will be low-owned in GPPs. Dietrich has a running 12-month ISO of .234 versus righties and is way too cheap at $2700 if he’ll be hitting in the middle of the Miami order.
OF David Peralta, Arizona (vs Raisel Iglesias) – $3400
Peralta is probably my favorite player in daily fantasy baseball. He has huge upside for his cost, yet he’s never over-owned. He’s my top-rated batter tonight, facing a weak right-hander at home. At only $3400, you get access to a player with a .232 ISO split who has doubled his salary-based expected point total on DraftKings in 27 percent of games this year—a very high mark.
OF Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City (vs John Danks) – $4700
Cain mashes lefties, which is always a recipe for success; when players who hit southpaws much better than righties are matched up against a lefty, they’re often underpriced because their overall numbers don’t reflect the current matchup. Only a handful of players have a wOBA split superior to Cain’s .413 mark on the day. There might be a few players who are better value, but arguably not many who are superior GPP plays when you consider projected ownership.
P Jacob deGrom, NY Mets (vs Tampa Bay) – $12100
I just don’t think I’ll be able to get away from deGrom tonight. I’d be more concerned about ownership if there weren’t so many pitching options, and I love deGrom’s matchup in Tampa Bay. The Rays strike out a ton and deGrom has plenty of upside with his 9.6 K/9. Vegas has the Rays projected at only 2.9 implied runs and the Mets are getting the majority of public betting in this contest.