Tonight is a really interesting one for daily fantasy baseball. I think the Angels, Rockies, Red Sox, and Blue Jays are sort of the obvious chalk plays. However, there’s supposed to be some rain in Boston (although probably not prohibitive), as well as potentially strong storms in Colorado. In my opinion, it’s going to be more difficult to predict ownership tonight than usual. There will always be users who take a chance on Coors Field no matter the situation, but there’s probably a decent chance we see reduced ownership there.

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All of this adds up to likely sharp changes in value as we move toward lineup lock. There are days when most stuff is pretty calm and a lineup you create at noon is still a great one by the time games begin, but I don’t think this is one of them. There is going to be so much new information coming in just before games begin, so I think the users who have the most success tonight will be the ones who properly assess and adapt to that changing data.

 

The Teams

Arizona Diamondbacks (vs Matt Harrison)

I think the D-Backs would normally have decent ownership facing a left-handed pitcher on the road in a hitter’s park. Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock are arguably two of the top five hitters in baseball against southpaws—maybe even two of the top three.

However, given the game at Coors with two teams each projected at five runs or more and the fact that Toronto faces a lefty, I think Arizona is going to be under-owned. My only fear is a lack of upside outside of their top bats, but I think there should be enough of a ceiling here, especially given the hitter-friendly conditions.

 

Houston Astros (vs Trevor Bauer)

Trevor Bauer is an obvious value on DraftKings tonight. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love to identify those obvious pitcher plays who are in decent spots and then stack against them. Bauer will be heavily owned given his value, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s super high-variance tonight; he could strike out a bunch of batters, but he’s also a fly ball pitcher facing a team that has ridiculous power throughout the batting order.

Houston is projected at only 3.7 implied runs in Vegas, but those projections matter less for a team that is volatile, like Houston, than for one that’s easier to project, like Kansas City. Stack Houston and watch as you either soar up the leaderboards or just burn your money.

 

The Players

C Wellington Castillo, Arizona (vs Matt Harrison) – $3200

Castillo costs as much as Nick Hundley and Michael McKenry, so I’d expect most users to side with one of the Colorado catchers with the same price tag. Castillo doesn’t have great power overall, but like many of his teammates, he mashes lefties with a .395 wOBA and .231 ISO over the past 12 months. He’s in a great situation to go deep tonight, and I think this is one of the best combinations of value and moderate ownership you’ll be able to find. He gains a lot of value if he’s hitting fifth.

 

1B Mitch Moreland, Texas (vs Jeremy Hellickson) – $3900

I love starting Moreland in GPPs because even those who stack Texas often don’t use him given that he plays the same position as Prince Fielder. You can’t fit both into your lineup, and most side with the bigger bat who hits earlier in the order. Moreland has .412 wOBA and .294 ISO splits and is actually my top value at first base.

 

3B David Freese, LA Angels (vs Chris Rusin) – $4100

Freese won’t be super low-owned playing at Coors, but you have to remember that Josh Donaldson facing a lefty and Nolan Arenado at home are going to be very attractive to people. I think many overlook how well Freese hits southpaws, and you’re getting a huge discount on him at this price given the situation. Donaldson is the top value and I will still have exposure to him versus John Danks, but Freese is probably my favorite tournament play at the position.

 

P Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs (vs St. Louis) – $9100

I think Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer (weather permitting) will be the most popular pitchers tonight. Chris Archer could be in the mix, and perhaps Gio Gonzalez as well. The Cardinals just opened at 3.5 implied runs and the wind doesn’t look like it will be blowing very hard at Wrigley tonight. His 8.5 K/9 is pretty good and the Cards strike out at a slightly above-average rate. I also think Drew Hutchison, although always a risk, is very much in play given his K upside.