One of the widely accepted tenants of GPP play is that you need to favor high-upside players over consistency. I do think you generally want to seek more variance when selecting players and building a tournament lineup, but that doesn’t mean you need to hit a home run with every pick.
To me, the degree to which we should seek risk is fundamentally related to position consistency. For batters, there’s very little consistency from game to game. Mike Trout might be the best play tonight in terms of projected points, yet he could still fail to get on base a single time. It happens.
With such low floors, I don’t really think there’s any reason to play it safe with batters. That’s true in pretty much every league type. When every player’s floor is zero, why not emphasize upside—something that differs quite a bit from player to player? Certain guys just aren’t capable of consistently going deep or stealing bags—the two primary stats that really provide a player with a high ceiling. Even if a batter has favorable splits, I rarely roster low-upside batters in any league type. The payoffs for emphasizing upside are too asymmetrical.
Meanwhile, I think pitchers are pretty much the opposite. There’s lots of consistency on a nightly basis, with the elite arms only rarely turning in duds. You can find upside at a cheap price at times—namely high-K pitchers who are volatile from start to start—but the consistency of the position makes me less likely to seek variance. And because of the volatility I’m willing to take on with my bats, I really just want safety out of my pitchers, cash game or not.
This game is going to see ownership that’s through the roof. Playing at Coors, the Rockies are currently projected at 5.3 implied runs and the Astros are at 5.9. Those are insane numbers and I want to find a way to get exposure to this game even though I know it isn’t contrarian at all.
The way to do that might be to stack the game as opposed to an individual team. By using a 4-3-1 sort of combination mini-stack—maybe four bats from Houston, three from Colorado, and one value bat—I think we can potentially play the chalk and still field a semi-unique lineup. I like the righty bats on Colorado quite a bit today, so I’d get Tulo and Arenado in there for sure and then build around that.
Arizona Diamondbacks (vs LA Angels)
Chase Field is probably my favorite park to exploit. It’s not as hitter-friendly as Coors, obviously, but it might be No. 2 ballpark in the league, yet you don’t run into ridiculous ownership numbers most of the time. A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt crush left-handers—they might be two of the top five batters in baseball against southpaws—and are must-plays in all formats in my opinion. This is another potential “stack the game” situation, too, as you can combine elements of both teams to help field a unique lineup.
Overall, I think six-man stacks are more in play tonight than ever, outside of the Colorado game. Since ownership on those teams will be so high, I think we’re going to see artificially reduced ownership elsewhere, which means your six-man stacks, even on semi-chalk, probably won’t be as popular as they would otherwise.
C Yan Gomes, Cleveland (vs Tsuyoshi Wada) – $3400
Over the past 12 months, Gomes has a .257 ISO against southpaws. He’s one of the few Cleveland bats that is far superior against lefties, which has historically been a huge value proposition. Gomes costs the same as Michael McKenry, who I suspect a lot of players are going to roster.
SS Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis (vs Tommy Milone) – $4200
If you’re looking for the best spots to be contrarian, think about what’s going to happen in the Rockies game. Facing a lefty, Tulowitzki’s ownership is going to be bananas. I still like Tulo as part of the Colorado/Houston hybrid stack I proposed, but he’s going to be a very popular player at $5000.
Meanwhile, Peralta is another player who has crushed lefties over the past year with a ridiculous .304 ISO and .423 wOBA. His ISO is 150 points higher versus southpaws than righties.
OF A.J. Pollock, Arizona (vs Hector Santiago) – $4400
As mentioned, Pollock is another batter who mashes lefties. His .465 wOBA and .612 slugging splits over the past year are nuts. Everything is working in his favor tonight, too: the splits, park, matchup, weather, and more. And again, I think this is the type of player who will be moderately owned when he should be really high.
P Jesse Chavez, Oakland (vs San Diego) – $6800
There are a bunch of aces on the hill tonight. It will be interesting to see what their ownership looks like since so many people will be forcing expensive Houston and Colorado bats into their lineups. I think most players are going to roster one high-end starter and then look for a cheap guy to fill in.
If you’re looking to save some money on an arm, there are two names I like: Chavez and Drew Hutchison. Both are in similar spots against offenses that can strike out a bunch, with Hutchison possessing the cheaper price (by $600) and higher K/9. I prefer Chavez because of the better park for pitching and the fact that home plate umpire Brian Gorman has historically added 3.1 additional points above expectation to DraftKings pitcher scores.