Tournament Plays are written to help find high-risk, high-reward players and team stacks that can help you catapult up the leader board each day. Plays will range from sleepers who might be able to steal a few bases at a low price point, to against-the-grain stars who might not be the popular play of the day on DraftKings.
Max Scherzer vs. New York Mets ($11,500) – After five very impressive seasons in Detroit, Scherzer will make his season debut against an unimposing New York Mets lineup. Scherzer has racked up over 200 strikeouts in each of the last three seasons and should benefit from the change to the National League. Kershaw will likely be the more popular selection today, but Scherzer offers a similar upside at a discounted price.
Madison Bumgarner vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($9,800) – There’s been a lot of talk this offseason regarding what kind of fall-out we’ll see from Bumgarner’s heavy workload last summer/fall. However, the kid is built like a football player (6’5’’, 235 lbs), and we’re not particularly concerned about his long term health with DFS baseball. “Bummy” was dominant down the stretch last season, posting an 8-3 record with a 2.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 13 second half appearances, and he followed that up with a 4-1 record and a 1.03 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in six postseason starts. He also excelled on the road last season (11-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 18 road starts) and should face little resistance from this Arizona team that owned just a .299 wOBA against left-handed pitching last season.
Corey Kluber vs. Houston Astros ($9,800) – The newly resigned Kluber is greeted with a nice start, as he tries to follow up his breakout 2014 campaign that saw him bring him the AL Cy Young award. Kluber was nearly unhittable in the second half last season; posting a 9-3 record with a 1.73 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 14 starts. He also mowed down this Houston team in their only meeting; allowing just one run on seven hits over seven innings while striking out 14.
Yordano Ventura vs. Chicago White Sox ($7,600) – In the 2014 post-season was any indication, we’re likely not going to get many chances to roster Ventura at this deep of a discount. The 23 year-old can flat out throw gas, and after posting an impressive 3.20 ERA in five playoff starts, he looks ripe for a breakout season. The White Sox were very prone to strikeouts against right-handed pitching last season (22.6% K%), so give Ventura a look.
Miguel Cabrera vs. Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins ($5,000) – 2014 wasn’t an MVP or Triple Crown season for Cabrera, but Miggy is still one of the most feared hitters in the game. He’s driven in 100+ RBI’s in each of the last 11 seasons and has been much more dangerous at Comerica Park in recent seasons. Miggy has flat out owned Phil Hughes in his career, going 16 for 31 with four doubles and five home runs.
Ryan Braun vs. Kyle Kendrick, Colorado Rockies ($4,800) – After smashing the baseball all spring (1.252 OPS in 38 AB’s), Braun looks prime for a bounce-back season. He loves swinging the bat at Miller Park where he owns a .942 career OPS. Just like Cabrera, Braun sports some very promising BvsP splits as he’s crushed Kyle Kendrick to the tune of 9 for 19 with a double and two homeruns.
Buster Posey vs. Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,600) – I usually reserve my exposure to Posey for when he’s facing a left-handed pitcher, but his numbers against Collmenter are too good to ignore; 11 for 18 with a double and three long-balls. Posey thrived in the nice hitting environment of Chase Field last season, posting a 1.036 OPS in 35 AB’s.
Ian Desmond vs. Bartolo Colon, New York Mets ($4,300) – With Tulo swinging the bat at sea-level to open the season, Desmond may just be the most dangerous offensive shortstop on the board today. Righties posted a .287 average off of Bartolo Colon last season, and Desmond has had success off of him in the past (4 for 12 with two homeruns). He’s posted three straight 20/20 seasons and can rack up fantasy points in numerous ways.
Devin Mesoraco vs. Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates ($4,200) – Posey may be the “safer” play at catcher, but Mesoraco’s raw power makes him a great GPP target. He posted a .925 OPS versus left-handed pitching last season and clearly sees the ball well out of Francisco Liriano’s hand, as he’s 5 for 11 with six walks against the southpaw.
Adam Lind vs. Kyle Kendrick, Colorado Rockies ($4,100) – Lind is the ultimate DFS play, as he smashed right-handed pitching to the tune of a .410 wOBA last season, but only had two hits all season against lefties. Luckily for him, Kyle Kendrick is a mediocre right-hander, and he struggled against left-handed batters last season (.360 wOBA against). Lind just finished up a spring season that saw him hit .395 with a 1.041 OPS, so enjoy that value while it lasts.
Juan Uribe vs. James Shields, San Diego Padres ($3,500) – If you’re looking for some value at the hot corner, Uribe could be your guy. The portly right-hander posed a .317 batting average against right-handed pitching last season and really had a strong second half (.328 average in 177 AB’s). In a limited sample size, he’s had success off of James Shields (2 for 5 with a triple and a walk).
Stack Em Up
The stacks below are based on most likely lineups. Be sure to check the MLB Lineups feed from any DraftKings draft screen throughout the afternoon to make sure players are in the lineup.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Kyle Kendrick, Colorado Rockies – With an ERA north of 4.50 in each of the last two seasons, the move to Colorado won’t likely bode well for Kendrick. The Brewers always seem to swing the bat well at Miller Park, and the majority of their lineup today has smacked Kendrick around in their previous meetings (Great BvsP for Gennett, Lucroy, Braun, Parra, and Ramirez). Add in the newly acquired righty crusher Adam Lind, and Kendrick could be in for a long (well, short) day.
Detroit Tigers vs. Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins – Hughes finally seemed to put things together last season and actually pitched very well against Detroit in two outings, but this Tigers lineup is simply too dangerous to ignore. Hughes will likely want no part of Mr. Cabrera, but with V-Mart, J.D. Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes lined up behind him, the threat for some crooked numbers is quite high if Hughes isn’t pitching at mid-season form. Hughes really struggled out of the gates last season (5.14 ERA in April), and the scheduling gods didn’t do him any favors this season.
New York Yankees vs. Drew Hutchinson, Toronto Blue Jays – Lefties posted a .811 OPS against Hutchinson last season, and, unfortunately for the right-hander, he’ll square off against a Yankees lineup that will most likely be loaded with eight left-handers. The Yankees knocked him around last season in their six meetings (2-4 record with a 5.17 ERA), and that short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium could see plenty of action.
Washington Nationals vs. Bartolo Colon, New York Mets – Dollar for Dollar, this might be my favorite stack of the day. The injuries to Werth, Rendon and Span may make the lineup less imposing, but they also open up a ton of value. The Nationals defeated Colon in four of their five meetings last season and the 41 year old right-hander was rarely able to hit 90 MPH last season. Colon was abysmal this spring and Washington could explode for double-digits here.
Oakland Athletics vs. Yovani Gallardo, Texas Rangers – Gallardo posted decent numbers last season, but he’s always been a high WHIP pitcher and his strikeouts have continued to be on the decline. Gallardo was terrible this spring (a 10.13 ERA while allowing opposing hitters to hit .356), and the move to the American League can’t help. This is a pesky Oakland lineup that posted a .326 wOBA at the Oakland Coliseum.
San Francisco Giants vs. Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks – You’ll have to fork over some coin to roster Buster Posey (I touched on his dominance of Collmenter above), but the rest of this lineup is really cheap thanks to the Hunter Pence injury. Chase Field is an excellent environment for hitters, and Collmenter was prone to occasional blow-ups last season.
Good Luck today!
JMBWngFn (@JBritt2 on Twitter)