The Orioles and Marlins are wisely going to wait at least another day before resuming play. As a result, we have a nine game slate for this evening on DraftKings. FanDuel starts 25 minutes earlier to capture an additional pair of games.
This is Plan of Attack. We’re here to provide advice and recommendations to help you build successful daily fantasy lineups. We’ll be loosely guided by the tenants of our DFS Manifesto – namely a single lineup build designed to improve your enjoyment of the game while giving you a chance to beat the rake.
Don’t be surprised if the column evolves. This is a living creature, and it’s sure to adapt in Darwinian fashion. If there are features you especially like or believe need tweaking to be actionable, please reach out to us. Since this is written early in the day, certain important details will be left for you to find on your own. In particular, weather, lineups, and umpires are all things you should verify within three hours of contest-lock.
For clarity, when I reference “value,” I’m referring to projected points divided by cost.
1. The RotoFanatical Challenge
We will be hosting a daily 20-entry, $3 contest on DraftKings. It’s an excellent low-cost testing ground against fellow RotoFanatic fans. A level playing field is always nice. Today’s 9-game slate begins at 7:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
Congrats to MustacheAcademyFarms for taking home the trophy yesterday.
2. Weather and Park Factors
The Bay area will be rather chilly tonight. With temperatures in the upper-50s, expect less carry than the average August night in San Francisco and Oakland. Park factors incorporate average weather conditions, and this is not too far off the average for these venues.
Quite a few pitcher-friendly venues are on the docket. We talked about PNC Park and Fenway yesterday. Oracle Park is the most preventative of home runs. Deep flies are suppressed at every angle of the park. The Coliseum is even more pitcher-centric. While hitting home runs is easier than across the bay, the spacious foul territory suppresses run production by three percent. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s around 22 fewer runs when compared to a neutral park over a full 81 home games.
On the flip side, Minute Maid Park has extremely friendly outfield corners. Pull side home runs are greatly boosted.
3. Building Block Bats
In this section, we’ll look at top hitters with strong projections before moving on to a detailed analysis of deeper picks.
This is a great contest for big power bats.
Pete Alonso (DK $5500, FD $3600)
It’s become almost trendy to predict the downfall of Alonso. Considering his juicy matchup against southpaw Matt Hall and a bad Boston bullpen, he’s priced rather affordably. Especially on FanDuel. There isn’t any complicated analysis to unpack here. Alonso has a roughly one-in-three chance to homer tonight. That’s all we really need to know. It doesn’t hurt that Hall coughs up hitter-friendly launch angles.
Last night, Alonso nearly murdered a cardboard fan with his first HR of the season:
Jorge Soler ($3700 DK, $3600 FD)
What a bargain! Soler also has just under a one-in-three chance to toss Yahtzee (i.e. a home run). DFS sites have Rony Garcia listed as the Tigers “starter.” In any event, it’s some kind of bullpen game, and few relief corps are as execrable as Detroit. While whiffs have been a problem for Soler in the early going, he’s already demonstrated his power is back by bashing a pair of big flies.
J.D. Martinez ( $5300 DK, $4100 FD)
Martinez is yet another name with home runs in his future. I don’t like focusing solely on handedness platoons because they’re over-cited and far too obvious. However, Martinez is one of the most extreme lefty mashers in the league. Mets southpaw David Peterson is scheduled to make his Major League debut. He’s a ground ball pitcher. Martinez feasts on pitches down in the zone and has no compunction with sending them over the Green Monster.
Also consider: Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Christian Yelich, Joey Gallo, Yoenis Cespedes
Salvador Perez ($2800 DK, $2700 FD)
Perez was profitable last night and once again has a juicy matchup against a collection of bad pitchers. Since he’s unlikely to face anyone Tiger more than once, we can only focus on his general traits. Perez is a hyper-aggressive hitter with some of the best power at the catcher position. He tends to be an all-or-nothing slugger as a result. From 2014 through 2018, he never once exceeded a .300 OBP. On the flip side, he hammered 27 home runs in both 2017 and 2018. With two home runs to date, Perez appears to have picked up exactly where he left off before missing the 2019 season.
Alternate catchers in this price range include “heavy hitters” such as Austin Nola, Tony Wolters, and Tomas Nido. Perez’s upside clearly separates him as a value play.
Teoscar Hernandez ($3800 DK, $2400 FD)
Hernandez is an extreme risk-reward pick. Nationals starter Austin Voth had a breakout 2019 fueled in part by increased velocity. As pitcher velocity is down leaguewide, there’s a chance Voth’s gains have been (temporarily) lost. Hernandez is an aggressive hitter with high octane power and a fly ball profile. He converts a high percentage of his fly balls into home runs. If Voth fizzles, the Blue Jays will also get a peek at the weakest pieces of the Nationals bullpen. Hernandez is nearly as likely as Alonso and Soler to homer. He’s a serious risk to zero out if he doesn’t go deep.
Check out today’s Quality Start video to see Teoscar highlight’s from last night!
For a second straight day, there is no such thing as a safe pitcher. Only a couple premium pitchers are available, most notably a hellishly expensive Walker Buehler ($11300 DK, $10500 FD). He’s rumored to be on a restricted pitch count. What we’ve seen in the early going is pitchers who are behind on workload are also sometimes missing a few ticks on the radar gun too. Risk of a short, non-elite outing makes this a difficult play.
Patrick Sandoval (DK $6600, FD $5600)
Value targets are risky by nature. Sandoval may not finish five innings. In a slate where that statement applies to most pitchers, it might not be a problem. The left-handed changeup artist induces plenty of whiffs leading to over a strikeout per inning. He’s kind of an off-brand Cole Hamels. One thing I’ve observed anecdotally is that hitters seem to be extremely off changeups in the early going. Perhaps I’ve watched a bunch of good changeups or maybe a brief Summer Camp versus the same few pitchers means hitters aren’t ready for this particular offspeed offering. His opponent, the Mariners, features an extremely left-handed lineup. It’s also one of the weakest collections of bats in the slate.
Josh Lindblom (DK $5100, FD $6100)
Lindblom is one of my favorite plays of the season. There are so many factors in his favor. Most obviously, he’s priced like a scrub, sandwiched between terribaddies like Matt Hall and Jorge Lopez on the price list. The 33-year-old thrived in the hitter-friendly KBO, delivering just under a strikeout per inning while preventing walks, hits, and runs. A pitchability guy by trade, Lindblom is helped by spacious PNC Park and a tepid Pirates offense. Due to the nature of this particular slate, he also has one of the top inning projections. Only a handful of pitchers can be expected to exceed five frames. The last wrinkle is perhaps the most interesting. His absence from the league means DFS projection systems don’t know how to price him. Anyone using only optimizers or daily projections is liable to overlook him, keeping his ownership rate relatively tame in the big GPPs.
Also Consider: Carlos Martinez, David Peterson
Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds. FanDuel offers an embarrassing quantity of these players (their pricing model is drunk) so I’ll focus on DraftKings first and foremost.
Ryan O’Hearn ($2200 DK, $2100 FD)
The Royals activated O’Hearn prior to last night. He immediately fired off a 2-for-4 performance with a walk and a pair of strikeouts. We should expect a guy who missed a chunk of Summer Camp to be behind the curve. However, the Tigers pitching staff is the great equalizer. O’Hearn has extreme platoon splits. Over his career, he’s hit .235/.323/.486 with the platoon advantage. He’ll work counts and makes plenty of hard, fly ball contact. The Tigers have only two left-handed relievers, but herein lies the risk. Tyler Alexander, one of their more tolerable arms, might serve as a bulk reliever. Gregory Soto, arguably their top reliever, will probably be called upon if the game is close in the late innings.
Orlando Arcia ($2500 DK, $2300 FD)
Amazingly, the Brewers ninth hitter is a few days shy of his 26th birthday. He still looks like an above-average hitter, but the results have never been there. For me, Arcia is a classic change of scenery candidate. In the early going, I’ve witnessed some impressively big hacks although he has nothing to show for it besides a quartet of singles. Pirates starter Derek Holland is notoriously bad against right-handed hitters of all shapes and sizes. A Brewers stack makes sense, even with PNC Park muting power output. Arcia figures to deliver bland results by himself – hence why he’s listed as a connector. If you’re using the likes of Lorenzo Cain, Keston Hiura, and Ryan Braun, then Arcia offers an affordable and contrarian wrap-around stack.
Jedd Gyorko is liable to be replaced in the lineup when a right-handed reliever enters the game, hence my preference for Arcia.
Also Consider: Ryan McBroom, Maikel Franco, Franchy Cordero, Jedd Gyorko