We have eight games on the docket tonight and gee wiz do the pitchers smell. Gee wiz, I say!
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 are 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 nine-game slate begins at 7:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
2. Weather and Park Factors
We’ll need to watch for storms in Philadelphia and New York City (two games). It looks to be too hot to retract the roof tonight in Arlington, but Houston seems temperate enough. The ball flies at Minute Maid Park when the roof is open.
Most of tonight’s venues are hitter-friendly with the possible exceptions of Globe Life Field (unknown), Dodger Stadium, CitiField, and Fenway. We learned yesterday that CitiField and Fenway quietly installed humidors over the offseason. The interesting part of that story is that it’s naturally humid in New York and Boston. Humidors are associated with lower exit velocities – especially at very dry venues like Coors Field and Chase Field. We should expect less of an effect at these east coast stadiums.
Let’s put CitiField under the microscope tonight. With Anibal Sanchez set to face a bullpen game led by Walker Lockett, this is a potential streaming opportunity. In broad strokes, the park suppresses power to the corners and rewards it through the middle of the field. Left-handed hitters are particularly disadvantaged to both corners. Right-handed hitters have to pay a price for extra home runs – a two percent decrease in singles. Incidentally, most Mets hitters make over a third of their contact through the middle of the field. The Nationals also work up the middle with the exception of Asdrubal Cabrera.
3. Building Block Bats
Bryce Harper ($5300 DK, $4000 FD)
This is a pivot that also happens to rate as a top projection in this slate. It’s a pivot because Harper is set to face a southpaw – Wade LeBlanc. DFSers hate to use lefty-on-lefty matchups. The thing is, LeBlanc is a changeup artist with reverse platoon splits. Harper doesn’t really have notable splits, especially in recent seasons.
Trea Turner ($4800 DK, $3300 FD)
I’m going to keep recommending Turner if the platforms aren’t going to make us pay full freight. He’s a regular high floor, high ceiling play. While his baseline production looks tepid, a peek under the hood reveals business as usual. He’s a good bet to reach base multiple times against Lockett et al. Only Jose Altuve is more likely to deliver a hit.
Also consider: Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Austin Meadows, Juan Soto
Rhys Hoskins ($3800 DK, $2900)
Hoskins has been hurt by this new, less-juicy baseball. His career-worst .053 ISO would look an awful lot better if a couple warning track shots had found the seats. His plate discipline remains pristine – he’s walked in one-quarter of his plate appearances. He’s continued to make plenty of hard, pulled contact (great for Citizen’s Bank Park). In short, it looks like the mechanical changes he made over the winter are effective even if he’s yet to escape a ballpark. LeBlanc is one of the most homer prone pitchers in the league.
Brandon Nimmo ($3200 DK, $2700 FD)
Why does everybody hate Nimmo? He’s under 10 percent rostered in traditional fantasy, DFS sites have him priced like a bum, and even the projection systems aren’t excited. Well, I see through it! This is a friendly matchup against the not-sharp version of Anibal Sanchez. Through two starts, his fastball is down a tick and he’s coughed up piles of hard, fly ball contact. Nimmo is a patient high-floor hitter with enough pop to be relevant as a modest homer threat. He uses all fields which is a plus at his home venue. The Nationals bullpen ranks in what I’d describe as the upper edge of the bottom of the barrel. Translation: they’re bad even if plenty of other teams are worse.
Also consider: Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Tucker, Wil Myers
Kenta Maeda (DK $9100, FD $8500)
Maeda is in mid-season form. He’s always had a knack for inducing soft contact while avoiding free passes and recording around a strikeout per inning. When looking for non-elite pitchers, we want guys who avoid baserunners and can occasionally brush double-digit punch outs. Maeda checks these boxes. He tends to make short starts so you should expect five to six innings, a like number of strikeouts, and between one to four runs allowed. Last year, his season high was 12 strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He also reached nine strikeouts twice.
The Brewers offense is currently 11 percent below average with a 27.8 percent strikeout rate – third-worst in the league.
Also Consider: Zack Greinke
Zach Eflin (DK $6400, FD $7300)
Eflin’s season debut last week against the Yankees was encouraging. He ran his fastball up to 95 mph at times and held a potent Bombers offense to two unearned runs. In particular, his command was sharp. I do have concern about an apparent over-reliance on his fastball (66.2%) which might explain why he only induced five whiffs on 77 pitches. He should be making wider usage of his entire five-pitch repertoire, although three of his offerings fall in the “show-me” bucket.
The Phillies bullpen is a dumpster fire which might help his odds of crossing the six-inning plateau versus a weirdly productive Orioles offense. Last year, the Giants and Mariners started offensively hot before cooling to expected levels. Baltimore is just the 2020 version of those clubs.
Also Consider: Masahiro Tanaka
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.
Jake Cronenworth ($2100 DK, $2600 FD)
DraftKings is just embarrassing themselves with their unwillingness to recognize Cronenworth. We discussed the Padres utility man today on the Morning Relay. While extra base hits have driven his output to date, his carrying traits are speed and bat-to-ball skills. He resembles a faster Adam Frazier – and such players have their uses in DFS. Especially when carrying a min-price. A ceiling of faster Jeff McNeil is not entirely out of the question (McNeil was once a very Cronenworth-like no-hype prospect).
The issue with this one is he’s set to face a fellow left-hander: Julio Urias. Cronenworth doesn’t project for serious platoon splits, but the Padres are laden with talent begging for a chance to play. This is a good excuse to bench their new second baseman for Jurickson Profar or Ty France.
If Cronenworth is sitting, Edward Olivares ($2300 DK, $2100 FD) is probably in the lineup.
Yoshi Tsutsugo ($2900 DK, $2600 FD)
There’s an entire Rays bargain stack available versus Zack Godley. The former Diamondback has just managed to keep his head above water in Boston, but this might be the day he sinks. Godley has almost completely scrapped his bad sinker. He’s focused on cutters and curves. The thing is, his cutter isn’t an effective offering either. Over his career – which includes some actually good seasons – lefties have hit .327 with a .472 slugging percentage against the pitch. In recent years, his curve has lost efficacy too. Notably, cutters and curves don’t really tunnel well. You can kind of see that in this video of an effective outing against the Mets.
As for Tsutsugo, his poor results are backed by positive attributes. He’s working counts and has above average quality of contact. Discipline is an important feature when trying to target Godley – he’s at his best when opponents chase out of the zone. When he throws strikes, he tends to be homer prone. Tsutsugo is primed to deliver cheap damage tonight.
Also Consider: Kevin Kiermaier, Joey Wendle, Andres Gimenez, Olivares