The slate may be smaller for the Saturday feast, but there are plenty of delicious matchups to devour. We are using a seven-game main slate for DraftKings and FanDuel.
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.
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 lovely. Today’s 7-game slate begins at 6:07 PM ET on DraftKings. Reserve your spot now.
2. Weather and Park Factors
There are two games of concern with a chance of rain. WSH@BAL is showing a 20% chance of rain with a sprinkle at the back end of the game. TB@TOR also showing an enhanced chance of precipitation. 16% of rain starting at 8pm would be the tail end of the game as well. Keep an eye out throughout the day.
Looking at RotoFanatic’s Park Factors, there are parks to pay attention to. The park to take note of in this slate is Minute Maid Park. The Crawford Boxes in LF are a right-hand pull hitters dream. Houston Astro players are known to take advantage of these with hacks at early fastballs.
With the dimensions being so short, a lineup stack of either Houston or Seattle should be in the mix for you. In this case, the focus will be on Houston due to matchup concerns.
3. Building Block Bats
Yordan Alvarez ($4300 DraftKings, $3500 FanDuel)
Yuli Gurriel ($4600 DraftKings, $2900 FanDuel)
Welcome back Yordan Alvarez! First game back, starts out his evening with a moonshot into the seats. No signs of rust there. With 2020’s sample size, we look at this breakout 2019 season for an indicator of what he is capable of. The rookie sensational outfielder put up a .313/.412/655 slash line with 27 HRs in 369 plate appearances. When you put his 90th percentile or better in nearly every hard-hit Statcast metric plus the park factor, it’s a terrific play.
Yuli Gurriel is another under-valued Astro to consider. While everyone I’d spending heavily on Bregman and Altuve, you will be able to get elite-level production at hefty savings. Gurriel has not been his usual self against RHP in 2020, last year, however, Yuli hit 24 of his 31 HRs against righties.
Justin Turner ($4800 Draft Kings, $3300 FanDuel)
Turner is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak with five of those games scoring in the double-digits. His hard-hit% and exit velocity as down a smidge, compared to his career. He does boast an 81st percentile barrel% and 85th percentile in xwOBA with a .282 batting average. So the quality contact is being made, just the ball hasn’t been finding the bleacher seats. Fairly typical for Turner, since he is more of a doubles machine.
Also consider: Joey Gallo, Mike Yastrzemski, Xander Bogaerts
Eric Thames ($4000 DraftKings, $2200 FanDuel)
Eric Thames is a platoon heavy play these days in DFS. The 2020 stats of Thames don’t paint the picture as well as his Statcast metrics. He is yet to find his first HR but making great contact when he does. In 22 batted ball events, Thames has a 54% Hard-Hit% and an average exit velocity of 91.2 mph. It’s only a matter of time before Thames breaks off a big game. In Baltimore’s hitter-friendly confines might be just what is needed.
Alex Dickerson ($3600 DraftKings, $2500 FanDuel)
Dickerson squares off against a tougher matchup against Frankie Montas after last night’s scratch. He has shown signs that the power is legit early in 2020. His barrel%, exit velocity, and hard-hit% are all above the 84th percentile. Dickerson could be a very under-owner player due to the Montas matchup but in the range of outcomes. He has the potential and tools to justify is salary.
Also consider: David Peralta, Kole Calhoun
Patrick Corbin ($10500 DraftKings, $10600 FanDuel)
Corbin is the top ace on the slate and draws the unusually tougher opponent these days, Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are putting up crooked numbers and not striking out as much as in 2019. However, the success in 2020 is coming with one of the highest BABIPs in the MLB. Corbin’s slider heavy approach is still baffling hitters as he continues to put up 30 or more fantasy points each start. There aren’t many aces on the slate, but Corbin is definitely the safest you can play.
German Marquez ($8300 DraftKings, $8400 FanDuel)
I hate to ever suggest playing a starting pitcher in Coors Field, but there is always that exception we will make in life. Mine is German Marquez. Even though he has taken the loss in three Coors Field starts, Marquez continues to get batters out. He has kept his ERA in check at 2.02 with a sub 1.00 WHIP. Hitters are struggling with his slider in Coors Field and when the team is on the road. Texas is a scary team to play with all the flyball mashing hitters, but that comes with a ton of whiff potential too. I still like the strikeout upside regardless of the park/matchup. The strikeout potential keeps me interested.
Also consider: James Paxton
Kevin Gausman ($6200 DraftKings, $7300 FanDuel)
Gausman has found additional MPHs in his fastball this year, which is helping boost his strikeouts. He has not topped 83 pitches in the year but has games of six, seven, and eight strikeouts in limited innings pitched. Gausman is doing a great job mitigating the walks, a problem that has plagued him in years past. Good buy-down option in Gausman.
Cristian Javier ($7400 DraftKings, $7400 FanDuel)
Cristian Javier has all the strikeout ability in the world. His minor league track record shows how gaudy of totals he can put up. The problem? It also shows how wild he can be as well. Javier squares off against a Seattle team with many youngsters and currently striking out 23.4% as a team. He is striking out over a batter per inning and that’s mainly thanks to the slider shown below.
Also consider: Nathan Eovaldi
Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds.
Michael Chavis ($2600 DraftKings, $2500 FanDuel)
Chavis is a very inexpensive play today. He faces off against James Paxton, who has looked like two different players: one that strikeouts of 11 Rays and an injured vet that can’t get past three innings. As charted below, Chavis does hit LHP fairly well and the game is going to be in Yankees Stadium. He has been swinging a hot bat with double-digit points in four of his last five games. I would continue to ride the hot hand at this low salary cost.
Pat Valaika ($2100 DraftKings, $2000 FanDuel)
Valaika has been getting plenty of at-bats in the Orioles lineup and bats ninth. He does have five runs in just as many games. That’s not as horrible as it sounds for DFS purposes. He gets on base and then it’s back to the top of the order. For a minimum salaried player, it doesn’t take much for Valaika to make a difference. Paying this low for a player will allow you to stack the lineup heavy.
Also consider: Robbie Grossman, Chris Taylor