We’re three games short of a full deck tonight. Two start a little early. The Yankees-Mets series was cancelled due to COVID. That leaves us with 12 games to juggle.

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 11-game slate begins at 7:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

 

All of the forecasts are clear of rain, although you can never quite rule out pop up storms in some locations. The winds are blowing out seven-mph to center at Wrigley Field. I’m more concerned for Jon Lester than ground ball machine Dallas Keuchel.

As with yesterday, the venues skew heavily towards pitcher friendly. The biggest exception is Camden Yards where you can take advantage of John Means and a Red Sox bullpen game involving Colten Brewer and Darwinzon Hernandez. At Progressive Field, left-handed hitters get a big bump to their power output. Alas, the Tigers only have a couple relevant names. The Indians are packed with switch hitters and will see a left-handed bulk reliever – Tyler Alexander.

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

3. Building Block Bats

 

Elite values:

Christian Yelich ($5100 DK, $4200 FD)

I’m doubling down on yesterday’s affordable star recommendation. Recently, Yelich has performed exactly like he did throughout 2019. Aside from an insignificant increase in strikeout rate, his production is the same. I declare the slump to be over. Usually, he’d have a $6000 price tag on DraftKings against a pitcher like Chad Kuhl – even at PNC Park.

Also consider: Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Joey Gallo, Yoan Moncada

 

Unlikely heroes:

 

Edwin Encarnacion ($3600 DK, $2700 FD)

There is an entire White Sox mid-range bargain stack available tonight. As previously noted, weather conditions are moderately favorable for power outcomes. Encarnacion is one of the cheapest plausible targets for a multi-homer game. Aside from popping four home runs in 67 plate appearances, he’s off to an icy start (.169/.258/.390). We’ve seen these slumps from EE many times. Usually, I’d advise waiting until he shows some life (possibly, a two-homer game on Wednesday counts as “life”). In this case, he’ll face the shambling corpse of Jon Lester. The once-ace is now a soft-tossing southpaw with a nonexistent 4.6 percent swinging strike rate.

 

Avisail Garcia ($3600 DK, $2800 FD)

Whether he bats first, fourth, or fifth, Garcia will have a valuable lineup role against Chad Kuhl and the Pirates bullpen. Kuhl is producing favorable results in short stints by deemphasizing his fastball. He’s using his slider as often as the heater, and he’s also amped up his curve ball usage. A boost to strikeout rate has followed. He’s unlikely to finish five innings which is why he won’t be among the recommended pitchers.

Garcia, like most batters, prefers to hit fastballs. However, he’s never had any specific issues against breaking balls. His aggressive swing tendencies make this a mixed matchup. He liable to give away at bats against Kuhl. More positively, Kuhl’s new approach appears to have transformed him into a fly ball pitcher. – the better to tunnel all those breaking balls. Garcia feasts on pitches up in the zone.

Also consider: Avisail Garcia, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, Hunter Dozier, Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen

 

4. Pitchers

 

“Safe” Picks: 

 

Walker Buehler (DK $10200, FD $8500)

Buehler hasn’t pitched especially well through four outings. He also had a bit of a rocky start to 2019 before switching into dominator mode. His stuff is completely intact if not improved. He’s working with his normal velocity and an extra 100 rpm of spin. The only missing ingredient is crisp command (4.26 BB/9).

The Rockies make for a favorable matchup away from Coors Field. Hopefully Buehler’s modest results to date will

Also Consider: Aaron Nola

 

Value Targets: 

 

Robbie Ray (DK $7300, FD $7000)

This is about the strikeouts and the venue (Oracle Park). If you want to sit it out, I don’t blame you. After changing his arm mechanics to improve his command, Ray has instead issued 8.18 BB/9. His strikeout rate remains impressive at 11.05 K/9. The Giants have punished left-handed pitchers with a 124 wRC+ (24 percent better than average). Intuitively, we know this is a fluky result – after all, the Giants offense is clearly terrible. We just don’t know how fluky. They do have some hitters with lefty-mashing reputations. In any case, Ray’s bouts of wildness make this a perilous play, one that could affordably deliver seven or more strikeouts in five innings.

 

Nick Margevicius (DK $5700, FD $6000)

This is a bet I want to make in season-long fantasy but can’t quite muster up the courage. He’s set to face the Rangers, a team with a collective 71 wRC+ (29 percent below league average). His stuff and command have seemingly improved, albeit modestly. He’s still a soft-tossing southpaw, but now his slider is sharper and 3.5 mph harder. He’s coming off a six-inning, 94-pitch outing against the Astros so we know he’s stretched out for a full appearance. He projects for about five and a half innings and five strikeouts. That would easily cover his cost, especially as a second pitcher on DraftKings. I’m far less enthusiastic about using him on FanDuel.

Also Consider: Andrew Heaney, Anthony DeSclafani

 

5. Connectors

 

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.

 

Austin Slater ($2800 DK, $2800 FD)

I’m not sure what happened on DraftKings to price the Giants leadoff hitter this cheaply. He’s one of the hottest hitters of the season thanks to a bonkers 41.7 percent line drive rate. Even a fully regressed Slater is a sufficiently patient hitter with enough pop and speed to be interesting against Ray and a middling DBacks relief corps. At first glance, he’s a tad strikeout prone to use against Ray. However, those strikeouts are driven by plate discipline more than whiffs. I expect him to reach base at the very least. It won’t take much more than a walk to profit at this price.

 

Christian Stewart ($2700 DK, $2100 FD)

Stewart typically bats fifth or sixth for the Tigers. He’s cheap because he just isn’t hitting this season. He’s batting .160/.236/.260. His contact rate has completely collapsed. He looks lost. This is a rare opportunity to use a Quad-A hitter against a Quad-A caliber pitcher. Adam Plutko has struggled against left-handed batters throughout his career (.373 wOBA in 95.2 innings). A visit to Progressive Field is favorable to Stewart’s power, buffing his home run potential by about 10 percent. He has around a one-in-five chance to go yard.

Also Consider: Luis Gonzalez, Joey Bart