UPDATE: DraftKings has removed the Dodgers-Giants game from the slate. I didn’t realize they had the ability to change a contest start time once the contest was created. Today’s contests now begin at 6:37pm ET.
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 six-game slate begins at 6:37pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
2. Weather and Park Factors
Several venues, most notably Sahlen Field, have a low risk of rain today. Keep an eye on New York too. Detroit and Washington D.C. have a very low chance of pop-up storms.
Speaking of Sahlen Field, FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski attempted to estimate park factors for the venue early in the season. He expects it to be a slight pitcher’s park. Left-handed hitters should be better off for extra-base hits. That means all of the parks in today’s main slate are roughly neutral with the exception of pitcher-friendly Oracle Park.
Weather conditions at Miller Park (possible rain) and Chase Field (day game and 111-degree temperatures) will probably force the roofs to be closed. Globe Life Field may open, with game-time temperatures hovering around 90 degrees. If I’m not mistaken, this would be the first day game with an open roof. As a reminder, open roofs are associated with more home runs and vice versa.
Check out our park factors HERE.
3. Building Block Bats
Cavan Biggio ($5100 DK, $3900 FD)
For such a thin slate, there are a few good stacks out there. None is juicier than the Toronto Blue Jays. They’re set to face Chris Mazza, a pitcher who can charitably be described as “replacement level.” He lives on a blend of fastballs, cutters, and sliders – none of which are above average. Nor is his command a strength – it’s merely adequate.
Biggio has emerged as perhaps baseball’s premier leadoff hitter. He checks all the boxes. Traditionalists will like his speed and avoidance of strikeouts. Saberists will enjoy his 90-grade plate discipline (on the 20-80 scouting scale). Michael Lewis could pen an entire epilogue to Moneyball about Biggio: the Italian God of Walks. This is a glowing matchup against the worst pitching staff in the league.
Also consider: Nelson Cruz, Trea Turner, Matt Chapman, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper
Travis Shaw ($3600 DK, $2500 FD)
On the face of it, Shaw has picked up where he left off in 2019. He’s batting .205/.271/.333, good for a 66 wRC+. Whatever caused his swinging strike and strikeout rates to balloon between 2018 and 2019 has not been resolved. However, there is some good news:
A little red ink on a Statcast card isn’t enough to make him usable in DFS. Instead, we’re targeting this specific matchup against Triple-A quality pitchers and his role as the third hitter in an above average offense.
Jon Berti ($3700 DK, $2700 FD)
This is a very different look. Typically, power and run production drive DFS value. Berti’s at his best when the BABIP gods are on his side and he’s stealing bases. And boy does he love to steal against the Mets. After swiping four bags in one game against them last season, he nabbed all three bases in one inning on Tuesday. He’s probably lost the element of surprise that enabled him to take third and home, but we might see him on the move anyway. His high-BABIP, all-fields approach could deliver multiple hits against Robert Gsellman. The Mets bullpen is also diminished with Seth Lugo having recently made a start.
If you like the matchup but prefer a little more hitting potency, try Corey Dickerson instead ($3800 DK, $2700 FD).
Also consider: Max Kepler, Michael Conforto, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jon Berti, Stephen Piscotty, Adam Eaton, Howie Kendrick, Corey Dickerson
Sixto Sanchez (DK $5100, FD $5100)
All anyone says about Sanchez – besides gushing about his talent – is that he’s undersized. You probably won’t notice watching from the comfy confines of your couch. Sanchez manages an imposing mound presence. He’s stoutly built unlike, say, string bean Triston McKenzie.
Sanchez has overpowering stuff, but he’s a tad too predictable with how often he works in the zone. It’s haunted his strikeout rate which, given his stuff, should be among the best starting pitchers. Instead, he only projects for around 7.50 K/9 based on his minor league performances. Sometimes, the key to improvement is a willingness to accept failure – in this case, walking a few more guys. In any event, he costs nothing against a good Mets offense. He threw five innings but only 66 pitches in his debut last week. It’s unclear if he’ll be allowed deeper into his outings.
Also Consider: Ryan Yarbrough, Spencer Howard
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.
Lewin Diaz ($2500 DK, $2000 FD)
Diaz appears to have a common problem among prospects making their debut – he’s selling out to avoid strikeouts. And as is usually the case when this happens, he’s not getting everything out of his contact. Assuming he starts, Diaz will have the platoon advantage against Gsellman. He’s a fly ball hitter which matches up well against Gsellman’s ground ball tendencies. If you need a no-cost first baseman with home run potential, Diaz is one of the first places to look. (You’ll have alternatives)
Ryan Jeffers ($2400 DK, $2100 FD)
A cheap catcher is a staple of GPP entries. Jeffers offers the price tag of Grayson Greiner with the offensive capacity of Francisco Cervelli. He’ll face hapless, homer-prone Matt Boyd who is coming off his first decent outing of the season. The Twins offense could offer a rude (re)awakening. Jeffers has yet to homer through 15 plate appearances, and he’s had some issues with strikeouts. His minor league numbers suggest he should be a steady source of contact and OBP with just enough pop to offer the occasional surprise.
Also Consider: Rowdy Tellez, Jesus Sanchez, Victor Robles, Ryan Mountcastle, Isaac Paredes, JaCoby Jones (dtd injury)