Tonight’s 10-game slate lacks for truly elite pitchers, but it makes up for it by providing us with plenty of useful arms at good prices. This pitcher volume means we can approach hitters first then fill in with whichever hurlers fit.
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 eight-game slate begins at 7:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
2. Weather and Park Factors
There is a tropical storm in the northeast, but Washington and Baltimore should be through the weeds before game time. No location has a greater than 30 percent chance for rain, but stay tuned like always. The winds at Wrigley continue to blow in.
Several interesting venues like Coors Field, Camden Yards, and the RingCentral Coliseum are on the docket today. The latter is a pitcher’s park with generous foul territory. I seem to recall promising to describe Miller Park in more detail so let’s reserve the Coliseum for another day.
Miller Park is unusual because it boosts both home runs and triples while reducing singles and doubles. Typically, home runs and triples have an inverse relationship (Coors Field being the exception). There’s a simple explanation of why Miller Park bucks this trend. It plays small to most dimensions (excluding the left-field corner), but the right-field corner is very friendly to triples. This is enough to overcome negative park effects for triples at all four other dimensions. It is most generous to power through the middle of the field. Left-handed hitters have a modest advantage over righties. With a couple of aces working for the White Sox and Brewers, perhaps a cheeky one-off lefty slugger can provide a GPP pivot. Ben Gamel is affordable and possibly mid-breakout.
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.
Trevor Story ($5700 DK, $4200 FD)
Nolan Arenado ($5300 DK, $3800 FD)
David Dahl ($5100 DK, $3800 FD
Charlie Blackmon ($5800 DK, $4200 FD)
Unlike yesterday, there is plenty of room to run a couple of good pitchers with a full Rockies stack. The Giants are calling upon shaky righty Kevin Gausman. He’s been a mixed bag in the early going, showing solid velocity with poor results. Too many cookies. Gausman allows copious contact at the most hitter friendly launch angles. He honestly could cough up 10 hits by the fourth inning. This is, quite simply, a nightmare situation for him. Dahl, Blackmon, and down-lineup left-handed Rockies are especially advantaged.
Trea Turner ($4800 DK, $3500 FD)
Turner is the top-projected shortstop aside from Story. His matchup against Steven Matz is neutral. Turner is one of the best combinations of floor and ceiling – he projects as perhaps the likeliest to get a hit outside of Coors Field. And unlike the others with a similar floor, he isn’t a total zero in the power department. If the Nationals rough up Matz, there’s a soft bullpen to continue feeding upon too. While stolen bases shouldn’t drive DFS decision-making, Turner might nab a couple tonight. Especially if Wilson Ramos is catching.
Also consider: Mike Trout, Mike Yastrzemski, Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, Donovan Solano, Brandon Belt
Chadwick Tromp ($3300 DK, $2800 FD)
Sadly, we’re a day late with this recommendation. Tromp will be over-subscribed after delivering home runs over his last two games. Also, he’s dirt cheap. A 5′ 9” catcher, Tromp developed power and lift last season while accepting an increased strikeout rate. He’s now a high volatility catcher in the mold of Tom Murphy. Assuming he earned another start tonight, he has a challenging matchup against German Marquez. Strikeouts are a risk, but Tromp also has a park- and matchup-related increase to his home run odds. Marquez is a ground ball pitcher and this new version of Tromp seems to be a fly ball guy.
Scott Heineman, if he starts, is even cheaper and honestly projects similarly. He’s more likely to deliver a hit(s) but less likely to homer.
Jo Adell ($3200 DK, $2000 FD)
Let’s have some fun! The Angels summoned Adell to debut on the night Mike Trout returns from paternity leave. This is suddenly a frightening offense. Adell is a dynamic athlete who still has some development ahead of him. Not unlike Luis Robert, he could benefit from scant scouting reports even as he whiffs on over 20 percent of swings. I view him as a volatility play, capable of delivering everything from a platinum sombrero to a multi-homer performance. Part of the attraction tonight is a matchup against a Triple-A quality band – Justin Dunn and the Bullpen Fire.
Also consider: Starlin Castro, Chris Owings, Victor Robles, Howie Kendrick
The pitching pool tonight is ludicrously deep. Even some of the stack targets (i.e. German Marquez) are usable.
Lance Lynn (DK $9900, FD $9300)
Lynn is visiting an average offense at a pitcher-friendly park. He’s in the top third of the league at inducing infield flies which correlates roughly with foul outs. As we know, the Coliseum features generous foul territory. It’s a small but appreciable advantage. Lynn is in mid-season form and could slice through this team like butter. He’s the top-projected pitcher of the day. Expect a quality start with a strikeout per inning.
Patrick Corbin (DK $10400, FD $10800)
Corbin is by far the most expensive pitcher on both sites. He’s among the leaders in projected strikeouts and innings pitched, but the components only add up to fourth-best or so in the slate. The Mets are more susceptible to left-handed pitching, but they do have some low strikeout rate hitters. Most of the high-whiff guys are righties and thus will have the platoon advantage. Corbin’s ownership might be low due to plentiful alternatives and an inefficient price tag.
Also Consider: Lucas Giolito, Max Fried
Andrew Heaney (DK $8000, FD $7300)
Heaney is visiting the Mariners at a pitcher-friendly T-Mobile park. They feature an extremely left-handed offense. Heaney is a strikeout machine who chews up same-handed opponents. Over five innings and at least six strikeouts represent a fair expectation. With such a busy pool of pitchers, I expect Heaney to be one of the guys who slip through the cracks. His ceiling is up there with the best.
Brady Singer (DK $6900, FD $6400) at Kyle Hendricks (DK $7700, FD $8300)
The Royals-Cubs game was a moneymaker for DFSers yesterday. If the winds continue to gust towards home plate, this will once again return healthy profits on both sides of the matchup. This is Singer’s first true test. He reminds me a bit of Antonio Senzatela, an occasionally effective pitcher who I’m not sure I’ve ever used in DFS due to an incomplete repertoire. Against more serious opponents like the Cubs, I expect below a strikeout per inning with a few too many baserunners for comfort. Short starts are likely. It sounds like I’m ragging on Singer, but all of these issues are built into his current price tag. He’s usable.
The Hendricks side of the equation is more exciting because he’s one of the few guys capable of consistently providing over six frames. Given the Cubs bullpen woes, if Hendricks is rolling, he’ll stay in the game. We saw the upper-most upside on Opening Night. His followup performance in Cincinnati was flat-footed by comparison and represents the downside. A return to a windy Wrigley against an aggressive, below-average offense might be just what he needs. A projection of over six innings and six strikeouts makes this one of the best values.
Also Consider: Brandon Woodruff, Cristian Javier, John Means
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 ($2600 DK, $2400 FD)
Cronenworth is filling in for Eric Hosmer against right-handed pitchers. The former Rays farm-hand broke out in a big way at Triple-A last season. He works counts, rarely whiffs, and features consistent gap power. He’s made the best of this opportunity, hitting .357/.400/.714 with five hits (three for extra bases) in 15 plate appearances. Yes, it’s a small sample, but his future playing time depends on showing some life. As a spray hitter with hard, low angle contact, he’s a legitimate high BABIP bat. Dustin May and the Dodgers bullpen isn’t an ideal matchup. However, if you want a Rockies stack along with the most attractive pitchers, you’ll have to make sacrifices somewhere.
Nick Madrigal ($2900 DK, $2300 FD)
Just like yesterday – and every day until his price rises – Madrigal is a valuable patch as a multi-hit threat. Woodruff is a tough matchup, but we can probably treat Madrigal as relatively matchup-proof. This is entirely about getting balls in play and hoping for the best.
Also Consider: Ryon Healy, Isiah Kiner-Falefa