The main slate kicks off at 6:40pm ET tonight. Note the odd time. It’s only six games deep which gives us some opportunities for unusual plays.
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.
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 6:40pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
2. Weather and Park Factors
Weather could greatly affect the action in New York and Chicago. For the Orioles-Yankees game, the threat is persistent light rain. Dailybaseballdata.com characterizes it as light rain and possible drizzle. Normally, teams would play through drizzle. Since it’ll rain for most of the day, they might decide the field is too wet. The Reds and Cubs pitchers will benefit from 17mph gusts blowing in from right field. Once again, at least one source says the wind is blowing out. Make sure you check before firing up Sonny Gray and Adbert Alzolay.
Yankee Stadium is the lone offensive venue, although Petco Park has its moments. Chase Field, Marlins Stadium, and Tropicana Field all depress home runs by around 10 percent.
Check out our park factors HERE.
3. Building Block Bats
Fernando Tatis ($6000 DK, $4800 FD)
If you talk yourself out of using Gerrit Cole and Sonny Gray tonight – there are reasons you might do this – you’ll need some expensive bats to target. They don’t come pricier than Tatis who’s set to face some combination of Drew Smyly and Trevor Cahill. Tatis is earning his plaudits with a .303/.399/.640 batting line and 15 home runs in 203 plate appearances. He leads the league in runs scored, and he’s second only to Jose Abreu in RBI. The probable NL MVP and the entire Padres stack is an obvious play tonight. Since they’re expensive, they won’t fit naturally with the aces.
Also consider: Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Rhys Hoskins, Manny Machado, Wil Myers, Jake Cronenworth, Mike Brosseau
Randy Arozarena ($3200 DK, $2800 FD)
We’re almost obligated to write about Randy Rice-Arena. The Rays are set to face journeyman southpaw Mike Kickham. This will mark the 31-year-old’s third Major League appearance since 2014. He’s a fairly typical left-handed soft-tossing replacement level killer. Arozarena is sure to be popular thanks to a hot start since his recent promotion. He’s popped four home runs in 24 plate appearances, good for a pleasing .400/.500/1.000 batting line. He also benefits from facing an exploitable and world-weary Red Sox bullpen.
A.J. Pollock ($3900 DK, $3000 FD)
The Dodgers stack should be one of the most popular tonight. They’re set to face Madison Bumgarner. Through five starts, the former ace has a luck neutral 8.44 ERA with 3.80 HR/9. The Dodgers lead the league in home runs. Pollock is doing his part with eight deep shots in 154 plate appearances. With a mid-lineup role, above average production, and a bafflingly affordable price, Pollock is an excellent way to save cash while participating in the heart of the Dodgers stack. If you’re feeling contrarian, he’ll probably connect to some down-order LADdies too.
Also consider: Andrew McCutchen, Austin Meadows, Corey Dickerson
Gerrit Cole (DK $10300, FD $11200)
For all that Cole has frustrated us with home runs this season, he’s still posting heady point totals including a 27.9 DK points performance against these same Orioles last week. Humid, rainy conditions should slightly dampen the power-boosting effects of Yankee Stadium – assuming the game is played. You’ll also want to make sure the risk of a stoppage is minimal before paying full freight for Cole. If a little light rain is lingering, it might serve to push Cole into contrarian pivot territory. It’s always nice when the pivots are exceptional players.
Like everyone, I’m sure you’d like insight into why Cole is struggling. Despite a relatively “normal” baseball this season, he’s coughed up a career-worst 2.25 HR/9 – more than twice his career rate. It’s easy to point out *what* is the cause – his hard hit and barrel rates are through the roof. The *why* of it is less obvious. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander went through similar periods of homeritis before spontaneously rebounding. My intuition is Cole will right the ship too. Perhaps not tonight.
Sonny Gray (DK $9600, FD $10100)
Gray is coming off perhaps the worst outing of his career. Against the Cardinals, he recorded just two outs while allowing six runs on five hits and three walks. Ominously, his fastball velocity was down over one mph, a sign of potential injury. The walks also indicate injury. The club wasn’t able to find an issue so they’re sending him back out there. DFSers should consider at least two lineups tonight – one that uses Gray in very favorable conditions and another that stacks against him. Despite the poor start, he should be chalky – especially if rain threatens Cole.
Also Consider: Dustin May
Sandy Alcantara (DK $6600, FD $9200)
Alcantara is coming off a 101 pitch outing so it’s safe to assume he’s back to a full workload. DraftKings has chosen a truly bizarre price. He’ll be one of the highest rostered players as a result. He faced the Phillies way back on Opening Day. He made short work of their high-caliber offense. Philadelphia had an especially difficult time doing anything with his changeup. I’m anticipating something in the neighborhood six innings and six strikeouts with the normal array of upside and downside.
Josh Fleming (DK $7600, FD $7700)
Fleming is an awkward DFS target because of his low strikeout rate. The soft-tossing sinkerballer is a pitch-to-contact guy despite flashing some swing-and-miss capability with his slutter (between a slider and cutter) and changeup. The Red Sox have some issues with ground ball and left-handed pitchers. Since Fleming checks both these boxes, I’m optimistic he can deliver around six innings with four strikeouts.
Also Consider: Don’t.
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.
DJ Stewart ($2000 DK, $2400 FD)
Stewart likes to swing first and ask questions later. Surely, Cole will know to exploit his first-pitch swing tendencies. However, Stewart’s early count aggression doesn’t mean he’s impatient. To the contrary, he can work counts if he isn’t offered something to ambush. Presently, he has a silly 24.4 percent walk rate. The Orioles used him as their cleanup hitter. He’ll probably once again have a heart of the order role tonight for a minimum price. Even with a bad matchup, this is an easy pick.
Matt Joyce ($2100 DK, $2600 FD)
If you want the old man version of Stewart, dust off Joyce. He bats in the heart of the Marlins lineup. I don’t know why he’s so cheap, he’s batting a robust .279/.380/.405. A fly ball hitter by reputation (he’s skewing a tad towards grounders this year), he matches up well against Jake Arrieta. Let us not forget, the Phillies bullpen is a shame and a mockery. A shammockery!
Also Consider: Jazz Chisholm, Adam Haseley