We have another unusual start time. Tonight, the action begins at 8:05pm ET. That gives us more time to digest those pesky west coast lineups.

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 10-game slate begins at 8:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

Kansas City and Minnesota have rain in the forecast – under 50 percent chance in both cases. I’ve noticed this season that these low rain risks – even those around just 10 percent – feel like they’re hitting every single time.

A Coors Field game involving the Angels will draw a lot of attention. Third base in particular is likely to be flooded with Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon. Guaranteed Home Run Rate Field and Miller Park are the other big offensive venues to target. Pitcher friendly stadiums like Kauffman Stadium, Marlins Park, and Busch Stadium offer some juice in the opposite direction.

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

3. Building Block Bats

Elite values:

Mike Trout ($6000 DK, $5000 FD)

You better believe Mike Trout at Coors Field is going to be wildly oversubscribed. He’s actually a solid value at this price, making it hard to justify fading him. He has at least a one-in-three chance to homer and possibly as high as 40 percent. There really isn’t much else to say. This is the best player of the last decade entering very favorable conditions. The only drawback is he’ll face German Marquez, a pitcher who in a tiny sample this season has a 7.03 ERA at home and a 2.64 ERA on the road.

Also consider: Trevor Story, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, Joey Gallo

 

Unlikely heroes:

Dylan Moore ($3600 DK, $3100 FD)

The Diamondbacks are activating Caleb Smith from the COVID-list tonight. It’s not clear what they can expect from the southpaw. In his only start this season, he couldn’t hit the strike zone. It’s likely he’s not prepared for a full outing. That should mean the Mariners get to see plenty of the Diamondbacks horror show bullpen.

Moore is one of the most exciting breakout players of 2020. He scratches that roto-fantasy itch by hitting for power and stealing bases. These same skills allow him to fill up the boxscore for DFS purposes too. Strikeouts remain a problem, but they aren’t an insurmountable issue. I suspect, based purely on visual inspection, Moore might be susceptible to changeups, especially from southpaws. Smith mostly relies on his fastball and slider, but he does throw a decent change piece to right-handed hitters.

 

David Dahl ($2800 DK, $3000 FD)

Dahl recently returned from the injured list. He was suffering from lower back soreness. The former top prospect turned oft-injured MLBer has a laughable .189/.237/.243 batting line this season. The IL-stint might have, in part, been designed to give him a moment to gather himself. I can’t identify an explanation for his slow start – it smells like a fluke to me. Dahl’s always had an overaggressive approach predicated on spraying the ball at a favorable launch angle. He’s getting under it a little more and his hard contact rate is down. These subtle differences aren’t large enough to suspect something has changed. Instead, I’m inclined to consider these small sample artifacts.

All of that is a long-winded way of saying this: whatever you projected Dahl to do going into 2020 should still comprise 99 percent of your expectation tonight against Griffin Canning and a perplexingly bad Angels bullpen.

Also consider: Ramon Laureano, Kevin Pillar, Justin Upton, Avisail Garcia

 

4. Pitchers

“Safe” Picks: 

Lucas Giolito (DK $10500, FD $10800)

With apologies to Shane Bieber, Giolito has a better matchup, comparable projection, and slightly lower cost. He fired off 43.4 DK points against the Tigers a couple weeks ago. They’re one of the most strikeout prone lineups in the league. A double-digit strikeout performance, although not guaranteed, is well within the realm of possibility. Recently, Giolito has pitched more efficiently than Bieber who last week needed over 100 pitches to finish five frames.

If conditions are sufficiently dry in Minnesota, Bieber should be the chalk with Maeda also drawing some of the expensive pitcher plays. If that game is sufficiently threatened, Giolito will become the uber-chalk with rostership over 50 percent.

Also Consider: Shane Bieber, Kenta Maeda, Luis Castillo, Brandon Woodruff

 

Value Targets: 

Yusei Kikuchi (DK $6200, FD $7900)

We’ve done the Kikuchi deep-dive a couple times so let’s skip to the good stuff. He’s up three mph on his fastball as part of a transformed repertoire. His 5.23 ERA obscures a 2.79 FIP backed by 9.87 K/9 and 2.90 BB/9. Over half of his balls in play are on the ground and he’s posted a luck neutral 0.58 HR/9. He really shouldn’t be allowing this many runs. The Diamondbacks are a good matchup for Kikuchi – several of their best hitters are left-handed.

 

Kris Bubic (DK $6000, FD $7000)

After facing only the White Sox (3x!), Twins, Reds, and Cubs through his first seven starts, Bubic finally draws one of the laughingstock Central offenses. The Pirates couldn’t hit their way out of a… um… paper bag. I thought I was going to have a clever twist by the end of that sentence. Bubic has interesting traits including a healthy swinging strike rate. The left-hander throws a quality change and a curve he needs to use a little more often. Unlike most of the prospect debuts this year, he’s consistently tossing 100 pitches per start. He has a chance to deliver six or more innings with just shy of a strikeout per inning.

Also Consider: Garrett Richards

 

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.

 

Sam Huff ($2200 DK, $2000 FD)

Huff is a right-handed, offense-first catcher. His scouting report reads like Gary Sanchez-redux – extreme power, swing-and-miss issues, and indifferent defense. The Rangers have summoned him to get a first taste of life in the Majors. Their opponent, Mike Fiers, has settled in after a rocky start to the season. Still, the soft-tossing northpaw barely induces any whiffs (5.9 percent SwStr%) which should help to nullify Huff’s greatest weakness.

The Reds also have an offensive-minded catcher in the bargain bin.

 

Chad Pinder ($2500 DK, $2400 FD)

Pinder is starting in place of Matt Chapman (hip). The veteran utility man is celebrated for his hard contact, although he’s yet to parlay his contact skills into more than a roughly league average batting line. A matchup against Jordan Lyles is slightly favorable. Pinder is a ground ball hitter with some swing-and-miss to his game. Lyles isn’t inducing whiffs (6.1% SwStr%) and has a neutral batted ball profile (i.e. 20% LD, 40% GB, 40% FB).

Also Consider: Ryan McBroom, Tim Locastro, Tyler Stephenson, Shogo Akiyama, Jo Adell, Derek Dietrich