Today’s six-game main slate kicks off at 4:05pm ET on DraftKings. FanDuel is instead running a three-game main at the normal weekday start time. They can never do the same thing. They’re obviously colluding.

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 4:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

Possible rain in Philadelphia looks like it will hold off until after the game is complete. Weather conditions are neutral for home runs around the league. Citizen’s Bank Park is the most power friendly stadium. Citi Field, Angel Stadium, Fenway, and Dodger Stadium all have unique features but play as roughly neutral venues. The lone pitcher’s park on tap is Kauffman Stadium.

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

3. Building Block Bats

Elite values:

Bryce Harper ($6000 DK, $4200 FD)

Harper and Juan Soto share top-billing tonight at Citizen’s Bank Park. A $6,000 price tag might serve to suppress Harper’s rostership relative to others in the Phillies stack. Or maybe not! In any event, Anibal Sanchez is homer prone (2.40 HR/9) and matches up poorly with Harper. The Phillies current star and future albatross is particularly powerful against fastballs, cutters, and changeups. It just so happens Sanchez almost exclusively relies on those pitches. He also tends to elevate his cutters which feeds into another of Harper’s strengths: the high-and inside pitch.

Also consider: Juan Soto, Rhys Hoskins, Fernando Tatis, J.T. Realmuto, Manny Machado, Shohei Ohtani

 

Unlikely heroes:

Pete Alonso ($3000 DK, $3500 FD)

I don’t know what’s going on with this price. I suppose Alonso’s Rookie of the Year campaign confused some folk into unreasonable expectations. I’ve been asked about him by at least a dozen people. Yet when I go to investigate, I don’t find anything wrong. His current .209/.327/.395 line is roughly a 35th to 40th percentile outcome. Put another way, he’s performed about a double and a home run worse than his projection. My conclusion: Alonso is fine. Only Hoskins, Soto, and Harper are likelier to homer today.

The Mets will face J.A. Happ. The disgruntled southpaw (he believes the Yankees have manipulated his usage to avoid a vesting option) is coming off his best start since 2018. Prior to the outing, he was struggling like a pitcher on his way out of the league.

Christian Walker ($4100 DK, $3000 FD)

Yesterday we had the Bruce-pivot. Anyone who used Bruce, eschewed Scherzer, and stacked Braves probably made money. The analogous move today pits Walker against Kershaw. We know Kershaw isn’t immune to home runs – he’s coughed up 1.50 HR/9 this season. Walker has a roughly one-in-five chance to homer. If done in a timely manner, it could a damper on a lot of lineups. Kershaw’s roster rate on DraftKings could approach 70 percent.

Walker happens to be hitting well this season and especially lately. Since August 24, he’s batting .300/.343/.733 with four home runs. While recent stats tend to be more misleading helpful, they do contain some useful signal. For instance, we can intuit that Walker is probably healthy and mechanically sound.

Also consider: Andrew McCutchen, Alec Bohm, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, Jay Bruce, J.D. Davis, Aaron Hicks

 

4. Pitchers

“Safe” Picks: 

Clayton Kershaw (DK $10300, FD $10900)

This is a difficult pitching slate and that means Kershaw will be chalkier than the Cliffs of Dover. He’s among the league leaders in CSW rate, a measure of called strikes and whiffs as a proportion of all pitches. He’s a consistent source of exactly six to seven innings. The Diamondbacks have what should be a league average offense, but they’ve compiled a scant 81 wRC+, good for third-worst in the league.

 

Value Targets: 

Mike Clevinger (DK $8700, FD $9400)

Clevinger will make his Padres debut later today. After missing a chunk of time due to a pseudo-suspension for irresponsible partying during COVID times, he returned with the 95-mph fastball he featured last season. In previous outings, he was sitting in the 94-mph range. Clevinger hasn’t been as effective this season at inducing whiffs (down ~20%) or finishing off strikeouts (down ~30%). Then again, we’re talking about just four starts.

The West Silo features difficult matchups starting with a top-heavy Angels lineup. Since the slate features maybe four desirable pitchers, Clevinger won’t be slipping through the cracks.

Andrew Heaney (DK $8400, FD $8500)

The story with Heaney as a DFS target is and will always be about strikeouts. He records around 10.00 K/9. He’s also averaged 100 pitches across his last three starts after starting off the year with lower pitch counts. The Padres are a tough matchup for everyone. They have a balanced offense with hitters of every type. Although it’s yet to be an issue this season, Heaney is usually homer prone. I’m willing to bet he coughs up at least one yakker tonight. He’ll probably also notch around seven strikeouts in six innings, making him perhaps the best non-Kershaw play.

Also Consider: Zach Eflin

 

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.

Anthony Bemboom ($2100 DK, $2500 FD)

Bemboom, a left-handed third-string catcher, is actually a reasonably decent catcher punt. His best attribute is plate discipline – a couple walks would count as a victory. There’s also an outside chance for a home run. He’s a fly ball hitter. It’s possible Clevinger and friends will underestimate him, possibly feeding hittable, hard fastballs in the zone. The likeliest outcome is a big fat zero.

Roman Quinn ($2300 DK, $2400 FD)

By comparison to Bemboom, Quinn is a fantastic bargain play. He projects as a mid-tier hitter tonight with a near-minimum price – making him the best dollar-for-dollar value in the entire slate. With his speed, Quinn is a threat when he puts the ball in play. Strikeouts are his biggest weakness, but Sanchez doesn’t record many whiffs.

As a bonus, the Nationals also have exploitable catchers – especially if Kurt Suzuki starts behind the dish. Quinn’s speed is his carrying trait.

Also Consider: Victor Robles, Amed Rosario, Derek Fisher