Today is a strange Wednesday – strange because there are only 11 games total on a day of the week when usually every team plays. Of the 11, nine are a part of our main slate. Let’s get crackin’.

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 6:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

Rain shouldn’t be a factor tonight, although there are a few locales with very low risk of pop-up showers. As is always best practice, check a weather service close to game time. Wrigley Field has strong winds today, although I’ve received conflicting reports on the direction – either southwest (in) or northeast (out). Chicago’s wind direction sometimes shifts in the afternoon so pay attention before dusting the chalk off Yu Darvish.

The ballparks skew pitcher friendly with Oracle Park, Oakland Coliseum, and PNC Park among the venues. None of the nine – pending wind at Wrigley – rate as a bonafide hitter’s park.

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

3. Building Block Bats

Elite values:

Shohei Ohtani ($4300 DK, $2800 FD)

There are spicier elite hitters, but they aren’t a great value. Ohtani is off in the other direction – he’s slumping, has a known injury issue, and is extremely affordable as a result. The injury supposedly shouldn’t affect his hitting, yet it serves as a plausible explanation for his miserable .194/.296/.363 batting line. Ohtani has seen some subtle shifts in his peripherals – he’s slightly more patient, his whiff rate has increased by about 10 percent (12.3% SwStr% to 13.8% SwStr%), and he making less hard, line drive contact.

To me, I’m seeing a fluky low line drive rate driving his .169 ISO and .237 BABIP. Maybe there is an explanation for his 17.6 percent liner rate (23.8 percent career) in which case you’d want to avoid using him tonight against Kyle Cody. If, like me, you expect regression, then this is a bargain play against a volatile starting pitcher and a terrible bullpen.

One small caveat – the Rangers do have four left-handed relievers to send against Ohtani.

Also consider: Starling Marte, A.J. Pollock, Pete Alonso

 

Unlikely heroes:

Joey Gallo ($3800 DK, $3300 FD)

Chicks and DFSers dig the long ball. Although he’s not among the league leaders in home runs, we all know Gallo is one of the likeliest hitters to homer in any given game. Today he’ll face Julio Teheran who is flailing out there. He’s allowed 2.78 HR/9. It’s not a perfect matchup for Gallo. Although Teheran’s 5.16 K/9 means Gallo is less likely to go down swinging, they’re both extreme fly ball guys. That tends to favor the pitcher via easy pop outs.

 

Austin Slater ($3700 DK, $2500 FD)

Slater sat the last two days. It is my hope that means he’ll start today. After all, the Giants have maybe one hitter who is demonstrably better than Slater. And just speaking for myself, I’d take him in a showdown with Mike Yastrzemski any day. Slater is a line drive machine who has made mechanical changes to quiet his hands and produce more consistent contact. His swinging strike and strikeout rates have improved dramatically as a result without giving away any power or plate discipline. In fact, he’s getting to more power by lifting his launch angle 10 degrees from constant worm burner to the lower end of the ideal range. With an all-fields approach, he’s a classic high-BABIP hitter profile with just enough pop to threat an occasional home run.

Also consider: Jesus Aguilar, Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson, Dylan Moore

 

4. Pitchers

“Safe” Picks: 

Yu Darvish (DK $11500, FD $11500)

The front-runner for the NL Cy Young Award is slinging career-best velocity to go with 11.34 K/9, 1.44 BB/9, and a 1.44 ERA. Sliders and cutters comprise the bulk of his eight-pitch repertoire. Surprisingly (to me at least), the Reds have a below average offense with a 23.9 percent strikeout rate. Expect them to creep over the 24 percent K-rate threshold tonight.

If you’re feeling contrarian, Trevor Bauer won’t be half as popular despite a very similar projection.

Also Consider: Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw

 

Value Targets: 

Dane Dunning (DK $6500, FD $7700)

Dunning is visiting the second worst offense in the league. When his teammate Lucas Giolito rolled into PNC Park, he twirled a no hitter. Dunning won’t have that kind of pitch count at his disposal – he’s topped out at 88 tosses – but he can be expected to exceed a strikeout per inning. Additionally, he’s a ground ball pitcher. The Pirates have quite a few ground ball hitters – they have the second-highest ground ball rate in the league. The combination tends to produce weak grounders. Surprise!

 

Pablo Lopez (DK $7600, FD $8000)

Lopez is a 2020 breakout story. His main gimmick is a potent changeup that he mixes in with a more traditional fastball and a sinker. He’ll flash a cutter and curve. Chris Paddack has taught us two lessons about this pitcher type. You can get away with a basically two-pitch repertoire for a time, but it might eventually catch up to you. Lopez is seemingly in the honeymoon phase. I’m hesitant to use him against the Braves, but there aren’t a lot of options in the affordable price range. The biggest drawback is he’s limited to around 85 pitches. His last six starts have ranged from 78 to 90 pitches.

Also Consider: Nick Margevicius

 

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.

 

DJ Stewart ($2000 DK, $2400 FD)

When chasing minimum price patches, the ability to hit a home run is a real plus. Through 40 plate appearances, Stewart has 10 walks, five hits, and four home runs. It’s all or nothing baby! This year, he’s flashing an extreme pull, fly ball, hard contact profile – basically exactly as I’ve described Brent Rooker in the past. Mets starter Rick Porcello tends to live down in the zone. He can be susceptible to fly ball hitters.

 

Leody Taveras ($2100 DK, $2600 FD)

The Rangers 21-year-old leadoff hitter is managing to tread water despite some signs he might drown. He’s struggled to make contact (15.3% SwStr%, 33.3% K%) but has partially made up for it an above average walk rate and more pop than expected. He has a matchup which could produce more power. Taveras is a ground ball hitter who should benefit from facing a struggling fly ball pitcher like Teheran.

Also Consider: Jazz Chisholm, Chad Pinder, Derek Dietrich