2016 Fantasy BaseballAlan HarrisonBrett TalleyFantasy BaseballFront Office

Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: May 4, 2016

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Wednesday’s seven-game evening slate on DraftKings. We’ve also added a few quick tutorials for you to check out from our partners at RotoQL to help guide your research for today’s games. To learn more about RotoQL or to take a look at the packages they have to offer, please follow this link – it will truly help you become a better daily fantasy baseball player.

Be sure to check your sources for weather updates prior to lineup locks to make sure all of your players will get some play. Many times you can follow each team’s Twitter feed, but I think Kevin Roth really does a fine job and think you could give him a follow if you don’t already.


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Jose Fernandez is the only true stud going this evening, and he’ll be hard to pass on in cash games. He has a 2.80 xFIP, which is seventh best among 102 qualified starters, and he has the second highest strikeout rate. His matchup with Arizona is average to slightly below average as the D’Backs have a slightly better than average wOBA against RHP and a strikeout rate a tad lower than league average. But the game is in Miami, not Arizona where the D’Backs are unsurprisingly more productive. And at $11,200, Fernandez is by no means overpriced. Of course, the salary plus the lack of other options today means he should be very highly owned. So feel free to fade him and be contrarian in GPPs.

The other expensive option tonight is Drew Smyly, and he’s too expensive. He’s no doubt been very good this year with a K-BB% that is third best among qualified starters. And his matchup with the Dodgers isn’t too intimidating as they have a below average wOBA against LHP. But the problem with the matchup is that LA has the third lowest strikeout rate against LHP, and you need a little strikeout upside to justify paying almost as much for Smyly as it would cost to roster Fernandez.

As for cheaper options, consider Carlos Rodon first. He’s still striking out a batter per inning, just like he did last year, and while his walk rate is still below average he at least has it down in single digits so far this year. That has him with a 3.30 xFIP that’s just more than a full run lower than his ERA. His HR/FB rate has spiked in the small sample that 2016 still is, and that has his strand rate a bit on the unlucky side of things. Rondon has upped his ground ball rate to 53.8 percent, so when more of his fly balls allowed start staying in the yard his ERA should start trending towards his xFIP. He has a good matchup against Boston who has the third lowest wOBA against LHP and the 10th highest strikeout rate.

Mike Fiers isn’t quite as cheap as Rodon, but he’s also worth a look tonight. His strikeout rate is down from where it normally sits, but so is his walk rate which is downright stingy at 2.5 percent. His problem is a HR/9 mark that’s over 2.00, and home runs have always been a bit of an issue for Fiers, but never to this unsustainable degree. He has a decent matchup with the Twins who are average in wOBA and in ISO against RHP, but the matchup does lack upside as they have the fourth lowest strikeout rate.

If you need an even cheaper option than Rondon, Aaron Sanchez is a good option at $1,000 less than Rondon. Sanchez has strikeout and walk rates that are both a bit better than average, which leads to a 3.24 ERA that somewhat legitimizes a sub-3.00 ERA so far. His matchup with Texas is decent as the Rangers rank mid-pack in wOBA against RHP, but this matchup also lacks upside as the Rangers have the seventh lowest strikeout rate.


Rangers – Aaron Sanchez and the Blue Jays are a heavy favorite (-180) at home in the Rogers Centre against the Texas Rangers. The game is projected to score a total of nine runs according to our friends in Las Vegas, with Texas owning an implied run total of 4.1 per RotoQL. Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor and Mitch Moreland all own an ISO greater than .200 against right-handed pitchers since the start of 2015 and the same trio along with Prince Fielder posted a wOBA north of .330 vs. RHP over the same time frame. Aaron Sanchez has surrendered 13 homers in his short career — all to left-handed batters. And lefties own him to the tune of a .346 wOBA. Due to the fact that the Jays are a big favorite, I think you can get these guys at reasonable ownership levels to make for a fine tournament or cash play..

Orioles – Face left-hander C.C. Sabathia who isn’t very good at throwing baseballs anymore. Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis make a lot of sense here, while Caleb Joseph (if playing) or Matt Wieters make this a four-man stack option. Probably going to be very popular though.  

Red Sox – Boston is on the road in Chicago where the wind is blowing straight out to center field and the run total currently sits at 8.5. The top three in the Red Sox projected lineup (Betts, Pedroia, Bogaerts) will cost you a good chunk of change, but they all fare well with the platoon advantage. Hanley Ramirez and David Oritz are always options if you’d like to power pack the stack. Further down the lineups, Ryan Hannigan (if playing, owns a .352 wOBA vs. LHP) and Travis Shaw (.245 ISO vs. LHP) make for fine options as well.

Cardinals – The Cards bats graded out very well today with a matchup against LHP Adam Morgan. The middle-to-end of this lineup may be the play with Matt Holliday, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Yadier Molina and Aldemys Diaz all coming in at a nice value. Cheap(er) plays that allow you to spend on the mound always seem to make a lot of sense in tournaments. Mix-and-match them as a mini-stack with some of the others mentioned to fill out your lineup.

Yankees – In his short career, Tyler Wilson has posted some reverse splits to opposing bats leading us to believe that the likes of Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira could have some trouble. But, the splits aren’t exactly pronounced enough and the sample is relatively small. With a run total of 8.5 on the road in Baltimore, I still find value in Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Starlin Castro and even Carlos Beltran to an extent. The entire stack is a tournament option, but I like Ellsbury and McCann as singletons in cash if you can fit them in.

Twins – Mike Fiers graded out very well in my projections and the Twins tend to swing-and-miss often against right-handers, but some of the Twins bats also graded out well given their relatively inexpensive cost. Danny Santana, Joe Mauer, Eduardo Escobar and Miguel Sano all have high upside and their associated cost still allows you to work Jose Fernandez and/or Drew Smyly into a lineup. This is a tournament play I’d be considering.




  1. Brian McCann – $4,100
  2. Jason Castro – $2,900
  3. J.T. Realmuto – $3,100
  4. Curt Casali – $2,900
  5. Yadier Molina – $3,300
  6. Caleb Joseph/Matt Wieters – $2,900/$3,300


  1. Chris Davis – $4,100
  2. Prince Fielder – $3,800
  3. Mark Teixeira – $4,700
  4. Edwin Encarnacion – $4,000
  5. Mitch Moreland – $3,400
  6. Steve Pearce – $3,100


  1. Rougned Odor – $3,600
  2. Jose Altuve – $4,800
  3. Logan Forsythe – $4,500
  4. Starlin Castro – $3,800
  5. Dustin Pedroia – $4,500
  6. Cesar Hernandez – $2,800


  1. Manny Machado – $4,500
  2. Adrian Beltre – $3,500
  3. Josh Donaldson – $5,00
  4. Evan Longoria – $4,400
  5. Derek Dietrich – $3,200


  1. Xander Bogaerts – $4,500
  2. Eduardo Escobar – $2,500
  3. Aledmys Diaz – $3,500
  4. Carlos Correa – $4,600
  5. Troy Tulowitzki – $3,600
  6. Nick Ahmed – $2,000


  1. Mookie Betts – $5,100
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury – $4,800
  3. Mark Trumbo – $4,300
  4. Jose Bautista – $4,500
  5. Nomar Mazara – $3,000
  6. Yasiel Puig – $3,600
  7. George Springer – $4,300
  8. Michael Saunders – $3,600
  9. Danny Santana – $2,300
  10. Christian Yelich – $4,000
  11. Matt Holliday – $3,800
  12. Preston Tucker – $3,100
  13. Randal Grichuk – $3,300
  14. Colby Rasmus – $3,700


  1. Jose Fernandez – $11,200
  2. Carlos Rodon – $7,400
  3. Aaron Sanchez – $6,400
  4. Drew Smyly – $10,900
  5. Mike Fiers – $8,300


Below you’ll find our research chart for the day. Projections are derived from FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections and adjusted for matchup and ballpark. The closer a color is to green the better and the closer a color is to red the worse. You can download the research chart here.


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