2015 Fantasy Baseball: DraftKings Value Plays, May 5th
Below we’ve got some salary relief options for your DraftKings lineups tonight. For our Front Office subscribers, we also have a full breakdown of tonight’s 11-game slate complete with matchup and park adjusted projections, a discussion of the day’s starting pitcher situation, the best teams to use for stacks, and player rankings for each position. If you’re not a Front Office subscriber, our daily breakdowns of each day’s MLB action can be accessed for a dollar a day. Try us out for a day or two and see if you like what we’re putting down. OK, enough selling you. Here are today’s bargains.
Marco Estrada, Milwaukee Brewers, $5,700
Estrada is a risky proposition, but he’s got upside to be worth a look in tournaments. The risk comes from the fact that Estrada has a tough time limiting hard contact. And by “has a tough time” I mean he has the highest percentage of hard hit balls allowed of the 121 qualified starters over the last three years. The upside comes from the fact that he does have the ability to miss some bats with an above average strikeout rate of 23.1 percent over the last three seasons.
He has made six appearances out of the bullpen this year, and tonight will be his first start of the season. That brings added risk because it’s hard to say how deep he’ll be able to go in the game even if he pitches well. As for his matchup, it’s about average as the Yankees are pretty much mid-pack against right-handed pitching despite having a fairly lefty-heavy lineup. The game is in New York, which isn’t exactly ideal.
Ultimately, if you need salary relief in a big tournament and want a guy with some upside and likely a low ownership percentage, Estrada is your guy.
Jesse Chavez, Oakland Athletics, $6,300
Chavez is a much safer salary relief option that can be used in cash games. He doesn’t have a problem with hard contact like Estrada does, and he’s in a more favorable ballpark in Minnesota. You might think the matchup he has against the Twins is a better matchup than Estrada has against the Yankees, but the Twins wRC+ against right-handers is better than that of the Yankees. They do strike out a fair bit, so that works in Chavez’s favor. But ultimately, Chavez doesn’t get hit too hard, he’s in a favorable pitching environment, and there’s some strikeout upside.
Curtis Granderson, New York Mets, $3,700
Granderson will face Bud Norris today, who is off to a horrendous start. Norris has an ERA over 12.00 and an xFIP of 5.54. He’s been particularly bad against left-handed hitters as 20 of the 42 left-handers he has faced have reached base. Granderson has just one home run and is hitting .233 so far, but he has actually been better than those numbers indicate. He’s walking a ton and has an OBP of .359 with just one walk fewer than he has strikeouts. And the one home run is somewhat misleading because a lot of his batted balls so far have been line drives instead of fly balls. The home runs will start coming when his batted ball profile evens out. I think tonight would be a good night for that to start to happen.
Neil Walker, Pittsburgh Pirates, $3,800
Walker is a switch hitter who is much more productive from the left side of the plate. He’ll hit from that side today as the Pirates will face a right-hander making his second career start, Michael Lorenzen. Walker is off to a bit of a slow start, but for the most part his underlying numbers look a lot like they did last year. His strikeout and walk rates are a bit worse, but his batted ball profile looks almost identical to what it was last year. The big difference is that his HR/FB rate is well below his norm, and he only has one run as a result. Lorenzen gave up three home runs in his debut, and I could see Walker getting his second of the year tonight.