Brett TalleyFantasy BaseballFront Office

Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 14, 2016

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Thursday’s 12-game, all-day slate. We’ve also got projections derived from FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections and rankings of the top plays at each position.

Today’s post only covers the DraftKings all-day slate. The 12 games today are split seven in the afternoon and five in the evening. It’s harder to make money playing short slates, so I avoid playing split slates like that. And with no late swap on sites like FanDuel or Fantasy Aces, playing the all-day slates there can be risky. But 12 games is a big enough slate, and DK allows late swaps, so those contests there are worth playing.

Pitching Perspective

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Per the projections embedded at the bottom of this post, there are four top starter options today: Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Chris Archer and Danny Salazar. Cole is $500-$900 cheaper than Archer and Salazar, and given that all three have very similar projections, it makes the most sense to go with Cole from that trio.

The real choice is between Cole and Strasburg (unless you’re just paying up for two pitchers). The choice could be made for you if Strasburg is unable to go. He was scheduled to start on Wednesday but couldn’t due to an illness. The thought is that he’ll be able to go today, but waiting on him would be risky. Cole plays in the first game of the day and Washington doesn’t start until three-and-a-half hours later. If we don’t have a definitive word on Strasburg’s status by 12:35 ET, Cole is the safe bet as the pricey pitcher.

Now that I think about it, Archer and Salazar will also get started well in advance of Washington’s game. The two will face each other in a game starting at 1:10 ET. Archer and the Rays are favored, and he probably makes sense as a cash game play. But Salazar is a more boom-or-bust option who offers a bit of savings and could be used in GPPs.

As for cheap options, it’s hard to consider anyone other than Vince Velasquez. He was fantastic in his first start of the season, allowing just six base runners and no runs over six innings with nine strikeouts. He’s only the 16th most expensive pitcher of the day, but the projections embedded herein have him with the fifth best projection of the day. His price and strikeout upside make him a GPP option, but Philly is favored in this one over San Diego, so he’ll work for cash games as well.

If forced to pick another value option, I’d have to go with someone cheaper than Velasquez since it makes little sense to pay more for less expected production. That would leave me with Velasquez’s opponent, Drew Pomeranz. If for some reason you need the extra $600 you can free up by going down from Velasquez to Pomeranz, go ahead. But it probably makes more sense to find savings somewhere with your hitters so you can stick with Velasquez.

Stack Options

Colorado Rockies – Colorado will face Matt Cain today who got absolutely destroyed by left-handed hitters last year. And it wasn’t just a small sample size BABIP kind of thing. Left-handers posted a .404 wOBA against Cain, and their BABIP was a reasonable 3.09. The real problem for Cain was home runs as he allowed a whopping two home runs per nine to lefties. Carlos Gonzalez should be a staple of cash lineups, and other lefties like Charlie Blackmon, Gerardo Parra and Ben Paulsen are also good plays. To connect some of those lefties for a Colorado heavy-stack, right-handers Nolan Arenado, Mark Reynolds and Nick Hundley are options. The only guy I’d forego is Trevor Story. He’s striking out 34.4 percent of the time and his HR/FB rate is over 50 percent. He’s not worth the price.

Texas Rangers – Texas returns home tonight to face Baltimore’s Chris Tillman. The Rangers ranked sixth in wOBA at home last year, and Tillman is coming off a year in which he posted a 4.99 ERA. Tillman has been decent in seven innings so far this season, but that’s certainly not enough to make you forget his struggles last season. And he’s not a guy with much of a split, so both left- and right-handed hitters are options against Tillman, which is good for stacking purposes. Any combination of Texas’ top seven in the order, with the exception of Ian Desmond, would work for a stack. For cash games, Rougned Odor and Mitch Moreland are the best value options.

Kansas City Royals – Speaking of pitchers who were bad last year…Doug Fister. Fister was serviceable in his first start against Milwaukee, but the test is much tougher tonight against the Royals. He had an xFIP just north of 5.00 last year against left-handed hitters, so guys like Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales (switch) and Alex Gordon are good options today. Reymond Fuentes is an option as well if he’s in the lineup. Right-handers Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain could be used to connect those lefties in stacks, though Moose and Cain are overpriced (especially Cain).

Player Rankings

Catcher

  1. Nick Hundley – $4,000
  2. A.J. Ellis – $3,000
  3. Salvador Perez – $4,100
  4. Carlos Ruiz – $3,700

First Base

  1. Edwin Encarnacion – $4,800
  2. Matt Adams – $3,400
  3. Mitch Moreland – $4,000
  4. Eric Hosmer – $4,800

Second Base

  1. Daniel Murphy – $3,900
  2. Rougned Odor – $4,100
  3. Cesar Hernandez – $3,300
  4. Howie Kendrick – $3,600

Third Base

  1. Mark Reynolds – $4,100
  2. Jake Lamb – $3,400
  3. Luis Valbuena – $3,500
  4. Nolan Arenado – $5,200

Shortstop

  1. Carlos Correa – $4,700
  2. Alexi Amarista – $2,700
  3. Brad Miller – $2,800
  4. Trevor Story – $4,900

Outfield

  1. Carlos Gonzalez – $5,100
  2. David Peralta – $3,600
  3. Gerardo Parra – $4,400
  4. Charlie Blackmon – $4,900
  5. Bryce Harper – $5,100
  6. Jason Heyward – $4,000
  7. Reymond Fuentes – $4,000
  8. Mark Trumbo – $3,400
  9. Ben Paulsen – $3,600
  10. Socrates Brito – $3,100

Starting Pitcher

  1. Gerrit Cole – $10,500
  2. Vince Velasquez – $7,300
  3. Stephen Strasburg – $11,300
  4. Chris Archer – $11,400
  5. Danny Salazar – $11,000
  6. Drew Pomeranz – $6,700

Research Chart

Below you’ll find my 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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