2016 Fantasy BaseballBrett TalleyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 29, 2016

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Friday’s 14-game evening slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Pitching Perspective

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Should you pay up for Stephen Strasburg? He’s more affordable on DK than he is on FD, but with FD being a one-pitcher site, it’s often tempting to take the sure thing. And ever since Strasburg returned from injury on June 23 last year, he’s been a sure, sure thing. In 17 starts in that time frame, Stras has a 1.86 ERA (2.21 xFIP) with 141 strikeouts compared to just 19 walks in 111 innings. That’s remarkably good. That’s so good that price doesn’t really scare me off. The only real problem here is matchup as he’ll face the Cardinals who have the best wOBA in the league against right-handed pitching and the 10th lowest strikeout rate. But Stras has simply been too good for too long now for me to fade him in cash games, especially on DK. Presuming he’ll have a fairly high ownership percentage, I could see fading him in GPPs.

Should you pay up for Corey Kluber? Nah, especially on DK where he’s $1,100 more expensive than Stras. Kluber has been very good so far despite a 4.67 ERA with an xFIP of 3.02 and a K/BB ratio near 6.00. And the matchup with the Phillies is above average. He just hasn’t been so good that he should priced that much higher on DK than Stras. He’s $500 cheaper than Stras on FD, so if you like Kluber, that’s the spot to use him.

Good second tier options today include Drew Smyly and Steven Matz. Smyly is too expensive on DK, but he is priced well on FD, while Matz is priced well on both sites (though a bit better on DK). Both guys have xFIPs near or below 3.00. Matz has the better xFIP at 2.72, which is a far cry from his 5.40 ERA that’s still suffering from a disastrous first start. Matz’s BABIP is an insane .405, and that’s sure to improve sooner rather than later. As for Smyly he has an impressive K-BB% of 26.2%, which is about four points better than Strasburg’s and Kluber’s number in that stat so far this year. Matz will face the Giants today and Smyly will face the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays feel like a scary matchup based on how they performed against lefties last year, but they have the seventh worst wOBA and fifth highest strikeout rate against LHP this year. It’s actually Matz with the tougher matchup against the Giants who have the 10th best wOBA vs. LHP and seventh lowest strikeout rate.

Now for those of you like to gamble with cheap options, Robbie Ray is an intriguing value option. He’ll face the Rockies who have the fourth best wOBA against LHP, but a .335 BABIP is propping that wOBA up a bit. The Rox have a higher-than-average strikeout rate against LHP, and they’re a fairly lefty-heavy lineup that struggled against LHP last year, so this matchup might be better for Ray than it looks at first glance. This game is in Arizona, which would suck except for the fact that the alternative is for it to be in Coors, so this is the lesser of two evils. Ray is is risky because he walks way too many batters, but he does have some strikeout upside at a nice price, so I could see using him as an SP2 in DK GPP linueps.

On the other side of that game, Tyler Chatwood has actually pitched pretty well this year. He has a 3.47 ERA backed up by a 3.68 xFIP, and he’s doing things we like to see pitchers do like limit walks and generate a lot of ground balls. He’s not much of a strikeout machine, but you can live with that if the cost is low and the downside isn’t too severe. The matchup with Arizona and the ball park do add some risk to Chatwood, but the cost is so low on FD that you could potentially consider taking that risk on in a GPP.

Stack Options

Cleveland Indians – Excellent matchup for the Tribe here against Adam Morgan who is making his first start of the season. He made 15 starts last year and had a 5.12 xFIP and allowed almost a homer-and-a-half per nine innings. The left-hander unsurprisingly struggled against right-handers, so any Cleveland RHH are in play. And it appears as though he handled lefties well allowing just a .270 wOBA to them, but his xFIP against lefties suggests he was more lucky than good. Lean towards the right-handers for sure, but don’t be afraid to throw in a lefty to streamline a stack.

Chicago White Sox – Mike Wright now has 62 major league innings to his name with a 6.10 ERA, 5.49 xFIP and 1.74 HR/9. The right-hander has gotten better results against right-handed hitters, but, like Morgan, his xFIP would indicate he has been more lucky than good against right-handed hitters. Lefties are still the best bet, but you don’t have to avoid Chicago right-handers by any means.

New York Yankees – I sound like broken record here, but the Yankees will face Henry Ownes who has a bad xFIP against both left- and right-handed hitters. All three teams mentioned so far are playing in good hitter’s parks tonight. A slight breeze is blowing in from right in all three parks, but as of this writing it’s a negligible amount of wind that shouldn’t deter you from these stacks.

Los Angeles Angels – Colby Lewis has always struggled a bit to keep the ball in the park, and he’s struggled with it even more early this year with six home runs allowed in 24 innings over four starts. This game is in Texas as opposed to LA, which also helps LA hitters.

The biggest issue with all these stacks is some PPD risk with rain potentially an issue in a lot of spots tonight. Make sure to check in on @KevinRothWx‘s twitter feed later this afternoon for updates.

Player Rankings


  1. Jonathan Lucroy
  2. Buster Posey
  3. Yasmani Grandal
  4. Russell Martin
  5. Nick Hundley

First Base

  1. Joey Votto
  2. Jose Abreu
  3. David Ortiz
  4. Carlos Santana

Second Base

  1. Jose Altuve
  2. Robinson Cano
  3. Daniel Murphy
  4. Starlin Castro

Third Base

  1. Josh Donaldson
  2. Adrian Beltre
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Alex Rodriguez


  1. Carlos Correa
  2. Troy Tulowitzki
  3. Francisco Lindor
  4. Jimmy Rollins


  1. George Springer
  2. Ryan Braun
  3. Bryce Harper
  4. Adam Eaton
  5. Jose Bautista
  6. Kole Calhoun
  7. Christian Yelich
  8. Gregory Polanco
  9. Matt Kemp
  10. Curtis Granderson
  11. Rajai Davis
  12. Mark Trumbo

Starting Pitcher

  1. Stephen Strasburg
  2. Drew Smyly (better value is on FD)
  3. Steven Matz
  4. Corey Kluber
  5. Robbie Ray
  6. Tyler Chatwood


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