Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: May 2, 2016
Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Monday’s 10-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel. We’ve also got projections derived from FanGraphs’ Depth Chart projections and rankings of the top plays at each position.
Three big names and three value plays are in consideration for me today. The big names to look at are Dallas Keuchel, Johnny Cueto and Gerrit Cole. Of the three, I’d be least inclined to roster Cueto. He has a good matchup with the Reds, but it’s in Cincinnati as opposed to his much more pitcher-friendly home park in the Bay. He’s also overpriced on both sites. If you really like him, feel free to roster him; he’s just not my favorite play of the day.
Of the other two, Keuchel is the better option, primarily due to matchup. Keuchel will face the Twins who rank 28th in wOBA against left-handed pitching and have the fourth-highest strikeout rate. I still have some concerns about Keuchel’s velocity, but it was up a tad in his most recent start. And there are other things to like in his numbers. He’s throwing more first pitch strikes and hitting the zone more often than he did last year, so his random spike in walk rate should reverse at some point. And he’s generated whiffs at a higher rate so far, so his strikeout rate could go in the right direction as well. Plus, he’s pitching in Houston where he holds a 2.87 career ERA compared to 4.47 on the road. Cole has a much tougher matchup against the Cubs, but he’s a fair bit cheaper on FD, so if you like him, that’s the spot to use him.
The value options to consider are Jon Gray, Bartolo Colon and Jose Berrios. Of the three, it’s hard not to like Gray the most. He’s got an excellent matchup against the Padres who have the second lowest wOBA and third highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, and the game is in San Diego, not Colorado. Gray is also extremely well priced on FD. At just $5,500, he would allow you to do basically whatever you want with your hitters. Yeah, his 11.42 ERA is tough to look at, but he has pitched pretty well despite the ERA. He has 12 strikeouts compared to three walks in his two starts, and both starts came at home. His BABIP is .519, and he has stranded less than 50 percent of runners. Both of those numbers are comical, but they can occur in a sample size of just a couple starts. Expect the positive regression to begin tonight.
Colon will face the only team worse than the Padres against right-handed pitching, the Braves. The Braves don’t strike out nearly as much as the Padres, and they didn’t strike out much last year, so Colon may not have a ton of upside in the regard. But with that matchup and a 2.96 xFIP through four starts, Colon feels like he doesn’t have a ton of downside, making him an appealing play in cash games. He’s priced well on both sites but particularly well on DK.
As for Berrios, he has the upside Colon lacks. He’ll face the Astros who have the second highest strikeout rate against right-handed pitching, and he had a strikeout rate near 30 percent in 15 starts at Triple-A. The problem with rostering Berrios is that he’s priced for use more on FD, and I’d have a hard time going with a value option other than Gray on FD.
Milwaukee Brewers – The fact that Jered Weaver has a sub-4.00 ERA despite an average fastball velocity of 82.3 mph is fairly amazing. But it would be more amazing if he’s somehow able to keep that going for more than a few starts. He has an 85 percent strand rate despite allowing a home run in each of his four starts, so that’s going to regress sooner rather than later. When it does, his ERA will trend towards his xFIP which is a shade over 6.00. This game is in Milwaukee, not LA, and Weaver really struggled on the road last year with an ERA of 6.01 away from LA. He also allowed 1.77 home runs per nine on the road, so the Brewers could go long a few times tonight. He’s also been just as bad against right-handed hitters as he has lefties, so literally any Brewer in the lineup is probably in play for a stack. In terms of value, the lineup regulars who stand out the most are Chris Carter, Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana.
New York Mets – The Mets get Mike Foltynewicz today who has never been able to keep the ball in the yard. He’s a fairly heavy fly ball pitcher with a career fly ball rate of 44.8 percent, and his HR/FB rate is easily above league average at 12.8 percent. That’s why he has allowed 20 home runs in just over 100 career big league innings. Unsurprisingly, lefties do more damage against the right-hander as he has allowed more than two home runs per nine innings to lefties. All of New York’s lefties are in play, though Lucas Duda is the only clear value of the bunch. Yoenis Cespedes could also be used if you need to streamline a stack.
Toronto Blue Jays – No A.J. Griffin isn’t good. Yes, he has a 2.52 ERA through four starts, but his strikeout and walk rates are below average and his xFIP is 4.80. Historically he’s allowed home runs at an above average rate, and that was when his home park was Oakland. Tonight he’ll be in Toronto where the Jays hit 123 home runs last year, which was third best in the league. All the regulars are options, and if you’re not stacking them, Edwin Encarnacion is a good value to be used alone.
- Jonathan Lucroy
- Devin Mesoraco
- Russell Martin
- Jason Castro
- Buster Posey (better value on FD)
- A.J. Pierzynski (better value on FD)
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Chris Carter (better value on FD)
- Lucas Duda
- Prince Fielder
- Matt Adams
- Adam Lind (better value on FD)
- Rougned Odor (better value on DK)
- Neil Walker
- Brandon Phillips
- Colin Walsh
- Daniel Murphy
- Kolten Wong (better value on FD)
- Luis Valbuena (better value on FD)
- Aaron Hill (better value on FD)
- Josh Donaldson
- Eugenio Suarez
- Kelly Johnson (better value on FD)
- Maikel Franco
- Jonathan Villar
- Brandon Crawford (better value on FD)
- Carlos Correa (better value on DK)
- Asdrubal Cabrera
- Cristhian Adames (better value on DK)
- Carlos Gonzalez
- Mike Trout (better value on FD)
- Ryan Braun
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis
- Mitch Moreland
- Domingo Santana
- Jose Bautusia (better value on DK)
- Kole Calhoun (better value on FD)
- Ramon Flores
- Michael Saunders (better value on DK)
- Michael Conforto (better value on DK)
- Preston Tucker
- Dallas Keuchel
- Jon Gray (better value on FD)
- Gerrit Cole
- Bartolo Colon (better value on DK)
- Johnny Cueto
- Jose Berrios (better value on FD)
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.
After uploading the projections above to the Lineup Optimizer on RotoQL and setting a few roster restrictions compatible with cash games, here are some suggested lineups for tonight’s slate for your consideration.