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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: June 9, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Tuesday’s 15-game evening slate on DraftKings. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, and we have rankings of the top plays at each position.

Forecast

There are several game locales with 20 percent chances of rain tonight, so pop up storms could possibly be an issue. But as of this writing, rain doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem tonight. As for wind, the only wind that looks like it may be impactful is a 10 mph wind blowing out to center in the Bronx.

Given how often forecasts change between the time this post is written late the night before and when games actually start, make sure to follow @KevinRothWx for updates.

Pitching Perspective

I run numbers and play DFS at least 3-4 times per week, so I’ve probably run projections 30-35 times this year. With the possible exception of a Clayton Kershaw outing, I don’t think I’ve had a starter with a higher projected total than what Corey Kluber‘s projection is today. Kluber obviously has a great base projection to begin with, but when you adjust for matchup and ball park today, that projection skyrockets. He’s got a great matchup against the Mariners who have been 11 percent worse than league average against right-handed pitching, and they have the third highest strikeout rate in the league against righties. The game is also in pitcher-friendly Cleveland, so Kluber could have a huge day. Even at his high price tag of $10,900, he could be quite the value. He’s almost a must-play in cash games.

Max Scherzer has the second best projection of the day, though he doesn’t come close to Kluber’s projection. Given that Scherzer is $1,100 more expensive than Kluber today, there’s no way he’ll be on any of my rosters.

The third highest projection belongs to the pitcher who also has the best value grade of the day, Anibal Sanchez. He’ll face the Cubs who have also been 11 percent worse than league average against right-handers and who are one of two teams to strikeout more than the Mariners against righties. The game is in Detroit, not at Wrigley, so Sanchez also gets a bit of a bump to his projection from the ball park. Sanchez has been undone by the long ball this year, and some of that is his fault as his fly ball rate is as high as it has been since his rookie season. But his HR/FB rate of 14.8 percent is unsustainably high when you consider his career HR/FB rate is just eight percent. His strikeout and walk skills are still better than average, so I’ll continue to bet on those and not be scared off by some early season bad luck.

If you don’t want to pay up for Kluber and you don’t like Sanchez, Francisco Liriano has the fourth highest projection of the day, and his price tag is dead on according to my model. But there’s obviously no value to be had if his price tag is correct. I’d find a way to pay up for Kluber or go cheaper.

Aside from Sanchez, there are a couple other mid-price options that could represent values to a lesser degree. Jon Lester and Matt Shoemaker both have safely above average projections for the day, and they’re a little underpriced according to my model. Either Lester or Shoemaker along with Sanchez could make some sense for a pitcher pair.

If you’re looking to go cheap with a pitcher, I’d look to Chris Heston or Carlos Rodon. Of the 30 pitchers going today, Heston has the 9th best xFIP, but he is only the 26th most expensive pitcher of the day. I wrote up Heston for another publication earlier this week and came to the conclusion that he truly has been unlucky. His strikeout and walk skills are average to slightly above average, and he has induced weak contact and limited hard contact at rates better than the league averages. Yet his BABIP and strand rate are on the wrong end of the spectrum. I like him to get some of the positive regression he has coming tonight in a good matchup with the Mets in a pitcher-friendly park in Queens. As for Rodon, he’s a pure GPP play against the free-swinging Astros. But his complete lack of control scares me, and I’ll probably end up ignoring him.

Here are our projections for today’s starters. You’ll see each starter’s salary, the average number of fantasy points the starter is projected to score per game and how far above or below average his projection is compared to his salary in the value column. You’ll also see adjustments being made for matchup and ballpark. As for the colors, they rank as follows from good to bad: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy.

Stack Options

As usual, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. First, Coors Field. The Cardinals are in Denver tonight, and Michael Wacha is going for the Cards, so a Rockies stack probably isn’t the greatest play tonight, though Wacha himself is likely to risky to use. Jorge de la Rosa is scheduled to be Colorado’s starter, though he was pushed back from a scheduled start on Sunday, so that could change. But if JDLR is the starter, Cardinal right-handers are options. In fact, Matt Holliday had the highest projection of the day in my model before getting injured on Monday night. With Holliday likely out, Jhonny Peralta and Randal Grichuk are nice plays, and Yadier Molina, Mark Reynolds and Peter Bourjos could be used with them in a Cards-heavy GPP lineup.

The other obvious thing that has to be mentioned is the Blue Jays. They continue to lead the league in runs scored by a wide margin, and they added another 11 on Monday night. They’ll face Dan Haren at home, and they could easily do some more damage tonight. The usual top five in that lineup could all have big days, but given how many big days they have had, their price tags are very high. Only Edwin Encarnacion is reasonably priced, and it’s unclear if he’ll be back in the lineup on Tuesday.

Of the 15 games tonight, only three have a projected total in Vegas higher than 7.5 runs. The Coors game and the Jays game are two of those three. The other is Kansas City at Minnesota. The Twins are the favorite in the game, and I think they make for an excellent play tonight. Chris Young will start for the Royals, and, as usual, Young has been allowing batters to elevate with great frequency this year. His fly ball rate is 58.8 percent, and right-handers have a fly ball rate of 62.7 percent against Young this year. Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas will have the platoon advantage on Young, so they make for good plays. But as I mentioned, right-handers are hitting fly balls on the reg (more than on the reg), so they are options as well. Brian Dozier and Torii Hunter along with the two lefties would make for a nice stack. And you could add in Aaron Hicks out of the nine-hole if you really want to go Twins-heavy.

Other stack options that might not have super-high ownership percentages include the Padres, Dodgers and A’s. The Pads will face Mike Foltynewicz who is closest to Young in terms of fly ball-friendly pitchers today. But the game is in Atlanta, which isn’t a homer-friendly park, and I don’t trust any Padres outside of Justin Upton.

As for the Dodgers, they’ll face Robbie Ray in his third start of the season. Ray has been pretty good his first two times out, and he was good in nine starts at Triple-A. Dodgers probably won’t be a big part of my cash game lineups, but a Dodgers-heavy stack could pay off in a GPP.

And then finally we have the A’s who are facing Nick Martinez. I’ve been screaming about Martinez’s impending regression all year, and it started last week when the White Sox tagged him for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. But his xFIP is still almost two runs higher than his ERA, so there’s plenty more regression on the way. Billy Burns, Ben Zobrist, Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick are all guys I like today.

You can view and download our hitter projections here. These projections are an average of what each hitter is projected to do on a per game basis according to the ZiPS rest-of-season projections. The projections have then been adjusted for splits, quality of the opposing starting pitcher and ballpark.

Player Rankings

Catcher

  1. Yadier Molina – $3,800 – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Russell Martin – $3,800 – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Stephen Vogt – $3,900 – Oakland Athletics

First Base

  1. Edwin Encarnacion – $4,200 – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Eric Hosmer – $4,200 – Kansas City Royals
  3. Joe Mauer – $4,100 – Minnesota Twins

Second Base

  1. Jose Altuve – $5,100 – Houston Astros
  2. Howie Kendrick – $3,900 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Ben Zobrist – $3,800 – Oakland Atheltics

Third Base

  1. Kris Bryant – $4,400 – Chicago Cubs
  2. Miguel Cabrera – $4,600 – Detroit Tigers
  3. Alexander Guerrero – $3,100 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Josh Wilson – $2,200 – Detroit Tigers

Shortstop

  1. Jhonny Peralta – $4,800 – St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Jimmy Rollins – $3,800 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Marcus Semien – $3,600 – Oakland Athletics

Outfield

  1. George Springer – $4,700 – Houston Astros
  2. Giancarlo Stanton – $5,200 – Miami Marlins
  3. Randal Grichuk – $3,600 – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Yasiel Puig – $5,000 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Mookie Betts – $4,200 – Boston Red Sox
  6. Alex Gordon – $3,900 – Kansas City Royals

Starting Pitcher

  1. Corey Kluber – $10,900 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Anibal Sanchez – $7,800 – Detroit Tigers
  3. Chris Heston – $5,500 – San Francisco Giants
  4. Jon Lester – $8,400 – Chicago Cubs
  5. Matt Shoemaker – $8,000 – Los Angeles Angels

*Rankings are price sensitive

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