Front Office

Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: August 12, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Wednesday’s 10-game evening slate on DraftKings. We’ve also got rankings of the top plays at each position.

Pitching Perspective

Any time Clayton Kershaw ($14,200) pitches he is the top projected pitcher of the day. The question is just whether he’s worth paying up for on a given day. The factors in play in making that determination are primarily how high his price tag actually is, his matchup, and your alternative options for the day. His salary today is reasonable relative to some of his price tags this season, so it’s not a prohibitive factor. As for his matchup, he’ll face the Nationals who are slightly above average against left-handed pitching, but they also strike out a bit more than average, so his matchup is about average.

There’s nothing there that says Kershaw is a bad play today. And he’s not; he almost never is. But there may be a better play today in Mr. Jacob deGrom ($11,400). As mentioned, Kershaw is projected to score more points today, but he’s also $2,800 more expensive than deGrom. The gap in projection between the two is much smaller relative to average than the gap between their salaries. For that reason, deGrom is the much better value and thus the better play.

DeGrom arguably has a really good matchup with the Rockies. I say arguably because the Rox are much better against right-handers like deGrom than left-handers, but we all know they’re not as good away from Coors. And it’s not just that the negative park shift hurts them. They also strike out 23.2 percent of the time on the road as opposed to 17 percent at home.

Of the six pitchers priced at $9,900 and above, deGrom is the only one who looks like a value, so I’m not choosing to roster any other starter in that price range over him. But if you want to pair him with another expensive starter and can make it work with cheap bats, be my guest. I’d prefer to roster a cheaper SP2, but I understand some like to avoid that in cash games. The expensive guy that comes closest to being worth his price is Danny Salazar, so that’s where I’d look for an expensive SP2.

In the mid-price range ($7,000-$9,500), Jason Hammel is probably your best bet. He’ll face the Brewers who are a bit below average against right-handed pitching and who have the sixth lowest wRC+ over the last 30 days. Hammel is quite possibly in the midst of the best year of his career as his strikeout and walk rates are career bests at this point. He’s not a heavy ground ball guy, so he can be bitten by the long ball on occasion, but the Brewers aren’t a big power threat with the fifth lowest ISO over the last 30 days.

If you’re looking for a bargain ($7,000 or less), Jorge de la Rosa may be an option. He’ll be facing deGrom, so his odds of getting a win probably aren’t too high, but the four points from a win aren’t overly significant on DraftKings. And I have no problem rostering opposing pitchers out of concern that only one can register a win. The reason to like de la Rosa is fairly obvious. His xFIP at home and on the road is almost identical at 3.91 and 3.94, respectively. But as you might expect, his home and road ERA are disparate with his home ERA sitting at 6.62 compared to 3.19 on the road. Despite being a slightly above average team offensively over the last 30 days, the Mets have the seventh lowest wRC+ against left-handed pitching this year. I’m not too concerned with the matchup.

Stack Options

As always, Vegas likes Toronto, and it’s hard to ever disagree with that. It’s especially hard to disagree when they’re at home facing Aaron Brooks who will be making his third start of the season. He has been fine in his two previous starts, but that’s obviously not a sample size worth paying much attention to. The small sample size caveat also applies to his fly ball rate, but if it stays up around the 48.1 percent mark it’s at through two starts, he’s going to be playing with fire against the Jays. The only reason to not stack Jays is price. Josh Donaldson will cost you a ridiculous $6,100, which is a price I just can’t pay. I could see paying up for Troy Tulowitzki ($4,900) given a dearth of options at shortstop tonight, and I could maaaaaaaybe see paying up for Jose Bautista ($5,800) because he’s hot right now. But I’d be hesitant to do so, and I just don’t see how you’d be able to afford a heavy-Jays stack. I’ll probably limit myself to Tulo and Chris Colabello ($3,700), who is a nice value. But if you want to try and make all those expensive bats work with some cheap pitching in a GPP, go for it.

After the Jays, Vegas likes the Twins, and you’ll never hear me arguing against stacking a team facing Nick Martinez. Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier are great plays today with Sano having the added bonus of being a really nice value. Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer are also options, though you wouldn’t be able to roster Plouffe and Sano given they each only have 3B eligibility, so I’ll likely be Plouffe-less tonight. Aaron Hicks and Torii Hunter could be paired with Sano, Dozier and Mauer for a Twins-heavy stack.

After Toronto and Minnesota, the teams start to bunch up in terms of implied run totals. Kansas City, Los Angeles (Angels), Texas and Oakland are all in the same neighborhood offensively according to Vegas. But if I’m going to stack one of those teams, I’m going with the Angles. I was on Angels last night while simultaneously pointing out that Carlos Rodon was a value play with upside but one that I was too scared to use. I obviously went the wrong direction there as the Angels failed to score and Rodon struck out 11. But I’ve had some success this season going right back to the well with stacks a night after they tanked on the advice of Jeff Mans at Fantasy Alarm, so I’m back on Angels tonight. Albert Pujols is almost a must-play at only $4,200, and I’ll have Mike Trout in there despite his high price tag. Shane Victorino should lead off again against another left-handed starter, so he also provides really nice value at only $2,700. I also like Chris Iannetta with not a lot of great options at catcher tonight, and Taylor Featherston could make for a decent punt play at the minimum price, though I don’t think that’s necessary.

Catcher

  1. Chris Iannetta – $3,100 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. John Jaso – $3,100 – Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Tyler Flowers – $2,600 – Chicago White Sox

First Base

  1. Albert Pujols – 4,200 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Jose Abreu – $4,900 – Chicago White Sox
  3. C.J. Cron – $2,900 – Los Angeles Angels

Second Base

  1. Brian Dozier – $4,500 – Minnesota Twins
  2. Ben Zobrist – $4,100 – Kansas City Royals
  3. Taylor Featherston – $2,000 – Los Angeles Angels

Third Base

  1. Miguel Sano – $4,200 – Minnesota Twins
  2. Adrian Beltre – $4,000 – Texas Rangers
  3. Trevor Plouffe – $4,000 – Minnesota Twins

Shortstop

  1. Troy Tulowitzki – $4,900 – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Tyler Saladino – $3,300 – Chicago White Sox
  3. Alexei Ramirez – $3,300 – Chicago White Sox

Outfield

  1. Mike Trout – $5,500 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Shane Victorino – $2,700 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Chris Colabello – $3,700 – Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Josh Reddick – $4,200 – Oakland Athletics
  5. Coco Crisp – $2,000 – Oakland Athletics
  6. Avisail Garcia – 4,000 – Chicago White Sox

Starting Pitcher

  1. Jacob deGrom – $11,400 – New York Mets
  2. Jorge de la Rosa – $6,600 – Colorado Rockies
  3. Jason Hammel – $8,500 – Chicago Cubs
  4. Danny Salazar – $10,500 – Cleveland Indians
  5. Clayton Kershaw – $14,200 – Los Angeles Dodgers
Previous post

2015 Fantasy Football Team Preview: Indianapolis Colts

Next post

Fantasy Baseball Final: August 12, 2015

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.