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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: August 19, 2016 – DraftKings & FanDuel Analysis

Below we’ve got player rankings with commentary, suggested lineups and a projection/research chart for Friday’s 15-game evening slate on DraftKings and FanDuel.

Player Rankings

**Players are listed according to their FD positional eligibility

Catcher

  1. Yasmani Grandal – I got quit a bit of use out of the Dodgers earlier this week as they swung through Philadelphia getting the benefit of a more hitter-friendly ball park and some bad pitching. That will continue this weekend as they travel Cincinnati because the Reds rotation ranks 26th in ERA and their bullpen ranks 29th. Grandal is rocking a wRC+ around 200 over the last 14 days and has homered in four of his last eight. He’s no bargain on DK, but he’s priced well on FD.
  2. Evan Gattis – Nice matchup for Houston’s RHH-heavy lineup tonight in Baltimore vs. LHP Wade Miley. Baltimore is plenty friendly to RHH (though admittedly more so to LHH), and Miley has a 4.52 xFIP and 1.57 HR/9 vs. RHH this season. Gattis is priced better on FD but isn’t priced out of use on DK.
  3. Gary Sanchez – Sanchez has been nothing short of spectacular since being called up. In 14 games he’s hitting .377 with six home runs, three of which have come in the last two nights. He could well hit another dong or two tonight against Jered Weaver who is easily the most fly ball-heavy pitcher in action tonight. Sanchez is a nice value on both sites.
  4. Yadier Molina – The Cards have a great matchup against LHP Adam Morgan who has a career ERA of 5.45. Morgan allowed two runs in three innings in his last start before suffering a forearm contusion. He’s apparently healthy enough to make his next scheduled start tonight, but the fact that he’s potentially not 100% physically makes him an even more appealing matchup. Dating back to last season he has a 4.93 xFIP vs. RHH and has allowed almost two home runs per nine to them.

First Base

  1. John Jaso – I certainly didn’t expect to roster John Jaso tonight, much less rank him tops at this deep position. But Jaso is one of few value options my model liked tonight, even though he plays a position where I’m not inclined to look for salary relief. Jaso has a nice matchup with RHP Tom Koehler who has a 4.63 xFIP vs. LHH dating back to last season. And the Marlins don’t have a left-handed reliever with an xFIP under 4.00 vs. LHH, so Jaso could see some decent matchups even after Koehler is pulled. Jaso is particularly cheap on DK but is also a nice value on FD.
  2. Mike Napoli – Good matchup for the Tribe against LHP Francisco Liriano who has a 4.62 xFIP and 1.60 HR/9 vs. RHH this season. Nap has a 159 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and is hitting .391 with seven home runs since July 30. As is usually the case with Indians, Nap is a better value on FD than DK.
  3. Adrian Gonzalez – Get used to seeing Dodgers on this list, there’s going to be a lot of them. I should mention they’re facing RHP Tim Adleman who has a 4.86 xFIP in four starts this season, and the 39 lefties he has faced have combined for a .433 wOBA. AGonz is on an 11-game hitting streak in which he’s hitting .432 with three home runs. He’s an excellent value on FD.
  4. David Ortiz – Ortiz could be an option on DK if you don’t like Jaso as Ortiz is cheaper than both Nap and AGonz on that site. Ortiz has a 177 wRC+ vs. RHP this season and is hitting .417 with two home runs in the last eight days.

Behind the paywall you’ll find the remainder of the player rankings and commentary, suggested lineups and my projections/research chart.

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Second Base

  1. Jose Altuve – The matchup for Houston with LHP Wade Miley was mentioned above, and Altuve has a 195 wRC+ vs. LHP this season. He’s obviously pricey, but plug him in wherever you can afford it.
  2. Howie Kendrick – More Dodgers. Kendrick is 0-for-7 the last two nights, but he was 14-for-25 in the six games prior. He’s above average without the platoon advantage, so feel free to use him in a Dodgers stack. He usually hits eighth, so he’d be a good stack partner with guys like Grandal and AGonz who also hit in the back of the order.
  3. Ben Zobrist – I’m surprised 10 players were discussed before we got to someone playing in Coors. As I’ve previously stated, I’m all for fading Coors in GPPs, and I have some hope bats might not go wild there tonight. Kyle Hendricks will go for the Cubs and his 2.22 ERA and 51.6 percent ground ball rate put a damper on rostering Rockies. The Rox will start Tyler Anderson who has a 3.42 ERA (3.04 ERA at home) and 54.3 percent ground ball rate, so there’s at least a chance he can keep the powerhouse Cubbies at bay. That said, Zo tends to hit behind Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, so he’s not a bad option if you want Coors exposure.
  4. Chase Utley  – How could I ignore the lead off man for my beloved Dodgers? Utley has a 160 wRC+in the last seven days, so he’ll work just fine in a top-of-the-order Dodgers stack. The dividing line between top half and bottom half is clean up man Josh Reddick who has been struggling so much that he’s about the only Dodger I’m not considering.

Third Base

  1. Pedro Alvarez – The O’s have been in some NL parks without the DH and have seen a few LHP lately, so Alvarez hasn’t played much in the last week. But he’s four for his last nine and has a 133 wRC+ vs. RHP this season. He’s only 1B eligible on DK, so I wouldn’t use him there. But he’s a nice value with 3B eligibility on FD.
  2. Kris Bryant – Bryant has a 172 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and is playing in Coors. The arguments against using him are Anderson’s ground ball tendencies and, more realistically, price. I think he’s too difficult to fit into cash lineups, though if I were going to try and force him in, it would be less difficult on DK. You could fit him into GPP lineups with cheap pitchers, but he’s the most obvious of plays tonight.
  3. Jose Ramirez – Again, good matchup for Cleveland RHH against Liriano. Ramirez, a switch-hitter, has a 132 wRC+ vs. LHP this season. Ramirez is also quite hot and has been for awhile. He had an 18-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, but he has has hits in each of the three games since. As usual for a Cleveland hitter, he has a much better price tag on FD.
  4. Justin Turner – Turner has some reverse splits with a 140 wC+ vs. RHP this season, so don’t feel like you have to leave him out of a top-half-of-the-order Dodgers stack. He’s got a nice price tag on FD tonight.

Shortstop

  1. Javier Baez – If there’s one Coors guy I’m using tonight, it’s Javier Baez. Baez has a 146 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and is eight for his last 19 with two home runs. He’s priced very, very well on FD.
  2. Carlos Correa – With Gattis and Altuve already listed here and another Astros hitter to be discussed later, an Astros stack is certainly in play. Correa is hitting .299 in August with three home runs.
  3. Francisco Lindor – Speaking of stacks, it would appear it’s Dodgers, Astros and Indians I like most tonight as stack options. I’m not really on the first couple of guys in Cleveland’s order tonight, so Lindor could well be the starting point for a Indians stack. Lindor is hitting .347 in August.
  4. Corey Seager – Seager has a 150 wRC+ vs. RHP this season. I’m not sure what else to say about Dodgers at this point.

Outfield

  1. Joc Pederson –  Joc has a 148 wRC+ vs. RHP this season and is priced well on FD. He tends to hit right behind AGonz and Grandal, which is the Dodgers combination I’m most likely to use.
  2. Nelson Cruz – Cruz has a 166 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and will face LHP Brent Suter who will be making his MLB debut. Suter is 26 years old and hasn’t posted a strikeout rate higher than 20 percent at any level since A-ball. Sometimes this isn’t rocket science. Cruz is peculiarly affordable on DK.
  3. Tommy Pham – Again, Adam Morgan provides a spectacular matchup for St. Louis RHH. Pham has a 117 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and led off last time the Cards faced a lefty starter. At $2,400 on FD he’s almost impossible not to roster on that site.
  4. Stephen Piscotty – Piscotty has a 168 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and will likely hit second right behind Pham. That’s quite the mini-stack option.
  5. Brandon Guyer – Guyer has a 199 wRC+ vs. RHP this season and is another guy with a very affordable price tag on FD. He can be used in a Cleveland stack or on his own as salary relief.
  6. Aaron Judge – Judge hasn’t quite debuted like Gary Sanchez, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hits in four of his first five games including two home runs. As mentioned, Jered Weaver is a fly ball-heavy pitcher, even against same-handed hitters, so Judge could well add to his homer total tonight.
  7. George Springer – Springer has a 164 wRC+ vs. LHP this season. If you can fit him into a lineup, do so by all means. But I’d rather force Altuve into my lineups, and it’s hard to get both of them in a cash lineup. That means Springer is probably reserved for Houston stacks.
  8. Bryce Harper – In five games back in the lineup after a five game absence, Harper is 7-for-16 with a home run, five RBI and six runs. He’s facing RHP Julio Teheran who has a 5.24 xFIP vs. LHH dating back to last season, so this is a good matchup for Harper to try and keep his hot streak going.
  9. Jorge Soler – Soler has four home runs in the last two weeks and is playing in Coors with the platoon advantage. He’s going to be popular. I could maybe see using him in cash games on DK, but I think there are better options.

Starting Pitcher

  1. Johnny Cueto – There aren’t any huge favorites in Vegas tonight, so Cueto and the Giants at around -140 are a decent favorite. Cueto has had some BABIP issues recently, but he’s pitching well enough with a 3.57 SIERA in his last five starts. He has a solid matchup with the Mets who rank 20th in wRC+ vs. RHP and have the eighth highest strikeout rate. He’s also got that home ball park going for him where he has a 2.74 ERA and .255 wOBA allowed. He’s easier to fit into your cash lineups on FD than he is on DK.
  2. Zack Greinke – OK yeah, Greinke gave up nine runs and got chased in the second inning in his last start. It’s not defensible, but it was the Red Sox in Boston. My favorite stat from the game was Greinke’s 150% HR/FB rate. That means both fly balls he allowed left the yard as well as one of the five line drives he gave up. Oof. But things should be much easier tonight in San Diego against a Pads team that has the second worst wRC+ and second highest K% vs. RHP. Greinke struck out six and walked one while throwing 93 pitches in his first start back prior to the Boston game, so I’m not overly concerned.
  3. Gerrit Cole – Cole has a 3.60 ERA (3.66 SIERA) in his last five starts and at about -160 he and the Pirates are one of the two biggest favorites of the night. He’ll face the Marlins who don’t strike out much, so Cole isn’t a great GPP option. But the Marlins are a tad below average vs. RHP, so he’ll work fine for cash games as an SP2 on DK.
  4. Collin McHugh – Alright, let’s roll the dice in some GPPs. McHugh gets Baltimore in Baltimore, which is a risky proposition. But the O’s have the ninth highest K% vs. RHP, and McHugh has a healthy 25 percent K% in his last five starts. I like his price a bit better on DK, but he’ll work on both sites as a GPP option.
  5. Matt Andriese – Andriese has been in the rotation three turns now and has racked up 16 strikeouts in only 13.2 innings. It’d be nice if he was averaging at least five innings a start, but the strikeouts make him interesting. He’s facing the Rangers tonight who strikeout less than average, but two of his last three opponents have been the Yankees and Royals who also strikeout less than average. This game is in Tampa, not Texas, so I’m OK gambling here.
  6. Cole Hamels – On the other side of that game, Hamels could rack up some K’s as well. The Rays have the highest K% in the league vs. LHP, though there’s some risk as they’re a bit above average vs. LHP per wRC+. The biggest problem with Hamels is price. My model thinks he’s over-priced on both sites, but he makes sense as a cash or GPP option if price isn’t an issue for you.

Suggested Lineups

Below you’ll find a suggested cash and GPP lineup for both DK and FD. These lineups were posted early in the morning and will not be updated later in the day on account of the author not being able to get home from work in time to do so. So be aware that these lineups were made and posted without knowing the weather for the day and who would and would not be in their team’s lineup today. The lineups are merely suggestions to give you and idea about roster construction.

8-19 DK

8-19 FD

Research Chart

Download today’s research chart from this Google Sheet. Projections are derived from Fangraphs Depth Chart projections, which are cut down to a per-game basis and then adjusted for ball park and matchup. A glossary for the columns in the ‘hitter research’ tab is included below the chart.

SP Adj. – Multiplier based on projected FIP (based on ZiPS) of opposing pitcher against hitters of that handedness

BP Adj. – Multiplier based on 2015 Fangraphs HR park factor for LHH or RHH

Pen Adj. – Multiplier based on xFIP of opposing bullpen against hitters of that handedness

Last 7 – Hitter’s wRC+ in last seven days

Last 14 – Hitter’s wRC+ in last 14 days

L/R – Hitter’s 2015-2016 wRC+ against LHP or RHP

Projections and values are then included for each site.

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