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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: August 30, 2016 – DraftKings & FanDuel Analysis

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

Player Rankings

**Players are listed according to their FD positional eligibility

Catcher

  1. Jason Castro – Castro has played sparingly recently, but he has hits in each of his last four starts. He has a 113 wRC+ with the platoon advantage and gets RHP Kendall Graveman tonight. Graveman has a 4.76 xFIP vs. LHH. Castro is super cheap on FD.
  2. Yasmani Grandal – The Dodgers are in Colorado, so expect to see quite a few of them on this list. But I will say that I tend to fade Coors in GPPs in general, and Colorado’s starter tonight, Tyler Anderson, keeps the ball on the ground a lot. I’ll probably be fading Dodgers in GPP, but in cash having some exposure makes sense. Grandal is priced well on DK and makes plenty of sense in cash there.
  3. Victor Martinez – Great matchup for the Tigers here against Anthony Ranaudo who has allowed 14 ER and five home runs in his three starts this season. V-Mart has hits in five of his last six starts, and he sat on Saturday, so he should be in the lineup today. He’s really only an option on FD where he’s C elgibile.
  4. Gary Sanchez – In 99 PA this season, Sanchez has a .539 wOBA. He has a seven-game hitting streak going and simply can’t be ignored. The problem is obviously that he’s very, very pricey. Catcher isn’t usually a spot where I like to spend, but if you have extra cash, feel free to use it on Sanchez.
  5. Willson Contreras – Contreras has been going well lately hitting .313 in the last two weeks, and he has two home runs in the last week. He’s been above average without the platoon advantage this season, so he can handle the matchup with RHP Chad Kuhl.

First Base

  1. Joey Votto – This is obviously a great matchup for the Reds against Jered Weaver. Weaver leans fly ball heavy and has the highest SIERA (5.71) of any starter in action tonight. Votto has a 163 wRC+ with the platoon advantage this season and is worth paying for on either site.
  2. Brandon Moss – St. Louis will face RHP Wily Peralta who has a 4.94 xFIP and 1.38 HR/9 against LHH dating back to last season. Among pitchers in action tonight with any kind of sample size vs. LHH in that time frame, only Weaver and Julio Teheran have been worse against LHH. Moss has a 151 wRC+ vs. RHP this season and is priced a bit more affordably than the other top 1B options tonight.
  3. Freddie Freeman – Freeman will get RHP Edwin Jackson tonight, who has the second worst SIERA (5.56) among tonight’s starters. Since his double dong on August 10, Freeman is hitting .365 with nine home runs.
  4. Anthony Rizzo – Rizzo has been a bit off of late but still has a 158 wRC+ vs. RHP this season and gets Kuhl tonight who has a 4.97 xFIP vs. LHH.
  5. Miguel Cabrera – Again, great matchup for Detroit with Ranaudo. In his limited amount of work he’s allowed righties to do just as much damage as lefties, and Miggy has been better without the platoon advantage this year anyway. Miggy’s pricier than Votto or Freeman, but he could be used over them if you’re using a Tigers stack.

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. Matt Carpenter – Carpenter went through a mid-season lull, but he’s showing signs of heating back up with a 158 wRC+ in the last week. He still has a 161 wRC+ vs. RHP this season despite the lull, so he’s certainly an option against Peralta. The Cards are also getting a nice positive park shift on the road. Carp is a bit more affordable on DK.
  2. Daniel Murphy – The dude just keeps on hitting. He added two more hits on Monday night, and he has a 166 wRC+ vs. RHP this season.
  3. Ryan Schimpf – Schimpf is running hot over the last four games going 7-for-11 with two home runs. He has a 162 wRC+ vs. RHP for the season, and he’s by far the most affordable option listed here at 2B today.
  4. D.J. Lemahieu – Lemahieu has gone 5-for-13 in his last three after missing a few games with wrist inflammation, so the injury probably isn’t something you need to keep worrying about. He has a 145 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and will face LHP Rich Hill. He’s a bit more affordable on FD than DK.
  5. Jose Altuve – Altuve only has six hits in his last eight games, but he does have two home runs in each of the last two games. He doesn’t stay “cold” for long usually, so he could be about ready to rip off a string of multi-hit games. He’s semi-reasonably priced on FD and could be a GPP option there assuming he might be lower owned tonight.

Third Base

  1. Kris Bryant – Bryant had a 10-game hitting streak snapped on Monday night, a ten-game hitting streak in which he posted a .639 wOBA, 311 wRC+ and a 1.605 OPS. CHEEZOS! So yeah, I wouldn’t let his oh-fer-two on Monday scare you off too much. He’s perhaps a bit more affordable on FD.
  2. Nolan Arenado – Speaking of hot, Arenado is 18 for his last 33 with five home runs and a lot of that damage was done on the road. If you can find a way to spend on 3B in cash games, please do.
  3. Todd Frazier – If you can’t find a way to spend at this position, and I’m afraid you won’t be able to, Frazier is a more reasonable alternative. He’ll get LHP Daniel Norris who has a 4.56 xFIP vs. RHH dating back to last season and a 4.99 SIERA in his last four starts. Frazier is priced better on DK but is still the most affordable 3B option on either site.
  4. Manny Machado – Machado has been hot himself but has a tough-ish matchup with J.A. Happ. Perhaps he’s affordable enough to be tempting on DK, but if you’re not paying up for the big boys, I’d just go with Frazier.
  5. Josh Donaldson – Sorry for all the chalk here, but these studs are just going too well right now to ignore. Donaldson is working on an eight-game hitting streak and has six home runs in his last five games. I prefer Bryant or Arenado, but presumably so will the masses, so Donaldson could be a tad lower owned than normal given the other great options at this position.

Shortstop

  1. Tim Anderson – Anderson has hits in eight of his last nine and has hit first or second (mostly second) in each of those games after a brief stint hitting down the order. As mentioned, Norris struggles with right-handers and Anderson has a 140 wRC+ vs. LHP this season. He is priced very well on FD.
  2. Zack Cozart – Weaver is just as fly ball-friendly to same-handed hitters as he is to lefties, so this is a good matchup for Cozart as well. He’s been back in the lineup for a few days after some knee issues kept him out a bit. He’s gone 3-for-10 with a home run since his return. He sat on Monday night so he should be in there tonight.
  3. Carlos Correa – I really don’t love this matchup for Houston right-handers against Graveman who keeps the ball on the ground at a good clip. But Correa has some reverse splits, so he can handle the righty just fine. Plus, he has a five-game hitting streak going, and SS is pretty thin. Correa is more affordable on DK than FD.
  4. Corey Seager – Seager is unsurprisingly pricey in Coors, but his price tag and the lack of the platoon advantage could possibly depress his ownership rate a bit. He’s above average against lefties, so don’t rule him out.

Outfield

  1. Bryce Harper – Harper has a .428 wOBA in August, so he’s clearly back to a close approximation of his best self. His price tags have caught back up to him, but he’s “affordably expensive” on FD tonight.
  2. Mike Trout – No pitcher in action tonight has a higher xFIP in the last 30 days than Tim Adleman. Trout has a 177 wRC+ in the last 14 not counting his 2-for-3 with a home last night. You may not be able to afford him with all the spending to do at corner infield today, but if you go cheap at pitching, he’s certainly in play.
  3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis – Newy is one of my go-to value options. He has hits in five of his last six starts and two home runs in the last two weeks. We’ll get to Newy’s opposing starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright, in a bit more detail in a moment, but Waino is certainly struggling with a 7.50 ERA in his last five starts. If you need salary relief — and you will — consider Newy.
  4. Ryan Raburn – Here’s another value option, albeit one I’d only play in cash games. If you’d like some cheap Coors exposure on DK, Raburn is priced well there.
  5. Adam Duvall – Here’s another Cincy bat to potentially pick on Weaver with. Duvall usually hits fourth right behind Cozart and Votto, so that could be a stack option.
  6. Avisail Garcia – Since returning to the lineup on August 23, Garcia is 9-for-26 (.346), and he also has that nice matchup with Norris tonight. He’ll occasionally hit right behind Frazier, which could make for a mini-stack option. Garcia is decent salary relief on DK but is priced better on FD.
  7. J.D. Martinez – Again, great matchup for Tigers against Ranaudo. Martinez has a 148 wRC+ without the platoon advantage this season.
  8. Steve Pearce – Pearce has a 187 wRC+ vs. LHP this season, but he had to leave early on Sunday due to aggravation of a lingering elbow injury. He sat on Monday which could well be just because he’s a part time player, but the possibility that the elbow injury affects him tonight, even if he starts, has to be considered. He’s good salary relief on DK if he starts and you can live with a little risk.
  9. Brandon Guyer – Guyer has a 191 wRC+ vs. LHP this season and will face LHP Andrew Albers tonight who is making his first major league start since 2013. Albers has faced a little over 200 right-handers in his career and they’ve combined for a .334 wOBA against him. Guyer is priced very well on FD.

Starting Pitcher

  1. Max Scherzer – After struggling a bit in Coors and then inexplicably getting touched a little by Atlanta, Max rebounded his last time out with 10 strikeouts over eight innings against the O’s, who are better against right-handers than lefties. Scherzer is clearly the best pitcher of the slate and has a solidly above average matchup against Philly. Fade him in GPPs, but he’s certainly an option in cash, though rostering him will make rostering some of those stud hitters difficult.
  2. Johnny Cueto – Cueto is another guy that strikes me as a cash-only option. He also has a solidly above average matchup with Arizona, and the game is in pitcher-friendly San Francisco. But Cueto’s K% is around 22 percent for the season and only about 20 percent over the last month or so, so he may not have the upside for GPPs, even though Arizona does strike out a hair more than average.
  3. Zack Greinke – Greinke has had a rough go of it in four starts back from the DL with a 7.84 ERA. But he’s pitched much better than that with a 3.75 SIERA. Velocity hasn’t been an issue, and he got back over 100 pitches for the first time in his last outing. He has a tough matchup with San Francisco who strikes out very infrequently, but he’ll also get the benefit of that pitcher-friendly park. I’d understand if you can’t trust him in cash games, but I can. And surely his recent performance will keep his ownership down for GPPs. Don’t bother with him on FD at his price there, but he’s priced temptingly on DK.
  4. Tom Koehler – Koehler has a 2.61 ERA in his last five starts, and while his 3.90 xFIP in that stretch indicates he hasn’t been quite that good, he has certainly been pitching well for someone in his price range. The Mets have been a safely above average matchup for right-handers this season, and Citi is a favorable park for pitchers. Koehler is priced well on both sites but especially on FD, where he’s a tempting GPP option.
  5. Masahiro Tanaka – In his last five starts Tanaka has 34 strikeouts and only one walk in 34 innings pitched. That’s what you call ideal. He has a bit of a tough matchup against the Royals who make a ton of contact and don’t strikeout much, which makes me hesitant to use him in GPPs. But as well as he has been pitching, he’d make plenty of sense in cash. He’s a bit overpriced on both sites but is slightly more affordable on FD.
  6. Drew Pomeranz – Pomeranz definitely has some strikeout upside tonight with a 27 percent K% on the season and matchup with Tampa who has a 25.6 percent K% vs. LHP this season. Pom is way too expensive on DK, even just to take a shot with in a GPP, but he’s affordable enough on FD.
  7. J.A. Happ – It was mentioned earlier that the O’s are better against righties than lefties despite having a fairly right-handed heavy lineup. That’s because they have quite a few reverse splits guys in the lineup, so this matchup for the left-handed Happ isn’t as intimidating as you might think it is. Happ has also been pitching very well in the last month, arguably better than anyone else in action tonight. He has a 2.87 ERA (2.89 SIERA) in his last five starts with a 32.2 percent K% and 13.5 percent swinging strike rate. I don’t like his price tags, especially on FD, but it’s possible he’s overlooked a bit tonight in this matchup.
  8. Adam Wainwright – Wainwright has a fantastic matchup with the Brewers who have an 87 wRC+ vs. RHP with one of the highest strikeout rates in the league. But Waino has been losing velocity and the zone lately, which is always a deadly combination. His 7.50 ERA (5.16 SIERA) over his last five starts is clear proof of his struggles. But he’s cheap, exceedingly so on DK, and there is some K upside there, so you could gamble.

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.

8-30 DK

8-30 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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