Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: July 6, 2016 – DraftKings & FanDuel Analysis
Below we’ve got breakdowns for each game of Wednesday’s eight-game evening slate on DraftKings and FanDuel along with player rankings, suggested lineups, projections and a research chart. All players stats mentioned in the breakdowns are combined 2015-2016 numbers unless otherwise noted.
Royals @ Blue Jays
Toronto bats came through with a good matchup against homer-prone Chris Young yesterday as they took Young deep four times. Tonight they’ll get another Kansas City starter who leans toward the fly ball end of the spectrum, Ian Kennedy. Kennedy doesn’t have as big of a fly ball/long ball problem as Young does, but he does struggle quite a bit against lefties. Kennedy has 48.3 percent fly ball rate and 1.95 HR/9 against left-handed hitters this season. That makes Michael Saunders and Ezequiel Carrera (as long as he leads off) nice options. Saunders is priced better on DK and Carrera is priced better on FD, but both are priced well enough on both sites.
Kennedy is better against righties, but it would be more accurate to say he’s not as bad against righties. Toronto has some right-handed bats that can mash even without the platoon advantage, so feel free to toss pricey right-handers like Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson into a Toronto stack. Encarnacion is even priced just decently enough on DK to consider in cash games. Other righties like Russell Martin and Devon Travis are cheap enough on FD to be used as salary relief there. But keep any Toronto stack to the top half of the order.
Marcus Stroman is also a potential salary relief option. His 5.08 ERA, low soft contact rate and below average strikeout rate are discouraging, but Toronto did open as a -170 favorite in this one and Stroman is cheap on both sites. Ideally you’d find a way to make more expensive pitchers work in cash games, but there is the allure of a cheap guy starting for a team that’s a large favorite in cash games, especially on a short slate like this. Pass on him in GPPs as the strikeouts just aren’t there and his opponent doesn’t strike out much.
Stack suggestion: Toronto 1-5
Angels @ Rays
This one is primarily about the bats. The starters, Jered Weaver and Drew Smyly, are both fly ball heavy pitchers with HR/9’s this year of 1.90 and 1.78, respectively. The Tampa ball park could help mitigate that weakness to some degree, but hitters here still have a decent chance of donging.
For the Rays, Corey Dickerson and Brad Miller are both above average and both have some pop against right-handed pitching with each having an ISO north of .200 vs. RHP this season. Miller isn’t much of a value, but he’s been going decently lately and could be worth his price tag on DK. Dickerson has been struggling a bit, but that has his price tags down at very nice levels on both sites. Nick Franklin could be a punt option at 2B/SS if you need one, and Logan Morrison could be a part of a Rays stack if you go that route.
The Angels are less appealing since Smyly’s five-plus ERA is much more unearned than Weaver’s. Smyly’s walk rate is better than Weaver’s better-than-average walk rate, and Smyly’s strikeout rate is more than double what Weaver’s is. Because of that strikeout ability, Smyly is potentially a GPP option on DK where he’s priced well. Unfortunately, the Angels strike out less than almost anyone against RHP, which limits Smyly’s upside a bit. Against Smyly, Mike Trout and Yunel Escobar are options. Trout because he’s Trout (and because he’s priced reasonably on FD) and Escobar because he has a 131 wRC+ vs. LHP and a 159 wRC+ in the last 14 days.
Stack suggestion: Tampa 2-6
Rangers @ Red Sox
Steven Wright is a stay away, both the pitcher himself and the batters he’ll be facing. Wright defies the conventional “sabermetric” analysis one does of a pitcher thanks to the enigmatic knuckleball. I’ve faded him all season long and have been generally wrong to do so until his last couple of starts. One of those starts was a rough outing against these same Rangers, but I still have such a lack of a grasp on Wright that I won’t expose myself to him in any fashion.
The play here is Boston bats against Martin Perez. Perez has a 3.39 ERA through 17 starts this season, but regression is coming. Perez’s strikeout rate is just barely in double digits (woof), and his walk rate is also in double digits (double woof). That’s led to an xFIP of 4.90. His BABIP is abut 30 points lower than his career average, and his strand rate is about seven percentage points higher than his career average. Perez does keep balls on the ground at a high rate, which is why his ERA has always outperformed his peripherals a little bit. But his current ERA-xFIP gap is not “a little bit” and will surely narrow at some point. He’s not generating nearly enough soft contact to maintain this differential.
Boston is better against right-handed pitching, but they still rank sixth in wRC+ vs. LHP. Xander Bogaerts has the best numbers against LHP with a wRC+ of 143 against LHP. Bogaerts has been struggling, but he’s priced so well on FD that you almost don’t care. Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia all have decent numbers against RHP but not elite numbers. Of those three, Hanley is the one swinging the best bat with a 220 wRC+ in the last 14 days. He’s priced well on FD, Mookie is priced well enough on FD, and Pedroia is over-priced and best reserved for a Boston stack.
Stack suggestion: Boston 1-5
Behind the paywall you’ll find breakdowns of the remaining games, player rankings, suggested lineups and my research and projections chart.
Yankees @ White Sox
This game is all about Michael Pineda. He leads all starters in action tonight with a 3.29 SIERA, but his 5.24 ERA is obviously a bit concerning. But ignore the season ERA and focus on his ERA in six June starts: 2.75 (2.46 xFIP). Pineda’s K:BB in June was a bit better than six to one, and his hard contact rate for the month was under 30 percent. The White Sox rank 24th in wRC+ vs. RHP, so this is a safe matchup for him outside of Chicago’s park not being overly pitcher-friendly.
I’d be OK with Pineda in cash games, but he doesn’t totally make sense in those contests tonight. There’s a safer, more expensive option we’ll get to in a minute, and it would be tough to roster both Pineda and that other option on a two-pitcher site like DK. And the other option is the best choice on a one-pitcher site like FD. But fire away with Pineda in GPPs, especially on FD where he’s priced a bit better.
Yankee bats are in play against Miguel Gonzalez, but the only one really worth considering is Brian McCann. McCann has the platoon advantage and a 162 wRC+ in the last 14 days. He’s priced a bit better on DK but is priced reasonably enough on both sites.
This is the one game that looks like that it could have issues with rain tonight, so make sure to check the forecast in the afternoon if you’re considering Pineda. Any potential for a rain delay would make Pineda too risky to roster. A late start would be fine if the game is expected to play uninterrupted once it gets going, but be cautious about the possibility of a mid-game delay.
Mariners @ Astros
Bats from both teams are in play here. Seattle ranks fourth in wRC+ vs. RHP and will face RHP Mike Fiers today who has a 1.37 HR/9 this season. Lefties Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, Seth Smith and Adam Lind all have solid numbers against RHP. Seager and Smith are going the best of the bunch lately with each having a wRC+ north of 200 in the last seven days. Seager is a particularly nice value on FD. Cano is also cheap on FD, and Lind is a good salary relief option on both sites. If you stack M’s, don’t skip Nelson Cruz who owns a 134 wRC+ vs. RHP. Fiers also leans fly ball-heavy against RHH, so Cruz is a candidate to go yard.
The Astros should be good against LHP with all the right-handed studs they have, but they rank only 21st in wRC+ vs LHP. That said, Jose Altuve and George Springer mash lefties with each having a wRC+ north of 150 vs. LHP. Both guys have been hitting well recently and are good options. Altuve is priced quite well on FD, while Springer is too pricey on FD but priced reasonably enough on DK. Carlos Correa doesn’t mash lefties like you might expect, but he’s priced well enough on DK to be an option there. If Evan Gattis hits ninth again tonight, he could part of a Houston stack wrapping around with Springer at the top of the order.
Stack suggestions: Seattle 2-6, Houston 9-4
Pirates @ Cardinals
Jamie Garcia’s season-long numbers look decent enough with an ERA and xFIP both just on the right side of 4.00. But ha has struggled a bit since the beginning of June with an ERA and xFIP both in the mid-fours. That plus a matchup with Pittsburgh who ranks seventh in wRC+ vs. LHP makes Garcia too risky for cash games. But Garcia is perhaps a bit under-priced and the Pirates have the second highest strikeout rate vs. LHP, so there could be some value potential here. Feel free to run him out in a GPP on either site.
Garcia keeps the ball on the ground enough to make Pittsburgh bats dicey despite their strong numbers against LHP this season. But do consider Jordy Mercer and his 129 wRC+ vs. LHP at his shallow position. He could be good salary relief on FD.
For the Cards, avoid their left-handed hitters against LHP Jeff Locke who does well to keep the ball on the ground a lot against same-handed hitters. But right-hander Stephen Piscotty is always an option against LHP given his 175 wRC+ vs. LHP. He’s priced much more reasonably on FD than DK.
Padres @ D’Backs
Neither pitcher is an option in this game, so you’d think quite a few hitters would be in play in hitter-friendly Arizona against bad pitching options. But the only players of real interest here are a couple of third base eligible guys, Jake Lamb and Yangervis Solarte. Lamb has a 127 wRC+ vs. RHP and a 198 wRC+ in the last 14 days along with a very reasonable price tag on FD. Solarte has a 117 wRC+ vs. RHP ad a 203 wRC+ in the last 14 days. Solarte is getting a nice positive park shift on the road and is priced about right on both sites.
Rockies @ Giants
Johnny Cueto is the aformentioned “safer, more expensive” cash game option for the evening. The Giants opened as the largest favorite of the evening, just as they did last night. That didn’t result in a win for Madison Bumgarner despite six innings of shutout ball, so remember that being a heavy Vegas favorite is no guarantee of a pitcher getting those win points. But it’s not just the moneyline that makes Cueto the safest option tonight. His home ball park is ruthlessly pitcher-friendly, and he leads all starters in action tonight in ERA and in limiting hard contact. He’s priced reasonably enough to roster a respectable collection of hitters alongside him, so he’s your cash game guy tonight. Fade him in GPPs given his likely high ownership.
**Players are listed according to their FD positional eligibility
- Brian McCann (better value on DK)
- Buster Posey (better value on FD)
- Evan Gattis
- Russell Martin
- Edwin Encarnacion (better value on DK)
- Hanley Ramirez (better value on FD)
- Adam Lind
- Logan Morrison
- Jose Altuve (better value on FD)
- Robinson Cano
- Nick Franklin
- Devon Travis
- Kyle Seager (better value on FD)
- Josh Donaldson
- Jake Lamb (better value on FD)
- Yangervis Solarte
- Xander Bogaerts
- Carlos Correa (better value on DK)
- Brad Miller (better value on DK)
- Jordy Mercer (better value on FD)
- Mookie Betts
- Mike Trout (better value on FD)
- Corey Dickerson (better value on DK)
- George Springer (better value on DK)
- Michael Saunders
- Seth Smith
- Stephen Piscotty (better value on FD)
- Nelson Cruz
- Johnny Cueto
- Michael Pineda (better value on FD)
- Jaime Garcia (GPP only)
- Drew Smyly (GPP only, DK only)
- Marcus Stroman
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.
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. – Projected FIP (based on ZiPS) of opposing pitcher against hitters of that handedness
BP Adj. – 2015 Fangraphs HR park factor for LHH or RHH
Pen Adj. – 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.