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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: June 23, 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 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.


There maybe some chances for rain in the Bronx and DC, but the forecast doesn’t appear to have anything in it that could cause a postponement. Delays may be possible, but rain doesn’t look like it should be a big factor today. As for wind, it looks like there may be a decent wind blowing in from left in DC and a decent wind blowing out to straight center in Boston.

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

Let’s start with the three guys with five-figure salaries tonight, David Price ($11,600), Madison Bumgarner ($11,200) and Zack Greinke ($10,500). First of all, my model hates Price. ZiPS just isn’t a big fan as his projected ERA from here on out is 3.69. That’s obviously a far cry from his 2.50 ERA to date, but his xFIP is sitting at 3.54, so maybe ZiPS isn’t that far off. And because Price has pitched to a 2.50 ERA, with a great June driving that ERA entirely, his salary has skyrocketed. I just can’t pay anything close to the price he’s going for right now.

As for the other two, Bumgarner has the better ball park while Greinke has the better matchup. In my model, Greinke’s positive matchup shift is quite a bit larger than Bumgarner’s ball park bump, and Greinke comes out with the top projection of the day. Given that he has the lower salary, I obviously prefer the cheaper guy who has a higher projection. But Bumgarner’s price tag isn’t unreasonable, and he makes plenty of sense in cash games. Greinke also works in cash games, but with a matchup against the strikeout-prone Cubs, he has the upside you want in a tournament.

Chris Archer ($9,800) and Danny Salazar ($9,300) are also pretty pricey, but both have really tough matchups against Toronto and Detroit, respectively. Both have gobs of talent and can rack up strikeouts on any given night against any opponent, so they could make for tournament plays. And with their tough matchups, they’re likely to be lightly owned. If you like to gamble, bypassing the pricey options for one of these guys is your play. My model thinks Salazar’s price is about right but thinks Archer is too expensive, so I’d go with Salazar if this where your head is.

Among the mid-price options ($7,500-$9,000), there’s a whole lot of meh. But of that group, Jeff Samardzija ($8,000) has both the best projection and the best value grade, so he’s the play in that price range. He’s getting a positive park shift pitching on the road in Minnesota, and he has a solid matchup with the Twins who have a wRC+ of 84 vs. RHP along with the ninth highest strikeout rate vs. RHP.

Moving on to the cheap options, Jesse Chavez ($6,600) remains underpriced. I understand he’s not in an ideal situation tonight on the road in Texas, but it’s not a bad matchup as the Rangers are mid-pack in both wRC+ and strikeout rate against right-handers. But the main thing here is that Chavez has a price tag that is below the average price for a starter today.  That makes little sense given his strikeout and walk rates are both safely above average. He does have some regression coming with an ERA of 2.52 and an XFIP of 3.49, and maybe this is the night some of that regression happens. But the price tag is too good to be scared off Chavez.

If you’re looking for a super bargain, my model gives Jeremy Guthrie ($5,100) the best value grade of the day, but I just can’t. I know the model is giving him a big bump because he’s facing the Mariners who have the third-highest strikeout rate against right-handers. But when you have a 10.6 percent strikeout rate like Guthrie does, you’re not primed to take advantage of a matchup like that. I don’t imagine I’ll go cheaper than Chavez tonight.

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

We must, as always, start with the game at Coors Field. Kyle Kendrick is pitching for Colorado, and left-handed hitters are slugging .570 against him this year. That makes David Peralta ($4,300) of the Diamondbacks a good play, and he actually has a reasonable price tag, a rarity for hitters at Coors. Yasmany Tomas ($4,700) isn’t as reasonably priced, and he hits for more power against left-handers, but he also warrants consideration given his circumstances.

The D’Back studs, Paul Goldschmidt ($6,000) and A.J. Pollock ($4,900), have bad value grades for the day, but stacking them along with Peralta and Tomas wouldn’t be a bad way to spend your money if you go cheap with pitching. I’m less interested in Rockies because I kinda like Arizona’s starter, Chase Anderson (generally speaking, not today), and their price tags don’t grab me. Ben Paulsen ($3,500) is the one guy I might consider as a salary relief option.

Outside of Coors, the best targets for stacks according to Vegas are Oakland, New York (Yankees) and Boston.

Let’s start with the A’s. My model doesn’t have huge projections for A’s, and thus they have some bad value grades with the DK pricing model agreeing with Vegas and inflating Athletic salaries today. The reason for the optimism is that they’re facing Chi Chi Gonzalez. Gonzalez has a 0.90 ERA in four starts, but it couldn’t be more of a mirage. His xFIP is 5.04 giving Chi Chi the largest ERA-xFIP gap I’ve ever seen. His XFIP is so high because he has just 10 strikeouts in 30 innings compared to 12 walks. Things are going to get ugly for Chi Chi at some point, and it could absolutely be tonight at home. If you want to stack A’s, Billy Burns, Stephen Vogt, Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler are your guys.

Moving on to the Yankees, there are a ton of Bombers towards the top of my projections. I looked at the top 55 projetced players today (out of 367), and seven of those 55 are Yankees. No other team has more than four players in the top 55. The reason for all the Yanks is they’re left-handed-heavy and facing a starter that has really struggled with left-handers. Sean O’Sullivan has allowed lefties to slug .521 in his career, and the 100 lefties he has faced this year have slugged .636. Whichever Yankee lefties end up the lineup will all be options, and, with the exception of Brian McCann, they all have good value grades.

As for the Red Sox, I could get on board with Vegas if the Sox had more left-handed hitters I liked. They’re facing Ubaldo Jimenez who has been pretty bad against left-handed hitters this year and last, but he has been better than average against right-handers. If Pablo Sandoval returns tonight as he’s supposed to, Sandoval, David Ortiz and Brock Holt could make sense as a mini-stack if they hit 2-4-5 in the order or something similar.

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


  1. Jonathan Lucroy – $3,600 – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Brian McCann – $4,800 – New York Yankees
  3. Carlos Ruiz – $2,700 – Philadelphia Phillies

First Base

  1. Mark Teixeira – $4,500 – New York Yankees
  2. David Ortiz – $4,500 – Boston Red Sox
  3. Lucas Duda – $3,600 – New York Mets
  4. Paul Goldschmidt – $6,000 – Arizona Diamondbacks

Second Base

  1. Robinson Cano – $3,600 – Seattle Mariners
  2. Neil Walker – $3,000 – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Jose Altuve – $3,900 – Houston Astros

Third Base

  1. Kyle Seager – $3,500 – Seattle Mariners
  2. Maikel Franco – $4,100 – Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Chase Headley – $3,900 – New York Yankees
  4. Joey Gallo – $3,600 – Texas Rangers


  1. Troy Tulowitzki – $4,800 – Colorado Rockies
  2. Brad Miller – $3,100 – Seattle Mariners
  3. Chris Owings – $4,000 – Arizona Diamondbacks


  1. Ryan Braun – $4,400 – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Brett Gardner – $4,600 – New York Yankees
  3. David Peralta – $4,300 – Arizona Diamondbacks
  4. Christian Yelich – $3,800 – Miami Marlins
  5. Carlos Gonzalez – $4,800 – Colorado Rockies
  6. Ramon Flores – $2,200 – New York Yankees

Starting Pitcher

  1. Zack Greinke – $10,500 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Jesse Chavez – $6,600 – Oakland Athletics
  3. Madison Bumgarner – $11,200 – San Francisco Giants
  4. Jeff Samardzija – $8,000 – Chicago White Sox
  5. Danny Salazar – $9,300 – Cleveland Indians

*Rankings are price sensitive

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