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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: June 29, 2015

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We have a nine-game slate on this Monday, with all games under the lights. I’m back with the breakdown, and here to discuss the top plays and values for today’s contests on DraftKings. I’ll give you my thoughts on the slate, and at the bottom we have rankings of the top plays at each position. If you’re on Twitter, you can find me @RyNoonan.


It’s difficult to nail down weather hours and hours before first pitch, but there could be some rain in Cincinnati and really strong winds in Oakland. 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

This is really something to behold. I write about pitching quite often and I don’t think I’ve seen a slate like this all season. We’re naturally limited since it’s not a full slate, but we’re without any clear ace and the top priced pitchers have less than ideal matchups. No one deserves a full write-up here.

Pitching quick takes:

    • C.J. Wilson ($8,400) has improved his command this season, making him a viable option when the matchup is solid. Despite pitching at home tonight as a favorite, he’s taking on the Yankees who’ve hit left-handed pitching well all season long (4th in wOBA).
    • Clay Buchholz ($8,000) revival-of-sorts has been a pleasant surprise for Red Sox fans. His new change-up has been an incredibly effective out-pitch for him. He’s limiting hard-hit contact like never before, throwing more first pitch strikes and inducing more swinging strikes then any other time in his career. His ERA is nearly a full run higher than his 2.72 FIP and his HR/FB rate is below the league average, but that’ll happen when you’re limiting hard-hit contact. With all of those verbal bouquets behind us, it’s difficult to roster Buchholz today against the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre. I’d rather take my chances with him though, if you’re choosing between him and Wilson.
    • Lance McCullers ($7,700) has pitched exceptionally well in since coming up, but a matchup against the ultra-aggressive Kansas City Royals is less than ideal. They don’t walk or strike out, so they put a lot of stress on their opponent and minimize any potential strikeout upside McCullers may possess.
    • There aren’t a lot of great things to say about Mike Leake ($6,900) but he keeps the ball on the ground and has limited hard-hit contact this season better than any season in his career. Pitching at home in Cincinnati is less than ideal, but a matchup against the Twins (27th in wOBA against right-handed pitching) can neutralize that a bit.
    • Mike Bolsinger ($6,700) heads to the desert to take on the Diamondbacks, which is the second-best run scoring environment in the league over the past few seasons. He’s an option today because of the slate, but I’d look elsewhere.
    • Jimmy Nelson ($6,600) has pitched well against bad teams this season. I’m not sure what to make of that long-term, but it bodes well for his prospects today against the Phillies. The Phillies are the worst team offensively against right-handed pitching, but they don’t strike out a ton. Beggars can’t be choosers today.
    • It’s always better to face the Rockies (99 wRC+) outside of Coors, and Oakland is quite the negative park shift for them. Add to the fact that Kendall Graveman ($6,200) has strung together four consecutive outings where he’s worked at least seven innings and given up 2 runs or fewer, and he’s a legit option tonight.
    • It’s difficult to draw any concrete conclusions on Joe Blanton ($4,800) at this point, but he looks like a different pitcher. In every sense of the word. After working out of the bullpen to start the season, he’s been moved in to the rotation after one start it appears to be a genius move. Ok ok, I’m trying here. It looks like Blanton is leaning heavily on his sinker again, something that worked well for him in the past. There’s upside here with strike outs since the Astros swing and miss so much (26%).

Stack Options/Offensive Plays

According to Vegas, our best stack options today are Baltimore (4.9 runs), Los Angeles Dodgers (4.9) and the Athletics (4.6).

Baltimore is at home against Wandy Rodriguez and the Rangers. The only issue I have with Baltimore is that they’re priced accordingly. You can get some cheap exposure to them with guys like Nolan Reimold and Caleb Joseph (if he catches). Manny Machado is a great play, but he’s extremely expensive today. That may not be an issue since it’s difficult to spend all of your funds today with the lack of pitching talent.

The Dodgers are in Arizona against former Dodgers prospect Allen Webster. As we noted earlier, Arizona is very friendly for hitters, and the Dodgers 118 wRC+ is the best mark in the league against right-handed pitching. If you’re going with a full on 5/6 man stack, the Dodgers are my favorite play.

Despite the game taking place in Oakland and not Colorado, Vegas like the A’s tonight. They’re a much better club against right-handed pitching (.319 wOBA) and they face David Hale at home tonight. I don’t love their value tonight, but again, it doesn’t matter much with the slate we’re working with. Don’t forget Marcus Semien, who hits righties better than he hits left-handers.

I’m not a huge fan of 5/6 player stacks, personally. I know that there’s proven success with that model, it just hasn’t worked well for me. I prefer to mini-stack 2-4 players from a lineup, tops. I like the middle of the Reds lineup tonight, in particular Joey Votto, Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce. Fitting all three into your lineup isn’t often easy, but it certainly is tonight. Mike Pelfry is not good despite his attempts to pretend otherwise, but he’s been decent at home. Tonight in Cincinnati will be a different experience. He has a 5.16 xFIP when facing left-handed hitters, and has a -1.8 K-BB%. That’s impressively awful, actually. Sure, Frazier’s not a lefty, but he hits a dong every day basically, so we’re good here.

The Brewers as a team have struggled against right-handed pitching (82 wRC+), but that’s not as bad as Sean O’Sullivan has been against left-handed bats. His 5.68 FIP and .467 wOBA are by far the worst marks in the league. Look for Adam Lind and Gerardo Parra to have strong nights.

Lastly, the Rangers can roll out a pretty left-handed heavy lineup, one that should give Bud Norris fits. He’s getting pounded by left-handed hitters as well (.410 wOBA) so Rougned Odor and Joey Gallo are strong plays at a suppressed price.


Player Rankings


1. Caleb Joseph ($3,100) Baltimore Orioles (IF he plays)

2. Yasmani Grandal ($4,100) Los Angeles Dodgers

3. Stephen Vogt ($4,300) Oakland Athletics

First Base

1. Joey Votto ($4,800) Cincinnati Reds

2. Albert Pujols ($4,400) Los Angeles Angels

3. Adam Lind ($4,300) Milwaukee Brewers

4. Price Fielder ($4,800) Texas Rangers

Second Base

1. Rougned Odor ($3,300) Texas Rangers

2. Ben Zobrist ($4,700) Oakland Athletics

3. Steven Pearce ($3,800) Baltimore Orioles

Third Base

1. Justin Turner ($4,400) Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Manny Machado ($5,100) Baltimore Orioles

3. Joey Gallo ($3,300) Texas Rangers

4. Todd Frazier ($5,600) Cincinnati Reds


1. Marcus Semien ($3,700) Oakland Athletics

2. Troy Tulowitzki ($4,700) Colorado Rockies

3. Kike Hernandez ($2,800) Los Angeles Dodgers


1. Joc Pederson ($4,400) Los Angeles Dodgers

2. Jay Bruce ($5,000) Cincinnati Reds

3. Mike Trout ($4,900) Los Angeles Angels

4. Nolan Reimold ($3,200) Baltimore Orioles

5. Chris Young ($3,500) New York Yankees

6. David Peralta ($3,800) Arizona Diamondbacks

Starting Pitcher

1. Clay Buchholz ($8,000) Boston Red Sox

2. Jimmy Nelson ($6,600) Milwaukee Brewers

3. Joe Blanton ($4,800) Kansas City Royals

4. Kendall Graveman ($6,200) Oakland Athletics

5. Mike Leake ($6,900) Cincinnati Reds

*Rankings are price sensitive

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