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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: May 28, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Thursday’s six-game evening 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.

Forecast

The only rain concern today is in Baltimore, and this post is only addressing the six-game slate that excludes the Baltimore game(s). Make sure to check DailyBaseballData.com and @KevinRothWx to make sure nothing changes tomorrow afternoon.

Pitching Perspective

It should be no surprise that Corey Kluber ($11,600) is the highest projected pitcher of the day according to my model given the relative weakness of the starters going today. He also has the third best value grade, which doesn’t often happen for the highest projected pitcher of the day. His opponent, Seattle, is seven percent worse than league average and has the seventh worst strikeout rate against right-handers, plus he’s getting a bump from ball park as the game is in Seattle. The only reason not to roster Kluber is to be contrarion in tournaments.

A.J. Burnett ($10,100) has the second highest projection of they day, but he’s nowhere close to being a good value. The matchup is good, the ball park is good, and the pitcher is good. But the sum of those parts is not worth his price tag according to my model.

Aside from Kluber, my second favorite pitcher of the day is Ian Kennedy ($7,100). His ERA is over 6.00. but his strikeout and walk rates are both better than league average. The problem is that he’s been extremely unlucky with fly balls leaving the yard. Through seven starts, his HR/FB rate is a whopping 24.3 percent. Kennedy has always been a bit worse than average in terms of home run suppression, but so far he’s just been crazy unlucky. I’ll take a chance on his positive regression starting tonight and getting some value out of that price tag.

If you want to go cheap with a pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez ($5,200) is interesting. This will be the 22-year old’s first major league appearance, so it’s obviously a risky play. That’s especially true given that his opponent is scorching hot Texas. But Escobar displayed decent control in the upper minors, so his potential to blow up might be a little bit lower than it is for some first time starters. His strikeout rates weren’t eye popping in the minors, but he does have some swing-and-miss ability. But at that price point, you don’t need a ton of strikeouts to get value.

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

Red Sox. Nick Martinez‘s 1.96 ERA has cost me a fair bit of money this year. But his 4.88 xFIP means there’s a good chance he’s going to pay me back at some point. I refuse to miss out on profiting from his regression. I’ll be using Boston hitters in virtually every lineup, and stacking five or six of them together in a tournament is not something I’m opposed to at all.

While I imagine the Red Sox-Rangers game will garner the most attention offensively, the Tigers at Angels game is the one where I like both offenses. Buck Farmer will make his fifth career appearance and first big league appearance of the year for the Tigers, so the normal top four for the Angels make for a nice stack. C.J. Wilson will start on the other side of that game, and the Tigers have the second best wRC+ against left-handed pitchers. The normal 2-5 for the Tigers are all right-handed and also make for a good stack.

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

Catcher

  1. Carlos Santana – $4,000 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Blake Swihart – $3,300 – Boston Red Sox
  3. Josh Phegley – $2,700 – Oakland Athletics

First Base

  1. David Ortiz – $4,500 – Boston Red Sox
  2. Albert Pujols – $4,200 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Billy Butler – $3,400 – Oakland Athletics

Second Base

  1. Ian Kinsler – $4,000 – Detroit Tigers
  2. Ben Zobrist – $3,800 – Oakland Athletics
  3. Dustin Pedroia – $4,400 – Boston Red Sox

Third Base

  1. Pablo Sandoval – $4,100 – Boston Red Sox
  2. Miguel Cabrera – $4,900 – Detroit Tigers
  3. Adrian Beltre – $4,500 – Texas Rangers

Shortstop

  1. Marcus Semien – $3,500 – Oakland Athletics
  2. Erick Aybar – $3,700 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Hanley Ramirez – $4,800 – Boston Red Sox

Outfield

  1. Mike Trout – $5,300 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Kole Calhoun – $4,300 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – $4,100 – Detroit Tigers
  4. Mookie Betts – $4,500 – Boston Red Sox
  5. J.D. Martinez – 3,900 – Detroit Tigers
  6. Brett Gardner – $4,100 – New York Yankees

Starting Pitcher

  1. Corey Kluber – $11,600 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Ian Kennedy – $7,100 – San Diego Padres
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez – $5,200 – Boston Red Sox
  4. A.J. Burnett – $10,100 – Pittsburgh Pirates

*Rankings are price sensitive

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2015 Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitcher Notes

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