This is a Coors Field slate and the weather is going to be hot, so you’re going to want to jam Coors Field plays into your FanDuel lineups. The biggest issue in your quest for 4 Astros is that they are a right handed hitting lineup and Peter Lambert, while terrible, is actually pretty decent at keeping the ball on the ground vs righties (52.9% and 30.6% vs lefties), so you’re going to want to target him with fly ball righties and anyone who swings a bat from the left side. Alex Bregman (36.2%), Robinson Chirinos (33.3%) and Tyler White (39.4%) are the righties who keep the ball off the ground (Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are the lefties who project to start and are good plays). But, Lambert isn’t someone who you avoid playing ground ball righties at Coors because he can’t get them to swing and miss at all (11.5%) so George Springer and Jose Altuve are fine plays due to the fact that you’re in Coors and those 2 are capable of making contact and they do have some raw power. On the other side, Miley is like Lambert in his ground balls, except he is fairly neutral in his splits. But he throws with his left hand and the 2 best plays on the Rockies when they face a guy who throws baseballs with his left hand just happen to be guys who hit the ball in the air with some frequency. Trevor Story (31.1%) and Nolan Arenado (36.5%) are the top plays, but this game environment is going to be so good, playing any 4 Rockies is acceptable as well.

On to the picks…

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I don’t have any particularly insightful thoughts to put in an introductory paragraph, so let me just talk about how bonkers yesterday’s FanDuel slate was in regards to offense. The Cardinals had a Vegas Implied Total of 5 and they were the 11th highest offense on the slate. Five teams (Atlanta, Boston, New York (Yankees), Cleveland and Chicago (Cubs) all were projected by Teamonator to score 6 or more runs. A sixth team (San Diego) wasn’t too far behind at 5.96. It was truly bizarre. Well, actually, I’m not sure it’s bizarre anymore. With the summer months approaching and everything we know so far about the increased HR rates and increased offense (such as the ball or the emphasis on launch angle/exit velocity), these types of slates may become more and more common. Should make for an interesting year.

On to the picks…

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Before I get to today’s picks, let me start with one specific element of today’s FanDuel slate that I felt needed to be addressed. I wasn’t sure what to do with the Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks game. On its face, the game looks like a stay-away from hitters as both Jon Gray and Zach Greinke are solid enough pitchers that there will be far better matchups elsewhere. However, it is expected to be 102 degrees in Phoenix at first pitch. That is stupidly hot.  More after a word from our sponsor.

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So Didi was activated and played on Friday, and FanDuel surprised the heck out of me by preemptively raising his price to $3,000. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that random price setting guy at FanDuel reads my articles. So thank you, random FanDuel Price Setting Guy for doing the dirty work and making Didi Gregorius $3,000 instead of $2,000, you truly are a Real American Hero (cue the music from those Bud Light ads about Real American Heros / Real Men of Genius). I got nothing else for an introduction today, but the next time I need FanDuel to do something, I shall make sure to include it in the article.

On to the picks…

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The Marlins shocked the world and put up a 16 spot vs the Brewers last night, but the Brewers should get their revenge tonight. Sandy Alcantara is going to be briefly on the mound for the Marlins. And the reason he’s going to be on the mound ‘briefly’ is because his overall numbers of 16.9% strikeouts, 12.9% walks and 46.8% groundballs are quite bad, and worse vs lefties. Alcantara turns the crappiest of left handed batters into studs. He strikes out 11.9% and walks 14.8%. He does get ground balls vs lefties with a 49.1% rate. Luckily the Brewers have a lefty who is good who you may have heard of. Travis Shaw historically has been a good hitter with a career .335 wOBA, and the last 2 years he’s had wOBAs of .361 and .351. This year, however, has been a completely different story. He’s “hit” for a .254 wOBA, and thus his price has dropped to $2,200. His statcast numbers are similar to previous years where he’s ranged from 88.3-88.6 exit velocity, and from 14.6-16.6 average launch angle. This year those numbers are 87.6 and 21.8. Given the sample size, we’re talking about minor differences, and he should continue to be the hitter he was the last 2 years. And at $2,200 he’s a fantastic play. Also, Didi Gregorious is $2,000 and will be returning to the field Friday. FanDuel almost definitely will not fix his price before then. I told you I would bring this up each week until he returns.

On to the picks…

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Two weeks ago I mentioned that you’re going to have to familiarize yourself with all these call-ups because a lot of them are going to be mis-priced as punts/extreme values for the first few games. Let’s see here – D.J. Stewart, $2,300, Jack Mayfield, $2,200, Yaz’s grandson, $2,700 (I’m not going to look up how to spell the last name, even though the whole point of this intro is that a good DFS player should familiarize themselves with all these guys coming up, so okay, fine, Mike Yastrzemski, $2,700). If you’re not making sure to know each and every one of these guys, even someone like Garrett Stubbs (a $2,000 catcher that you’re probably never, ever playing on FanDuel),  then you’re just putting yourself at that much of a disadvantage. Last week I pointed out that Didi Gregorious is $2,000 and will be coming back sometime soon. FanDuel hasn’t fixed that yet and it will happen sooner rather than later. I will continue to include that factoid in every introductory paragraph for this article until he returns.

On to the picks…

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Veteran DFS players know that FanDuel is horrible about proactively pricing guys who haven’t played so far this year due to injury (as opposed to players who already played this year and then got hurt). This past year in NBA DFS, Kevin Love made his season debut on Feburary 4th, basically four months into the season, and was $3,500 (the bare minimum). He was on a minutes limit so the entire slate became a question of whether he was worth it given the minutes restriction. However, in baseball, when a hitter comes back, odds are (and there are exceptions of course) he’s going to play the entire game (or at least be the DH for the entire game, but DFS lineups don’t care about whether you’re actually in the field). Why bring this up? Because it’s going to come into play fairly soon. More on this after a word from our sponsor.

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As we move into Super 2 season, we are coming to the point of the season where there are going to be a lot more call ups and you’re going to see names that you may or may not recognize but you should know to succeed on FanDuel. Obviously you will know who Keston Hiura is, but there are a couple hundred players who might get called up due to injuries or just dominating performances. Do you know who Oscar Mercado is? Cleveland called him up after he hit .294/.396/.496 this year in AAA. Given how bad Cleveland’s offense is, he could easily be moved up to the 2-slot sooner rather than later, and I doubt his price will be particularly high. Do you know who Charlie Tilson is? He can’t hit, but he steals bases as good as anyone, and the White Sox called him up and threw him right into the leadoff spot on Monday (and he was $2,600). Do you know who Shed Long is? Yes, that’s his actual name.

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I’ll get to the FanDuel slate in a minute, but Ohio baseball teams had quite the day yesterday. They started the day in Cleveland, where Lucas Giolito, he of the 5.32 ERA, shut out Cleveland pretty easily through 7.1 innings. Though after years of being sub replacement level, Giolito actually is showing signs of being decent and increasing his strikeout rate from 16.1% to 28.9% in only 23 innings. Then, later in the day, Cincinnati forced Mike Fiers (6.81 ERA and 5.33 xFIP) to throw 131 pitches in 9 innings while getting no hits and managing only two walks. This isn’t new, both teams have been playing like horse poop all year. Cleveland has now tied with the Marlins for most futile offense in the Majors with a 67 wRC+, and the Reds are 25th with a 78 wRC+. Both of these teams were expected to actually have decent offenses and just aren’t any good so far. Anyway, I have nothing to say here, just that yesterday, these 2 Ohio teams were awful and have been awful all year.

On to the picks…

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It’s a 4 ace slate today on FanDuel and we have to figure out which one we want to play in cash. Let’s see how the numbers compare:

Aaron Nola – 26.3% K, 7.2% BB 3.34 xFIP

Max Scherzer – 34.5% K, 5.5% BB, 2.96 xFIP

Corey Kluber – 25.6% K, 5% BB, 3.4 xFIP

Jacob deGrom – 32.9% K, 5.9% BB, 2.68 xFIP

Obviously Scherzer and deGrom are the best pitchers of the group, but how do their matchups compare?

Tigers (vs Nola) – 26.6% K, 8.6% BB, .138 ISO

Cardinals (vs Scherzer) – 21.3% K, 9.2% BB, .191 ISO

Marlins (vs Kluber) – 27.5% K, 7.1% BB, .110 ISO

Reds (vs deGrom) – 23.9% K, 8.2% BB, .164 ISO

The best pitcher of the group gets the worst matchup, and the worst pitcher gets the best matchup (for the purposes of this exercise, because this is DFS and we care about strikeouts). Power is way up this year, and Scherzer has a propensity to give up bombs. He also has the worst matchup, and costs the most, so he’s not my cash game pitcher. Jacob deGrom is the next best pitcher, but the Reds have some pop and they don’t strike out as much as the Marlins or Tigers. Especially this year, we want to target teams that have trouble hitting the ball out, and the two teams that really struggle with hitting for any kind of power are the Tigers and Marlins. The Tigers lose the DH from a team that already strikes out a lot and don’t hit for power, and the Marlins are the worst offensive team in the league and will swing at any pitch remotely near the plate. I would play the matchup and go with Kluber, since the Marlins are really bad. But, if you need the money to get to the studs you want to get to, I don’t have a problem with playing Nola at the $1,000 discount.

On to the picks…

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