I read a great piece this offseason on J.D. Martinez. He was such an interesting player last year and I was trying to make heads or tails of him. Was his breakout for real? Was he to be believed? Was this a fluke? Where in the world am I going to draft this guy this year? In my research of the man, the myth, the J.D. I found an article talking about his failures in Houston and adjustments he made. You can read it for yourself here. J.D. talks about how the breakthrough happened when watching film. Not film of himself mind you, but film of his teammate, Jason Castro. Next up, he checked out film of Ryan Braun, then Miguel Cabrera and finally Mike Trout. He noticed how each of their bats stayed in the zone for a much longer time than his did and realized he needed to make this adjustment to succeed. He worked on it with great success in winter ball, but was cut by Houston during spring training. The Tigers welcomed him with open arms and the rest is J.D.’s breakout season.
Why am I telling you this and how does it related to DFS? Well grasshopper, I will tell you. I am telling you this because you can learn something from J.D. You can employ this same technique to improve your daily game that J.D. used to tattoo baseballs. I think one of the best ways to learn how to play this game well is to study those that are more successful at it than you. Pick a DFS player you see at the top of tournament boards most nights and play them heads up, join the same tournaments as them and study them. Don’t just look at who they picked, but why they picked them. If you can’t come up with a good reason why they picked them, dig deeper. I personally believe this is helpful in all walks of life, but I can guarantee it won’t make you a worse DFS player. So, give it a whirl and see what you can learn, you might just have your own breakout.
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Before we get to the picks that will help you with your own personal breakout a shout out to Wildhorses who obliterated the field last Tuesday. He beat his closest competition (yours truly) by a whopping 35 points. More impressive still is he accomplished that feat despite earning -4.1 points from Colin McHugh. Wildhorses rode five homers from his offense to the impressive victory. Well done. Now, back to the picks:
James Shields, SP: $9,700 – Shields is my unquestioned number one tonight. James is rocking an incredible 11.92 K/9 right now and has been quite the surprise. Of course, the move to a pitcher’s park is helpful, but those K’s are just luscious. The strikeouts should be plentiful with the Cubs in town, they lead the league in the category and even if they get a hold of a few, there’s the Petco factor. I’m just loving how things are lining up here.
Anibal Sanchez, SP: $8,100 – Anibal is always someone I take a look at when he/she is on the slate. He/she has that double digit K upside that few others do and never seems to be priced accordingly. He/she is the biggest Vegas favorite on the night and that has a lot to do with the mint match-up. Milwaukee has the third worst team OPS and the third most strikeouts.
Mike Foltynewicz, SP: $6,400 – I’ve got a need for speed and Mike Foltynewicz can deliver. His average fastball velocity ranks 6th among starters (5th if you don’t count Noah Syndergaard’s 11 IP just yet) and he’s our cheapest source of K’s on the evening. Tampa Bay has the 5th most strikeouts on the year and will be without their DH tonight. That means Nate Karns or Erasmo Ramirez will be up there hacking. Either way, if you’re looking for a GPP play, Folty is as good as any. Atlanta is favored and his velocity should lead to some nice strikeouts.
Johnny Cueto, SP: $9,900 – The fade is on tonight. If you’ve been reading my columns with any frequency you know I avoid Kansas City like I avoid these before a 9 AM work meeting. They are darn near K-proof and just not worth it. If it’s any consolation, Vegas agrees and Cueto isn’t even favored in this one.
Wilin Rosario, C: $3,800 – Give me cheap Coors field exposure any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays. Sure, it’s not a lefty, but it is just Aaron Harang at altitude. I’ll take my chances on a catcher in a prime lineup position in an extreme hitter’s park.
Freddie Freeman, 1B: $4,700 – I’m getting conflicting information on who the starter will be for Tampa Bay. Either way though, Freddie gets a recommendation. I understand the sentiment that the Rays work some voodoo with their pitchers, but they can’t keep working voodoo with doo doo. Erasmo is doo doo and I’m going to continue to pick on him until he puts himself out of the rotation. Nate Karns is another story. The K’s have been there, but so have the 4 walks per nine. You’re not going to keep getting away with that and the Braves haven’t been striking out a lot. If Karns isn’t striking guys out, there’s going to be a lot of baserunners, which means good things for the three hole hitter.
Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF: $3,600 – Blanks had been hotter than brimstone during his call-up. With Mitch Moreland back from the DL he’s seen a playing time reduction but should still see starts vs. LHP. Enter Wade Miley, terrible LHP. Blanks is a long shot play if you’re avoiding Coors for some reason. He should be low-owned, but could be a difference maker in a GPP.
Neil Walker, 2B: $3,700 – Do I write up Neil Walker every Tuesday you ask? Why yes, yes I do. I can’t help myself. Neil gets a shot at yet another awful righty, Ricky Nolasco. Don’t let Ricky’s last magic potion fueled start vs. DET fool you, this is a bad pitcher and I’d look to pile on.
Daniel Descalso, 2B/SS: $2,800 – As I mentioned previously, I’m always looking for cheap Coors exposure. I’m not sure if Tulo is in a position to be playing back to back days with the quad issue, or if crazy like a fox Walt Weiss might sneak Descalso in at first base, but it’s worth monitoring. If he’s in, the salary relief opens your roster up so much, he’s almost a must play.
Adrian Beltre, 3B: $4,500 – While the buy-low window may have closed on Beltre in year long leagues, his DFS price remains a bit low. He’s not in Coors like price-inflated Maikel Franco, but Red Sox pitching is the next best thing.
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B/3B: $4,300 – Here is your small sample size, BvP special of the night. Zimmerman is 3 for 8 with 2 long balls off Extra Virgin Aldi.
Elvis Andrus, SS: $3,700 – I’m going to suggest a couple shortstops to complete a stack. If you’re loading up on the Wade Miley beat down, Andrus has been hitting 2nd most days recently and enjoys the platoon advantage in this one. When executing a stack or mini stack I always shoot for the first 4-5 lineup positions to maximize ABs. Andrus checks all the boxes.
Jung-Ho Kang, SS/3B: $3,500 – Ricky Nolasco really doesn’t discriminate much when it comes to RHB/LHB, so the R/R match-up doesn’t bother me a whole lot. I’ve developed quite a crush on Kang of late. He’s hitting the ball well, doing a little bit of everything and he’s been occupying the 5th spot in the batting order. I’d be hard pressed to stack against Nolasco and not include Kang.
Gregory Polanco, OF: $3,500 – Polanco has been ice cold and it’s driven his price way down. I think he’s better than a .240 hitter and Ricky Nolasco is a perfect slump-buster for the talented, young lefty. There’s been rumblings about removing Polanco from the leadoff spot. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if those rumblings fade right out after a big game tonight.
Michael Brantley, OF: $5,300 – Oh boy, paying over 5 grand for a guy in a lefty/lefty match-up, what is going on here? Well, said guy has been enjoying the month of May, raising his average to almost .350. Quintana has barely any platoon split differences in his career numbers and as an added bonus BvP special, Brantley is 10 for 20 with a HR and 2 SBs off Jose. A lot of folks will be scared off by the price tag and the L/L matchup. Sometimes the sleeper hitter isn’t the $3,200 player in a good lineup position but instead is the really good player with a high price tag in a seemingly not so great match-up.
Brock Holt, OF: $3,100 – John Farrell has been quoted as saying the Red Sox may need a lineup shake-up. The first thing I look at is Mookie Bett’s .287 OBP and say, that might be the first move. The likely recipient of the top spot will be the guy that was there almost all of last season, Brock Holt. If a $3,100 Holt is batting at the top of a Red Sox lineup that has just been put on blast by their manager and is facing Yovani Gallardo, I don’t see how you avoid him.
Odubel Herrera, 2B/OF: $3,700 – Finally, we have our cheap Coors exposure in the outfield. Herrera has been hitting 7th, which isn’t ideal, but when you get down to this price there’s nothing 100% ideal. What is ideal is Coors field and Chad Bettis w/his 6.90 career ERA. All Phillies are clearly in play, I just don’t want you forgetting about his hidden cheapie.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
More rain is possible in Denver tonight, so have an alternate lineup ready to go in case it gets ugly. All of this Denver weather is driving me crazy. There’s also some potential wet weather in Bean town tonight, but I’m not nearly as worried about that. The Boston rain is slated for late in the game and these rain storms tend to shift to later in the day more often than not. It’s when you see bad weather before a game that you should be really worried as it often gets pushed back into the game window.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Cubs/Padres game checks in with the unsurprising, lowest total of the night at 6.5. Also unsurprising is the high total of 10 at Coors field. Two games come in at a 9 however, they are TEX/BOS and LAA/TOR. I feel bad I didn’t mentioned a single Blue Jay in my write-up, but they are kind of gimmes at this point. There’s a slew of right-handed bats up there and all of them are fine plays vs. Hector Santiago, who has been pitching a little over his head so far.
The biggest favorite of the night is the previously mentioned Anibal Sanchez and also Francisco Liriano vs. MIN (-165). Vegas gives Liriano the nod as that game is a 7.5 total vs. an 8 in the MIL/DET game but I think those should be flip-flopped myself. I trust the MIL offense to be bad much more than I do MIN right now.