Let’s take a moment of silence for Christian Yelich’s season
On to the picks…
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Sonny Gray, P: $10,200 – The pitching on this slate is really really bad and the combination of matchup and pitching skills probably tilts the decision towards Gray. Gray’s bounceback year continues with a very solid 28.5% strikeout rate, 9.4% walk rate and 52.4% groundball rate. The Mariners are going to throw out a high strikeout, low power lineup which is delicious to us DFS players. And as long as Gray can navigate Don Vogelbach and Omar Narvaez, he should be able to put up a very nice start.
St. Louis Cardinals – This is the top offense today and it’s not particularly close. Antonio Senzatella is a groundball pitcher (51.5%) who doesn’t get swings and misses (14.3% strikeouts) and walks guys (9.1%). None of the Cardinals are prohibitively expensive so you can fit a bunch of them in. Vs an extreme groundballer like Senzatella, we want to look for power guys who get the ball in the air. The Cardinals have two of them in Paul Goldschmidt ($4,300, 37.5% groundballs and .207 ISO) and Paul DeJong ($3,900, 35.4% groundballs and .215 ISO) and they are the two top plays. The Cardinals aren’t exactly a power hitting team right now, but Dexter Fowler ($3,800, 38.1% groundballs) gets the ball in the air and is projected to hit leadoff. Kolten Wong (42.5% and .151 ISO) hits about an average amount of groundballs, but he’ll bat 2nd and is a 2B, which is a nice bonus when filling out the lineup. Marcell Ozuna (.330 wOBA and .180 ISO) hits an above average amount of grounders, but if the Cardinals start pouring it on, he’ll get his shot. Due to the spot, Tommy Edman (40.3% groundballs and .153 ISO) and Harrison Bader (43.1% groundballs and .307 wOBA) are definitely viable.
Colorado Rockies – The Rockies lineup right now has a clear delineation between the very solid and the very bad. Once you get past Daniel Murphy, the lineup gets very bad, very fast. Even at their current prices, Tapia, Hilliard and Nunez (Tony Wolters as well) are not worth it as they range from merely bad to about as good as your average pitcher. I’m not sure what the process was that led this team to decide that Mike Tauchman wasn’t good enough to play for them, but whatever it is, it’s pretty clear their process is broken. The guy the Rockies are facing is Dakota Hudson, who gets groundballs (58.1%) but doesn’t get strikeouts (17.2%) and walks guys (11.2%). Vs righties, Hudson’s extreme groundball tendencies are even stronger (65.3% vs 49.8%) but vs lefties he just walks them all until he gets to a righty (15% vs 7.7%). The four good Rockies are all good plays, but the one I would prioritize is Daniel Murphy ($3,400, 34.3% groundballs, .340 wOBA and .186 ISO). He’s too cheap, he gets the ball in the air at the very least should get a few points via walks. Next up would be Trevor Story ($4,400, 35.8% groundballs, .367 wOBA and .252 ISO) and Charlie Blackmon ($4,500, 41.2% groundballs, .379 wOBA and .244 ISO) with a slight lean towards Blackmon due to hitting from the left side, so it’s exceedingly likely he’ll get some walks. Of the good plays on the Rockies, Nolan Arenado ($4,500, 39.1% groundballs, .356 wOBA and .234 ISO) is last for me. He’s just a little bit worse than Story, he hits from the right side and he doesn’t have the SS eligibility.
Yoan Moncada, 3B: $3,200 – Against lefties, Glenn Sparkman throws the ball at the plate and hopes the hitters get themselves out. Sparkman strikes out 13.6%, walks 9.7% and gets 36.1% groundballs. Since it’s baseball, it works a majority of the time, but Moncada (.349 wOBA and .215 ISO) should be able to dent him.
Shohei Ohtani, OF: $2,900 – Adam Plutko is another “throw it towards the plate in case hitters get themselves out” kind of pitcher vs lefties. He strikes out 10.9%, walks 7.4% and gets 30.1% groundballs. Ohtani (.387 wOBA and .283 ISO) is known to launch a ball or two out of the park and at $2,900, he’s an excellent value.
Cleveland Indians – This is a spot to value hunt with Oscar Mercado ($2,900, .303 wOBA and .140 ISO), Yasiel Puig ($3,100, .292 wOBA and .154 ISO), Jordan Luplow ($2,800, .401 wOBA and .311 ISO) and Franmil Reyes ($3,100, .391 wOBA and .242 ISO). You can play Francisco Lindor since he’s awesome, but going after the Cleveland value and paying up for the Cardinals and Rockies sounds like the better play.
Andrew Benintendi, OF: $3,000 & Brock Holt, 2B: $2,600 – Benintendi (.352 wOBA and .175 ISO) is still a good hitter and for him to be $3,000 while leading off against Trent Thornton means you should jump all over it. Brock Holt (.350 wOBA and .157 ISO) is a solid hitter and a nice value play in a good environment.
Los Angeles Dodgers Righties – You can pretty much play any Dodgers righty since John Means is fairly mediocre. He throws some strikes (5.8% walks) but has below average strikeout ability (17.7%) and allows a ton of fly balls (30.8% groundballs). The Dodgers righties you want to target are the solid hitters like A.J. Pollock ($3,700, .338 wOBA and .222 ISO) and Justin Turner ($3,600, .404 wOBA and .259 ISO) or good values like David Freese ($2,700, .387 wOBA and .225 ISO).
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
It might rain in Minnesota and not just talking bombs.
Doing Lines In Vegas
With it being cold in Minnesota along with the wind, I’ll take the under of 10.