Welcome to day seven of the 2019 DFS Baseball Season! First, to my returning readers – the most loyal readers for the greatest weekly column in existence – I hope your off-season was quite relaxing (and profitable if you played the other sports in DFS, of which I contributed an NFL column to the site to keep me busy during the long winter months). Second – to any new readers – this article is for Daily Fantasy Sports only – so for season-long questions, head back to the main page and check out all the season-long tools that Razzball has to offer. The purpose of this article is to help you Daily Fantasy players out there build your lineups. One key point I must stress – the analysis and advice in this column will primarily be for FanDuel Main Slate cash games. This is a critical fact – many touts just spew their “top plays” without regards to the site or to the type of contest – which is as foolish as trading the best WR in the league because he dances in the end-zone and has funny-colored hair, for two draft picks and a run-stuffing safety who struggles in pass cov…wait, this is an MLB column, back to that. It’s important to know that the majority of this article will be focusing on FanDuel cash plays. This leads me to something I want to really stress for 2019 – user feedback. I want to hear from you guys (you can hit me up on twitter). Disagree with me on a player? Let me know! Have a follow-up question? Let me hear it! I’m not perfect, sometimes I will miss a detail or overlook a fact. Ideally, we can get good conversations going in the comments section of each article and provide even more assistance in building lineups that crush the souls of our competition and rake in all the monies. One last thing – if you’re reading this article, you’re looking for an edge in your DFS contests. The single biggest piece of advice I can give is to sign up for DFSbot here at Razzball and to incorporate the projections into your daily analysis. Yes, I fully admit that my endorsement feels like a shameless plug, but frankly, I don’t care, because Rudy’s projections are the best in the business. If you’re looking for sustained DFS success, it’s a massive mistake to not sign up for the DFS tools here at Razzball.
On to the picks…
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Gerrit Cole, $11,200 – Cole is the unquestioned Ace of the slate. Once he got out of the “fastballs or bust” philosophy in Pittsburgh, Cole broke out in a big way with 34.5% strikeouts and only 8% walks with the Astros. This matchup isn’t the best, as Texas is a solid lineup and they are home, but Cole is the best pitcher on the slate and there aren’t that many options. Cole is pretty expensive, and at the moment there aren’t that many value plays, so the cash play may be the guy below. We’ll have to see as lineups come out if any value opens up that makes the Cole lineups more comfortable.
Ross Stripling, $9,300 – Stripling has always had control (career 5.8% walk rate) but last year he took his strikeouts up a notch (27%) while retaining his outstanding command (4.4% walks). In his first start of the year he went right back to the well of outstanding command (5% walks) to go with an above average strikeout rate (25%). The only problem with Stripling is that he plays for the Dodgers, and the Dodgers do things correctly in order to win baseball games, which is more and more going against what we want as DFS players. So, you’re going to get a lot of games like last start where Stripling goes 5.1 innings and dominates. The matchup, however, is the best matchup of the slate. The Giants are, and this is an insider term i’m letting you in on, hot garbage fire. They are projected to score the 2nd fewest runs on the year, and so far they aren’t disappointing; they are averaging under two runs a game.
Carlos Correa, SS, $3,200 & Corey Seager, SS, $3,200 – I legitimately cannot fathom why these two players are this cheap. Javier Baez is $4,500, Trevor Story was $4,500 yesterday and they weren’t even in Coors (and Blake Snell absolutely crushed the entire Rockies team – which reminds me to continue making the same point I made all last year – the Rockies offense outside of Coors is legitimately terrible. Among the teams that are trying to win, they may be the second worst behind only the Angels). Correa’s the better play because while the Astros and Dodgers have the two of the better matchups, Correa has the platoon edge against Mike Minor whereas Corey Seager does not versus Derek Holland. Those looking for a good GPP pivot would be wise to fire up Seager, as he’s the same price as Correa and Seager’s ownership will be very low due to everyone flocking to Correa and his platoon advantage. Over his career, Seager has a .343 wOBA vs lefties, and it’s entirely possible the Dodgers bludgeon Holland early and the Giants turn it over to the bullpen for mop-up duty, leading to various righties trying their luck against the Dodgers (Seager has a .379 wOBA vs righties). But don’t get cute in cash – play Correa.
Rafael Devers, 3B, $3,300 – Marco Estrada last year was a Grade A jabroni. He wound up with 16.4% strikeouts and 8% walks, which is quite bad. To go with the horrific strikeout totals, he had a 24% ground ball rate, which only really made him worse. Last year against lefties, Estrada was actually better than vs lefties, but, vs lefties he struckout 17.2% and walked 7.5%. Those skills are still quite bad. Devers is the cheap Red Sox at the top of the lineup that gives you access to my favorite offense of the day.
Mookie Betts, OF, $4,700 & J.D. Martinez, OF, $4,900 and the rest of the Boston Red Sox – If you’re paying up, Mookie & JD are the best players to pay up for. I shouldn’t need to sell you on the fact that these are the 2 best pure points plays, and if you can pay up for them, you should. But, here goes, vs righties Estrada struck out 15.8% and walked 8.3%. We know he doesn’t get groundballs, and gives up bombs like it’s going out of style (2.04 per 9 last year vs righties, and 1.84/9 in total). I would just take the $200 savings and go with Mookie, but it’s a slight preference and I still love JD. The rest of the Red Sox are all good plays on this small slate, but I would steer clear of Bogaerts in cash games due to the price, unless you’re really into Eovaldi and have the cash.
Yuli Gurriel, $2,800 – The Astros are one of the three offenses to target today, and in a slate that lacks value, Yuli is one of the better value plays. Usually I don’t love targeting Minor, but in this slate, against this Astros team, it’s a pretty solid spot. Last year Yuli smoked lefties for a .382 wOBA. And while Minor doesn’t lose that much in strikeouts vs righties (23.5% vs lefties and 20% vs righties), he loses his ground ball ability (46.4% to 31.7%).
David Freese, 3B, $2,200 – Freese is one of the few cheap guys who are projected to hit in the top 5 today, and it’s why he’s not in the section below. Over his career, Freese is a surprisingly solid hitter. He’s never had a wRC+ below 100, and last year he joined the Get the Ball in the Damn Air Dodgers and had a small sample size aided wRC+ of 211. Over his career he’s had a .365 wOBA against lefties, and while Derek Holland is (I can’t believe i’m typing this in 2019) not someone we generally want to go all in against, on this slate, the fact that Holland is league average doesn’t scare us off a $2,200 platoon advantage 3B.
The (Hopefully) Value Plays
These guys are usually not cash viable due to batting low in the lineup, but if one of them bats higher than normal, or it turns out that we just desperately need value on the slate when lineups come out, these guys are solid plays. Tyler White (1B, $2,400) is the guy at the bottom of the Houston order we want to bat higher as last year he mashed lefties for a .423 wOBA. Eduardo Nunez (2B, $2,300) & Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF, $2,300) are in the mix as cheap options. Like I said earlier, the Red Sox are in a very good spot due to facing Estrada, and Nunez over the last few years is a league average bat vs righties (.321 wOBA) with some steals upside. Bradley is a little bit worse on offense (.317 wOBA) but his value would be that he’s an OFer on a slate we are sorely lacking OF value.
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
All clear on this front.
Doing Lines In Vegas
The Cubs have looked like garbage, but I would expect this game between Lester and Teheran to go over the 9 and for the Cubs to win. I wish the players weren’t so expensive on FanDuel, but it makes them great GPP plays.