Happy Sunday to everyone! It looks like another big day in daily fantasy today. Before we get into the picks by position, I'd like to talk general strategy for the day's action. When deciding who to play in a typical salary-cap daily fantasy game, there are a lot of different factors that come into play. The first and foremost is the price point of each player. While we'd all love to construct a lineup with superstars, we have to stay within the constraints of the salary cap. As a result we need to find values in players by looking at the following factors:
- Splits (righty vs lefty, home vs away, day vs night, etc)
- Ballpark factors (i.e. identifying undervalued players by finding those playing in hitter's parks)
- Opponent strength (I.e. if a player is great at home but poor on the road, I would avoid players hitting against him at home but will boost hitters' value when they face him away)
- Vegas lines (what teams are projected to score the most - after all, Vegas always wins)
- Weather (i.e. is the wind blowing out in Wrigley or is it blowing in at LA?)
- Lineup positioning (is your hitter batting at the top or the bottom of the batting order - this could mean an extra at-bat in the game and is immensely important in the daily game)
- Streaks (is your played rolling on a hot streak or mired in a slump?)
- Vegas is currently projecting the White Sox & Twins, Red Sox & Yankees, and Royals & Tigers to all game score totals at 8.5 runs. Of those teams, I particularly like the White Sox against Mike Pelfrey (RHP), Twins against John Danks (LHP), Red Sox against Adam Warren (RHP), and Tigers vs Jeremy Guthrie (RHP).
- Teams with favorable ballpark shifts include Oakland (@ TEX), Brewers (@ CHC) and Mariners (@ HOU). The Brewers are intriguing tomorrow with Ryan Braun getting back in the swing of things, Carlos Gomez returning to the lineup, and Aramis Ramirez getting healthy from a hamstring strain.
- The only team I'm avoiding based on their opponent is Atlanta (vs Cueto)
- The only significant weather concerns at this point affect the CHW vs MIN game where rain is expected to begin in the morning and end within an hour of first pitch. There's also a couple games with wind as factor. The first is MIL vs CHC 16 MPH winds blowing out to left field while the second is Detroit at Kansas City where there are 18 MPH winds expected to also be blowing out to left field (another big boost to the Detroit batters). Stay tuned to the Fantistics show on Sirius XM on Sunday morning form 10 AM - 1 PM (ET) and we'll keep you updated on any weather developments.
- The only stud on the slate is Johnny Cueto and he's recommended as the top 50/50 play. Julio Teheran, Sonny Gray, and Michael Wacha form a formidable second-tier and make for decent plays on FanDuel and excellent plays on multi-pitcher sites like DraftKings.
- Pitcher's with unfavorable park shifts include J.A. Happ @ Astros, Sonny Gray @ Rangers and Jimmy Nelson @ Cubs. Pitchers in pitcher's parks include Chase Anderson @ LAD, Fister @ NYM, and Wei-Yin Chen @ TB, although none of those players are recommended today.
- Pitchers facing weak/struggling opponents include Jarrod Cosart vs PHI, Jason Hammel vs MIL (although be careful become Gomez returned on Sat), Sonny Gray vs TEX, Mike Pelfrey vs CWS and Michael Wacha vs PIT. Of those players, I particularly like Sonny Gray in Texas and Michael Wacha at home.
Note: Due to the severely softening of FanDuel's pricing structure, we're going to call out value plays separately for FD and DK by each position.
Johnny Cueto (@ ATL) - There's not a lot of recent historical data on Cueto vs Atlanta but he did face Atlanta in Turner Field last season and he absolutely dominated by going 8 innings, striking out 11, and yielding no runs on 3 hits and 3 walks. Atlanta has been playing good baseball to start the year but Cueto has looked absolutely dominant, striking out 38 and walking just 5 while sporting a 1.95 ERA (2.98 xFIP). Furthermore, even though the Braves have an excellent wOBA as a team, their ISO ranks middle-of-the-pack, which means they are hitting but not for a significant amount of power. That's good news when you have the opposing pitcher. Vegas has Cueto as the favorite on the road in what they're projecting to be the lowest scoring game of the day.
Sonny Gray (@TEX) - Speaking of teams not hitting for much power, the Texas Rangers have an ISO of just .118 as a team and their team wOBA is the 4th lowest in the majors. Over 51.2 career innings against the Rangers, Gray has an incredible 1.74 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Pitching in Arlington is no walk in the park (no pun intended), but with history on his side and the Rangers bats struggling, I really like his chances on Sunday, especially at his somewhat discounted price of $8,300 on FanDuel and $9,100 on DraftKings.
Michael Wacha (vs PIT) - Michael Wacha is a better pitcher at home than on the road - much better! Throughout his short MLB career, Wacha has a career ERA at home of 2.45 compared to an ERA of 3.66 on the road. More telling, however, is that opposing batters are hitting just .257 wOBA against him at home. Lucky for Wacha, Pirates have the 3rd lowest wOBA and 3rd lowest wRC+ over the last week. He's a nice value on DraftKings at $8,000 and FanDuel at $8,1000
Other interesting names: Julio Teheran (vs CIN), Anibal Sanchez (@ KC)
Trevor Bauer (vs TOR) - I always love to use Trevor Bauer in tournaments if the matchup is right. Bauer has double-digit strikeout upside when he's on and the Blue Jays have had a 26% strikeout rate over the past week. Like many pitchers, Bauer is a stronger pitcher when he's at home (perhaps because his pre-game routine is more easily mimicked?). He's certainly not cheap on FanDuel (which might deter ownership) but he's just $7,100 on DraftKings. That's the goal of a tournament play, you want to find moderately inexpensive pitchers with enough upside to compete with the more expensive pitchers while also allowing you to beef up your offense.
Other tournament option: Tim Lincecum (vs LAA)
Be especially aware of the catcher position on Sunday due to the high number of "off-days" given to catchers. As a result, I usually fill my catcher slot last and try to go cheap and find value.
DraftKings Value Plays:
Blake Swihart (BOS) - Called up on Saturday,the Boston rookie was thrown right into the action and actually picked up his first hit yesterday. Swihart is a very good hitting catcher and while he's going to bat 9th until he proves himself, he can be a nice value on DFS priced at just $3,500 on DraftKings. I love getting cheap exposure to games that I'm targeting and plugging in a guy like Swihart with a nice ceiling is an excellent way to identify value.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) - At just $2,300 on FD and $3,100 on DK, Grandal is pretty inexpensive on both sites. The Dodgers are expected to score over 4 runs on the day and while his low lineup position hurts him, I'm not as concerned about lineup positioning on catcher as long as I'm spending closer to the lowest price point for a position. Chase Anderson has struggled to begin the year and Grandal has a wOBA of .329 vs RHP since 2013.
FanDuel Value Plays:
Victor Martinez (DET)- On FanDuel where Martinez qualifies as catcher, he makes for a decent inexpensive option at just $3,300 when you consider the fact that he's hitting in the heart of a Tigers lineup that's projected to score the most points on the Sunday slate. He has averaged 0.62 points per plate appearance on FanDuel since 2013.
Evan Gattis (HOU) - If you want to spend up a little bit, a hot hitting Gattis is in a nice spot against a lefty in JA Happ. Gattis has two homers in the last week and is finally showing life at the plate. He has hit lefties really well the last few years and is a reasonable $3,200 on FD and a bit more expensive at $4,000 on DK.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) - See analysis above.
Other notes: If Michael McHenry plays for the Rockies, he is an excellent value play on both FD ($2,200) and DK ($2,700).
Miguel Cabrera (DET) - I love Detroit and I love MIggy today. Facing Jeremy Guthrie, I'm expecting a massive slugfest on the Tigers side and any Tigers stack obviously begins around Miggy. Against right-handers over the last 3 seasons, Miggy has averaged an OPS of .973 and 0.80 fantasy points per at-bat on FanDuel and 2.25 points pet at-bat on DraftKings.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) - A left-hander facing Paul Goldschmidt? Yum! Goldy crushes lefties and has a .445 wOBA against left-handers since the start of the 2013 season. Going into Saturday, he also had 4 straight multi-hit games and was slashing an incredible .346/.448/.593 on the season. If you're looking for elite output but looking to stay off Miggy, Goldy is priced about the same on both big websites and is a decent fall-back option since he probably won't be *quite* as highly owned.
FanDuel Value Plays:
Jose Abreu (CWS) - At just $3,800, Jose Abreu provides significant value to owners who aren't scared off my Abreu's slow week. At some point, Mike Pelfrey is going to start giving up runs and at the price point, Abreu isn't a bad option s ince he has hit right-handers quite well to open the year. He's too expensive on DraftKings but might make a nice tournament option on FanDuel where he's an affordable option that may get overlooked by Miggy or Goldy.
Adam Lind (MIL) - Another guy I like at 1B, especially in cash games is Adam Lind. The lefty hits right-handed pitching really well and he's also been tearing the cover off the ball with a .515 wOBA in the last week and a .938 OPS against righties since 2013. The wind is blowing out at Wrigley and he's moderately priced at only $3,200 on FD.
Cheap FD Option: Chris Carter (HOU) $2,400, Adam LaRoche (CWS) $2,600
DraftKings Value Plays:
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) - One of the best hitters in the league to begin the year is A-Gon, yet he's only $4,200 on DK on Sunday despite a plus matchup against Chase Anderson. Gonzalez is averaging 2.06 points per plate appearance against RHP since 2013 and Vegas has the Dodgers projected to score 4.29 runs.
Justin Morneau (COL) - After warming up earlier this week with a string of multi-hit games, Morneau is now in an 0-12 slump. What's the best way to bust out of a slump? Face a pitcher who you absolutely crush. In his career, Morneau has faced Shields 52 times and in those at-bats, Morneau has slashed .320/.340/.680. He's bargain priced at just $3,400 on DK.
Cheap DK Options: Brandon Belt (SF) $3,900, Adam LaRoche (CWS) $3,500
Jose Altuve (HOU) - Good matchup? Check. Good lineup spot? Check. On a hot streak? Check. Good historical splits vs LHP? Check. Inexpensive? Not so much. If you're willing to spend up, Altuve is the clear #1 option at the second base position on Sunday but he's awfully expensive (and rightfully so). Since 2013, he has put up nearly 3 FPPG on FD and 8.7 FPPG on DK.
Brian Dozier (MIN) - Minnesota is projected to score over 4 runs against John Danks and Dozier has always hit left-handed starting pitching well. Despite finally seeing his bat awaken this week, Dozier's price remains suppressed on FD. From a historical stat perspective, Dozier's splits rival those of Altuve or Cano yet he's significantly cheaper than either player today.
Dustin Pedroia (BOS) - I really like Boston's hitters in their matchup against Andrew Warren today. Pedroia has a 6 game hitting streak and hit a homerun on Saturday. Boston is projected to score 4.57 runs according to Vegas and Pedroia can hopefully be involved in a lot of that scoring. Based on his hot streak, above average historical splits against RHP and low price of $2,900 on FD, he's a fantastic value on Sunday.
Other FD Value: Daniel Murphy (NYM) $3,000
Yangervis Solarte (SD) - Solarte keeps hitting so he's forcing Bud Black to continue running him out there. He draws a fantastic matchup against Kyle Kendrick on Sunday but remains just $3,200 on DraftKIngs. Solarte has 3 multi-hit games this week to go along with 7 RBI and for his career he averaged 1.52 fantasy points per at-bat on DraftKIngs when he faces righties.
Other DK Value: DJ LeMahieu (COL) - $3,000
Pablo Sandoval (BOS) - Sandoval is a hitting machine and it's coming at a good time for the Red Sox who face the Yankees again on Sunday. After losing the first two, the BoSox are in good position to rebound because they face an average righty in Adam Warren. Sandoval has had a .554 wOBA for over a week and historically he has a solid .825 OPS against right-handed pitching. He's very affordable at $3,200 on FD but is significantly pricier at DK at $5,000. Sandoval is 8 for his last 17.
Chris Davis (BAL) - While I wish he were actually playing at home and they weren't just playing as the home town in TB, I still like Chris Davis as a good value at Fanduel for only $3,800. Davis faces Nate Karns who has already yielded 5 home runs through 5 starts this season. As a lefty hitter, Davis obviously matches up well against righty starters and he has averaged 0.81 points per plate appearances against that since 2013.
Trevor Plouffe (MIN) - At only $2,400,Trevor Plouffe is in one of the highest scoring environments of the day and he hits left-handed pitching pretty well. Plouffe has been a hit machine with hits in 12 of his last 14 games. He lacks a great deal of power but he did hit a home run on Saturday night.
Other Value: Evan Longoria (TB) $3,200
Aramis Ramirez (MIL) - I know, I said a dirty word. A-Ram had been absolutely useless up until this week of the fantasy baseball season. In typical A-Ram style, as soon as he got hot, he tweaked a hammy and missed a few games. It sounds like he'll get back in the lineup on Sunday so there's still time to profit from his successful return before his price point rises. Ramirez will pick up on his 4 game hit streak (he has hits in 7 of his last 8 including 2 doubles and a homerun) in Wrigley with the wind blowing out to left. He's quite affordable at $3,900.
Justin Turner / Juan Uribe (LAD) - Whichever 3B is out there for the Dodgers on Sunday, they make for a nice value play. Both players are $3,600 on DK and both have solid splits against righties. D-Backs starter Chase Anderson has struggled quite a bit to begin the year and both Uribe and Turner are hot. Uribe (while he hasn't played in a few games) has an 11-game hitting streak while Turner has home runs in 3 of his last 4 games.
Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - Without Hanley qualifying at SS on FanDuel, by default that makes Troy Tulowitzki the most expensive and safest play. Since 2013, Tulo hits right-handed pitching for a .394 wOBA but the park shift from Colorado to San Diego does put a bit of a damper to his overall right now. I'd rather save my money and go with a cheaper play here in order to pay up big at 1B or OF.
FanDuel Value Plays:
Jhonny Peralta (STL) - DFS players have to love Jhonny Peralta. Batting cleanup for the Cardinals, he doesn't bring much to the table other than the ability to just get on base one or two times a games. His overall ceiling is low but his floor it flying high and he always makes for a nice plug and play at just $2,600 on FD.
Danny Santana (MIN) - See analysis below.
Other FD Values: Eduardo Escobar (MIN) $2,200 (if he plays), Jose Iglesias (DET) $2,500
DraftKings Value Play:
Danny Santana (MIN) - I'm really digging the cheap exposure that you can get to the CWS and MIN game together. Santana got a couple extra base hits on Saturday and has collected hits in 6 of his last 7. The biggest knock against Santana is lineup positioning because he has been hitting last. The last hitter obviously gets fewer opportunities than the lead-off and we always like for our batters to get more chances. With that said, he provides enough salary relief to give yourself some roster construction flexbilty.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) - What better way to welcome Severino Gonzalez to the majors than by hitting a dinger off of him? Severino drew the start against the Cardinals earlier this week and was destroyed for 7 runs and now he gets to face the best power hitter in the game on Sunday. Gonzalez struggled to keep the ball in the park in the minor leagues last season (23 homeruns allowed) so we're not talking about a guy whose particularly adept at keeping the baseball on the ground. Stanton is slashing .270/.359/.562 on the year and is averaging 106.3 MPH on his 6 homeruns to start the year (that's elite). He's prohibitively expensive at $5,100 on FD and $5,700 on DK but he's in all of my tournament lineups and is a worthy cash game play if you can find value elsewhere.
Hanley Ramirez (BOS) - I love, love, love HanRam against Adam Warren today. He's eligible at SS on DK (where I might just use him to free up some extra spots for OFers I like), but unfortunately, he's just OF on FD. On both sites he's extremely pricey but that's okay because he's a great guy to build around with Boston being projected as one of the highest scoring games of the day. Ramirez has 4 home runs over the last week is averaging 0.76 points per plate appearance on FD and 2.16 points per plate appearance on DK. He's not necessarily going to return you great value considering the price but if you have extra money that you can spend, he's worth it because he has a nice ceiling with a pretty low floor at this point.
Detroit's Outfield - The wind will be blowing out in Kauffman Stadium on Sunday and Guthrie is extremely home run prone. Cespedes is a nice value on FanDuel at $3,200 and is locked in at the plate right now, getting at least one hit in 7 of his last 8 games and he has a great .240 ISO on the year. JD Martinez is a decent values on DK at $4,200 while Anthony Gose has been struggling a bit but he hits righties pretty well and is very cheap at $3,700. Either he or Davis is a solid plug and play depending who draws the start and bats leadoff. The Tigers are projected to be the highest game total of the day tomorrow at 4.61 runs.
Jorge Soler (CHC)- Batting leadoff for the first time, Jorge Soler reached base twice (one of just 3 Cubs to do so) on Saturday afternoon against Mike Fiers. On Sunday, Soler draws an even better matchup against Jimmy Nelson. Soler continues to hit well and has managed to average 2.68 FPPG against right-handed pitching on FD and an even better 7.96 FPPG on DraftKings. At just $3,100 on FanDuel today, he's a great addition in your outfield, especially with the wind blowing out at Wrigley.
Ryan Braun (MIL)- Same game but other side of the diamond is Ryan Braun. Hitting 4 homeruns in the last week is nothing to sneeze at and it's certainly squashing any doubt about his overall health. Braun faces off against Jason Hammel with the wind blowing out and a receiving much needed boost to their lineup with Gomez returning. I love Braun's price point on FanDuel but I think he's probably a bit too expensive for consideration on DraftKings.
Melky Cabrera (CWS) - The Melk Man is a bit cheaper on DraftKings but at $4,300, he's hardly considered a value. Regardless, I really like where Melky is hitting in the Sox lineup (second) and I love Jose Abreu tomorrow (meaning he'll drive in Melky). Melky has been an on-base machine the past 7 days (.410 wOBA) and is just barely above league minimum on FanDuel ($2,300). I'm targeting Mike Pelfrey tomorrow (I don't care how good he has been to start the year, it's a mirage) and Cabrera has hit righties really well the last several year (.780 OPS).
Marcell Ozuna (MIA)- For the same reason that I like Giancarlo, I also like Marcell Ozuna. He's only $3,100 on FD and he has 4 extra-base hits over his last 3 games. He hits righties at an above-average rate over the last 2 seasons and gives you exposure against Gonzalez without breaking the bank with Stanton.
Billy Burns (OAK) - The speedster was recalled from Triple-A and will bat leadoff today. I love the Oakland offense today and at near minimum pricing, he's hard to pass up. A multi-steal performance isn't out of the question from him today.
Cheap FD plays I like: Scott VanSlyke (LAD) - $2,500
Bryce Harper (WAS) - For some reason beyond by understanding, the DraftKings algorithm is severely underpricing Bryce Harper right now. At just $4,200, one of the hottest hitters in the game faces off against a league-average right-handed in Dillon Gee today. Harper crushes righties (.876 OPS vs RHP since 2013) and is averaging 1.94 fantasy points per plate appearance on DraftKings over the last 2 seasons. Harper has 4 extra-base hits in his last 7 days with a wOBA just under .500.
Wil Myers (SD) - Myers has been immensely valuable atop a powerful Padres lineup this year, soring 23 runs along with 9 multi-hit performances in his first 25 games. He's cheaper than the other two Padres outfielders and I like getting exposure to that team facing Kyle Kendrick. Over the last week, Myers has a wOBA of .371 and has a wOBA of .326 vs RHP since 2013.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) - Charlie Blackmon remained red hot on Saturday, crushing his 3rd homerun of the year and putting together his 5th multi-hit game over his last 6. At only $3,600 on DK, he's a steal of a deal despite having a moderately tough matchup versus James Shields.
Michael Cuddyer (NYM) - Cuddyer can give you some much-needed salary relief and he's historically been very good against RHP like Fister. Now that his strikeout issues appear to be resolved, he's wothy considering if you're running low on cash, especially since he hits in the heart of the order.
Corey Dickerson (COL) - So his foot is a little banged up? That's not stopping me from playing him for only $3,900 on DraftKings. He's an elite hitter against RHP, even someone as good as James Shields, and has still hit really well in the last week despite being a little banged up (.433 w OBA).
Melky Cabrera (CWS) - See analysis above.