Season long fantasy sports leagues have been around for decades now and have really revolutionized the way both casual and hardcore sports fans look at the game. But a more recent adaptation of fantasy sports is the daily fantasy sports (DFS) approach where you are only committed to a single day’s worth of games at a time and can win some serious cash on a daily basis. I personally have become very involved in DFS in addition to all my season long leagues, and so I hope that I can share some of the knowledge that I have gained and provide some helpful tips in that area from time to time as well.
***The primary site that I play on is DraftKings and I am mostly a GPP tournament player (I also play on Fantasy Aces). So for the most part, any recommendations I make are meant to be for GPP tournaments, not cash games, and are specific to DraftKings (though a lot of the same concepts and picks carry over to strategy on other sites).
STRATEGY FOR WEDNESDAY JULY 8, 2015
There will be some weather situations to monitor across the league, but I anticipate that the weather won’t play too much of a factor in today’s games. But as always, be sure to check in on the weather before the games start.
It’s been a bit of a tough go as of late on the DFS front, so hopefully Wednesday will be the day that things turn around. But remember, if you are primarily a tournament player like myself, then there is going to be a lot of variance in results from day to day or week to week. But when we do win, hopefully it’s a big one.
Overall, I am not in love with any pitcher on this slate, but Clayton Kershaw has to be listed as the top option here, though he does come with a caveat. Kershaw is up against a Phillies team that does better work against left-handed pitching, as seen in last night’s game when they knocked around Brett Anderson. Obviously though, Kershaw is better than Anderson, and Kershaw should be able to generate enough strikeouts and hold the Phillies batters in check to establish a solid floor for points. And of course, he can always come up with a CGSO on any given night even though we haven’t seen it yet this season.
The other higher priced options on DraftKings all give me some concern for their prices, so I am going to move on down to some a mid-tiered guy with some upside but he also comes with some concern though. Drew Hutchison gets a road start against the White Sox on Wednesday, but he has truly been awful on the road this season with a 9.00 ERA. However, he has had success in 2 of his 9 road starts, so it’s not like he’s been awful in each start. It’s just that in the road starts that he has been bad in, he has been extremely bad. But I think despite being on the road here, Hutchison has a good chance to put up a good game because the White Sox are a pretty poor offense that ranks 26th in the league in ISO versus righties and they rank 24th in the league in wOBA versus righties. Also, Hutchison’s best performance of the season was a CGSO with 8 strikeouts against the White Sox a month and a half ago. And an added bonus is that the White Sox have the lefty John Danks starting, and the Blue Jays offense crushes lefties, so Hutchison should be in good position to log a win.
SLEEPERS FOR CHEAPER:
There are not really any cheaper guys that I especially like for Wednesday, but I could see possibly using Tom Koehler against the Red Sox and Charlie Morton against the Padres, but neither of them present as high upside options.
THE NOT SO FAVES:
Jason Hammel has been having a great season, but he hasn’t handled the Cardinals well in his career with a 7.04 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his last 3 starts against them with guys like Jhonny Peralta, Jason Heyward, and Yadier Molina having good track records against him. Also, it doesn’t help that he is going up against the Cardinals ace Michael Wacha, which will threaten his chance at logging a win.
A strategy that has worked since the introduction of DFS is stacking multiple players (3-6) from one offense. However, in certain situations it may be more beneficial not to stack as it is becoming more contrarian not to do full stacks since so many people are doing it now. But for the most part, stacking (mini-stack at the very least) seems to be a component of most winning tournament lineups.
BIG BOY STACKS:
Any time that the Toronto Blue Jays see a mediocre left-handed pitcher, they are going to have to be considered as a big boy stack. On Wednesday, they get to see John Danks who they got 6 runs and 7 hits against in 5 innings in their last meeting and a whole slew of Jays hitters have had success against Danks in some way. A Jays stack that I would use would be Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Colabello, Dioner Navarro, and Danny Valencia. I am avoiding Jose Reyes in this stack because of his small sample of 1 for 9 versus Danks, and I am going to assume that Navarro (who is normally a reserve) will be in the lineup because of his 8 for 21 with 3 HR line against Danks.
The way that the Los Angeles Angels have been scoring with 3 double digit run performances in a row, we clearly have to look to them as a powerhouse stack of Wednesday at Coors Field against the lefty Chris Rusin. Their prices are inflated due to being at Coors, but they proved their worth last night in the first game of the series. Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, David Freese, Erick Aybar, and Chris Iannetta should all be given consideration.
On the flip side of that Coors Field game, the Colorado Rockies are in a good spot against Matt Shoemaker who has not been very good this season and who has been very homer prone and issuing more fly balls this year than last year. So a start in the thin air could provide some terrible results for Shoemaker, which is great news for any Rockies hitter, regardless of their handedness because Shoemaker has been serving it up to both lefties and righties. Charlie Blackmon, D.J. LeMahieu, Troy Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nick Hundley would be my Colorado big boy stack.
For some sneaky stacks, I think the game in Arlington has two teams that can provide some nice returns. The lefty Matt Harrison will be making his first start of the season and he has only made 6 starts in the last two years due to various injuries. I think that he’s going to have a lot of rust and the Arizona Diamondbacks are going to be in a good spot to knock him around. Nick Ahmed, A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, Yasmany Tomas, Aaron Hill, and Welington Castillo/Jarrod Saltalmacchia are the guys to look at. On the other side, the Texas Rangers will be up against Jeremy Hellickson. Several of the Rangers bats have had success against Hellickson in the small number of times they’ve seen him, and that is enough information for me to fire up the lefty bats of Rougned Odor, Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland, Josh Hamilton, and Leonys Martin. I am choosing Moreland over Prince Fielder for first base because of Moreland’s success in the past against Hellickson and he will be a cheaper and less owned option.
UPDATE (1:14 PM PST): Leonys Martin is not in the lineup for the Rangers, so I would substitute him with Delino DeShields. And Odor is hitting much lower than anticipated at 8th in the order, but I still think his matchup is a good one and would still use him in a Rangers stack.
- Trevor Bauer could be a pitching option as he no-hit the Astros for 6 innings with 11 K’s in his first start against them this season. However, for whatever reason, Bauer has just been terrible at home this season despite his home park not really being a hitters haven. Also, this isn’t the same Astros lineup that he faced earlier this season as they have added guys like Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker, and Jon Singleton. On Monday, I liked and recommended Carlos Carrasco based on his same strong performance against the Astros earlier in the year, but I will refrain from doing that here with Bauer. The Houston Astros could be a pretty sneaky stack here.
- Chris Archer is definitely usable as the second highest priced pitcher of the night, but the caution is that he is up against a Royals offense that still is the toughest in the league to strikeout.
- Jeremy Guthrie is traditionally a bit of a gas can and several of the Tampa Bay Rays hitters have taken him yard in their careers. But Guthrie has always performed better in his home park, so he does lose some of the gas can effect on Wednesday at home. He has a 3.72 ERA at home this season and a 7.40 ERA on the road. But the Rays still would make for a rather sneaky stack.
- Chris Young is 3 for 4 with 2 HR versus Scott Kazmir, and Mark Teixeira is 11 for 20 with 2 HR. I’m not going to call dong for these guys, but this seems to be a good situation for them and could be a very sneaky opportunity to stack the New York Yankees with Kazmir being one of the better pitchers on the night.
- UPDATE (1:14 PM PST): I think that the Marlins are an interesting sneaky stack against Rick Porcello who has been terrible this season. He’s been better at home, but still not good.