MLB DFS Strategy for Wednesday 8/12/15

Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports

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.

***All player salaries reflect DraftKings pricing and the given strategy is more specific toward GPP (guaranteed prize pool) tournaments rather than cash games (head to head, 50/50, etc.).  

STRATEGY FOR WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12, 2015

I like to start my MLB DFS research by checking in on the weather, and check out some tips at The Backwards K on how to utilize the weather when constructing MLB DFS lineups.

As always, check in on the weather at least a couple hours or less before game time to get a better picture of any potential weather concerns, but it’s also good to know if the weather is going to be hot, cold, windy, or humid because these are all factors that could influence our DFS lineup decisions.  Daily Baseball Data is a great spot to get an hour-by-hour forecast of each game.

Today’s strategy post will focus on the slate of games that begins at 7:05 PM EST/4:05 PM PST, and it consists of 10 games.

PITCHERS

THE FAVES:  

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) ($14,200) vs. Washington Nationals – I’m not saying that the top priced guys on Wednesday are sure things, but they do seem to stand above and beyond the rest of the crowd. The top priced guy of course is Kershaw who will look to bounce back from a mediocre game in his most recent start against the Pirates. Kershaw will face the Nationals who he dominated for 8 innings and 14 strikeouts less than 4 weeks ago. Since then though, the Nationals have enjoyed the returns of Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, as well as an Ian Desmond hot streak, so it should be a bit of a different look for Kershaw. But in the last month the Nationals have struck out the most in the league and also rank in the bottom half in ISO and wOBA in that same time frame. A possible bonus could be that Bryce Harper missed Tuesday’s game with a sore knee, so maybe he will miss another.

Jacob DeGrom (NYM) ($11,400) vs. Colorado Rockies – The next highest priced pitcher is DeGrom and he should be well worth deploying on Wednesday as well. The Rockies are a poor road offense and they have been stymied by both Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey in this series. There’s no reason that DeGrom shouldn’t be able to hold down the Rox as well considering that they have the highest strikeout rate on the road at 24.4% and they rank 25th in road wOBA at .295. In addition, DeGrom has been simply stellar at home in his short career with a 1.65 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and 9.34 K/9.

Danny Salazar (CLE) ($10,500) vs. New York Yankees – Salazar flashed both signs of dominance and growing pains early in the season, but over the last month, which has spanned 5 starts, the Indians righty has come up with quality starts in each start with a 1.53 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, and 35 K/10 BB in 35.1 IP. It’s not a prime time matchup for Salazar against a Yankees offense that has been strong all season long, but he’s catching them at just the right time as the boys in pinstripes have lost 5 of the last 6 games (2 shutouts) and have only scored 8 runs total in those games. So here we have the combination of a hot pitcher vs. a struggling offense that could be a recipe for some big DFS points.

SLEEPERS FOR CHEAPER:

Unfortunately, there are not really any cheap options that I would give a solid recommendation to on this slate. There could be some value in Edinson Volquez ($7,600) or C.C. Sabathia ($6,300), but Volquez is lacking the strikeout upside and Sabathia is prone to blow up games, which is not good with the Indians having scored 39 runs in the past 4 games.

HITTING STACKS

A strategy that has worked since the introduction of DFS is stacking multiple players (4-6) 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 (or mini-stacks of 3 players at the very least) seems to be a component of most winning tournament lineups.

STACK ATTACKS:

Texas Rangers @ Minnesota Twins (Mike Pelfrey) – Outside of a random start where he had 8 shutout innings against the Mariners on August 2, Pelfrey has been in a bit of a tailspin over the last two months to see his ERA rise from 2.97 to 4.06. The Rangers have a very excellent track record against Pelfrey (combined .464 wOBA) and they also torched him for 8 runs on 11 hits in only 3.2 innings earlier this season. Pelfrey has done much better at home this season with a 2.05 ERA (vs. 6.43 ERA on the road), but this still profiles as a great opportunity for the Rangers. Let’s send out Delino DeShields ($4,100), Rougned Odor ($4,200), Prince Fielder ($4,800), Adrian Beltre ($4,000), Shin-Soo Choo ($4,400), and Elvis Andrus ($3,600).

Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers (Matt Garza) – Garza has done decently in 2 starts versus the Cubs this season, with one as recent as 11 days ago, but both of those starts came at home. Throughout his career, Garza has always posted better numbers wherever it was that he called home, and it’s especially true this year as he has a 3.89 ERA at home and a 6.40 ERA on the road. Wednesday’s start will come at Wrigley Field and the Cubs are very hot right now with 11 wins in their last 12 games with a steady flow of runs (4.83 runs/game) in that time. They are a young team on a mission and several of the hitters have solid track records against Garza. Consider Kyle Schwarber ($4,500), Anthony Rizzo ($5,400), Kris Bryant ($4,400), Jorge Soler ($3,600), and Chris Coghlan ($3,100).

SNEAKY STACKS:

For GPP tournaments, it’s not necessarily about scoring a large amount of points, but it’s more about scoring more points than everyone else.  To do that, it often helps to be contrarian in your lineup construction, and a great way to do that is to select offensive stacks that project to be of lower usage but have some decent upside.  So in the “Sneaky Stack” section, that’s what we aim for.

Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees (C.C. Sabathia) – Maybe it’s not a sneaky stack in the sense that they are up against a pitcher with a 5.34 ERA, but it is sneaky in the sense that the Indians have lost 4 key players in the last two weeks via trade (Brandon Moss, David Murphy, Michael Bourn, and Nick Swisher) and they also lost one of their best hitters (Jason Kipnis) to the DL. Despite the players losses, somehow they have managed to rattle off 39 runs in the last 4 games and they will look to stay hot against Sabathia who has allowed 5 or more runs in 7 of his 21 starts this season. The good thing about using an Indians stack is that you could probably stack 4-6 players from their lineup and still have room for 2 of the top 5 priced pitchers on board. Stacking some of the more attractive, potent offenses won’t give you the same type of wiggle room in choosing pitchers, and on this slate the pricey pitching should be pretty key I think. Let’s try out Jose Ramirez ($2,800), Francisco Lindor ($3,400), Michael Brantley ($4,400), Carlos Santana ($3,600), Yan Gomes ($3,100), and Giovanny Urshela ($2,400).

BONUS NOTES

  • Gerrit Cole and Michael Wacha both should have decent floors, but I could see them both giving up a few runs with lowish strikeout totals.
  • Jake Odorizzi has a good matchup on paper against the Braves, but the additions of Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher have their offense looking better than it did a week ago. Plus, the Braves are a team that doesn’t strikeout a whole lot, so the upside there may be limited.
  • Jason Hammel has a decent matchup against the Brewers, but he just hasn’t really been the same since he suffered a lower body injury on July 8. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned things around and had one of the better days out of a pitcher.

BvP (batter vs. pitcher) Specials:

  • Nick Markakis vs. Jake Odorizzi: 6 for 14 with 1 HR and 1 double
  • Matt Carpenter vs. Gerrit Cole: 4 for 13 with 2 HR
  • Chris Coghlan vs. Matt Garza: 5 for 14 with 1 triple, 3 doubles, and 1 SB
  • Miguel Montero: 8 for 19 with 1 HR and 1 double
  • Prince Fielder vs. Mike Pelfrey: 10 for 28 with 3 HR and 2 doubles
  • Jayson Werth vs. Clayton Kershaw: 9 for 26 with 2 HR and 2 SB

***Article written before confirmation of starting lineups

***All stats from FanGraphs

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