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 26, 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 article will focus on the 13 games starting at 7:05 PM EST/4:05 PM PST.
Chris Archer (TAM) ($12,800) vs. Minnesota Twins – Archer comes in as the 2nd highest priced pitcher of the day, but out of the four fantasy aces taking the hill on Wednesday, I believe that he presents as the best option. Archer will be taking on a Twins team that generally fares better against left-handed pitching because their most dangerous bats are right-handed (Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, Trevor Plouffe, Torii Hunter, Byron Buxton). Archer faced the Twins once earlier this season and he didn’t have a fantastic game with 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, but it was a very serviceable performance and this still profiles as a pretty good situation for him as the Twins rank in the bottom half of the league in ISO, wOBA, and K% against righties. And let’s not forget that he’s coming off a 1-hit complete game gem that he pitched against the Astros.
Shelby Miller (COL) ($9,500) vs. Colorado Rockies – Miller will be up against the Rockies on Wednesday and this is a team that pummeled him for 5 runs on 11 hits in just 5 innings a month and a half ago. However, as you may have guessed, that start took place at Coors Field where any pitcher is susceptible to a beat down. This start will come in Atlanta and Miller has been dominant at home this season with a 2.01 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 76 K in 76 IP. He has hit some regression after an incredible first couple of months, but he has been able to prevent a full on implosion because he’s just an actual better pitcher this year with a different pitch arsenal that has brought him better overall results. And then there’s the Rockies who are one of the league’s worst offenses on the road ranking 29th in both wOBA and K% and 30th (dead last) in runs scored. The Rockies will also have an unimpressive Yohan Flande pitching for them, which could leave Miller in a good position to grab his 6th win of the season. Miller will also receive a big bonus if Carlos Gonzalez is still unable to start for the Rockies. The combination of Miller’s price and matchup make him a bit more attractive to me than aces David Price and Johnny Cueto.
SLEEPERS FOR CHEAPER:
Patrick Corbin (ARI) ($7,500) vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Corbin has been hit or miss this season as he has worked his way back from Tommy John surgery, so that has led to a mediocre 4.09 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, but he does have more than a strikeout per inning at 45 K’s in 44 IP. So he is showing that he can be pretty effective just as long as he is hitting his spots. He will take on a Cardinals team that has struggled against left-handed pitching this season at 23rd in wOBA, 21st in ISO, and 25th in K%. With a couple of their bigger right-handed bats still on the shelf (Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk), the Cardinals don’t appear to be in a fantastic spot against a lefty with Corbin’s potential, which should open the door for him to turn in a nice performance.
Tyler Duffey (MIN) ($4,600) @ Tampa Bay Rays – By no means is the right-handed Duffey a top prospect, but he had a 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 7.96 K/9 between AA and AAA before his promotion. He has now made 3 starts for the Twins to compile a 4.60 ERA and 1.47 WHIP with 16 K in 15.2 IP. The one start that he struggled mightily in was his Major League debut against the Blue Jays in Toronto. That’s an incredibly tough spot for a rookie to debut so I’m willing to give him a hall pass on that one and just focus more on his last 2 starts where he had very good outputs from a DFS perspective at 27.9 and 27.3 points in DraftKings. That has been an incredible return on his sub-$5,000 price tag and he comes in at that low price tag again in a matchup that profiles as his best matchup thus far. Duffey will pitch against the Rays who rank 29th in wOBA, 27th in ISO, and 26th in K% against righties. A win may be hard to come by going up against Archer and it might not make a whole lot of sense to start both Archer and Duffey in the same lineup, but last week when Archer squared off against Colin McHugh, the winning lineup in the DraftKings $3 Moonshot tournament did feature both Archer and McHugh. Just saying…
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.
Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox (Rick Porcello) – The White Sox have a list of pros going for them heading into Wednesday’s game. Porcello is a pitcher that is coming off a triceps injury, so he might not be 100% effective — but even when he was at 100% this season, he’s been one of the league’s worst pitchers. Porcello has struggled more on the road than at home this season with a 6.83 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. The last time that Porcello took the mound was nearly a month ago against this very same White Sox team and he lasted only 2 innings while giving up 6 runs on 10 hits. The White Sox have a whole slew of players who have had success against him and as a whole they have a .429 wOBA spread over 196 plate appearances. Lastly, the White Sox offense is in good form with an average of 6.67 runs per game over the last 6 games. The only thing that they don’t really have in their favor is that they probably won’t be aided by the Chicago wind. For a full stack, consider Adam Eaton OF ($3,700), Melky Cabrera OF ($3,400), Jose Abreu 1B ($4,900), Avisail Garcia OF ($3,900), Geovany Soto C ($2,600), and Alexei Ramirez SS ($3,200).
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Miami Marlins (Chris Narveson) – Narveson was an innings eating lefty back in 2010-11 for the Brewers, but this year he has caught on with the Marlins and has been used mostly as a relief pitcher (6 starts and 6 relief appearances in the Minors, 0 starts and 6 relief appearances in the Majors). Narveson appears to have altered his pitch arsenal since his days with the Brewers as he now throws his cutter more and his changeup a lot less, but he still doesn’t profile to be a great option. Plus the fact that this will be his first start since joining the Marlins at the Major League level means that he probably isn’t stretched out enough to go very deep into the game, so the Pirates may get to face much of the Marlins mediocre bullpen as well. With all the Pirates position players now being healthy, manager Clint Hurdle has a lot of different options to play with, so be sure to check this lineup carefully. Here would be my full stack with my best guess as to who will be starting: Josh Harrison 3B/OF ($3,800), Starling Marte OF ($5,100), Andrew McCutchen OF ($4,900), Jung Ho Kang 3B/SS ($4,000), Aramis Ramirez 3B ($4,000), and Francisco Cerveli C ($3,600).
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Cincinnati Reds (David Holmberg) – It’s been a rough go for the lefty rookie Holmberg as he has a 6.57 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, and 7 HR allowed in 24.2 IP over 5 starts this season. Most of that damage has come in the last two starts (with one being against the Dodgers), so it appears that maybe teams’ unfamiliarity with him in his first three starts worked to his advantage, but now it appears that the word is out on him. He was hardly impressive in the Minors this season as well, so it doesn’t seem likely that he will show a quick turnaround. The Dodgers should have a fun time teeing off him again, especially with this time being in a great hitters park. Let’s target the Dodgers right-handed/switch hitting bats such as Jimmy Rollins SS ($3,300), Enrique Hernandez 2B/SS ($2,600), Justin Turner 2B/3B ($3,700), Yasiel Puig OF ($3,600), and Scott Van Slyke OF ($2,800), and then throw in Adrian Gonzalez 1B ($4,100) for good measure.
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.
For Wednesday’s sneaky stacks, we’ll take a look at two teams that could have the potential to do some damage against a couple of ace pitchers who are sure to be very highly owned in tournaments. With these two aces being highly owned, that means the opposing offenses should have low ownership levels. If either ace falters, then stacking the opposing team could pay some big dividends.
Boston Red Sox @ Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale) – The last time that Sale faced the Red Sox was at Fenway Park and he gave up 7 runs on 12 hits in 5 innings. Yes, the game was on the road and Sale has done better at home. Yes, there was some wet weather that evening. But we still cannot completely ignore what the Red Sox were able to do to him, especially since the Red Sox offense has been so good lately with an average of 6.40 runs per game in August. For a stack, let’s look to Mookie Betts OF ($4,200), Xander Bogaerts 3B/SS ($3,300), David Ortiz 1B ($4,000), Hanley Ramirez SS/OF ($3,500), Rusney Castillo OF ($3,700), and Blake Swihart C ($3,000).
Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays (David Price) – Price has been very good all season long and has been a great addition for the Blue Jays with a 1.78 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 33 K/6 BB in 30.3 IP since they acquired him. But if there’s any time to stack against Price, this might be the best situation to try it out to score big. Price has made 5 career starts at Texas to compile a 7.36 ERA and 1.60 WHIP while allowing 4 HR in 25.2 IP. That ERA is the highest he has at any Major League ballpark, and the WHIP is the highest he has at any ballpark with the minimum of 15 IP. For whatever reason, he just hasn’t had a great deal of success at the home of the Rangers. The Rangers this season have done worse against left-handed pitching like Price is, but they are appearing better against lefties now with Adrian Beltre back in the lineup and trading for Mike Napoli. The Rangers still have a lot of left-handed bats that are key to their success, but they surely aren’t as susceptible to southpaws now as they were at one point earlier this season. It’s not going to look like the most attractive stack, but it’s very affordable, so let’s take a look at all right-handed bats in Delino DeShields OF ($3,600), Elvis Andrus SS ($3,100), Adrian Beltre 3B ($3,500), Mike Napoli 1B ($3,100), Ryan Strausborger OF ($2,000), and Chris Gimenez C ($2,600).
- Keep an eye out for the Padres as a bit of a sneaky stack option as well. They will be opposing the lefty Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals and the big right-handed Padres bats have had some nice success against Gonzalez in the past.
***Article written before confirmation of starting lineups
***All stats from FanGraphs