It was fairly obvious early in the night that last night’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks were not going to fare well, and that was indeed the case.
There was simply too much scoring elsewhere and our four-man Nats stack spun their wheels out of the gate. Trea Turner did end up with a two-run homer, but also had a couple chances to knock in some runs early and failed to do so.
Our four-man Rangers stack got some hits, scored some runs and drew some walks but did not record a single extra-base hit which is a no-go.
Finally, once Yu Darvish surrendered two fifth-inning runs that would cost him both the win and quality start, we were cooked for the night regardless of what the Rangers did for the remainder of the night.
It was one of the worst lineups of the season, so we’ll certainly look for a big bounce-back on this eight-game main slate!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – May 6, 2021
P – Brandon Woodruff (MIL) – $10,100 vs. PHI
As I noted yesterday, I wanted to roster the Brewers’ Freddy Peralta as he was dominating and the Phillies have struggled with righties and also struck out their fair share share against righties. Peralta was tagged for five first-inning runs thanks to a Didi Gregorius home run, but the Phillies also didn’t score a run for the rest of the game as Peralta bounced back in a big way.
Now, it’s Woodruff’s crack at these Phillies as he too has been brilliant this season. He’ll enter this one sporting an eye-popping 1.80 ERA/2.13 FIP on the season to go along with a 2.53 xERA, 2.98 xFIP, 3.18 SIERA and 10.29 K/9. I mean, it’s more or less a continuation of his 3.05 ERA/3.20 FIP with a 2.86 xERA from the shortened 2020 season when he truly broke out as one of the game’s best, something that had been brewing since a stellar 2019 season as well.
For their part, the Phillies are still sitting tied for 24th with a .289 wOBA on the season versus right-handed pitching and 25th with a 26.5% K-rate against them. Even after a rough first inning when it took him until his sixth batter to record an out, Peralta struck out eight Phillies and the Brewers’ bullpen tacked on another five for a 13-strikeout game on their part. These Phils certainly have some swing-and-miss in them while Bryce Harper missing another game would boost this play as well as he’s not currently in projected lineups.
It would appear Woodruff is in a fine spot to continue his dominant season here early in the 2021 season.
C/1B – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) – $3,900 vs. OAK
The Blue Jays should see some ownership on this slate, but I’m not going to call this a strict cash lineup but more of an optimal group that you could throw out there in head-to-heads, some GPPSs and double-ups as well. It’s a mix of high and low-owned players, but either way you slice it I love the Jays going up against A’s right-hander Mike Fiers.
Like many teams, the Jays haven’t hit to their ceiling here so fare in the 2021 season. Against right-handed pitching, they rank right in the middle of the pack at 15th with a .303 wOBA and tied for 16th with a .152 ISO. That’s certainly not we expected from this group as a whole, however Guerrero has been a man on a mission.
Entering this one, Vladdy Jr. has raked to the tune of a .347 average, 1.106 OPS, .467 wOBA and monster 208 wRC+ with seven home runs and a stolen base across 124 trips to the plate. As far as Statcast goes, Vladdy ranks in the league’s 97th percentile in average exit velocity, 94th in hard-hit rate, 96th in xwOBA, 94th in xBA, 90th in xSLG, 79th in barrel rate and 98th in walk rate. He owns an elevated .386 BABIP, but this guy’s 2021 season has been no fluke as he’s simply destroying the baseball.
He’s also hitting .361 against right-handed pitching with six of his seven homers and all six of his doubles coming against right-handed pitching as his career splits are also very strong against same-handed pitching. He should rake once again today.
2B – Cavan Biggio (TOR) – $2,400 vs. OAK
Man this price on Biggio really made this stack and lineup as a whole work I mean, here’s a guy that was upwards of $3,600 on FanDuel last season, but he’s off to a slow start here this time around and it’s to our benefit here today as he gets a fantastic opportunity to break out.
Before we get into Biggio, we’ll note that Fiers has just one start under his belt this season which was six innings of three-run ball against the Orioles, but he also allowed two home runs in that one and 50% hard contact. Furthermore, he also surrendered three barrels in that one for a 15% barrel rate. In other words, he was hit very hard by an Orioles lineup that should be a shell of this Jays group.
Fiers also worked to a shaky 4.58 ERA/4.94 FIP/5.73 xFIP last season with a fly-ball rate of 43.1%, and he’s long been a fly-ball pitcher. Add in the hard-hit rate and barrels from his lone start this season and trouble could be abrewin’ in this one today.
For his part, Biggio enters this one sporting a .179 average with just two homers and a brutal .239 xwOBA on the season. Statcast gives him a tiny 25.9% hard-hit rate mark on the season, a figure that ranks in the league’s 6th percentile while his cringe-worthy 2nd percentile in xwOBA and xSLG along with a 3rd percentile ranking in xBA are certainly not favorable.
Nonetheless, he’ll get straightened out. He owns a career 111 wRC+ at the plate and has far more palatable numbers versus right-handed pitching this season as he’s just 7% below average against righties by way of his 93 wRC+ against them. Additionally, Fiers is extremely targetable in the run game after allowing seven steals in just 59 innings last season and 44 over the previous three seasons combined.
Let’s catch Biggio in his breakout game today.
3B – Jose Ramirez (CLE) – $4,200 vs. KC
Royals left-handed Danny Duffy has been one of the season’s early surprises as he’s gotten his name into the outskirts of the Cy Young conversation with sparkling surface numbers, but the regression train is going to set in.
The veteran has dazzled with a 0.60 ERA on the season, and while the peripherals are very good as well, we’ll break down the concerning numbers as well. He also owns a 2.60 FIP, 3.69 xFIP, and 3.65 xERA, but also a 4.62 SIERA that is in line with his work from the last four seasons when his ERA was north of 4.00.
Additionally, Duffy has benefited from a .247 BABIP against that’s about 50 points below his career average despite allowing 41.3% Statcast hard contact and he’s also stranded 95.4% of base runners, a figure more than 20% above his career average of 75.2%. If that weren’t enough, he owns a huge 44% fly-ball rate but has yielded just 0.60 HR/9 on the back of a lucky 6.1% HR/FB rate. In other words, he’s giving up plenty of fly-balls and hard contact, yet has yet to be stung by the long ball. He posted a 1.60 HR/9 last season and a 1.45 mark in 2019, so the homers are coming.
I won’t go through all his Statcast metrics, but they are middling numbers and do not represent a sub-1.00 ERA in the least.
So, we’ll target him with a three-man Cleveland stack beginning with Ramirez who hit his ninth homer of the season last night. He’s clearly mashing with a .406 wOBA and .441 xwOBA on the season, the latter of which ranks in the league’s 96th percentile. The switch-hitter’s splits have leaned right this season, but severely left in recent history while he also ranks in the 95th percentile in xBA, 95th in xSLG and 78th in barrel rate.
Add it up and Ramirez should be able to deliver that aforementioned regression on Duffy.
SS – Bo Bichette (TOR) – $3,500 vs. OAK
Next man up in this four-man Blue Jays stack is Bichette who brings a wealth of power and stolen-base upside to the table here. I was originally going to plug Trea Turner in here, but Bichette is the superior play today.
Another son of a former big-leaguer in this lineup (there’s now three with Vladdy and Biggio), Bichette’s career got off and running in a hurry as he’s provided power and speed across the board. This season, he’s hitting just .254, but with seven homers, four steals and a 117 wRC+ at the dish.
He doesn’t generate a ton of walks which puts a damper on figures such as OPS, wOBA and wRC+, but we’re here for the power and his .229 ISO on the season is more or less in line with his impressive .238 mark all by the age of 23.
Bichette’s Statcast data isn’t nearly as gaudy as Vladdy’s, but he does rank in the league’s 76th percentile in average exit velocity and 81st in hard-hit rate along with a 79th percentile in barrel rate. I’ll certainly take a ~top 20% player in all of those departments to be sure as those are what have led to the seven home runs on the season.
The numbers are slightly better versus lefties, but he also owns a .219 ISO and 117 wRC+ on the season versus righties with five of his seven homers and all six of his doubles coming against righties, not to mention all four of his steals coming against righties. Don’t disregard the stolen-base upside here as Fiers is extremely susceptible to that factor and while A’s catcher Sean Murphy has a good arm behind the plate, I can see the Jays testing it in this one.
Add it up and we get more power and speed here with Bichette.
OF – Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) – $2,800 vs. OAK
Completing this Blue Jays stack is Hernandez who, once again, brings power and speed to the lineup.
He’s off to a slow start this season as he battled illness that certainly has taken its toll, but he was one of baseball best power hitters last season. He slugged 16 homers in just 50 games last season, good for a cool 52-homer pace in a full 162-game season. He posted a .289 ISO as well, and while it was probably unsustainable, here’s a guy with a career .242 mark, so we know the power is there in spades.
He’s not going to hit for much average, but there’s also speed in addition to the power. Hernandez also stole six bags in the shortened season, also by far a career-high pace after he stole six across 125 games in the 2019 season. He’s not the fastest guy in the league, but he’s certainly got his legs under him this season as Statcast puts him in the league’s 85th percentile in sprint speed here in 2021 in addition to his 76th percentile ranking in average exit velocity. He’s yet to record a steal in a small 13-game sample so far, but they’re coming.
With two homers and a tiny .113 ISO on the season, the power is coming. For a guy in Fiers who as long had issues with the home run ball in the form of a big 1.43 career HR/9 and combined with the aforementioned stolen-base issues, here’s a fine opportunity for Hernandez to put his cross-category upside on display.
OF – Jordan Luplow (CLE) – $2,500 vs. KC
Next man up in our Indians stack is Luplow who is widely now known as a lefty killer as he sports eye-popping numbers versus southpaws over the last few years. However, he’s also hitting righties quite well this season to boot.
Luplow hasn’t been messing around early as he’s already launched six homers in just 22 games with a monstrous .339 ISO in the process. That’s all while hitting just .177, but the 18.2% walk rate combined with the power has him sitting with an impressive 139 wRC+ through his first 77 trips to the plate in the 2021 season.
What’s more is that he’s split those six homers to three each against lefties and righties. That said, the overall work against lefties has been superior as his .885 OPS, .389 wOBA and 154 wRC+ versus lefties this season are all notably above his marks against righties despite his .379 ISO against righties standing above his .303 mark against lefties, but let’s not split hairs here — he’s mashed both sides.
That said, in his breakout 2019 season he steamrolled lefties to the tune of a .422 ISO, 1.181 OPS, .474 wOBA and 200 wRC+ while 14 of his 15 homers came against southpaw pitching that season. Going up against a pitcher in Duffy who has major home-run regression on the horizon would seem to give Luplow serious home run potential in this one today.
He’s also 3 for 9 with a homer and a double in his career agaisnt Duffy, so I’d be careful leaving this guy out of any lineup this afternoon.
OF – Franmil Reyes (CLE) – $3,600 vs. KC
As far as guys with raw, light-tower power in this league, Reyes has to be in the conversation as one of the league’s best in that department.
The frame alone is a dead giveaway as Reyes stands at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds. It’s an intimidating frame to be sure and he makes good on it as he slugged 16 homers in his rookie, age-22 season, another 37 at just 23 years of age i2n 2019 and nine at age 24 in the shortened 2020 season. He’s nearly matched that total this season with seven in just 26 games.
He owns a career .240 ISO by the age of 25 while he’s also hitting .281 with a .323 ISO, .937 OPS, .394 wOBA and 157 wRC+ on the season.
The good news when you roster Reyes is that he clobbers both lefties and righties. Against lefties such as Duffy, Reyes has posted a .278 ISO, .869 OPS, .373 wOBA and 143 wRC+ on the season. He also owns a career .217 ISO, .886 OPS, .376 wOBA and 137 wRC+ against lefties, the latter three of which are significantly better than his work against righties.
Still, he owns a career .249 ISO, .810 OPS, .338 wOBA and 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Surely he’ll see some reps against righties in this one so we should be happy to know he pummels both pitchers’ handedness.
Add in his 3 for 6 with a double in his career off Duffy and Reyes is another bat you want in your lineup this afternoon.
UTIL – JaCoby Jones (DET) – $2,000 vs. BOS
Here’s a fine GPP play that could get us over the edge as Jones lines up against Red Sox right-handed Nathan Eovaldi in this one.
Frankly, this has zero to do with Eovaldi. He’s actually dealing to the tune of a 3.63 ERA/2.12 FIP/3.08 xERA on the season. The one negative for him is that he’s yet to allow a home run in 34.2 innings. It’s a negative because that’s not going to last forever as he posted an elevated 1.43 HR/9 last season and a huge 2.12 mark in 2019. The long balls are coming.
That said, this has far more to do with Jones, who is heating up. He’s hitting just .169 on the season with a pair of homers and a steal, but it’s his production of late that’s a big plus. Jones carries a four-game hitting streak into this one with a homer in that time. That homer came two nights back, but he also went 2 for 4 with a stolen base in last night’s win and banged a two-run single off the Green Monster which is a double in any other park.
Jones has pop. He posted a big .247 ISO last season with five homers in just 30 games as a broken hand cost him half the season. He also hit 11 homers with seven steals and a .195 ISO in another injury-shortened 88 games in 2019.
This season, Statcast has Jones pegged in the league’s 75th percentile in average exit velocity and 81st in barrel rate, so he’s going to start seeing his production increase. Additionally, Eovaldi has already allowed three steals this season. Furthermore, the Tigers stole three bases off of Christian Vazquez two nights back and another two in last night’s game. Vazquez is just 3 for 16 (18.8%) in throwing out potential base-stealers on the season, so don’t be surprised one bit to see Jones attempt a steal or two should he got on first base in this one.
To me, there’s a wealth of cross-category potential here with the red-hot Jones who should come at low ownership.