Last night was a lot of fun. I personally entered last night’s FanDuel lineup into a single entry tournament and placed 24th out of 4,166 people. That allowed me to turn $2 into $28 and I was not far off from getting earnings into the hundreds.
Matt Olson (6.5) and Khris Davis (6) are the two bats that really held me back, while Yoan Moncada (9.5) was my third bat below 12 fantasy points on the night. Those guys are hard to complain about, especially when my other MLB DFS picks worked out so well.
Jon Gray (52!) was the gem I thought he’d be at pitcher. He was no Carlos Martinez (65!), who I actually mentioned yesterday, but nobody can complain about 52 fantasy points.
My hitting was rock solid as well, with my three-man Rockies stack working out and Dexter Fowler destroying a cheap $2.2k price tag with a cool 18 fantasy points.
The play of the entire slate was my Utility pick, as Brandon Belt went yard and produced 34 fantasy points in a 10-1 Giants win. Yeah, I didn’t exactly expect that but I did love the value and splits for him last night.
Ultimately, yesterday produced an amazing lineup and if you put more cash on the line in a bigger tournament, perhaps it won you big money. I hope that was the case, but I only know if these picks help you if you leave some comments. Certainly do so before and after the slates so I know how you best help my readers.
With that said, Thursday’s action is largely in the early slate. I’m not going to rush that analysis out to you, so I’ll instead focus on a light four-game main slate at FanDuel. There is still money to be made here, so join me as I piece together my favorite GPP lineup for FanDuel’s main slate:
SP: Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks ($9.6k)
Ray didn’t look great in his 2018 debut, but he was facing a talented Dodgers offense. Despite getting tattooed to the tune of six runs off of seven hits, he still struck out eight batters and notched 27 fantasy points. This guy still has loads of upside and when he’s dialed in he’s about as good as anyone.
I always prefer Ray away from Chase Field and that doesn’t change going into tonight, where he should benefit from a pitcher park in Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Cardinals do not strike out a ton, but he’s not the average southpaw.
I don’t hate the matchup here, but more specifically, I just don’t like any of the other arms on this small slate. Call me crazy, but I don’t trust Jon Lester at Miller Park after he barely looked competent in Miami against the Marlins.
Masahiro Tanaka is set up to be extremely chalky and I hope that’s the case, as I honestly fear the Orioles could open up a can on him tonight. Yankee Stadium is a very dangerous park to operate out of and Baltimore has tagged Tanaka quite a bit in the past.
There isn’t any value at pitcher that entices me, so I’m going Robbie Ray or bust tonight. If you need a second option, Tanaka is absolutely it. I just personally have a hunch he’s going to get rocked. Take that how you will.
C/1B: Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers ($3.3k)
I’m game for some BvsP goodness when it comes to Braun, who has worked Jon Lester (7 for 16) over the course of his career. It’s not just about their matchup history, of course, as Braun also carries awesome splits (.358 wOBA, .253 ISO) against southpaws into this matchup.
On top of that, this is game one of a four-game home stand against a hated rival and Braun has been super clutch in the early going this year. I’m not saying he’ll dong Lester into oblivion, but I’m not saying he won’t, either.
If you want a nice pivot around the same price, stick with this game and try Willson Conteras. He mashes southpaws and is due for a long ball.
2B: Jonathan Schoop – Baltimore Orioles ($2.9k)
I really like Javier Baez tonight at 2B, as he sports mean split against southpaws. However, I’m going very contrarian with a stack that I think will be super low-owned but could blast off.
Schoop starts off an ambitious four-man Orioles stack against Masahiro Tanaka.
The idea here is that the Orioles have been incredibly dormant to start the year, but they boast elite power in a dangerous park. Tanaka is a very good pitcher and he could strike out a ton of batters in this spot, but his main drawback is the long ball and hard contact in general.
Schoop personally has thrice donged Tanaka and I will not at all be shocked if he does so again tonight.
I’ll be giving you safer pivots for tonight’s column and Baez is my favorite 2B play if I’m going away from this stack. Schoop has decent splits (.342 wOBA) against righties and is heating up with six hits over his last two games. I think he and Baltimore annoy the majority of your tourney field tonight.
3B: Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs ($4.2k)
Boy, is 3B bad tonight. There are some value dives you can look at if you need to save cash, but I’ll just take my chances with Kris Bryant, who is red hot to get 2018 going.
His splits against lefties have improved over the course of his career, too, and he’ll waltz into a date with the beatable Brent Suter sporting an elite .405 wOBA against that side of the plate.
I’m not really tempted elsewhere at this position, but Eugenio Suarez is considerably cheaper and also has very nice splits against lefties.
SS: Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles ($3.5k)
Machado has been scattering hits to start the year but he hasn’t been great and has also yet to send one deep. He and this entire offense are due for a big game and something tells me a rivalry game in New York is going to bring out the best in these bats.
This is obviously a guy who is worth a shot as a one-off no matter how much you’re with me on this Baltimore stack, while he comes at a solid discount.
Whether you like Manny or not, it’s impossible to ignore SS isn’t very attractive tonight. If you want someone else, the best call looks to be Didi Gregorius. He’s been a monster to start the year and Andrew Cashner gives up fly balls to lefty bats at a much higher rate than righties.
OF: Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles ($3k)
I’m moving full speed ahead with another Orioles power bat, as Adam Jones is another fine one-off try that has actually fared quite well versus Tanaka (7 for 21, 1 HR) over the course of his career. Jones hits righties better than lefties and is coming into this game in decent form, having connected on two bombs already this year.
If you want a fun OF pivot near this same price, consider Adam Duvall. He and Suarez can help piece together another low-owned stack (Reds) thanks to his ability to mash southpaws.
OF: Trey Mancini – Baltimore Orioles ($2.4k)
I could still opt to halt my Orioles love at a three-man stack. It all depends where some of these bats are in the order. I’m attacking Tanaka with all righty power, though, as his K% takes a slight dip versus that side of the plate and hitters also get a 10% increase on his fly ball percentage.
To be frank, there is not a lot of hard data that screams “Stack Orioles!” and I’m not here to lie to you about that. However, Baltimore is sneaky as heck in a great park and facing a guy who has been donged like crazy throughout his career.
This is absolutely a game that could get away from Tanaka and even if the early damage isn’t severe, the O’s could still end up slaying a Yankees bullpen that has been really bad so far this year.
The funny part is Mancini is actually probably the best Orioles play of all, as he’s dirt cheap and his splits against righties are awesome (.364 wOBA, .224 ISO). Even if you hate the Orioles as a whole, Mancini is worth a look at this price as a low risk one-off flier.
OF: Adam Duvall – Cincinnati Reds ($2.8k)
I really want Joey Votto ($3.7k) tonight, but I can’t seem to fit him into this lineup. I’m not into the business of forcing non-stacks if I don’t need to, however, so I’ll grab a Red via Duvall. I don’t need Reds tonight, especially since they’re in a pitcher’s park, but I really like his splits against southpaws (.381 wOBA, .290 ISO). He’s cheap and has power, so this is just a one-off flier hoping he mashes one.
Util: Willson Conteras – Chicago Cubs ($3.2k)
If things open up to allow Votto to slide into this spot without forcing it, so be it. If not, I’ll gladly get Conteras in here. I already touched on him in my Braun blurb and you certainly don’t want to ignore his gaudy splits against lefties (.243 ISO). He hasn’t donged yet this year and the upgrade to Miller Park and date with a lefty makes me think he’s a bad guy to fade.
I know this lineup will be met with a few eyebrow raises, but have I steered you wrong so far this year? No, and I have a feeling about Baltimore.
It’s more than that, though. Yankees bats will be popular and I honestly don’t feel like picking on a guy in Andrew Cashner that is notorious for ground balls and eating up innings. He really is not necessarily the home run matchup a lot of people are going to think he is. I don’t think he slays New York, but their mashers as a whole could easily end up disappointing.
That’s a leverage play I’m into and the other one is stacking O’s and fading Tanaka with this team. I love Ray regardless, but getting the (hopefully) top arm at lower ownership and the bats that send the higher owned Tanaka to an early death is a potentially GPP-winning move.
Bold strategies such as this will not always work, but you need to be predictive in MLB DFS. Use the data that is there and take a calculated risk. If the O’s bats show up and Ray can shred, I’ll be sitting pretty with three mashers to close in tonight’s Cubs vs. Brewers hammer game.
Love or hate my MLB DFS picks? Tell me all about it in the comments below!