Last night did not go as planned. Shohei Ohtani was not elite against the Kansas City Royals (left early with a blister), while big bats like Mike Trout, J.D. Martinez and Carlos Correa (also hurt) left a lot to be desired.
Aaron Altherr (31.9) was a great value pick, but overall this team was one to forget.
I’m not sure I was ever destined to get last night’s daily fantasy baseball slate right, however. A pitcher-friendly park (PNC Park) was responsible for a crazy 19-run explosion, while the Miami Marlins of all teams sounded off (in another pitcher’s park) for 11 runs of their own.
Chalky offenses like the Yankees, Jays, Cardinals, Athletics, Twins and Angels combined for 14 total runs.
It was a pretty gross night unless you went contrarian in some really weird spots. That is certainly what it takes to win big tournaments at times, but I didn’t have enough things go my way to get the job done on Wednesday.
Let’s dive right back into it for Thursday’s five-game main slate at FanDuel:
SP: Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros ($11.8k)
Pitching is not great on the main slate, so I’m eating the chalk and paying up for Cole. The only problem here is he could be high-owned and he’s quite restrictive. Finding the right bats to make this work out could be tricky.
Then again, Cole is pricey enough to the point where he could actually be contrarian. That may make spending this much cash on him worth it.
The matchup against a powerful Rangers team in a hitter’s park isn’t great, but Texas still whiffs at a 26% clip. The heat and humidity give all the hitters in this Rangers/Astros game a boost, but Cole should be immune to a letdown. He’s allowing a .244 wOBA or less no matte who he faces, while sporting a ridiculous 44% whiff rate against lefties.
Texas is stacked with lefty power, so if you think the Rangers are about to blow Cole up, you may have another thing coming.
If you don’t want to pay for Cole and prefer to load up on bats, my favorite value arm figures to be Jaime Garcia ($6.2k). That should tell you how bad things are after Cole tonight, but at least he gets an Orioles team that stinks in general and tends to be even worse on the road.
C/1B: James McCann – Detroit Tigers ($2.1k)
I’m going back to the well with McCann. He turned in a big fat zero for me last night, but you can’t let recency bias sway you. He’s still facing another lefty (.252 ISO vs. southpaws) in Fenway Park and he’s dirt cheap.
Evan Gattis ($2.4k) is also in play here (as are all Astros righties), but I’ll take the savings and hope McCann can send one deep.
2B: Jed Lowrie – Oakland Athletics ($3.5k)
Oakland has been hot for a while now, so really any stack combination or one-off’s are in play. Lowrie certainly is one of the better options, as he hits well from both sides of the plate and will put his .186 ISO and .356 wOBA against righties to work tonight.
Lowrie and company host Jason Hammel, who has most of his problems (45% fly ball rate) against lefties.
You can also consider saving big with Joey Wendle here, but Lowrie has a way better floor and more upside.
3B: Danny Valencia – Baltimore Orioles ($2.4k)
I loathe using O’s on the road, but it’s not like I’m stacking them. You certainly can entertain the thought in a solid park with Jaime Garcia on the other side, though.
I’ll just soak up some cheap exposure here, as Valencia murders left-handed pitching (.207 ISO) and Garcia has had some serious problems (.207) with righty power this year. He’s oddly enough been way worse (.333 ISO) versus lefties, but I’m not sure I’m going there tonight.
SS: Marcus Semien – Oakland Athletics ($3.4k)
I probably prefer Manny Machado or a healthy Carlos Correa in this spot, but sometimes you need to bend a little in MLB DFS. Semian comes in with a nasty 1-23 rut, but he has to snap out of it eventually.
Tonight could be the night, as Hammel does give up a lot of contact and tends to see his form slip when he’s on the road.
OF: J.D. Martinez – Boston Red Sox ($4.8k)
There is certainly the “revenge” factor with Martinez taking on his former Tigers club, but I’d put much more weight on his nasty splits (.474 wOBA, .383 ISO) versus left-handed pitching.
Matt Boyd is a beatable lefty that’s given up a lot of hard contact to righties, so everything aligns for J.D. in this spot.
OF: JaCoby Jones – Detroit Tigers ($2k)
Jones is not a efficient bat, but he has some pop (.163 ISO) against lefties and Fenway Park gives most hitters a shot. He’s a pure salary saver, but the matchup and ballpark are there for the taking.
OF: Dustin Fowler – Oakland Athletics ($2.4k)
I’ll complete my three-man Oakland stack with Fowler, who gives me another lefty bat to take advantage of Hammel’s issues from that side of the plate. Fowler could lead off again, so his nice .214 ISO could return value for you in a hurry.
This is a fun Athletics stack, as it’s a pivot off of more popular versions that will surely force the likes of Matt Olson and Khris Davis into lineups. Right away you’re being a little contrarian while also still targeting a fairly chalky situation.
Util: Sam Travis – Boston Red Sox ($2.2k)
Boston is down two key righties going into tonight and Travis started last night, so I think we have a shot at some elite value here. It’s tough to say the power is there with Travis, but he does slay southpaws (.385 wOBA) and he’s got a beatable one in Matt Boyd at home.
Boyd can make bats miss at times, but this is a tough ballpark and righties are not kind to him (.333 wOBA, .176 ISO). He’s also allowing a crazy 45% fly ball rate, so if Boston righties can get it in the air, they have a chance to do serious damage.
The sample size is small, but Travis doesn’t whiff much. If he can make contact, I like his chances of returning stellar value on this small slate.
Overall, this team comes with a lot of risk. However, you’re getting a sure fire ace in Cole, you’re still getting possibly the best masher on the slate in Martinez and you also land a solid three-man A’s stack. The Tigers, Boston and Oriole’s one-off options should have enough of a splits edge to give you a chance at some killer value, too.
If you don’t love this lineup, just pick your spots. I understand paying down from Cole is one option tonight and if you do, stacking the pricey Astros options might be the best way to go. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you luck in daily fantasy baseball contests tonight!