Last night was pretty fun, as several of our FanDuel MLB picks panned out nicely. Luke Weaver was the big one (61 fantasy points), as we threw caution to the wind and rolled with a value arm on a cloudy slate. The top arms actually ended up working out just fine and Rich Hill even had a perfect game going into the bottom of the 9th, but Weaver proved to be the top value play by far.
Weaver set the tone for a solid night, while we had some lively bats, as well. Aaron Judge chipped in a solid 15 fantasy points, while Alex Avila (9), Corey Seager (9), Jake Lamb (12) and Christian Yelich (3) all at least got on the board.
Justin Smoak was probably our best hitting play thanks to a home run, while Cutch was on the receiving end of that crazy performance from Rich Hill and like most Pirates, got 0 fantasy points. Ian Happ also got scratched, so hopefully you pivoted to a winning 2B option and managed to avoid Cutch and Yelich.
It was still a solid team across the board and one that would have hit the green in a good amount of cash games. Let’s aim for a better lineup on a super small six-game main slate tonight:
SP: Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins ($9.1k)
I am doing pitcher last today, so let it be known that I went out and got the bats I wanted and tried to find the value plays to lead me back to a pitcher I like. I won’t be paying up for Chris Sale ($11k) on this slate. On a short slate that could prove to be a huge mistake, but he’s on the road against a talented Indians offense that simply doesn’t strike out that much.
The last time Sale took on The Tribe he got us 9 fantasy points, so we’ve learned our lesson. You can use him because he’s Chris Sale, but I don’t think he’s necessary tonight.
I also won’t spend $10.2k to use one of the more volatile elites you can use (Stephen Strasburg). He’s not only on the road in his second game back from the DL, but he craters more often than we’d like and he gets a dangerous Astros team. He could be fine, but no thank you. I’ll lump Jake Arrieta and Dallas Keuchel in that group, too. These guys are talented pitchers who can dominate anyone, but they are not in ideal spots to return serious value.
I’m really down to two guys – Carlos Martinez ($9.8k) and Jose Berrios ($9.1k). Martinez is quite stable and has a solid floor, but he walks a lot of batters and can perform below expectations. Still, he can rack up the Ks, pitchers in a good park and is at home against a shaky Padres offense.
Martinez is my top arm on this slate, but I currently can’t fit him in. That leads us to Berrios, who looked fantastic in his last outing (shutout the Diamondbacks) and has as much upside as anyone against a weak White Sox lineup. He craters from time to time but he has the talent and matchup to thrive. Price helps boost him a bit here, as well.
C: Alex Avila – Chicago Cubs ($3.k)
I’m staying on the Avila train, as he’s easily the top catcher on a short slate and he’s in a nice groove with at least one hit in each of his last six contests. He’s also still in a terrific ballpark for the long ball and has another positive matchup against a beatable righty.
Avila’s splits versus righties (.234 ISO, .381 wOBA) continue to reel us in and toss in the impact of Great American Ballpark, and I’m not really interested in looking elsewhere at catcher tonight. The only other spot I’d go is with a Twins catcher, as Minnesota faces Derek Holland tonight and he gets wrecked routinely.
Some cheap exposure to the Twins wouldn’t be a terrible idea and it could help us spend elsewhere. Chris Giminez is cheap and sports a .216 ISO against southpaws, so he’d be the top pick there.
1B: C.J. Cron – Los Angeles Angels ($3k)
Anthony Rizzo is the clear play at 1B tonight, but he’s $4.6k. I’d still use him in cash games and most GPPs but I also have some interest in Cron. Not only does he help us save to create a more balanced roster, but his sick splits (.352 ISO, .380 wOBA) against southpaws can’t be denied. He’s in a pitcher-friendly park but he’s against a bad pitcher in Martin Perez.
This is a tough position due to some brutal pitching matchups. With a lot of the top options facing Chris Sale, Jake Arrieta and the like, I’m looking for a way to go down and still get a solid bat in this spot. If I don’t go Rizzo, I’m going with Cron.
2B: Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins ($4.2k)
Dozier has disappointed greatly in his last two games, as he’s produced a total of 9.5 fantasy points in great spots and specifically last night couldn’t rough up James Shields. He gets another great matchup tonight against Derek Holland, where he should be able to put his sick .297 ISO against southpaws to good use.
Holland is not an arm to trust in any spot, but he has a brutal time with quality righty bats and Dozier has donged him before. I think he’ll do so again tonight.
3B: Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals ($3.4k
It should be known that Rendon is not my first choice here, as we don’t want to go overboard attacking a quality pitcher in Dallas Keuchel when he’s at home. Still, the Nats have a lot of power to deal with and Rendon specifically murders left-handed pitching (.333 ISO). I really don’t mind taking a stab at him if I can’t pay up for the guy I covet.
Kris Bryant ($4.2k) sat out yesterday with a hand issue, so the first thing we need to do is make sure he’s playing. If so, he’s my favorite option at 3B on this slate. He brings nice splits to the table against righties (.245 ISO), but he’s also in a great park against a shaky pitcher. Sal Ramono is not in a good spot here and add in his gross splits against right-handed hitters (.286 ISO, .409 wOBA) and I think Bryant is in line for a big night.
SS: Marwin Gonzalez – Houston Astros ($2.9k)
I certainly don’t want to target Stephen Strasburg too much tonight, but he’s got a brutal matchup on the road here and he’s probably one of the shakiest top level arms there are. Stras can shut the Astros down, but we’re just taking a stab at one cheap play that provides awesome splits. Marwin is worth a shot at this price, especially considering SS is not loaded tonight.
OF: Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs ($3.6k)
Normally I’d like Schwarbie to be a little cheaper, but the reality is he’s been hitting really well and he brings serious power and nice splits (.254 ISO) to the table. He’s in a great park against an at best average arm, so he’s about as good a pick as any power hitter tonight.
OF: Jesse Winker – Cincinnati Reds ($2.5k)
We’ve seen Winker’s playing time dip with Scott Schebler ($2.6k) back in the fold, so really we’re looking at both of these guys (or whichever plays). Both hit righties well and will be at home in a great park for power, while Jake Arriets struggles the most against lefty batters (.227 ISO, .347 wOBA).
I don’t want to pick on Arrieta too much, but the Reds have some power and this park can be problematic. A one-off try with either of these guys isn’t a bad idea.
OF: Howie Kendrick – Washington Nationals ($2.5k)
I don’t love the idea of picking on a seemingly back to form Dallas Keuchel at home, but it’s tough to ignore his brutal matchup with the Nats. Someone on Washington is going to get to Dallas at some point, so one cheap bad like Kendrick isn’t a terrible idea. Kendrick’s splits make the risk worth it, too, as he rakes versus southpaws (.429 wOBA).