Things went largely according to plan on Monday when it came to our FanDuel MLB picks. Carlos Carrasco (55 fantasy points) was the elite play we thought he’d be, while J.D. Martinez (27.9) ended up being worth his hefty price tag.
Gary Sanchez wasn’t the elite catcher play we’d hoped he’d be (9.2) but he didn’t burn us, either. Corey Seager (22.2) was also a great value play, while Yoan Moncada (28.4) and Teoscar Hernandez (12.2) were excellent value plays at their respective positions.
We did get burned by a few bats, of course. Mike Moustakas didn’t show up (0) and our Brewers picks – Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar – combined for 6 fantasy points in a gross 7-0 loss at home. Had the Brewers shown up and Moose not been an uber spare, we may have been onto something special. Still, we got 160 fantasy points and cashed in our single entry GPP, so this lineup was more than good enough to place just about everywhere – especially cash games.
We’re back to a full slate on Tuesday, where we get some elite pitching up top that should complicate the lineup building process. Let’s get to it:
SP: Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers ($11.6k)
Let’s try this again. The last time Kershaw was on the same slate as Corey Kluber, I went contrarian and tried to gain an edge with my main man, Clayton. That ended horribly, as Klubes rocked out and Kershaw got slapped around by the Rockies.
Kershaw’s restriction should be lessened tonight to the point where I don’t mind trying this clever pivot again. Kluber is probably the “right” play in cash games, but if we want a fun pivot for GPPs, I’m game for Kershaw again. For one, he’s not facing the Rockies and he’s not even facing the Tigers like Kluber is tonight. Instead, he’s at AT&T Park against the lowly Giants, who he’s struck out 17 times and posted a blistering 1.80 ERA against in three appearances in 2017.
The Dodgers as a whole are in a bad way, having lost an unfathomable 11 consecutive games. That streak will inevitably end eventually, however, and a game against the inferior Giants feels like as good a time as any. Kershaw typically bounces back from bad starts in a big way and he needs to set the tone for a World Series contender, letting the rest of MLB know they’re better than what they’ve shown.
I have a weird feeling two streaks get snapped tonight, and both have me firmly buying into Kershaw. If that makes him contrarian to close out the night, all the better.
While I mostly just want Kershaw or Kluber, you can make a case for several other plays. Sonny Gray against the Rays feels like a nice value play, Gerrit Cole has loads of upside against a Brewers team that strikes out in bunches and perhaps we shouldn’t immediately run from Kyle Gibson’s matchup against the Padres.
C: Alex Avila – Chicago Cubs ($2.5k)
I prefer Gary Sanchez at $3.8k but we have to pick our spots to spend if we’re using an expensive ace. That means I’m looking to save at catcher, probably starting with Avila, who gets a beatable righty in Robert Gsellman.
Gsellman allows a nice .198 ISO to lefty bats, while Avila still sports fine splits (.219 ISO, .382 wOBA) against righties. I won’t be shy about punting further at catcher, either, depending on what opens up later in the day.
1B: Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers ($2.6k)
There are a ton of 1B options to like and there are actually a slew that are super cheap. Miggy leads the way for me, but let’s not ignore Mike Napoli, Tommy Joseph or Mark Reynolds. All three are $3k or cheaper and carry strong splits into their matchups tonight.
I have to admit I might get scared off of Miggy by lineup lock tonight, but he is just too cheap. His BvsP history against Kluber is quite staggering, too (22 for 53, 6 HR), so when we look at the combination of narrative, value and upside, he’s going to be tough to pass up. This is the mother of all one-off’s, as you can imagine. It’s really a fine try based on our desire to fade Kluber in favor of Kershaw, too.
2B: Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs ($3k)
Tonight feels like a double-dong night for Happ, who rakes right-handed pitching (.294 ISO, .365 wOBA) and gets a shaky arm in the aforementioned Gsellman. If I’m paying up at 2B I’m probably all in on Brian Dozier, but I don’t see the need to splurge when we get such nice value and upside with Happ.
3B: Jake Lamb – Arizona Diamondbacks ($3.1k)
Anytime I pay up for a stud arm, I scour the player pool for obvious elite value that I can’t possibly pass up. Lamb qualifies, as he has just as much upside as any other 3B, yet remains ridiculously cheap.
Jon Gray is admittedly not the ideal arm to target against with bats, but Lamb wrecks righties (.263 ISO, .383 wOBA), while Gray’s K% drops by 12 points. This game is also in the volatile Chase Field, while Lamb has been fine against Gray in limited plate appearances.
If we want/need to save even more, we can keep plugging in Yandy Diaz ($2.6k), who seems to work out every time I give him a try. He doesn’t give us amazing pop, but Matthew Boyd isn’t very good and he’s been raking.
SS: Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.6k)
This is about as “auto play” as it gets. Seager is a masher with great splits on either side of the plate and he’s priced like he’s a scrub. I know he’s been dealing with an elbow issue but he was great for us last night and he’s an elite talent, so it’s back to the well we go. I just don’t see a reason to spend at SS when this stud is dirt cheap, especially if we’re trying to land an ace pitcher.
OF: Sean Rodriguez – Pittsburgh Pirates ($2k)
I’m looking for a minimum-priced punt in the OF tonight, which will greatly open things up for a strong finish. Rodriguez is one option, while both he and teammate Jose Osuna are $2k and sport solid splits against southpaws. They both see a park upgrade and get Brent Suter, who is solid but not elite.
Rodriguez is tentatively the play here, as he has better splits (.226 ISO, .369 wOBA) than Osuna when facing left-handed pitchers. Who is actually active and/or where they’re batting in the order will be key here, but I have interest in both.
OF: Austin Jackson – Cleveland Indians ($3.4k)
I have some interest in Justin Upton and others, but he’s facing Justin Verlander and nobody near this price range gives me the gaudy splits Jackson does. Not only is he at home against a bad lefty, but he has amazing splits when facing southpaws (.245 ISO, .418 wOBA).
He’s also been red hot lately, recording 12+ fantasy points in 7 of his last 11 games. We could try to aim a little higher and pay slightly down at our last OF spot, but I like this play as good as any other tonight.
OF: Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies ($4.1k)
There are a lot of elite power bats to pay up for tonight, but one in particular has caught my eye. Everyone knows Hoskins is a boss by now, but I doubt his ownership climbs too high with so many big mashers up for grabs. Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and others are of course in play, but Hoskins has just as much upside and I just can’t ignore his gaudy splits (.750 ISO, .554 wOBA!) against southpaws.
Miami’s Dillon Peters has actually been really good through two starts, but those were both at Marlins Park. He heads out on the road to the volatile Citizens Bank Park, where I think Hoskins is more than ready to serve up some magic for us.