Thursday produces a very peculiar daily fantasy baseball slate at FanDuel. We are without a tried and true ace at the pitcher position and we need to be careful with teams that are either slumping to close out the year or have little to play for. For one reason or another, that puts the Tigers and Nationals near the top of my “fade” list.
That being said, tonight’s slate is also quite small, so we need to be careful with our fades and try to hit the right stack(s). Let’s dive in and see which arm is worth getting behind and which elite bats are worth paying for:
SP: Sonny Gray – New York Yankees ($9.2k)
Pitching is awful tonight. Gray leads the way as the most expensive arm and probably the best overall option, too. He’s at home in a tough park, but the Rays whiff a ton and he’s been quite steady ever since joining the Yanks.
Tampa Bay is still dangerous in this park, as they have a ton of power and can kill righties. However, this slate is dicey as a whole and Gray has posted a nice 2.66 ERA against this lineup.
The only other arm I’m seriously considering is Danny Duffy. He’s usually safe at home and is going against a dying Tigers team that has lost 9 games in a row. He’s in solid form, too, having allowed 5 total runs over his last three starts. He’s more of a GPP play than Gray, but he’s a little more volatile.
Everyone is volatile on this slate, though, so this could be a great night to throw caution to the wind and just punt with a cheap option. They’re all just horrible, though, so I’ll gut this slate out with Gray and hope he doesn’t go all Chris Sale on me.
C: Evan Gattis – Houston Astros ($2.9k)
I don’t love catcher tonight. Kurt Suzuki is the most expensive option and Gary Sanchez faces a solid young pitcher. Those guys are in the mix, but they cost a lot and I’d rather find a suitable option that saves me some cash.
I’d rather go somewhere in the middle, where Gattis feels like a solid value pick. He doesn’t have an easy matchup against Eduardo Rodriguez, but he’s on fire right now (7 hits over his last 4 games) and sports nice splits (.217 ISO) and gets a huge park upgrade. Rodriguez can get whiffs, but he’s not immune to power and does have his toughest times against the right side of the plate.
I like Atlanta a bit tonight, too, so we can always go for Kurt (who could be a little contrarian) or Tyler Flowers.
1B: Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers ($2.9k)
Gallo is one of the least efficient studs you can use, but anytime he’s cheap and at home in the explosive Globe Life Park, we need to consider him. He is super cheap tonight, yet he gets what could be a fun date with fellow lefty, Sean Manaea. The Oakland southpaw has been quite erratic in 2017 and has especially had issues on the road and against the Rangers.
Manaea typically handles fellow lefties quite well, but this is a bad setting and Gallo brings interesting splits (.267 ISO) to the table. Nobody loves that left-on-lefty matchup, either, so there’s a good chance Gallo is extremely low owned tonight.
I’m also very much interested in both Anthony Rizzo and Freddie Freeman. Sore wrist or not, he’s been solid and he has a good matchup by the numbers. Rizzo is about as expensive, but he faces Lance Lynn, who can’t handle lefty power.
2B: Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves ($3.8k)
I wasn’t lying about digging the Braves, but I like Albies for two other reasons – nobody is going to fall in love with him at this price and he offers killer splits (.244 ISO, .432 wOBA) against southpaws. He’s not necessarily a safe play and normally I’d hate his price, but he feels like a spot on GPP pick.
I really am not high on 2B in general tonight. It gets bad in a hurry after Jose Altuve. With most people paying up for him or someone like Ian Kinsler in Albies’ price range, I love this pick.
3B: Matt Davidson – Chicago White Sox ($2.5k)
I wanted Mike Moustakas and his .207 ISO against lefties, but he’s expected to sit tonight. That unfortunate reality has me looking to punt at 3B and Matt Davidson stands out. He’ll be at home against a very beatable pitcher in Bud Norris, who gives up a .213 ISO to righty bats. Davidson mashes fellow right-handed pitchers, too (.251 ISO), so we can take a shot at a dong here.
SS: Johan Camargo – Atlanta Braves ($2.7k)
There are some stud SS options like Trea Turner and Carlos Correa we should consider, but I’m digging Camargo. He brings his sick splits against lefties (.313 ISO, .482 wOBA) into Marlins Park tonight. He’ll be facing Dillon Peters, who struggles largely against the right side of the plate and has been getting exposed lately (13 earned runs over his last two games). This could easily be a Braves stack kind of slate.
OF: Kole Calhoun – Los Angeles Angels ($3.1k)
Calhoun and the Halos are going to be in play tonight, as they continue to see a park upgrade and get to battle a bad pitcher in Dylan Covey. Calhoun donged in Chicago last night and sports fine splits against a pitcher who is giving up a .283+ ISO to both sides of the plate. It’s hard not to love the Angels tonight.
OF: George Springer – Houston Astros ($3.7k)
The Astros are still gunning for the top overall seed in the AL playoffs, so we can still toss all of their stars out in DFS lineups. Again, I don’t love the idea of targeting Eduardo Rodriguez, but it’s not like the guy hasn’t blown up before. Springer is on a tear, too. Not only did he belt a grand slam yesterday, but he brings elite splits against southpaws (.260 ISO, .418 wOBA) to the table.
OF: Justin Upton – Los Angeles Angels ($4k)
Everyone is playing Mike Trout tonight. I wouldn’t mind fitting him in here, too, but to take down a GPP, I think we need to pull some difficult fades and use guys (like Albies) we wouldn’t normally chase after. It’s not like Upton is a bad play, either. All Angels are worth using against Covey and Upton wrecks fellow righties (.234 ISO).
I think it’s entirely plausible Covey plays it safe and walks Trout, only to get eaten alive by the rest of this L.A. lineup.
I certainly see the allure in other big bats like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, as well. I just don’t see a huge difference between those guys and using the likes of Springer and Upton tonight. That’s the hope, at least, as we try to send this GPP squad to the top. Good luck tonight, regardless of which MLB DFS options you ride with!