My DraftKings lineups last night were a raging success while FanDuel was a colossal fail, which really tells you how difficult this game can be if you play it across multiple platforms. Today we have a pretty split slate, and once again FanDuel has botched the early games by chopping it up into smaller slates. This article will deal with the eight-game main slate this evening, and bats will be more of the focus with no real aces pitching (unlike yesterday). I’ll see you all in FTA+ chat later, and follow me on twitter @jac3600.
Lance McCullers, HOU ($8800)
McCullers has been pretty polarizing this year. You always want his K upside (12.33 K/9 so far) but you have to take on his frequent lack of command with it (4.00 BB/9). The A’s actually rank second wRC+ against RHP this year but they also have the sixth highest K rate against them, and McCullers’ 4.67 ERA shows a lot of bad luck (2.79 xFIP). He’s a -200 favorite on the slate with a 3.5 IRTA. That’s good enough for me in cash.
Other options – Masahiro Tanaka, Alex Wood
Caleb Smith, MIA ($5900)
My cheap GPP target of Marcus Stroman failed yesterday, but I’ll offer up another one today in Caleb Smith. The Marlins’ lefty is not without risk (6.23 BB/9 and 1.66 HR/9 allowed to start the season), but he’s posted a ridiculous 13.29 K/9 so far and the Rockies strike out above the league average. Colorado’s IRT is only 4.1 runs and they’re getting about as big a park downgrade as a team can. You can stack some serious bats alongside Smith in large-field GPPs.
Other options – Johnny Cueto, Joey Lucchesi, Garrett Richards, Eric Skoglund, German Marquez, Jack Flaherty
Jose Abreu, CHW ($3900)
The White Sox have a mediocre IRT of 4.3 runs, but that’s more of an indictment of their offensive projection than anything else. They still have some bangers in their lineup (especially against LHP), and Abreu is the best one. He has crushed lefties so far in his career, and Eric Skoglund is the worst platoon pitcher on the slate, allowing a .432 wOBA and 1.81 HR/9 to RHB since the beginning of 2015. Abreu’s priced up, but worth it.
Other options – Gary Sanchez, Miguel Cabrera
Wilmer Flores, NYM ($2400)
Flores is in one of the worst hitters’ parks in San Diego, but he’s still a platoon monster and should hit third or fourth on the road. Joey Lucchesi has shown big time K upside for the Padres, but Flores has smacked around LHP for a .380 wOBA and .288 ISO over the past three years. He’s a PH risk with Adrian Gonzalez in NY, but his upside for this cheap is tough to ignore.
Other options – Yuli Gurriel, Eric Hosmer, Lucas Duda, Chris Davis
Catcher punts – Welington Castillo, Chris Iannetta
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4200)
I almost got up to Altuve in FD cash yesterday even after swearing I wouldn’t (it still would’ve hurt since Sean Manaea is evidently unhittable now). Today Altuve is a really strong play again and it’ll be a lot easier to fit him in since you don’t have to go past 9k for your starting pitcher. Altuve has a combined 151 HRs and SBs over the past three years (not counting the two so far this year), and the Astros are the only team that currently has an IRT over five runs. They’re all in play for cash, and make an elite GPP stack.
Other options – Yoan Moncada, DJ LeMahieu
Matt Carpenter, STL ($3300)
If you don’t want to pay all the way up for Altuve, I suggest dropping to Carpenter. The park environment is not ideal, but Trevor Williams isn’t a very good pitcher and Carpenter has a .384 wOBA and .244 ISO against RHP over the past three years. He also has a 30% hard hit rate over the last ten games and his high BB/K ratio always makes him a solid floor cash play.
Other options – Whit Merrifield, Ian Kinsler, Starlin Castro
Nolan Arenado, COL ($4300)
Don’t think Arenado is unplayable outside of Coors. This is a guy who has posted a .403 wOBA and .274 ISO against LHP over the past three seasons and will hit third on the road. I spoke of Caleb Smith’s K upside, but don’t let that blind you to his incredible downside as well, and Arenado has a healthy 27% hard hit rate since returning from suspension.
Other options – Mike Moustakas, Alex Bregman, Matt Davidson, Christian Villanueva, Todd Frazier
Danny Valencia, BAL ($2500)
Valencia is a worthy punt on this slate, especially if he hits higher than sixth. Even if he is sixth he’s usable, as he’s beaten LHP for a .375 wOBA and .202 ISO since the beginning of 2015. Francisco Liriano maintains a decent K rate but his BB rate and HR/FB rates have been on the rise each year, and Baltimore has an IRT of 4.7 runs.
Other options – Jeimer Candelario, Yolmer Sanchez, Evan Longoria
Manny Machado, BAL ($4600)
Picking between Machado and Carlos Correa on this slate is really a coin flip, but right now I’ll use the $100 savings as the tiebreaker. Machado is having an MVP-caliber season thus far, with a 201 wRC+, .472 wOBA, and .337 ISO, and he gets the same juicy matchup I just described against Francisco Liriano. Correa’s matchup is just as juicy, and I recommend paying up for one of these guys as a priority spend in cash.
Other options – Carlos Correa, Trevor Story
Miguel Rojas, MIA ($2100)
If you’re unwilling to commit this type of money to the SS (which I am today), I would just punt the position completely. Rojas is nothing special as a hitter, but he should hit in the top two of the batting order and is near the minimum price. German Marquez is a career reverse-split pitcher.
Other options – Corey Seager, Tim Anderson, Amed Rosario
George Springer, HOU ($4500)
With a big priority on SS for me (plus the fact that I want one of Altuve or Abreu as well), OF is where I’ll be looking for some value tonight. If you go a different route, Springer is more than cash viable as the leadoff hitter for the team with the highest IRT. Daniel Mengden’s K/BB ratio doesn’t play well, and he’s getting a park downgrade going to Houston. Springer’s power is down to start the year, but BABIP suggests it should normalize toward his his career .211 ISO.
Other options – Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Tommy Pham, Yoenis Cespedes, Nick Castellanos, Leonys Martin, Gregory Polanco, Josh Reddick, Dexter Fowler
Wil Myers/Manuel Margot, SD ($3100/$2500)
I think people will forget about the Padres bats tonight, but Mets pitcher Jason Vargas really hasn’t