Good day fellow DFSers! As this Friday hits, I am STILL perfect for the season on FanDuel (the winning streak is now up to NINE straight slates with profit). I was hoping for a fun full Friday slate to tackle, but the early schedule gives us only seven contests tonight. It’s easy to begin, as one starting pitcher far outstrips the rest and is a cash lock (see below). I will return to FTA+ chat tonight, follow me on twitter @jac3600, and let’s go for ten in a row!
Lance McCullers, HOU ($8500)
It’s staggering how efficient DraftKings is with their pricing (Lance is $12.3k over there) while FanDuel severely lags behind. The cash game conversation begins and ends with McCullers on FD where he’s vastly underpriced and has an elite matchup. McCullers is whopping -255 favorite with a 3.3 IRTA (both lead the slate), and he’s facing a K-heavy Padres team that ranked last in wRC+ against RHP last season and is now without one of their best hitters in Wil Myers. McCullers has an elite 28.1% K rate over the last two years and his walk rate is going down each year (career best 7.8% last year). He should be in 100% of your cash lineups, and I’d go heavy in GPP as well.
Other options – Kenta Maeda
Luis Castillo, CIN ($7100)
The only value pitcher on the slate that has the K upside to somewhat rival McCullers’ is Castillo, and I’m OK taking some GPP shots with him even though he’s against the Pirates who are not a K-heavy team. Castillo will get a huge park upgrade going to Pittsburgh (plus the cold weather will help even more), and the Pirates have an IRT of 3.6 which is the second lowest to only the Padres. Castillo’s K upside is diminished by the matchup, but he posted an elite 27.1% K rate last season. He’s a nice complement to Yankees/Astros stacks in GPPs.
Other options – Kyle Hendricks, CC Sabathia, Trevor Williams, Brandon Woodruff
Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($3800)
This is a bit tricky tonight. On one hand, Rizzo is underpriced and beats the field of first basemen by quite a margin. On the other hand, paying up for him here might cost you Trout and/or Stanton (who look like massive plays tonight – more on them later). Rizzo does have a .390 wOBA and .245 ISO against RHP the last three years, and Brandon Woodruff is not a scary opponent. If you can comfortably fit Rizzo, he’s a fine cash play, but might be better suited for GPPs until we see some lineups.
Other options – Justin Smoak, Joey Votto, Gary Sanchez, Matt Olson
Joey Gallo, TEX ($3300)
Gallo is another tough one to pin down. The HR upside is massive, but the K downside is just as great. Gallo is batting second on the road which makes him a good bet for five PAs, and he has a ridiculous .311 ISO against RHP in his career so far. The worry here is the matchup with Marco Estrada who is HR prone but allowed a .280 wOBA to LHB the last two years along with a 24% K rate against them (thanks to his upper-level changeup). That said, I think Gallo’s price is cheap enough that he can be used in any format, and he’s in one of the better hitting environments on the slate.
Other options – Willson Contreras, Eric Thames, Neil Walker, Brandon Belt, Albert Pujols
Catcher punts – Russell Martin, Robinson Chirinos, Austin Barnes
Jose Altuve, HOU ($4600)
Altuve is as good an event player as anyone in the league and the Astros once again come in with a high IRT on this slate at 5.2 runs. The issue here is price, as Altuve’s tag is really getting up there, and opposing pitcher Luis Perdomo is a lot tougher on RHBs the past few years. Altuve is an elite part of an Astros stack and a good one-off in GPPs, but he’s not really in my cash plans as of now.
Other options – Jonathan Schoop
Kike Hernandez, LAD ($2400)
FanDuel has moved Kike from an outfielder to a second baseman, and it couldn’t come at a better time since we can use him as an elite value at a thin position. Kike is facing off against Derek Holland who has allowed 1.55 HR/9 to RHB the last three years, and Kike has an elite .391 wOBA and .269 ISO against LHP during that span. The one issue (and it could be a big one) is the weather, and San Francisco is supposed to get hit with massive rain tonight. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
Other options – Scooter Gennett, Rougned Odor, Jed Lowrie, Tyler Wade
Josh Donaldson, TOR ($4600)
Ugggghhhhh that price tag. I can’t believe we got the gift of Donaldson being in the low 3000s not too long ago, but those days are long over with. Still, Donaldson is worth his price tag tonight as he faces off against Matt Moore who has been knocked around by righties his whole career. Donaldson has an amazing .416 wOBA and .311 ISO against LHP the past three years, and is hitting in Texas which is one of the few warm weather environments right now. He’s also locked in at the plate to start the season. I still want to prioritize the big outfielders, but lineups could change things.
Other options – Kris Bryant, Travis Shaw, Alex Bregman
Adrian Beltre, TEX ($2600)
The other side of the diamond in this game brings us a tremendous value in Beltre. Their opponent, the Blue Jays has the slate-high IRT at 5.4 runs but the Rangers aren’t far behind with a 5.1 mark. Marco Estrada’s changeup is far less effective against RHB and he’s allowed 1.37 HR/9 to them over the last three seasons, and Beltre’s price tag is the main reason that I don’t see justifying spending $2000 more just to get to Donaldson, no matter how good a play he is.
Other options – Eugenio Suarez, Yangervis Solarte, Tim Beckham
Manny Machado, BAL ($3800)
Opponents of the Yankees always give me pause because their devastating bullpen can come in and shut down upside, but Machado is an elite hitter (plus the Yanks’ pen hasn’t been so devastating to start the season). His price is below $4000 which makes him a solid target in all formats, and he has a .347 wOBA and .211 ISO against LHP over the past two seasons. You can comfortably dip down to Andrus in cash (see below), but Machado is a perfectly good option if you have the extra $600 to spend.
Other options – Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorius
Elvis Andrus, TEX ($3200)
The TOR/TEX game is one you’re going to want multiple exposure to, with its warm weather and 10.5 O/U. Andrus showed last season that he’s got 20/20 (or even 25/25 upside) in him, and he’s a bit too cheap for such a good matchup against Marco Estrada. The Delino DeShields injury has thrust Andrus back into the leadoff spot where he makes up for his RBI hit with added at bats, runs, and stolen bases. He’s a great target tonight.
Other options – Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Aledmys Diaz
Giancarlo Stanton, NYY ($4900)
Stanton and Trout are my top two overall hitters today, but I have to choose one for the sake of the article (plus it’s hard to fit both), and that guy is Stanton. Kevin Gausman has struggled with reverse splits his entire career, allowing 1.48 HR/9 to RHB as opposed to 1.08 to LHB. Stanton has struck out a ton this season, but he maintained a .391 wOBA and .328 ISO against RHP last season, and Yankee Stadium is only going to inflate his numbers.
Other options – Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, George Springer, Kyle Schwarber, Christian Yelich, Khris Davis, Justin Upton
Steve Pearce, TOR ($2200)
Pearce has only faced one lefty this season (CC Sabathia) but he hit leadoff against him and fared well. As long as we find him there again, he’s an elite value on FD at $2200. Pearce has a .231 ISO against LHP over the past three seasons and Matt Moore has allowed 1.31 HR/9 and a 34% hard hit rate to RHB over that time frame.
Other options – Ian Happ, Yasiel Puig, Kevin Pillar, Brett Gardner, Nomar Mazara, Shin Soo Choo, Matt Joyce, Jesse Winker, Corey Dickerson, Manuel Margot