Well, I was writing up the A’s, but that game just scrapped due to a COVID-19 positive test, so that was 15 minutes well spent. Both teams I wrote up in Quick Hits last night look to be trending slightly under-owned, so that’s also a great starting point for MLB DFS today.
Tampa Bay Rays – 2-3-4-5-7 – Choi – Diaz – Tsutsugo – Adames – Renfroe
The Rays are one of the top-ranked plays on the board today on both sites. On the larger FanDuel slate, they were going slightly under-owned before the Astros game cancelled, I would expect them to go off closer to even, but up top that’s about as favorable as we’re getting for today. The Rays get a favorable matchup against Miami starter Sandy Alcantara, who pitched well in his one appearance so far this year. Alcantara is one of Miami’s better starters but he’s vulnerable with just an 18.9% strikeout rate and a 10.7% walk rate.
The Rays have plenty of left-handed quality as we discussed earlier this week, but they will be without Austin Meadows at the top of the lineup. I’m hopeful the star player’s absence keeps this stack somewhat off the radar. Joey Wendle will be hitting up top, and those are nowhere near the same caliber player. I prefer to start in the two spot here with Ji-Man Choi. The lefty slugger is still scuffling at just .202/.302/.360 with two home runs, but he gets all of his power on this side of splits and is carrying a respectable number in my home run model today.
The value on Yandy Diaz is nearly inexplicable on FanDuel. The third baseman hasn’t hit for much power in 2020, but he has a WRC+ 34% above average and a .303/.424/.385 slash in his 132 plate appearances. Take advantage of the mis-prices at just $3,700 on DraftKings and $2,700 on FanDuel.
Yoshi Tsutsugo and Willy Adames aren’t necessarily the most comfortable roster options for MLB DFS. Tsutsugo in particular has been slow to adapt to the American game after arriving with some hype from Japan. The slugger hit more than 20 home runs several times in the NPB, which is not a homer-focused league. There’s known quality in the bat, we just haven’t seen much of it at .173/.306/.346 with four home runs and a .173 ISO. The price and spot in the batting order are worth the play here, however. Adames fills out the shortstop spot well and is rewarding us with a decent line so far on the season. At just $3,500 he’s a few steps down from the top shortstops on the board, so consider opportunity cost when putting this stack together with another.
The back end of the lineup has underrated outfielder Hunter Renfroe buried in the seven spot, Kevin Kiermaier hitting eighth and Kevan Smith hitting ninth at catcher. At just $2,900 Smith is a very offbeat not entirely uninteresting catcher play on DraftKings in small doses. Of the three, Renfroe remains the best option in my home run model and in projections.
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Chicago Cubs – 1-2-3-4-5 – Happ – Rizzo – Baez – Schwarber – Contreras (or Heyward)
This is one I’m really not comfortable with and is probably more a play on DraftKings where the slate is shorter and they naturally rank better overall. On the larger FanDuel slate, the matchup against Reds ace Luis Castillo has the team pushed down the board in terms of likelihood of success, though they’re still going under-owned. Castillo is having a dominant start to 2020 in terms of Statcast numbers, sitting in the 95th percentile in exit velocity allowed, 74th in hard hit rate allowed, 88th in xwOBA, 86th in barrels and 97th percentile in fastball velocity. The dominant fastball sets up his killer change up and the slider that draws over 40% whiff.
Still, the Cubs have a tough lineup filled with power. This team typically draws large home run marks and those are cut down by the matchup against Castillo, who has done a very good job limiting power. We’re looking to capture a variance game with this play where the Cubs bats overcome the pitcher’s quality in an unexpected way. The ownership should allow us to play the top end of the Cubs lineup with little concern for duplicated constructions.
The lineup starts with Ian Happ in place of Kris Bryant. Happ is at .288/.417/.577 on the year and is doing a great job creating his own fantasy points with his seven home runs and the way he sets the table for the big hitters behind him. Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber are a big power trio who aren’t secret to anyone. That four man stack is a basic and easy approach to this team today, and there would be nothing wrong with just rolling it out like that.
Schwarber is carrying the largest — though still very low — home run mark in my model. He has seven dingers on the year in his 127 plate appearances and is carrying a .229 ISO. Rizzo has hit eight out of the yard and is sitting at .243 in the ISO department. Baez is the only one who has struggled out of the gate. The mighty shortstop is at a lowly .208/.248/.383 on the year with just five home runs, a WRC+ 35% below average and a .175 ISO. Let others make the mistake of leaving Baez out. Mash him in where you’re playing Cubs stacks, as the $4,500 price on DraftKings is a big bargain.
Catcher Willson Contreras at $5,000 in this matchup is a tough ask in terms of price, but it should keep the public off him, and he’s one of the better offensive options at a mandatory position on DraftKings on any slate. The backstop is at .204/.308/.379 on the season with four home runs, but he’s hit more than 20 home runs in two of the last three seasons.
Left-handed Jason Heyward and Jason Kipnis are two inexpensive mix-and-match veterans that we can deploy from late in this lineup for minimal investment of salary cap. Heyward is having a nice start to his 2020 at .272/.381/.481 with three home runs, 14 runs and 14 RBIs, a .210 ISO and a WRC+ 34% above average. He makes for a good differentiation point in your outfield in Cubs stacks. David Bote is no Bryant at the plate, but he’ll be manning the hot corner and no one will be on him at $2,600. The same is true of Nico Hoerner at second base. Neither should be thought of as more than a way to make a lineup different, however. These aren’t the bats I want to target against this pitcher.
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