Slates like tonight can be tough for large GPPs. Tonight we have 5 games with one very heavy favorite and some awful pitchers to attack. You can almost utilize any rationale because “Its baseball.” Everyone knows its very tough to win a March Madness pool by picking the overall #1 seed or most popular choice.
MLB GPPs function same way. If you take Jon Lester tonight and he goes 8IP and gets a win with 9Ks, you are happy. However that fact alone will barely help make a difference in climbing to the top of the tournament. Now that is not recommending going away from Lester because you don’t want to sabotage your lineups, but you might try a few leverage plays which include Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu and have faded Lester, as well as a couple other lineups which just simply fade him.
The big deal on a night like tonight is to take a few shots in the dark as to the hitters. Getting back to the college basketball analogy, I attended a game a few weeks back in which it was Corey Kluber vs Trevor Cahill in Cahill’s 1st start off the DL, in Cleveland on July 4th. The Indians were HUUUUUUUGE favorites. They lost 2-1 and the crowd was STUNNED.
Even more recently, just last night Yu Darvish, the prize of the trade market, was home facing the Marlins as clear favorites. Well the Marlins only scored 22 runs, but I’m assuming 22 was enough to make a little moolah if you had that stack. So honestly, “its baseball.” That’s why they play 162 games.
This goes to show there is no such thing as a 16 seed on any given MLB slate. Sequencing and batted ball luck play an immense role. So tonight you do not want focus too much on specific plays because so many of the SPs can clearly be attacked. Lets just try and find a couple spots that are favorable but might not be as popular, in case the Cubs don’t score 10 runs off Pelfrey and the White Sox bullpen.
ASSUMED CHALK (and fine plays for cash games): Marlins, Reds, Rays, Cubs, Archer, Lester
PITCHERS to USE:
Luke Weaver v DBacks: He projects to be a fine major league pitcher. The DBacks are a rather unpredictable offense the last couple of years, but they certainly have allowed pitchers to reach their ceiling. Weaver in his short time has struck out about 25% of all hitters he has faced, and his been a bit unlucky on line drives and fly balls. He’s got a good park to pitch in but a bad defense behind him. I will have some shares. (xwOBA = na)
Zack Godley @ Cardinals: Weaver’s opponent tonight. If you are playing on 2 Pitcher sites, do not be afraid to have a couple lineups which use BOTH guys. Godley’s stuff has clearly improved this year. If Mathis is catching he is one of the best framers in baseball and has helped the staff overperform all year. Godley has struck out 27.7% of righties faced this year and also has one of the best groundball rates in baseball. No Dexter Fowler and getting to face the pitcher might lead to him outperforming Archer or Lester. (xwOBA = .311)
Luis Perdomo v Mets: This is also a slate where I like to use both a SP in some lineups, as well as the lineup he is facing as a stack in a couple other lineups. The Mets could pop 4 flyballs onto the warning track, or over the wall, I’m not going to act like I can predict which end result will happen. Perdomo, like Godley, is elite at keeping the ball on the ground, which helps him get double plays in jams. I do not see high strikeout upside, but I could see 7-8 scoreless innings. (xwOBA = .311)
Chris Flexen v Padres: I do not even know if this dude is in every MLB DFS player pool. He has been quite good in the minors over about 50 innings at Double A. He’s now replacing Zach Wheeler. The scouting reports indicate he is a pretty complete SP with multiple offerings and an above average slider, but obviously this is a huge talent jump for him. Also we cannot be sure about the manager’s leash. I say its a talent jump despite this being the lowly Padres. Pretty much every outcome is in play for Flexen which makes it a GPP gamble worth a lineup or two. (xwOBA = na)
PITCHERS to FADE: = The really crappy ones. Stephenson, O’Grady and Pelfrey
HITTERS to USE:
Trevor Plouffe: May not be in the lineup. Many moons ago he was a lefty masher. Best park of the day to pop bombs if he gets a crack at CC.
Brett Gardner: Chris Archer can be run on. Also this season we have already seen Gardner treat his home park like all of right field is pesky pole.
Aaron Judge/Todd Frazier/Didi Gregorius: They are facing a truly great pitcher and with the Cubs set to mash, will go more under-owned than usual and all 3 actually bring the double dong potential.
Joey Votto: The opposing starter is a lefty and his consistency is just so easy to take for granted and gloss over when seeing his prices around the industry. Park downgrade, but he’s still arguably the best in the world with a wooden bat.
Devin Mesoraco: A second former lefty masher from years past. Might be in the lineup, might not be. At the catcher position and with generally low prices, he’s worth a smallish investment if he is starting.
David Peralta: He is day-to-day. The DBacks aren’t always consistent with their starting 9, sometimes its based off platoons and other times not so much. Check the lineup when its posted and take some shots against the youngster Weaver including Peralta
Jose Abreu/Matt Davidson/Yoan Moncada: The leverage play we discussed above. The Marlins just scored 22 runs against Yu Darvish. The Cubs bullpen sometimes gets walk happy.
Curtis Granderson/Asdrubal Cabrera: IF Grandy is playing I love this play. The later game players sometimes get overlooked, but both guys have done the double dong or dong+steal thing throughout their careers. Be checking lineups and beat writers.
Wil Myers: This should be an obvious play but if everyone is on Rizzo and Goldy, I could see him going overlooked.
TEAM STACKS to USE: Honestly, if you whacked up your stacks dead evenly and entered 10 lineups with 1 stack of every offense, that is NOT a bad strategy (depending on your SPs and filler hitters). But I’ll mention some I will be specifically using.
Mets: They have the lefties to smoke the ball around, and the Padres have a minor league defense and possibly bullpen if a trade goes down.
Rays: Its a park factor thing.
Cubs Bottom of the Order: This applies on most nights and remains a great way to distinguish a chalky lineup. Any given Cubs hitter in the 6, 7, 8, 9 or 1 hole can come to bat with numerous guys on base, because this is game is in the AL park.
Reds Bottom of the Order: Everyone knows Joey Votto is the greek God of bases on balls. That has an effect on what can happen in any particular inning in which he bats. Duvall, Schebler (if he plays), Suarez and Mesoraco all have a nice ceiling in this game.