Tag: Daily Fantasy

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings DFS Playoff Strategy for October 12

If you have a case of the Mondays, you’re in luck. Monday features a full slot of four MLB postseason games to watch to start your week the right way.

As each division series has gained ground, it’s been easier to figure out which players are the best picks for daily fantasy baseball leagues. Star players have shined, but a few surprise players have made a huge impact for their respective teams.

When attempting to figure out how to construct your daily fantasy baseball lineup for Monday, it’s best to make positional offensive talents a priority. Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta is the only true ace who will take the mound on Monday.

Here are five of the top daily fantasy baseball picks for October 12.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings DFS Playoff Strategy for October 9

The MLB postseason is here, and there have already been plenty of exciting moments. While only a few teams have played up until today, Friday presents four different playoff games to watch.

The benefit of playoff baseball is that each individual game is important with the best teams squaring off in search of a World Series championship. When it comes to daily fantasy baseball leagues, this can be a blessing as well as a curse, and it can be difficult to decide which players stand out the most during the postseason.

For Friday’s games, it’s best to take low-value offensive options in order to make room for proven pitching aces. Clayton Kershaw, Jacob deGrom, Jon Lester and Cole Hamels are just a few of the pitching options to choose from.

Here are five of the top picks for Friday’s MLB postseason matchups.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Optimal Playoff Lineup for October 9

Among the four games on Friday’s MLB postseason schedule, DraftKings daily fantasy players have several quality pitching options to choose from.

Clayton Kershaw was often an easy selection to make during the regular season, but is it worth spending $15,000 on him in the playoffs, where he has a 5.12 ERA over 51 career innings?

Along with big bats like Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion, the following lineup features several cheaper options likely to outperform their salaries:


Best Values 

SP Jacob deGrom, New York Mets ($11,400) at Los Angeles Dodgers

Jacob deGrom was fantastic in his final warm-up outing prior to the postseason.  The above video highlights deGrom‘s scoreless four-inning stint against the Washington Nationals on October 4, in which he struck out seven and did not allow a hit.

The 27-year-old finished the regular season with 205 strikeouts in 191 innings.  His 2.54 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and .215 batting average against all ranked among the top five in the National League.

On July 26, in his only start of the year against the Dodgers, deGrom surrendered just two hits with eight strikeouts in 7.2 shutout innings.

Why not save $3,600 and go with deGrom as your ace instead of Kershaw?


SP Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs ($10,500) at St. Louis Cardinals

Jon Lester is a proven playoff veteran who helped guide the Boston Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles in 2007 and 2013.  Over 84 postseason innings spanning his 10-year career, Lester owns a 2.57 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

The Cubs lefty closed out September with a great stretch of baseball, holding opposing hitters to a .169 batting average and a .206 on-base percentage in his last five starts:

Lester has posted a .259 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in five appearances versus the Cardinals so far in 2015.  Expect another strong performance from him in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.


OF Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals ($3,100) vs. Chicago Cubs

Like Lester, Matt Holliday has an enormous amount of playoff experience—263 at-bats spanning six different years.  The MLB Network pointed out one of the many accomplishments on his extensive resume:

At this stage of his career, the 35-year-old is clearly past his prime.  Holliday only took the field for 73 games this season, hitting just four home runs.  However, he’s homered in every postseason he’s been a part of and has an excellent track record against Lester.

Holliday is 5-for-9 with a double and three RBI when facing Chicago’s Game 1 starter.


OF Colby Rasmus, Houston Astros ($3,100) at Kansas City Royals

Colby Rasmus is the hottest hitter in baseball at the moment.  The 29-year-old outfielder has five home runs in his past five games, including one in each of the Astros’ two playoff contests.  ESPN Stats & Info noted the significance of Rasmus‘ achievement:

In addition to the long balls, Rasmus is 7-for-16 in October with four walks, eight runs and eight RBI.

It’s a small sample size, but his career postseason numbers are also impressive.  In five games, Rasmus is 6-for-15 with three doubles, two home runs, four RBI, four walks and a stolen base.


2B/OF Chris Coghlan, Chicago Cubs ($3,000) at St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Coghlan was not in the lineup for the Cubs’ victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game.  But if he gets the start in Game 1 of the division series, there’s a good chance he’ll make it count.

Coghlan has excellent numbers against Cardinals starter John Lackey, including eight hits in 17 at-bats:

The 30-year-old closed out the regular season on a high note, going 4-for-7 with two runs, a double and a triple in Chicago’s final two games.

With eligibility at second base or outfield and a price tag of only $3,000, Coghlan could be a useful piece when filling out the end of your roster.


All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Statistics via MLB.com unless otherwise noted. Mark Vandeusen is an MLB featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @LucidSportsFan.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Bargain Buys, Sleepers for October 4

It’s the last day of the regular season, and all 30 MLB clubs are in action.  Most of Sunday afternoon’s contests are predominately meaningless and won’t affect the final standings.  This has the potential to wreak havoc on DraftKings daily fantasy lineups.

However, some teams are still competing for spots in the postseason, and many players will also be looking to achieve personal statistical goals.

With that in mind, here are five bargain buys and sleeper picks for Oct. 4. 


SP Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers ($9,800) vs. Los Angeles Angels

The Rangers lead the American League West by just a single game over the Houston Astros.  As USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale noted, Texas will hope for a strong start from Cole Hamels to clinch the division:

Hamels is 6-0 in his last nine outings, with the Rangers winning on every occasion.  He averaged 20.2 fantasy points per game in that time.  Hamels has also thrown six innings or more in all 11 of his appearances since joining the ballclub.

Considering both Clayton Kershaw ($15,000) and Jacob deGrom ($11,400) will likely make short starts in order to stay fresh for the playoffs, Hamels could be the best big-name pitching option available—and he comes at a much cheaper price.


SP Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox ($7,300) at Cleveland Indians

The above video features highlights of Rick Porcello‘s previous trip to the mound, a victory over the New York Yankees in which he recorded eight strikeouts in eight innings.  Porcello has struck out eight hitters in three of his past four starts.  In the month of September, the righty amassed 45 strikeouts in 43.1 total innings.

Over his last seven games, Porcello has posted a 3.22 ERA and averaged more than seven innings pitched and 22.5 fantasy points per contest.

Porcello‘s season ERA currently stands at 5.02.  But the 26-year-old would love to get that number below 5.00 with a quality performance in Boston’s final game of the year.


3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies ($4,400) at San Francisco Giants

Nolan Arenado owns a seven-game hitting streak and is 10-for-26 with three home runs and 13 RBI in that time.

With 42 homers this season, Arenado is tied with Bryce Harper for the National League lead.  Might the Rockies slugger launch one more to take the title all to himself?  As Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly pointed out, the majority of Arenado‘s long balls have come away from Coors Field, a rarity for a Colorado player:

Arenado is just 3-for-16 in his career against San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain, but one of those hits was a home run.

Six other third basemen cost more than Arenado does, making him a steal at $4,400.


OF Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers, ($4,200) vs. Los Angeles Angels

Shin-Soo Choo is red hot at the moment.  The Rangers outfielder has 13 hits, four homers and 10 RBI in his past nine contests.

At the end of August, Choo was batting .245.  However, he hit .404 in September to raise his average to .276.

Choo is hitting .319 at home this year, compared to only .237 on the road.

Needing a win to stay alive in the playoff race, the Angels will pitch Garrett Richards on just three days of rest—something that should bode well for Rangers hitters.


SS J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles ($2,500) vs. New York Yankees

There are more than 40 shortstops with higher salaries than J.J. Hardy’s, making him a very deep sleeper pick.  Hardy has also been on the bench for two of Baltimore’s last three games, so be sure to confirm he’s in the Orioles starting lineup before adding him to your own roster.

Hardy is a great value play because of his spectacular track record when facing the Yankees’ Michael Pineda.  In 13 career at-bats, Hardy has homered off Pineda three times:

During two previous head-to-head meetings in 2015, Hardy went a combined 2-for-5 with a walk and a home run against Pineda.


All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Statistics via MLB.com unless otherwise noted. Mark Vandeusen is an MLB featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @LucidSportsFan.

DraftKings is hosting one-day MLB contests! Claim your free entry by clicking on the link and making a first-time deposit!

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: Top DraftKings Bargains, Strategy for October 3

Rain, rain, go away. Come again when baseball season is over, because you’re ruining everything right now.

Inclement weather has wreaked havoc across MLB this week, forcing three Friday postponements. As a result, all three makeup games will take place on Saturday as part of doubleheaders. As DraftKings players know by now, those are messy endeavors for daily fantasy.

The site will clear one of two games for any given slate. Players must therefore conduct extra lineup research considering most position players won’t play both contests. Before tossing any of these value plays in the lineup, be sure they’re confirmed to go in Saturday’s final season slate.



SP Jake Peavy, San Francisco Giants ($8,900)

Whereas the later games revolve around aces Zack Greinke and Max Scherzer, the early slate lacks any pitching studs. Rookie Noah Syndergaard shouldn’t go deep into his final start before the playoffs, and high-upside arms like Gio Gonzalez and Yordano Ventura each come with concerning command.

While Jake Peavy is far from cheap at $8,900, he’s the safest early cash-contest selection. The San Francisco Giants veteran has uncovered a second wind down the stretch, registering a 1.99 ERA and .174 opposing batting average in September:

Having pitched the fewest innings (105.2) since his rookie campaign 13 years ago, the 34-year-old righty has no restrictions attached to young and/or playoff-bound hurlers. The matchup also adds to his case. Away from Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies rank last in weighted on-base average (wOBA).

Chris Rusin, on the other hand, doesn’t improve away from the hitter’s park. The southpaw has a 5.46 road ERA compared to a 5.29 ERA at home. If he closes 2015 with his fifth straight strong start, Peavy should receive enough run support to earn a victory.


1B Justin Bour ($3,900) and OF Marcell Ozuna ($3,500), Miami Marlins

Aaron Harang may tempt some people as a punt play. The veteran righty has allowed two runs over seven frames in each of his last two starts against the Miami Marlins, most recently on Sept. 22.

The change of venue, however, should quickly squash those thoughts. He twirled both of those outings inside Marlins Park, which ranks as the third-least conducive to home runs, per ESPN.com’s Park Factors. Citizens Bank Park, the sixth-most homer-prone park this season, hosts Saturday’s doubleheader.

Justin Bour has needed only 423 plate appearances to belt 23 dingers, all against righties. Since Sept. 1, the late-blooming lefty has belted nine deep flies with a .567 slugging percentage. Marcell Ozuna can’t match those lofty power numbers, but he’s slugging .480 since the Marlins called him up from a lengthy demotion.

For a little more money, Bour ($3,900) and Ozuna ($3,500) could instead derive value in the evening slate against Alec Asher. Wait for an official lineup before clicking submit.


OF Chris Young, New York Yankees ($2,700)

For a second, it appeared DraftKings had caught on to Chris Young’s tremendous success against lefties, inflating his price to $4,500 so gamers can no longer steal him for pennies. 

Nevermind. That was the pitcher Chris Young. The New York Yankees outfielder only costs $2,700 for the early slate. According to ESPN DeportesMarly Rivera, Wei-Yin Chen will open the doubleheader for the Baltimore Orioles:

Both Young and Chen carry extreme splits this season. Righties are slugging .505 against Chen on the strength of 25 of his 28 home runs relinquished. Despite regressing after a torrid start, Young still holds a .405 wOBA versus lefties. 

He hasn’t homered since Aug. 28, but Young is in great position to start to inflict some damage inside Yankee Stadium.



SP Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs ($7,400)

The Chicago Cubs already know they’re facing the Pittsburgh Pirates in Wednesday’s single-elimination playoff game. The location, however, is not yet engraved.

That at least gives them some motivation to close the season strong against the Milwaukee Brewers, who will conclude the weekend without Ryan Braun. Scooter Gennett (.298 on-base percentage) and Logan Schafer (.306 OBP) have recently led off their lineup.

Hendricks’ 4.09 ERA doesn’t reflect his stellar work this season. During his first full year in Chicago’s rotation, the 25-year-old righty has recorded 8.22 strikeouts and 2.22 walks per nine innings with a 51.0 ground-ball percentage. His fielding independent pitching (FIP) and skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) both reside at a sturdier 3.46, and Milwaukee has mustered four runs through three starts against him.

The opposing Tyler Wagner has struggled mightily in two spot starts, allowing five runs in each turn with five walks and two strikeouts. Along with targeting Cubs bats, Hendricks makes a fine No. 2 complement to Greinke.


1B/OF Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies ($2,700)

Darin Ruf demolishes lefties, hitting .376/.444/.677 with eight homers in 106 plate appearances. The Philadelphia Phillies first baseman is also raking down the stretch, belting five long balls since Sept. 15.

Be careful to only target Ruf in evening slates. Scheduled to pitch on Friday night, Justin Nicolino will now start the second game, according to the Palm Beach Post‘s Joe Capozzi:

The left-handed rookie has notched a microscopic 21 strikeouts through 67 innings, leading to a 5.66 SIERA. With Tom Koehler getting the earlier nod, Ryan Howard will take the early shift while his younger teammate handles the night duties. Ruf is a golden bargain buy at $2,700.


2B/SS Enrique “Kike” Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,800)

Nobody tell DraftKings about Enrique “Kike” Hernandez. The overlooked 24-year-old holds a .949 OPS since the All-Star break and a ridiculous 1.236 OPS against left-handed pitchers. Defying his reputation as a scrappy utility man, he made a premier southpaw pay earlier this week, per ESPN Stats & Info:

With Yasiel Puig hurt, Joc Pederson struggling and Andre Ethier serving a platoon role, there is plenty of room for him in the outfield. As the Los Angeles Dodgers fight for home-field advantage to start their postseason, Hernandez should start against lefty Robbie Erlin, who holds a career 8.24 ERA outside of Petco Park.

While Hernandez has benefited from an outlandish .509 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) against lefties, he deserves some credit for creating his good fortune. All but 3.4 percent of his batted balls are classified as either medium (57.6) or hard (39.0) contact. Possessing eligibility at second base and shortstop for $2,800 only sweetens the pot to ride his hot bat.


Note: All advanced stats are courtesy of FanGraphs. Pricing info obtained from DraftKings.com.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: Best MLB DraftKings Picks, Advice for September 30

Wednesday’s MLB action features all 30 teams playing as the postseason draws near. On days when every MLB team is set to play, it’s important to have a specific plan in mind when planning your daily fantasy baseball lineup.

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Chicago Cubs starter Jon Lester are the only ace-caliber pitchers set to take the mound Wednesday. The best course of action is to take a gamble on undervalued pitching options to make room for high-caliber offensive players.

Here are some of the top DraftKings picks for Wednesday, September 30.


Drew Smyly, SP, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins ($9,900)

Smyly has arguably been the most consistent pitcher for the Rays recently. The former Arkansas standout has recorded an unblemished 4-0 record with a 2.70 ERA over his past seven outings.

What has recently caught the attention of many fantasy owners has been his ability to consistently strike batters out. He has averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched this season.

Smyly faces a favorable matchup against the struggling Marlins, who rank 29th in MLB with just 594 runs scored this season. On a day when there aren’t many true pitching aces to choose from, Smyly is an excellent option for Wednesday.


Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7,800)

Stroman was originally scheduled to pitch on Monday, but his start got moved back due to a postponement. Now, the former Duke standout is ready to perform at a high level with an additional day of rest against a struggling Orioles team.

Stroman has dominated through three starts this season for the Blue Jays. The 24-year-old has a 3-0 record with an impressive 1.89 ERA so far this season. While he isn’t a particularly sharp pitcher when it comes to recording strikeouts, he’s able to get out of jams early and often, as he has left 86 percent of runners on base.

The Orioles have struggled offensively in 2015 and rank 25th in MLB with a .248 team batting average. Stroman should be even more dangerous with an additional day of rest, which doesn’t bode well for Baltimore.


Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Texas Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,100)

Choo has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball during the second half of this season. He has a .421 batting average over his past 15 games and has helped lead the Rangers to the top of the American League West division.

What’s been particularly impressive about Choo has been his power at the plate. He has a .759 slugging percentage over his past seven games with three home runs. Choo will face Tigers starter Matt Boyd, who has struggled this season with a 6.91 ERA.

Choo has a great opportunity to keep his hot streak at the plate going against a struggling pitcher. As the regular season draws to a close, fantasy owners should take advantage of his reasonably low value given his recent performances.


Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds ($4,900)

It seems Bryant is finally finding his identity at the plate after a transition period for the 23-year-old this season. He has recorded a .339 batting average over his past 30 games played with a .386 on-base percentage.

What’s been impressive about Bryant has been his ability to drive in runs for the Cubs. He has racked up 99 RBI this season despite missing the first few weeks. Bryant and the Cubs will face Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani, who has allowed nine earned runs combined over his last two starts.

Bryant is living up to his potential as an upper-tier fantasy third baseman and should continue his hot hitting against the Reds on Wednesday.


Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals vs. Chicago White Sox ($4,700)

The Royals have struggled in recent weeks, but Cain has flourished despite their mishaps. He has a .333 batting average over his past seven games played and faces a favorable matchup against the White Sox.

Cain has been a balanced hitter all season long with a .835 OPS. He has a .455 batting average against White Sox starter Jose Quintana this season, which gives him a great advantage heading into Wednesday’s game.

Cain is one of the few Royals to trust right now as the team goes through a season-ending slump. Kansas City is still poised for a deep run in the postseason, and he will be a great fantasy option for the final games of the regular season.


All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Statistics via FanGraphs.com and MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

Follow Curtis on Twitter: @CalhounCurtis

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: DraftKings Strategy, DFS Rankings for September 29

As we enter one of the final weeks of the MLB regular season, the time is now to figure out which players are the best options for daily fantasy baseball. Tuesday’s MLB action features a full slot of games, which allows fantasy owners to make some tough decisions when setting a daily fantasy baseball lineup.

Below is a table featuring the top three players at each position to put you in the right direction, followed by five players to consider when attempting to balance your DraftKings budget.

Pos. 1 2 3
1B Paul Goldschmidt Joey Votto Anthony Rizzo
2B Jason Kipnis Daniel Murphy Jose Altuve
3B Josh Donaldson Nolan Arenado Adrian Beltre
SS Francisco Lindor Corey Seager Carlos Correa
P Clayton Kershaw Tyson Ross Madison Bumgarner
C Kyle Schwarber Russell Martin Travis d’Arnaud
OF Bryce Harper Mike Trout Jose Bautista


Value Picks

Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($7,700)

Stroman has been sensational through just three starts this season for the Blue Jays. While he lacks professional experience, he has recorded a 3-0 record and a 1.89 ERA in 2015.

What’s been especially impressive about Stroman has been his ability to get out of jams early and often in games. The former Duke standout has left 86 percent of runners on base this season. He will face an Orioles team that ranks 24th in MLB with a .248 team batting average.

The Blue Jays are on the brink of clinching their first division title since 1993, and Stroman will play a huge role in helping the team move closer to that goal. He’s on a hot streak through just three starts this season and is a steal because of his reasonable current value.


Dee Gordon, 2B, Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($4,200)

Gordon has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins this season and has been one of the best hitters in baseball. The 27-year-old has recorded an impressive .371 batting average over his past 15 games and has carried the Marlins with star slugger Giancarlo Stanton sidelined with an injury.

Gordon has hit safely in seven of his past nine games played with three multihit games over the current span. The second baseman will aim to continue his hot hitting against struggling Rays starter Matt Moore, who has recorded a 2-4 record with a 6.48 ERA in 2015.

Gordon’s value has slipped dramatically since he suffered a thumb injury in mid-July, and it’s best to take advantage of his bargain price tag while you still can. His low value provides owners with budget flexibility and the ability to have an All-Star second baseman for a great asking price.


Adam Eaton, OF, Chicago White Sox vs. Kansas City Royals ($4,000)

Eaton has found a home with the White Sox and has played great since the All-Star break. The 26-year-old has recorded an astounding .355 batting average over his past 30 games played with a .381 batting average over his past 15 appearances.

The risk associated with Eaton has been his tendency to be too aggressive at the plate. The outfielder has struck out in nearly 20 percent of his at-bats this season while walking in just 9 percent of his plate appearances.

However, his aggressive hitting has paid off, as he has been arguably the hottest hitter for the White Sox as of late. Eaton and the White Sox will face Royals starter Johnny Cueto, who has struggled since joining the team at the trade deadline. Eaton’s low value makes him a bargain buy heading into Tuesday’s MLB action.


Kevin Pillar, OF, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,000)

The Blue Jays are stacked with offensive talent, and Pillar has been one of the players who have been talked about the least for Toronto. He has recorded a .392 batting average over his past 15 games played and leads all MLB positional players with a .520 batting average over his past seven appearances.

Pillar has also demonstrated great power hitting as of late. The 26-year-old has recorded a phenomenal .960 slugging percentage over his past seven games. He will have a great opportunity to continue his hot hitting against Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, who has allowed 14 earned runs combined over his past three starts.

While Pillar’s recent streak may be an aberration, daily fantasy baseball owners should take advantage of his great offensive value as the postseason draws near.


Lucas Duda, 1B, New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,700)

Duda has helped lead the Mets to a postseason berth for the first time since 2006. The first baseman has also performed admirably as of late with a .300 batting average and a .900 slugging percentage over his past seven games.

Duda is a well-rounded hitter who always seems to make an impact for the Mets. He has recorded a .836 OPS this season and will face struggling Phillies starter David Buchanan on Tuesday. Buchanan has been atrocious this season with a 2-9 record and a 7.96 ERA.

Duda’s recent hitting streak combined with his favorable matchup against Buchanan and the Phillies sets him up for a huge performance on Tuesday. His low value makes him a great pick in a crowded field of first baseman options.


All prices courtesy of DraftKings. Statistics via FanGraphs.com and MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

Follow Curtis on Twitter: @CalhounCurtis

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Strategy, Primer for September 28

Assuming Zack Greinke misses his start Monday night due to injury, for the first time in my daily fantasy career I selected the two highest-priced pitchers. Give me a second, I might shed a tear because this is a big deal.

It’s a strategy I rarely employ because it often cripples the remaining roster. However, there’s enough value on this small-ish 10-game slate for me to still slip in a minor Blue Jays stack. 

Here’s Monday’s lineup:


Corey Kluber ($11,300) vs. Twins

Kluber has not looked great since he returned from injury on September 17. But he’s out for revenge against a Twins lineup that roughed him up in Minneapolis less than a week ago. He’s also slightly more valuable now because of his lesser price tag. Kluber‘s down $1,600 from $12,900 way back on August 29, according to DraftKings

ESPN’s batter vs. pitcher page rarely yields a large enough sample size to show a pitcher’s true success rate against a group of guys. In Kluber‘s case against the division rival Twins, I believe it does. In 264 plate appearances against the Indians ace, Twin position players are hitting just .202 with a .250 OBP. Kluber has struck out nearly 31 percent of Twins in his career. 

Though Minnesota isn’t hanging with the absolute bottom-dwellers in terms of offensive production, it’s not a particularly frightening lineup. This season, the Twins rank 23rd in wRC+ and 24th in wOBA, according to FanGraphs


Max Scherzer ($12,000) vs. Reds

The Reds are a bad offensive ballclub masquerading as a solid offensive ballclub because their home park is extremely hitter-friendly. On the road, they show their true colors. According to FanGraphs, the Reds rank 21st in the league in road batting average and 26th in runs scored. 

Though Scherzer hasn’t been as dominating as he was to start the season, he’s the safest pick on the board. Per DraftKings, Scherzer has posted at least 19 fantasy points in five of his past six starts. 

Scherzer is near the top of the league in most major pitching measures. According to FanGraphs, he’s fifth in strikeouts per nine, seventh in innings pitched, ninth in WAR and 13th in xFIP.  


Crooked Numbers in Baltimore

Baltimore’s starter tonight, Chris Tillman, is not having a great year. His ERA of 5.16 is the highest for any Oriole pitcher who’s started more than 15 games. Monday night he has the unfortunate task of dealing with the best offensive club in the league.

Just for the heck of it, let’s run through the major offensive categories in which the Blue Jays are atop the league. According to FanGraphs, Toronto ranks first in home runs, runs, isolated power, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wOBA, wRC+ and offensive WAR. In most of those categories, no other team is close. 

Every day, numberFire.com uses a complex algorithm to project every player’s expected point total for that day. Its top three projected point totals for position players Monday are Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. What do those three have in common? They play for the Blue Jays. 

If I could fit more Blue Jays into my lineup, I would. But, as I mentioned earlier, I felt like experimenting with two high-priced starting pitchers.  

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Bargains, Sleepers for September 27

In this column yesterday I went on and on about how exciting it was to see former Athletic greats Barry Zito and Tim Hudson take the mound for opposing sides in Oakland. I thought Zito would get shelled and Hudson would guide his team to victory with a quality start. 


The Giants beat the A’s 14-10, and both Zito and Hudson were on ice by the start of the third inning.

However, I clearly haven’t learned my lesson, because I again went with a former Oakland Athletic starter in today’s lineup. Here it is:


James Shields ($9,000) vs. Diamondbacks and Gio Gonzalez ($8,300) vs. Phillies

Let’s start with Big Game James Shields. The former Royal, Ray (and Devil Ray) is enjoying a quality season with San Diego. According to Baseball Reference, he’s currently striking out 9.6 batters per nine innings. That’s well above his career average of 7.8 whiffs per nine innings. Unfortunately, he’s walking 3.5 hitters per nine, a full walk more than his career average.

A higher strikeout and walk rate indicate a higher total pitch count per batter. However, per Baseball Reference, Shields has gone five or more innings in all but one game this season. He’s not piling up the complete games like he did in 2011, but he’s a safe start. 

The Diamondbacks are a quality hitting team. According to Fan Graphs, they rank between 10th and 15th in the league in several offensive categories. However, if Shields can keep the ball in the yard, he should have success. According to ESPN, in 114 career at-bats against Shields, these Diamondbacks have hit just .228, but with eight dingers

Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals host the Phillies today. Per DraftKings, the last time Gonzalez pitched against Philadelphia he went seven innings, allowed two runs, and struck out 12 for a 35.6 point fantasy day. That was less than two weeks ago. 

I’m not saying he’ll strike out a dozen more from the City of Brotherly Love, but he should thrive at home against a weak offensive club. The Phillies rank in the bottom five in the league in road OBP, wOBA, and wRC+ according to Fan Graphs. He’s also the second most likely starter to get a win (which nets four fantasy points) by number Fire’s daily MLB projections.


Mike Trout ($4,900) vs. Mariners

Isn’t daily fantasy fun! How cool is it that I get to put together a lineup with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes as the starting outfield? It’s too bad arm strength isn’t a category. 

Anyway, Trout has been on a roll lately. Per DraftKings, the reigning AL MVP is averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game over his last 10 games. He’s relatively cheap considering he’s still the consensus best player in the world. My only issue with Trout is that he makes insane plays like this robbed home run from last night look routine.  


No Lineup Stack Today?

This is a rare occasion where I spread my offensive players around the league. This lineup is more suited for a DraftKings 50/50, H2H or Double Up than a Guaranteed Prize Pool. If I were to stack any lineup, it’d probably be the Dodgers. Though the division is all but wrapped up (the magic number is currently two), they should try to win one more game before playing a four game series in San Francisco. 

Los Angeles is in Denver where the air is thin and routine fly balls are commonly mistaken for home runs. Chris Rusin, the Rockies’ starter, is 5-9 with a 5.39 season ERA. Last night, the Rockies won 8-6 on a walk-off home run. I’d expect a similar offensive output from both of these rosters.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: Top DraftKings Bargains, Strategy for September 25

It’s unfortunate that both the A’s and Giants have played themselves out of the playoff race. Not because both teams began last season at torrid paces, then cooled off, then snuck into the playoffs. Not because the Giants won’t be a validated as a dynasty until they make the tournament in an odd year. 

No, the real reason I’d like to see this game mean something is for the comedy in today’s pitching matchup. 

Barry Zito ($5,100) versus Tim Hudson ($5,500)

In 2002, the Oakland Athletics won 103 games. They were a dominant club that at one point down the stretch won 20 games in a row (I know, I know, I just spoiled the climax of Moneyball.) But what gets lost in the movie (and the book, really) is the pitching staff. The A’s were built around three dominant young dominant starters. Zito, Hudson, and Mark Mulder.

That year, according to Baseball Reference, Hudson went 15-9 with a 2.98 ERA. Zito went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA and won the AL Cy Young. Hudson had many more quality years in Atlanta and eventually San Francisco.

Zito, however, did not. After four good, but not great seasons in the East Bay, he signed a monster deal to pitch in AT&T Park. In seven years pitching for the Giants in a pitcher’s park, Zito never finished with an ERA under four. 

Today I expect a lopsided game in front of a (rare) sellout crowd in Oakland. Hudson is making his last career start in the building where his career began. He’ll pitch within himself, get groundouts, and likely go six or more innings. 

Zito might get shelled. Though the two are similar in cost on Draft Kings, they’re not equally effective. Zito allowed two earned runs in just one inning the last time he took the hill. It was his only appearance in 2015. He’s entirely dependent on his big curveball and if it hangs; batting practice for the Giants hitters. 

Hudson already announced his impending retirement. Zito refuses to. 

Other pitching options: Adam Warren ($4,500) vs. White Sox, Stephen Strasburg ($10,700) vs. Phillies, Justin Nicolino ($4,300) vs. Braves, Jeremy Hellickson ($6,200) @ Padres

This lineup is a pretty even mix of talented players from around the league. But if you’re playing in a guaranteed prize pool on Draft Kings, and you want to stack a lineup, there are a few solid options today.

The Dodgers’ magic number is two. They could clinch the NL West today with a win and a Giants loss in Oakland. That means they’ll send all their regular starters out against Kyle Kendrick and his 6.37 ERA. I’m playing Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez, but second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Carl Crawford also make strong plays. 

I already mentioned that I believe the Giants will tee-off against their old 126 million dollar man. I’ve got Buster Posey in my lineup. I could easily toss third basemen Matt Duffy and designated hitter Marlon Byrd in as well. They’ve all got a legitimate shot at rounding the bases against the old lefty with an ERA of 18. 

Other lineups to stack: Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies



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