For those unfamiliar with my article, I will be listing my three favorite players at each position – two of my favorite higher-priced guys and my favorite “value” play, which will be denoted with a star “*”. As it relates to that value play, I am using Fanduel players priced around $3000 on that site as a gauge, but all the plays can be applied to both sites. Please note that these are NOT the only plays I like, but I can’t list everyone and truly try to narrow down the field as much as possible. Use these plays along with your own research! Remember, this is a GPP-style article so I take some more chances than others! The format for this article is not set in stone so if there is something you want to see or would like me to consider changing, please let me know. After all, this site is for YOU! Let’s dive in!
*Be sure to compare with your own research from our incredible matchup tool!
A star (*) denotes the “value” or lower tier play at each position.
* I am going to start listing the risk level next to my pitchers and stacks to give full disclosure of what we are getting into with each guy*
Verlander – low-to-moderate risk
Lucchesi – moderate risk
*Mikolas – moderate-to-high risk
Boom-or-bust: Duffy – high risk (don’t think we need to go there today)
Notes: Verlander tops tonight’s slate and I listed him more toward a moderate risk because, lets face it, it is always scary throwing a guy against the Milwaukee offense. However, I think JV is in a decent spot today as he should be facing a lot of lefties in that Brewers lineup which plays to JV’s strength as he sports reverse splits this season, holding southpaws to a microscopic .183 wOBA (.266 to righties) and a whopping 38% K rate. If you want to pay up at pitcher tonight, JV is probably your guy. If you are looking to pay down as many are nowadays in order to fit in bats, there are a couple good options in the mid-range, albeit riskier ones. Lucchesi has had some struggles with righties this season, but overall, he has been pretty good and now gets to face a lifeless SF Giants offense in a pitcher’s ballpark. He should get a good amount of ownership from people that don’t want to pay up. An option to pivot off Lucchesi mid-range chalk is Miles Mikolas. Now, this guy might be one of my most-hated pitchers in the league and I almost never play him but tonight I will throw him a bone. He is basically Dakota Hudson-lite – a soft-tossing righty that doesn’t strike guys out and induces a ton of groundballs. Mikolas has some pretty extreme splits this season as he is allowing a .400 wOBA to lefties, but just a .264 number to righties. He is also allowing 31% hard contact to righties compared to a huge 44% to lefties. Working in our favor is the fact that Miami should be rolling out 6 righties in the lineup tonight as well as a pitcher. He is a little riskier than Lucchesi so if I am faced with an option between the two, I’d favor Lucchesi.
* value: Cron (a little over the threshold but not much around the 3K range)
Notes: Merrill Kelly relies on a curveball as his secondary pitch, a pitch that Hoskins absolutely destroys to the tune of a wOBA and ISO over .500.
*Sogard (if he isn’t in, no one in this range)
Notes: Albies is starting to hit again, holding a .455 wOBA and .269 ISO to righties over the past two weeks. Get him now before his price starts to skyrocket.
Outfield (6 for good measure):
Other positional value below 3K FD: Tellez, C Davis, Dixon, Guerrero, Nunez, Ruiz, Grichuk, Markakis, Dyson, L Gurriel, Hernandez, Jose Martinez
Top Team Stacks (both sites) :
Toronto (Smoak/Grichuk/Guerrero/Gurriel) – moderate risk – *see bottom of paragraph for notes on Baltimore* – Happy David Hess night! This stack should be the highest-owned stack on the night and are facing a guy that has allowed 17 homers in 34 innings to righties. You may be asking yourself why I am then listing them as a moderate risk as opposed to a low risk. As pointed out by Rob in his article, Hess is an absolute dumpster fire, BUT, 6 of his starts were against either Yanks or Red Sox, one was at Coors, and one was in Arlington against the Rangers. His start against Toronto and his two against the White Sox were….serviceable. With that said, I still think they’re in a great spot and even if Hess manages to stem the tide, he gives way to one of the worst pens in the league. I was gung-ho about a game stack here last night upon first looking at the slate, but Toronto is rolling an opener, as well, they have a decent bullpen should they chase Edwin from the game so instead of a full-on game stack, I will just be using Baltimore more as one-offs than a full stack.
Minnesota (Cruz/Cron/Polanco/Rosario) – Tommy Milone has sort of held his own this season, but tonight he gets one of the best offenses in the league, the Minnesota Twins. Milone is averaging the best K/9 of his career, but he is also allowing a whopping 52% flyball rate on 41% hard contact to righties. Even more, righties are pulling the ball at extremely high rates on him which helps as Target has a somewhat deep center field. The more we can keep those balls down the line, the better.
Atl (Freeman/Acuna/Albies) – moderate – Atlanta sputtered out for a while, but they have found themselves recently, in particular the guys above. Acuna holds a .340 wOBA and .324 ISO to righties over the past two weeks, I mentioned Freeman’s stats above and Albies has come back around with a whopping .455 wOBA and .269 ISO over the last two weeks. I was really starting to get worried about Albies, but he has turned a corner it seems and we should buy while his price is still low.
Boom-or-Bust Under The Radar Stacks (high risk, should be reserved only for tourneys):
Arizona (Escobar/Peralta/Marte) – moderate risk – Eflin hasn’t been a total abomination, but like most of these Philly pitchers, he struggles against lefties. He is allowing a huge 2.32 HR/9 to lefties (just a .66 number to righties) along with a .492 slugging percentage and 40% hard contact to them with big flyball rates. They will most likely continue to go underowned yet again which makes them the perfect boom-or-bust stack.
St Louis (Goldschmidt/DeJong/Ozuna/Carpenter) – high risk – Jose Martinez for value – This is a stack that absolutely no one is talking about nor is anyone on. The Marlins have called up middling prospect Jordan Yamamoto to make his first big league start and he is just a “blah” pitcher. He isn’t anything sexy – the scouting reports show him with a high 80’s, low 90’s fastball, a good curve and a decent changeup. One thing that struck me is that he has reverse splits in the minors (as most curveball pitchers do) and the main threats on this Cards team are mainly righties. Another stat that caught my eye is that he is allowing a batting average 30 points higher to what Baseball Reference classifies as “older players” and an OBP 30 points higher to them than “younger players”. This tells me that seasoned major league hitters may have little to no trouble with him. If he hangs a couple of those curves over the plate, these guys can dispose of them easily and if Yamamoto has a short leash, he gives way to a terrible bullpen. This is just a deep GPP stack and is very risky as new pitchers to the league USUALLY have a tad bit of an advantage as these hitters haven’t seen them before.
As always, remember to make sure these players are indeed in the lineup and that weather is okay. Don’t forget that baseball is by far the highest variance sport but by truly digging in to the numbers and turning over every stone, we can mitigate that variance. Please follow Top Flight Fantasy Sports on Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already and good luck!