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*
Cole – low risk
Scherzer – low risk
*E-Rodriguez – high risk, Gibson – high risk
Boom-or-bust: Plutko – high risk, Brault – high risk
Fade pitcher: Heaney
Notes: Tonight, Gerrit Cole gets a juicy matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays – the problem is that he is hideously expensive. The upside feels unmatched though as he is going to face a projected lineup that doesn’t have a guy in it under a 21% K rate to righties this season and is traveling to Houston without a day off after a series with the Orioles. Cole always seems to let down a little in these smash spot so I am expecting a run or two of damage, but his strikeouts should offset that and he is set up perfectly for one of those 60+ nights. I will have him in my primary lineup as he is the safest pitcher on the board. E-Rod should be a fairly popular option for people that don’t want to spend up but he comes with a lot of risk as he will be facing a lineup chock full of righties. The positive is that its Baltimore and they’re awful and E-Rod has actually be pretty good to righties this season, limiting them to just a .61 HR/9, a 25% K rate and wOBA of .302. There’s only 2 1/2 batters I worry about in this lineup (Mancini, Nunez, and Sevy). If you are uneasy, I would definitely recommend making a small “hedge stack” of Baltimore to make you feel better and cover yourself. If you are deviating off the top five pitchers tonight, I do recommend doing that. Another risky pay-down option could be Kyle Gibson against the Royals. Gibson has had some great games this season, but has seemed to tail off of late. A date with the Royals could be just what he needs to get back on track. The Royals had a two-week stretch where they were smashing, but have since come down to Earth, sporting two guys in the lineup with an ISO over .129 to righties over the past month and none of these guys hit sliders particularly well. Plutko and Brault are more about opponent rather than themselves and should be reserved just for deep-field tourneys. Heaney is my “fade” pitcher as I am seeing him with some ownership out there, but his metrics are absolutely awful. Sure, he’s been racking up the K’s in a couple matchups with lowly Seattle, but this guy has also allowed 6 homers in three games and is giving up a whopping 76% flyball rate on 40% hard contact to righties. I went and looked at his statcast data and when I look at that, I usually just look at guys over 100 batted ball events but since Heaney has only pitched three games, I had to pluck out his data and compare with a bigger sample. What I found is that Heaney is allowing a launch angle of 27 degrees which would be the highest number of anyone over 100 events, is allowing an exit velocity of 92 mph which would be the highest average of anyone, is allowing a whopping 17% barrel rate which would be the highest and is allowing a 45% hard hit rate which would rank 10th among those with over 100 batted ball events. To put it lightly, he has been absolutely horrible aside from the strikeouts. Now, he DOES get a big stadium tonight against a ground ball-hitting team, so he could come out of it in one piece, but I will be fading and leaving that to the field.
* value: Olson (a little over the threshold but not much around the 3K range)
Outfield (6 for good measure):
Other positional value below 3K FD: Guzman, Aguilar, Odor, Dietrich, Holt, Kemp, H Perez, Adames, Iglesias, Tapia, Luplow, Braun, Kingery, Puig, Pinder, Bader
Top Team Stacks (both sites) :
Boston (Martinez/Bogaerts/Devers) – low risk – Get Luis Ortiz who has been awful in Triple A this season, allowing over .600 slugging to righties which sets up nice for these Boston power righties. Devers is still viable as Ortiz also allowed over .400 slugging to lefties in the farm and it is open season once they chase him from the game as Baltimore sports a bottom-five bullpen.
Colorado (Blackmon/Murphy/Dahl/Tapia) – moderate risk – Quantrill has kind of held his own this season so far but he has been awful to lefties, allowing 49% hard contact and a 37% flyball rate which has translated to a whopping .651 slugging percentage and 1.76 HR/9. Moderate risk for no Arenado and high prices.
Mil (Yelich/Braun/Moose/Grandal) – Thames for value – moderate risk – The Brew Crew gets Drew Pomeranz tonight who basically just has one pitch, a 91 mph fastball. Eh, he throws a change and curve too, but its minimal and Milwaukee should have no issue hitting him. Milwaukee has some power lefties that are the wrong side of platoon splits, but luckily their lefties hit left-handed pitching very well. Moderate risk due to the bad ballpark and decent SF bullpen.
Boom-or-Bust Under The Radar Stacks (high risk, should be reserved only for tourneys):
Philly (Realmuto/Hoskins/Segura/Bruce) – moderate to high risk – Going to get a little crazy in the boom-or-bust section…This stack should come in at single digits tonight against a pretty decent pitcher in Fried. Fried started the year great but has kind of sputtered of late and frankly, the ball is flying out of SunTrust right now and I want to jump on it. The four guys above have been killing lefties over the last month. High risk because Fried isn’t a complete dumpster fire, but I think he gets outmatched in this one.
St Louis (Goldschmidt/DeJong/Ozuna) – high risk – This is another high risk-high reward stack. These three have mauled lefties over the past month, albeit in a small sample of plate appearances. Matz can give it up to righties though and then gives way to a terrible bullpen. High risk due to field and recent Stl slump.
Oakland (Pinder/Davis/Semien/Chapman) – Canha for value – moderate risk – Over the past month, Oakland ranks first in wOBA and 3rd in ISO to southpaws and get a mediocre one tonight in Marco Gonzalez. Moderate risk for ballpark.
Hon mention: Cleveland (Lindor/Luplow/Santana), Tex (Choo/Mazara/Cabrera)
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!