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DRAFT MLB Strategy: Thursday

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Building a team on DRAFT’s DFS platform is an excellent way to make the action even more exciting than just following your favorite team. If you aren’t familiar with DRAFT’s DFS platform, it’s an innovative daily fantasy game with a live draft feature -- instead of building within a salary cap, you're participating in snake drafts that typically last under five minutes. On top of that, anyone you draft is yours alone -- if you take Nolan Arenado with your first pick, nobody else in your league can roster him.

 

You can find more information at Draft.com or quickly join a contest from anywhere after downloading the app!

 

The scoring system is similar to FanDuel with a few small exceptions. For one, starting pitchers aren’t quite as valuable relative to their hitting counterparts. You can read a detailed explanation of these along with other DRAFT MLB Strategy Tips in our preview article.

 

Best of luck and happy drafting!

 

Editor’s Note: Fantasy Baseball season is here! Compete in a live fantasy baseball snake draft right now! Drafts take as little as 2 minutes to complete and last just one night. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link. 

 

UNDERRATED PLAYERS

These players have a great chance to outperform their DRAFT projection.

 

Anibal Sanchez – SP – Atlanta (DRAFT Projection: 8.4 FP)

 

Sanchez isn’t a high quality option today, but he’s better than DRAFT thinks. Projection systems are generally skeptical of pitchers like Sanchez. It makes sense. He’s been bad for so long. Why shouldn’t we expect regression? While he’s unlikely to maintain a 2.89 ERA, there is notable skills improvement lurking under the surface. At his best, Sanchez induced low hard contact rates and high soft contact rates. He’s doing it again for the first time since 2014. The Nationals are a tough opponent which is why I only have him as the eighth best pitcher of the day with a projection of nearly six innings, 5.6 strikeouts, 3.3 runs, and one-third of a win (9.5 FP).

 

Matt Adams – INF – New York (DRAFT Projection: 8.6 FP)

 

Despite recommending Sanchez, there’s definitely a chance the Nationals post multiple crooked numbers against the Braves pitching staff. It’s a dynamic offense that can punish even the most skilled opponents. Sanchez is merely good. Adams, assuming he starts, has the fourth highest chance to hit a home run today at a hair under 30 percent. Despite ranking outside the top 20 per DRAFT, the home run chance is enough to push Adams into my top 10 infielders. Since he might not play, he should go at slight discount until lineups are released. The Nationals and Braves have the earliest game.

 

If you’re looking for night slate bargains, the Dodgers are visiting a southpaw at Coors Field and yet Enrique Hernandez is virtually unranked with a 0.9 point projection. He usually starts against lefties, although he’s a substitution risk.

 

Aaron Hicks – OF – New York (DRAFT Projection 9.1 FP)

 

Hicks is the 11th ranked outfielder per DRAFT. While they didn’t completely miss, I have him as the fourth best choice. Hicks bats cleanup in a potent lineup and has a favorable matchup against Ariel Jurado. The Rangers bullpen isn’t terribly impressive either. Jurado is a pitch-to-contact ground ball guy who will probably make a short start. This could be a high scoring game at Yankee Stadium.

 

Matt Kemp has lost playing time to the Dodgers new additions. However, I’d gamble a fifth round pick on him playing at Coors Field tonight. If he doesn’t you can adjust with a late swap.

 

OVERRATED PLAYERS

These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.

 

Max Muncy – SP – Los Angeles (DRAFT Projection: 9.6 FP)

 

Muncy is in the midst of a slump which - when combined with the Dodgers ridiculously deep offense - is probably enough to justify a night on the pine. Although he doesn’t show any signs of platoon splits, facing a southpaw is another good excuse to get him a day of rest. If he’s starting, this projection is reasonable. However, I’d forecast an over 50 percent chance he sits. Hernandez and Kemp need spots in the lineup.

 

Kevin Kiermaier – OF – Tampa Bay (DRAFT Projection: 9.5 FP)

 

Kiermaier has a fantastic matchup against David Hess. Few pitchers are as deeply exploitable. While Rays didn’t really show up in the “to use” section of this column, a mini-stack makes a lot of sense. Kiermaier unfortunately is not the obvious target. He’s batting .182/.259/.308 on the season with career worst strikeout and swinging strike rates. Although I expect him to recover before the end of the season – barring another injury – I’m not selecting him as the seventh best outfielder. Mallex Smith is a better target among Rays bats, and he should also be taken outside the top 10.

 

OVERALL STRATEGY

 

Pitcher Talk. A few good pitchers have had their value downgraded due to a bad matchup. Paxton is set to battle the Astros – always a tough assignment. Berrios will face Kluber and the Indians. Stripling is tasked with surviving Coors Field. Overall, there are four or five pitchers who are considerably better than the alternatives. However, it rarely makes sense to overreach for the top arms. Get them at a value or settle for a risky volume play.

 

  1. Justin Verlander – Tier 1
  2. Corey Kluber – Tier 1
  3. James Paxton – Tier 2
  4. J.A. Happ – Tier 2
  5. Junior Guerra – Tier 2
  6. Rick Porcello – Tier 3
  7. Jose Berrios – Tier 3
  8. Anibal Sanchez – Tier 3
  9. Andrew Suarez – Tier 3
  10. Gio Gonzalez  – Tier 3
  11. Ross Stripling – Tier 4
  12. Ivan Nova – Tier 4
Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.