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DRAFT MLB Strategy: Thursday

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

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.

 

Danny Duffy – SP – Kansas City (DRAFT Projection: 8.2 FP)

 

I’m not especially keen about Duffy tonight. However, we’re working with a tiny eight game slate. Pitchers are scarce. Duffy is the 12th ranked arm according to DRAFT. I have him in the mix for any pick after the fifth arm. This is largely a function of the alternatives. Duffy projects to supply something like 5.2 innings, 5.5 strikeouts, three runs, and 40 percent of a win (9.5 FP). That may overstate his value. He’s looked terrible this season, but my projections include the last three campaigns. Even if you add a run to your expectations, he’s still mixed in with the leftover pitchers after fifth-ranked Charlie Morton.

 

Manny Machado – INF – Baltimore (DRAFT Projection: 9.2 FP)

 

Machado isn’t exactly getting short shrift from DRAFT – he’s the fifth ranked infielder. I have him in the mix with a couple outfielders for the top overall pick. Machado has a tasty matchup against Lucas Giolito at power friendly Guaranteed Rate Park. One thing the White Sox starter has done well is to limit home runs. However, he’s walked (6.42 BB/9) more batters than he’s struck out (5.10 K/9). His 6.42 ERA is entirely earned. Machado has buffed his fly ball rate this season, and the results show clearly in his 15 home runs.

 

Corey Dickerson – OF – Pittsburgh (DRAFT Projection: 7.4 FP)

 

Dickerson is well outside the top 20 outfielders on DRAFT. I have him ranked fifth on my list. The lefty slugger has shaved 14 points off his strikeout rate while bashing more line drives and fly balls. He’s become a high average hitter with power. PNC Park has suppressed his home run totals, causing his breakout to fly under the radar. A visit to Great American Ballpark promises easy access to the outfield bleachers for Dickerson. His opponent, Luis Castillo, has struggled with home runs (1.75 HR/9)

 

OVERRATED PLAYERS

These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.

 

Josh Lucas – SP – Oakland (DRAFT Projection: 9.1 FP)

 

I’m not sure what Lucas has done to earn his ranking as the sixth best pitcher today. Certainly, the field is narrow with only eight games in the slate, but there’s no reason to select a reliever making a spot start. Lucas has an unexceptional 91 mph fastball that he pairs with an adequate slider. He throws more breaking balls than fastballs. Even with only 16 starters to choose from, I’d pass on Lucas in every format. A three inning outing is very possible.

 

Salvador Perez – INF – Kansas City (DRAFT Projection: 9.2 FP)

 

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with selecting against Rangers starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Perez may even supply a healthy point total tonight. However, his profile is all wrong for his ranking as the fourth best infielder. While the power is enticing – 35 home runs over his last 622 plate appearances – it’s his only redeeming quality. He’s an all-or-nothing hitter with no on base skills. I’m more willing to roll the dice on this profile with a guy like Joey Gallo because his power is a full standard deviation better than Perez. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pick Perez tonight, but I see at least 10 infielders I prefer.

 

OVERALL STRATEGY

 

Stacks. For a small slate, there are plenty of stacking opportunities. Pirates, Mariners, Athletics, Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, and even Royals are easily targetable for hitting glory. The result is a large quantity of last round value picks. This makes it easier to first or second pick a pitcher.

 

Pitcher Talk. Four men stand above the fray – Rick Porcello, Dylan Bundy, Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton. Porcello and Snell face each other. Only one can earn a win. None of these guys are typical first round picks. You’ll want to consider reaching when you see alternatives like Duffy, Giolito, Steven Matz, and Ivan Nova. I’m targeting Bundy first for his matchup against the strikeout prone White Sox.

 

Brad Johnson

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