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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.

 

Andrew Heaney – SP – Los Angeles (DRAFT Projection: 9.2 FP)

 

Heaney is the 12th ranked pitcher by DRAFT. He’s set to face the Detroit Mud Hens. They have a Triple-A quality lineup. For the first time since 2015, Heaney has strung together eight healthy starts. He’s recorded a luck neutral 3.09 ERA with over a strikeout per inning. He can occasionally run afoul of walks or home runs. This outing isn’t entirely without risk. However, he definitely deserves early consideration on DRAFT tonight. I project six innings, six strikeouts, 3.1 runs, and half a win (10.9 FP). You’ll need to draft early to get Heaney in your lineup – his game kicks off at 1:10pm ET.

 

Greg Bird – INF – New York (DRAFT Projection: 0.0 FP)

 

DRAFT can be slow to react to players coming off the disabled list. The Yankees are visiting Camden Yards, a park known for buffing left-handed power. Bird has shown some rust since returning from the disabled list, running a 35.3 percent strikeout rate with one home run in 17 plate appearances. His combination of hard, fly ball contact makes him one of the best bets to hit multiple home runs. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the best bets to strike out three times. He’ll face Andrew Cashner. I have Bird ranked just outside the top 10 infielders.

 

Michael Brantley – OF – Cleveland (DRAFT Projection: 8.5 FP)

 

It’s generally a smart idea to target ground ball hitters against fly ball pitchers. They’re more likely to produce ideal launch angles. Brantley is a ground ball hitter. Jake Odorizzi is a fly ball hitter. On top of the useful platoon matchup, Brantley is a consistent high value performer. He’s averaged 10.66 points per game, and this should be considered a better than normal matchup for him. I’m taking him as the fifth outfielder off my board. DRAFT lists him 15th. Unlike Bird, Brantley is a high floor, high reward bat.

 

OVERRATED PLAYERS

These players may not live up to their DRAFT projection.

 

Lance McCullers – SP – Houston (DRAFT Projection: 10.9 FP)

 

This is a weird one. With Drew Pomeranz on the other side of the matchup, McCullers has an elevated chance for a win. He strikes out over a batter per inning. The only real drawbacks are the Boston offense and a tendency for short starts. I feel like my projection is pretty friendly – 5.2 innings, 5.5 strikeouts, 40 percent of a win, and 2.7 runs allowed (10 FP). Honestly, shaving a point from his DRAFT projection still leaves him in the mix for the third pitcher pick. However, he’s similar enough to the alternatives that there should be no rush to pull the trigger.

 

Brett Gardner – OF – New York (DRAFT Projection: 10.2 FP)

 

I like the thought. A Yankees stack makes a lot of sense opposite Cashner. I’m just not on board with Gardner ranked fourth over stars like Bryce Harper and Tommy Pham. I’d toss him into the deep mix for 10th best outfielder. You already missed his double-homer day on Monday.

 

OVERALL STRATEGY

 

Stacks? DRAFT is quite clearly in love with a Yankees stack tonight. Angels bats deserve just as much attention opposite Ryan Carpenter and the Tigers. In fact, Mike Trout is my no brainer first pick tonight. Astros facing a struggling Drew Pomeranz could offer big value too.

 

Pitcher Talk. Clayton Kershaw and Aaron Nola are easily the top arms. We don’t know if Kershaw is restricted in any way, and Nola has the tricky job of outdueling him. Participants in 10 team leagues may want to grab a pitcher in the middle rounds – somebody like Jordan Lyles or Daniel Mengden. Shallower leagues can last pick the position. Shane Bieber represents a potentially valuable sleeper.

Brad Johnson

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