Like most Thursdays, today features a fragmented slate featuring six early and six late games. This column will focus on the later slate, beginning at 7:07 ET.
Of the half dozen teams squaring off this evening, Boston appears to be in a great position to rack up some fantasy points. They’ll step in against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, a fly-ball pitcher (42%) with a .329 wOBA split against right-handed hitters. In other words, the ball could be sailing around Fenway Park tonight, with Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli, and Mookie Betts serving as the most viable right-handed Boston bats.
DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH
Dustin Pedroia – 2B – BOS (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Pedroia leads the way as a lineup “foundation piece” tonight. He has an excellent blend of salary, lineup positioning, matchup potential, and scarcity at the second base position. As I already mentioned, Wandy Rodriguez is generous to right-handed bats, and “Peddy” hits lefties quite well (.365 wOBA).
Adrian Beltre – 3B – TEX (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
On the flip side of this Boston-Texas tilt, don’t be afraid to roll out Adrian Beltre in all formats. The $3,100 price point is non-prohibitive, and opposing pitcher Clay Buchholz has a tendency to be erratic at times. Once again, there aren’t many similarly priced players to steer away from Beltre at the hot corner.
Mike Napoli – 1B – BOS (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
This pick comes with a fair amount of opportunity cost, as the first base position is always chalk-full with respectable fantasy performers (Abreu, Encarnacion, Pujols, Rizzo tonight). However, Napoli has one of the better matchups of that bunch, checking in at a much friendlier price point as well. “Nap” crushes lefties to the tune of .388 wOBA .207 ISO.
Ryan Raburn – OF – CLE (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
So I’ve already picked on Wandy Rodriguez quite a bit. Now it’s time to introduce my friend John Danks, left-handed pitcher for the White Sox. Danks holds a .353 wOBA and 40% fly-ball rate against right-handed bats. That could spell trouble in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, so don’t be afraid to load up on Cleveland righties. Raburn is a platoon specialist, usually hitting 4th or 5th against a southpaw. He owns a hearty .364 wOBA .225 ISO split against left-handed pitching. I’d say that garners consideration for minimum salary.
A.J. Pierzynski – C – ATL (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
The catcher position is pretty thin tonight. If you don’t have enough funds for Russell Martin or Stephen Vogt, Pierzynski is the next best value commodity. He’ll step in against Matt Garza, who has shown blow-up potential from time to time this season (5.72 overall ERA). Pierzynski will enjoy a fine lineup position, either 5th or 6th with significant RBI potential.
Jose Ramirez – SS – CLE (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
The Indians have a tendency to bat Ramirez second against a left-handed pitcher. As I already outlined, White Sox hurler John Danks is definitely one to target against from a daily fantasy standpoint. That leaves Ramirez with multi-hit and run scoring potential, and he could swipe a bag or two.
Adam LaRoche – 1B – CWS (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Danny Salazar is one of my favorite pitching options of the late slate (by default), but he has a tendency to give up the deep ball from time to time (43% fly-ball rate). That leaves the power-hitting LaRoche in a decent spot, batting cleanup for the ChiSox. More importantly, I’m willing to guess he has a very low ownership percentage, creating some sneaky tournament upside.
Shane Victorino – OF – BOS (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
This is the last Red Sox recommendation; I promise! (Only because we are nearing the article’s end). Victorino is a right-handed platoon specialist serving as a reasonable DFS commodity against weak left-handed pitchers. He holds a nice .377 wOBA split against southpaws, carrying decent homerun/extra-base upside in hitter-friendly Fenway Park.
Chris Colabello – OF – TOR (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
The Red Sox, Indians, and Blue Jays are all projected to score 4.50+ runs apiece tonight. Colabello is one of the few cheap Toronto bats, batting 5th against the fly-ball tendencies of Matt Shoemaker (42%). As we all know, the Rogers Centre is an especially generous environment for hitters, so deploying Colabello at a near-minimum salary could generate RBI (and subsequent fantasy) potential.