The purpose of this article is to outline potential popular selections at every position, then give some sneaky pivot plays with lower ownership rates for tournament consideration. Essentially, it’s your traditional “Tournament Picks” segment with an emphasis on getting away from those groupthink selections of the day.
In other words, I’m playing devil’s advocate in going against the grain. Hopefully, this will help find some lower-owned pivot plays to accompany the popular, well-aligned picks in your FanDuel lineups.
Pivot: Drew Pomeranz – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
I’m not sure who will be more popular between the cheaper selections of Pomeranz and Porcello. The Red Sox are favored tonight, so I’m guessing Porcello will have a higher ownership rate with a clearer path to victory. However, we can’t forget about Drew Pomeranz for $700 less. His strikeout rate has been amazing this season, piling up 25 K’s in 17.2 innings. The matchup against San Francisco isn’t ideal, but the pitcher-friendly atmosphere certainly helps his cause. In Pomeranz last outing, he worked around the righty-heavy Pittsburgh bats to record 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings, earning the win along the way. Madison Bumgarner is taking the bump for San Francisco, so earning a win will be very difficult for Pomeranz. However, the strikeout rate could sustain him to another solid fantasy total. More importantly, he gives you enough cap space to stack high-upside hitters at every position.
Pivot: A.J. Pierzynski – Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Most people don’t realize that A.J. Pierzynski still has some fantasy potential. He’s usually hitting fifth for Atlanta, and tonight’s matchup against Rick Porcello looks decent on paper (.336 wOBA vs LHB). Even though Porcello has been solid to begin the season, a relapse could be in store any game now. Pierzynski has recorded 5 hits in the past three games, and he’s a multi-hit candidate once again.
Pivot: Mike Napoli – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
I’m expecting Napoli to have a very low ownership rate tonight – not because he’s someone to ignore, but due in large part to the heavy emphasis placed on the popular picks above. Napoli is settling into a decent matchup against fly-ball, sometimes homerun-prone pitcher Tommy Milone. The Cleveland first baseman will settle into the cleanup spot, and I’m expecting him to inflict some damage on Milone – possibly the second or third time through the lineup.
Pivot: Daniel Castro – Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $2,000)
I like Castro in tournaments and/or cash games, especially if you are trying to find somewhere to punt. The second base position is decent, but it doesn’t have the same amount of upside as other spots (aside from catcher). That strengthens the rationale for punting this position, and Castro is one of the better ways to go about that strategy. He is hitting second for Atlanta, riding a 6-game hit streak, and achieving five hits collectively in the past two.
Pivot: Brandon Drury – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Drury is another red-hot punt play, similar to Castro mentioned above. However, Drury is in a better position tonight, likely hitting second in a hitter-friendly ballpark with excellent lineup security. By that, I mean he’s hitting in front of Paul Goldschmidt and hitting-machine Welington Castillo. Speaking of hitting machines, Drury is approaching that designation himself, recording 7 hits total in the past three games.
I’m not really looking to pivot here, as there isn’t much upside outside of the previously listed plays. Francisco Lindor is a potentially sneaky pick against blowup-prone lefty Tommy Milone, but he is fairly obvious himself. Ultimately, I’m interested in Lindor or one of the names above, weighing price and upside simultaneously.
Pivot 1: Jose Bautista – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $4,400)
If we didn’t have a 12-run over/under in Colorado tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays would be one of the highest scoring teams to target. However, as it stands, the Jays are full of tournament pivots, as most people will be spending up on Pirates or Rockies. Bautista is in a very nice situation tonight, batting at home vs homerun-prone Miguel Gonzalez. Consider him, Encarnacion, Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and (maybe) Smoak as solid tournament picks (borderline cash) tonight.
Pivot 2: Franklin Gutierrez – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $2,000)
The player pool doesn’t offer much in terms of outfield punts tonight, except for guys like Franklin Gutierrez and Steve Pearce. They are somewhat risky picks better reserved for tournaments, and I’m leaning towards Gutierrez when decided between the two. Houston pitcher Doug Fister allowed a .358 wOBA against right-handed hitters last season. Gutierrez has some “pop” in his bat capable of upside. Even though he hasn’t done much this season, there’s some reason to be optimistic tonight for minimum salary.