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: Chad Green – New York Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Chad Green will be making the first major league start of his career, called up to fill-in for the injured likes of Luis Severino. It’s hard to say how Green will perform in a hitter-friendly environment like Arizona, and this is actually the highest projected scoring team of the day (9.5 over/under). By saying that, obviously there is a fair amount of risk associated with this pick. However, Green is priced like a mid-level hitter, and you can pretty much snag any hitter you want in a stack around him. That alone has appeal for tournaments, just hoping he can scrape together 20-30 fantasy points to give your team a chance. Green has posted a solid 1.22 ERA in Triple-A this season, collecting 36 strikeouts in 37 innings; so it’s nice to know he’s stepping in with some confidence despite the likely jitters.
Pivot: Bryan Holaday – Texas (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Oakland pitcher Sean Manaea has been having a rough-go since getting called up to the majors. He has made three starts, yielding a whopping 16 earned runs in 12.2 innings pitched. The highly touted prospect is obviously better than his recent performances, but I believe it’s safe to target some bats against the big southpaw until he settles down. Vegas tends to agree tonight, assigning a relatively high 8.5 over/under to this matchup. Holaday has been quietly mashing the ball lately, holding a four game hitting streak with four runs, five RBI, and four extra-base hits (including a HR) over that span. He’ll likely have a lower-than-deserved ownership rate due to batting 8th/9th in the Texas order. However, the combination of matchup potential and hotstreak make him a fine value option in all formats.
Pivot: John Jaso – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
I’m really liking Jaso tonight, and he’ll probably be under-owned due to the aforementioned names siphoning ownership away. Jaso is leading off for a solid Pirates lineup that projects among the most productive of the night. A big part of those high expectations come from opposing pitcher Williams Perez having a .372 wOBA split against left-handed hitters. Things certainly look favorable for Jaso tonight.
Pivot: Starlin Castro – New York Yankees (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
I’m not really sure what Castro’s ownership rate will look like. Guys like Kinsler, Segura, or Dietrich could be heavily utilized in their respective matchups, but Castro is reasonably cheaper with an enticing draw himself. Either way, I believe Starlin can be utilized in all formats tonight. He’s participating in the highest projected scoring game of the night, stepping into a nice righty/lefty matchup against Robbie Ray’s .337 wOBA split to right-handed hitters.
Pivot: Maikel Franco – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
As you can see, there’s no shortage of viable options at third base. I’m assuming Franco will get lost in the shuffle, as most people will spend on a top-tier commodity or choose the value route with the red-hot likes of Danny Valencia. Franco is actually the same price as Valencia, likely holding a much lower ownership rate with a nice situation himself. He’ll step in against Adam Conley, who has been up-and-down this season. Conley has pitched three games without allowing a run, and his three other starts have yielded four runs apiece. In case we see the “bad version” of Conley tonight, Franco and the Phillies could be in line for some surprising production. Franco holds a respectable .209 ISO against southpaws through his career.
Pivot: Marcus Semien – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
The shortstop position is pretty thin (like usual). Troy Tulowitzki will probably be one of the higher owned players of any position due to the positional scarcity. However, if you are looking for a cheaper, lower-owned shortstop with some upside, Semien is the one to consider. He has been very “hit or miss” this season, but he has flexed multi-homerun upside over the past several years. Semien and his fellow Oakland bats are well-aligned against subpar left-hander Derek Holland and his .361 wOBA split against right-handed hitters.
Pivot 1: Yasiel Puig – LA Dodgers (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
As we all know, Puig is an erratic hitter who could conceivably go 4-4 with 6 RBI or strikeout four times in any given game. That alone presents some tournament appeal, especially at this bargain salary. If we throw in the fact that Angels’ pitcher Matt Shoemaker is struggling mightily (17 ER in 9 IP over past three starts), the level of intrigue rises even more. In fact, Shoemaker holds reverse-splits of .354 wOBA and 16.7% HR/FB rate to right-handed hitters, feeding into Puig’s wheelhouse.
Pivot 2: Ryan Rua – Texas (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Rua is one of the better near-minimum priced outfielders on this slate. However, a lack of name recognition will likely leave his ownership rate lower-than-deserved. As I mentioned earlier, the Oakland rookie pitcher has been struggling lately, and Rua is a platoon bat who could give him fits. Rua is always a threat for a homer and stolen base, plus the entire Rangers’ offense is well-aligned to do some damage tonight.