Every Tuesday and Friday, I am going to give you my top tournament plays for all Daily Fantasy Baseball GPPs (guaranteed prize pool). GPPs are a general term used across the industry for your big money tournaments.
GPPs are very different from your cash games and you use a different strategy with them. In our GPPs we are not interested in safe plays, since GPPs are all about UPSIDE. We want players who can explode, as all-or-nothing type players can become GPP gold, and your value players are just as important as your star players. You need your players to have huge nights in order to take down these big tournaments.
My goal is to provide players who will be underowned and have that big game upside you are looking for. I will also try to find as much value as I possibly can.
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox – Sale has been up to his old tricks in 2016, dominating hitters from both sides of the plate on his way to a 7-0 record. He is only allowing a ridiculous .219 wOBA to righties and lefties have had no chance against him (.182 wOBA). Sale has gone at least seven innings in six of his seven starts, while racking up just under a strikeout per inning. You have to pay up to get him, but no other pitcher on tonight’s slate has Sale’s upside.
Rich Hill, Oakland A’s – Rich Hill has been very good for the Oakland A’s this season and even dominant at times. The 36-year-old lefty owns a minuscule .206 BAA, to go along with 46 strikeouts in just over 37 innings pitched. The Tampa Bay Rays are a solid team versus left-handed pitching, however they are also aggressive and undisciplined. The Rays are striking 24% of the time against southpaws and they have the third-lowest walk rate in the American League. Hill has already had two games with double-digit punch-outs in 2016 and he could do it again tonight in this plus matchup.
Junior Guerra, Milwaukee Brewers – Te be honest with you, I don’t know a lot about Junior Guerra. Somewhere between the Mexican League in 2012 and Triple-A last season, he improved dramatically, bringing a solid strikeout rate with him. Regardless of how he got here, the 31-year-old has looked decent in two starts this season and he happens to throw right-handed. The fact that he throws right-handed is important, because the San Diego Padres struggle mightily against righties. The Friars rank at, or near the bottom of the National League in just about every offensive category, and they lead the Senior Circuit in strikeout percentage, whiffing over 26% of the time. I would not be surprised at all to see Guerra throw five-to-seven quality innings tonight with a strikeout per inning. At his price across the industry, that will do just fine in tournaments.
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers – With Andrew Cashner heading to the disabled list, Christian Friedrich will make a spot start in his place. The 28-year-old lefty owns a career ERA of .581 and right-handed batters have blasted him throughout his Major League tenure (.389 wOBA). Lucroy is best unleashed against left-handed pitching (career .357 wOBA) and he has big game upside in this matchup.
Yan Gomes, Cleveland Indians - Ricky Nolasco is a “Gas Can of the Night” nominee each and every time he toes the rubber, thanks to his ability to self destruct. In his last three starts, Nolasco has allowed 14 earned runs, including four home runs. Gomes has multi-homer upside and thanks to his recent slump, we get him at a discount tonight.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants – Shelby Miller is no longer looking like the budding star we saw last season. Miller owns a 7.36 ERA in 2016 and he has more walks than strikeouts. The 25-year-old Texan has been hit hard by lefties (.369 wOBA) this season and Belt does his best work against right-handed pitching. Belt rarely seems to be popular in large field tournaments and he may fly under the radar again tonight.
Chris Carter, Milwaukee Brewers - Despite the great matchup, I can see Chris Carter and the Brewers offense being overlooked tonight as most fantasy owners concentrate on the games at Coors Field, Globe Life Park and Chase Field. Carter has massive power and double-dong potential this evening.
Neil Walker, New York Mets - The New York Mets will certainly be popular tonight, but if I had to pick one Mets player who might slip through the cracks and be lower owned than we think, it would be Neil Walker. Despite some monster games this season, Walker never seems to be as highly owned as I expect him to be, this is likely due to his sixth spot in the batting order. Jon Gray has been a disaster at home versus lefties in his career (.452 wOBA) and I expect Walker and company to pound him tonight.
Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals - It does not seem to matter what Daniel Murphy does, nobody seems to want to roster him in tournament play. The Nationals’ second baseman has a ridiculous 52 hits in 33 contests, including four consecutive multi-hit efforts. Murphy has absolutely murdered right-handed pitching this season (.398 BA, .471 wOBA) and he should produce yet another multi-hit game this evening.
Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox – Luis Severino has been hit very hard in 2016 and right-handed hitters are doing some serious damage against him (.344 BAA, .431 wOBA). In his last twos starts alone, Severino has given up a whopping five home runs. We know the kind of upside Todd Frazier brings to the table and I suggest you get at least some exposure to him GPPs this evening.
Travis Shaw, Boston Red Sox – Lance McCullers was very good last year for the Houston Astros, and he has been excellent in the Minors this season as he has worked his way back from a shoulder injury. Despite this, he is a tough spot tonight. The Boston Red Sox have been by far the hottest offense in baseball recently and Travis Shaw has really come into his own this season (.450 wOBA VS RHP). Most fantasy owners tend to forget about Shaw when stacking the Boston Red Sox and he makes a sneaky high-upside play in large field tournaments tonight.
Asdrubal Cabrera, New York Mets - I mentioned earlier that Neil Walker will likely be the least popular New York Met bat tonight, however you could make an argument for Asdrubal Cabrera as well. Although he is not one of their best sluggers, this is Coors Field and he will be facing a starting pitcher who has really struggled at home, and he will eventually face a terrible bullpen as well. Do not sleep on Cabrera tonight at this weak position.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants – Crawford has really improved as a hitter the last couple of seasons and he has had most of his success against right-handed pitchers. With Shelby Miller’s struggles and long-ball issues, I could see Crawford putting one in the seats tonight.
New York Mets Outfield – Jonathan Gray is not an awful pitcher, in fact he has a pretty good arm and he may turn into a solid number two or three starter one day, but he is not there yet. Gray has been absolutely hammered throughout his short career when pitching at Coors Field. He owns an ERA of 9.20 and he has allowed a .382 BAA and a .440 wOBA while pitching at home. All three of Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson have huge potential tonight in this hitter’s paradise.
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles - With Mark Trumbo disappointing many people last night, I do not see him being all that popular tonight against Justin Verlander. As a reverse splits pitcher (.397 wOBA VS RHB) Verlander could struggle in Camden Yards against a Baltimore Orioles team that is loaded with right-hander power. Trumbo has multi-homer upside in any matchup and we should get him under 5% owned in most tournaments this evening.
Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds – Left-handed batters are teeing off on Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Jeremy Hellickson this season (.407 wOBA) and he has been prone to the long ball, allowing nine home runs with five of those coming in his last two starts. Bruce has become a boom-or-bust option these days, but I see more boom than bust in his bat tonight.
Alex Gordon Kansas City Royals – Julio Teheran is a talented pitcher and he has been terrific of late. The 25-year-old Columbian could eventually become an ace or a strong number two in the rotation, however his inability to retire lefties (.369 wOBA) is holding him back for the time being. Gordon’s bat is starting to come alive and he owns a .358 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season. Look for him to stay hot in this matchup.
Seth Smith, Seattle Mariners – Let me give you one last value outfielder before I head out of here. Seth Smith punishes right-handed pitching (career .360 wOBA), and he should not only draw the start tonight against Nick Tropeano, but he should also hit near the top of the order. Tropeano has been susceptible to lefties this year, allowing a .378 wOBA.