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.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers - By now you all know Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game, and if you can find a way to roster him, I suggest you do so. The Dodgers lefty has now gone five consecutive outings with 10 or more strikeouts, including a complete game shutout with 13 punch-outs against the New York Mets in his last start. Kershaw has 77 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched, and he has only walked four batters all season long. Those numbers are absolutely insane! With his hefty price tag across the industry, I do not see him being very popular in tournament play. Getting Kershaw at a low ownership is GPP gold.
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants - If fantasy owners are going to pay up at pitcher tonight, I think most go all the way up to Kershaw, which means Bumgarner may get overlooked in GPPs. The San Diego Padres have been an average offense at best against southpaws and they are striking out over 25 % of the time. Mad-Bum is having another dominant season (.241 BAA with 60 Ks in 49.2 IP), and I expect him to mow down the Friars with ease tonight.
Juan Nicasio, Pittsburgh Pirates - The Atlanta Braves are bad. I mean really bad, fire your manager bad, and pretty much any pitcher facing them is in play, especially if that pitcher has strikeout upside. Nicasio has been very inconsistent this season, but he has shown us a strong strikeout rate and he has been much better at home, where he has posted a 3.09 ERA along with a .224 BAA, while striking out over a batter per inning. I do not see the Braves offense getting to Nicasio tonight, which means we should get anywhere from five to seven quality innings with perhaps a strikeout per inning. At his inexpensive price, that will do just fine in tournaments.
Yasmani Grandal, Los Angeles Dodgers – Jered Weaver has become one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball and he is a guy we want to attack each and every time he is on the bump, especially with left-handed hitters. Grandal is best unleashed versus right-handed pitching and I love his potential in this plus matchup tonight.
Carlos Ruiz, Cameron Rupp or Tommy Joseph, Philadelphia Phillies - Wei-Yin Chen is a fly-ball homer prone pitcher, which does not bode well for him tonight pitching in the bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park. On a night where we need some salary relief, the Phillies catcher will make a decent punt play in GPPs.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers - Miggy is going to be a tough guy to fade in any format tonight. Not only is he swinging the bat well right now, but he has owned Phil Hughes throughout his career (18-for-41, .439 BA with five doubles and six bombs). Even if you are not a BvP person, these numbers are hard to ignore. I suggest you get at least some exposure to Cabrera in tournament play this evening.
Byung-ho Park, Minnesota Twins – Park has six hits in his last four games, including two doubles and two home runs. The 29-year-old South Korean has displayed big time power this season with 16 of his 28 hits going for extra bases. Mike Pelfrey does not strike out anybody out, which of course leads to a ton of hard contact against him. Pelfrey owns a 5.80 ERA and a he has allowed a .388 BAA so far this season. Park has multi-homer upside in this game.
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros - I do not know about you, but Altuve is not a guy I want to fade when he is facing a lefty. The diminutive second baseman has feasted on southpaws throughout his career (.357 BA, .394 wOBA) and I think we see more of the same tonight against a struggling Carlos Rodon.
Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Dodgers - Howie Kendrick is another great value option to plug into our GPP lineups tonight. Kendrick has five hits in his last three contests and he was hitting on the three-hole last night. Jered Weaver used to dominate right-handed hitters, but times have changed, and Weaver cannot seem to get anyone out these days. Right-handed hitters have blasted the Angels’ righty in 2016, producing a .323 batting average and a .391 wOBA. Kendrick has multi-hit upside tonight at a bargain price.
Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks - Michael Pineda is having a tough season thus far (6.28 ERA, .306 BAA), and he has already allowed a whopping nine home runs. Left-handed batters have been his biggest nemesis (.343 BAA, .412 wOBA) and that puts Jake Lamb on our tournament radar. Lamb owns a .404 wOBA versus right-handed-pitching and he has big game upside in this matchup.
Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies – I am not necessarily looking to pick on Wei-Yin Chen, but this is a tough park to pitch in, especially when you are an extreme fly-ball pitcher. Franco is under-priced on most sites and we know he has multi-homer upside on any given night.
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers – We are targeting yet another lefty bat against Jered Weaver and his low-80s fastball. Left-handed batters have been abusing Weaver for years now and that trend has continued in 2016 (.324 BAA, .399 wOBA). Adding fuel to the fire, Seager has been smoking hot at the dish recently, producing seven multi-hit games in his last 10 contests. During this 10-game hot streak, Seager is also hitting for power, compiling three doubles and four long-balls.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs – Chase Anderson has struggled mightily this season (6.11 ERA) and right-handed hitters have done most of the damage against him (.367 BAA, .456 wOBA). Baez has not been very productive this season, but he does have a nice combination of power and speed. At his price across the industry, he makes a terrific punt play.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates – Polanco’s bat has come alive of late, as he has now reached base in 10 of his last 13 plate appearances. Left-handed hitters have given Aaron Blair fits during his brief time in the Show, as evident by his .374 wOBA. Polanco has jack-and-a-bag upside in this prime matchup.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles – Jones has been a tear of late, ripping off 13 hits in his last six games, including two doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs. With his price skyrocketing on most sites, he should be low percentage owned in tournaments tonight. This is something we should all take advantage of.
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals - I am not in love with Matt Holliday tonight, but he is way under-priced on most sites. Holliday is still a very good hitter and are we really afraid of Chad Bettis? The St. Louis Cardinals are the best offense in baseball against right-handed pitching and at the very least, Holliday should see plenty of RBI opportunities hitting in the middle of the order.
Steven Moya, Detroit Tigers - Steven Moya is another great value play in the outfield. The 6’6” 230 lb giant has massive power and he is off to a hot start. Phil Hughes has not been good this year and left-handed batters are hitting him hard (.354 BAA, .393 wOBA). Not only does Moya provide salary relief, but he also has home run upside a discount.