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.
We are focusing on the main slate starting at 7:05 ET.
Pivot: Jon Gray – Colorado (FanDuel Price: $7,700)
Before unloading in the comment section, please hear me out. Taking a pitcher with homerun tendencies in Coors Field may feel like sabotage, but Gray actually has some tournament upside this evening. First off, his homerun struggles tend to come against righties (16% HR/FB rate), wherein we’d only need to really be concerned about Rupp and Franco in that regard. The Phillies hold a bottom five offense that Gray could pin down despite the negative park factor. After all, he posted a 45 FanDuel point outing vs Toronto, 39 vs San Diego, 36 vs Cincinnati, and 51 vs New York Mets over his past four home starts. You would gladly take the average of those totals for this salary, and this is arguably one of his better matchups throughout the last few months (aside from San Diego). One more thing: Gray holds a -150 moneyline, looking at a reasonable chance at earning the all-important win.
Pivot: Kurt Suzuki – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Most people probably won’t look to Suzuki vs Cole Hamels when similarly priced options like Grandal, Contreras, and others have much better matchups on paper. However, we need to consider that Hamels is somewhat susceptible to the long-ball against righties (15.4% HR/FB split). Suzuki has been swinging a hot bat lately, recording multiple hits in two straight starts. Globe Life Park in Texas poses a hitter-friendly atmosphere, and Suzuki actually has very good career numbers against Hamels … If you are looking for another “swerve pick”, Dioner Navarro against Matt Wisler is a matchup to target.
Pivot: C.J. Cron – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Despite his profile for upside, Cron is exactly the type of player I expect to fall under the radar within this loaded slate. He’s reasonably cheap considering a park boost in Baltimore and quality matchup against Ubaldo Jimenez (.339 wOBA vs RHB), who has not been immune to blowup performances this season. Cron has smacked five homers with 15 RBI over the past seven games. He’ll either provide you with eye-popping upside or a goose egg, but the situation looks good for a breakout game.
Pivot 1: Brett Lawrie – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Don’t overlook this White Sox offense tonight, as they rate within the top four run scoring projections. Atlanta pitcher Matt Wisler holds a very generous split against left-handed hitters, but he’s not exactly immune to righties either. Lawrie, as a right-handed hitter, has a nice park factor in U.S. Cellular, especially with the wind blowing to left-center at 15mph (part of the reason CWS has a high run total). Lawrie has enjoyed a nice 9-game hitting streak with four being of the multiple hit variety. He could get another one along with some upside this evening.
Pivot 2: Greg Garcia – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $2,000)
Another sneaky pick is Greg Garcia, who is minimum salary and potentially batting leadoff against Jimmy Nelson’s inflated splits (.361 wOBA and 15.7% HR/FB) against left-handed hitters. The park upgrade in Milwaukee helps also.
Pivot: Pedro Alvarez – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
I’m not seeing much upside below $3,000 at third base, with the exception for Justin Turner and Pedro Alvarez. I like both as tournament options, but Alvarez rates marginally better in my opinion. Here’s why: 1) He has a strong park factor in Baltimore. 2) Even though he’s batting 8th, he should see several RBI opportunities within this well-rounded lineup. 3) Opposing pitcher Matt Shoemaker has been prone to blowups this season, especially on the road.
Pivot: Tim Anderson – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Earlier I mentioned how the White Sox are a pseudo-sneaky stack. Atlanta pitcher Matt Wisler can be considered subpar for all intents and purposes, which is something the Sox leadoff man could pounce on. Anderson has been a hitting-machine lately, collecting multiple hits in six of the past ten games. He is always a threat to record multiple hits, runs, RBI, and stolen bases, especially when the ChiSox offense is well-aligned like tonight.
Pivot 1: Ezequiel Carrera – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
A lack of name recognition usually keeps Carrera’s ownership rates reduced. I’m expecting people will gravitate towards Trumbo, Jones, Yelich, or Springer for a similar price this evening. However, the Toronto leadoff man is easily deployable in all formats, considering a fantastic matchup against Mike Pelfrey’s .376 wOBA against left-handed hitters. Along with Carrera being an excellent individual pick, this is an excellent way to get exposure to a Toronto offense that holds the second highest run scoring projection of the night.
Pivot 2: Angel Pagan – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Pagan is a player who usually goes under-owned due to a lack of power. However, Pagan has the perfect offensive-game for San Francisco’s spacious ballpark, frequently cashing in on doubles and triples. The switch-hitter has a nice matchup against Patrick Corbin’s .343 wOBA and 16% HR/FB split vs right-handed hitters. Pagan is certainly capable of multiple hits, runs, and RBI this evening.