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: Luis Castillo – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $8,100)
He’s still pretty raw, but Castillo has shown flashes of brilliance over the past two months. The young Red’s righty seems to be settling in nicely, racking up 24 strikeouts over 17 innings in his most recent three starts. More importantly, he has only allowed three earned runs and nine hits over that span. The walk rate has been reduced as well, which was an area of concern earlier this season. Castillo will face a slumping Pittsburgh offense; the same one he tamed last Saturday by allowing just one earned run and three hits (nine strikeouts) over seven innings. The move to pitcher-friendly PNC Park serves as added insurance.
Pivot: Wilson Ramos – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Ramos was a fantasy beast last season before enduring a torn ACL. That injury kept him out of the first half of 2017, and inconsistencies predictably followed his return in late July. However, the former All-Star and Silver Slugger winner is starting to find his groove. Ramos has racked up 14 hits, three homers, and six RBI over his last ten games. He’s looking at an intriguing matchup against White Sox RHP Reynaldo Lopez, who has allowed nine hits and eight earned runs over 10.1 innings in two MLB starts this season. Playing on the road at Guaranteed Rate Field (kind to right-handed power) provides a significant boost.
Pivot: Greg Bird – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Greg Bird was the darling of spring training, but an early-season ankle injury quickly derailed that enthusiasm. Bird is fully recovered and back with the Yankees, racking up four hits, two homers, and seven RBI over the past two games. Boston RHP Doug Fister has been pitching much better as of late, but he still owns an exploitable .380 wOBA 1.74 HR/9 split vs left-handed bats. Combine that with Bird’s ever-present power and the short right field porch of Yankee Stadium, and you could find some cheap upside in this pick.
Pivot: Scooter Gennett – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
Gennett hit somewhat of a slump in early August, and most people suspected regression was finally setting in. Gennett himself was not of that opinion, embarking on another tear by collecting 19 hits, five homers, and 21 RBI over his past 18 starts. He’ll bring his hot bat into a sneaky-good matchup vs Gerritt Cole, who holds a surprisingly inflated .349 wOBA 2.08 HR/9 split vs left-handed hitters on the season. Granted, the Reds’ bats will see somewhat of a park downgrade, but I’ll keep my eye on Gennett (and his lower-than-deserved ownership) in tournaments.
Pivot: Matt Davidson – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Davidson is a cheap power bat with boom-or-bust upside catered for tournaments. He’ll step into a promising righty/lefty matchup against Blake Snell’s .354 wOBA 1.52 HR/9 splits vs right-handed bats. The generous park factor in Chicago doesn’t hurt either.
Pivot: Brandon Crawford – SS – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Crawford has been enjoying himself a nice heater as of late, ranking second in wOBA among qualified hitters in the last 14 days. I’m guessing that has received little attention in the DFS community, as Crawford plays for an uninspiring offense with a suppressive home hitting environment (maybe some West Coast bias as well). However, he’ll look to maintain the fire against St. Louis rookie RHP Jack Flaherty. We aren’t sure how the youngster will perform in his MLB debut (solid prospect with a nice minor league track record), but Crawford will certainly take advantage if control issues persist.
Pivot 1: Max Kepler – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $3,400)
There are plenty of high scoring games in this slate, so I’m guessing the moderate run projection of Minnesota-Kansas City will generate little enthusiasm from DFS gamers. On top of that, Kepler may be somewhat underrated in this upstart Twins’ offense, as Dozier, Rosario, and Polanco (along with Buxton – if he’s playing) have emerged as the headliner picks of this team. Don’t forget about the German, Maximilian Kepler-Rozycki, in a non-prohibitive matchup vs Jason Hammel.
Pivot 2: Boog Powell – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Mike Leake will make his debut for the Mariners tonight, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing for Seattle fans. The veteran righty has fallen on hard times by coughing up 22 earned runs and 34 hits through 19.1 innings in his past four starts. It’s safe to say that played a key role in St. Louis shipping him out of town … Anyway, don’t sleep on these Oakland bats against Leake’s generous, high-contact tendencies. I really like the value Boog Powell provides, especially if he’s hitting leadoff. His teammate, Matt Olson ($3200), carries plenty of power as a GPP Pivot at first base.