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: Christain Friedrich – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
Friedrich won’t dazzle you with strikeout upside, but he has pieced together two straight solid fantasy performances of 48 fantasy points at Arizona and 30 fantasy points vs Seattle. That’s some strong “per dollar” production for the very low salary, and Friedrich could deliver another quality showing against one of the worst hitting teams in the league: Atlanta. It also helps that Friedrich is starting at home in San Diego’s notoriously pitcher-friendly park.
Pivot: Bryan Holaday – Texas (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Holaday should be less than 5% owned in most formats tonight, despite riding a four-game hitting streak with five RBI over that span. Also, Texas is lumped in with some of the highest projected scoring teams of the night, and Holaday should see plenty of RBI opportunities to keep the heater alive. He has been a pretty solid, underrate fantasy catcher this season, and the matchup against Mike Fiers (generous hard contact rate, .340 wOBA vs RHB) is good enough to exploit in Texas’ hitter-friendly park.
Pivot: Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $3,700)
It’s somewhat strange to put Encarnacion in the “pivot” category, as he is usually a popular selection in most matchups. However, due to the depth at first base and opposing pitcher Michael Fulmer riding a hotstreak, I believe most people will overlook Encarnacion in this price range. However, we need to consider that Fulmer has allowed a 26.3% HR/FB rate to right-handed batters this year, so Encarnacion, Donaldson, and company could derail his heater.
Pivot: Jonathan Schoop – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
As you can see above, there are plenty of quality second basemen to choose from. I’m assuming this will leave Schoop with an ownership rate of 5% or lower. Even though he hits towards the bottom of Baltimore’s order, he still carries sizeable upside, sometimes falling into the Orioles’ homerun hitting tendencies. He should see several RBI opportunities in a quality matchup against subpar lefty Danny Duffy of Kansas City, who allows a .340 wOBA against right-handed bats.
Pivot: Nick Castellanos – Detroit (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Detroit checks in as one of the higher projected scoring teams of the night, right alongside the Cubs. Castellanos started the season on fire, but has since cooled off over the past week and a half. That has tamed his salary fairly well, and now could be a nice time to buy low. The park shift in Toronto helps his cause, as does the lineup security within this high-upside Tigers’ order.
Pivot: Wilmer Flores – New York Mets (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Flores is finally seeing consistent playing time while filling in for the injured David Wright. Because of this, he’s starting to find a groove with multiple hits in two of the past three games. The matchup looks good also, stepping into a righty/lefty draw against Jon Niese and his .343 wOBA split against those of the opposite handedness. If you need a cheap filler with some “pop”, Flores fits the bill at shortstop.
Pivot 1: Kole Calhoun – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,800)
Most people will see Calhoun’s inflated salary and matchup against quality pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, then turn the other way. However, we have to consider Tanaka’s susceptibility at allowing round-trippers to left-handed bats, holding a 20% HR/FB split, the highest among any probable pitcher tonight. The short right field porch in Yankee Stadium will help give Calhoun a boost, and he’s heating up with three straight multi-hit games and two homers over that span.
Pivot 2: Nolan Reimold – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
I mentioned several of his teammates as popular selections (Jones, Machado, Trumbo, etc), but Reimold will likely slip through the cracks for this high-powered Baltimore offense. He’s a platoon hitter who should draw the start against a left-handed pitcher, and the matchup is satisfying against Danny Duffy’s .340 wOBA split. Reimold has been very good this season (.348 batting average); his only downfall has been sporadic playing time. He should get a chance to prove himself tonight, and he’s a very well-aligned, cheap tournament option.