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: Ian Kennedy – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $8,000)
Kennedy is the ultimate “feast or famine” pitcher in this slate. His homerun susceptibilities are cause for concern, but he’s also capable of a high-strikeout, relatively clean performance. For example, he went six innings, allowing four hits, and racking up 10 strikeouts against Toronto’s intimidating lineup. Two starts later, he gave up seven earned runs (four homers) in 4.1 innings against Cleveland. That accurately describes the “boom or bust” tendencies of Kennedy, and he happens to face an offense that is cut from the same cloth. I believe he’s worth a look in tournaments.
Pivot: Mike Zunino – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Zunino is a de facto tournament pick, as he’ll either provide a homer or strikeout in any given at-bat. He has a very impressive HR/AB ratio to target for daily fantasy purposes. Facing Ricky Nolasco’s .368 wOBA and 15% HR/FB split against right-handed hitters only helps the cause.
Pivot: David Freese – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Freese has been enjoying a nice little run for the black and yellow, usually hitting either cleanup or fifth. He has a reputation for mashing lefties throughout his career, and opposing pitcher Matt Moore holds a .341 wOBA split against right-handed hitters. Granted, the park factor in San Francisco isn’t exciting, but Freese could find the gap several times en route to a productive night … I also like Justin Smoak ($3,100) of Toronto to potentially take advantage of the short-porch in left field of Yankee Stadium.
Pivot: Rougned Odor – Texas (FanDuel Price: $3,600)
In my opinion, Odor has similar upside to the popular picks listed above. His team holds one of the highest run scoring projections, playing in their home, hitter-friendly environment of Globe Life Park. Oakland pitcher Ross Detwiler was able to sneak through his last outing vs Baltimore, but I’m guessing his luck will run out on the road. Odor actually hits lefties pretty well, so while everyone is avoiding the lefty/lefty matchup, you can enjoy a lower ownership/high upside opportunity in tournaments.
Pivot: Danny Valencia – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Valencia was red-hot to begin the season, but he has since fizzled out as the second half wanes on. He still holds excellent numbers against left-handed pitchers, which cross-references well with Texas hurler Martin Perez holding a .344 wOBA vs righties. Valencia and his teammates will enjoy a nice park shift in Arlington, where the ball is flying around the yard this time of year.
Duffy played his first few games since getting injured in mid-June, this time playing for Tampa Bay instead of San Francisco. He had a solid 2-5, RBI, two run outing yesterday against New York, and the matchup is enticing against San Diego pitcher Luis Perdomo (.394 wOBA, 17.9% HR/FB rate vs RHB). He’s a sneaky-good tournament option at a cheap price point.
Popular Picks: Carlos Gonzalez, Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Marcell Ozuna, Ian Desmond, Mike Trout, Charlie Blackmon, Nelson Cruz, Khris Davis, J.D. Martinez, David Dahl, Michael Saunders, Billy Hamilton
Pivot 1: Alex Gordon – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Hear me out on this one. Even though Gordon is looking at a lefty/lefty matchup, I still believe there’s fantasy upside to be had. Gordon actually has similar splits against righties and lefties throughout his career, as his wRC+ is only 10 points lower, and the ISO rate is nearly identical. Detroit pitcher Daniel Norris has been generous to lefties, holding a .375 wOBA and 17.9% HR/FB split in that regard. That has me thinking about Gordon and Hosmer as underrated tournament picks.
Pivot 2: Tyler Collins – Detroit (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Remember earlier when I was talking about Ian Kennedy’s boom or bust tendencies? As it turns out, the Tigers hitters make for pretty good tournament picks in case Kennedy falls into the “bust” department tonight. After all, the Royals’ pitcher holds a .341 wOBA and 16.8% HR/FB rate against left-handed hitters. Collins has been a revelation for the Tigers, and they currently have him settled into the 2-hole with excellent lineup security and fantasy potential in matchups like this.