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 7:10 ET.
Pivot: Drew Pomeranz – Boston (FanDuel Price: $10,100)
Listing the most expensive pitching option on the slate may not seem like a “sneaky pivot play”, but unique circumstances surround Pomeranz this evening. He’s coming off back-to-back subpar outings since joining the Red Sox, leaving most people to stay away from the current price point. However, I’m expecting a bounce-back effort tonight, as Pomeranz will settle into the Angels’ pitcher-friendly ballpark against a mediocre lineup. In reality, he needs to work around Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to hold a good chance of getting through this outing relatively clean. Pomeranz has good career numbers against Pujols, so that helps. My gut feeling suggests we’ll see the dominant-likes of Pomeranz…you know, the type of performances that resulted in the Sox acquiring his talents.
Honorable mention: Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
Pivot: Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Detroit (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Saltalamacchia is a decent fallback option with upside this evening; that is, assuming he gets the starting nod. The switch-hitter has flexed some decent power over the season, and that could be the case once again while taking on Mike Fiers, who has yielded a top five hard contact rate among qualified pitchers this year. If you find yourself in a spot where value is needed at the catching position, Salty is probably your best pivot downward.
Pivot: Kennys Vargas – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
The young switch-hitter has been an extra-base hit machine since getting called up to the big leagues. That trend could easily continue against Miguel Gonzalez’s vulnerable .341 wOBA and 13.8% HR/FB split against left-handed bats. The ball tends to fly around Target Field this time of year, and we have noticed that in recent games. Vargas could be a high-upside, yet moderately priced tournament play with a fairly low ownership rate. As I mentioned, he’s a powerful switch-hitter who wouldn’t lose the platoon advantage in a bullpen situation either.
Pivot: Ryan Schimpf – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
In all honesty, Schimpf probably should be a high-owned commodity tonight. However, since he’s a relatively unknown name playing for the Padres, I’m expecting a much lower-than-deserved ownership rate. Believe it or not, Schimpf is actually one of the league leaders in homeruns for the month of July. He has a friendly matchup against Cincinnati pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who holds a .351 wOBA and 12.4% HR/FB split against left-handed hitters. Don’t be too discouraged about the park factor either. Even though Petco Park profiles generally as pitcher-friendly, it is actually moderate to left-handed power (very tough on right-handed power).
Pivot: Jung Ho Kang – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Daily fantasy players haven’t gotten much usage out of Kang this season, as the Pittsburgh infielder has struggled through cold-stretches and injuries throughout the first half. That general perception will likely suppress the ownership rate despite a low salary and tempting matchup against Chase Anderson’s reverse-splits of .367 wOBA and 14.6% HR/FB vs RHB. The Pirates make for a very nice stack with Marte, McCutchen, Freese, Kang (and Cervelli). I’m guessing Kang will be one of the most underrated commodities within that group, yet he’s very affordable with a confident overall projection.
Pivot: Tyler Saladino – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Even though Saladino hits towards the bottom of Chicago’s lineup, I still believe he’s a serviceable value shortstop for tournament purposes. The matchup is appealing, taking on Tommy Milone’s susceptible .337 wOBA and 14.4% HR/FB rate against right-handed hitters. As you can see above, there are plenty of higher-priced shortstops to choose from, but Saladino represents sneaky good value at a bargain basement salary.
Pivot 1: Josh Reddick – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
I’m not really sure what the ownership rates will look like for Reddick and his teammate Khris Davis. They are both on a tear, yet the draw against Josh Tomlin doesn’t exactly jump off the page. While Tomlin holds a solid .256 wOBA and .193 average against left-handed hitters, he sometimes struggles with the deep-ball, owning a 17.4% HR/FB split in that regard. That creates a “boom or bust” opportunity for Reddick to keep the hotstreak alive.
I’m going to keep recommending this two young Minnesota lefties when the matchup is appropriate. Even though they are both tearing the cover off the baseball, their ownership rates continue to remain below 10%, even in quality matchups. They’ll get another favorable draw against Miguel Gonzalez’s .341 wOBA and 13.8% HR/FB split against left-handed hitters. Kepler ranks among the league leaders in homeruns for the month of July, showing no signs of slowing down. Meanwhile, Eddie Rosario has achieved double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four starts.