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FanDuel MLB Pivots: Thursday

by Spencer Limbach
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

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 games starting at 7:05 ET and later.

 

 

 

STARTING PITCHER

 

Popular Picks: Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Jeff Samardzija, Marco Estrada

 


Pivot: Jon Gray – Colorado (FanDuel Price: $6,900)


Gray has been somewhat of a revelation for the Rockies. He often struggles in hitter-friendly Coors Field, but becomes a viable pitcher when on the road. His strikeout rate is very appealing, piling up 24 Ks in the past three games (20 innings). He pinned down the Giants and Mets (at home) in his last two starts, a couple viable offenses along the same lines as his opponent tonight, St. Louis. It may be difficult for Gray to pick up a road win, but the low price and high strikeout rate is worth considering in tournaments.

 

 

 

CATCHER

 

Popular Picks: Buster Posey, Brian McCann, Yan Gomes, Yasmani Grandal

 


Pivot: Stephen Vogt – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $2,300)


Vogt is slumping, which is why I’m assuming most people will ignore him tonight (despite the very cheap salary). However, the matchup vs Ivan Nova could turn things around, as the Yankee pitcher holds a generous .370 wOBA and 15% HR/FB rate against left-handed hitters. For this reason, Chris Coghlan becomes another reasonable “GPP Pivot” commodity, and Josh Reddick is playable in all formats.

 

 

 

FIRST BASE

 

Popular Picks: Edwin Encarnacion, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Carlos Santana

 


Pivot: Albert Pujols – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,500)


We all know Pujols is an extremely streaky hitter, and it appears that he’s in the midst of another run. His salary is still low despite the recent uptick, creating a perfect buy-low situation. The fact that he’ll likely go under-owned is a bonus. Pujols has accumulated four multi-hit games in the past seven, and he has an above-average matchup against Ross Stripling, who allows a ton of contact and a .341 wOBA against right-handed hitters. Consider Mike Trout and Johnny Giavotella alongside Pujols.

 

 

 

SECOND BASE

 

Popular Picks: Jason Kipnis, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips, Joe Panik

 


Pivot: Starlin Castro – New York Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,000)


Castro is a sneaky pick with some “pop”, hitting a pair of homers in the past six games. Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman has reverse-splits of .360 wOBA and 23% HR/FB rate against right-handed hitters. Castro, as possibly the only true right-handed bat in New York’s lineup, stands to benefit.

 

 

 

THIRD BASE

 

Popular Picks: Josh Donaldson, Matt Carpenter, Danny Valencia, Jung Ho Kang

 


Pivot: Jose Ramirez – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $2,900)


Ramirez has quietly been tearing it up as of late. He’s a candidate for multiple hits, runs, and stolen bases any given night, and the matchup against Tim Adelman certainly helps. Cleveland represents one of the higher projected scoring teams of the night, and I’m guessing Ramirez will be an underrated part of that. He’s heating up with multiple hits in three of the past four games.  

 

 

 

SHORTSTOP

 

Popular Picks: Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Troy Tulowitzki, Marcus Semien

 


Pivot: Didi Gregorius – New York Yankees (FanDuel Price: $2,300)


Gregorius is a fine way to “punt” the shortstop position, which may be a valuable (and differentiating) strategy on this shorter slate. Even though Didi represents one of the only legitimate shortstops near minimum salary, I’m still guessing he’ll be under-utilized due to his low spot in the Yankee order. Don’t let that scare you away, as he’s riding a nice hotstreak with nine hits in the past eight games, a homer, and six RBI through that span.

 

 

 

OUTFIELD

 

Popular Picks: Mike Trout, Gregory Polanco, Khris Davis, Brett Gardner, Josh Reddick, Joc Pederson

 


Pivot 1: Michael Saunders – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $3,300)


Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak are usually underrated cogs in the Toronto run-scoring machine. The Blue Jays have been somewhat disappointing (by their own high standards) in the offensive department as of late, which may create some hesitation from a DFS perspective. However, we have to consider that Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana holds a .345 wOBA against left-handed hitters, and Saunders always has excellent lineup security in the midst of this Jays’ order that could put up double-digit runs any given game.

 

 

Pivot 2: Matt Holliday – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $2,500)


Holliday’s inconsistency will likely scare many people away, and he’s obviously a tournament only recommendation due to that profile. However, the price is cheap, and his upside is undeniable. If you aren’t rolling out aforementioned pitcher Jon Gray, consider attacking him with some right-handed hitters. Gray has reverse-splits of .345 wOBA vs righties. Some of that is inflated by Coors Field, but Holliday will stand to benefit if the Colorado pitcher reverts to his old “gas can” form on the road. 

Spencer Limbach

Spencer Limbach is a multi-sport daily fantasy specialist for NBC Sports Edge. He can be found on twitter @Spencer_JL.