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: Drew Smyly – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $7,500)
The Vegas oddsmakers really believe in Smyly tonight, granting the Yankees with a very low run total. Most of that has to do with starting in a pitcher-friendly park, and Smyly has a solid track record against the Yanks. He’s a cheap pitcher who holds some upside, going for 35+ FanDuel points in six of his past eight starts. One of those includes a 42 FanDuel point performance vs the Yankees on July 30.
Pivot: Kurt Suzuki – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Suzuki is economically priced and looking at a solid righty/lefty matchup against Matt Boyd’s .349 wOBA and 13.9% HR/FB rate against right-handed bats. The Minnesota backstop has flexed upside with two homers and 5 RBI in his past four starts. The ball is usually sailing around Target Field this time of year, and Suzuki could use that to his advantage … I also like Cameron Rupp of Philadelphia as a sneaky catcher.
Pivot: Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
Abreu is a pick that makes a lot of sense, yet he’ll be underrated within a loaded first base position. He’s facing rookie pitcher Jake Thompson, who was blasted by Abreu and company for seven earned runs in five innings on August 23. There’s a chance the White Sox could get to him again, this time in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. Abreu would lead the charge in that scenario, and he comes at a discount from the aforementioned popular picks.
Pivot: Whit Merrifield – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Merrifield has been red-hot since getting recalled from Triple-A Omaha earlier this month. The Kansas City infielder has racked up eight hits, four RBI, four runs, and two stolen bases over the past four games. He takes that hostreak into a phenomenal matchup against Josh Tomlin’s inflated .367 wOBA and 19.4% HR/FB split vs right-handed hitters.
Pivot: Maikel Franco – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
This pick should be more obvious than people perceive, as we have a capable power hitter going against one of the most homerun generous starters in major league baseball. However, I’m guessing the DFS crowd will hesitate to roster Franco and his inconsistency, especially when Gyorko and Beltre are underpriced and easy to blend within a solid lineup. Still, we need to remember that James Shields could easily get hammered in this game, and Franco has homerun (or two) upside for this cheap salary.
Pivot: Freddy Galvis – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
I’m looking at another Philly player, or at least looking to target against James Shields some more. With Diaz and Peralta playing in Coors Field and Addison Russell very underpriced, Galvis will likely be under-utilized while priced in-between those players. That’s good news, as Galvis has been swinging a hot bat with four homers in the past eight games, which corresponds very well alongside Shields’ .379 wOBA and 19.8% HR/FB against left-handed bats.
Pivot 1: Paulo Orlando – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
I mentioned Orlando in the MLB Bargains article earlier today, and I believe he can be utilized in all formats. He hits towards the top of Kansas City’s order, swinging a confident stick with three hits, two doubles, and a homer (four runs) in the past two games. Now he’ll face Josh Tomlin’s .367 wOBA and 19.4% HR/FB rate against right-handed hitters.
Pivot 2: Adam Eaton – Chicago White Sox (FanDuel Price: $3,400)
There are a ton of viable plays in the $3400-$3600 range (Cruz, Polanco, Gomez, Martinez, Braun, etc), and I’ll venture to guess that Eaton will hold a much lower ownership rate than those names. He holds just as much upside, if not more, while facing Jake Thompson’s .388 wOBA and 20% HR/FB split against left-handed hitters. As I mentioned earlier, the White Sox shelled Thompson in their last meeting (Eaton being a big part of that), and a repeat performance could be in store.