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.
These recommendations are for the late slate, starting at 7:05 ET.
Pivot: Drew Pomeranz – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $6,200)
I mentioned Poemranz in the FanDuel MLB Bargains article for tonight, but he definitely falls into the “pivot category” as well. He is super-cheap in this spot, especially when considering his strikeout upside. He has pitched 11 innings this season, allowing 4 earned runs, and striking out 15. That last stat is the one that makes me excited for his potential moving forward. There is certainly some risk in this recommendation though, as Pomeranz is a young lefty, and Pittsburgh is chock-full of quality right-handed hitters (McCutchen, Marte, Cervelli, etc). However, we can take some comfort in the fact that their power will be suppressed by the pitcher-friendly atmosphere of Petco Park.
Pivot: Stephen Vogt – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Recent history is one of the key determinants in ownerships rates. Vogt is 0-7 in his previous two games, including a disappointing 0-5 performance last night. However, if we look to the prior series vs Kansas City, Vogt smacked two homers and two multi-hit performances over that four-game set. His homerun potential is boosted by the short porch in Yankee Stadium. Opposing pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is no slouch, but hitters tend to smack his fastball hard if they guess correctly. It would only take one pitch for Vogt to pay off his salary; plus, the opportunity cost at catcher is very low this evening.
Pivot: Wil Myers – San Diego (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Some daily fantasy enthusiasts have this internal bias against hitters playing in Petco Park. For the most part, this rule of thumb holds true for the pitcher-friendly environment. However, we can’t completely write-off two teams in one swoop because of it. After all, talent sometimes trumps park factors. That’s what we’re looking at with the red-hot likes of Wil Myers. He is riding a four-game hitting streak, including a 2-3, 4-7, and homerun performance through that span. Myers has an excellent matchup against subpar lefty Jeff Locke, so we need to keep him firmly on our tournament radars (and borderline cash game consideration).
Pivot: Starlin Castro – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
In my opinion, there aren’t any “must plays” at second base tonight. The aforementioned popular picks are reasonably aligned, but I wouldn’t feel concerned fading any of them. Speaking to that point, Castro will likely have a lower ownership tonight, especially if he returns to the bottom half of the order. However, this matchup looks good, as Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman possesses reverse-splits of .337 wOBA and 20.4% HR/FB rate to right-handed bats. Throw in a hitter-friendly park in New York, and guys like Castro and Rodriguez make for sneaky picks.
Pivot: Alex Rodriguez – NY Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Take everything I said about Starlin Castro and directly apply it to Rodriguez as well. However, A-Rod is in a much better spot himself, hitting in the top-half of New York’s lineup, also possesses better power ability to take advantage of Graveman’s susceptibly 20.4% HR/FB rate to righties. Rodriguez was a popular selection yesterday. While he was “okay” in that spot, I don’t believe many people will go back to the well tonight, despite carrying another intriguing draw.
Pivot: Marcus Semien – Oakland (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
Most people probably dismiss Semein as overpriced, then move on to one of the popular picks listed above. You can really work that toward your advantage when constructing multiple tournament lineups. Semein has flexed power upside this season, hitting four homers in a four-game span the week before last, including a double-dip vs LAA. Yankee pitcher Nathan Eovaldi is a quality tosser, but (as mentioned before) he sometimes gets bit with the deep ball and hard contact rate. Semien has power upside in a hitter-friendly ballpark, and he’ll assuredly have a lower-than-deserved ownership rate. Don’t count him out in tournament!
Pivot 1: Steve Souza – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Souza is one of those guys with elite power, holding the potential to erupt for two homers in any given game. The park shift at Fenway certainly helps his cause. For whatever it’s worth, Souza also has pretty good career numbers against Rick Porcello, which certainly doesn’t hurt his cause. I wouldn’t trust him in cash games for this salary, but the upside is difficult to ignore when filling out multiple tournament lineups.
Pivot 2: Michael Saunders – Toronto (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Even though Saunders is hitting leadoff for one of the most potent offenses in baseball, I’m still thinking he’ll have a lower ownership rate for lack of name recognition. Baltimore pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez came back down to Earth last game, bearing a striking resemblance to his struggles last season. He held a .354 wOBA against left-handed hitters a year ago, which is something Saunders and company could certainly take advantage of in the hitter-friendly environment at Camden Yards. Look to the Blue Jays leadoff man as a very good tournament pick, worth borderline cash game consideration as well.