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.
Pivot: Josh Tomlin - Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $8,700)
Note that I also like Steven Wright as a cheaper pivot play, as explain in the FanDuel MLB Bargains column for today … Still, you can’t deny the upside for Josh Tomlin, who has notched 10 Ks in 11 innings this season, holding a 1.54 ERA with two wins in just as many starts. He’s taking on a Minnesota team with extreme strikeout tendencies against quality pitchers. Aside from those appealing facts, Tomlin will likely have a lower-than-deserved ownership rate, as his price is inflated alongside the likes of Matt Harvey, Gio Gonzalez, and Sonny Gray. I’m expecting most people to take the safer, “name-brand” pitchers instead of Tomlin, creating a pivot worth considering in tournaments. UPDATE: There is some weather concern in this game, so be sure to double check before rolling with Tomlin.
Pivot: Brian McCann – New York Yankees (FanDuel Price: $3,400)
Conventional fantasy baseball wisdom says to not consider left-handed bats against left-handed pitching. While that sentiment holds true for about 95% of such hitters, there’s a few exceptions to that rule. Along with Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, and several others, Brian McCann has pretty even splits against righties and lefties alike. In fact, he holds a .329 wOBA against left-handed pitching, a few points higher than his .326 wOBA against righties. For that reason, he’s an intriguing, low-owned pivot play against mediocre southpaw Martin Perez, especially when considering the hitter-friendly park and expected high-scoring nature of this game.
Pivot: Albert Pujols – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
Coors Field will likely siphon a large amount of ownership percentage at this position (Jaso and Reynolds). I’m expecting David Ortiz, Lucas Duda, and maybe Jose Abreu to be next in terms of popularity. Pujols may slip through the cracks here. We all know he’s a streaky hitter, especially when it comes to the power side of his game. Well, he’s on another slugging-binge, blasting three homers in the past three games. Tonight, he’ll face notorious fly-ball pitcher Chris Young with the wind blowing out to center field at 15-20 mph. That sets up another favorable environment for a round-tripper (or two).
Pivot: Dustin Pedroia – Boston (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
The Red Sox make up a sneaky stack tonight, as majority of the emphasis will be placed on Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Texas. However, the Red Sox are in a great position to be one of the higher scoring teams of the night, playing at home vs the subpar pitching of Bud Norris. Even though Norris has been notoriously bad against lefties throughout his career, he actually allowed a whopping .369 wOBA against right-handed hitters last season. I’m expecting this Boston lineup to give him fits from top to bottom, especially the red-hot Pedoria, who has recorded multiple hits in five of the last six games.
Pivot: Travis Shaw – Boston (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Even though Shaw has been swinging a fairly hot bat, I’m guessing he’ll be under-utilized at a jammed-packed third base position. As I mentioned above with his teammate Pedroia, the Sox offense could be in for plenty of runs and production against Bud Norris. Shaw has the ability to take advantage of his .371 wOBA against left-handed hitters, considering the Boston infielder has contributed multiple hits in five of the past nine.
Pivot: Jedd Gyorko – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
Gyorko was also mentioned in the FanDuel Bargains article today, but he certainly fits the criteria of a pivot play as well. He’s a “boom or bust” player who should be considered only in tournaments. However, the park shift in Arizona along with a feasible righty/lefty matchup against Patrick Corbin (.343 wOBA vs RHB last season) makes Gyorko interesting. He has flexed capable upside as of late, going 3-5 with a HR in back-to-back games last week.
Pivot 1: Yasmany Tomas – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $3,700)
I’m guessing so many people will be invested in Coors Field that they won’t have the ability to pay a premium on a “non-name-brand” hitter like Tomas. That’s exactly what makes him a savvy tournament pivot. Well, that and a few other things. Namely, he has been a hitting machine lately, recording multiple hits in three straight games, including two homers over that span. Also, St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright looks like a shell of his former self, and he’s more than susceptible to a blowup performance in Arizona’s pitcher-friendly park. The Diamondbacks actually check in as the fourth highest scoring team of the night, making for a sneaky stack.
Pivot 2: Jayson Werth – Washington (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Werth has been inconsistent this season, leading conservative daily fantasy enthusiasts to avoid him entirely. However, when he has been on, he has yielded some very good fantasy performances (albeit spotty). Tonight could bring forth another wave of productivity, as the matchup aligns very well against Jeremy Hellickson’s reverse-splits of .349 wOBA vs right-handed hitters.