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: Tyler Duffey – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $5,800)
By glancing at the game log, you can get a sense of Duffey’s upside. Over the past month, he poured in 57 fantasy point performances at NYY and Texas. His last two starts vs Cleveland and Boston didn’t yield much success, but the current draw vs Atlanta ranks completely on the other side of the hitting spectrum. As we all know, the Braves represent one of the least productive offenses in the league, and there’s a chance Duffey could cut through this lineup. His teammate, Ervin Santana did just that, only allowing a homer while capping off a complete game. With a heavy -170 moneyline, Duffey is a strong bet to earn the all-important victory as well. NOTE: Double check the weather for this game, as the forecast calls for showers in Minneapolis.
Honorable Mention: Archie Bradley – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $6,500)
Pivot: Kurt Suzuki – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Suzuki is a frequent flyer in the MLB Pivot Plays column, but he seemingly always goes underrated. Outside of Contreras, the catcher position is pretty muddy, leaving low opportunity cost for a well-aligned, cheap pick like Suzuki. The Minnesota backstop has collected a hit in five of the last six games, and he should see several RBI opportunities for a Twins team that could light up the scoreboard.
Pivot: Chris Carter – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Carter has as much upside (maybe more in some situations) as the names listed above, yet I’m expecting a lower ownership rate. Most people are hesitant to select Carter’s “boom or bust” nature, but that’s exactly what we’re looking for in tournaments. Arizona pitcher Archie Bradley is pretty decent, but he holds a .330 wOBA and 13.5% HR/FB split vs RHB that Carter could exploit in hitter-friendly Miller Park.
Pivot: Gordon Beckham – Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
If you decide not to utilize Tyler Duffey in your lineup, go ahead and give Beckham a look from the other side of this Minnesota-Atlanta matchup. While I believe Duffey could be poised for a solid outing, there are a few trouble-spots in this lineup. The Twins’ pitcher sports an inflated .369 wOBA and 17.1% HR/FB split against right-handed hitters (worst among pitchers in this slate), which looks good for guys like Beckham and Adnois Garcia. Beckham has flexed some power-upside over the past month, and this could be another showcasing opportunity.
Pivot: Yunel Escobar – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Even though Escobar has been a hitting-machine as of late, I’m still thinking he’ll be under-utilized. There are a ton of quality third baseman to select from, and he’s not much cheaper than name-brand choices like Beltre or Frazier. However, the Angels’ leadoff man has collected 12 hits in the past six games, including a remarkable 5-5 performance yesterday. He’s looking at a solid righty/lefty matchup against Danny Duffy, who holds a .330 wOBA and 12.3% HR/FB split vs RHB.
Pivot: J.J. Hardy – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Colorado pitcher Jon Gray has been solid as of late, but the Vegas oddsmakers believe he’ll regress at Baltimore tonight. The Orioles represent one of the highest projected scoring teams of the evening slate, and I’m guessing their righty-heavy lineup against Gray’s .333 wOBA and 14.8% HR/FB split vs RHB has something to do with it. Oh, and the hitter-friendly environment in Baltimore doesn’t hurt … Hardy has been sneaky good as of late, collecting multiple hits in five of the last six games. Even if he’s batting towards the bottom of Baltimore’s order, I still like him as a cheap tournament option.
Pivot 1: Robbie Grossman – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
The Twins’ represent a top three projected offense within the evening slate, so we can expect a fair amount of popularity in tournaments. However, I believe Grossman could slip through the cracks, as he lies between teammates Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario (salary-wise). Also, stars like Mark Trumbo, Andrew McCutchen, and Sano will likely possess a larger contingency for a similar price. That leaves Grossman as a sneaky tournament pick, a switch-hitter who could pounce on Michael Foltynewicz’s .387 wOBA and 15% HR/FB split vs LHB.
Pivot 2: Delino DeShields – Texas (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
DeShields was pretty bad for the Rangers earlier this season, leading to a Triple-A designation. He has been recalled following an injury to Shin-Soo Choo, starting in four games since then. That includes a sweet 2-3, double, homer, stolen base performance on Sunday. There’s a chance DeShields could be leading off against Sean Manaea’s .331 wOBA vs RHB, which would immediately boost his fantasy prospects.