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: Collin McHugh – Houston (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
In this series, the Houston pitching staff has had decent success against an otherwise intimidating Blue Jays’ offense. That inspires some hope for upside out of McHugh. Even though he was rocked in his last outing, I’m expecting a bounce-back from McHugh, who has been very good at home this season. In his previous three starts, he has racked up 19 strikeouts in 17.2 innings while allowing just five earned runs. There’s certainly some risk/reward when picking on this dangerous Toronto offense. However, McHugh carries some upside and strikeout potential…at least more than most pitchers priced in this tier.
Pivot: Yadier Molina – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Molina is an older player who virtually has no power upside. For those reasons, most of the DFS community will continue to ignore him. However, the St. Louis catcher has been riding a nice 10-game hitting streak with four multi-hit performances in that span. He has chance to keep the heater alive in a generous matchup against Cody Reed’s .409 wOBA and 34.6% HR/FB split vs RHB. Even though Molina probably won’t take advantage of the homerun susceptibility, he should have several RBI situations to rack up fantasy points.
Pivot: Albert Pujols – LA Angels (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
The high-end options listed above are certainly worth considering in all formats tonight. However, if you’re looking to be different (but don’t want to sacrifice on upside), I’m guessing Albert Pujols will have a comparatively lower ownership rate. He has a “green light” matchup against Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman, who holds a vulnerable 17% HR/FB split against right-handed hitters. Pujols has recorded multiple hits in five of the past eight games, and he could get another (plus a homer?) this evening.
Pivot: Logan Forsythe – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $3,400)
I believe the Rays represent an under-appreciated stack against Kansas City pitcher Edinson Volquez. The veteran hurler has been prone to blow-up outings several times this season, holding an overall ERA approaching 5. Forsythe has the power and contact ability to produce a tournament-helping score for a lower-than-deserved ownership rate.
Pivot: Adrian Beltre – Texas (FanDuel Price: $3,300)
I have no doubt that Kevin Gausman of Baltimore will become a quality pitcher eventually. However, he has some things to figure out before that happens; namely, a .373 wOBA and 22.5% HR/FB split against right-handed hitters. Beltre and Ian Desmond could easily take advantage of that mark in hitter-friendly Camden Yards.
Pivot: Adam Frazier – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
We’ll need to double-check if Frazier is in the lineup. If he is, I wouldn’t hesitate to plug him in for value on a tournament lineup. He has recorded multiple hits and a homer in three of his past four outings, including a stolen base. Atlanta pitcher Rob Whalen is a highly ranked prospect, so this matchup isn’t necessarily a given. However, the jump in talent level against a solid Pittsburgh order should provide Frazier with several opportunities to accumulate fantasy points. Behind Whalen, the Braves’ bullpen ranks near the bottom in the league.
Popular Picks: Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Trout, Khris Davis, Charlie Blackmon, Matt Holliday, Max Kepler, David Dahl, Stephen Piscotty, Scott Schebler, Angel Pagan, Tommy Pham, Eddie Rosario, Lonnie Chisenhall
Pivot 1: Jeff Francoeur – Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke is the epitome of mediocrity. He holds a .345 wOBA split against right-handed hitters, something that Francouer, Beckham, and Garcia could all take advantage of. As a journeyman outfielder playing for an otherwise anemic offense, Francoeur often gets overlooked despite having solid matchups (like tonight). He has smacked a homer in each of his past two starts, and viable splits against left-handed pitching suggest some fantasy promise this evening.
Pivot 2: Abraham Almonte – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but Abraham Almonte has been very solid for Cleveland as of late. The switch-hitting outfielder has racked up five hits, three RBI, four runs, and a homer over his past three starts. The matchup is very appealing against struggling Minnesota pitcher Tyler Duffey and an underwhelming bullpen backing him up. Even though Almonte hits towards the bottom of Cleveland’s order, he can still put forth a high-upside fantasy performance to maintain the hotstreak.