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: Mike Leake – St. Louis (FanDuel Price: $8,000)
Even though the peripheral stats aren’t overwhelming, Mike Leake continues to enjoy a solid season for the Cardinals. He’ll put his impressive 2.97 ERA on the line tonight against a Marlins team that ranks 24th in wOBA and 23rd in wRC+ over the past month. While Leake doesn’t carry much strikeout upside, he does possess a notable groundball rate to stay out of trouble. He checks in as a plausible home favorite to garner consideration for a considerably cheaper price point than the top, popular pitchers.
Pivot: Manny Pina – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
I’m not sure if Pina will be popular or not tonight. You could say I’m more hopeful than certain with this situation. He doesn’t have the same name recognition as the aforementioned, well-aligned popular picks, so that could keep the ownership tame. On the other hand, Pina is on fire at the moment with seven hits, two homers, and six RBI over his past four starts. He’s cheap with a promising matchup vs Baltimore left-handed spot-starter Jayson Aquino in hitter-friendly Miller Park.
Pivot: Josh Bell – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
If you frequent this column, then you’re aware (and quite possibly annoyed) of my soft spot for Josh Bell. He’s a switch-hitter with power who I especially like to stream whenever the Pirates hit the road. His home of PNC Park stifles some of those power numbers, so a park boost in Philadelphia tonight helps his fantasy prospects. Bell profiles better from the left side of the plate, so facing mediocre RHP Ben Lively and a bottom five Phillies’ bullpen is a good enough spot to garner consideration.
Pivot: Whit Merrifield – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $3,200)
There’s a lot to like about Whit Merrifield tonight: 1) He has settled into the leadoff spot quite well for Kansas City. 2) He’s swinging a confident bat with nine hits over his past six games, six of which going for extra bases. 3) He also has capable speed, stealing four bases over that same timeframe. 4) Seattle catcher Mike Zunino is someone to stream stolen bases against, holding one of the lower caught stealing percentages of qualified starters. 5) He’ll hold the platoon advantage over erratic Seattle pitcher Ariel Miranda, who sometimes struggles with the deep-ball … All of this and he’ll likely be underrated with an ownership rate that dwarfs the aforementioned popular picks.
Pivot: Travis Shaw – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $3,800)
Fun fact about Travis Shaw: he actually holds identical splits against both right-handed and left-handed pitching. Most people will avoid the lefty/lefty matchup against Baltimore spot-starter Jayson Aquino, creating a lower-than-deserved ownership rate. You’ll have to pay a pretty penny to acquire Shaw tonight, but this is a perfect opportunity to snag the likely overlooked high-upside slugger.
Pivot: Freddy Galvis – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Pittsburgh pitcher Gerrit Cole’s fall from grace has been well documented throughout the season. His main vulnerability comes against left-handed bats, owning an inflated .367 wOBA and 2.38 HR/9 split in that regard. Starting in Philadelphia makes for more of a hitter-friendly environment than his home of PNC Park. I’m looking towards switch-hitter Freddy Galvis as a sneaky (and cheap) way to take advantage of Cole’s recent struggles. Galvis himself has been warming with six hits, a homer, and two stolen bases over his past four games.
Popular Picks: Charlie Blackmon, Adam Duvall, JD Martinez, Mookie Betts, George Springer, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew Benintendi, Scott Schebler, Billy Hamilton, Max Kepler, Raimel Tapia
Pivot 1: Jackie Bradley Jr. – Boston (FanDuel Price: $3,400)
Poor Jackie Bradley Jr. usually takes a backseat to fellow outfielders Betts and Benintendi of the Red Sox. I’m expecting that to be the case tonight, leaving JBJR with a lower-than-deserved ownership rate despite an exciting matchup against Andrew Cashner in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. The outfield position is very competitive in this 12-game slate (as you can tell by the long list of names above), and Bradley may slip through the cracks.
Pivot 2: Lonnie Chisenhall – Cleveland (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Chisenhall follows the exact same rationale outlined in the previous write-up of Jackie Bradley Jr. Whenever Cleveland has a well-aligned matchup, DFS enthusiasts gravitate towards Encarnacion, Lindor, Kipnis, Ramirez, and Brantley before giving Chisenhall a look. Don’t be that person! Not only does Chisenhall rank top 20 in wOBA and wRC+ over the past month, he’s looking at an excellent home draw against San Diego RHP Luis Perdomo (.369 wOBA, 1.71 HR/9 split vs LHB).