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: Justin Verlander – Detroit (FanDuel Price: $8,700)
Verlander has been very shaky this season, dissipating trust levels among prospective DFS backers. With that being said, I don’t mind him in this spot. He’s facing a Kansas City team that hasn’t been able to figure him out this season, pitching 14 innings in two quality starts with a combined 11 strikeouts and four earned runs while averaging 39 FPPG. He could easily be within that range yet again, especially considering the protection offered by pitcher-friendly Kaufman Stadium.
Pivot: Austin Barnes – LA Dodgers (FanDuel Price: $2,700)
I’m really hoping Austin Barnes draws the start tonight. This would be a perfect time to make that happen, facing mediocre left-hander Carlos Rodon. Starting catcher Yasmani Grandal isn’t as good against southpaws, so giving him a rest in favor of Barnes makes sense. Hopefully the Dodgers see things that way, but who knows. You’ll need to do some lineup watching here, but Barnes makes for a nice pivot at an otherwise weak catcher position if starting.
Pivot: Mike Napoli – Texas (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
Napoli is a pleasant tournament option with a cheaper salary than the aforementioned, popular first basemen. It goes without saying that Napoli has a risk/reward profile that could easily result in a homerun or goose egg. Facing Kevin Gausman and his .418 wOBA 1.70 HR/9 vs right-handed hitters breathes hope into the former part of that equation.
Pivot: Brandon Drury – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $2,200)
Drury was listed in yesterday’s MLB Pivots column. He posted a modest fantasy total (1-5, 2B, RBI), and the same rationale applies to this evening’s matchup. The Diamondbacks hold a respectable run-scoring projection against subpar Cincinnati RHP Tim Adleman. Hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark doesn’t hurt, and Drury should be presented with several RBI chances.
Pivot: Travis Shaw – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $3,900)
Third base is very competitive tonight, and I’m thinking people won’t pay a premium for Shaw with Lamb, Machado, Donaldson, and others all looking at respectable matchups for cheaper salaries. However, let’s not forget about the red-hot Milwaukee third baseman while stepping in against Gerrit Cole’s generous .367 wOBA 1.39 HR/9 split vs LHB on the season.
Pivot: Ruben Tejada – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Baltimore checks in with the highest run-scoring projection of the night. While Trumbo, Jones, Machado, Mancini, and Schoop will likely be popular selections, Ruben Tejada is a sneakier commodity within that stack. He has been hitting well as of late, racking up eight hits and three RBI over his past five starts. The hotstreak could continue in a nice righty/lefty matchup against Martin Perez.
Pivot 1: Carlos Gomez – Texas (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
Gomez has been very quiet over the past week and a half; however, he’s the type of player who could rattle off a 3-4, HR, 3 RBI performance without much surprise. Facing Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman’s generosity against right-handed hitters (.418 wOBA 1.70 HR/9) could help him display some upside. Most people will shy away from Gomez due to the recent struggles and a possible designation to the bottom part of the order.
Pivot 2: Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
The Pirates have a mediocre run-scoring projection, as DFS enthusiasts will certainly target other teams in better spots (BAL, LAD, ARI, BOS, DET, etc). Gregory Polanco is the one Pittsburgh hitter I’m strongly considering in cash games and tournaments alike. He has looked more comfortable at the plate since the beginning of July, and this is a nice matchup to take advantage of - Milwaukee pitcher Zach Davies has a .379 wOBA 1.80 HR/9 split vs LHB.