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: $7,600)
Any time you’re going against the power-packed Baltimore lineup, there’s going to be some risk involved. However, McHugh has been pitching very comfortably as of late, silencing some other quality lineups like the Mariners and Whites Sox in recent games. His stock is certainly trending in the right direction, especially after recording a season-high eight strikeouts in Chicago last Thursday. On a slate without any clear-cut pitching options, taking a chance on a lower-owned guy like McHugh (who has similar projections to the popular picks) could payoff.
Pivot: Chris Iannetta – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $2,400)
There isn’t much of a need to side with value at the catcher position, but that doesn’t mean we should completely write-off the economical selections. Seattle checks in with a top three run scoring projection, as the Vegas odd-makers expect them to inflict some damage on spot-starter Zach Neal of Oakland. Whoever is starting at catcher (either Iannetta or Clevenger) will likely stumble into some RBI opportunities.
Pivot: Adam Lind – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $2,300)
Lind essentially mirrors the previous write-up of teammate Chris Iannetta. We have seen some power upside from Lind over the last several years, and he’s starting to round back into form as of late. The Seattle first baseman has launched two homers in the past seven games, and he has a welcoming matchup against spot-starter Zach Neal. Likely hitting sixth behind Seager, Cruz, and Cano should give him a chance to drive in several runs.
Pivot: Jonathan Schoop – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
I mentioned earlier how Collin McHugh could be “boom or bust” tonight. In the case he’s a bust, you’ll want some Baltimore hitters on your squad. Schoop is a sneaky pick who seemingly always goes overlooked. That’s even despite his recent warming of three homers and five multi-hit games over the past two weeks. If you aren’t reaching up to Cano, Altuve, or Pedroia, Schoop is an economical pivot who could realistically give you similar output.
Pivot: Travis Shaw – Boston (FanDuel Price: $3,700)
It’s surprising to think that Travis Shaw go have a lower-than-deserved ownership rate tonight. However, he has been somewhat spotty as of late, and a recent hand injury will likely have people apprehensive. However, the hand issue isn’t anything serious, as he was able to come of the bench last night to fill in for Hanley Ramirez. Shaw and the Red Sox have a very appetizing matchup against Chad Bettis and the Rockies, and I believe he can be a contributing part to this high run total.
Pivot: Carlos Correa – Houston (FanDuel Price: $3,900)
It’s not often we can expect Correa to have a semi-low ownership rate in a reasonable matchup. However, I’m assuming most people will be looking towards Machado or Bogearts in majority of their lineups. If they don’t have the cap space for either, the next likely move is to punt with Motter. This way, Correa could possibly slip through the cracks despite a welcoming draw against subpar pitcher Tyler Wilson in a hitter-friendly environment. I really like the strategy of differentiating here in tournaments.
Pivot 1: Ryan Braun – Milwaukee (FanDuel Price: $3,900)
I encourage you to not forget about Braun tonight. There’s a logjam around the $3,800-$4,000 mark in the outfield, where names like Polanco, Ozuna, Marte, Cruz, etc will likely be the primary focus. That leaves Ryan Braun as a suitable tournament pivot in a nice matchup. Most people think of targeting lefties against Atlanta pitcher Mike Foltynewicz. While it’s true that Folty is very generous to lefties, he also allows an inflated .350 wOBA against right-handed hitters. Braun is swinging a confident bat with hits in nine of the past ten games, holding a .325 average with three homers and seven RBI through that span.
Pivot 2: Mallex Smith – Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
I’m guessing a noteworthy percentage will utilize Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra as their pitcher tonight. That’s not a bad strategy, but we need to keep in mind that Guerra isn’t necessarily a lock-down pitcher, despite his recent success. The Braves offense will likely have a very low ownership rate, and Mallex Smith is one of the few hitters who has some upside to speak of. He’s a multi-hit candidate with the platoon advantage on Guerra, collecting hits in each of his past seven starts. The hostreak could live on tonight.