Happy Friday! In case the weekend being upon us wasn’t enough to get you going, the MLB has graced us with a very DFS friendly 14-game slate on FanDuel. Chris Sale pitching in Yankee Stadium and Matt Harvey traveling to Coors will be two of the bigger storylines of the night, not to mention Bryce Harper attempting to continue his dominance against Tom Koehler (6 HRs in 28 ABs). Let’s get into the top plays for Friday…
Chris Sale ($12,000) – I hate to list the obvious plays of the day here since most of you reading this are already aware of them before you get here, so I’ll just quickly note that Sale is the safest route to take in cash games. His GPP ceiling is obviously immense, and the injuries the Yankees are currently dealing with only make him more appealing. He’s far and away the top overall option tonight.
Nate Karns ($8,500) – There are issues with most of the mid-range options at SP, and Karns has a few of them, although the matchup with the Angels at home does ease some of those concerns. The Angels don’t strike out much (15.8% vs. RHP), but they have been whiffing more over the past week and Karns has never had much trouble missing bats. He owns the 3rd highest K% on this slate (26%, behind only Sale and Rich Hill) and a healthy 11.2 SwStr% (a notch better than Hill), and the general ineptitude of the Angels lineup outside of Mike Trout eases his HR issues. The Angels don’t hit for much power as we can see with their .116 wOBA against RHs (second worst in the MLB).
With Matt Harvey taking the hill in Coors, we may not be targeting the Rockies at will like we’re used to in games that take place in Denver. Jon Gray should still be picked on heavily with NYM bats, but the 10 total here (to go along with increased price tags on these players) is lower than we typically see. I’ve typically been ignoring Coors bats in these write-ups since they are going to be core targets almost every night, but I’m going to include NYM/COL players below as I see fit.
Buster Posey ($3,300) – Anytime we can get Posey at a slight discount in a hitter-friendly park, we’ll want to take advantage. Shelby Miller has been the definition of dreadful at home so far in 2016, allowing a .403 wOBA to go along with six HRs in under 20 IP. He’s allowing a hard-contact rate of 33.3% with a soft% of just 6.1%, so he’s been routinely teed off against in Chase Field. Posey posted a .365 wOBA and 140 wRC+ on the road against RHs last season, and assuming he’s in the lineup he’ll slot into the heart of the Giants order. San Francisco is one of the more stackable teams on this slate.
Victor Martinez ($3,300) – Martinez has been raking to start 2016 and will face off with the very average Chris Tillman in a hitter-friendly park. V-Mart owns a .438 wOBA, .228 ISO and an elite hard% of 43.9, making him an excellent mid-range option at the catcher spot. The Tigers team total on the MLB odds board currently sits a tad under four.
Brandon Belt ($4,100) – David Ortiz is a perfectly suitable option in this price range and that’ll likely be the route I take in cash games, but I’d suspect that Belt will carry a lower ownership percentage in GPPs. Belt doesn’t possess the same type of raw power as Ortiz, yet he’s still a very strong fantasy contributor due to a low strikeout rate (12.3% vs. RHs) and solid hard% (38%). He’s the owner of a .500 wOBA and .306 ISO when facing RH pitching on the road this season, and while that is unsustainable, he did post solid numbers in that split last year (.368 wOBA, .249 ISO).
Matt Adams ($2,200) – If you’re going to roster Chris Sale, you’re going to need to save cap at a least a few positions. Adams likely earned another start after last night’s performance, and while the matchup with Ross Stripling in Dodger Stadium isn’t a great one, it’s certainly not a matchup we need to shy away from. Stripling has struggled a bit since his very strong debut (with the exception being his last start in which he allowed just one hit), and two of his recent starts that didn’t go well came against a Padres lineup that cannot hit RH pitching. Adams owns a .388 wOBA and .211 ISO thus far in 2016, numbers that make his $2,200 salary seem far too low.
Daniel Murphy ($4,100) – Rougned Odor and Neil Walker are excellent plays in this price range, but if I can only choose one, Murphy is the guy. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll likely be the least popular of the bunch with Odor and Walker taking part in games with the two highest totals of the day. It’s hard to say what exactly has changed with Murphy since the 2015 postseason began, but he’s been on an incredible run to start 2016. He’s the proud owner of a .471 wOBA, .265 ISO, 194 wRC+ and 43.2 hard% (to go along with a miniscule 5.7 soft%), and his 9.4 K% will keep his floor very high over the course of the year. Tom Koehler allowed 16 HRs to LH hitters last season and is allowing a .383 wOBA to LHs to start 2016.
Joe Panik ($3,000) – Continuing the Giants theme, Panik should be slotted into the two-hole in front of Posey and Belt, making him a very strong play in Chase Field. As I’ve noted previously, Shelby Miller is one of the top arms to pick on this evening. Panik posted a healthy .385 wOBA and .169 ISO against RH pitching on the road last season.
Josh Donaldson ($4,300) – Anytime Donaldson squares off with an average lefty, take notice. The Jays third basemen owns a .569 wOBA, .406 ISO and 280 wRC+ (!!!) against LHs so far in 2016, and his 2015 numbers were nothing to sneeze at (.428 wOBA, .333 ISO, 175 wRC+). Martin Perez doesn’t allow much in the HR department, but he hasn’t been good against RHs; he’s walked more RHs than he’s struck out and currently owns a FIP and xFIP over 5.00 against them. For the BvP believers out there, Donaldson is 6 for 15 against Perez with 4 XBHs, good for a .545 wOBA. This game may be the best one to target despite a contest going on in Coors Field.
Maikel Franco ($2,700) – If you’re going cheap at 3B, Franco provides plenty of upside at his $2,700 price tag. He was better against RH pitching last year, but has turned it on against southpaws early this season, posting a .397 wOBA, .387 ISO and 39.1 hard%. Brandon Finnegan has already served up eight HRs to RH hitters this season in just 30 IP, and Franco will look to make it nine this evening.
Brandon Crawford ($3,400) – Wouldn’t it be nice if Crawford could find a spot in the top five of this lineup? The only saving grace is that he comes at a low ownership percentage in GPPs relative to the other Giants bats, and the lineup spot is really the only thing working against him. Crawford owns a .381 wOBA, .226 ISO and 35.7 hard% against RHs on the road, and his numbers in that split were very similar last year (.367 wOBA, .264 ISO, 31.3 hard%). He’s an excellent play as part of a Giants stack, but he’s playable on his own as well.
There is very little to like on the cheap end of the SS pool. Troy Tulowitzki has been awful so far outside of a few HRs, although he’s a suitable play tonight in Texas against Martin Perez. It’s possible that value opens up as lineups come out, but I’ll likely be rolling out Crawford heavily and supplementing that with shares of Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story and Zack Cozart.
Michael Conforto ($4,000), Curtis Granderson ($3,700) and Yoenis Cespedes ($5,000) – Conforto is my favorite play of the bunch due to his $4K price tag and elite numbers against RHP (.426 wOBA, .295 ISO, 54.7 hard%), but all of the Mets OFs are squarely in play against Jon Gray. Granderson has been cold of late but he can’t ask for a much better spot to break out. Cespedes has been an absolute monster so far this season, posting an absurd .422 ISO on the road so far in 2016. Target these three heavily.
Bryce Harper ($4,300) – This one is a little too obvious, but I jump at the chance to roster Harper when he faces Tom Koehler. Harper has blasted six HRs off Koehler in 28 ABs, and while that could lead to Harper being walked a few times this evening, walks still generate fantasy points. I’m not going to get into Harper’s numbers against RH pitching, just know that they are very, very strong.
Domingo Santana ($2,400) – Santana’s price fell as a result of some missed time due to injury, but he’s right back atop the Brewers lineup and faces an average (at best) lefty this evening. He’s started off 2016 on the right foot against LHs with a .437 wOBA and 168 wRC+, not to mention a very strong 52% hard-contact rate. As far as cash games go, Santana is one of the strongest dollar per point plays in the outfield.
Viable targets below $3,000 – For those hoping to roster Chris Sale, here are some worthwhile targets towards the bottom of the OF salary pool: Seth Smith ($2,900), Jayson Werth ($2,900), Adam Jones ($2,600), Matt Holliday ($2,400), Domingo Santana ($2,400), Preston Tucker ($2,200)