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FanDuel MLB Plays: Monday

by Stephen Keech
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:05 pm ET

We have a 13-game Monday slate to kick off another week in the MLB on FanDuel, and it’s one of the more exciting slates of the year. Not only do we have a highly flammable object (Archie Bradley) toeing the rubber in Coors, but there are several other offenses in favorable spots in addition to a handful of teams rolling out their ace.

Starting Pitcher

Stephen Strasburg ($11,000) – Strasburg has been predictably solid in the strikeout department, racking up 47 Ks in 42 IP including at least seven a piece in his past five starts. That has never really been an issue for the right-hander, but we can also gather confidence in him based on his improved ground-ball rates (56% to LHs so far in 2016, 46.9% last year) and a slight downtick in hard contact rate. His 29.2 K% ranks second on the day (unless you count Jose Berrios’ limited sample size), and the fact that he faces a Tigers lineup that will lose the DH eases the burden of facing an otherwise strong Detroit team. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Tigers have been ice cold over the past week.

Steven Matz ($9,700) – Since his porous 2016 debut, Matz has been lights out, going at least six innings with a win in all four starts. He’s averaging more than a strikeout per inning against both left and right-handed hitters, owns a 0.0 Hd-St% (which means he’s allowing the same amount of hard contact compared to soft contact, a better rate than Strasburg, Lester, Kluber, Fernandez and Hernandez) and faces a Dodgers lineup that doesn’t boast much power from the right side. He’s also doing a nice job of keeping the ball on the ground (55.4 GB%) and considering the Dodgers ineptitude at home (4.8 Hd-St%), Matz is a great bet to keep on rolling this evening. He owns a FIP no higher than 2.50 against both left and right-handed hitters so far in 2016.

Coors Field

Before I get into the write-up for hitters, I’ll just preface here that the COL/ARZ game is projected to be a shootout when we look over the MLB odds board, and there are great plays on both sides. The Rockies bats are much more appealing against the gas-can that is Archie Bradley – the entire Rockies lineup is in play, but the top six are the preferred targets. Tyler Chatwood has looked great outside of Coors, but he’s going to struggle against the heart of the D’Backs order, making them suitable targets as well. I won’t be mentioning anyone from this game below, but know that you’ll want ample exposure to this contest. Stacking this game in any format is a fine strategy.

Catchers

Brian McCann ($3,100)Chris Young has surprisingly been able to generate some strikeouts early in the season, some of which must be attributed to his heavy usage of his slider (a tick over 52%), but he’s still having fly ball/home-run issues; that is never good news in Yankee Stadium. Young’s fly ball rate sits at 58.8% against LH bats (23.5% GB), and considering he’s already given up four HRs to LHs in under 12 IP, McCann’s upside is immense. The Yankees backstop sported a .371 wOBA and .285 ISO when facing RH pitching at home last year.

Stephen Vogt ($2,700)Clay Buchholz has been absolutely dreadful against LH bats to start 2016 – he’s allowed 15 ERs in 14.2 IP to go along with 10 BBs, 12 Ks and 8 XBHs. He’s also allowing plenty of hard contact (42.3%) and while the sample size this season is still incredibly small, Buchholz is yet to really give us a reason to expect him to make a quick turnaround. It’s certainly worth noting that he was a reverse-splits pitcher last year and actually fared very well against LH bats, but until he starts to show that ability in 2016 we should continue to pick on him. Vogt’s price makes him a solid target in any format, as does his .377 wOBA, .261 ISO and 37.5 hard% vs. RHs on the road last year.

First Base

Byung-ho Park ($3,700) – In case this isn’t clear, Park is a large-field GPP option for me, not a potential cash game play. The main reason for this is that he’s either homered (7) or struck out (27) in more than half of his at-bats against RH pitching this season. That right there is a prototypical upside GPP play. Given that strikeouts are such a huge problem for Park, why not target him against a guy who simply has not been able to miss bats with any kind of consistency? Tyler Wilson boasts a 6.4 SwStr% which ranks dead last among pitchers taking the hill tonight, and his 13.3 K% ranks third-worst among today’s starters. Wilson has been more of a ground-ball pitcher in the majors, but we still have next to no major league data on him. It is nice (for Park’s sake) that Wilson allows more fly balls to RH bats (37.2 FB%, 43.0 GB% against RHs over his career, compared to a 21.7 FB%/59.1 GB% against LHs).

Justin Bour ($3,000) – I absolutely love this spot for Bour. Wily Peralta has been predictably bad so far in 2016, allowing a wOBA of at least .421 to both right and left-handed hitters in addition to an impressively bad 1.00 K/BB ratio against LH bats. He’s had his share of HR issues already this season and considering his 38.2 hard% against LH bats, the Marlins may be able to muscle another ball or two out of the yard tonight. Meanwhile, Bour isn’t a regular in the Marlins lineup but he has had considerable success against RH pitching this year, as we can see with his .353 wOBA and .224 ISO. He’s a guy that routinely hits the ball hard (37.9 hard% vs. RH pitching) which bodes well for him in the middle of the Marlins lineup.

Second Base

Rougned Odor ($4,100) – I can understand why it’ll be hard for some people to spend this much cap space on someone not playing in Coors, but I absolutely love this play in GPPs. It’s not like Odor doesn’t fit in a COL/ARZ stack considering neither of those teams has a strong DFS asset at 2B, but unless you’re going super cheap at pitcher it’ll be a tough task to pull off. Nonetheless, Odor has been red-hot of late, making the Rangers look good for (finally) moving him to the top of the order. He’s sporting a .362 wOBA, .256 ISO and 130 wRC+ against RH pitching thus far in 2016, and his matchup with Miguel Gonzalez makes those numbers look more appealing than they should. Gonzalez has made only one start so far this year, an outing in which he allowed 13 combined hits/walks in 5.1 IP against Toronto. He’s a guy that has had issues with LH bats in the past (.357 wOBA, 13 HRs allowed in under 70 IP last year), making Odor an excellent play in any format.

Derek Dietrich ($2,700) – A lot of what makes Justin Bour a strong play this evening also applies to Dietrich. He hits RH pitching very well (.345 wOBA, .206 ISO over his career), should be in the heart of the order and is available at a modest price tag, so what’s not to like? Wily Peralta is one of the better arms to stack against.

Third Base

Josh Donaldson ($4,300) – This feels weird given that Donaldson is shifting from one of the more hitter-friendly environments to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park (against a RH), but Jake Peavy’s struggles make the Blue Jays bats an interesting GPP stack. Peavy and Matt Cain have been putting a ton of mileage on the bullpen so it’s looking likely that one of them will be pushed out of the rotation soon, so let’s take advantage while we can. Peavy has allowed a .432 wOBA to RH bats so far in 2016 to go along with 6 HRs (3.24 HR/9 rate), and Donaldson offers plenty of power potential on his own. The Blue Jays third basemen has (relatively) struggled against RH pitching to start 2016 (.355 wOBA, .258 ISO), but his numbers would be big improvements for most of the league and his price on most DFS outlets has started to fall with the Blue Jays struggling overall during the month of May. This is in no way a cash game recommendation, but it’s a play that has plenty of GPP upside.

Adrian Beltre ($3,200) – Beltre has become a timeless wonder for the Rangers, continuing to produce healthy numbers despite creeping up on the age of 40. The White Sox/Rangers tilt has a very appealing total of 9.5 and offers a suitable pivot for those not trying to go the predictable route of stacking Coors. Beltre’s $3,200 price tag is too cheap given the matchup with HR prone Miguel Gonzalez, who is very unlikely to stifle the Rangers’ LH-heavy lineup.

Shortstop

Brandon Crawford ($3,400) – I’ll admittedly be looking towards Coors Field at SS with both Story and Segura in good spots, but Brandon Crawford is a really nice under-owned upside target. His rising price tag and spot towards the bottom of the Giants lineup will likely lead to ownership levels below 3-4% in GPPs. I’ll gladly take my chances with Crawford against Aaron Sanchez, who despite a strong start to 2016 still has plenty of issues with LH bats. The Jays RH owns a 4.70 FIP so far this year with a 1.33 HR/9 rate, numbers that look great compared to his 2015 stats (6.76 FIP, 4.4 K/9, 5.8 BB/9, 1.8 HR/9).

Outfield

Christian Yelich ($3,800) – Continuing with the Marlins theme, Yelich is another LH bat that should feast on Wily Peralta. He’s gotten off to a great start to 2016, posting a .428 wOBA, .221 ISO and 164 wRC+ against RH pitching, numbers that play very well when you hit directly in front of Giancarlo Stanton. Yelich should continue to see plenty of pitches to hit in that spot and he’s one of the top overall plays in the outfield this evening.

Josh Reddick ($3,000) – I’ve already noted Buchholz’s early season struggles with LH bats, and those struggles are something that Reddick should be able to take advantage of in Fenway. Reddick has been stronger against RH pitching when on the road over the past two seasons, something that isn’t surprising given his home park in Oakland. So far in 2016 he’s posted a .496 wOBA and .212 ISO on the road against RHs, making his $3.0 salary seem at least a tier or two too low.

Cheap OFs that will aid you in rostering the expensive Coors bats: Ben Revere ($2,700), Danny Santana ($2,600), Billy Hamilton ($2,600), Alex Gordon ($2,500), Joey Rickard ($2,500), Adam Jones ($2,400), Carlos Beltran ($2,400)

Stephen Keech
Stephen "SBK" Keech is a head-to-head specialist who has shot up to being ranked in the Top 100 for Overall, MLB, NBA, and NHL. SBK’s a lead contributor on RotoGrinders, and can be found on Twitter @StephByronKeech.