Happy Birthday America! I hope everyone has a safe and sane game plan for their holiday festivities. Here are my top FanDuel plays at each position.
Early Only – 1:35 PM ET – nine games -- $300K in guaranteed prize pools
Kyle Hendricks – CHC vs CIN - $9,200 - Hendricks has averaged just under 45 FanDuel points over his last three starts and the Reds have an 85 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus is an advanced metric that neutralizes park factors and creates a league-wide scoring efficiency baseline of 100), which is the third lowest in the league. While Hendricks is a spendy play, the Cubs are two-and-a-half to one favorites on the MLB odds board to garner the win, and with Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta combining for just 10 2/3 innings over the last game, the Chicago bullpen has had to shoulder quite a workload, which hopefully will keep skipper Joe Maddon from pulling Hendricks early for a pinch hitter like he often does.
Brian McCann – NYY at CWS - $3,700 - While RHP James Shields was solid in his last start, in the previous five outings he allowed seven home runs and a whopping 34 earned runs. McCann is an extreme fly ball hitter, so while he does not have the safest “floor”, the chance for a big game is here in this matchup.
David Ortiz – BOS vs TEX - $4,800 - Big Papi gets a lefty/righty matchup today against RHP Nick Martinez and in his swan song season, he is going out in style with a .485 wOBA and an astounding .388 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Jose Altuve – HOU vs SEA - $3,800 - Altuve is phenomenal against southpaws and over his last 407 at bats against lefties, he has tallied a .425 wOBA and a .990 OPS; additionally he is racking up the fantasy points with his speed with 21 stolen bases, which is second in the league.
Javier Baez – CHC vs CIN - $2,500 - Baez is a fine discount dandy in a righty/lefty matchup with LHP Cody Reed, who struggled in his last start against the Cubs allowing seven earned runs in just four innings.
Kyle Seager – SEA at HOU - $3,000 - On the season, Seager has been crushing right-handed pitching with a .414 wOBA and a .286 ISO with 33 extra-base hits in just 199 at bats. RHP Lance McCullers is a solid pitcher, however, at this price point I am more than willing to roll with the Seattle third baseman.
Carlos Gonzalez – COL at SFG - $3,200 - RHP Jake Peavy has been out pitching his peripherals over his last 35 starts and has been particularly lucky against batters swinging the stick from the left-side of the plate with a 3.86 ERA but a 5.27 xFIP. Cargo and teammate Charlie Blackmon - $3,700 are most definitely in play by the Bay this afternoon.
Miguel Sano – MIN vs OAK - $2,800 - Sano has been particularly effective against right-handed pitching in his young career and over his last 429 plate appearances, he has accrued a .387 wOBA and a .245 ISO. Enjoy!
Late Games – 7:07 PM ET – four games -- $250K in guaranteed prize pools
Archie Bradley – ARI vs SDP - $6,600 - Ultimately, each of the desirable pitching options on this four-game slate come with question marks with their price and matchups. I have landed on RHP Archie Bradley because he has a great matchup against the San Diego Padres, who have struggled all season against right-handed pitching and they currently have an 82 wRC+ which is the second lowest in the league and indicates that they are scoring 18% less efficiently than the league average this season. Yes it is a favorable park shift, however, at this low price point we have a margin for error that we can ideally cover for with our extra salary cap allocated to batters.
Welington Castillo – ARI vs SDP - $3,100 - We should see Castillo behind the dish on Monday night after his off-day Sunday. He is a solid hitter who should be in the middle-of-the-order and with the Diamondbacks having a 5.2 implied run total, this is a good spot to utilize him.
Mike Napoli – CLE vs DET - $3,100 - Napoli does not get enough credit against left-handed pitchers and he is continually overlooked by daily fantasy gamers. Over his last 409 plate appearances against southpaws he has compiled a .387 wOBA and a .230 ISO.
Devon Travis – TOR vs KCR - $2,800 - Travis is finally healthy and he has been producing, particularly in matchups against same-handed pitchers. RHP Edinson Volquez has a 4.80 ERA through 99 innings pitched this season with just 77 strikeouts. That means hitters put the ball in play and I like the chances for Travis to cobble together some decent production Monday.
Francisco Lindor – CLE s DET - $3,300 - The switch-hitting shortstop has been outstanding against lefties with a .369 wOBA and a .860 OPS. He is fairly price and should be in a favorable spot near the top of the Cleveland batting order against young LHP Daniel Norris.
Jake Lamb – ARI vs SDP - $3,400 - At this price point in the matchup with Rule 5 draftee RHP Luis Perdomo, Lamb is borderline must play. He will be very popular tonight, but sometimes it truly is okay to follow The Masses.
Rajai Davis – CLE vs DET - $3,200 - Davis should be leading off against LHP Daniel Norris and he is coming off a fantastic performance on Saturday where he hit for the cycle and managed to even add a stolen base for a career high fantasy performance.
Trayce Thompson – LAD vs BAL - $3,200 - This is a nice matchup with RHP Yovani Gallardo who has been outperforming his advanced metrics for a while and he will likely be paying the piper very soon. While it is really not feasible to predict the exact games where he will implode, this is still a great matchup for Klay Thompson’s little brother.