I am going to cover the afternoon games today, as there are a bunch of big prize pools on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Both slates start at 1:05 PM EST, with FanDuel going with a seven-game slate and DraftKings going with a 12-game slate. Here are some of my favorite tournament plays of the day if you are looking to avoid some of the chalky spots.
Max Fried vs. New York Mets
If you want to full-on punt starting pitcher to jam in your favorite bats, Fried is one of my favorite targets. While a lot of this is matchup-driven, Fried’s minor league numbers reflect an ability to garner a decent amount of strikeouts while inducing a ton of groundballs. The Mets are dead last in all of wRC+, wOBA, and ISO this season against southpaws and also have the second highest K% in the split at 27%. Pitch count should be no issue here for Fried, as he threw 88 pitches in his last minor league start on May 20th. At minimum price tags across the industry, I absolutely love him in tournaments today.
I don’t want to get in the habit of picking on Justin Verlander, but absolutely no one will play Gary the Goat today. That doesn’t mean we can’t go home run hunting with him though, as Verlander is out of his pitcher friendly home park and in Yankee Stadium today. Verlander’s strikeout rate drops against righties while the flyballs and hard contact allowed increase. At what will be some of Gary’s lowest ownership on the season, I love paying up for him as a way to be contrarian in tournaments.
I like Freeman for some of the same reasons I like Sanchez above. Freeman is one of the best hitters in baseball, but no one will play him today because of the matchup against deGrom. Regardless of who is pitching though, Freeman has posted a .401 wOBA and .271 ISO against RHP since the start of 2016. I like playing the ownership game with Freeman in tournaments as well, getting a great hitter at what will probably be sub 5% ownership. He is a great leverage play too if deGrom becomes a chalky SP option.
Ok, no more picking on the best pitchers on the slate, I promise! At second base, I love targeting Villar in tournaments at his really cheap price tags. Of course, he is this cheap because he has really struggled to start 2018. However, few second basemen have the event upside that Villar does, as he is always a threat to swipe a few bags whenever he reaches base. The recent cold stretch should keep ownership tame, but he has slate-winning upside at these price points.
I always have interest in targeting Donaldson, especially when he is facing a lefty. After all, he has posted a .377 wOBA and .248 ISO against them since the start of 2017. A few things lead me to believe he might be a tad overlooked on this slate too. For starters, he is facing a marquee pitcher (by name only at this point) in David Price. The price tag is pretty hard to squeeze in on FanDuel at $4,000. It is much more palatable on DraftKings at $4,100, but there are also way more appealing options on that site with five extra games. As such, we might very well get depressed ownership on Donaldson, and David Price has given up 36% hard contact and 42% flyballs to righties this season. Donaldson could play pepper with the Green Monster today, if he doesn’t flat out hit a ball over it.
I like targeting Astros in tournaments heavily whenever I think they will be low owned, and I think that will be the case today with them against German. DFS owners will want to allocate their funds to guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in much better matchups, which could leave a guy like Correa with extremely low ownership at shortstop. With double-dong upside and the ability to swipe a bag, few have the upside he does at this position. Along with the other big-name Astros, don’t overlook Correa when building out your tournament lineups.
With the masses probably paying up for Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Justin Upton (among others), I love pivoting to this Cardinals outfield against Brent Suter. They are getting a massive positive park shift going into Miller Field, and Suter is someone we can pick on in for this afternoon slate. He doesn’t miss many bats (8.1% SwStr% this season), and his groundball ability has disappeared this year. His GB% was 45.2% last season, but it currently sits at only 35.1% this year. On top of that, his hard contact allowed as skyrocketed. I love mixing and matching these guys in tournaments, with Pham being a great high-end swerve off of Trout/Harper and Bader/Ozuna being great sources of salary relief.