Welcome to the MLB GPP Pivots article, where we’ll be looking to uncover some sneaky-good DFS plays away from the popular selections. These recommendations are usually risk/reward commodities meant to be used in large-field tournaments. Typically, blending these low-owned hidden gems with well-aligned staples contributes to a viable GPP strategy.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
We have an 11- or 13-game main slate today, depending on which site you play.
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Mike Minor – Rangers (vs Rockies) – Yahoo: $35, DK: $9000, FD: $8400
Minor is overpriced today, but not to any crazy extent. He's just barely on the wrong side of a neutral value. He should be one of the eight best pitchers. The Rangers have a bad bullpen and will be incentivized to continue using Minor for as long as he's effective. As such, he has one of the highest inning projections which helps to make up for a sub-9.00 K/9. The Rockies tend to be a soft opponent when playing at sea level. Their lineup also skews heavily left-handed. To compensate, the shambling corpse of Matt Kemp - a guy who was cut by the Marlins - will probably bat cleanup. Even Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado aren't that scary when on the road.
William Contreras – Braves (at Steven Matz) – Yahoo: $7, DK: $2000, FD: $2000
Not to be confused with his brother Willson Contreras (also usable today), Contreras is a bargain basement target who has more hitting aptitude than your typical throw-away catcher pick. Over the long term, he's likely overmatched right now in the big leagues. As yet, he doesn't have any carrying traits. His power, contact, and plate discipline all need more seasoning. The Mets probably don't have much of a scouting report on him so Matz and friends might feed a mistake or two.
Josh Bell – Pirates (vs Adam Wainwright) – Yahoo: $18, DK: $4700, FD: $3400
Bell is actually one of the best first basemen in the slate, and a solid value to boot. I expect other comparably talented sluggers with flashier matchups to draw more attention. Wainwright has developed extreme platoon splits over recent years including fewer strikeouts and extreme walk and home run rates when facing left-handed hitters. Bell, a switch-hitter, is considerably more effective against right-handed pitchers.
Howie Kendrick – Nationals (vs James Paxton) – Yahoo: $12, DK: $4300, FD: $2500
Projection systems and most GPP players will be focused on Paxton's projections. His velocity was down several mph in Summer Camp, calling into question whether he'll be the same pitcher this year. If this lower-velocity Paxton is the new norm, then the Nationals lineup gets a big upgrade today. Kendrick is a cleanup hitter who has really come into his own in recent seasons. Last year, he slashed an impressive .376/.421/.615 with the platoon advantage. Although he doesn't profile like a typical masher, his ability to contribute in myriad ways gives him a combination of high floor and high ceiling.
Kendrick is a first baseman on Yahoo.
Yoshi Tsutsugo – Rays (vs Matt Shoemaker) – Yahoo: $14, DK: $2000, FD: $2600
DraftKings screwed up! Tsutsugo homered in his debut last night, and he has a decent chance to homer yet again. He’s the best hitter value by a massive margin. Not only is he one of the ten best third basemen, he’s priced like an utter scrub. His opponent, Shoemaker, tends to run hot and cold, adding volatility to this matchup. The Blue Jays bullpen has a soft underbelly. While Tsutsugo isn’t as amazing a value on Yahoo or FanDuel, he’s still one of the better targets available.
Jorge Polanco – Twins (at Dallas Keuchel) – Yahoo: $17, DK: $4400, FD: $3100
This probably isn't the position to pivot today. Polanco is an imperfect option as he's a below average dollar-for-dollar value, and his matchup isn't tailored for success. He's capable of lifting Keuchel's bowling ball sinker. Grounders are a more likely outcome. The White Sox do have a suspect bullpen, and the top of the Twins lineup is capable of delivering an early death blow to Keuchel's Chicago debut. Personally, I would treat this more as a contrarian stacking opportunity - Polanco is unlikely to deliver value unless Nelson Cruz or Josh Donaldson are doing serious damage.
Christian Yelich – Brewers (at Yu Darvish) – Yahoo: $24, DK: $6000, FD: $4400
When possible, I like to “pivot” by using overpriced superstars. It's a bit of a cop out, but I do think Yelich will be underutilized today. He costs a mountain in a slate where most participants will be swayed to drop over 20 percent of their budget on pitchers. Since he’s opposed by one of the better starters on the docket, there will be pressure to look elsewhere. Despite this, Yelich projects as the top outfielder – possibly because winds are blowing out of Wrigley at 10 mph. It won’t be one of those silly wind games, but Wrigley hitters should get a modest nudge. On his worst days, Darvish can be horrifically homer prone.
Bryan Reynolds – Pirates (vs Adam Wainwright) – Yahoo: $15, DK: $3600, FD: $2500
Since he doesn't hit for prodigious power and plays for an also-ran team, Reynolds is one of the most under-appreciated outfielders on the fantasy scene. A hard contact, all-fields machine, Reynolds can be expected to hit for a high average, work counts, and feature just enough power to post the occasional big performance. A switch-hitter, Reynolds was considerably better against right-handed pitchers last season (small sample warning). As we covered, Wainwright has some issues with opposite-handed foes.
Andrew McCutchen – Phillies (vs Caleb Smith) – Yahoo: $14, DK: $4500, FD: $2800
I could be wrong with this pick. I expect complementary pieces from the Phillies lineup to fly under the radar. However, GPP players might recall McCutchen is a popular platoon pick. The Phillies will have a chip on their shoulder after being made to look foolish by Sandy Alcantara last night. McCutchen, the leadoff man, has platoon-mashing bonafides including a career .310/.403/.543 line versus southpaws. He’s not quite that good these days, but he still exhibits superior plate discipline and contact with the platoon advantage. The Marlins bullpen is exploitable too.