Every Tuesday and Friday, I am going to give you my top tournament plays for all Daily Fantasy Baseball GPPs (guaranteed prize pool). GPPs are a general term used across the industry for your big money tournaments.
GPPs are very different from your cash games and you use a different strategy with them. In our GPPs we are not interested in safe plays, since GPPs are all about UPSIDE. We want players who can explode, as all-or-nothing type players can become GPP gold, and your value players are just as important as your star players. You need your players to have huge nights in order to take down these big tournaments.
My goal is to provide players who will be underowned and have that big game upside you are looking for. I will also try to find as much value as I possibly can.
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians – Kluber has been terrific in the month of June and he has the best matchup of the night. The Atlanta Braves do not pose much of an offensive threat and even though they do not strike out a lot, I still expect Kluber to strikeout at least a batter per inning tonight. Kluber is a strikeout machine and I expect him to pitch deep into this game, while cruising to an easy victory. Because of his hefty price tag, we should see tonight’s top pitcher criminally under-owned.
Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox – Quintana is very quietly having another great season and I love his potential tonight. Most people think the Minnesota Twins are a good team versus lefties, but the truth is they are actually quite bad. The Twins are ranked 25th in wOBA and 26th in wRC+. Minnesota has also been a very undisciplined team against southpaws, with a below average walk rate and the second highest strikeout rate in baseball. Quintana is very reasonably priced and I expect him to throw another gem this evening.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore Orioles - Jimenez is a tough pitcher to roster, but he showed us his upside last week, going six strong innings with seven punch-outs and a win against these same San Diego Padres. The Baltimore Orioles’ right-hander has very good stuff, but his inability to harness his control ruins most of his starts. The San Diego Padres remain one of the worst teams in the league against right-handed pitching, sitting dead last in wOBA and wRC+, while striking out the fourth-most in Major League Baseball. At his price, Jimenez is a must play in at least some of your GPP lineups.
Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs - Now we know what all the hype was about. Willson Contreras has done nothing but rake since his arrival in the Show, sporting a .370 batting average and a .507 wOBA. Look for the Cubs’ rookie to stay hot against John Lamb and that awful Cincinnati Reds bullpen.
Nick Hundley, Colorado Rockies - If we are going to attack J.A. Happ, we should do it with right-handed hitters. Although he has held them in check this year, Happ has always had troubles with righties. Despite the ballpark and the splits in is favor, I doubt Hundley is very popular in tournaments.
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays - Encarnacion continues to rip the cover off of the ball, producing his third multi-homer game of the season last night. The Blue Jays slugger is a streaky hitter and when he is hot, I suggest you ride him. With a matchup against Eddie Butler in Coors Field, tonight is not the night to fade him.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles – Davis is swinging a hot stick with five multi-hit games in his last eight contests, along with homers in back-to-back games. Major league hitters have beaten Erik Johnson like a rented mule this year (8.54 ERA, .348 BAA). Johnson has also allowed a career .410 wOBA to left-handed hitters. Perhaps with the late start and the ballpark, we see Davis with a low ownership in large field tournaments.
Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins - I love picking on the very hittable Mike Pelfrey, especially with hitters from the left side of the plate. Lefties continue to abuse the Tigers veteran (.343 BAA, .394 wOBA and a 34% hard-hit rate) and we should expect similar results this evening. Dietrich has an elite contact rate versus right-handed pitching and I think he and his teammates are sneaky tonight.
Jonathan Schoop, Baltimore Orioles – I spoke earlier about how bad Erik Johnson has been this season and his struggles against lefties. What I failed to mention was that he has been a complete disaster against right-handed batters (.568 wOBA). Schoop has been a reverse splits hitter throughout his career, doing most of his damage against right-handed pitching. He is another high upside play that should fly under the radar this evening.
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs - Bryant had a monster game last night and he is unlikely to ever repeat that performance again. However, he can still go yard again tonight against John Lamb. Right-handed batters have hit Lamb hard this season (.351 wOBA, 35.8% hard-hit rate) and Bryant should get at least two at-bats against the worst bullpen in baseball. Fade him at your own risk.
Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks - Fading the big three (Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson) will be a risky move in tournaments, but it could pay off huge. Lamb has been a beast against right-handed pitching this season (.402 wOBA) and Jerad Eickhoff is vulnerable to lefties.
Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians – Lindor is locked in at the dish right now. The Indians shortstop has racked up seven hits in his last three games, including a double and two home runs. Hitters from the left side of the plate have had some fun against Matt Wisler in his short career (.375 wOBA) and I expect more of the same tonight. As a “one off” or as part of a stack, I love Lindor in GPPs tonight.
Carlos Correa, Houston Astros – Tim Lincecum has not looked great this year and he has always had troubles holding runners on base. Correa has jack-and-a-bag upside in this matchup and I expect him and his teammates to be practically ignored on this slate.
Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez, Seattle Mariners – Jonathon Niese was rocked in his last three starts, allowing 17 earned runs along with six long-balls. Right-handed hitters have smacked Niese around this season (.386 wOBA and 15 HRs allowed) and it will not get any easier for him tonight facing a couple a lefty killers. Both Nelson Cruz and Franklin Gutierrez have double-dong potential in this prime matchup.
Ian Desmond, Texas Rangers – CC Sabathia has done a terrific job with right-handed batters in 2016, but that will not prevent me from using righties against him in the future. Desmond has murdered lefties this season (.392 BA, .425 wOBA) and I think he gets to CC in this game.
Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs - Most fantasy owners will avoid Jason Heyward tonight due to the lefty on lefty matchup. However, Lamb has actually been hit hard by lefties as well in his career (.409 wOBA) and once we get to the bullpen, it will be nothing but righties facing Heyward.
Travis Jankowksi, San Diego Padres – Ubaldo Jimenez gives out plenty of free passes and if Jankowksi can reach base, you know he is off to the races. These two squared off last week in Baltimore and the Padres’ leadoff hitter had two hits, a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases. Jankowski has multi-hit/stolen base/run upside once again tonight.