As you continue to read this article throughout the year, you’ll start to get an idea of what I value when looking at data. Batted ball statistics is something I firmly believe in and will base a lot of my plays around. I think it’s a profitable approach that not enough people are using. As the season continues to move along from its early stages, we’ll have more data to start developing trends with when compared to a player’s past performances.
Everyone is using wOBA and BVP these days. Try to start thinking outside of the box when researching your plays and not solely rely on the same numbers everyone else is. This will lead to you developing unique plays and not falling in line with the masses. As always, I’m looking for edges with this data, as related to ownership. As we go on into the season, I’ll explain this thought process in more depth.
Let’s get on to the main evening slate. As always, prices will be DraftKings, unless otherwise noted.
Pitchers to target
Matt Harvey – Harvey is the first name that jumps off of the page to me. He had a very solid outing in his first start of the season, despite giving up two home runs. He didn’t strike out a ton of batters, but the Phillies have the third highest strikeout percentage in the opening days of this season. Harvey should have a higher strikeout rate this time around. If he can keep the ball in the park, he should be a solid play.
Robbie Ray – Ray had a respectable first start of the year against the same team he faces on Tuesday, the Giants. The difference will be that he gets a very positive park shift from Arizona to San Francisco. Ray’s numbers were up across the board last year on the road, with a strikeout percentage of an outstanding 30%. I see Ray going underowned and having as much upside as anyone on this slate.
Stacks to Target:
Colorado Rockies – Poor Jeff Weaver. It’s going to be batting practice in Coors Field for the Rockies on Tuesday. I am an ownership percentage player, but this is one spot I just don’t think I can get away from the Rockies. They may be 50-60% owned, and that’s fine – I’ll just lock them in and differentiate elsewhere. I’ll probably be playing the main guys: Blackmon, Arenado, Gonzales, Story, etc. Take any and as many players as you can from anywhere in the batting order.
Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates bats haven’t been so hot to start the season, but when you look at their lineup, that’s not too surprising. I don’t think anyone is going to play these guys, but the heart of the order is really enticing to me in this matchup. One thing they do have going for them is the lowest strikeout rate in the league thus far, which says something. If they keep avoiding the KO they should be able to turn things around, and I think there’s a good chance that happens on Tuesday. It’s worth noting, the Pirates have the third highest team total outside of Coors at 4.7 expected runs.
Batters to target
Freddie Freeman – Freeman has been crushing righties for quite some time now. Of all the players on this main slate, Freeman has the second highest hard hit percentage at 43% (among players with more than 10 games), trailing only Giancarlo Stanton. That’s pretty impressive. Now he gets to face the righty, Dan Straily, who got rocked in his first start of the year. It won’t be surprising if Freeman is the top scoring first baseman of the night.
Josh Donaldson – Donaldson is off to an excellent start to the season, although it seems like it’s going a bit overlooked. Because we have a Coors Field game on the slate and Wily Peralta had an above average fantasy outing in his first start, I think Donaldson will go severely underowned on Tuesday.
I know I recommended Arenado, and he’s not a bad play. However, what do we realistically think Donaldson’s owernship percentage will be? If I had to guess, because of Arenado and two viable third base options from the Padres in the Coors Field game, I would say Donaldson could come in at 8-9%. Arenado is bound to come in at around 45% owned against Weaver. (He had a 47% ownership rate across the different stakes on Monday). Is he five times more likely to have a better game than Donaldson on Tuesday? I don’t think so, making this an excellent pivot spot. Perhaps a Rockies stack minus Arenado, with Donaldson instead?
The majority of Rockies stacks will include Arenado. If you play Donaldson and he has a big game and Arenado goes 0-fer, or even ends up with just one hit, you’re well ahead of the field. We’re really getting into game theory here, but I just wanted to point out how solid of a play Donaldson could be if you have the guts to zig when the rest of the field is zagging. Lastly, I didn’t include them above in the stacks section, because I wanted to highlight Donaldson, but I don’t mind a full Toronto stack.
Best of luck to everyone!
Any more questions? Hit me up on Twitter @mrclutchdfs
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