I hope everyone has been experiencing some success so far this year in MLB DFS. I’ve had a decent run lately, and you’ll always find me playing the majority of the guys I mention here.
Keep in mind that there is a ton of variance in MLB DFS, so you can’t win every single night. If you’re having a tough run, be sure to really take a look at your process and try to determine if you’re doing something wrong, or if it truly is a cold streak. Making that determination will make all the difference for helping you snap out of it.
If your process is solid, stick to it and have conviction in your plays. Eventually things will start bouncing your way. The last thing you want to do is change a good system because of a cold streak. However, if you have holes in your strategy, it’s important to be able to recognize those and correct them. The margin of error in DFS is getting smaller by the day as people have more access to more information.
Let’s get to today’s plays.
Pitchers to Target
Lance McCullers – You can pay up for Kershaw on this slate and I won’t blame you. Personally, I think I prefer the savings with McCullers. He’s been exceptional at home this year. His opponent, the Detroit Tigers, have the 8th worst strikeout rate in the league to right-handed pitching at 22.3%. In 26 innings at home this season, McCullers has 32 strikeouts and has given up just six runs.
You probably know by know I like advanced stats, and McCullers’ are outstanding! In his last two starts he has a slate best batted ball distance against and an absurd 70% ground ball rate, which is also best on the slate. The Tigers are expected to score just 3.5 runs, which is second worst on the slate next to the Cardinals (who face Kershaw).
Jesse Hahn – Hahn is just too cheap. At $6,100 on DraftKings, he’ll find his way into my lineups. He doesn’t have huge strikeout upside, but I think we can consider him a safe option at this price. He has a decent matchup as the Marlins only sport a 0.301 wOBA against right-handed pitching and a 0.141 ISO, which is fourth worst in the league.
If we look at advanced stats, Hahn stands out. Over his last two starts he has the fourth best batted ball distance on the slate and the second best hard hit percentage.
German Marquez – Marquez is also an attractive cheap option to pair with one of the studs. He does have more strikeout upside than Hahn. Here’s a pattern I hope continues: 2, 7, 2, 8, 3, 8, 3. Those are his strikeouts over his last seven games. If the trend continues today he’ll be one of the best values on the board.
Obviously we can’t base our decisions on a random pattern though. He faces the Phillies, and while they haven’t been as bad as in years past, they still aren’t anything to be scared of.
One last thing to note is his 22% hard hit percentage over his last two starts, which ties Hahn for second best on the slate. Marquez may have more upside than Hahn, but he isn’t as safe. He makes a solid tourney option.
Matt Shoemaker – I just want to mention Shoemaker briefly. I’m conflicted on him. He’s been getting hit hard, and people have been hitting the ball far against him. On the flip side, those stats coincide with his best two games of the year. He struck out 16 batters in 12.1 innings over his last two starts.
I think we have to be careful with him, but he may have the highest strikeout upside on the slate against the Rays in Tampa. Ultimately, he’s an exceptional tourney option here, but he still has that blow up risk.
Stacks to Target
Arizona Diamondbacks – While they’ll probably be chalky, I don’t know how you can’t love them here. The opposing starter, Dylan Covey, has been more than generous to opposing batters this season. He has given up exactly two home runs in each of his last four games and gave up three in a game earlier in the season. Chase Field is not the place for him to right the ship. I can’t see him starting much longer, so take the opportunity to stack against as long as you can.
You can safely play batters from both sides of the plate, but he has been especially generous to right-handed hitters. He has faced 91 righties, allowing a 0.495 wOBA and .364 batting average, while giving up eight home runs, 23 earned runs, striking out 10, and walking 13. The spots don’t get much better than this folks. Oh yeah, the Diamondbacks team total opened at 6.2 runs.
Houston Astros – The Astros will face off against Jordan Zimmerman who has been horrible in road games this season. In those three road starts he pitched 17 innings, allowing 25 hits, four home runs, and 13 earned runs. Overall, he’s been equally bad against right and left-handed hitters, but on the road he’s been terrible against lefties, allowing a 0.536 wOBA. The Astros have a healthy team total of 5.1 runs.
Batters to Target
Michael Conforto – Conforto has been passed the baton by Jay Bruce as the advanced stat king over the last 15 days. He is top seven on the slate in batted ball distance, hard hit percentage, and exit velocity. In other words, he’s smashing the ball.
His opponent, Jhoulys Chacin, has been as bad as anyone on the road against left-handed batters this season. He has faced 56 lefties on the road, allowing a 0.510 wOBA and giving up five home runs. He’s only struck out six of those batters. I bring that up because Conforto does struggle with strikeouts from time to time, but we shouldn’t have to worry about that in this matchup. He’s averaging a 0.433 wOBA and 0.318 ISO against right-handed pitching. Play him.
Andrew Benintendi – After going through a slump, Benintendi seems to have righted the ship over the past couple of games. He should be hitting cleanup on Tuesday against Andrew Cashner. Benintendi is averaging 0.346 wOBA against right handers.
Cashner has been as lucky as anyone this season, as is visible by his 0.230 BABIP against left-handed batters (0.185 on the road). This is despite getting hit fairly hard and only inducing ground balls 34.4% of the time. The wheels will fall of soon, and I like Benintendi’s chances of being a part of that crash.
Any more questions? Hit me up on Twitter @mrclutchdfs
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