This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
There are a few matinees Tuesday, which brings the main slate down to a 12-game block on the eve of the Fourth.
Early fireworks should be expected in a few places, including…
- Coors (Rockies/Giants), o/u 12
- Arlington (Rangers/Astros), o/u 10.5
- GABP (Reds/White Sox), o/u 9.5
With the potential for several "overs" to hit and join the above group, including…
- Philly* (Phillies/O's), o/u 9
- Toronto (Jays/Mets), o/u 9
- The Bronx* (Yankees/Braves), o/u 9
(*Keep an eye on weather conditions in these games as rain is in the initial forecast.)
I'm making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in – cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) – which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or "finding the chalk") and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
Remember, a strong cash-game play isn't necessarily a "bad" tournament play, but too many "chalky" players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
For those interested, we've started an MLB DFS Slack channel for paid RotoWire subscribers. (There is a season-long one as well.) To join those channels, e-mail email@example.com.
Cash: Zack Greinke, ARI vs STL ($10,100) – Clayton Kershaw at home under $11,000 would typically be a lock here. He pitched very well in his last start, but the Dodgers kept him under the 75-pitch cap they had predetermined for his outing against the Cubs. It's reasonable to think that cap will increased by 10-15 pitches for Tuesday's start against the Pirates, and Kershaw can do more with 90 pitches than most, but there is enough risk to put him second behind Greinke as the second-best cash pitcher on the board for the main slate. Greinke draws a tougher opposing pitcher in Jack Flaherty, which lowers his win probability, but if you're still expecting limitations for Kershaw, the gap narrows considerably. Greinke has pitched on the road in four of his last five starts, but he returns home to Chase Field on Tuesday where he's carried a 50:10 K:BB in 48.2 innings with just four homers allowed this season.
Also consider: Clayton Kershaw, LAD vs. PIT ($10,600)
GPP: Here's a quick thought on each of the options I would consider for tournaments (in addition to Greinke and Kershaw, who is slightly more appealing in tournament settings)...
Zach Eflin, PHI vs. BAL ($9,100) – Eflin's improvement in 2018 is backed by considerable skills growth, including increased fastball velocity. He's controlling a five-pitch arsenal effectively, and while the price is slightly higher than the rest of the tournament considerations, it may temper ownership rates against a Baltimore lineup that has an 86 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season, along with a 24.9% K% in that split, which ranks second on Tuesday's slate.
Shane Bieber, CLE at KC ($8,200) – Bieber and the Indians are -200 road favorites in Kansas City on Tuesday, and while he doesn't walk many hitters, he's susceptible to getting knocked around because he's in the strike zone constantly. The Royals don't strike out a lot, but they've been the league's weakest offense over the last 30 days, and Bieber offers 50-point upside at a very affordable price.
Jack Flaherty, STL at ARI ($8,000) – The D-backs are scarier with Paul Goldschmidt looking like himself again, but it's still an offense that can be picked on with quality arms. Other than having his win probability knocked down by Greinke (the best cash-game option on the board) in this matchup, there is a lot to like as the Arizona offense has an 80 wRC+ against righties along with a 23.2% K% this season.
Chris Bassitt, OAK vs. SD ($7,000) – Even at home against San Diego, there is a lot of risk with Bassitt, whose ERA is above 6.00 at Triple-A Nashville this season. He's capable of reaching the quality start bonus, and piling up enough strikeouts to make a run at another 40-point night, but this has very little to do with his skills, and is all about the Padres' lineup.
Domingo German, NYY vs. ATL ($6,500) – After a run of 40, 55, and 61 points in three starts, German bottomed out and finished in the red (-3) against the Rays in his last start. He made one bullpen appearance between starts, and is getting another turn Tuesday against a Braves lineup that continues to maintain a sub-20 percent K% against righties while sitting close to league average output in that split (99 wRC+). It's risky, but the ceiling is high enough where he could end up producing the highest point total on the slate if he's dialed in with his command.
Brandon Belt, SF at COL ($3,700) – Belt should cost nearly $5K with a road lefty-right matchup against Antonio Senzatela at Coors Field. He should be the most heavily-utilized player at the position in tournaments, and the price makes him a very easy cash-game play.
Lucas Duda, KC vs. CLE ($2,500) – If you're not a believer in Bieber and want underpriced left-handed power against an inexperienced arm, Duda is a cheap option to punt C/1B or slot in as a utility play.
Scooter Gennett, CIN vs. CHW ($3,600) – Gennett is a great path to exposure in Cincinnati against Lucas Giolito, regardless of whether you are able to squeeze Joey Votto into the lineup. The power output has cooled somewhat, but the Giolito-Anthony DeSclafani matchup has a great chance of going well over the 9.5 total.
Jurickson Profar, TEX vs. HOU ($3,300) – Profar's splits against lefties are impressive, and if Dallas Keuchel isn't himself anymore (fewer Ks, fewer GBs), he needs to be targeted when there are discounted bats well positioned to produce against him.
Joe Panik, SF at COL ($3,500) – He's likely stuck in the bottom third of the lineup, which matters a little bit less in Colorado, especially when the over/under total soars up to 12. I'd rather play Gennett in tournaments and cash games Tuesday, but Panik is rarely this interesting.
Adrian Beltre, TEX vs. HOU ($3,300) – The same logic used to consider Profar applies here. Beltre has hit .376/.458/.564 against southpaws since the start of 2017.
Max Muncy, LAD vs. PIT ($4,000) – Theoretically, Muncy is the better play as a lefty power bat against Nova. Using both Dodgers requires slotting one of them in as the utility player.
Mike Moustakas, KC vs. CLE ($2,900) – Much like Lucas Duda above, Moustakas offers a cheap solution at third base (or UT) if you're not building any lineups around Shane Bieber. Moustakas' .856 OPS against righties since the start of 2017 is the sixth-highest among third-base options on FanDuel's main slate Tuesday.
Andrelton Simmons, LAA at SEA ($3,400) – Simmons is one of two excellent cash-game options, who also fits fine in tournaments as the ownership rate shouldn't be outlandish. During his six-game tour of the AL East, Simmons averaged 12.5 FanDuel points per game last week.
Marwin Gonzalez, HOU at TEX ($2,300) – Playing regularly against righties while Carlos Correa is on the DL, Gonzalez might be in the bottom third of the Houston lineup, but Austin Bibens-Dirkx and a 10.5 over/under in Arlington are enough to make him a viable punt option.
Charlie Blackmon, COL v. SFG ($4,200) – This price is probably $1,000 less than it should be with Blackmon having a home matchup against Giants right-hander Chris Stratton. Blackmon has a shot at the Chalkasaurus award Tuesday, but it's for good reason.
Justin Upton, LAA at SEA ($3,700) – Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc has a 1.55 HR/9 since the start of 2016, while Upton has been smashing left-handed pitching (.308/.394/.604) since the start of 2017. Along with Blackmon, Upton is actually my co-favorite as a cash-game play in the outfield Tuesday.
Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. BAL ($3,900) – Since returning from a broken jaw, Hoskins is hitting .296/.385/.654 with eight homers in 21 games. Alex Cobb and the Orioles are in town Tuesday, and Cobb has struggled to keep the ball in the park against hitters on both sides of the plate over the last three seasons.
Joc Pederson, LAD vs. PIT ($3,300) – Pederson will be heavily targeted as a cheap option in the outfield with a great matchup against Pirates starter Ivan Nova. As a result, he might be a fade consideration for tournaments depending on the number of other chalky pieces in your lineup.
Michael Conforto, NYM at TOR ($3,100) – Conforto has also cooled off after a stretch in June where he looked like his pre-surgery self again. Since the start of last season, he's hitting .271/.395/.508 against righties, even with some of his early-2018 struggles baked in.
Brandon Nimmo, NYM at TOR ($3,000) – It's easy to wonder if Nimmo's finger is still an issue, as he's been very quiet at the plate since missing time with that injury a little over a week ago. I like him slightly less than Conforto if you're seeking a one-off play against Marco Estrada. Because of the uncertainty about his health, Nimmo is a tournament-only consideration for now despite the low price.
Nick Williams, PHI vs. BAL ($2,500) – Without having the lineups available Tuesday morning, Williams is the most intriguing sub $3K outfielder on the board for tournaments thanks to Alex Cobb. Quietly, Williams has put together an .801 OPS against right-handed pitching since the start of last season.