The Wheelhouse: DFS Breakdown - 4/26

The Wheelhouse: DFS Breakdown - 4/26

This article is part of our The Wheelhouse series.

Weather was a major issue Tuesday, as the rainout in Philadelphia left me scrambling before lineup lock to adjust one of my two base lineups. Unable to pivot comfortably, I canceled those entries, missing out on Trea Turner's contributions to the 27-run love fest at Coors last night.

Moreover, I was far from considering a stack against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners, who were the victim of a 19-burger courtesy of the Tigers.

One quick note.

I will seldom go into great depth about top-end talents, and the games at Coors Field in these columns.

That is, when you can fit Bryce Harper or Mike Trout into your lineups, it's assumed that you should do it. In a similar vein, loading up on bats at Coors Field is generally a good idea. If there is something particularly noteworthy about the extremely chalky matchups -- good or bad -- I will make a point to address it.

My focus is on the other portions of the slate, for the purposes of rounding out lineups, being more productive on non-Coors days, and for situations when fading Coors games when appropriate.

As far as Wednesday's weather is concerned, the Jays-Cardinals matchup has already been postponed and rescheduled as a doubleheader for Thursday. Unfortunately, that removes Carlos Martinez as one of the top options on the board against the struggling Toronto offense, and Mat Latos is not available as an arm to target with opposing bats.

Other than the postponement in St. Louis, the rest of the games on the schedule look OK as of the mid-afternoon.

Following Tuesday's rainout, Noah Syndergaard was expected to start on regular rest Wednesday. Instead, the Mets have opted to use Robert Gsellman (Tuesday's starter) and simply push their rotation back a day.

This piece is a work in progress. Please offer up suggestions and feedback in the comments section.

Here's my breakdown for the remaining games on Wednesday, April 26th.

The Arms

The Not-So Jolly Roger

Without Thor, Jon Lester stands alone as the only five-figure arm on the bump tonight.

The Pirates are already without Starling Marte and Jung Ho Kang, and one of their best remaining bats against lefties, David Freese, won't start Wednesday due to a hamstring injury. In addition to the missing pieces in the lineup, PNC Park has stifled homers for right-handed hitters more than all but one park (AT&T) over the last three seasons. Lester typically lacks the top-end strikeout upside of a top-five arm, but there's not much in the Pittsburgh lineup that can hurt him, and his win probability with Tyler Glasnow on the mound for the Bucs is excellent.

Much like the Jays' early-season struggles, there are tangible reasons to buy into the Pirates' slow start as a new norm.

Short Memory

James Paxton has been excellent since the season half of last season. With the aforementioned 19-run effort from the Detroit offense fresh in ours minds, it's easy to write off Paxton as an option at Comerica today. Since the start of last season, Paxton ranks second among Wednesday's start pitchers in swinging-strike rate (12.2%), first in K-BB% (19.4%), and first in FIP (2.54). Even without Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez, the Tigers are a right-handed heavy squad to generally fear against southpaws, while their team wOBA against lefties (.327) ranks ninth in MLB through the first three-plus weeks of the season.

It feels like a contrarian call, but Paxton just might hold his own in this difficult spot.

Sweet Johnny

Johnny Cueto's price on FanDuel is tempting, though like Lester, he often lacks the top-end strikeout potential coveted from DFS arms. The Dodgers have been excellent against righties so far, but Cueto has a 2.78 ERA in San Francisco since the start of last season, while he's held the opposition to a tidy .244/.283/.316 line in 116.2 home innings during that span. Playing Cueto has more of a high-floor cash appeal than a monster performance GPP lean.

How about Hamels?

I was bearish on Cole Hamels throughout draft season, in large part because I don't trust him in his home starts anymore. Last season, his ERA was a full two runs higher in Arlington (4.40) than it was on the road, while opposing hitters posted a combined .272/.352/.439 line against him.

The Twins have been near the middle of the pack in terms of their production against lefties thus far (t-16th in wOBA, .298), but I suspect Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano are going to be fairly popular bats tonight. An early-season drop in swinging-strike rate, paired with the ongoing increase in free passes makes Hamels too much of a liability for me to use tonight.


As noted yesterday before the rainout, Rick Porcello doesn't have the strikeout upside necessary to justify a $9,000+ price tag on both sites. On the other side, Boston's ability to limit whiffs, paired with Luis Severino's ugly reverse splits include a 1.93 HR/9 against righties since the start of last season, made him more risky at Fenway than the typical right-handed starter anyway. Even if you're buying in on Severino from a season-long perspective, and there is certainly a case for it, it's risky to use him Wednesday against the Red Sox with 20 alternatives on the board.

Julio Teheran may seem like a second-tier consideration Wednesday. The Mets are striking out 22.5% of the time against righties with a .273 wOBA against them this season -- only the Royals and White Sox have been worse. Keep in mind, however, that Teheran's greatest weakness throughout his resurgent 2016 was his susceptibility to getting pummeled by lefties. Since the start of last season, lefties have posted a .333 wOBA against Teheran, ranking him fifth on the slate. Although they are without Lucas Duda on Wednesday, Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, along with switch-hitters Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker make this a deceptively tough matchup for the Braves' ace.

When you consider the difference in price, choosing between Teheran and Robert Gsellman is actually pretty difficult. Gsellman has damaged the ratios of season-long owners over his first three starts, but his mix of strikeout rate and groundball-inducing ability play well since he offers upside with very limited blow-up potential.

Vince Velasquez truthers should build around him on FanDuel, where he's $1,100 cheaper than he is on DraftKings today ($8,900). After turning things around in his last start against the Mets, he'll look to take another step forward against a Marlins squad that ranks 12th in K% against right-handed pitching (22.4%) and tied for 14th in wOBA v. righties (.318).

The Bargain Bin

In order...Gsellman, Sean Manaea, and Dylan Bundy are the three discounted arms I am most likely to use in tournaments.

None of the three youngster has an overwhelming split issue that I'm worried about, and even Matt Shoemaker's occasional trouble with righties raises some concern.

As noted above, Gsellman's groundball-heavy profile should enable him to avoid a major blow-up, and a home matchup with the Braves, who ranks 15th in K% against righties and 22nd in wOBA against righties isn't bad. His swinging-strike rate (7.5%) has been surprisingly low thus far, especially for a pitch with an increased K% to this point (25.3%).

Manaea had some draft-season buzz a la Paxton thanks to the strength of his second half for the A's. The Angels rank 24th in wOBA against lefties, although Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Cron may give you some pause about using a southpaws against the Halos at first blush. Since July 1 of last season, Manaea has held the opposition to a .211/.280/.358 line with a 106:32 K:BB over 112 innings. Ideally, this matchup would be in Oakland, but even on the road in Anaheim, it's a soft enough landing spot park-wise to put Manaea in play.

The Rays have posted a top-10 wOBA against righties so far, but they've done that while ranking third in K% in that split (only the Brewers and White Sox have struck out more). I don't target arms in Baltimore for DFS lineups often, but this setup has enough upside to payoff, and is probably best utilize as a second-pitcher piece on DraftKings rather than the standalone option on FanDuel.

The Bats

Right-handed Red Sox against Severino, due to the extreme reverse splits noted above, seem like a great idea.

Tyler Glasnow may go on to become a dominant arm at the big-league level some day. Even though it's at home, a matchup with the Cubs is one with plenty to look forward to from an offensive standpoint.

Alex Cobb's struggles against lefties go well behind his return from injury last season. As was the case Tuesday, Chris Davis and Seth Smith are quality options again.

Hector Santiago has been homer prone with hitters on both sides of the plate, putting most of the Rangers' lineup into consideration this evening.

Zack Godley cannot be used on FanDuel or DraftKings tonight, but he can be targeted. Keep in mind, however, that Archie Bradley hasn't pitched since April 21, putting him in position for a lengthy relief appearance if needed. Light exposure seems more prudent than a full San Diego stack.

Without Mitch Haniger, the Mariners are down one of their quality right-handed bats against Daniel Norris. Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz are options, and Danny Valencia offers salary relief as well.

Righties against Wei-Yin Chen have a .483 slugging percentage since the start of last season. Not surprisingly, the combined wOBA sits at .332. Although Citizens Bank Park suppresses overall run production by seven percent, it boosts right-handed home runs by 23 percent.

Thanks in large part to his role as a reliever, Trevor Cahill doesn't jump out, based on splits, as a great target. The over/under for the Padres-Diamondbacks game tonight is 10, and Arizona is actually a slight favorite. During his time as a starter in Arizona a few years back, Cahill was much more susceptible to lefties than righties, so plan accordingly.


I was looking at two. Cameron Rupp and Jonathan Lucroy. An early spike in groundballs from Lucroy make me wonder if he's hiding an injury. Lucroy is not in the lineup, which makes Robinson Chirinos a viable replacement. Rupp smashed lefties last season, gets the aforementioned Philly righty park boost, and gets a great matchup against a homer-prone lefty.

First Base

Unfortunately, Eric Thames already played this afternoon, so we have to go elsewhere.

A Philly stack could be on tap, but pairing Rupp with Tommy Joseph is something I considered Tuesday before the game was rained out. Like Lucroy, Joseph has been hitting a ton of groundballs thus far. I was buying in on Joseph as a viable corner-infield piece in medium-range mixed leagues this draft season, thanks in large part to his improved plate discipline in the second half of 2016. Joseph hit .281/.350/.562 (.912 OPS) against lefties last season, I'm willing to take the bait.

Anthony Rizzo against Glasnow is fine, but crazy expensive. The Baltimore-Tampa Bay game offers Chris Davis at $3,300 on FanDuel, which is great, Hanley Ramirez against Severino for $3,200 is also in play, and the sluggish Mike Napoli against Santiago in tourneys is a consideration.

Second Base

Daniel Murphy at $4,200 (FanDuel) in Coors is ludicrous. Tyler Chatwood's weakness is against lefties. If you're paying up for a premium arm (i.e. Lester), this may not fit. As noted above, Dozier on Hamels makes sense too, but it feels chalky. Ryan Schimpf against Godley in Arizona offers the potential of a big power payoff.

Third Base

Jake Lamb at $3,800 (FanDuel) and Miguel Sano at $3,300 will garner plenty of well deserved interest. Seeing Manny Machado priced at $3,500 is jarring, even though Alex Cobb's biggest issue tends to be left-handed bats. There is no hesitation here in using Machado if you can afford it. Slightly cheaper, Mikael Franco is another Phillies bat against Chen is a great play, and relatively speaking Anthony Rendon's $3,700 price tag at Coors is cheap for the setup.


Jorge Polanco might be lower owned than Dozier and Sano if you're looking for one path to exposure against Hamels in Arlington ($2,700 on FD, $3,700 on DK). In that same game, Elvis Andrus has a .328/.384/.489 line against lefties since the start of last season, he's hitting second in the order, and he's only $3,000 tonight (FanDuel…$3,800 on DK). I have no idea why Addison Russell, still hitting cleanup, is only $3,300 on DraftKings. Asdrubal Cabrera is also in consideration at $3,100 (FD) and $3,400 (DK).


Coors chalk plays just fine where it can be squeezed into the lineup. Nelson Cruz against a lefty is always worth considering as well.

The anti-Teheran crowd can go after Michael Conforto ($3,500 FD/$3,200 DK). I'm probably going back to the well on Seth Smith, even though he didn't produce in a similar situation Tuesday. As long as the Orioles keep leading him off, a sub-$3,000 price will draw me in. Kyle Schwarber against Glasnow at $3,500 (FD…$4,200 on DK) is still affordable, and remember, the PNC power drain impacts righties, rather than lefties. Carlos Gomez ($3,300/$3,900 FD/DK) is hitting third, and while his disastrous 2016 included a big step back against southpaws, his historical success against them is at least somewhat encouraging. I wouldn't use him in a cash lineup, however. Also in that game, Robbie Grossman, who mashed lefties last season and figures to have a prominent spot in the order again Wednesday, is just $2,900 on FanDuel ($4,000 on DraftKings).

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Derek VanRiper plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: RotoWireDVR, DraftKings: BentleysChair, Yahoo: d.vanriper,.
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Derek VanRiper
Derek was a frequent writer and media host. During his tenure, he'd been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also had hosted RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).
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