This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
Before we begin the picks, I want to discuss some general strategy for playing two-game slates. I have always found that a DFS player's focus on scarcity should correlate pretty closely with the number of games being played. The reason for this is fairly simple, as less games means less variety in the pool, so the clear studs will be owned far more heavily. This is mostly a GPP and tournament concern, but it may also come into play in 50/50s, as it sometimes feels like each point tallied is simply keeping your head slightly above water.
The tricky part is that the pitcher who is supposed to dominate often does, and fading a big bat means certain death when that player comes through in a big way (thank you very much, Ubaldo Jimenez). So how do we make our way through the muck? The first thing I like to do is identify the pitcher who is likely to have the lowest ownership percentage of the bunch and see if there is any way I can put him on the squad. I feel pretty confident in saying that man will be Jeff Samardzija against the Cubs, but can we select him based on something more than a contrarian play? Let's find out.
Jeff Samardzija, SF at CHC ($42): The Shark had his ups and downs this year but looked really sharp over his last 69.1 innings, tallying a 2.86 ERA over that span. That is a nice body of work over a decent sample, but the Cubs haven't shown any weaknesses where Samardzija shines, as they held a better-than-average flyball rate, hit well against the cutter, and had success against right-handed pitching in the regular season. All of that good, late work may still make him worth a shot in a tournament format however, as a big day for him could mean nice leverage for you.
Tanner Roark, WAS vs. LAD ($49): I am working under the assumption that the Dodgers' prowess against righties will put people off Roark here, as there are things to like about him coming into this matchup. The major thing to note (aside from the 2.83 season ERA) is that the 30-year-old sported a 49 percent groundball rate, and the Dodgers were a bottom-10 team when it came to hitting flyballs in the regular season.
Yasmani Grandal, LAD at WAS ($12): It may seem odd to recommend a hitter who is facing one of our pitchers, but the lack of options sometimes forces us to eat our own. There aren't any fantastic matchups at catcher for this slate but Grandal seems like the safest pick, as he will have the platoon advantage and ended 2016 with a .268 ISO against righties.
Brandon Belt, SF at CHC ($17): Belt has a surprisingly nice matchup against the dominant Kyle Hendricks, as he should be able to use his heavy flyball tendencies to neutralize the 48 percent groundball rate the 26-year-old hurler kept this season. Belt also logged a 4.0 Runs Above Average score against the changeup, a pitch Hendricks threw 27 percent of the time.
Daniel Murphy, WAS vs. LAD ($18): It's not often that I'd recommend Murphy as a potential scarcity play, but the fact that he has a lefty-on-lefty matchup against Rich Hill and is coming back from an injury could get enough eyes off him to make him relatively rare. Murphy's OPS against southpaws this season (.924) makes me think he will be able to hold his own on the wrong side of the platoon. He also sported a 42 percent flyball rate, and Rich Hill has kept a heavy groundball rate over his last two campaigns.
Justin Turner, LAD at WAS ($17): We can look to take full advantage of Turner's reverse platoon split, as he touted an impressive .305/.356/.563 batting line against righties in 2016. Kris Bryant will likely be the chalk play here, but he isn't the killer against righties that he is against southpaws, meaning those willing to play Turner will actually be saving money with an arguably stronger matchup.
Danny Espinosa, WAS vs. LAD ($7): Espinosa had a terrible year at the plate overall, which makes the power he showed against lefties (.261 ISO) all the more surprising. He could get some lift against Hill's groundballs if his 43 percent flyball rate is any indication.
Bryce Harper, WAS vs. LAD ($17): Not much in the way of traditional value here, as just one dollar separates Harper from the top outfielders, but this is another lefty-on-lefty matchup with a potential wrinkle as Harper notched a 6.0 Runs Above Average score against the curveball, a pitch Hill threw 42 percent of the time.
Josh Reddick, LAD at WAS ($14): Reddick showed a pronounced platoon split in 2016, as he hit .322 against righties as opposed to just .155 against same-handed pitchers. While he didn't show overwhelming power against anyone, Reddick should be able to get on base enough to make him a solid play.
Dexter Fowler, SF at CHC ($18): I tried to look beyond the Cubs for the most part, but I wanted to get into a few specifics regarding Samardzija's vulnerabilities before closing the show. As good as he has been of late, the 31-year-old kept a .461 slugging percentage and a 4.30 xFIP overall against his opposite hand. Fowler hit for a bit more power against lefties, but got on base at nearly a .400 clip regardless of the pitcher's handedness.