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FanDuel MLB: Saturday Value Plays

Chris Bennett

Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.

Saturdayís main slate is a tough one; only four games are included, which makes cash games awfully challenging, as there will be high ownership almost everywhere you look. I canít guarantee this article will unfold this way, but this sort of docket lends itself perfectly for a high risk, high reward contrarian lineup in GPP formats. And this all assumes weather isnít an issue, far from a guarantee on the humid East Coast, where two of these contests take place.

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PITCHER

Lance McCullers, HOU vs. KAN ($9,200): This will reek of chalk, but McCullers looks like the safest option when considering opponent, price and your other options. Heís coming off of a nine strikeout, six inning win against these Royals and has posted 40-plus points in two straight and three of his last six, going for 25 or more in two other outings. Kansas City doesnít strike out often, just 18.2 percent against righties, but ranks 26th with a .292 wOBA, suggesting a safe floor with winning potential.

GPP Fade: Clayton Kershaw, LAD at NYM ($10,800): This fade is strictly about price for me, and frankly, I think the price could make Kershaw worth a gamble as it could scare everyone else away. But there was nothing to suggest this is the same pitcher his name recognition carries, even in a plus plus matchup against a woeful offense against lefties. Kershaw didnít throw a rehab start, and has logged only five innings since May 1. Even if heís dealing, weíre likely looking at 80 pitches, if that? In that scenario, Kershaw may not be worth $8,000, let alone the price heís given Saturday.

Cheap GPP Consideration: Marcus Stroman, TOR at LAA ($5,800): This looks like a no-win situation once youíre past the top three arms Saturday. Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,700) likely will be heavily owned but has strikeout potential, while the four arms beneath him are fairly priced as they bring plenty of volatility. I expect Stromanís adversary, Jaime Barria ($6,600) to be the casual cheap choice here, but heís struggled over his last four outings to keep the ball in the yard, allowing seven homers. At worst, that could afford Stroman a longer leash and some run support. Stromanís splits are as ugly as his 7.71 ERA, but he has just a 3.96 xFIP. On a slate like this, itís also worth remembering he had a 3.09 ERA a year ago, though just a 19.9 strikeout rate. That still plays at this price.

CATCHER/FIRST BASE

Mitch Moreland, BOS vs. SEA ($3,400): Bostonís lineup is by far the most stable to buy into Saturday, but Moreland is largely an afterthought after the teamís big names. He has a .403 wOBA against righties, which somewhat absurdly ranks fourth amongst BoSox regulars, and his tag offers a cheap by in against a pitcher with a 4.75 road ERA.

SECOND BASE

Jose Altuve, HOU vs. KAN ($4,300): The price isnít huge, and your options at the keystone fall off the cliff rapidly, with Asdrubal Cabrera being your next priced option at $800 less. Altuve has provided double-digit points in seven of his last nine games, while boasting a .415 wOBA and 171 wRC+ against righties. He looks like a must buy option in cash and GPP formats.

THIRD BASE

Rafael Devers, BOS vs. SEA ($2,400): Devers has enjoyed a solid June, having posted a .363 wOBA, 129 wRC+ and .277 ISO against righties this month. Itís led to eight games with at least 9.2 fantasy points, four times topping 20 points in that stretch. We noted Mike Leakeís road struggles earlier, and targeting secondary Red Sox bats could lend itself to success here, while allowing you to buy safer options in the slates other contests.

SHORTSTOP

Adalberto Mondesi, KAN at HOU ($2,400): If money is no object here, Carlos Correa ($4,000) is fairly priced and the obvious choice when seeing the next three options at short are considered day-to-day due to injury. But assuming money is an issue, punting this position seems in order. Mondessiís appeal comes largely from his speed. Heís stolen bases in each of his last two starts, and all of his hits since his recall have been off of righties. Mondesi hasnít shown his power potential in the big leagues, but itís worth mentioning he had an ISO north of .230 in each of the last three seasons at Triple-A.

OUTFIELD

Nelson Cruz, SEA at BOS ($4,000): Cruz loves facing lefties, to the tune of a .450 wOBA, 196 wRC+ and whopping .410 ISO. He went deep and walked just six days ago against Eduardo Rodriguez, providing a little security blanket to those great splits.

Randal Grichuk, TOR at LAA ($3,100): Grichuk is just too hot to ignore at this juncture. He owns a .454 wOBA, 194 wRC+ and .404 ISO in the month of June. His price suggests heís still flying a bit under the radar despite that surge, and weíve previously noted Angelsí starter Jaime Barriaís inability to keep the ball in the yard.

Curtis Granderson, TOR at LAA ($2,900): Thereís absolutely nothing sexy about Granderson, but if you skim his game log, he has provided at least some form of production in every game since June 6, giving a low end floor at a cheap price. He brings a team-high .367 wOBA against righties to the table, and if weíre buying in on Barriaís potential combustibility, perhaps Granderson finds a spot atop the lineup and is able to take advantage.

UTILITY

Jose Bautista, NYM vs. LAD ($2,500): I canít fully fade Kershaw without plugging in someone from the Mets lineup, but finding a suitable option is challenging given their dismal splits against lefties. Bautistaís price keeps your expectations in check, and heís been surprisingly stable against lefties, partly using a 30.6 percent walk rate in route to a .444 OBP. Kershaw doesnít walk many, but Bautista is clearly being patient, and really only needs to find his way on base once to return on this price. His 132 wRC+, .361 wOBA and .167 ISO give a little hope he can flirt with double-digit scoring, and heís averaged 11.1 points in his last eight games.

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.