Welcome to another edition of HMF’s MLB Slate breakdown. We’re going to talk some tournament tactics on Fanduel tonight and it looks to be an interesting 11-game slate with some high team totals and Kershaw taking the mound.
Clayton Kershaw ($12,600): In case you needed any more reason for how great Kershaw is…He’s a -218 favorite against Johnny Cueto, who’s a pretty darn good pitcher in his own right. There’s hardly ever a time to fade Kershaw and tonight is certainly not that time. He’s the best pitcher in baseball going up against a team that can’t hit lefties, at home. Not to mention the BvP is amazing vs. these Giants batters like Belt and Crawford. I’ll be very close to 100% in all formats tonight.
Luis Severino ($8,500): If you like to live dangerously and want to fade Kershaw, I think Severino is the clear-cut #2 option on this slate. The Blue Jays have been pitiful against righties this season, with the 2nd lowest wRC+ and the 9th highest K% vs. righties this season. Severino has looked great this season, averaging 52 FD points a game over his last three starts while showing some huge strikeout upside. I really like him tonight but, it’s tough to fade Kershaw
*Those are the only two options I’m really considering but, I think Lance McCullers ($9,000) is going to be under-owned relative to his upside.
Houston Astros: I have a feeling this will be a pretty popular stack but, I love the Astros tonight. They’re going up against Andrew Cashner tonight, who allows a ton of hard contact and gets lit up pretty often. The Astros have played well against righties all season with a 123 wRC+ (3rd in the league) and just a 19.9% K% (6th lowest in the league). I like going a little contrarian with the stack though given how popular they will be and given that we need some salary relief to fit in Kershaw. For that reason I’d skip over Springer and Correa (Who’s pitch f/x profiles don’t match up well with Cashner) and play Josh Reddick ($3,000), Jose Altuve ($4,000), and Yulieski Gurriel ($2,600) and I’d also consider Carlos Beltran ($2,800). Those guys match up very well vs. sinker ball pitchers and pitchers with mid-90’s velocity (Altuve looks like the top play on the slate based on pitch f/x matchup). And while I like those three guys, I think there is merit to fading them, given that all three of those guys have been overperforming with lower expected wOBAs than wOBAs.
Kansas City Royals: I haven’t stacked the Royals all season but, this seems like a nice spot tonight. Yes, Kauffman Stadium is a pitcher’s park but Vegas has given us high team totals all year and if we look back to last season we see that the average run total was actually one run higher than the average over/under. The Royals have been terrible (dead last in wRC+) against righties this season but they’ve been getting unlucky with a very low BABIP and four of their top five hitters in the order (Merrifield, Moustakas, Cain, and Perez) have expected wOBAs over .330. Vegas seems to be thinking the same thing, giving the Royals a 4.8 team total against Dylan Covey, and I’d look to stack those four I just listed, Whit Merrifield ($2,500), Mike Moustakas ($3,500), Lorenzo Cain ($3,400), and Sal Perez ($3,000). I think they’ll also come in at low ownership on this slate.
Philadelphia Phillies/Chicago Cubs: Anytime the wind is blowing out at Wrigley (14 mph tonight) you have to look to stack it. I actually like the Phillies side a lot here. They have the 12th highest wOBA vs. lefties this season and Brett Anderson is a fly ball pitcher, which doesn’t bode well for him with the wind in this game. I’d be fine with almost anyone 1-7 with Maikel Franco ($3,400) being the top play. The Phillies stack is also cheap enough that it’s very easy to play them with Kershaw. On the Cubs side, they’ve actually disappointed this season, ranking just 20th in the league in wRC+ vs. righties. On the Cubs side you can play anyone 1-5, though I’d leave out Bryant and go with Kyle Schwarber ($3,300), Anthony Rizzo ($4,700), Ben Zobrist ($3,100), and Jason Heyward ($3,300). Velasquez has some pretty big splits, with a 4.54 FIP and a 1.51 HR/9 vs. lefties and with that wind blowing out we could see a couple home runs from that group. While it’s tough to stack the Cubs with Kershaw, I’d definitely look to stack them with Severino.
Josh Harrison ($2,900): Harrison has been fantastic the past couple years against lefties and he’s going up against a questionable lefty in Amir Garrett who got lit up in his last start. Harrison could easily get 5 at bats, batting leadoff on the road in a positive hitter park. Love Harrison in all formats tonight.
Matt Davidson ($2,500): The White Sox have dominated left-handed pitching all season, including last time they faced off against Jason Vargas when they put up 12 total runs. Davidson put up 41.4 FD points in that game and he’s dominated slower pitchers like Vargas all season with a .330 ISO against pitches <90 mph this season. Davidson is a nice cheap option to play in a Kershaw tournament lineup.
Thanks for the read guys! Good luck to everyone tonight, if you enjoyed this article feel free to check out some of the other content on the site and make sure to give HMF a follow on Twitter by hitting that button below. You can follow me personally on Twitter @tj_brashears or catch me on the Fantasy Life app @tjb128.
Author: TJ Brashears
A part time college student and full time fantasy player, TJ has been playing season long fantasy for 6 years now. He has had some success in his main league during that time, making the playoffs each year and bringing home two championships. TJ found his love for football when his Chicago Bears made a Super Bowl run back in 2005 and found his love for Fantasy when his team made a championship run with Aaron Rodgers at the helm in 2011. TJ’s love for fantasy football runs so deep he even wrote a college application essay about it. He’s played through many ups (drafting Knowshon Moreno in the last round in 2013) and downs (Spending a first round pick on Trent Richardson). However, TJ discovered the exciting world of daily fantasy during the 2015 NFL season and hasn’t looked back. He had moderate success during NFL and NBA seasons and really started putting the majority of his emphasis on DFS during baseball season. TJ looks forward to helping people become profitable players and is simply happy to have more players to sweat/tilt with him.