I’m going away for the weekend. Normally I cover the Saturday and Sunday daily fantasy posts, but this weekend I’ll only be handling Saturday’s edition, and I’ll be writing it Friday morning. The blurb that day will be about taking safer players with assured playing time when you set a daily roster that far out.
All of that is to say, I might have a tough time being in the money on the weekend, so there’s added pressure to go HAM on today’s daily fantasy and really cash in. Let’s swing for the fences, folks. It’s just too bad we don’t have Jeff Francis to pick on today.
Before we dive into the recommendations, a quick refresher from my piece from Wednesday and some earlier posts on strikeout rates: teams who strike out a lot will tend to do so against pitchers who strike out a lot of batters. This is obvious, of course, but it bears reminding on occasion since we’re chasing strikeouts in the daily game. A strikeout hides an earned run, so you can be risky seeking whiffs.
Unfortunately, the Astros play a day game today and as such don’t qualify for Draftstreet daily pools. That might be for the best since the strikeouts are so appealing but a 91-degree heat and a strong wind to right-center make Yovani Gallardo a very boom-or-bust play. For hitters, Oakland lefties should be in for a treat against Josh Lindblom, but that’s a day game that doesn’t qualify for DraftStreet either.
The Daily Five
Roy Oswalt – $8,802
Welcome back, Oswalt! While I’m not sure Colorado is a friendly spot for you to be in the long-term, they’ve provided you with a nice soft landing in Washington. The Nationals strike out 22% of the time and have just a .290 wOBA on the year, numbers that aren’t appreciably different when facing northpaws. Oswalt may or may not have strikeouts left in the tank, having struggled to tally them in Philly in 2011 but averaging one an inning in Texas last year. It’s as good a time as any to find out, when he’s against a weak line-up and checks in as the third cheapest pitcher on the market.
Jon Niese – $9,031
Here’s a little known fact – the #Barves have a rep as a good offense but are actually pretty meh against lefties, checking in with a .300 wOBA. They also strike out a boatload, 23% of the time against southpaws and 24% overall. Niese is a guy who has seen his fantasy value jump all over the grid the past few years, and his terrible K:BB ratio is scaring people off at this point, lowering the price tag. His fastball is still playing up despite being 90MPH, but it’s his cutter that’s been trouble (the Braves are roughly neutral against cutters). If he can limit the walks, there’s K-potential here and he comes cheap. Don’t budget for a win, though.
Brandon Belt – $7,353
Normally I’d hesitate to pick a player playing in 56-degree weather since cold temperatures drive down scoring, but there are two factors at play here: a 13MPH wind blowing out to right-center, and Tom Koehler. Koehler’s xFIP is stronger than his ERA, but I’m not sure it’s right to normalize a home run rate for a guy who gets hit so hard, especially by lefties. So dial up Belt, who has upped his fly ball rate and has had his home runs supressed by what I’d think is an artificially low HR/FB rate against righties (8% vs. 9.5% overall). #belted
Chris Stewart – $5,465
I believe in Matt Moore, mostly because I’m over-invested, but he’s had three downright terrible starts in a row and draws the Yankees in their joke stadium with a decent wind blowing out to left field. Until Moore shows he’s got his stuff together, I’ll pick on him (maybe this is reactionary to try and recoup some of the value I’ve lost on him lately, in which case, ignore me). Unfortunately the Yankees are light on righties to take advantage, so we’ll dial up Stewart, who hasn’t been terrible offensively and is willing to take a walk, and use the savings at the catcher position to spend big elsewhere.
Nick Franklin – $6,341
Franklin draws Tommy Hanson and can plug your second base hole relatively cheap. He’s a switch hitter who has shown a willingness to walk and some fair pop from either side of the plate early on. Hanson has a decent ERA but the peripherals are screaming for some regression – it might not happen today with the Mariners’ line-up but Franklin has a good chance to succeed. We’ve also just spent $37k on these five recommendations, saving you $63k to play big in the outfield spots and go heavy on a third starter if you so choose. Value.
This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs maintains complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in a continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.
Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.