Let’s talk about the fact that Draftstreet doesn’t allow late swaps. In a minute, how to prepare for it, but first, how to potentially take advantage of it.
On weekends and on travel days there are usually early contests encompassing all games and late contests that only consist of the late games. In the early contests, rosters lock when the first game starts. When someone in your lineup playing in a late game isn’t in the lineup, there’s nothing you can do about it. As a result, I’ve generally tended to avoid early contests all together and just play the late contests so that all lineups are usually posted before rosters lock. Or if I play in early contests, I’ll skew towards teams playing in the early games and avoid stacks for teams playing late games.
Yesterday I did things different. I entered the early contests and used plenty of hitters and stacks in late games because I liked the matchups and values, the A’s and the Dodgers in particular. In the GPP I entered, the four Dodgers I used all had an ownership percentage of 3% or less, and Josh Donaldson was the only Athletic that was widely owned.
I have the suspicion that this is partly due to other players sharing my aversion to the risk of using players that can’t be confirmed in their team’s lineup before rosters lock. It’s also possible that enough people just didn’t think the Dodgers/A’s stacks had as much upside and/or value as I did. But I’m thinking this may be a situation where you can zig when everyone else zags. And zigging with good players is a strategy I can get on board with.
If you’re going to use players in late games, you’ve got to do all you can to avoid players who are left out of the lineup. First things first, avoid any guys who have any sort of injury concern at all. I usually just check each player on the ESPN fantasy page and see if any recent updates mention anything about an injury.
Second, you should be aware of how teams use platoons. Some players are obviously part of a platoon and should be avoided in matchups where they don’t have the platoon advantage. But teams often order players differently against lefties than they do righties. Be aware of that when using stacks so you can be reasonably certain that the players you stack will be hitting next to or at least near each other in the lineup. The best way to see how teams usually order their lineup is to take a look at their most recent lineups, which can be found at MLBDepthCharts.
The Daily Five
Justin Masterson ($8,359) – Masterson is the cheapest pitcher of the day, but I can think of several reasons why he might be one of the best point scorers of the day and the best value of the day. For starters, he hasn’t been as bad as his 5.21 ERA would indicate. His xFIP and SIERA are both narrowly below 4.00. The main reason for the gap between the ERA and the ERA estimators is a ridiculously low strand rate of 63.5%. Because Masterson is such a groundball-heavy pitcher (59.4% GB%), he doesn’t give up many home runs per nine. So the low strand rate isn’t because Masterson is a guy who gives up too many bombs (0.67 HR/9).
Masterson’s main struggle has always been left-handed hitters, but the Red Sox don’t have many good ones right now. David Ortiz is scary, and I’ll be including him in some lineups that don’t involve Masterson. But A.J. Pierzynski and Grady Sizemore are the only other left-handed hitters the Red Sox have who have been above average this year.
Rain may be an issue in this game, so make sure you check the radar sometime this afternoon.
Jose Quintana ($15,287) – I wish Quintana got more strikeouts, but I can live with his league average strikeout rate because he’s fairly consistent. He’s scored 7.5 points or more in six of his 11 starts, and he’s only had one complete bomb of an outing. He’s averaging 6.8 points per start, but he has a good chance to beat that mark against the Dodgers who are surprisingly bad against left-handed pitching. They’re 18% below average against left-handed pitching according to wRC+, which makes them fourth worst in the league. My projection for him today has him barely surpassing that 7.5 point threshold again leading to a cost per projected point of around $2,000, which is right at the average today.
Clayton Kershaw ($24,947) – If you’re trying to decide between spending your money on Kershaw or King Felix, go with the lanky lefty. The main reason is that Kershaw has the better chance to have a big strikeout day. For one, his strikeout rate this year is 31.5% compared to 24.8% for Felix. Second, Kershaw’s opponent, the White Sox, strikeout 23.6% of the time against left-handed pitching compared Felix’s opponent, the Yankees, who strikeout 18.7% of the time against right-handed pitching. Pitching in LA is also better than pitching in Yankee Stadium.
Cardinals Stack – Danny Duffy has a 3.57 ERA on the year, but his ERA as a starter is an even four. And his SIERA as a starter is just a hair under six. And for his career, out of the pen and as a starter combined, right-handed hitters have a .361 wOBA against him. I’m a big fan of what I expect to be the 2-3-4-5 in the Cardinals lineup: Randal Grichuk ($2,700), Matt Holliday ($6,518), Allen Craig ($7,060), Yadier Molina ($6,566).
Evan Longoria ($6,152) – I honestly wasn’t aware that Randy Wolf was pitching in the majors again. This is a guy who hasn’t had a SIERA or xFIP under four since 2002. He also has a career HR/9 of 1.13. Longoria is only the sixth most expensive third baseman today, and he’s not among the 50 most expensive hitters. He’s a nice value for a guy with so much upside.
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.
We know you play in all sorts of leagues. So to help you fine-tune the analysis you’d like to read, we’ve added three tags to the categories on the right: Roto, Head to Head, and Daily Fantasy Update. Use these to get the information that is most relevant to your leagues!