The Daily Grind: Picking Heroes

Yesterday was a day of the unexpected. We were gifted with four multi-home run games, mostly from unlikely sources. Listed prices are for FanDuel.


  1. Hero Picks
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. Fade Fade Fade
  5. SaberSim Says…
  6. TDG Invitational Returns!

1. Hero Picks

Yesterday was chock full of unpopular heroes. Consider the top five players, four of whom hit two home runs.

Yasiel Puig: 2-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB, 1 SB
Geovany Soto: 2-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
Daniel Nava: 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB
Matt Davidson: 2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
Matt Kemp: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R

Kemp is the least surprising of the bunch, although I’m sure his ownership rate was low opposite Matt Harvey. There’s some hope in the fantasysphere that Harvey is back to form. He pitched well aside from the Kemp yakkers, although the Braves lineup is hardly a test of skill.

Puig was batting seventh for a popular Dodgers stack. His role left him hidden behind guys like Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, and the upper crust of the Los Angeles roster. His home runs came on two terrible slow balls from Jered Weaver. Let’s put off declaring him woke.

Soto, Nava, and Davidson had special days considering their below average ability at the plate. I had shares of Nava, but I unfortunately coupled him with an absentee Tigers stack.

2. Weather Reports

It’s a full 15 game slate, and finally, finally, there is no risk for rain. Pittsburgh will receive some pre-game snow showers as part of a sub-40 degree day. I’d consider scalping your home opener tickets. Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, and Chicago all have temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees.

These low temperature games are tricky. The conditions favor pitchers because home runs are harder to hit. However, some pitchers simply don’t cope well with the cold. Some complain about difficulty gripping the ball while others have trouble shaking off the shivers. It’s impossible to know who, if anyone, will be affected. I’ll proceed as if it’s business as usual. After all, we’re playing a lottery.

3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse

Early Slate: Five of the 15 games are early. This small bundle also happens to include the best pitching options. Max Scherzer versus the Phillies is almost a must-play, especially on FanDuel where he’s just $10,300. He probably won’t be in mid-season form after missing a big chunk of Spring Training with a broken finger.

Neither Michael Fulmer nor Vince Velasquez have favorable matchups. My eyes are on Ivan Nova versus the Braves and Hyun-Jin Ryu at Coors Field. Nova, obviously, is a massively safer play on a cold day at pitcher friendly PNC Park. Ryu should receive a boatload of run support opposite Kyle Freeland, although it is worth pointing out that the Rockies southpaw is… well… a southpaw.

Stack Targets: Freeland, Luis Perdomo

Main Slate: The 10 game main slate features a cacophony of crap. The priciest pitcher is Francisco Liriano at Tampa Bay. And he’s only $8,000. Liriano is a frustrating fantasy pitcher, what with his sparkling gems and ruinous meltdowns. Kinda makes him the perfect DFS asset, no?

People who are aware that baseball happened in March will be drawn inexorably to Shelby Miller. I want to see what happens too, but a matchup versus the AL Champs at Chase Field is FAR from ideal (understatement).

Mike Leake can be fine in a most boringly boring sort of way. Chad and I have him on our dynasty for this reason. In a weird slate like today, he actually has a chance to be top muchacho. Zack Wheeler, Derek Holland, Yovani Gallardo, Luis Severino, and Brett Anderson feel upsidey enough relative to their prices.

Stack Targets: Jesse Chavez, Severino (what?), Raul Alcantera, Matt Andriese, Phil Hughes, Jason Vargas, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Tomlin

4. Fade Fade Fade

Stars: Steven Wright isn’t a star, but his $8,600 price tag puts him in the category. Wright’s projection is comparable to all the non-Scherzers, yet he’s the worst dollar-for-dollar value. That should parlay into a low ownership rate. Wright’s junk balling approach may make it likelier for him to toss seven frames.

Despite tossing dog turds in 2016, Wei-Yin Chen is the second most expensive pitcher tonight. Should he perform like the Baltimore Oriole version of himself, he’ll be well worth the price tag. He’s opposed by a solid Mets offense.

Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana will be frequent guests of this section. People may avoid the Diamondbacks stack, but let’s remember that 1. Miller is volatile and 2. the DBacks bullpen is a sad sack.

Fly ball pitcher Phil Hughes isn’t an ideal matchup for Todd Frazier, and Target Field isn’t the best setting. Hughes, however, is still a lousy pitcher supported by a bad bullpen. Frazier could get into one or three.

Mike Trout is $5,000. Maybe fewer people than ordinary will find budget opposite Gallardo?

Bargains: Maybe people have forgotten Gregory Bird’s awesome spring amidst his unimpressive opening week? Probably not, huh? Bird also has to contend with a strong Orioles bullpen.

Ben Zobrist, despite batting cleanup with a $3,000 price tag, may fall through the cracks of a Cubs stack. After all, he doesn’t have much power or speed anymore. He’s purely a high floor, mid-ceiling guy. Matt Carpenter may be a fade-ier target versus southpaw Amir Garrett.

Rangers leadoff man and first pitch ambusher Carlos Gomez could be overlooked tonight.

5. SaberSim Says…

Scherzer, Liriano, Chavez (huh?), Chen, and Mike Fiers are the top five pitchers. Chavez is projected for nearly seven innings and just shy of half a win. I have him at 5+ frames at best.

The top five hitters are Anthony Rizzo, Nolan Arenado, Kyle Schwarber, Justin Turner, and Puig. I’m on board with four of them…

6. The Daily Grind Invitational

Octobv must be enjoying these FanDuel days. He stole the win from my ridiculous Nava pick. The difference? Addison Russell posted seven points. My Trevor Story, owned by 12 of 20 participants, completely zeroed out. The leaderboard is updated; remember to flip to the FanDuel tab.

We’re back on FanDuel again for the last Invitational of the week.

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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Deciding between Lamb and Frazier in a h2h 5×5 with OBP…need all cats but OBP least.