The purpose of The Payoff Pitch is to “zoom in” to today’s slate in order to provide a micro perspective of DFS strategies to exploit. With the plethora of content available on our site from our talented analysts, this piece will focus more on game theory and leveraging contrarian approaches to get ahead of the field. As always, feel free to hit me up on twitter (@drewcrawford7) with questions or comments, and make sure to hop in our Discord chat to pick the brains of our contributors 24/7!
A Word About Your Gut:
No, not the thing hanging over your belt. Trusting your gut. As in, do you. Yesterday, I swapped off of Gary Sanchez and Max Kepler in cash for Aaron Judge and Wellington Castillo. You know what happened. Sanchez and Kepler combine for almost as many bombs (4) as the other two had FanDuel points (6.5). We talked in chat about the list of bad 2v2 swaps that haunt us and how we grow to despise the players that are constantly on the wrong side (ahem, Brett Gardner). But there is a larger point to be made, and that is the fact that us “experts” don’t have a crystal ball, we are just giving you the best information so that you can make your own decisions. Sometimes, we on the other side are not immune to this conundrum. Yesterday, I was persuaded by projection models and others’ opinions on this specific 2v2, and I didn’t trust my gut. When you’re wrong, I’ve found that it’s a lot more comforting to be wrong using your own decisions rather than someone else’s. Don’t let us persuade you off of players that you are on, especially in baseball. Sometimes it’s hard for us to remember that we are all just formulating educated opinions. The idea is for you to gather the resources and information from us that is necessary to make your own decisions. If your process is clean and consistent, you will have favorable results over the long run. Our job will never change, but if you are conflicted and think you have a better read on a situation, don’t just change it because we are higher on someone/something else. Don’t worry, If you are playing a hitter against your pitcher, we will still tell you that is wrong!
Matchup To Target:
Eric Lauer vs. The Giants “Offense”
This one feels gross to write about, but pumping Eric Lauer is more a means of attrition rather than him actually being a great play. We have Coors on this slate. We have Justin Verlander but he’s facing the Yankees. Hyun Jin Ryu is a road underdog. Madison Bumgarner on the other side of this one looks palatable, but do I really want to pay up against this Padres’ unit of lefty-mashers? Bottom line, the theme of the day is that I want to load up on Coors’ bats, and, while a few pieces are rather cheap, I just can’t justify paying up for the perceived safest option in Verlander in a bad matchup. In cash games, sure. If we get some value hitters, play Verlander if you’d like. But I think Lauer provides for an interesting cheap tournament flier against a Giants’ offense that has the third-lowest ISO against southpaws so far in 2019 (0.94). San Fran is middle of the pack in the K% vs. lefties (15th), and Lauer isn’t much of a strikeout pitcher (just under 20% in 2018). Couple that with the game being played in the spacious confines of Oracle Park, and I love the floor here and the likelihood that Lauer cruises through six or seven innings with a few punchouts and probable run prevention. Basically, I’m taking a gamble that the bats will outperform the arms on this slate, and Lauer is the way I’m going to leverage that.
Other matchups to target: Justin Verlander vs. the Yankees, Madison Bumgarner vs. the Padres, Hyun Jin Ryu vs. the Cardinals
Favorable Game Environment:
10 Run O/U in Camden Yards
It’s always an interesting strategy to fade the Rockies on a Coors slate and deploy an underowned stack from another team in a good spot. That is certainly the case tonight in Baltimore, as flyball righty Marco Estrada takes on the beatable Andrew Cashner. Give me all the power bats on the Oakland side, as we may see something similar to the 7 bombs the Yankees hit here yesterday. Even the Orioles’ side is playable in game stacks, with Jonathan Villar, Trey Mancini, and Renato Nunez leading the way. I’ll even go out of the way and predict that (gulp) Chris Davis breaks his 0-44 streak with his first hit, and it’s a home run off of Estrada. Keep an eye on the Mariners/Royals game that has a 10 run O/U as well, and is sure to be less popular than the A’s especially.
Other environments to target: Coors Field, Brewers vs. Angels, Phillies vs. Anibal Sanchez
Cash Game Lock:
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
Playing Charlie Blackmon against a bad righty in Coors is about the biggest lock you can have in daily fantasy baseball. Blackmon is an absolute beast in his home park, as he has hit .345 there for his career, and has pummeled righties to the tune of a .872 OPS during his 8+ years in the bigs. There is a debate as to whether Julio Teheran is a “bad righty”, but there is no debating that he is bad against left-handed batters. Teheran sports an ugly .339 wOBA allowed to lefties compared to just a .266 mark to righties and Blackmon is a good bet to rack up some fantasy points in this matchup.
Additional cash game options: Raimel Tapia in the same matchup, Robbie Grossman vs. Andrew Cashner, Mallex Smith vs. Homer Bailey
Royals vs. Felix Hernandez
Kansas City sneakily has around a 5-run implied total tonight against a pitcher that many still avoid because of his past accolades. Felix Hernandez is a shell of his former self at this point in his career, as he posted a 5.55 ERA and a minuscule 18.3 strikeout rate in 2018. No one likes to play the Royals, but they have some plus matchups in this spot. Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Alex Gordon and Ryan O’Hearn are all relatively priced up around the industry, and most will gloss right past these names with Rockies and Braves bats garnering a ton of ownership. That said, I think the Royals could go off here, and if that happens, these four will have a huge part in the outburst.
Other under-the-radar stacks: Orioles vs. Marco Estrada, Braves vs. Rockies (yes I think they will be under-owned), Brewers vs. Trevor Cahill
Home Run Call of the Day:
Domingo Santana, OF, Seattle Mariners
We have a hitter on a serious heater with a .342 ISO so far in 2019 against right-handed pitching, versus a pitcher who allowed an ISO of .275 against righties in 2018. I mean, the guys’ name is HOMER, it’s just meant to be. In all seriousness, Domingo Santana is part of Mariners’ offense that is implied to score over 5 runs, and Homer Bailey is a pitcher who has long been vulnerable to the long ball. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mariners take Bailey yard three or more times here, and I see Santana as the best bet of the group to do that.
Others likely to leave the yard: Ronald Acuna vs. Kyle Freeland, Ryan O’Hearn vs. Felix Hernandez, Trey Mancini vs. Marco Estrada.
Drew Crawford, AKA “Squid0308” is one of the top Daily Fantasy players in the industry and the Director of Baseball Product at The Quant Edge. He was a finalist in the 2018 FanDuel World Fantasy Football Championship (4th Place), the 2019 FanDuel World Fantasy Basketball Championship (20th Place) and the 2019 FanDuel FantaSea Championship (Held April 13th).