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!
If there is something that you guys want to see added to the Payoff Pitch that is currently missing, feel free to hop in chat or shoot me a message on Twitter. Feels like it is a good time to check in after a few weeks, any and all feedback is welcome! Also wanted to give everyone a heads up that this piece will be taking a break on Thursday and Friday this week, as I will be in Miami for the FanDuel FantaSea Championship!
Matchup To Target:
Jacob deGrom at home vs. the Twins
Paying down at pitching has been a common theme in the early going, and it has paid off more times than not due to aces off to slow starts. Tonight, I see no reason to mess around and recommend just plugging in Jacob deGrom to your cash game rosters. All deGrom has done through two starts is post a 50% strikeout rate with a 0.00 ERA. The matchup is solid as well against a Twins team that also loses their DH traveling to a National League ballpark. Citi Field is also one of the most pitcher-friendly venues in baseball, further boosting deGrom’s outlook here. There’s always merit to chasing low-cost upside in tournaments, but deGrom is the clear-cut ace on this slate.
Other matchups to target: Gerrit Cole vs. the Yankees, Aaron Nola vs. the Nationals, Joe Lucchesi vs. the Giants
Favorable Game Environment:
Rockies vs. Max Fried
We saw Coors Field blow up for 14 runs last night in a game that was supposed to be “low-scoring,” and there should be some fireworks again in Colorado tonight, especially on the Rockies’ side. Max Fried looked sharp in his first start of the season, but we can throw all of that out of the window with a young pitcher venturing into the lion’s den of Coors. On FanDuel, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are still affordable, and yes, I’m playing Chris Davis over there at only $500 there even if he doesn’t start. We will likely also see Mark Reynolds start against the lefty, and a full-on Rockies stack is certainly going to be popular tonight. This is such an obvious spot that I do think ownership is going to be absurd, but I can’t get off the matchup. One way to differentiate would be to throw in one or two bottom-of-the-order bats here, like Pat Valaika or even Chris Iannetta, and then you’re also going to want to go off the board with your other stack in GPPs.
Other environments to target: A’s vs. John Means, Brewers vs. Matt Harvey, Dodgers vs. Dakota Hudson
Cash Game Lock:
Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
Speaking of the Rockies, Nolan Arenado is a guy you should be forcing into your cash lineups on both sites tonight. Arenado has put up a gnarly .288 ISO and 148 wRC+ over his career against southpaws, with just a 13.2% strikeout rate. If you have to sacrifice somewhere with a “punt,” do it. We know the $500 salary on Chris Davis may be the way to go on FanDuel, and taking a minimal score at a position like shortstop on DraftKings is viable. We saw slates like this last year where Arenado was extremely priced up against a lefty at home, and he broke the slate. If you didn’t play him, you lost. I think we need to bet on him going yard here and jam him in.
Additional cash game options: SS Marcus Semien, 3B Travis Shaw, OF Joc Pederson
Mariners vs. Jakob Junis
This recommendation is two-fold in that I think this Mariners’ offense is legit, and I also believe they are going to go under-owned a bit on this slate. I talked above about how we need to get different with our secondary stack if we are going chalky with an expensive pitcher and as many Rockie bats as we can fit. Seattle has scored the most runs in the majors (11 more than second place), leads the majors in home runs (eight more than second place) and has the second-highest wOBA (.398) in all of baseball. To put it simply, they have been en fuego, and I don’t think the fantasy community has caught up yet. On the other side, we’ve talked about the fact that Jakob Junis allowed 32 home runs last season, and while lefties are the preferred target against him, he still gave up 19 of those homers to righties. I want to mix and match Mitch Haniger (especially after a dud last night), Domingo Santana, Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion and Daniel Vogelbach. These guys won’t come cheap, so I don’t hate going down to Dee Gordon or Dylan Moore at the bottom of the order if you need the savings. We also get those guaranteed nine at-bats with the Mariners being the road team here, something that I always use a tie-breaker when it comes to deciding on stacks.
Other under-the-radar stacks: Padres vs. Derek Holland, A’s vs. John Means, Diamondbacks vs. Mike Minor
Home Run Call of the Day:
Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
I typically try to go a bit off the board with my Home Run Call of the Day, but I’m going with the chalk tonight in Christian Yelich versus Matt Harvey. I LOVE the Brewers as an intriguing low-owned stack tonight, especially these lefties with Harvey’s atrocious lefty splits. My bold call here is that not only does Yelich go yard, but also one of Travis Shaw, Mike Moustakas or Eric Thames does as well. What else needs to be said about Yelich at this point? The reigning MVP is picking up where he left off from 2018, trailing only Cody Bellinger for the NL home run lead with five. His salary is tough to swallow with the high-end pitching that is available, but he’s in a tremendous spot here.
Others likely to leave the yard: Trevor Story vs. Max Fried, Adam Jones vs. Mike Minor, Max Muncy vs. Dakota Hudson
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).