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!
Tonight’s slate features some very attractive, almost unfadeable matchups that will call for us getting a bit weird with a few of our roster spots. With ownership likely focusing on a few popular offenses and a few popular pitchers, we have to differentiate somewhere if we want to eat the (good) chalk. The basis of this article today will be laying out for you why the chalk is good today, and contrarian ways to find leverage on the field.
Justin Verlander, Patrick Corbin, And Getting Weird…
Verlander and Corbin check in as the clear top-2 arms for tonight’s slate, and it’s not particularly close. Justin Verlander is expensive, but gets a dream matchup against the righty-heavy, light-hitting Tigers, a team we have picked on several times in the last week. Verlander is a massive -350 favorite here, and if you have the funds, by all means think about what Chris Sale did last night as the most expensive hurler. The problem with Verlander, as we’ll get to later, is that there are several expensive hitting options that we are going to want to have heavy exposure to, and his salary is rather cost-prohibitive.
Patrick Corbin has a solid matchup in his own right against the lefty-heavy New York Mets. Corbin has struck out 36.7% of lefties while allowing just a .258 wOBA, and the Mets figure to have Robinson Cano, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil in the lineup, who are four of their best hitters and also left-handed. Corbin is only a -165 favorite, but that’s still a very high win probability. Corbin is just $1,000 cheaper than Verlander on DraftKings, but a full $2,600 cheaper on FanDuel. With that much savings, he should be the most popular choice over there. On DraftKings, you may be able to find the extra grand to pay up for Verlander, but if you can’t, I think Corbin will come at least close to matching his output tonight.
If you’re not spending up, it’s time to get weird and find a value pitcher to pay up for all the expensive bats. I find myself gravitating toward Jalen Beeks, who should come on for the Rays after Ryne Stanek opens and gets to face Miami and their 3.2 IRT in the friendly confines of Marlins Park. Beeks is the stone min on FD ($5,500) but up to $7,600 on DraftKings, still at that price, he’s a viable SP2. On FD, Beeks would allow you to get ALL THE BATS at his bare bones salary, and he has allowed just one earned run in his last 14.2 innings with 16 K’s over that span. I certainly will have some Beeks tonight, and he’s a great way to differentiate your roster in large-field tournaments.
Other Pitchers to Consider: Mike Minor, Kenta Maeda, Eduardo Rodriguez
Astros vs. Gregory Soto
Yeaaaaa, you’re gonna want four Astros on FanDuel and five on DraftKings tonight. It’s really that simple. Houston has an astounding 6.8 implied run total against terrible lefty Gregory Soto, and, as we saw last night against Ryan Carpenter, this offense is in play from 1 through 9. Not much analysis is needed here, max out the ‘Stros in your stacks in both cash games and GPP’s, and differentiate elsewhere.
Rangers vs. Jorge Lopez
I really like Texas tonight as my #2 stack, and their plethora of left-handed power certainly matches up well with right-hander Jorge Lopez. Lopez has allowed a whopping .432 wOBA to lefties along with 6 long balls in 16.2 innings. This obviously pushes guys like Joey Gallo, Shin Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara, Asdrubal Cabrera and Rougned Odor up the ranks for stacking purposes, and I’d at least try to target one of these guys as a one-off in GPP’s if you aren’t stacking them up. Texas is also the road team here, so the guaranteed nine at-bats helps their cause as well. Ownership should be somewhat high, so again, look to mix things up with a low-owned one-off if you are playing the chalk pitching with the Astros.
Rays vs. Jose Urena
If you are going chalky everywhere else, I think the Rays are the spot to get weird in tournaments. They should be low-owned, play in a bad ballpark, and people don’t realize how bad Jose Urena’s splits have been in his career against lefties. Urena has allowed 1.38 HR/9 against lefties along with a 5.49 xFIP, though his surface numbers don’t present such drastic numbers. As a result, this advantage against Urena tends to go under-the-radar, but it’s a strategy that has been profitable for me personally over the last few years. Our guy Austin Meadows is back, and along with Brandon Lowe, Ji Man Choi, and even Kevin Kiermaier (for value), represent the most attractive options here for Tampa Bay.
Home Run Call of the Day
With the obvious spots mentioned above, I like the power matchup for the Astros the most. As a result, I’m going to go out on a limb here (not) and say George Springer stays hot and goes deep again. Springer has an insane (and unsustainable) .447 ISO against southpaws in 2019, so let’s just ride this wave as long as we can. Low-hanging fruit, I know, but play this guy if you can.
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).