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!
Breaking Down the Viable SPs
Chris Sale is pretty clearly the top SP option on both sites tonight, and it seems like he is rounding back into the dominant form we have grown accustomed to seeing. The velocity isn’t quite back to where it was, but the strikeouts are back up and the run prevention has been improving. A matchup with the Orioles has only one downside — the bandbox of Camden Yards — but Sale has a 50% or better ground ball rate in his last two starts to go along with the uptick in punchouts. In large-field GPPs, by all means throw in a cheap dart with a Baltimore stack if ownership is going to get out of hand here.
Sale’s competition for the No. 1 spot looks valid at first glance, but when we dig deeper into Clayton Kershaw and Matt Boyd, it becomes obvious that Sale is a cut above. Kershaw has changed into being a fantastic real-life pitcher, but just a “good” DFS pitcher with his salary still at an exorbitant number. The strikeouts just aren’t where they used to be, and that limits his ceiling. He also has to face a pretty good Braves’ offense, though their 3.3 IRT is the second-lowest on the slate. The $800 discount from Sale on FD is at least tempting, but I still prefer Sale’s matchup. Boyd is a decent tournament pivot at lower ownership from Sale in a matchup with the Angels, and the strikeouts just keep coming for the Detroit southpaw. He’s whiffed 7 in all but one start so far, but the problem is the Angels have by far the lowest K% against lefties this season at just 14.9%. I don’t mind a little exposure in large-field tournaments, but the contact-heavy LA lineup has me weary for Boyd’s upside in this spot.
The middle tier is littered with solid yet unspectacular options but is where I prefer to land if not using Sale. Kyle Hendricks is a guy to keep an eye on with a home matchup against the Marlins, though the projected wind at Wrigley does give me a slight pause. That said, the Marlins IRT is barely above 3 at the moment, and Hendricks’ ground ball lean should help to negate the hitter-friendly breeze in Chicago. Miami has been a bit pesky lately and Hendricks isn’t known for racking up K’s, but he should be considered a great cash play on both sites, and a very solid SP2 on DK. The other option worth considering in tournaments from this tier is Brad Peacock, who, despite getting blown up his last time out, still has some strikeout upside against the Royals. KC, of course, lit the world on fire last night, so Peacock should be largely ignored on this slate due to recency bias.
Two Favorite Stacks
This list was originally longer with the Giants/Rockies game worked in, but with brutal weather there, I removed those two teams from my rankings. If that game happens to somehow play, both of those teams would enter the conversation as the No. 1 or 2 stack on both sites.
Boston and Houston are once again the teams with the highest IRT, and they get to face Andrew Cashner and Pablo Lopez, respectively. While these teams are likely to garner a big chunk of ownership and are certainly two of the likeliest high-scoring stacks, I’m going to focus on two other spots to look for offense as a way to differentiate from the field.
Cubs vs. Jose Urena
I’m not sure if Vegas is counting on the wind to shift in a different direction, but, as of this writing, I am seeing a 15-20 MPH wind blowing out toward the left field foul pole, yet the Cubs are projected for just 4.9 runs. If we get word that the breeze is going to substantially aide the offenses here, that would vault the Cubs to my No. 1 stack without a doubt. Jose Urena has struggled with lefties throughout his career, allowing a 1.39 HR/9. Anthony Rizzo is one of the top plays on the board regardless of the weather conditions, and I’d love to throw in guys like Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber since they all have the platoon advantage. Running it back with a righty like Javy Baez or Kris Bryant is certainly formidable as well.
Dodgers vs. Mike Foltynewicz
Call it East Coast bias, but the Dodgers always seem a little too underowned on these larger main slates. Anytime this offense faces a righty, I’m interested. Mike Foltynewicz has not been good, he is right-handed, and the Dodgers are projected by Vegas for almost 5 runs. If we are paying up at pitcher, it’s going to be tough to fit Cody Bellinger, but I’d try to start with him, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Max Muncy, and tack on Justin Turner, who is coming off of a 3-homer performance last night.
Additional Cheap Stack: Twins vs. Trent Thornton
Additional Contrarian Stack: Royals vs. Brad Peacock
Home Run Call of the Day
Anthony Rizzo vs. Jose Urena
I mentioned earlier about the Cubs’ draw against Urena, and I especially love the spot tonight for a red-hot Anthony Rizzo. After a slow April, Rizzo has found his power stroke, hitting 5 home runs over his last nine contests. The thing I like most about Rizzo here with the wind blowing out to left is that he is a spray-hitter, meaning he will hit the ball to all parts of the ballpark. If he were a strictly pull-hitter, the projected wind out to left wouldn’t help him much, but I think he gets an elevated projection due to his ability to use the whole field. Fire him up for a dinger or two tonight, and hopefully, I can make it two in a row after nailing Brandon Lowe last night.
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).