Admit it: Kris Bryant is in your DFS roster today. You even jumped into an all-day tourney just so that you could get his ballgame in this morning. This game is supposed to be fun, damn it, so treat yourself to some rookie magic if you feel so inclined. Just be aware that he will probably be heavily owned today, as it's the natural cost of popularity.
Chris Davis, 3B ($4800)
vs. LHP: .232/.282/.446 in 830 PA
vs. RHP: .262/.338/.511 in 2045 PA
At $4800, Davis is the most expensive third baseman on the market for the late games today. After two consecutive seasons with polar opposite performances, Davis can be difficult to trust, and there is considerable question as to his consistency even if nobody doubts his raw power. The left-handed hitter has enjoyed far greater success against right-handed pitchers in his career, stoked an OPS that is 121 points higher when he has the platoon advantage. Facing off today against sinkerballer Joe Kelly, Davis carries a few additional strategic advantages to the table.
Davis vs. pitch types (AVG/ALG)
vs. 4-seam: .229/.457 in 787 AB
vs. SINK: .329/.588 in 483 AB
vs. Slider: .249/.530 in 389 AB
vs. Curve: .202/.399 in 376 AB
vs. Change: .294/.529 in 316 AB
Davis is the rare hitter who performs much better on contact with the sinker or two-seam fastball than with the straight four-seam, with a 100-point difference in his career batting average and an additional 31 points of isolated power. His strengths mesh well with Kelly's repertoire (who throws each of the pitches listed, including 50-percent sinkers), and Davis is in a good position to get under a sink and lift it out of the yard.
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Details ($3 Moonshot):
Matthew Joyce, OF ($3800)
vs. LHP: .190/.258/.319 in 361 PA
vs. RHP: .260/.355/.461 in 2204 PA
Home: .251/.341/.422 in 1257 PA
Road: .249/.342/.457 in 1308 PA
Joyce has been shielded from same-side pitching to an almost ridiculous degree in his career, with only 14 percent of his big-league plate appearances occurring with the platoon disadvantage. Joyce is essentially worthless versus southpaws, but it hardly matters so long as he is deployed in a way that suites his strengths. The platoon split is massive, and while notable as much for the horrific slash versus lefties as the strong line against righties, the usage pattern suggests that the Rays had a plan in place for his deployment and the Angels would best be served by having a similar arrangement. Given the massive discrepancy, there's a decent chance that he gets lifted for a pinch hitter late in the game, so roster Joyce with the expectation of three plate appearances rather than four. Finally, the stowaway from Tampa has hit better on the road than at home, a positive indicator as the Angels travel to Houston.
Jon Jay, OF ($3100)
vs. LHP: .288/.353/.365 in 562 PA
vs. RHP: .295/.360/.403 in 1891 PA
Jay is essentially a low-grade option that comes cheaply, allowing DFS managers to focus their funds elsewhere on the roster. The lefty bat receives a boost when hitting against a righy, and though the fact that the right-hander in question is Johnny Cueto would be enough to steer most folks away, Jay is one of the few players who has succeeded against Cueto in his career. The list of Cardinal casualties is long and distinguished, including such luminaries as Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Matt Carpenter. Not a power hitter by trade, Jay has run into three home runs in his 32 plate appearances versus Cueto at the highest level, which could be a complete fluke or the start of something meaningful. Jay has played 140 or more games in three of the past four years, and he has the highest lifetime OPS versus Cueto of any batter with more than 20 plate appearances head-to-head.
Julio Teheran, ATL at TOR ($8500)
I really like Teheran this year, and in general I feel like his fantasy value has been hit by factors outside of his control, namely his projected wins count on the season. Predicting wins is a fool's errand and the expectations could not have swayed more than a couple of W's, meanwhile I expect his ratios to stay intact. That said, I would avoid using him today against a loaded Toronto lineup that is adept at hitting the ball out of the yard, given that the occasional bout with gopheritis is Teheran's greatest statistical weakness. I would lay low with Teheran this week and secretly hope that his performance pulls down next week's price against the Mets, because that's when I will be more likely to look his way.
Jimmy Nelson, MIL at PIT ($6600)
Nelson is coming off of a huge start in which he blanked the well-rounded Pirates for seven frames, striking out nine players in the process. Bill James is a huge proponent of Nelson's skill set, projecting the young right-hander for a 3.30 ERA and 162 K over 165 innings in his annual handbook. That said, this isn't a Chris Archer situation, where the stuff is so jaw-dropping that you're willing to live with some design flaws. Nelson was very inconsistent with his delivery last year, and though he certainly has the upside to repeat his introductory performance there is a stronger likelihood that the gravity of regression brings Nelson crashing back to Earth.
The Giants lineup is exceptionally weak right now, and though Buster Posey gives up a lot of points to the platoon gods vs. right-handed pitchers, he has absolutely destroyed Collmenter in their head-to-head matchups: 11-of-20 with a double and three home runs, nine RBI, a pair of walks, and an overall line of .550/.565/1.050 line with just a single strikeout in 23 plate appearances. The San Francisco lineup was greatly strengthened by the return of Brandon Belt, adding a second power threat to partner with Posey. Collmenter has an extremely tall release point due to a blatant over-the-top arm slot which encourages one of the game's highest flyball rates, and what might save his stat lien tonight is the fact that Collmenter will have such a good ballpark for flyballs to buffer his mistakes.
Prince Fielder, 1B ($4300)
One of the biggest questions of the 2015 season is the performance of Prince Fielder, who is recovering from neck surgery that was performed during the 2014 season. Contact has not been a problem in the early-going, as Prince is hitting a clean .400 and is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the AL lead in hits with 16. Fielder has worked a few walks to raise his OBP to .455, but the missing ingredient from the Prince of old is the game-changing power.
The power dissipated outta nowhere last season, with Prince posting a .360 slugging percentage that was a dead ringer for his OBP and a 113 ISO that was the lowest of his career by a good 55 points. The neck was clearly impacting his performance, and the big question on everyone's mind is whether it will continue to impact his on-field skills into the future or if Prince can right the ship mid-season. The power has been nonexistant in the early-going this season, with just a pair of doubles and no home runs on his extra-base tally so far. All told, he is struggling to regain the stroke that made him one of baseball's most feared hitters.
vs. LHP: .265/.344/.453 in 1846 PA
vs. RHP: .295/.409/.556 in 3988 PA
Prince can get back on track today against the Mariners, though he is on the wrong side of the platoon with lefty J.A. Happ on the hill for Seattle, so Fielder may have to wait a bit longer for the power to reemerge.
Kole Calhoun expected to return to Angels lineup today (right calf)
Jose Reyes was removed from yesterday's game (ribs), and it is being reported that he likely suffered a small fracture
That Kris Bryant guy is playing today and batting cleanup for Chicago. The Cubs must think he's pretty good.
Christian Yelich (back) returned to the Marlins lineup yesterday and promptly stole a base. He should be good to go for the wekend.
Victor Martinez (knee) is out of the lineup for the second straight day on Friday
Danny Salazar will reportedly get the start on Saturday for Cleveland
Rain bursts are expected throughout the afternoon and evening in Kansas City (OAK @ KC) – check here for updates
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