Yesterday was a bizarre day of DFS, as a short slate plus monster performances by widely-owned players equaled a six-way tie for first place in the $250k guaranteed Swing for the Fences tournament, with a half-dozen identical lineups from different managers that had to split the $100k first-place prize. Todaty's full slate will help to spread out the ownership of individual players, effectively muting the odds of a repeat scenario in tonight's 61,000-entry, $3 Moonshot tournament.
Target: RHB's Jose Abreu 1B ($5100, +60 OPS and +.011 ISO career vs. LHP), Avisail Garcia OF ($3800, +69 OPS and +.019 vs. LHP), Alexei Ramirez SS ($3300, +82 OPS and +.021 ISO vs. LHP) and Geovany Soto C ($2700, +134 OPS and +.017 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Hector Santiago ($7400, +127 OPS and +.102 ISO career vs. RHB)
Abreu does not discriminate when it comes to mashing, but he lowers the hammer on every pitcher in the league and has been on a tear lately (.344/.425/.750 with seven homers in his last 17 games). Garcia is a lightning-in-a-bottle player coming off of a two-homer game, so he might be worth looking into despite the old adage that lightning never strikes twice. Ramirez is in the midst of a lost season and rarely steals with a southpaw on the mound, but he randomly puts it together and carries the platoon advantage today to take advantage of what should be a very low ownership rate; his appearance in this list is more of a suggestion than a recommendation. Soto shows up every few days to spell starting catcher Tyler Flowers (who has a neutral platoon split for OPS in his career), and Soto's proclivity for hitting southpaws plus his three days of rest from the starting lineup could conspire to put him on the lineup card for today's game. Santiago takes the power out of left-handed bats, meaning a doomsday scenario for the rapidly-aging Adam LaRoche ($2700), but the southpaw having the breakout season is still vulnerable to right-handed bats with over-the-fence capabilities; 16 of his 18 homers allowed this season have been granted to right-handed batters.
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Details ($3 Entry):
Target: Lorenzo Cain OF ($4500, 20-of-24 SB this season), Jarrod Dyson OF ($3000, 19-of-21 SB), Alcides Escobar SS ($3400, 10-of-15 SB) and Alex Rios OF ($2800, 7-of-7 SB) against RHP Anibal Sanchez ($7500, opponents 15-of-19 SB this season)
It may not seem like an excessive total, coming in at half of the steal-count of league leader Jon Lester, but Anibal Sanchez's 15 steals allowed are tied for the tenth-highest total in the majors, with a 79-percent success rate that minimizes the downside from the base-stealer's perspective. Cain's bat has proven to be worth rostering regardless of his performance on the bases, but the possibility of another steal or two effectively boosts his expected fantasy point values for today. The other three steal candidates each comes at a cheap price that can help to execute a gameplan of roster construction rather than throw a wrench into it, making the Royals' speedsters a relatively harmless way to configure a DFS roster tonight.
Avoid: Rajai Davis OF ($3200, 17-of-22 SB this season), Anthony Gose OF ($3000, 16-of-24 SB), and Jose Iglesias SS/3B ($2900, 10-of-17 SB) against RHP Yordano Ventura ($6400, opponents 1-of-5 SB this season)
Despite the Royals ascension to the top of baseball's hierarchy, they've done so without the help of their de facto ace at the start of the season. Ventura's 2015 campaign has been a disaster, with a performance poor enough to merit a demotion to Triple-A before injuries made him necessary again. The Royals have since brought Johnny Cueto aboard and so there is no expectation for Ventura to lead the rotation, and KC is just hoping that he can be a functioning member of the rotation in time for playoffs. Despite the horrific season that includes a 5.29 ERA, Ventura continues to put a stop to base thievery, having allowed just one successful steal in five attempts this year to give him a two-year total of two steals in seven attempts, covering 278.3 innings. These same Tigers were covered in yesterday's piece due to the steal-squelching skills of Cueto, resulting in zero steal attempts, and they are likely to go another day without stealing any bags today against Ventura, while the Royals enjoy free reign on the basepaths against the Detroit starter.
Target: Scott Kazmir SP ($10200) vs. the San Francisco Giants
Last 6 games (6 starts): 0.45 ERA, 29 K and 8 BB in 39.7 innings, opponents hitting .157/.208/.201
Kazmir has been nearly untouchable since become an Astro, with just one earned run allowed in his first three starts covering more than 20 innings pitched. The run started before he came to Texas, with just one earned run allowed over his final three appearances covering 19.3 innings with the A's. There could be better ways to spend $10k, and various DFS players will have a different outlook on Kazmir's recent performance, but those who place a lot of stock in his last month will see the price tag as a relative bargain, as he's exceeded the 20 points necessary to justify his salary in three of his last four turns.
Head-to-head: .414/.469/.655 in 32 PA
There are a lot of batters with strong career lines against Chris Tillman – tops among them being Evan Longoria and his six homers – but of the 18 players with more than 25 plate appearances against Tillman in his career, Cano's 1124 OPS is next in line behind Longoria (and the only other mark to crack 1000). The line is mostly batting average-driven, but Cano does have a pair of homers in his career against the Baltimore right-hander, and even those who eschew BvP stats will like Cano's matchup today as the resurgent second baseman (1037 OPS in his last 20 games) goes up against the 4.35 ERA of Tillman. That last mark actually represents a rebound of sorts, as just a month ago his season ERA stood at 6.22, but Tillman has given up just five runs combined in his last six starts, with 30 strikeouts and just six walks in his last 41.3 innings.
Martin seemingly went from underrated to overrated in the span of about six seconds this off-season. He has long been a quality receiver who can stick on occasion, but he is hardly a player to target for DFS purposes. The $4200 price tag is the third-highest among backstops today, trailing only Kyle Schwarber ($4700) and Buster Posey ($4500), but I would rather roster one of the four catchers that trail Martin's price in the player pool, including: Travis d'Arnaud (also $4200), Yasmani Grandal ($4000), Stephen Vogt ($3700) and the freight train of Wellington Castillo ($3700). Martin's recent performance leaves much to be desired – he's 4-for-26 with two walks and no extra-base hits in his last seven games played, and though his seasonal OPS of 797 is impressive on its own, it has also been in a freefall since mid-June.
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