Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Strategy, Primer for August 2 – Bleacher Report

Few daily fantasy contestants enjoy following the crowd, but nobody will want to leave Sunday’s top starting pitcher out of their plans.

It’s not Clayton Kershaw Day. Chris Sale and Max Scherzer aren’t taking the hill, either. Yet Jose Fernandez wasted no time working his way back into the top tier. Looking as good as new, the Miami Marlins phenom tops the chart as the day’s DraftKings building block.


SP Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins ($12,300) vs. San Diego

Michael Perez/Associated Press

One Tommy John surgery later, Fernandez still rules. 

The 23-year-old ace hasn’t missed a beat after missing over a year, registering a 2.53 ERA, 37 strikeouts and seven walks through five starts. Although attained in a small sample size, his 1.93 fielding independent pitching (FIP) would lead all qualified starters. 

While the San Diego Padres apparently think they’re playoff contenders, per Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, they’re instead a team with baseball’s fourth-worst weighted on-base average (wOBA) against right-handed pitching. Their undisciplined offense also brandishes the National League’s worst walk-to-strikeout ratio (0.30).

This recommendation was ready to go before even learning Fernandez’s price. When a pitching stud gets such a golden matchup, pay up and pinch pennies elsewhere.


SP Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals ($9,700) vs. Colorado

Scott Kane/Associated Press

An often punishing matchup turns sweet when the Colorado Rockies leave Coors Field to face a left-handed pitcher. While unsurprisingly leading all teams in home wOBA, their ranking drops to No. 22 away from their hitter’s heaven.

Those problems compound against lefties, against whom their wOBA drops even further to No. 27 with a 24.5 strikeout percentage. Those punchouts are especially important, covering Jamie Garcia’s one weakness when healthy.

In eight starts, the 29-year-old southpaw has netted 2.00 ERA, 2.79 skill interactive ERA (SIERA) and 67.8 ground-ball percentage. Yet his 18.5 strikeout percentage can use some improvement. Against Colorado’s lefty-heavy lineup, the returning starter should turn a couple of ground outs into strikeouts, making him a great second pitching choice, even though his price skyrocketed to $9,700 for all those reasons.


Stack: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Angels (RHP Drew Rucinski)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

DraftKings priced the Los Angeles Dodgers offense as if Clayton Kershaw defected to the Los Angeles Angels for Sunday’s game. Or they at least expected lefty C.J. Wilson, whom the club placed on the disabled list, per the team’s Twitter page:

According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, the promoted Drew Rucinski is the likely candidate to take Wilson’s turn in the rotation:

The 26-year-old righty made one start back on April 14, allowing six hits, four walks and four runs through 2.2 innings. He didn’t exactly light up Triple-A, either, leaving with a 5.03 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.

No Dodgers hitter costs more than $3,800 despite most of them demolishing righties. The injured Justin Turner unfortunately can’t capitalize, but Yasmani Grandal ($3,300), Adrian Gonzalez ($3,800) and Andre Ethier ($2,800) are obvious bargains as long as they’re starting. Although neither outfielder is raking, Joc Pederson ($3,600) and Yasiel Puig ($3,300) are awfully tempting at their basement prices.


1B/2B Logan Forsythe ($3,500) and 3B Evan Longoria ($3,700), Tampa Bay Rays at Boston

Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Opposing righties have recorded an .800 OPS against Wade Miley, making two Tampa Bay Rays primed to utilize their splits advantage. Logan Forsythe has decked lefties to a .946 OPS, with Evan Longoria not far behind at .911.

Longoria has faltered against righties, and nobody seems interested in giving Forsythe any credit for a strong campaign. The affordable Tampa Bay pairing will blend smoothly with a Fernandez-led lineup and Dodgers stack.


3B/SS Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,700) at Cincinnati

John Minchillo/Associated Press

Originally a guy only to consider against a flimsy southpaw, Jung Ho Kang now warrants consistent attention after hitting .379/.443/.621 in July and starting August with a home run on Saturday night, Owners usually need to pay a premium for such a sizzling-hot hand, but the shortstop commands only $3,700.

That’s despite facing a pitcher who will likely draw a “Who?” response. With Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake out the door, the Cincinnati Reds dug deep for a replacement, which they announced on Saturday afternoon:

Answering the anticipated inquiry, Keyvius Sampson pitched one perfect inning for the Reds on Thursday. That’s the entirety of his MLB experience. The 24-year-old righty didn’t exactly force his way up by relinquishing 22 walks and 22 earned runs through 39 Triple-A innings.

His starting debut—at the Great American Ball Park no less—also puts the Pittsburgh Pirates firmly in the stacking discussion. Anyone going cheaper with their pitching should slot Andrew McCutchen ($4,700) into the lineup.


Note: All advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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