As noted Tuesday, the shape of these columns will be a work in progress.
This slate has some moderate weather concerns that should be considered as the afternoon unfolds, with games in Philadelphia, New York, and D.C. presenting a threat of rain.
I’m making a concerted effort to indicate the type of contest I prefer to use players in -- cash (50/50) or tournaments (GPPs) -- which is generally an exercise in estimating ownership rates (or “finding the chalk”) and making sure to have enough variation around the highly-coveted top value plays to have a dangerous lineup.
A strong cash-game play isn’t necessarily a “bad” tournament play, but too many “chalky” players can create a limiting factor in big-field tournaments.
Your constructive feedback is appreciated, and always welcomed.
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Cash: Gerrit Cole, HOU vs. SF ($11,800) -- Until Cole commands $12.5-13K on a nightly basis, he’s going to be a regular fixture as a cash play. The Astros are -280 favorites for their home matchup against the Giants, in a game featuring a 7.5 over/under total with rookie Andrew Suarez taking the ball for San Francisco. Cole’s last start came against an Angels team that has been above average offensively and particularly effective at avoiding strikeouts, which led him to his worst output of the season (27 FanDuel points; 5 IP, 3 ER, 7 K). While the Giants are a better offensive team than they’re often given credit for (104 wRC+ vs. RHP), they strike out more than 24 percent of the time in that split.
Also consider: Chris Sale, BOS at TAM ($11,500)
GPP: Caleb Smith, MIA at NYM ($7,200) -- The Mets’ splits against lefties have made them a regular target when southpaws get a chance to face them (69 wRC+, 26.7% K%), and while Smith is coming off of a three-inning start against the Dodgers in his last turn, he reeled off a four-start stretch with a 31:4 K:BB, 1.50 ERA and 0.75 WHIP prior to that meltdown. There’s always risk with a pitcher carrying a double-digit walk rate, but the payoff with Smith could be a big one Tuesday.
Luke Weaver, STL vs. KC ($6,400) -- Likely the most highly owned cheap arm on FanDuel.
Domingo German, NYY at TEX ($6,800) -- The Rangers might be better than their current numbers suggest (78 wRC+, 27.8% K% against RHP), but how much better?
Kevin Gausman, BAL at CHW ($8,300) -- Plenty of swing-and-miss in the White Sox’s lineup.
Paul Goldschmidt, ARI at MIL ($3,500) -- While I prefer to pick on Jhoulys Chacin with lefty bats, Goldschmidt’s decreased price, big park boost while being on the road at Miller Park, and that he’s provided a typical Goldy level of production away from Chase Field this season (.840 OPS) are enough to steer me into using him as a cash and GPP option on a night where there are plenty of viable alternatives. It is worth noting, however, that Josh Hader is likely available again Tuesday night after pitching 2.1 innings in his appearance Saturday against the Twins. With Chacin and Matt Koch taking the ball for their respective clubs in this matchup, the over/under total (9.0) could be reached by the fifth inning.
If your budget has an extra $300 of wiggle room, Justin Bour against Zack Wheeler and the Mets ($3,800) is among my top plays at first base tonight.
Gleyber Torres, NYY at TEX ($3,500) -- Torres has hit ninth in 20 of the 25 games he’s started for the Yankees, and he’s never hit higher than seventh, which has limited his usage predominantly to tournaments thus far. Thus far, Torres is offering up much more at the plate than Brett Gardner, while showing enough of an eye at the plate (8.3% BB%) to make a move to the top of the order a possibility at some point. Whether that takes days, weeks, or months to materialize is anybody’s guess, but Gardner’s .227/.354/.299 line makes more sense in the No. 9 spot than Torres’ .321/.389/.571 line. In any event, he’s a great tournament play again Tuesday even if he’s in the bottom third of the order again, as Cole Hamels’ decline has been founded on his declining effectiveness against right-handed hitters (1.25 HR/9, .320 wOBA allowed since the start of 2016).
Brian Dozier ($3,700) and Jose Altuve ($4,000) are reachable pivots with great righty-lefty matchups Tuesday.
Travis Shaw, MIL vs. ARI ($3,500) -- The Brewers smacked Matt Koch around at Chase Field last week, and they’ll get another look at him Tuesday night at Miller Park. It’s a more difficult environment for Koch to navigate, and his inability to miss bats will almost certainly be costly again in his second attempt to work through the Milwaukee lineup. Interest in Shaw won’t be light, but he might not crack to the top-three in terms of ownership rate at the hot corner with a new of viable alternatives to consider.
Jake Lamb ($2,900 vs. Jhoulys Chacin), Anthony Rendon ($3,800 vs. Eric Lauer), Matt Carpenter ($3,400 vs. Jason Hammel), Alex Bregman ($3,600 vs. Andrew Suarez) all have a matchup and price combination that could make the more popular than Shaw on this slate.
Carlos Correa, HOU vs. SF ($3,700) -- In most matchups against lefties, Correa vaults to the top of the splits leaderboards, and with a price $800-1,000 below where he probably should be, he’ll be an easy cash-game plug-in at shortstop on Tuesday night. Since the start of 2017, Correa has hit .368/.449/.556 (1.005 OPS) against left-handed pitching, once again making him the best option at his position. Tournaments become a different animal, of course, as Correa’s soft price will fuel a very high ownership rate.
Priced $700 higher than Correa, Trea Turner ($4,400) draws one of the best matchups on the board against San Diego lefty Eric Lauer. Turner is averaging 13.6 FanDuel points per game in May, showing more power than speed in recent weeks with a .258/.370/.565 line and five homers in his last 17 games.
Bargain considerations for tournaments -- likely buried in their respective orders -- include Jordy Mercer at $2,500 against Matt Harvey and Orlando Arcia at $2,100 against Matt Koch.
Austin Meadows, PIT at CIN ($2,700) -- There is nothing secret about using lefties against Matt Harvey...or any hitters against Matt Harvey for that matter. Meadows chipped in a pair of multi-hit games during the weekend series against San Diego, and while he’s likely headed back to Triple-A once Starling Marte (oblique) returns from the DL, the Pirates can give him plenty of time against right-handed pitching until that happens. The entire Pittsburgh outfield is worth considering Tuesday, as both Gregory Polanco and Corey Dickerson check in at $3,500 in this matchup.
Tyler O’Neill, STL vs. KC ($2,500) -- At least in cash games, O’Neill remains a strong value play Tuesday night with the matchup against Jason Hammel and the Royals. Longer term, the swing-and-miss in his game will be a problem, but at this price, in this matchup, he opens up a lot of flexibility elsewhere in your lineup despite the overwhelming amount of chalk dust in the air.
Juan Soto, WAS vs. SD ($2,500) -- It’s a lefty-lefty matchup *if* he’s in the mix against Eric Lauer, but the Nats’ thin outfield depth chart should afford him that opportunity. Even without the platoon advantage, he’ll likely garner a ton of interest after homering in his first big-league start Monday night. By every measure, Soto is a special talent, and now he’s a fixture in a strong Nats lineup. His price could be $1,000-$1,500 higher in a matter of days if he continues to mash.
All three of the cheap options above are more friendly cash-game options, but a few tournament outfielders to consider include:
Yasiel Puig $3,000 vs. Chad Bettis
Dustin Fowler $2,600 vs. Mike Leake
Domingo Santana $2,300 vs. Matt Koch