MLB DFS Week 6 Payoff Pitch
Welcome back to The Payoff Pitch, your one thing to look forward to come Monday morning. In this article I break down what has happened in the last week when it comes to injuries, lineups and streaky hitters (and one streaky pitcher). This is a great way to refresh your memory or catch up on a few days lost.
**All prices are from Monday slates when applicable.
**All stats are from games ending Saturday.
Alex Avila appears to have a serious knee issue that will sideline him at least a few weeks and maybe even as much as a few months. This has and will lead to a lot of starts for James McCann in a very good lineup. While it’s not ideal to hit in the seven or eight range, it’s not a bad punt play to be hitting behind guys like J.D. Martinez, Cespedes and Castellanos. McCann has a seven game hit streak with three of those games being multi-hit performances. He has had a very short career, but his .340 wOBA against southpaws with an ISO of .200 is nice to see.
When Yonder Alonso went down with a shoulder injury, it really opened up some opportunities for Will Venable to see some time. When Wil Myers plays first, Venable is slotted into the middle of the order playing center field. It’s no surprise that this lefty has trouble against left-handed pitchers, but he’s been just average against RHP in his career (.325 wOBA). In 2014, he was even worse with a .284 wOBA against RHP. With San Diego being a tough park to hit in, Venable is going to have to have a depressed price and hitting in a much better park than Petco for consideration.
One of my favorite former Tigers players went down this past week with a sprained ankle and it opens up some very nice value opportunities for a few guys. Austin Jackson hurt his ankle and now we see guys like Seth Smith, Brad Miller and Justin Ruggiano benefitting from it. Smith was hitting second or in the bottom third for most of this season, but now he’s been found in the leadoff position against RHP. Miller is hardly seeing any playing time at short, but now finds himself at the DH and hitting second. Finally, Ruggiano has been mixed around seeing himself in the two-hole some nights or at the bottom of the order as well. This team is an interesting one for value, so keep an eye on those three players who will likely be cheaper than they should be given their bump up in the order.
Surprisingly enough, the Twins offense is playing very well right now even with a mixed bag of hitters. I talked about targeting them last week with starting pitching, but they’ve proven me wrong. Their season batting average is .266, but in the past week the Twins are hitting .326. They’ve hit 11 home runs, 19 doubles and two triples in those seven games. Torii Hunter has been the most Fantasy relevant hitter during that span with three home runs and two doubles. He’s hitting second in the order in front of a high OBP hitter in Joe Mauer and behind a red hot Brian Dozier. Dozier is hitting much better than Mauer with six extra base hits compared to Mauer’s two. Not surprisingly, Hunter has 10 RBI in this past week. Take a look at them this upcoming week as they face the Tigers and Rays. Matchups like Alfredo Simon, Kyle Lobstein and Alex Colome make for a few opportunities to use these Twins hitters.
The Oakland A’s have put together interesting lineups this week and Billy Burns ($2,700 DK, $2,300 FD) is a guy to really consider for his extremely cheap price. He’s hit leadoff or second in five of the last seven games (including Sunday) and has hit very well (10 hits in eight games this season). Burns also is a stolen base threat, so he’s even more valuable on a site like FanDuel that doesn’t take away from caught stealing. Burns has limited at bats, but he’s been much better from the left side (.324 wOBA) compared to the right (.209). He’ll have some very good matchups this week facing guys like Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson and Hector Noesi – all of whom struggle with LHBs.
I’m typically very anti-Marlon Byrd ($4,400 DK, $3,000 FD), but it’s hard to ignore how well he has played in the last 10 games. He has posted five games of two hits or more, walked 10 times and has four home runs. Now, I don’t think it lasts, but this kind of hot streak at a prime spot in the order (second) is hard to ignore. Byrd will also be hitting at home in a very good ballpark. In his career, Byrd has been pretty even in terms of production against both arms. While he does have good matchups against guys like Eric Stults, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum, it’s hard to roll him out there for these prices. This feels more like paying up for a hot streak than paying up for what’s to come.
You can’t talk hot hitters without bringing up Bryce Harper‘s ($5,500 DK, $5,100 FD) name. Harper has 10 hits, six home runs, 13 RBI and eight runs scored in his last four games (including Sunday). Because of it, we’ve seen his price skyrocket. Last weekend, he was priced at $4,200 and $4,800 on DraftKings. Unfortunately, he sees a great hitter’s park to start the week (Arizona) when he’s expensive and a tough park to end the week (San Diego). I could definitely see myself rostering him in cash games against pitchers like Josh Collmenter and Rubby De La Rosa (even at a high cost), but not against the staff San Diego has in a pitcher’s park.
Yasmani Grandal ($4,100 DK, $3,000 FD) has been mighty impressive this past week with a two home run game against Milwaukee and 13 hits since May 2nd. In that time he has three home runs and three doubles, so the power is alive and kicking. Grandal has some good matchups heading his way with the Rockies coming to Los Angeles. He’s not usable against southpaws, but he has a .423 wOBA and .262 ISO against RHP this season (.353 and .183 for career). These enticing matchups will come later in the week, as Colorado will start a right-hander in three of their four games.
Grandal is a catcher I’ll consider paying up for this week, but Russell Martin ($5,000 DK, $3,800 FD) is one that I won’t. He’s very expensive and gets to face just one left-hander this week. He’s been crazy hot (.556, 4 home runs, 1 stolen base), but this is one of those situations where just because he’s hot doesn’t mean we stretch our limits and reasoning as to why we play a guy. Two weeks from now looks like a great time to use him with matchups like C.J. Wilson, Hector Santiago and James Paxton scheduled. Hopefully the price tag has deflated some by that time.
Josh Harrison ($3,900 DK, $2,300 FD) is ice-cold and he is continuing to hit leadoff for the Pirates, although at times earlier in the week he was down in the order. This allows us to get Harrison at the cheapest price we’ll see on FanDuel and a solid punt play with the matchups ahead of him. He’ll face a bunch of average right-handers mixed with Cole Hamels and Jon Lester this week. I’d fade him in just the one game against Hamels and see how my lineup looks those other days in consideration of him. He’s hitting .074 in the last week, but if he continues to hit leadoff for a bare minimum price then he needs to be considered given his past skills and the salary cap relief he offers.
In the last three games, Chris Coghlan ($3,100 DK, $2,200 FD) has been bumped down to the seven-hole, therefore making him a tough sell to those looking for something more than a punt play. He’s very cheap, and rightfully so with a .125 average in the last week, but there are players from game-to-game that sneak into the top five or six hitters in the order that are about as cheap. He faces a tough group of right-handed pitchers this week (deGrom, Harvey, and Cole), two left-handers (Niese and Locke), and one wild card (Syndergaard). These matchups don’t scream “take a chance,” so I’ll be steering clear of him unless he suddenly heats up.
I’m going to go a different direction with this one and talk about Detroit Tigers pitcher, Shane Greene. Greene started off crazy hot, but has cooled down immensely in his last few starts. In his last three starts, he has thrown 11 innings and given up 20 earned runs. Greene will have to face the best team in the MLB, the St. Louis Cardinals, at the end of the week. I’ll take my chances on Green once he shows some consistency throwing strikes and keeping runners off the bases. UPDATE: Greene bounced back against the Royals Sunday night, allowing just one run over eight innings, but we’d still advise taking a wait and see approach given the tough matchup against the Cardinals.