Daily Fantasy Baseball: Top Hitting and Pitching Options for FanDuel, DraftKingsAugust 5, 2020
The daily fantasy baseball main slate for Wednesday features a game between the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, home to the game's most hitter-friendly confines since its 1995 opening.
Daily fantasy sports players will undoubtedly flock to that game for hitting options in cash and guaranteed prize pool (GPP) competitions, and there's not much argument to be made against it.
But we're going to attempt to be a bit contrarian below and offer two non-Coors Field hitter stacks that could prove profitable based on a number of factors.
We'll also discuss two pitching options, both of whom could be used to allow for a Giants or Rockies stack (or an entire Coors Field game stack) if you're set on that route.
Best Hitter Stacks (Non-Coors Field Edition)
Toronto Blue Jays (vs. Atlanta SP Sean Newcomb)
Granted, we're dealing with a very limited sample size, but Atlanta Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb has had a rough start to his year with a 13.5 percent strikeout rate, 1.57 WHIP and 7.08 FIP, per FanGraphs.
Batters are hitting an awful lot of fly balls (38.5 percent) and smashing it (40.7 percent hard-hit rate). The swinging strike rate is also just 7.4 percent.
That puts the Toronto Blue Jays squarely in play against the host Braves at Truist Park. Sure, it's been a rough go against left-handers for the team thus far (11-of-56, no home runs), but this is a get-right spot for slumping second baseman Cavan Biggio and third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Both of them have faced bad luck: Biggio is hitting right-handers hard 38.9 percent of the time, while Guerrero is doing so on a whopping 58.8 percent of occasions.
Eventually, the BABIP gods will smile upon the Blue Jays and reward them with clean singles, gap doubles and long homers as opposed the team's current scuffling with its .234 batting average.
Look for that day to potentially be Wednesday, and consider Biggio and Guerrero along with the white-hot Teoscar Hernandez. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Bo Bichette, who's back in the mix after a hamstring injury sidelined him for a few games, can also round out the Jays stack.
San Diego Padres (vs. Dodgers SP Ross Stripling)
This stack recommendation admittedly takes a little imagination, especially considering that Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling has fared well over two starts (2.92 ERA in 12.1 frames).
But if you're entering a large-field GPP and want to throw in a stack that few people will roster in hopes of using that leverage to climb to the mountaintop, then consider the San Diego Padres, who have been mashing right-handers harder than any team not named the New York Yankees.
Per FanGraphs, that hard-hit figure stood at 47.6 percent entering Tuesday. Four of the Padres' regulars (Wil Myers, Tommy Pham, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trent Grisham) hit the ball hard versus right-handers 50 percent of the time or more. Four-time All-Star third baseman Manny Machado isn't in that club, but he's notably faring well versus right-handers thanks to a .905 OPS.
The Padres can mash, but the question is whether they can do it against Stripling, and the guess here is yes. In a limited sample size, the 30-year-old has had an 85.4 percent left-on base percentage this season, so he's been a bit fortunate to not get touched up more.
According to FanGraphs, his strikeout rate (18.8 percent), hard-hit rate (44.4 percent) and fly-ball rate (41.7 percent) also point to the possibility of there being a lot of loud outs at minimum. At best for San Diego, the Padres will light up the scoreboard with deep fly balls into the Petco Park stands.
The Padres' top five targets here will be Myers, Pham, Tatis, Grisham and Machado.
Cincinnati Reds SP Tejay Antone ($5,500 FD, $4,000 DK) at Cleveland
This recommendation has less to do with Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tejay Antone himself and much more to do with (a) the minimum-price salary on a Coors Field slate and (b) Cleveland's ice-cold bats.
The 26-year-old is making his second big league appearance. His first resulted in a respectable 4.1 innings of relief against the white-hot Chicago Cubs in which he allowed just one hit (a solo home run) and struck out five on 69 pitches.
Antone pitched in Triple-A last year and went 4-8 with a 4.65 ERA, per FanGraphs, although a .402 BABIP didn't help matters. He struck out 21.7 percent of batters and generated 11.8 percent swings and misses, so there's at least hope he can register some strikeouts, alongside the evidence presented versus the Cubs.
The issue is that the Triple-A track record for the 26-year-old doesn't generate any comforting feelings, but sometimes you need to roll the dice, and this might be the spot.
The bottom line is this: Rostering Antone and hoping for a halfway decent showing can get you a Coors Field stack and line up one of the better pitchers on the slate otherwise on two-pitcher sites like DraftKings. An Antone-Rockies stack alongside Chicago Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish in a highly favorable matchup with the Kansas City Royals is doable, for instance.
And then consider this: Cleveland is hitting .190 as a team. It has 28 runs in 11 games and 99 strikeouts, or just one fewer than their hit and walk total combined.
Sure, Cleveland has the offensive talent to break out any day now. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have been among the game's best hitters in years past, and Carlos Santana and Franmil Reyes can ruin any outing with one powerful swing.
The win bonus for Antone might be hard to come by with the opposition sending another strikeout artist in Mike Clevinger to the mound, but we're not looking for a ton of points here to pay off that cheap salary tag.
If Antone can somehow get through four or five innings relatively unscathed like his last time out, then it's a big win for a hitter-heavy roster construction.
Minnesota Twins SP Randy Dobnak ($7,100 FD, $7,400 DK) at Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are not faring well against right-handed pitching. Per FanGraphs, they entered Thursday third in strikeout rate (28.4 percent), last in OPS (.486) and last in wOBA (.219).
Basically, any right-handed pitcher who isn't on a pitch count is in play against the Pirates right now. Next up is the Minnesota Twins' Randy Dobnak, who just threw 94 pitches over five frames against Cleveland.
Connect the dots, and the 25-year-old is the play here. He's got some encouraging numbers as well, per FanGraphs, including a 12.0 percent swinging strike rate, 68.0 percent ground ball rate and 3.41 xFIP.
The walk rate is a concern (11.1 percent) as is the hard-hit rate (48.0 percent), but he's also been a bit unlucky (.240 BABIP). Luck should be on his side against Pittsburgh, a 2-9 team that has lost six straight.
The Twins are also on fire themselves with a 9-2 record and five-game win streak. They have a powerful offense that should provide Dobnak enough run support to get the win bonus against Bucs right-hander Trevor Williams, who dominated in 2018 but has a 5.38 ERA since the beginning of 2019.
Minnesota also isn't likely to pull Dobnak too early, as he hit 94 pitches his last time out. If he can manage to hit that mark again and get through the sixth, then the quality start bonus on FanDuel comes into play.
In sum, there's a lot to like here for Dobnak as he enters his start as a clear favorite over the struggling Pirates.