Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks game is set at 14 total runs via Vegas, and fantasy owners are going to want to get as much exposure as possible to this high-scoring affair. The Rockies are hitting over .300 in Coors Field, but .230 away from home. The team’s power increases, as well, as their team slugging increases from .389 to .527 and home runs from 84 to 68. Merrill Kelly has his work cut out for him tonight.
Kelly, on the season, is allowing 1.5 HR/9, and that number will increase dramatically in Coors Field. In the last 15 days, he has an average exit velocity on batted balls of 92 MPH, a fly ball rate over 40%, and a hard hit rate of 40%. Batters like Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are going to take advantage of those numbers, especially considering Kelly’s 14.7 HR/FB ratio. Fantasy owners are well aware of the Rockies’ upside tonight, which will make them very high-owned, but in cash games, it still makes sense to roster the top of the order. In tournaments, it makes more sense to roster the bottom of the order for a little bit of leverage. Consider, for example, Chris Iannetta and Ian Desmond as cheaper, lower-owned tournament alternatives.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Pittsburgh Pirates are not typically a team that is known for their power, despite having Josh Bell, one of the league’s most powerful hitters. They currently rank 2nd in the NL in batting average at .264, but 13th in the NL in home runs at 126. This game is set at 10 total runs via Vegas, and the Pirates are slight betting underdogs, but still expected to score 4.6 runs.
Jose Suarez should help with the Pirates inability to hit home runs, as he is currently allowing 3.0 HR/9. In the last 15 days, he has an average exit velocity on batted balls of 91 MPH, a fly ball rate over 30%, and a hard hit rate just under 40%. The wind is blowing out tonight in Los Angeles, and Suarez’s HR/FB ratio is 21.5%. The Pirates are on no fantasy owner’s radars, so even the best hitters on the team will be owned at less than 5%. Josh Bell is hitting fourth, and he has great upside, and other batters, such as Bryan Reynolds and Jose Osuna, are starting to play much better of recent. Even Elias Diaz provides a lot of value at his price tag. This is a very risky stack, but that is what tournaments are all about.
Hidden Gem: Value Pitcher
This recommendation needs to be prefaced with a note about the complete lack of value pitching options on tonight’s slate. It is definitely a night to pay up, but if fantasy owners are looking for a high-risk, high-reward option, Erick Fedde is worth consideration. He gets a decent matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, a team that is much more productive in Cincinnati. At home, their total team batting average is .258, but drops to .239 on the road. Their total team slugging drops nearly the same amount.
Fedde has kept the fly balls to a minimum in the last 15 days, currently sporting a fly ball rate of 24%. His ground ball rate is almost 50%, and his average exit velocity on batted balls is 93 MPH. Fedde would benefit from an increase strike percentage, as his is currently under 60%, but he doesn’t have to be perfect to hit value tonight. In his last 4 games, he has 2 over 10 fantasy points. He looked great in his last game, allowing only 6 hits and 0 runs on his way to 17.9 fantasy points. He will be interesting to see if he can string together a few good games in a row now.
Hidden Gems: Value Hitters
Brock Holt is hitting at the end of one of the league’s most productive offenses, and he is too cheap on DraftKings tonight. Zach Plesac is on the mound for the Cleveland Indians, so Holt will not enjoy an advantage there with regard to talent level, but he does sport 0.140 ISO and 0.168 wOBA differentials against right-handed pitching. In the last 15 days, he has an average exit velocity on batted balls of 91 MPH and a hard hit rate of 45%. He has been getting unlucky of recent, and his .150 batting average over his last 10 games should increase soon. Holt has shown an ability to produce RBIs when given the opportunity, and he also has extra-base upside due to his speed. Rostering Holt in tournaments makes stacking the Rockies that much easier tonight.
Follow Jason Bales on Twitter (@BalesTJason)