The Longball (Daily HuLo GPP Plays) – July 14, 2017 July 13, 2017  |  Doug Shain


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Welcome to the Longball (Daily HuLo GPP Plays) for July 14, 2017. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Doug Shain and I’ve been a part of The Fake Sports team for the last three years (NHL, NFL, MLB). I’ve been playing season long fantasy for over 25 years and DFS for the last 5 years. Besides being blessed with the job to write for this site, I’m pretty much just like the rest of you. I’m a teacher that likes to play DFS as a way to relax and maybe make some money along the way. I don’t really look at cash games and I’m not terribly interested in min-cashing a GPP. I want the big money. Because of this, I tend to have a high level of variance in my play. I know that I have to take some risks with my lineup in order to move up in a field of thousands of players.

Over the course of my time at the Fake Sports I’ve come be known as the HuLo guy. HuLo is a term I invented (fine, my dad came up with it) that means High Upside, Low Ownership. It’s similar in concept to a contrarian play. With the way that I play DFS, and the way that most of the general public plays DFS, we are going to have to find a few HuLo plays along the way to take down a GPP.

For this year’s version of this article I’m going to try to put a strong emphasis on some of the more overlooked plays of the day instead of just firing chalk at you. I want this article to give you a different perspective on your lineups instead of being a blueprint of how to make lineups (we’ve got Cheat Sheets for that). I’ll be sure to reference the chalkier plays each day but the main focus is going to lean heavily towards the HuLo end of the spectrum.

I’m a big proponent of playing short slates (Turbo/Late, etc.) and a lot of my HuLo picks are going to play really well on those types of slates. Make sure to keep that in mind when considering full slates and shorter ones.

One big thing to keep in mind with this refocused philosophy – HuLo plays are far from a sure thing so we are going to miss more than we hit, but when we do hit we should hit big. To be clear, I’m not advocating that you use a solely HuLo lineup. I’m merely giving you something more to think about; plays that can supplement the chalk that you are going to use in your lineups.

 

Feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@bankster17) to keep the conversation rolling. On to the picks!

***These plays are NOT ranked in order of preference***

HuLo PitchersHuLo StacksSample Lineups
Jon Gray (COL/RHP) @ New York Mets: $7.9k DK/$6.6k FDToronto Blue Jays @ Justin Verlander (DET/RHP)Fanduel: Jon Gray ($6600), Buster Posey ($3000), Justin Bour ($3200), Robinson Cano ($3200), Freddie Freeman ($3600), Troy Tulowitzki ($3000), Aaron Judge ($4800), Nelson Cruz ($3700), Andrew McCutchen ($3800)
Charlie Morton (HOU/RHP) vs Minnesota Twins: $6.9k DK/$7.7k FDChicago White Sox vs James Paxton (SEA/LHP)Draft Kings: Jon Gray ($7900), Charlie Morton ($6900), Salvador Perez ($3900), Justin Smoak ($3900), Robinson Cano ($4200), Freddie Freeman ($4900), Jean Segura ($4800), Aaron Judge ($5500), Nelson Cruz ($4500), Ben Gamel ($3300)
Nick Pivetta (PHI/RHP) @ Milwaukee Brewers: $8.4k DK/$7.3k FDPittsburgh Pirates vs Mike Leake (STL/RHP)Fantasy Draft: Carlos Carrasco ($23600), Gerrit Cole ($16500), Robinson Cano ($800), Buster Posey ($7600), Josh Donaldson ($7600), Jose Bautista ($6800), Ben Gamel ($6400), Nelson Cruz ($8700), Kyle Seager ($6400), Manny Machado ($8400)
Chalk Pitchers: Johnny Cueto, Jacob DeGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Jake Faria, James PaxtonChalk Stacks: Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays

Do you want to know more about my new pitching stat, SPOT? Check it out here.

Pitchers

Jon Gray (COL/RHP): I don’t get the pricing on Gray at all. Do the sites think that this game is being played at Coors (especially FD where his WHIP won’t hurt him)? Why is a guy who has come out and dominated in his two starts back from the DL being priced in the bottom half of pitchers today? I can see myself being wrong about Gray being HuLo due to this and it’s possible he has a higher ownership than I anticipated. Honestly, I don’t care what the ownership is going to be for Gray, I really like him today. Let’s look at what he’s done since his return from the DL: 11.2IP/15K/2BB/4ER with a 14:9 ground ball to fly ball ratio (3.08 ERA/11.6 K/9). Those are really good numbers! What’s more impressive is that one of those starts came at Arizona and the other was in Coors against a powerful Reds offense. The Mets are neither Arizona nor Cincy at Coors. They are hitting .245 against RHP this year and have one of the worst in-game managers in baseball. The only drawbacks to using Gray is that the Mets don’t strike out a ton (21.5% K-rate against RHP) and a win is improbable against DeGrom. That all said, if Gray can get us 6IP/6K/2ER then he’s going to hit value and be a worthy play. I love the idea of using Gray on FD and loading up on big bats.

 

Charlie Morton (HOU/RHP): I put Morton in the middle of this list because he’s the safest HuLo play in a risky HuLo pitcher sandwich. I’ve been on Morton all year (seriously, go read my April articles) and he’s come through for me time and again. He doesn’t have the upside of many of the pitchers on today’s slate but he also doesn’t have the downside of a lot of those pitchers either. In his return from injury, Morton pitched a Morton-like game with 6IP/1ER/3K (the strikeouts were a little lower than I’d expect) and if you used him in DFS he didn’t lose you anything (nor did he singlehandedly win you anything). When you use Morton, you’re paying for that high floor. He’s the pitcher I’d want to use with a more volatile lineup. The last thing I’d want is for my riskier bats to go off and then my pitcher (let’s say Nick Pivetta) walks five and gives up three HR. You’re not getting that from Morton. He’s an even safer play at home where he has a 3.00 ERA, .233 BAA, and is a K per inning guy. He’s not sexy but he’s reliable (call him a poor man’s baseball version of Hines Ward; a rousing endorsement if I ever did hear one).

 

Nick Pivetta (PHI/RHP): I think that Nick Pivetta is quickly becoming the 2017 version of Matt Shoemaker; a guy who came out of nowhere to be a useful strikeout pitcher. He’s had 9+ strikeouts in three of his last five outings; four of which were quality starts. I don’t really know where this kid came from but he looks like the real deal. Today he takes on one of the most strikeout prone teams in baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers (27.9% K-rate vs RHP). If he can make it through six innings, I don’t see how Pivetta doesn’t strike out at least seven batters. The biggest concern with Pivetta is that he has a monstrous SPOT Factor. Over his last five starts he has walked 12 batters (3.6 BB/9), he has a ridiculously high fly ball rate (25:32 ground ball to fly ball), and his home run to fly ball ratio is bad as well (22%).  Milwaukee has hit the second most HR against RHP this year. Using Pivetta is a MASSIVE risk, but that high potential for strikeouts means there’s a big reward to using him as well. I’m much more interested in using him on FD where his walks won’t hurt him and his price is quite a bit lower than it is on DK. If I was ranking them I’d go Gray over Pivetta, but the chances of Pivetta being widely owned are infinitely less than Gray. Do with that as you wish.

 

 

Stacks

Toronto Blue Jays: I want to believe in Justin Verlander (he’s on my season long time) but I just don’t. I don’t know if it’s the disappointment of not winning the Cy Young last year that’s causing him to try too hard, or if he’s messed up because of the trade rumors but something isn’t right with him this year. He’s walking way too many batters (4.6 BB/9) and isn’t striking out nearly enough guys (8.4 K/9) to make up for it. Add in a 4.73 ERA and you’ve got a middle of the road, kind of average American League pitcher. Toronto is about as disappointing offensively as Verlander is on the mound but there are few guys on this roster who have a really nice history against him, a history that I’m going to count on in this game. Justin Smoak, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, and Kendrys Morales have all hit Verlander well in their careers (only Smoak is under a .300 BA but h has 3 HR in 18 AB) and make for solid plays on this slate. I’m going to see how the lineup shakes out when all is said and done but my preference is to try to get Smoak, Donaldson, Tulo, and Russell Martin in there for a balance of upside and price.

 

Chicago White Sox: The last time the White Sox faced a lefty they got no-hit into the ninth inning. Despite that, they still have the best BA of any team in baseball against LHP. I expect that people will not be on CWS today because of both recency bias and the fact that James Paxton is actually a pretty solid pitcher. Paxton has looked pretty good recently but there is one thing that I’m noticing that Chicago could take advantage of. That thing is an elevated walk rate (4.0 BB/9 over his last ten starts). The Sox are not known as a team that takes a lot of walks but if Paxton can’t find the strike zone and puts guys on base, they do have the bats to drive those guys in. I’m looking at players like Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, Avisail Garcia, and Melky Cabrera to fill out my stack. Add in a value play like Kevan Smith at catcher and you have the makings of a stack that will fall under the radar yet provide a little bit of upside. They are not my top stack of the day but they are a team worth keeping in mind if you want to go contrarian (or if you’re playing a shorter slate) since Seattle will be the team that most players favor from this game.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates: Many of the regulars in the Pirates lineup are coming out of this All Star Break hot. Francisco Cervelli, Josh Bell, and Josh Harrison are all on four game heaters but the man you really want to concentrate on right now is Andrew McCutchen. After being pretty terrible for the last year and a half he’s kind of back to being the ‘Cutch of old. He’s batting nearly .500 over his last ten games with 9 XBH and more walks than strikeouts. He’s seeing the ball great and the rest of this Pirates lineup is following his lead. They are matched up against a quickly regressing Mike Leake who, despite two good starts in his last four outings, has been pretty awful over his last ten starts. Over that time he has a 3.98 ERA, aided by those two good games, and 9 HR allowed in 63.1 innings. In his previous 36.1 innings he only gave up 3 HR. This game has one of the lowest totals on the board with an 8.0 O/U but I really like this Pirates offense to do most of the damage (especially with a rejuvenated Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Pirates). I don’t know if they’re going to explode like they did against Chicago on Sunday but I wouldn’t be shocked if at the end of the day the Buccos were one of the surprisingly good teams on the slate.

 

 

Other names to consider:

Matt Carpenter (STL/1B): Carpenter is not known for his power but there are few guys around the league who he hits hard. Gerrit Cole is one of those few guys. In 32 career at bats, Carpenter has 4 HR with a .375 BA against the Pirates ace. This game has one of the lowest totals on the board (8.0 O/U) so I’m not stacking STL against a rejuvenated Cole, but I would definitely consider Carpenter as contrarian play.

Daniel Descalso (ARI/2B): Descalso is not an All Star by any means but he’s been getting quite a bit of playing time lately and he’s making the most of it. Over his last ten games he’s batting .343 with 4 XBH. When stacking Diamondbacks we don’t really think of using this guy but he’s a low-owned type of play that can provide a lot of value as part of that stack or as a one off. He’s an even better play on this slate because he’s a guy who can hit a knuckler (.500 BA in 10 AB against Dickey).

Robinson Cano (SEA/2B): Seattle is a good play in general today since they are taking on one of the more generous pitchers in baseball, James Shields. I’m here to advocate for Cano regardless of whether or not you’re stacking SEA since he totally owns Shields (.411 BA with 16 XBH in 90 AB).

Clayton Richard (SD/LHP): I know his numbers aren’t all that great but every once in a while Richard comes out and pitches a really solid game. San Francisco is a bottom third team against LHP in both batting average and power. I don’t believe enough to put him as one of my HuLo plays but I also don’t want to rule him out completely as an SP2 on DK.  His low walk total (2.6 BB/9) and recent improvement in ground ball ratio (114:42 ground ball to fly ball) put his SPOT Factor pretty low. I don’t love him but I won’t forget about him either.

Come play me in a free game over at Fantasy Draft for bragging rights.

Your feedback is always welcome. You can find me on Twitter @bankster17.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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