For the Bold: Fade Syndergaard, Play Fernandez on FanDuel GPPs Tonight (4/18)
Note: This is an article about FanDuel only. On DraftKings, where you roster 2 pitchers, fading Syndergaard would be ridiculous.
You probably didn’t expect to see the words, “Fade Noah Syndergaard” in the title of any DFS Baseball strategy article today.
But sometimes the structure of MLB slates, especially small 7 game ones like tonight, can dictate using a bolder GPP strategy. Tonight on FanDuel, there are essentially two quality pitching options: the aforementioned Syndergaard and Miami’s Jose Fernandez. Both players are similarly priced and close in projection. Most DFSers, given Syndergaard’s amazing start and improvement on his fastball and slider, probably are leaning toward Syndergaard in their lineups. But I think Fernandez is an overall better play for GPPs, even though it doesn’t appear that way on the surface.
Noah Syndergaard has improved quite a bit this season, but it’s easy to forget that Jose Fernandez is also an incredible pitcher. Steamer projects Fernandez at 11 K/9 this season, while they project Syndergaard at 10.63 K/9. Steamer is likely not fully taking into account Syndergaard’s velocity increase, so it’s possible that Syndergaard is actually a better pitcher, but it’s certainly very close. As for innings, both are projected similarly. Obviously, Fernandez hasn’t performed that well in either of his starts this season, but that was against tough lineups in Detroit and the Mets, so I’m not putting too much weight on it. Only 2 games into the season, I think the best conclusion we can come to here is that they are similarly skilled.
But Syndergaard vs the Phillies! You can’t deny this match up, right? Actually, Fernandez has just as good a match up. While Washington has a great lineup, they are actually very high strikeout (about the same as the Phillies) and the skill of their hitters will certainly be mitigated here at the Marlins awful hitters park. Fernandez is a righty who dominates other righties (he struck out the righty heavy Tigers 13 times in 5 innings this season), and Washington will likely be trotting out 6-7 right-handers in this lineup. Even if they use lefties Jose Lobaton and Matt Den Dekker, they will be using worse hitters that strike out more, so the difference won’t really matter. Yes, Syndergaard does get the Phillies, but he also has to play in a hitters park against more lefties. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an awesome match up for Syndergaard, I just think Fernandez’ match up is about as awesome.
As for the rest, everything is about the same. Both are similar favorites (Syndergaard has a slight edge), and both have similar blow up potential. While Syndergaard gets a worse lineup, he is at a hitters park and on the road. Fernandez is at home and in a pitchers park, but does have to face Bryce Harper 3 times and a better lineup overall.
So why exactly, given the extreme similarities, do I think we should fade Syndergaard for Fernandez tonight on FanDuel? The answer: price and ownership. Syndergaard will be likely significantly higher owned than Fernandez, at a slightly higher price. If Fernandez is the same as Syndergaard, his lower price and ownership makes him a better play in GPPs. DFS is all about pushing your edges, and since there’s a clear edge here, we want to push it, and push it hard. Essentially, we’re playing blackjack, the count is in our favor, and we’re betting big. It’s not going to pay off every time, but it is better in the long run. So if you’re a gambler like me, fade Syndergaard and play Fernandez in your FanDuel GPPs, and then start drinking some whiskey in case things go wrong.
Good luck with your lineups!
Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and DFS pro. Follow him on twitter @Maxjsteinberg if you have any questions or comments.View all posts by Max J Steinberg