Mad Max’s Hitters to Play/Avoid

There are some epic tournaments on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight, so I’m particularly excited to write my GPP article today. Given that it’s a shorter slate of about 10 games, it’s important to find the players that are going to be over-owned tonight. So instead of my normal GPP rundown, I’m going to list off some players to avoid, and who I like in their place. Let’s start with pitchers.


Pitchers to Play

Cole Hamels: The Mariners have acquired some righty bats, but as a strikeout matchup they’ve actually become a lot juicer with guys like Mark Trumbo, Franklin Gutierrez, and Jesus Montero. Hamels is a risky play playing in a hitters park, but he has fantastic upside tonight.

Gerrit Cole: The most obvious play of the night, Cole is a huge favorite and facing a high strikeout team in the Diamondbacks. He’s a great pitcher, at home, and reasonably priced. He’s going to be owned a ton, but with not a lot of great options at pitcher tonight I’m choosing to go contrarian at hitter instead. His floor is high.

Scott Kazmir: He’s probably my least favorite out of these three but he’s still a great play. He’s not as talented of a pitcher as Cole or Hamels, but against lefties the Rays strikeout quite a bit and they’re a pretty poor lineup anyway.


Pitchers to Avoid on Fanduel

Michael Wacha: Given the thin options at pitcher tonight, Wacha’s recent performances, and the fact he’s a big favorite, I think Wacha will be used quite a bit tonight. But I think it’s an awful move for GPPs. He’s not a high strikeout pitcher and he is facing a Giants team that doesn’t strikeout much at all. Unless something bizarre happens, Wacha will never be the highest scoring pitcher of the night which is something we can’t afford in a big field GPP with a high salary pitcher.

Edit: I did not realize how banged up the Giants were, they are actually quite a bad lineup with regards to pitches per plate appearance and strikeouts. I actually like Wacha a lot.

Pitchers to Avoid on DraftKings

Matt Garza: There are absolutely no low salary options available tonight aside from Garza, and it makes me think his ownership levels will be much too high (likely around 20-30%). He has absolutely no business being owned that much, his K/9 is 6.27 this year and his xFIP is 4.34, not the numbers you’re looking for from anyone in DFS. And Miller Park actually is a great place for a team like the Marlins, who have some good power lefties and really are not as bad of a hitting team as everyone thinks.

Mad Max Special (DraftKings)

Danny Salazar ($10,800): It’s not a good match-up away from home, but he’s the best pitcher playing tonight and a high upside one as well. We’re certainly taking a risk here, but it’s one that could pay off.

Andrew Heaney ($9,000): Heaney has been cold recently, but playing at home against the White Sox may be the cure. He’s not priced great but he’s a pitcher who can go deep into games and has some upside against a bad hitting lineup. I think his recent performances scare people away but there has been no change in his velocity and movement on his pitchers from earlier in the season.


Hitters to Avoid

This can always change depending on the lineups the come out. The highest owned guys are usually the ones who move up in the order unexpectedly, but there are a few tonight who will be used quite a bit. One thing to keep in mind is that since there are no very high salary pitcher options, there will be plenty of money to spend which means the low-salary guys will be overlooked if they don’t stand out a lot and the guys in the mid, mid-high salary range will be used a ton.

Ryan Braun ($3,900 on FanDuel, $4,600 on DraftKings): Braun is going to be used a ridiculous amount tonight for a couple reasons. He’s facing a bad lefty at home, and Braun has crushed lefties in his career. But the other reason is a one you may not be aware of, Braun comes in at the absolute perfect price tonight to get scooped up. With pitchers mostly coming in at the mid-salary range tonight, DFSers will have plenty of fictional cash to spend and their first instinct will be to go with Braun, who’s priced just high enough to use up salary but also be affordable. I preach this a lot but I’ll say it again, ANY hitter can go 0-4 on any given night. And when that’s the case, it’s foolish to over-own any hitter. I’m totally fading Braun tonight in GPPs.

Jean Segura ($2,200 on FanDuel, $3,500 on DraftKings): Segura will likely be leading off tonight and SS is a pretty barren position. Segura has so much going for him like Braun and I think his ownership levels will be just as high. And he has a way bigger chance of having a bad game. Given these two will be owned so highly, I think as a stack I would totally avoid the Brewers as well.

Brian McCann ($3,300 on FanDuel, $4,600 on DraftKings): This one I’m not totally sure about, but it seems like the buzz around the industry is that McCann is a great play. He seems ok to me, but I think there are a lot more quality options including Yan Gomes and Jonathan Lucroy. I also have a special catcher choice that I’ll get into in a second.


Mad Max’s Hitters to Play (Best Price in Parenthesis)

These are guys I like because they have both high upside and ownership levels likely to be on the lower side.

Buster Posey ($4,000 on DK): I’m absolutely in love with Posey for GPPs. Facing a good pitcher in Michael Wacha, his ownership levels will be very low but he actually has a few things going for him. He’s playing at a better hitters park than normal, and he’s actually facing a pitcher who fares worse against righties than lefties despite being right-handed. Posey’s price is actually very, very good, and he has the highest upside out of any catcher.

Brandon Moss ($3,600 on DK): Moss is usually toward the bottom of the order, so he shouldn’t have too high ownership. But he’s facing a high-splits sinkerballer in Charlie Heston, and Moss is a fantastic lowball hitter. He should be in for a quality game.

Dee Gordon ($3,200 on FD) and Justin Bour ($3,000 on DK): These two are perfect GPP plays as they play into a fade of Matt Garza and you really aren’t sacrificing any value by using them. Gordon legitimately may be the best 2nd base option tonight and Bour is a big power hitter who certainly has a good chance of going deep at Miller Park against a bad righty.

Every low salary 1st base option on FanDuel: It’s going to be tough to spend up on FanDuel tonight, so most players will look to power hitting 1st baseman like Prince Fielder and Mark Teixeira to spend salary. That means guys like Joe Mauer and Mike Napoli will have very low ownership but they both have great upside as well. Using a low salary 1st baseman will also leave more money in other areas and completely change the construction of your lineup, separating you from the field.

High Salary OF’s not named Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, and Andrew McCutchen: Braun, McCutchen, and Trout are clearly the best plays from a value standpoint in the outfield, but that makes them the worst plays for GPPs since both should see high ownership. I really don’t mind taking guys with poor value like Justin Upton, Nelson Cruz, and Delino DeShields since they have big upside and you’re essentially only fading three guys.

Carlos Correa ($4,300 on FD): Correa is a beast but doesn’t have a ton going for him tonight. He’s not a good value. But, he has really great upside and no one will be spending on SS tonight. A lineup using Correa is going to look completely different from the field and that’s very positive.


Good luck tonight and make sure to tweet me @maxjsteinberg on twitter!

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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