I was accepted into the Fantasylabs.com beta late last week.
This new website provides some of the best fantasy tools I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. What it does, essentially, is everything I try to do with spreadsheets and flipping through a couple websites. It also updates automatically as the Las Vegas lines change.
I bring this up because I think you should try to get into the beta. And if you can’t get into the beta consider paying the cost when it goes live. I will.
Now, while it provides tons of great tools, lineup construction still comes down to you and me. Think of it, like my advice here, as a compass that hopefully points you in the right direction more often than not. But you have to walk the trail, up those hills (paying $12,000 for a pitcher) and through the sloppy swamp (do I start this sleeper 2B? for $2,200).
You can play all the players their top models say will be the best and still not cash, sure, but their research seems — at least to me — second to none. I’m going to roll with them here for a while.
Understand that my recommended players here are going to be influenced by Fantasy Labs. There’s no way around it. But I’m not going to reveal their secrets. If you want the goods you have to get into the beta and/or sign up for the full product when it becomes available.
They didn’t pay me a penny to say that. I’m not getting any affiliate pats on the back or anything either. I just think it’s a great product.
Alright, let’s get to the pitchers.
Top pitchers for Monday, June 1
1. Jacob deGrom, $9,700 — deGrom seems overpriced but the game is in PetCo and the Padres have struck out third-most in MLB this season. deGrom has at least eight strikeouts in four starts this season and has a combined 20 in his last two. That trend should continue against SD.
2. Michael Pineda, $8,800 — While unlikely to get a win pitching against Felix Hernandez, Pineda has a good matchup against the Seattle hitters. Take away Nelson Cruz and Seattle has been a mess offensively. In the last seven days, Seattle struck out 84 times, most in the Majors. The aforementioned Padres are second with 69.
3. Gerrit Cole, $9,900 — Cole has flipped around from fifth to third to fifth. He was the top play on the board until I looked into San Francisco’s batting numbers over the last seven days and against righthanders. I still think Cole is a good play, but at one point I had hime in all but one of my lineups at Draft Kings.
4. Clayton Kershaw, $10,700 — Kershaw is almost $1,000 less than the most expensive pitcher on the board which makes him an almost must-start. The problem, of course, is that he’s pitching against the Rockies in Coors Field. But the Rockies have been pretty poor against lefthanders, striking out sixth-most this season against them. Another bonus: Kershaw’s ownership percentage is likely going to be down because of the risk.
5. Felix Hernandez, $11,600 — Strikeouts are worth 3 points at Draft Kings. The best, most expensive pitchers, are usually the one that will get us 7 strikeouts easy with massive upside. Hernandez has that upside. I have him below Kershaw though because the Yankees haven’t been particularly bad against righties and because Hernandez’s price is tops in the game today. It’s difficult to get good value out of the top dog.
6. Andrew Cashner, $8,000 — The Mets have the second lowest OPS, .645, in the Majors against right-handed pitchers. The Mets are also 25th out of 30 in runs scored and 27th in team batting average. I fear Cashner can’t rack up the Ks like the guys above him on this list or I’d have him higher.
Super-start-him-at-your-own-risk sleeper: Jose Urena, $4,000 — The Marlins starter is about as low priced as you’ll ever see a pitcher. He faces the Cubs who can knock the stuffing out of the ball. They’ve also struck out more than any team in baseball, including 405 strikeouts against right-handers. The next closest team, Seattle, has 72 fewer Ks (333). They’re also hitting .233 against righties this season, third-worst in MLB.
Top hitters to consider
The models over at Fantasy Labs produce a handful of studs and sleepers to help fill out your lineups. I went with a handful of the sleepers yesterday and it didn’t pan out well for me, but that’s as much on me as it is on them.
One theme I noticed while building lineups today, I ended up with a lot of Arizona Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves. That game and the Rockies-Dodgers game both have over/unders of nine runs, the most in baseball.
Here are the players I have the most of today:
C A.J. Pierszynski, Yasmani Grandal
1B Freddie Freeman, Mark Trumbo
2B Jace Peterson, Alberto Callaspo, Cliff Pennington
3B Josh Harrison, Peterson, Alex Guerrero, Alex Rodriguez
SS Pennington — I have four lineups, Pennington, at $2,300, is the starting SS in all four. If he isn’t in the starting lineup, I’m going to have some major retooling to do because other than Yunel Escobar at $3,300, there aren’t many other decent values. I’d probably pay up for Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins or Ian Desmond.
OF Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Trumbo, Nick Markakis, Harrison, Andrew McCutchen, Todd Cunningham
Good luck today and every day.