Playing Through Slumps & Preparing for Friday’s DFBC Qualifier
I'm unlucky. There... I said it. Do you want some examples?
- I live in St. Louis, and I have a co-worker (who hates both baseball and the Cardinals) who cursed me last year at the beginning of the World Series when I told him I'd bet another co-worker that the Rangers would beat the Cardinals. By the end of the series, I felt almost responsible for every one of Ron Washington's (countless) missteps during the series.
- While I'm not a Mizzou basketball fan, I had several people I know threaten to punch me in the face after they asked me who I'd picked to win the NCAA tournament. Yes, the Tigers run lasted all of 40 minutes as they lost to 15th seeded Norfolk St. in the first round.
- I've lost money on 8 of the past 10 Super Bowls.
- Heck, I even once asked a friend to flip a coin ten times in a row and got all ten of them wrong!
As if that's not enough, I'm a lifelong Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals and Seattle Seahawks fan. The last time my favorite team had a legitimate shot at the World Series, they cancelled it!
* For reference, check the final standings in 1994. The Expos had a six game lead on the Braves in the NL East and a four game lead on the Yankees for the best record in baseball when the gates closed.
With that in mind, it's safe to say that my foray into the world of daily fantasy baseball figured to have plenty of bumps along the way. I'm currently trying to find my way through a bit of a haze. Here are some of the highlights (err... lowlights?) of the past week for me:
- A night after the Texas Rangers hung thirteen runs on Jered Weaver, I stacked them against Bruce Chen (lifetime 10.56 ERA and 2.10 WHIP in four starts against Texas.... and he's Bruce [insert your expletive of choice here] Chen!). Chen went 6.2 innings, allowing just 5 hits, 2 walks, and a solo homer to Nelson Cruz.
- The next night, I figured lightning couldn't strike twice. The Royals were starting Vin Mazzaro! Mazzaro, of course, famously made a start last season in which he allowed twelve runs and Ned Yost somehow just let him keep giving up run... after run... after run. This was the journeyman's first start of the year after he posted a Brian Matusz-like 8.26 ERA last season. He held the Rangers to just three runs in five innings.
- Yes... I loaded up on the Tigers against Nick Blackburn. You can blame me.
- Matt Garza Wednesday? That was my fault. 3 ER in 4 lifetime starts against the Phillies heading into that game with over a strikeout an inning... including a dominant 7 innings of one hit shutout ball with 10 strikeouts in CBP earlier this year. He struck out just two while running the pitch count up like crazy in a 9-2 loss (ok... he only gave up 2 of the runs, but he looked terrible!).
- In fact, I've created one truly excellent lineup in the past two weeks. It was for Saturday's early only games. If you're guessing that this was in a 50/50 league and not a tournament, you'd be right. I finished atop a 100 player 50/50 league with 54.75 points on a Saturday afternoon, which.... well.... what if I'd played that team in a @#$#@ tournament?
So, the theme of today's column is.... well... do the exact opposite of what I say, and you just might have a shot!
Preparing For this week's DFBC qualifier
As Fanduel's DFBC is one of the biggest tournaments in the industry, we're going to offer you some options to take (or not, if you've read my rant above!).....
For the third time in four weeks, the Rockies and their opponent figure to be prominent. The winner a few weeks ago stacked up on Rockies while adding Scott Hairston (against Rockies' starter Jamie Moyer) insanely cheap. Hairston hit for the cycle that night while the Rockies scored 18 if I recall correctly. The Rockies are at home in Coors Field.... and the humidor effect seems to have disappeared this year. The starters (Alex White vs. Kevin Millwood) only figure to encourage more people to load up on Rockies and (gasp!) Mariners.
Detroit will square off with Charlie Morton, which certainly makes it seem tempting to load up on Tigers. Meanwhile, the Yankees will face Bronson Arroyo (yes... he of the 46 HR allowed last season!). Arroyo's been quite good so far this season, with just a 3.25 ERA and a 33:5 strikeout to walk ratio. There's still an excellent chance that they turn Yankee Stadium into their personal launching pad tonight.
Are there a couple of crazy team stack sleepers? Sure... The Twins are riding high, having scored fifteen runs in a two game sweep in Detroit. They'll be facing right-hander Marco Estrada, who has been hit or miss in four starts. Oh... and a guy I forgot to mention when I was ranting about my piss-poor luck! While the game is in Petco, the Angels will be facing Jeff Suppan. Suppan has miraculously maintained a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through three starts... and even looked solid on the road last time out. I'd still feel pretty comfortable saying that the Angels should rough him up.
Jered Weaver ($8,700) - Weaver certainly doesn't come cheap, but his price seems to be down just a touch after he was roughed up in Texas last time out. He'll be facing the Padres in San Diego, who rank 29th in MLB with just 125 runs. Weaver has only faced the Padres once in his career, but it was a five hit complete game shutout.
Lance Lynn ($7,100) - While there's no way he keeps this up (yes... he's really good, but not this good), I feel pretty confident in saying that this depleted Dodgers' lineup isn't going to do much damage. He'll face a squad that's without Matt Kemp that hit Bobby Abreu third and Adam Kennedy fifth last night. Lynn has yet to allow more than three runs in any of his first seven starts while striking out a batter an inning.
Sleeper: Scott Diamond ($5,200) - He's been a revelation in his first two starts, manhandling a couple of pretty solid offenses (Angels and Jays) while starting the year with fourteen scoreless innings. While his production both in the high minors and the majors last season screams for regression from Diamond, I kind of like him Friday. Why? The Brewers faced a lefty with a similar repertoire Thursday night (yes... more crappy luck. I had quite a few Brewers against J.A. Happ, who they've beat up on in the past). J.A. Happ skunked them for six innings on just seven hits and a walk. With Diamond hot and the Brewers having scored just fourteen runs in their past five games, he could be a nice cheap option to let you load up on the bats.
Ian Kinsler ($4,000) - I actually really like Wandy Rodriguez tonight. He's always been much better at home than on the road, and he actually threw seven shutout innings against the Rangers in Minute Maid Park last season. This is the one guy who really gets him, though. Kinsler is 9 for 15 lifetime against the Magic Man with 4 doubles and 2 homers. He's also made a living off of playing the Astros in general, so he might not be a bad call to play all weekend. Kinsler is 44 for 125 (.352) with 10 doubles, 3 triples, 9 homers, and 9 steals in 32 games against the Rangers' in-state rivals.
Dustin Ackley ($3,000) - Ackley has a thirteen game hitting streak as the Mariners head to Coors Field to face rookie starter Alex White. He's batting .357 over the past week with 2 HR and a SB.
Brian Dozier ($2,500) - It's only a matter of time before Dozier's price is on the rise. The rookie SS is batting .323 over the past week with 2 HR, 5 Runs, and 4 RBI. He's had multiple hits in four of his past six games, and has had at least one extra base hit in five of those six games. He's quickly gained a stranglehold on the number two spot in the order in front of Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Justin Morneau, which should provide him with plenty of opportunities to score if he can continue to reach base. Dozier figures to be a popular play for those considering grabbing their SS on the cheap to free up cap room elsewhere.
Carlos Gonzalez ($4,700) - Cargo showed some signs that he was cooling off, and he hasn't homered in his past ten games. However, he's right back on a five game hitting streak. He's at home. Kevin Millwood is taking the bump for the opposition. Cargo has only faced him twice in his career, doubling both times. Again, it's Kevin Millwood... This isn't 2005 anymore!
Michael Cuddyer ($3,300) - I was trying to avoid a Rockies theme here, but.... Cuddyer is 12 for 28 with 4 doubles and 2 HR against Millwood in his career. Once again... It's Coors. It's Kevin Millwood. He actually has been fairly good in his career against the Rockies, but he has a 4.95 ERA and 1.44 WHIP lifetime in Coors.
Sleeper: Gregor Blanco ($2,700) - Blanco has never faced Jarrod Parker, but he's been outstanding since taking over a full-time role and inheriting the leadoff spot. He truly does belong there, and Bruce Bochy made his best lineup decision ever (once) when he actually used Blanco (.400 OBP in 2012... .362 career.... oh, and he's crazy fast) and Brandon Belt (no... he's not hitting for average, but .369 OBP) in the top two spots in the order. Since taking over the leadoff spot on May 12, Blanco is 7 for 22 (.318) with 6 walks, 1 HR, 9 Runs (scored in every game), 4 RBI, and 2 SB. If you're keeping track at home, that's an average of 5.5 points per game at Fanduel over the past six games.
As an aside, I've never understood the reluctance by big league clubs to just leave Blanco in the lineup. He's been all over the league, but he has all the tools you want in a leadoff man. He gets on base at a .350+ clip. He's a threat on the basepaths. He's even got a really good glove in the outfield. Still, it seems like he's always been looked at as a fourth outfielder and/or minor league depth. As a (proud!) Brandon Belt owner the past couple of seasons, it's awfully difficult to praise Bruce Bochy or Brian Sabean, but kudos to them for realizing Blanco's value. We'll see if they completely forget it when he slumps for a few days and doesn't hit a home run for a month or two. Again... That's not his job! His job is to get on base and create havoc from there.
This has been kind of a fun (rant!) column this week for me. I sure needed it after the beating that I've taken this past week. Best of luck in the DFBC and best of luck in all of your leagues. If you have luck, feel free to pass some of it over this way...........