Kole Calhoun (LAA) - Calhoun continued his white-hot hitting by crushing his first homerun of the season in a matchup against the Twins. Calhoun has had at least one hit in every game except one, and has multi-hit games in his last three, improving his slash line to .412/.474/.559. From a season-long perspective, Calhoun's overall value is limited to being a 3rd or 4th outfielder given his current lineup spot (usually 5th or 6th) and lack of steals. His value is tied closely to his power, and given the pitching-friendly environment that he calls home, he doesn't get much help. Add that to his league-average 103 MPH average on his HRs in 2015, and his homerun totals seem likely to plateau around 20 over the course of the entire season. In tomorrow's matchup, he gets Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher who has struggled to contain left-handed batters throughout his career (.341 wOBA allowed). Due to the unfavorable offensive environment, I'm hesitant to use Calhoun in cash games, but he's a great salary relief option in tournaments at just $3,100 on FanDuel. Remember, Target Field doesn't play all that differently than Angel Stadium, making the park shift factor something that people will likely overemphasize. There's nice profit potential here.
Chris Sale (CWS) - On a slate chock full of quality pitching options, Chris Sale proved he was the correct answer in Daily Fantasy on Friday night. Sale went the distance against the Rays, allowing just 3 baserunners on 2 hits and no walks in his complete game shutout. Sale moved to 3-0 on the season and now has 23 strikeouts over the same number of innings. Two weeks into the year, Sale has been as advertised and has certainly returned his 2nd round draft price. Looking ahead to next week, Sale draws the Angels at home in Chicago. So far this season, the Angels have the second-lowest strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this year, so he may not have quite the same upside as he did tonight. Nonetheless, his deadly fastball/slider combination has been working wonders to begin the year, getting batters to hit ground balls nearly half the time while also inducing a signing strike rate greater than 10%. That combination plays well against any opponent.
Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) - Encarnacion broke out of his slump in a big way on Friday night, crushing two home runs off the Red Sox starter, Rick Porcello. Encarnacion missed much of the spring with a strained oblique, and was hitting just .263/.310/.289 leading into last night's game. After last night, he is now slashing .310/.346/.476. Ah, the power of small sample size. Encarnacion should have another good year in Toronto this year and will continue to be in line for big RBI numbers while hitting in the Blue Jay's high octane offense. At just $3,800 on FanDuel, EE is a nice tournament option tomorrow when he takes on the lefty David Price. The reverse splits will likely drive a lot of people away, so I think he could see lower ownership, but Encarnacion has a decent history against Price after playing in the same division for so many years. With a few homeruns against him in his career, I love taking a stab on batters who have seen a pitcher on numerous occasions, especially when they're in as good of a hitting environment as Encarnacion will be tomorrow.
Chris Davis (BAL) - Chris Davis had himself a true Chris Davis kind of night last night, going 0-4 while adding two walks and two strikeouts along with two runs scored. The slugger had a tough lefty vs lefty matchup on Friday, but in today's game, the situation looks a lot more enticing. Facing the homerun-prone Colby Lewis while playing in a hitter's ballpark, Chris Davis ranks out as one of the top DFS options of the day at $4,200 on FanDuel. While this price does seem appropriate, I'm expecting a high game total from this one with Yovani Gallardo and Lewis on the mound. Davis also checks the box for hard hit rate, hitting the ball hard 50% of the time (league average is 28%) and hitting the ball softly just 15% of the time. With so much variability in day-to-day player performances (the best major league hitters make an out 70% of the time!), we like to target players who consistently hit the ball hard. We know that when you hit the ball hard, it's more difficult for fielders to make plays. By hitting the ball hard, you increase the likelihood that you player will score you points, so I love to emphasize hard hit rate in my analysis for DFS plays.
David Ortiz (BOS) - Another strong option in DFS for tomorrow is David Ortiz. Big Papi has been swinging a hot bat and gets a dream matchup against a right-handed, historically homerun prone pitcher in Marco Estrada. While Estrada appeared to have a tremendous season last year, nearly all the advanced indicators pointed towards grossly inflated numbers for the Toronto pitcher. Against right-handed pitching in 2015, Ortiz had an eye-popping .320 ISO and an incredible .439 wOBA while facing righties in Fenway. He's a bit cheaper than Chris Davis, but ranks out as just as good of an option on tomorrow's slate.
Top AL DFS Value Plays for April 16th:
Erasmo Ramirez $8,000 FD, $6,600 DK (Tournament)
Hanley Ramirez $3,000 FD, $4,400 DK (Tourney)
Robinson Cano $3,600 FD, $4,300 DK (Tourney)
Ketel Marte $2,400 FD, $3,600 DK (Cash)
Evan Longoria $3,000 FD, $4,600 DK (Cash)
Kole Calhoun $3,100 FD, $4,300 DK (Tourney)
Josh Reddick $3,100 FD, $4,000 DK (Cash)
Franklin Gutierrez $2,300 FD $3,100 DK (Cash)
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