FanDuel MLB Single-Game Helper: All-Star Game
On Wednesday, we'll have another DFS-less night, and that is followed by a one-game evening on Thursday.
But today, we can scratch our itch on FanDuel with a single-game contest for the All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic takes place tonight in Cleveland, with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
On one hand, this is a super fun slate to play because most of the game's best hitters are in the player pool. On the flip side, it's tough to predict who will play -- and how much they'll play -- outside of the first few innings, and hitter-pitcher matchups are difficult to forecast, as well, making things pretty tough on us.
For single-game slates, you have $35,000 to fill out a five-man lineup. There are no positional requirements, but there are three utility spots, one All-Star slot, and an MVP position. The player you put in the MVP spot has his points multiplied by two while the All-Star position gets his points multiplied by 1.5. The three utility places are scored like normal.
Let's check out some players who should be on our radar tonight.
George Springer ($7,000)
Unpredictable playing time and not knowing hitter-pitcher matchups outside of the first inning make things tough on us. Any hitter who may get three plate appearances is someone we need to look in to, which puts value on those hitting near the top of the lineup. As another plus, we know the hitter-pitcher matchup for those who will come to the plate in the first inning.
Springer checks both of those boxes as he's in the leadoff spot for the AL. He'll be up against lefty Hyun-jin Ryu. Ryu has been great this year, obviously, but he'll see an AL lineup that starts with seven straight guys who will hit from the right side against him, and it's a stupid-good lineup, which is why the AL is a 1.5-run favorite with a 5.00 implied total, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Ryu is allowing a 40.7% hard-hit rate to righties, and while his 1.73 ERA is out of this world, his 3.49 SIERA is more human. After Ryu, the NL may turn to Clayton Kershaw, another lefty.
Springer has a .411 wOBA and 44.4% fly-ball rate against lefties this season, and he put up a .358 wOBA in the split in 2018. His spot atop the lineup gives him a great chance to log at least two plate appearances, and he could possibly get up three times. Plus, he's modestly priced, which helps you stack the rest of the AL's big boppers.
Mike Trout ($8,500)
With who he is and the fact he's got the platoon advantage for at least his first plate appearance (maybe more if Kershaw follows Ryu), Trout should push to be the highest-owned player on the slate. Given the one-game variance in baseball, he makes for a great fade candidate.
Then again, it's Mike Freakin' Trout. With a lot of eyes on MLB tonight, the league would likely appreciate it if AL manager Alex Cora left in Trout for a good chunk of the game -- he had three plate appearances in last year's All-Star Game -- and with the AL's 5.00-run implied total, the Los Angeles Angels' star is a great addition to an AL stack. Trout kills it in any split, including against lefties as he's got a .405 wOBA against them in 2019. Trout has the best odds (+325) to win All-Star Game MVP, something he's already done twice in his illustrious career.
Christian Yelich ($8,500)
Yelich is hitting leadoff for the NL, and he'll be up against Justin Verlander in the first inning. As great as JV has been this year, he's had a homer problem, allowing a career-worst 1.89 jacks per nine innings while surrendering a 40.2% hard-hit rate and 46.2% fly-ball rate. Of course, Verlander also has a 31.5% strikeout rate and a 15.7% swinging-strike rate, but in single-game formats, one homer from your MVP position carries a ton of weight. Yelich's numbers against righties this season -- .484 wOBA, 15.3% walk rate and 55.4% hard-hit rate -- look like typos. And after Verlander, it's expected to be Masahiro Tanaka, who has allowed 16 taters in 18 starts thanks to a 40.6% hard-hit rate.
Word of warning, however -- Yelich's back injury could result in NL manager Dave Roberts playing it ultra safe and removing Yelich earlier than the other starters, but if the masses are afraid of that, it could keep Yelich's ownership fairly low.
Gary Sanchez ($6,500) and James McCann ($4,000)
These two are the only catchers on the AL roster, so assuming they split the game, each guy has a great chance to see multiple plate appearances. That's really valuable on this slate. Sanchez is starting and hitting seventh. He should face one of Ryu or Kershaw, and it's a solid matchup for the New York Yankees' backstop as Sanchez owns a .351 wOBA, 45.7% hard-hit rate and 51.4% fly-ball rate versus southpaws this year. McCann has been a breakout player in 2019, posting a .368 wOBA that dwarfs his previous career-best (.316). He's one of the only guys priced at the minimum who is close to a lock to get at least two plate appearances.
Ketel Marte ($6,000) and Mike Moustakas ($5,000)
In that same vein, Marte and Moustakas are the only two second basemen on the NL roster, though a few other guys surely could play second in a pinch if needed. Still, if things go to plan, these two will likely split the game at the keystone. Marte, hitting eighth, is having a monster year, with 20 jacks and a .379 wOBA. Moustakas is quietly having a career-best season, sporting a .366 wOBA, 43.3% hard-hit rate and 44.4% fly-ball rate with 25 homers.
Joey Gallo ($5,000)
Gallo's power necessitates that he's on the radar in any single-game slate that he's a part of. He's not starting, so we have no idea who will be on the mound when he hits, and we also can't count on him for more than two plate appearances, at most. That's scary since Gallo strikes out in 36.5% of his plate appearances. But his boom-or-bust nature is much easier to stomach on this slate, and even if he comes up against a lefty, he's mashing in that split this year, posting a .476 wOBA, 48.7% hard-hit rate and 52.9% fly-ball rate in lefty-lefty matchups. Gallo is tied with a slew of players for the second-best odds to win MVP (+400), but he's the lone non-starter in the group as oddsmakers respect how much one Gallo swing could make a world of difference in this game (and in DFS).
Michael Brantley ($4,500)
Brantley is the cheapest AL starter, and he's in the eight-hole. If you're stacking the top of the AL lineup, you can throw him in and hope he gets on in front of Springer and company. Brantley enters this game in his best form of the season, racking up a massive .597 wOBA in 19 July plate appearances, and he's just as good against lefties (.368 wOBA) as he is versus righties (.379 wOBA). Plus, he's used to hitting in Progressive Field, recording a .380 home wOBA last year as a member of the Cleveland Indians.