7 Under-the-Radar Daily Fantasy Baseball Plays for 4/4/16

With everyone on Clayton Kershaw against the Padres, Madison Bumgarner could go overlooked in a terrific matchup.

Baseball season is finally here! It probably doesn't seem like it has been that long to the casual fan, but if you're a hopeless daily fantasy degenerate like myself, you've been counting down the days for months. Hopefully you aren't. I'm weird.

Speaking of being weird, if there is one thing I have learned from my time in the daily fantasy sports industry, it is that one of the best ways to be successful is to be weird -- to be contrarian.

If you have played daily fantasy sports for a while, you realize by now the importance of being contrarian, especially in large-field tournaments. Being able to recognize which players are going to be owned by the majority of the field and to find players who you think have a similar point projection but will come at much lower ownership can really separate yourself from your opponents.

The purpose of this article will be to bring you my favorite high-upside players who will likely go overlooked and give you an edge.

Madison Bumgarner, SP, San Francisco Giants

FanDuel Price: $10,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Madison Bumgarner overlooked against the Brewers? Crazy, right? Well with Clayton Kershaw pitching at Petco, just about every other pitcher on the slate is going to go under-owned on FanDuel, where you can only roster one starting pitcher. Some may be scared off by the park factor, as well, as Miller Park ranked seventh in park factor last season.

Why You Should Use Him:

While many were concerned Bumgarner would struggle in 2015 following 270 innings in 2014, the one they call MadBum went out and had an even better year in 2015.

He lowered his ERA, while maintaining a pristine 3.00 SIERA. Bumgarner also raised his strikeout rate for the third straight year, while lowering his walk rate. He is simply one of the most dependable and dominant pitchers in the game.

Bumgarner draws a matchup against a Milwaukee team that boasted a 22.0 percent strikeout rate against lefties last season, which was the eighth-highest in the Majors. Their .292 wOBA against lefties ranked 26th in the league.

There are a lot of new faces in the lineup for the Brewers, but the only ones that hit lefties well are Domingo Santana and Ryan Braun. Assuming he can work around those two, Bumgarner should coast in this matchup.

Another thing going in Bumgarner's favor is the opposing man on the mound -- Wily Peralta. Peralta is pretty clearly the worst pitcher on today's slate, and San Francisco should have no problem offering Bumgarner ample run support. It's often unwise to attempt to predict wins, but it's not often we get two pitchers so unevenly matched, especially on Opening Day. That's why Bumgarner has the best shot at a win, per our algorithms, today.

Bumgarner offers a very safe floor, and his elite strikeout potential in this matchup gives him a high ceiling as well. When you add in the fact that he'll go under-owned compared to Kershaw, it seems foolish not to run out at least one tournament lineup with MadBum.

Masahiro Tanaka, SP, New York Yankees

Editor's Note: The Yankees/Astros game as been rained out. Don't use Tanaka today.

FanDuel Price: $7,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Aside from not being Clayton Kershaw, Masahiro Tanaka draws a matchup with a potentially explosive Houston lineup.

Why You Should Use Him:

I will denote this by saying that this pick is not for the faint of heart. The Astros can hang double digit runs on anybody, and Tanaka has had his share of inconsistency in his time in the league. With that said, here is why Tanaka is my favorite large-field tournament pitcher tonight.

The Astros had the second highest strikeout rate (23.6 percent) against righties last season, after posting the highest mark (24 percent) in 2014. Their wOBA against right handers was the fourth highest, while their ISO against righties was the second highest, though. So, again, this matchup is far from safe. displays that Houston struggled against high-strikeout guys like Tanaka last season. Against "power pitchers," Houston hit just .200 with a .366 slugging percentage, and a 28.9 strikeout rate.

In 18 starts against teams with a strikeout rate of at least 21 percent against righties over the past two seasons, Tanaka has averaged 6.2 innings per start with a 2.98 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and a 9.03 K/9.

Could Tanaka get bombed and single-handedly keep your tournament lineup from cashing? Absolutely. He could also put up double-digit strikeouts and toss a gem, though. I would limit my shares, but if making multiple lineups, some exposure certainly makes sense. His combination of price, ownership, and upside is unmatched among pitchers on today's slate.

Raisel Iglesias, SP, Cincinnati Reds

FanDuel Price: $6,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Raisel Iglesias is severely underpriced and has a great matchup. He has three things that will hold his ownership in check, though: not many players know about him, he might be limited to around 90 pitches, and last time I checked, his name is Raisel and not Clayton.

Why You Should Use Him:

Iglesias was easily my favorite tournament pitcher until I heard about the pitch-cap. Sigh.

Is that enough reason to fade Iglesias entirely? At this price, in this matchup, absolutely not.

Iglesias posted a very impressive strikeout rate of 26.3 percent in his 16 starts last season, which ranked 10th in the Majors. His swinging strike rate of 11.7 percent makes his strikeout rate appear sustainable, as he ranked 17th among starting pitchers. Another one of his strengths is his ground ball rate of 47.2 percent, which alleviates any concerns over pitching at Great American Park. 

His opposition today will be the Philadelphia Phillies, who boasted the 10th-highest strikeout rate against righties (20.9 percent) in 2015. Some teams strikeout often but are still dangerous -- as we just hit on with the Astros. The Phillies? Not one of them. They posted the lowest wOBA against righties (.297) in 2015. Philadelphia also posted a 25.9 strikeout rate against power pitchers, which bodes very well for Iglesias.

His upside is slightly capped due to the pitch count concerns, but Iglesias could definitely still crush value at this price in 90 pitches. Last season, he had strikeout totals of 10, 8, 7, 6, and 6 in five games in which he also threw under 100 pitches.

Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati Reds

FanDuel Price: $2,700

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Jay Bruce is part of a deep outfield position that is both top-heavy and ripe with value plays. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are always chalky, and I'd expect the latter to be very popular today. Miguel Sano, Adam Jones, Yasiel Puig, and Hunter Pence all figure to be popular value plays as well.

Why You Should Use Him:

Last season, Bruce returned to a hard hit rate of over 35 percent, along with a fly ball rate of 44.2 percent. Both of those numbers would suggest Bruce's power has returned, as would the 26 long balls he accumulated over the course of 2015.

We can argue about whether or not Bruce is in store for a bounce-back season, but regardless of what you think, you have to acknowledge the damage he can do against righties. 22 of Bruce's 26 dingers came against righties last season, which isn't surprising when you consider his .232 ISO, 38.1 percent hard hit rate, 47.1 percent fly ball rate, and 14.9 percent home run to fly ball ratio against right handed pitching last season.

So, does Bruce get to face a right-hander today? You betcha!

Jeremy Hellickson will be the man on the mound for Arizona, and he boasts a career 4.30 SIERA and 40.5 percent fly ball ratio. This should be fun!

Often labeled as a reverse-splits pitcher, meaning he struggles more against hitters of the same handedness, Hellickson's career splits show that lefties crush him equally as well as righties.

Bruce should hit in the middle of the order for Cincinnati, and he carries elite HR and RBI upside at this price. Target him liberally in tournaments.

Byung-Ho Park, 1B, Minnesota Twins

FanDuel Price: $2,600

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Byung-Ho Park is severely underpriced and is part of one of the most stackable lineups available today. Few people are familiar with the Korean prospect, though, and first base has several viable options. I would expect Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, and Chris Davis to all be higher owned, with the rest of the ownership spread among the other elite talents who are in average matchups.

A time will come when Park is a very hot commodity, especially if he remains this cheap. I don't believe it will be tomorrow, though.

Why You Should Use Him:

If you don't yet know who Park is, you're missing out. This dude is awesome. Byung-Ho "Bat Flip" Park, as he will soon come to be known, absolutely terrorized Korean pitching and now will be a staple in the middle of a sneakily-good Twins lineup. He carries big power potential and is part of a right-handed heavy attack that will be fun to target against lefties all season.

Or, in this case, against right-hander Chris Tillman, who just really struggles against righties.

Tillman posted a 1.75 HR/9 last season against righties, as opposed to a 0.32 HR/9 against lefties. He also allowed a slugging percentage of .500 against righties.

No, that was not a typo.

As a result, he posted a putrid 6.72 ERA against right-handed batters. Tillman is also a notoriously slow starter, as evidenced by his career 4.96 ERA in April and May.

Depending on how the Twins lay out their lineup, a Minnesota stack is one of my favorite cheap stacks of the day, as Miguel Sano, another powerful right hander, is severely underpriced. This leads me to...

Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Minnesota Twins

FanDuel Price: $2,500

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Trevor Plouffe is not a household name by any means and is part of a deep third base player pool. Josh Donaldson is going to be the mega-chalk, while others will roster Manny Machado, Matthew Duffy, and Evan Longoria. Plouffe will likely be overlooked by all but those stacking Minnesota's lineup.

Why You Should Use Him:

Plouffe very quietly put together a career-best season last year that included 22 home runs and 86 runs batted in. The former first-round pick is a trendy post-hype daily fantasy sleeper this season as part of a stackable Minnesota lineup.

Everything just mentioned about the matchup with Chris Tillman applies to Plouffe, except we actually have some Major League data on Plouffe's effectiveness against right-handers. While his wOBA is better against lefties than righties, his ISO (.192), hard hit rate (34.0 percent), pull rate (43.5 percent), and fly ball rate (41.6 percent) are all higher against righties. He also hit 16 of his 22 long balls against righties last season.

Trying to fit in Kershaw and a couple big bats? Plouffe makes for a nice way to punt third base while still getting a lot of upside.

Franklin Gutierrez, OF, Seattle Mariners

FanDuel Price: $2,400

Why He Will Go Overlooked:

Franklin Gutierrez has been a part-time player for the past two years and will certainly go overlooked amid a deep outfield player pool that contains several other viable value plays.

Why You Should Use Him:

Perhaps my favorite tournament play of the day, Gutierrez absolutely terrorized left-handed pitching last season. The right-hander posted a .298 ISO against lefties, as well as a .411 wOBA, 44.2 percent hard hit rate, and a ridiculous 30.8 percent HR/FB ratio. His opponent today, Cole Hamels, just happens to be left-handed.

This game will be played at Rangers Park, which had the fifth-highest park factor last season. Gutierrez launched two bombs in four games there last year, one of which came against Hamels.

Last season, Hamels had a superb ground ball rate of 47.7 percent, so he's not someone we normally like to pick on when chasing home runs. Although, he posted a 27.5 percent hard hit rate and 31.9% fly ball rate against righties, both of which were a decent bit higher than his splits against lefties. Of the 22 home runs he allowed last season, 20 came off the bat of a right-handed hitter.

Gutierrez is a very cheap source of power today and one who you can get at much lower ownership than a Sano or Puig.

I love pairing Gutierrez with Nelson Cruz, who will likely be much lower owned than Bryce Harper and possesses some nasty splits versus lefties himself.