Draft Day Rapid Fire is Back!

Mar 28, 2014 by

Draft Day Rapid Fire is Back!

If you’ve followed me on Twitter @DavidGonos over the past year, you know that I like five things: chicken wings, beer, making fun of my friends, chicken wings, and playing Draft Day Rapid Fire!

Well, Monday’s game matchups have already been released, three days ahead of time, and I’m all jacked up to discuss!

This might be the easiest Daily Fantasy Baseball game to play, and one of the best to put money in your pocket.

The way this game works is – you pick which player will score more Fantasy points between five different matchups. If you get three out of five correct – you double your money (minus the 10-percent rake).

Making Draft Day Rapid Fire Even Easier to Play …

Last season, @EricMackFantasy and I started discussing our #RapidFire picks regularly on Twitter, each day. Then we started getting a few other guys (like @coachesser and SiriusXM host @Dan Strafford) that joined the club, and we ended up with a #RapidFire Twitter club of about four or five people that shared their picks nearly every day.

There were varied successes among the group, but we all ended up winners. I finished with a 69-38 record in that game (winning almost 65-percent of my attempts). In the early going, I was much more cautious, playing just $1 or $5 entries. After I had like a 15-5 record or so, I realized I needed to amp it up, and started hitting the $10 and $20 games.

On Friday, March 28, I woke up to find that the new Draft Day Rapid Fire game had been set up for Opening Day on Monday, March 31!

That means a couple things:

  • We’ll be able to dissect these matchups more than any other matchup this season. (Although, coming out of the All-Star break, we’ll likely have a couple days then, too.
  • We can lock in our picks now. (Don’t worry, you can change them later!) But you want to lock in your picks, and choose the highest amount you can bet. Here’s why: If someone gets hurt between now and Monday, he’ll be removed from this game, and that matchup will be replaced by a different one – for everyone else that hasn’t locked their picks in! Wouldn’t you rather choose between a player that’s playing and a player that’s not playing?

Let’s look at the Opening Day matchups!

Draft Day Rapid Fire for Opening Day

We’ll go matchup by matchup for these 10 players. If any of these matchups are changed, we’ll try to go back and assess those, too. Since I can’t see if they’ve changed, please comment or tweet at me @DavidGonos to let me know they’ve changed.

Draft Day Rapid Fire

Justin Verlander, SP, DET vs. KC – vs. – Adam Wainwright, SP, STL at CIN

This is a matchup that I’ll be going back and forth on all weekend, I have a feeling. Verlander is coming off of one of his worst seasons since 2008, but he had offseason core muscle surgery, and he didn’t allow any earned runs in 21 innings in spring training. Unfortunately, he’s going up against James Shields, who threw a complete-game loss (3 ER) in his first start for the Royals last season.

Wainwright had Tommy John surgery in 2011, so his first start in 2012 is tough to assess. His 2013 opener, however, was a complete game shutout over the Brewers. I’m a big fan of the 6-foot-7 righty this season, and I made a strong case for why I’d take Wainwright over Stephen Strasburg in standard drafts on SI.com.

Winner: I like Wainwright, despite Verlander’s spring numbers. Verlander is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in his first starts of the season over the past five years, and he’s up against “Big Game” James.

Johnny Cueto, SP, STL vs. STL – vs. – Jeff Samardzija, SP, CHC at PIT

I don’t like this matchup at all! If I’m picking Wainwright to win, that means I’m picking Cueto to not win, which forces my hand to choose Samardzija on the road, against a Pirates team that’s coming off a huge season. I’m going to have to think about this one over the weekend.

Winner: Samardzija … for now.

Jason Heyward, OF, ATL at MIL – vs. – Jay Bruce, OF, CIN vs. STL

Justin Verlander, Draft Day Rapid Fire

Tigers SP Justin Verlander is no stranger to Opening Day starts, but can he beat “Big Game” James Shields and the revamped Royals?
Photo Credit: Genok

Heyward could move up into the leadoff spot against Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers on Opening Day. He hit .322 in 30 games as the leadoff hitter last season, and while his batting average was 14 points lower against right-handed pitchers (.250) last season, he did have about three times the power (11 HR, 27 RBI) than against lefties.

Bruce will hit cleanup against Wainwright Monday, and he hit .270 with 20 homers and 79 RBI against right-handers in 2013.

Winner: Heyward, barely. I like Wainwright better than Gallardo, which makes me like Heyward a bit more.

Evan Gattis, C/OF, ATL at MIL – vs. – Ryan Ludwick, OF, STL at CIN

Those Draft Day Rapid Fire people are tricky! Gattis has a tough time against right-handers, hitting just .236 with an OBP of .284, but he does hit for three-times more power than against lefties. Ludwick, on the other hand, is coming back from shoulder surgery, so he’ll have to prove his health to me in the early going.

Winner: Gattis, again, as I’m betting it all on Wainwright Monday.

Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DET vs. KC – vs. – Mike Trout, OF, LAA vs. SEA

The top two picks in the draft go Head-to-Head in Rapid Fire to start the season! What a great way to start this year off on Draft Day.

Cabrera flashes a little more power and ability to get on base, and Trout, of course, has the speed and the ability to score more runs.

Last season, in Draft Day’s scoring system, Cabrera scored 20.3 points per game, compared to Trout’s 20.1 ppg. For that reason, along with the fact that I love Kinsler to start the season really strong ahead of Cabrera, I like Miggy.

Winner: Cabrera, who hit .348 against right-handers last season (and he hit .366 at home), is my pick. Trout faces Felix Hernandez, and while Trout hits righties better than lefties, King Felix had a 2.45 ERA against right-handed batters last season – and he posted a 2.63 ERA on the road.

Remember – we’ll be discussing these matchups on Twitter, so follow me @DavidGonos and on @DailyFantasyD to join in on the discussions!

Or leave some comments here for everyone to debate. I think one of the reasons why Draft Day Rapid Fire is one of my favorite games is that it’s a community game. I’m not playing against you, I’m playing against the house. So let’s share info and win some money!

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Daily Fantasy Preview for St. Louis Cardinals

Mar 13, 2014 by

Daily Fantasy Preview for St. Louis Cardinals

Our Fantasy Baseball friend, Kyle Soppe, does a Daily Fantasy preview for the 2014 St Louis Cardinals for the upcoming Fantasy season. You can follow Kyle at @unSOPpable23 on Twitter.

The National League champions had another quality season in 2013 when it comes to providing Daily Fantasy Baseball owners with consistent players.

Gone are the days of Hall-of-Fame production from Albert Pujols, but the production he once brought has been divvied up through a handful of players that proved worthy of rostering with regularity in 2013.

Matt Carpenter was able to breakout with 199 hits, 126 runs, 11 homer, and 78 RBI, the equivalent of Fantasy gold at the second base position. His .873 OPS was better than fantasy studs like Evan Longoria, Jose Bautista, and teammate Yadier Molina. Allen Craig regressed a bit statistically from 2012 (76/22/92 with a .522 slugging percentage dropped to 71/13/97 and a .457 slugging percentage) despite a 34-point rise in BABIP and 39 more at-bats.

On the mound, it was more of the same, as Adam Wainwright notched at least 19 wins, 200 strikeouts, and a sub 3.00 ERA for the third time in four seasons. St. Louis used the postseason to establish what appears to be a dominate closer in Trevor Rosenthal (11.2 innings pitched, seven base runners allowed, 18 strikeouts, one win, four saves, and a 2.64 ERA), potentially providing some added value to all members of the starting rotation.

Adam Wainwright, Daily Fantasy Preview

It seems like forever ago that Adam Wainwright underwent Tommy John surgery — but it was just 2011. Photo Credit: EJB Photography

As a team, the Cardinals boasted the third-best scoring offense that ranked fourth in batting average but only 27th in home runs and 29th in stolen bases. The offense is station to station, which has the ability to win ball games, but can be frustrating at times for Fantasy owners chasing tremendous upside.

Their pitching staff ranked fifth in ERA, a repeatable feat if they continue to attack the strike zone (sixth fewest walks) without giving up the long ball (only the Pirates allowed fewer bombs).

With Molina behind the dish, the Cardinals were once again one of the hardest teams to steal on (actually led the league in 2013, catching 40 percent of base stealers), making them the worst team to start a leadoff hitter against.

2014 St Louis Cardinals in Daily Fantasy Preview

I expect the 2014 regular season to look similar to that of 2013 for the Cardinals, even with some lineup changes.

Carlos Beltran took his talents to the Big Apple, but if St. Louis decides to shift Craig to the outfield and make Matt Adams their regular first basemen (nothing official has been announced, but this seems likely), the power and run producing void figures to be negligible.

Peter Bourjos was acquired from the Angles to bat leadoff and play center field in 2014, and while the move to St. Louis figures to limit any speed upside here (the Cardinals have ranked in the bottom 20 percent of the league in SBs for three consecutive seasons), there’s potential value in hitting atop an elite lineup (leadoff hitters finished with a 131/11/78/.300 line last season).

Jhonny Peralta was brought over from Detroit in an effort to bring run production to the shortstop position (Cardinal shortstops combined for an underwhelming batting line of 61/4/54/.222 in 2013), and while I believe he can improve upon those numbers, I’m not buying him as a viable contributor in the Daily Fantasy Baseball world (see “Hitter to Avoid”). He’ll turn 32 in May, has never played for a National League team, and is fresh off of a strong season that was cut short thanks to a 50-game Biogenesis suspension.

The pitching staff, which has basically been a breeding ground for sleeper Fantasy pitchers over the last decade, will once again be led by Wainwright, but he will be supported by two young phonemes.

Shelby Miller (see “Pitcher to Roster at Home”) showed glimpses of greatness last season while Michael Wacha stole the show in the NL playoffs (3-0 with a 0.43 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, and 9.4 k/9).

Personally, I see Lance Lynn (34-18 3.82 for his career) and Jamie Garcia (39-25 3.45, shoulder injury) rounding out the rotation. But 25-year-old Joe Kelly (10-2 2.39 in the final three months of the regular season) is a threat should one of them struggle out of the gate or if Garcia can’t pitch until later in the season.

Cardinals Breakdown

Here’s a quick spotlight on some players you should pay attention to once Daily Fantasy Baseball games get going.

Hitter to Avoid: Jhonny Peralta, SS

For the first time since 2007, the shortstop had a better batting line against lefties (.352/.404/.560) than righties (.282/.338/.412), a trend I’m not buying into given his track record.

His 2013 season included his highest K% in six seasons and his lowest BB/K since his rookie season (2003). Add in a touch of PEDs and a new team in a new league? There is no way I am paying for his 162-game pace from last year (76/13/83/.303).

Breakout Hitter: Matt Adams, 1B

Matt Adams, Daily Fantasy Preview

Matt Adams enters the 2014 season with a full-time job at first base. Photo Credit: BeGreen90

Grown man power. His career trajectory is to that of Justin Morneau, a pattern that suggests a massive2014 should he step to the plate 500-600 times. It’s not a huge sample size, but his walk rate increased while his strikeout rate decreased from his rookie campaign, a promising stat for a player with this sort of power.

Adams’ .503 slugging percentage last season would have ranked inside the top ten had he had enough at-bats (ahead of 30-plus HR players like Evan Longoria, Adam Jones, and Mark Trumbo), and he has the potential to maintain, if not improve, that rate this season in the middle of the Cardinals lineup.

Batter to Roster at Home: Matt Carpenter, 2B

For the second consecutive season, the 28-year-old second baseman was considerably more valuable at home (.300/.369/.521 in 2012 and .360/.432/.540 in 2013) than on the road (.288/.361/.410 and .276/.353/.422 respectively).

The middle infield positions are top heavy, so if you’re going to spend big, Carpenter at home is as good a bet as there is in the majors.

If you’re looking ahead, the Cardinals play 19 of 22 games at home from May 12 through June 3 and have a nice nine-game home stand as the season concludes (September 12-21) and the big-time daily tournaments begin.

Pitcher to Roster at Home: Shelby Miller

I’m all in on this youngster, and even if you don’t share my optimism, you can’t deny his dominance at home. At only 23 years of age, Miller notched a 10-3 record with nine quality starts at Busch Stadium with a 1.75 ERA (nearly a run better home ERA than Yu Darvish and almost three runs better than that of Matt Cain).

The Cardinals were careful with Miller as last season concluded (finished with 173.1 innings pitched), making it reasonable to think he could pitch more this season and thus hold strong Fantasy value for the entirety of the season. Busch Stadium is a pitcher’s park and the 2014 St Louis Cardinals will once again be a very good team, giving Miller every opportunity to be a nice value option at home in 2014.

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