Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Week 7: Model that beat experts says start Maikel Franco, bench A.J. Pollock

Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Week 7: Model that beat experts says start Maikel Franco, bench A.J. Pollock

If you’re setting your Fantasy Baseball lineups for Week 7 (May 7-13), thinking about trades, or searching the waiver wire for the perfect addition to your team, you need to see what SportsLine’s advanced computer model has to say. When it comes to ranking players, their model beat human experts in Fantasy Football last season when there were big differences in ranking. And the model was closest to the hole overall, meaning it best pinpointed where every player would finish each week.

Over the course of a season, that could literally be the difference between winning your league or going home empty-handed.

Last week, the model said Astros 3B Alex Bregman, the No. 7 fantasy third baseman in terms of market value, would face-plant. The result: Bregman had just two hits and no RBI in four games against the Yankees — anyone who faded him dodged a major bullet.

Now the model, which simulates every pitch and every at-bat 10,000 times, has its sights set on Fantasy Baseball and revealed its rankings.

One player the model loves this week: Phillies 3B Maikel Franco. Philadelphia’s offense ranks in the top half of the league in runs, giving Diaz more opportunities to pile up Fantasy numbers. He’s owned in just 62 percent of CBS Sports leagues, but SportsLine’s model says he’ll finish in the top 10 at his position this week.

Plus, the Phillies play all of their games at home this week. Philadelphia has won 11 of its last 16 at Citizens Bank Park, so grab Franco off the waiver wire while you still can.

A player to avoid this week: Diamondbacks OF A.J. Pollock.

Pollock is owned in 100 percent of CBS Sports leagues and is the No. 6 fantasy outfielder in terms of market value, but the model is calling for a drop-off this week, saying he’ll finish well outside the top 15.

The Diamondbacks will face the Dodgers and Nationals, two clubs that rank in the top 12 in team ERA. Pollock is projected to have just 17.5 fantasy points this week, so there are much better values available.

The model is also calling for a surprising shortstop you aren’t even thinking about to finish in the top 10 of the rankings, and he’s probably on your waiver wire right now.

So who should you sit and start this week? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 7 Fantasy Baseball rankings for every position, plus see which shortstop is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts in football big time last season, and find out.

Fantasy angst: replacing Corey Seager

Fantasy angst: replacing Corey Seager

Corey Seager is headed for Tommy John surgery (AP)

No one wants to see stars get hurt. Corey Seager is a star. Monday was a lousy day.

Seager needs Tommy John surgery and is out for the year. His injury-addled spring and slow start turned out to be warning signs that were trying to tell us something.

Now fantasy owners need a new shortstop. Here are some ideas.

• Looking Shallow: Scott Kingery might settle down now that the Phillies can play him at shortstop all the time. The position jockeying was probably not helping. It’s not a bad time to trade for Kingery, if he’s owned in your pool; some of his owners are starting to get restless . . . Jose Peraza’s bat has woken up, and he’s still just 24 . . . Daniel Robertson is a position grabber with a dreamy BB/K ratio. Anyone who walks more than they strike out is interesting for us . . . Eduardo Escobar is another multi-position guy, and one of the few Twins who’s not driving us crazy. OPS-plus of 151, and he hit 21 homers last year.

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• Looking Medium: Chris Owings covers three positions and gave us a 12-12 season in just 97 games last year . . . Teammate Nick Ahmed is already up to five homers, with a .340 OBP and .524 slugging . . . Dansby Swanson has no shot at the top of Atlanta’s lineup given the other studs there, but he’s at .287 with a couple of homers and a couple of steals, and his pedigree offers latent upside . . . Addison Russell has been overrated for most of his MLB career, but he did have a 21-95 season in 2016, and he’s still just 24. It’s not like his job is in any danger. Just be realistic about your batting-average expectations.

• Looking Deep: The Rays are going to play Adeiny Hechavarria, and while his .284 average is hard to trust given career norms, he has pushed his walks up and cut his strikeouts . . . Freddy Galvis had two category-juice years in Philly, and while he’s not off to a strong San Diego start, he’s at least getting on base (.333 OBP) . . . Jurickson Profar is a post-hype sleeper who at least is controlling his at-bats with a solid K/BB. He’s only 25, and his sluggish career is mostly explained by injuries.

Nope, there’s not another Corey Seager there. But let’s hang in there. It’s a long season. Your opponents are probably getting crushed by injuries, too.

Fantasy Baseball: Two-start pitcher rankings for Week 4 peg Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Pivetta as sleepers

Fantasy Baseball: Two-start pitcher rankings for Week 4 peg Mike Foltynewicz, Nick Pivetta as sleepers

Few aces are in line for two starts in Fantasy Week 4 (April 16-22), which means you may need to relax your standards a little when setting your lineups.

Questionable options like Jon Lester (made such by a matchup at Coors Field), Kevin Gausman, Aaron Sanchez and Danny Duffy are all probably a go, and you could stretch it to include Yonny Chirinos (RP-eligible!), Ian Kennedy, Zack Wheeler, Trevor Williams and Hyun-Jin Ryu in points leagues.

After that it gets dicey. Marco Estrada and Brandon McCarthy seem like reasonable choices at first glance, but each left his last start with an injury, which raises the question whether either will actually make two starts. 

Among those owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues, Nick Pivetta and Mike Foltynewicz are the top plays, both ranking well above the cutoff for either points or categories.

Two-start pitchers for Week 4
Rank Pitcher Start 1 Start 2
1 Jacob deGrom, NYM vs. WAS at ATL
2 Patrick Corbin, ARI vs. SF vs. SD
3 Aaron Nola, PHI at ATL vs. PIT
4 James Paxton, SEA vs. HOU at TEX
5 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY vs. MIA vs. TOR
6 Lance McCullers, HOU at SEA at CHW
7 Dallas Keuchel, HOU at SEA at CHW
8 Luis Castillo, CIN at MIL at STL
9 David Price, BOS at LAA at OAK
10 Nick Pivetta, PHI at ATL vs. PIT
11 Mike Foltynewicz, ATL vs. PHI vs. NYM
12 Jon Lester, CHC vs. STL at COL
13 Kevin Gausman, BAL at DET vs. CLE
14 Aaron Sanchez, TOR vs. KC at NYY
15 Danny Duffy, KC at TOR at DET
16 Yonny Chirinos, TB* vs. TEX vs. MIN
17 Ian Kennedy, KC at TOR at DET
18 Zack Wheeler, NYM vs. WAS at ATL
19 Trevor Williams, PIT vs. COL at PHI
20 Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD at SD vs. WAS
21 Marco Estrada, TOR vs. KC at NYY
22 Brandon McCarthy, ATL vs. PHI vs. NYM
23 Daniel Mengden, OAK vs. CHW vs. BOS
24 Andrew Cashner, BAL at BOS vs. CLE
25 Brent Suter, MIL vs. CIN vs. MIA
26 Junior Guerra, MIL vs. CIN vs. MIA
27 Chris Stratton, SF at ARI at LAA
28 German Marquez, COL at PIT vs. CHC
29 Caleb Smith, MIA* at NYY at MIL
30 Kyle Gibson, MIN vs. CLE at TB
31 James Shields, CHW at OAK vs. HOU
32 Steven Brault, PIT* vs. COL at PHI
33 Adam Wainwright, STL at CHC vs. CIN
34 A.J. Cole, WAS at NYM at LAD
35 Jordan Zimmermann, DET vs. BAL vs. KC
36 Martin Perez, TEX at TB vs. SEA
37 Luis Perdomo, SD vs. LAD at ARI


Today's MLB DFS Picks: Top values for DraftKings, FanDuel daily fantasy baseball contests

Today's MLB DFS Picks: Top values for DraftKings, FanDuel daily fantasy baseball contests

We have a large 12-game MLB DFS slate on Tuesday night that features a game in Coors Field, a few high-priced pitchers, as well as a bunch of great mid-range sleeper pitching options in FanDuel and DraftKings contests. You’re going to want to spend up on a few bats in the Padres-Rockies game, which has the highest total of the slate at 10.5 runs, a full 1.5 runs higher than the next closest game.

Chris Sale is also on the mound tonight in an interesting spot against the Yankees, who, while having one of the best lineups in baseball, also strike out at an extremely high rate. A sneaky tournament team stack to look at is the Angels who face perennial gas-can Martin Perez in hitter friendly Globe Life Park.

Don’t forget to give me a follow on Twitter (@DFSBenj) for more MLB, NBA, NFL and PGA daily fantasy content, as I’m always taking questions on there. If you’re looking for even more insight into the DFS world, RotoQL University has you covered. You’ll learn strategies, bankroll management, contest selection, and how to put together winning lineups to take your daily fantasy game to the next level.

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MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel, DraftKings values for Tuesday, April 10

Aaron Nola, P, Phillies vs. Reds (DK: $8,200, FD: $8,500)

The SP1 conversation tonight will likely revolve around Chris Sale, Jacob deGrom, and Stephen Strasburg, but the guy who I like the most is Nola, who draws a home start against the strikeout-prone Reds. Nola’s home/road splits quite clearly favor him when he’s pitching in Philadelphia, so I like him to bounce back tonight after two subpar starts to start the season. Nola posted an absurd +15.2 plus-minus in his home starts in 2017, and the Reds have the second-lowest team total on the slate at 3.4 runs. 

Justin Upton, OF, Angels @ Rangers (DK: $4,300, FD: $3,900)

The Angels are an interesting team stack tonight in a prime matchup with LHP Martin Perez, and Upton is in a great spot batting at the heart of the Angels lineup. Upton smashes lefthanded pitching, and there’s a good chance that he takes Perez deep tonight after he gave up 21 home runs to righthanded batters last season. Upton has a wOBA of .529 against lefties over his past 50 at-bats against them. 

Todd Frazier, 3B, Mets @ Marlins (DK: $3,600, FD: $3,400)

Frazier is an excellent value option at third base in a great matchup with Marlins LHP Caleb Smith. Frazier loves hitting lefties and has huge power upside, evidenced by his .348 ISO against LHP last season. The Mets have one of the higher projected team totals on the slate at 4.6 runs and will likely be lower owned than the other teams with projected high run totals due to playing in a pitchers park in Miami. 

Scott Kingery, 2B, Phillies vs. Reds (DK: $3,400, FD: $2,900)

Kingery is one of the talented young Phillies players who are starting to break through, and I’ll look to ride both him and the rest of the Phillies until the public starts to catch on about how improved their offense is in 2018. Kingery hit his first home run of his career last night and is in a great spot again tonight against Reds RHP Homer Bailey. It’s doubtful that Bailey will pitch deep into this game, which opens up huge upside for the Phillies against the Reds bullpen that is still one one of the worst in baseball. 

How should fantasy managers replace Corey Knebel?

How should fantasy managers replace Corey Knebel?

Texas’ Keone Kela is one place to look if you’re suddenly in need of saves following the injury to Corey Knebel. 

For those seeking saves in Corey Knebel‘s absence, who are you looking to as a widely available replacement?

For a full look at the ninth-inning climate, check out our closer chart.

Tristan H. Cockcroft: Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader seems like the guy to get if you had Knebel rostered, but I’d be just as apt to take a chance on Nate Jones of the Chicago White Sox, available in 87.5 percent of ESPN leagues (an additional 10 percent more than Hader). While Jones isn’t considered the White Sox’s official closer right now, his ascension to the role should arrive in the near future, considering his filthy combination of a 96-plus-mph fastball and slider, which have helped him post a 27.1-percent strikeout rate in his 241 career big-league appearances. It’s that categorical skill that should be most attractive for teams seeking help in Knebel’s stead, as Jones’ strikeout potential is greater than other widely available options like Fernando Rodney, Keone Kela or Brad Ziegler, though it’s difficult to imagine Jones matching Rodney’s saves total if that’s your greater need.

If Joakim Soria continues to show diminished fastball velocity and similar difficulty keeping the ball down that he exhibited in his mediocre 2011 and 2016 seasons, Jones could sneak ahead of Soria in the pecking order. Who’s to say that Jones can’t register the most saves of any pitcher in the currently-available-in-more-than-half-of-ESPN-leagues group?

AJ Mass: Just a few days before the season started, there was still a bit of mystery remaining in Arizona as to who Torey Lovullo would name as his closer. Most fantasy managers who had to make the call themselves in drafts that took place prior to the Diamondbacks skipper announcing his decision thought it was going to be Archie Bradley, as evidenced by his ADP of 195.7, No. 20 among relief pitchers.

However, Lovullo instead went with Brad Boxberger, whose ownership has grown over 20 percent since Opening Day, but still sits at just 58.9 percent headed into action on Friday. With the injury to Knebel, expect Boxberger to find a lot of new fantasy homes. It’s easy to forget that Boxberger was once an All-Star, because when he saved 41 games back in 2015, it was with Tampa Bay in its first season post-Joe Maddon, and few were paying attention.

With four scoreless innings, three saves in three chances and a 13.5 K/9 rate, Boxberger has done everything to assure Lovullo he made the right choice. He’s shown in the past that he’s more than capable of handling the job for a full season, and there’s no reason to think he won’t still be getting the ninth-inning call come September.

Eric Karabell: Since Arizona’s Boxberger and San Francisco’s Hunter Strickland have become so popular and are rostered in more than half of ESPN leagues, it doesn’t leave much for immediate saves. I like the Rodney more than anyone should, but he can’t replace Knebel for strikeouts, ERA or WHIP. Texas Rangers closer Kela still qualifies, with 11 strikeouts per 9 innings in his career and the likelihood he will continue earning saves because the rest of the bullpen lacks better options. He is actually somewhat comparable to Knebel in that he should have been saving games for a few seasons.

Kyle Soppe: When seeking saves, you generally have two options. You can speculate on an iffy situation for a good team or you can scoop up the current closer on a poor team. In most formats, I prefer the latter, as I tend to chase saves on the wire. What better way to do that than to acquire someone currently finishing off games?

Yes, I understand that there are fewer opportunities for bad teams, but is it really as bad as you think? There were eight teams that won fewer than 75 games last season, and there were an average of 33.8 converted saves for those teams. That’ll work. Shane Greene‘s 2017 campaign was largely underrated, and that is even more the case if you subtract a poor four-day performance in June. Without those dreadful 2.1 innings (and I get it, you can’t do that if you rostered him, but bear with me, I’m proving a bigger point), he posted a 1.65 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. That looks a lot like the closer you are currently trying to replace. Knebel broke out last season with a 1.78 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Greene struck out three White Sox on his way to his first save of 2018 last night, and while I think the Detroit Tigers are just as bad as you do, there are still saves to mine here, and they appear to be Greene’s for the foreseeable future.