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FANTASYACES 2015 DAILY FANTASY BASEBALL PREVIEW: OUTFIELD
By Paul Errington
Outfield is quite possibly the most important offensive position in Daily Fantasy Baseball because it features some of the game’s most prolific offensive talent. Outfield on FantasyAces is no different, as you are required to choose at least three outfielders in your daily lineups. Because OF is not restricted to a player’s specific position—right, left or center—there are abundant options when drafting your daily roster.
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Outside of the well-known quantities at OF, there are a number of value players who regularly hit near the bottom of the order or receive partial playing time due to drastic splits against left/right handed pitching. Fortunately, you have the luxury of playing four outfielders on FantasyAces due to the utility position, and roster flexibility can often lead to higher point totals in Daily Fantasy Baseball.
FantasyAces 2015 Daily Fantasy Baseball Preview: OutfieldAndrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates – FantasyAces Salary: $5500
Expectations are at an all-time high for former MVP Andrew McCutchen, who will look to carry the Pirates to the playoffs for the third consecutive season. After another outstanding offensive campaign in 2014—.314 AVG with a .952 OPS, 25 HRs, 83 RBI and 18 SB—he has firmly established himself among the league’s best overall hitters. A true five-tool player, McCutchen can contribute in multiple categories each day, which increases his potential to post monster games on FantasyAces.
Heading into the 2015 MLB regular season, “McClutch” should see an increase in RBI totals with young speedsters Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco hitting in front of him. The only question is whether he has enough protection in the lineup to regularly see hittable pitches. But, McCutchen’s tremendous speed makes it dangerous to pitch around him, especially late in games when many relievers struggle to hold runners on base. Regardless, Andrew McCutchen is a trusted fantasy baseball commodity and, despite a steep price tag on FantasyAces, should deliver a return on investment on most days.
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FantasyAces 2015 Daily Fantasy Baseball Preview: Outfield Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians – FantasyAces Salary: $5400
Cleveland’s Michael Brantley is a consistent outfielder who you will want to keep an eye on this season. Despite a breakout 2014 campaign in which he hit .327 with an .890 OPS, 20 HR, 97 RBI and 23 SB, Brantley often flies under the radar in Daily Fantasy Baseball because he isn’t flashy and plays for a small-market team.
On the surface, Brantley’s numbers might not seem as though they warrant a $5400 price tag on FantasyAces, but much of his value as a hitter is predicated upon what he doesn’t do at the plate. Last season, Brantley had the fourth-lowest strikeout rate in baseball, whiffing in just 8.3% of his 676 plate appearances.
That’s important, because on FantasyAces, strikeouts result in point deductions. This is an often overlooked component of building a DFS lineup—especially in 50/50 and H2H action. So, a consistent player with upside like Brantley can result in greater production than taking high-risk, high-reward home run hitters who can burn your lineup with high strikeout totals.
FantasyAces 2015 Daily Fantasy Baseball Preview: Outfield Justin Upton – San Diego Padres – FantasyAces Salary: $5000
The Padres traded for Justin Upton during the offseason to help shore up their offensive woes. He headlines a new-look San Diego outfield that also includes fellow trade products Matt Kemp and Wil Myers. After two seasons in Atlanta in which he averaged 28 HR, Upton heads back to the NL West where he began his career, albeit in a much different hitting environment compared to his tenure in Arizona.
Many are skeptical that Upton can replicate his home run production at Petco Park due to its cavernous size and proximity to the cooler temperatures of the Pacific Ocean. However, digging deeper into Upton’s home runs last season suggests that there shouldn’t be much to worry about for the young slugger in 2015. According to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, Upton’s average home run distance last season was 405.9 feet, with an average speed off the bat of 105.5 MPH. That’s how you hit the ball out of a pitcher’s park, and it’s no surprise that all of Upton’s 29 HRs last season traveled a distance that would have exited Petco Park.
FantasyAces 2015 Daily Fantasy Baseball Preview: Outfield Christian Yelich – Miami Marlins – FantasyAces Salary: $4800
With a gorgeous swing and terrific approach at the plate, Christian Yelich makes hitting look easy. The leadoff man for a potent Miami Marlins lineup, Yelich hit .284 with a .362 OBP, 94 R and 21 SBs in his first full big league season. Over the offseason, Marlins inked Yelich to a seven-year, $50 million contract that buys out his arbitration years. While guaranteeing that much money to a young player with only one full season under his belt can be risky, the organization clearly believes in Yelich.
In 2015, Yelich will hit second in the Marlins batting order behind newly acquired speedster Dee Gordon, a move that should lead to increased RBI production. The only weakness to Yelich’s game last season was his tendency to strike out at a higher rate than most leadoff hitters, but being sandwiched between Gordon and superstar slugger Giancarlo Stanton means that he will see plenty of good pitches this year. Yelich opens the season with a very reasonable price on FantasyAces, so jump on him while he’s still a bargain as it likely won’t stay that low for long.
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FantasyAces 2015 Daily Fantasy Baseball Preview: OutfieldScott Van Slyke – Los Angeles Dodgers – FantasyAces Salary: $4300
You may be wondering why a part-timer is featured on the FantasyAces 2015 preview, but Scott Van Slyke isn’t your average platoon player. The son of longtime big-leaguer Andy Van Slyke doesn’t garner too much attention in season-long fantasy baseball, but in DFS, he’s one of the most popular players to target when in the lineup due to his marginal price tag and the fact that he crushes left-handed pitching.
In 130 plate appearances against LHP in 2014, Van Slyke was fourth in Major League Baseball with a 1.045 OPS, while clubbing 8 HR and carrying a .447 wOBA (weighted on base percentage). This season projects to be the same for Van Slyke, who will likely be in the lineup most games when the Dodgers face a lefty. There is always some risk to taking platoon players as they often get pulled when the opposing starting pitcher exits, but with a low price tag and terrific splits, Van Slyke can offer tremendous value when Los Angeles has a southpaw on the schedule.
Value OF (Priced below $4250):
Travis Snider – Baltimore Orioles – FantasyAces Salary: $4000
Steven Souza – Tampa Bay – FantasyAces Salary: $4100
Want to play more than three outfielders in your lineup? FantasyAces is one of the few Daily Fantasy Sports sites with a Utility position. Check out the Scoring tab located on the “Gameplay Basics” page for more information about our DFS MLB rosters & scoring.