FANTASY PLAYS: Daily fantasy strategies for baseball, golf

Houston Astros' starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws against Oakland Athletics' shortstop Marcus Semien (10) during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 29, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The foundation of every strong daily fantasy baseball lineup starts at the pitcher slot. Starting pitchers are often the most expensive and projected to earn the most points on any given day, making it the most important lineup decision for daily fantasy players.

Focusing on strikeouts can help you make the right choice. In particular, strikeouts per dollar spent. Starting pitchers that generate value there often represent the best value overall at the position.

Strikeouts are king in daily contests because they’re worth the equivalent of an earned run allowed, and they’re the most predictable pitching statistic compared with innings, runs, hits and wins. The best combination is a strikeout pitcher facing a lineup of strikeout-prone hitters.

While it’s often easy to identify which starting pitchers are most capable of generating strikeouts on a daily basis, sometimes it’s less obvious to identify the best matchups for strikeouts. The best approach is to examine the career strikeout rate of each hitter individually in a lineup that your starting pitcher is expected to face. But if you’re looking for a shortcut, there are some offenses that have had significant trouble making contact early in the season.

The Padres, for example, have a lot more power in their lineup with sluggers Christian Villanueva and Franchy Cordero, but that power has come with plenty of strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Phillies only have three players on their roster with strikeout rates below the league average (Carlos Santana, Odubel Herrera, and Maikel Franco).

GOLF

After taking a week off from traditional tour play with the team structure at the Zurich Classic, the PGA Tour returns to Quail Hollow this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. Quail Hollow, which hosted the PGA Championship last year and was renovated prior to that event, will play as a challenging 7,554 yard Par 71 and one of the more demanding tournaments this year.

While the saying goes ”drive for show, putt for dough,” Quail Hollow offers up its own version and favors golfers who are strong off the tee. Strokes gained off-the-tee was 20 percent more important at Quail Hollow last year than your average tournament, and fantasy gamers should be looking to target golfers who are both long and accurate.

Paul Casey ranks fifth in this field in strokes gained tee-to-green and is also inside the top 10 in total driving, which measures both driving distance and accuracy. Casey’s DraftKings price of just $8,900 allows you to comfortably roster other top golfers such as Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas. He has a nearly 80 percent chance to make the cut, the highest of any golfer priced below $9,000 on DraftKings. While Casey missed the cut his last time out at RBC Heritage, he posted a top 20 finish in 16 of his previous 18 events. Casey offers fantasy gamers a rare mix of safety and upside this week.

Luke List may not be a household name but he should be for avid fantasy players. List is rated third in the Wells Fargo Championship field in strokes gained tee-to-green and fourth in strokes gained off the tee but is just the 35th most expensive golfer at $7,400. List’s blend of power and accuracy sets up perfect for Quail Hollow and his 70 percent odds to make the cut suggest his pricing could be nearly $1,000 higher. Generating birdies is the key driver to fantasy scoring and Luke List rates inside the top 20 on tour in both birdie or better percentage and par-5 scoring, which set up favorably for the Wells Fargo Championship.

This column was provided to The Associated Press by DailyRoto, http://dailyroto.com