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FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball (DFS) picks for Friday, April 15: Joe Ross, plus thoughts on slumping hitters

I list some options a fantasy owner can use today on FanDuel.

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Reminder: Always double check the lineup card before rosters lock to make sure that a player you've chosen to roster is playing that day, and check the weather to make sure your players won't get rained out of their game.

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Pitcher

Salary relief: Joe Ross ($7,200) vs Phillies

I wrote a bunch about Ross leading up to seasonal drafts back in March. I love his stuff; here's some of what I wrote:

It's hard to fathom how the Nationals managed to convince the Padres (and Rays) to give them both Joe Ross and Trea Turner in the same deal. I absolutely love Ross's stuff; his fastball sits 93-95, can reach 97-98 mph with bowling ball downward movement and a lot of armside run (about 9 inches), and his mid 80s slider is just filthy and generates a ton of swing and misses.

Ross's filthy stuff led to a swinging strike rate of 12% last year spanning 13 starts, 18th best among starting pitchers with at least 70 IP in the big leagues last year. He generated ground balls at a 50% rate, with a 22% strikeout rate, a 6.7% walk rate, and a 3.64 ERA, all above MLB average. His fastball moves so much that, combined with the velocity, it appears to be very difficult to square up.

Ross gets the Phillies today, who have a bottom 5 offense and only appear to contain one serious threat, Maikel Franco. Jeremy Hellickson opposes Ross, one of the weaker pitchers in the Phillies rotation. Ross looks to have a good chance to pitch well and get the win on the back of good run prevention by him and run support from his offense.

Thoughts on slumping hitters

One thing I like doing in daily leagues is finding above average hitters who have had their prices drop because of prolonged slumps (assuming the player isn't playing through an injury or is in a massive decline in skill, that's an important difference). Streakiness is often the nature of the baseball. Many skilled hitters often go into prolonged slumps of little to no production. Slumps do two positive things in my mind for daily leagues:

1. they result in a price drop, creating value for when the hitters bounce back

2. they result in other fantasy owners not playing them, making them low owned in tournaments

The opposite usually happens for hitters in hot streaks, their prices rise and they become highly owned in tournaments. I like to avoid these players for the most part.

A few hitters who I think fit the low owned/price drop from slump are some Mets hitters. Curtis Granderson (10 wRC+), Lucas Duda (56 wRC+), Neil Walker (46 wRC+) are some examples of players who have badly underperformed their talent level to this point. I don't think any of these guys are playing injured or are over the hill, so it's reasonable to expect their production to pick up eventually. The Mets face Cody Anderson today. Anderson is projected to be a below average SP this year, and he doesn't really strike batters out, creating more balls in play for good things to happen on. It won't be freezing in Cleveland today, either, the forecast predicts it to be around 60 degrees.

Curtis Granderson is the leadoff hitter and is priced at a reasonable $2,900. He's hit RHP to a 143 wRC+ and .215 ISO since the start of last season. Michael Conforto is $2,500, and he's hit RHP to a 138 wRC+ and .244 ISO since the start of last year. Lucas Duda is $2,500, and he's hit RHP to a 127 wRC+ and .224 ISO since the start of last year.

I understand that playing ice cold hitters can be a scary thing to fantasy owners, but I've had success using this tactic in tournaments in the past.

Follow on twitter at @TimFinn521