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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (7/24)

Jul 24, 2020

Bieber comes at a discount and faces a weak Royals lineup Friday

In true 2020 fashion, MLB’s Opening Night was very strange. Two super stars hit the IL hours before first pitch, and the first game of the year lasts just five innings before getting called due to rain. These aren’t normal times, but tonight’s long awaited full slate of games might make us feel a little more at home. I personally am absolutely thrilled to be back on the keyboard talking about actual regular season baseball games, so let’s get right into this!

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Aaron Nola (PHI) vs. MIA $9,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Chris Paddack (SDP) vs. ARI $8,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Ross Stripling (LAD) vs. SFG $7,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 

Nola comes in at a discount to start the 2020 season, probably due to the time he missed at the very beginning of summer camp. He only threw 62 pitches in his last outing, so this is unlikely to be a 100+ pitch effort from him, but for $9,100 I think you can get away with it against the lowly Marlins. The ceiling is certainly lowered on him, but it’s a good price for the floor of what he should be able to do in 80-90 pitches.

Paddack is simply too cheap. His salary averaged $9,600 last year, and he starts the year here $1,000 under that. Paddack threw 87 pitches in his final summer camp outing, so he should be good to go. The Diamondbacks are not a bad offense, but the price advantage here largely outweighs the average matchup.

As for Stripling, this is just too good of a match-up. The Dodgers are going to be a massive favorite in this game, and Stripling has really done nothing but dazzle in his time starting with the team. He is another guy that is unlikely to throw 90+ pitches here, but I think he pays off this $7,900 salary pretty easily, regardless.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Matt Olson (OAK) vs. LAA $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Justin Smoak (MIL) @ CHC $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Carson Kelly (ARI) @ SDP $3,300 ⭐⭐ Medium

 

There are a lot of studs to pay up for but not a ton to love at these positions. I am comfortable taking the discount on Olson at $4,100 and hoping the Athletics can get into that Angels bullpen early. If you’re really strapped for cash, Smoak always brings a decent floor to the table with his high walk rate, and Kyle Hendricks is not exactly a super stud pitcher.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Max Muncy (LAD) vs. SFG $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Cesar Hernandez (CLE) vs. KCR $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Luis Arraez (MIN) @ CHW $3,800 ⭐⭐ Medium

 

The Dodgers are going to generate a ton of DraftKings points this year, and Muncy at the top of that lineup is going to soak a bunch of them up. He is too cheap at $4,500 for this spot against Samardzija. Hernandez and Arraez also seem very under-priced. Hernandez is the Indians lead-off hitter and they have a soft matchup against Danny Duffy. Arraez is the best contact hitter in the league and a multi-hit threat against any pitcher he faces, but he has a very low ceiling given his lack of power.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Josh Donaldson (MIN) @ CHW $4,400 ⭐⭐ Medium
Chris Taylor (LAD) vs. SFG $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Tommy La Stella (LAA) @ OAK $3,100 ⭐⭐ High

 

Donaldson seems a few hundred dollars too cheap for his abilities in a prime spot in the Twins lineup. Giolito is a very strong pitcher, but he can give up the long ball (1.2 HR/9 last year). The Twins third baseman brings a big floor to the table too with his incredible walk rate (15% last year).

If Taylor and La Stella make the lineup they will provide very good salary relief without sacrificing a ton of ability. Both of those guys are capable hitters in strong lineups, and they could give you a huge return on that cheap salary.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Carlos Correa (HOU) vs. SEA $4,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tim Anderson (CHW) vs. MIN $4,200 ⭐⭐ Medium
Didi Gregorius (PHI) vs. MIA $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 

Correa is just too good of a hitter to be under $5,000 against Marco Gonzales here, and he should have lots of opportunity in the heart of the Astros lineup tonight. Tim Anderson is a bit too cheap with his steals upside, and Gregorius is one of the better home run bets for a sub-$4,000 player. Marlins starter Alcantara gave up a lot of contact last year and Gregorius will be looking to take advantage of the homer friendly Citizens Bank Park right out of the gate.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Andrew McCutchen (PHI) vs. MIA $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Franmil Reyes (CLE) vs. KCR $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Mark Canha (OAK) vs. LAA $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Sam Hilliard (COL) @ TEX $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Khris Davis (OAK) vs. LAA $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 

The Phillies are one of the top offenses on the board tonight, so getting a walk-heavy lead-off man in that spot is a great buy for $4,600. Very few players hit the ball harder than Franmil in the lead-up to this season, and he gets to open the year against a lefty – that’s a very juicy spot.

Two very talented Athletics righties make the list here as well. I just like those salaries against a left-handed pitcher. As for Hilliard, of course he is a guy you want to lean towards in Coors, but for $4,000 I think his raw power has a lot of upside even in Texas.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Justin Verlander (SP – HOU) $11,400: Reigning Cy Young winner. Massive favorite. Opponent is a bottom-five offense in the league. Sign me up.
  • Shane Bieber (SP – CLE) $10,300: This is just a little bit too cheap for the reliable Bieber against a weak Royals offense.
  • George Springer (OF – HOU) $5,600: Admittedly this is a bit pricey, but leading off for the highest projected run total on the board is usually a good way to rack up some DraftKings points.
  • Francisco Lindor (SS – CLE) $5,000: Lindor had .364 wOBA against lefties last year. He has one of the highest floors in the game with his walk rate and steal ability. This is a great investment tonight.
  • J.D. Martinez (OF – BOS) $4,800: Doesn’t get much better than JD against a bad lefty.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Jose Berrios (SP – MIN) $9,600: This is just too expensive for a guy with a 23% strikeout rate facing a much improved White Sox offense. Pay the extra few hundred for Bieber or drop down a bit in price.
  • Charlie Blackmon (OF – COL) $5,500: There is just no reason to pay this much for Blackmon on the road, especially against a solid pitcher like Lance Lynn.
  • Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE) $5,200: While Ramirez has huge power and steals upside, he has always hit much better against righties rather than lefties, so I’ll wait for another day to pay $5,200 for him.
  • Miguel Sano (1B – MIN) $4,900: Massive pop in the bat, but I don’t want to pay that much for Sano against Giolito after he had a very abbreviated camp.
  • Joey Gallo (OF – TEX) $4,400: I love Gallo’s power upside as much as the next guy, but German Marquez is a legitimate ace when he’s pitching away from Coors. Let’s wait until tomorrow to play Gallo.

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Jon Anderson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @JonPgh.

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