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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (7/23)

Jul 23, 2020

Scherzer dominates right-handed batters, and the bulk of the Yankees’ power comes from that side of the plate, making the pitcher a solid option on Thursday’s DFS slate

Opening day is finally upon us! It’s a few months later than we expected, but it’s better to have a late Opening Day than no Opening Day at all. We have two games on the slate for today, so our options are few, but we still have you covered. Pay close attention to the lineups as we approach the first pitch for each game – we are in unknown territory with Major League Baseball’s new COVID-19 protocols in place, so be prepared to make last-minute adjustments as needed. The 2020 baseball season is here – let’s get started!

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Max Scherzer (WAS) vs. NY $8,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs. SF $7,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

With only four starting pitchers to choose from, I’ve picked out the two most likely to give you a return at their current price tag. Despite facing a tough Yankees lineup, Scherzer is my low-risk favorite to perform. Scherzer dominates right-handed batters (1.62 FIP versus righties in 2019) and the bulk of the Yankees’ power comes from that side of the plate. In our other matchup, Kershaw is facing a Giants squad that was 28th in the league in wRC+ in 2019. Kershaw may be getting older, but he can still dominate. There’s a little more risk here, but he should bring a decent return.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Gary Sanchez (NYY) @ WAS $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

This is a tough group. There’s almost no range in the price difference between the potential selections, and almost all of them have a difficult matchup. Sánchez is facing off against Max Scherzer, who – as stated above -typically demolishes right-handed batters. However, Sánchez posted a .302 ISO versus right-handed pitching in 2019. That’s about as good as you’re going to get at this price point today.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Wilmer Flores (SF) @ LAD $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Wilmer Flores is one of the true value picks out of the two-game slate we have for today. He’s priced noticeably lower than most other projected starters and as a utility player with the potential to DH, he’s just about guaranteed to find his way into the lineup. In 2019, he posted .405 wOBA and 151 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Unfortunately today that left-handed pitcher is Kershaw, but at this price, it’s worth the gamble to open up some funds to spend on another position.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Justin Turner (LAD) vs. SF $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Pablo Sandoval (SF) @ LAD $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Although Turner’s price won’t save you a ton of money, every bit counts when the player pool is this small. Turner’s power numbers against right-handed pitching take a hit, but he provides enough contact (.292 BA) and on-base ability (.378 OBP) to warrant consideration. If you’re a little tight on salary at this point, Sandoval could save you at least $600 compared to other 3B-eligible options. After Sandoval’s career seemed to be all but over, he experienced a renaissance of sorts for the Giants in 2019. Versus lefties last season, he managed a .387 wOBA and .271 ISO. Again, he’s going against Kershaw so there is more risk here, but there’s a great opportunity to score some solid value at his price point.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Corey Seager (LAD) vs. SF $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

Trea Turner aside ($5,100), the remaining viable shortstops for today come down to matchup instead of price. Seager hits the sweet spot between price and value. He has a career 137 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and also happens to bat in the Dodgers’ absolutely loaded lineup. We don’t quite know what to expect out of Johnny Cueto (who threw only 16 innings last year after recovering from Tommy John surgery), but at 34 years old, suffice it to say his best years are behind him. Seager is primed for a strong day.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Joc Pederson (LAD) vs SF $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Brett Gardner (NYY) @ WAS $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adam Eaton (WAS) vs NYY $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Pederson’s price is a bit on the higher side when you’re searching for value, but he has an excellent matchup against the aforementioned Cueto. Pederson was fourth in the league in 2019 in ISO for left-handed batters against right-handed pitching. This is almost as good as it gets. In our NYY/WAS matchup, Brett Gardner carries some risk given his opponent, but he fared well against right-handed pitching last season (.281 ISO, 131 wRC+). For the Nationals, Eaton finds himself in a similar situation except with a more modest price tag. Eaton doesn’t hit right-handed pitching as well as Gardner (108 wRC+ in 2019), but if you have less than $4,000 to fill that last OF spot, Eaton is your guy.

3 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Mookie Betts (CF/RF – LAD) $4,900: Mookie hits and he hits well. It doesn’t matter who he’s facing. This is a great price for Betts’ talents.
  • Cody Bellinger (1B/CF/RF – LAD) $5,100: Poor Johnny Cueto. Bellinger wins the matchup on paper easily and is set to blast on Opening Day.
  • Juan Soto (LF – WAS) $4,800: He has a tough matchup, but his talent is undeniable. Plus, he crushed right-handed pitching in 2019.

3 Notable Players to Fade

  • Trea Turner (SS – WAS) $5,100: Turner is a talented batter, but for this price I wouldn’t touch him against Cole.
  • Eric Thames (1B/RF – WAS) $4,500: While it’s tempting to play the matchups with Thames, his price today is a bit much to take on given the risk of him going hitless.
  • Hunter Pence (LF/RF/DH – SF) $4,700: There’s too much risk here given the price for Pence. He’s at risk of not playing or possibly aggravating his injury if he does play.

All advanced statistics sourced from FanGraphs.

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Tyler Burgess is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, check out his archive and follow him @ty_burg.

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