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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy: Monday (7/27)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Jul 27, 2020

The pitching landscape isn’t especially pretty for Monday’s slate, but the value arms are interesting to some varying degree. Predictably, with the pitching less than stacked tonight, the hitters project to mash. The tables below are overflowing with hitters earning four-star and five-star matchups, and that says nothing of the studs who I’ve deemed worth their respective salaries.

Editor’s Note: The BAL vs. MIA and PHI at NYY games have been canceled tonight.

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Value Plays: Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Josh James (HOU) vs. SEA 6,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Adrian Houser (MIL) @ PIT 6,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
James returns to the rotation after making three starts for the Astros as a rookie in 2018 and being used in the bullpen last year. James’ control leaves something to be desired, and it remains to be seen how many pitches he’ll be allowed to throw, but his bat-missing ability is irreproachable. He’s struck out 36.1% of the batters he’s faced in 84.1 innings in the Majors, and he’s clowned hitters with a 15.8 SwStr%. The hard-throwing righties strikeout potential makes him a GPP dart throw.

Houser’s not exciting, but he has a plus matchup against a mediocre or worse offense. He unexpectedly emerged as a useful starter last year for the Brewers. In 18 starts over 80.2 innings, he totaled an underwhelming 4.57 ERA. However, his 4.08 SIERA was more promising. He also struck out a solid 24.2% of batters he faced as a starter, but his lack of a true put-away pitch makes me leery of him retaining his full strikeout percentage as a starter. He and the Brewers are -138 moneyline favorites, and there’s enough to like here at Houser’s low salary to make him a usable option in cash games or GPPs for hitter-centric lineups.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ryan Braun (MIL) @ PIT $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Willson Contreras (CHC) @ CIN $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
C.J. Cron (DET) vs. KC $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Braun’s a bit risky, as he’s dealt with some minor dings to open the year. That said, his success against lefties (.275 ISO and 128 wRC+ against them since 2017) makes him worth a look as part of a stack or as a one-off play in GPPs. Contreras and Cron are also lefty-killers with the former owning a .273 ISO and 144 wRC+ and the latter tallying a .241 ISO and 137 wRC+ against them since 2017.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Keston Hiura (MIL) @ PIT $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Brandon Lowe (TB) vs. ATL $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Hiura actually struggled against lefties in a small sample last year in the Bigs, but he crushed them in the minors according to MiLB.com and Baseball-Reference. Opposing starter Steven Brault struggled mightily with right-handed batters last season, and that gives both Hiura and Braun some upside. So keep Brault’s struggles with righties away in your memory when looking at the tables below.

Lowe’s off to a fast start this year with five hits (three going for extra bases), a walk, one run, and three RBIs through his first dozen plate appearances. He’s slotted in the two-hole in both of Tampa Bay’s games against a right-handed starter, a favorable lineup spot for fantasy scoring. Toss in his aptitude for hitting right-handed pitching, and he’s a nice value at only $3,000.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) vs. CHC $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Colin Moran (PIT) vs. MIL $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Travis Shaw (TOR) @ WAS $2,400 ⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
My favorite option at the hot corner is featured below, but Suarez is nipping at his heels. Southpaw Jon Lester will have his hands full with Suarez after struggling against right-handed batters last year — he allowed a .340 wOBA to the 588 of them he faced. Further, Suarez chews up and spits out southpaws in his home park. In 236 plate appearances against lefties at Great American Ball Park since 2017, he’s smashed 18 homers with a .428 OBP, .330 ISO, 168 wRC+, and eye-popping 56.5 Hard%. I’ll gladly use him at the hot corner or in the utility spot with my forthcoming favorite third base option below.

Moran and Shaw are your punt considerations if one or both of Suarez and the mystery third baseman below are out of their respective lineups or the weather in Cincinnati causes issues (The Weather Channel has some precipitation and scattered thunderstorms in the forecast).

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Bo Bichette (TOR) @ WAS $3,000 ⭐⭐ Medium
Willy Adames (TB) vs. ATL $2,200 ⭐⭐ High

 
Bichette is underpiced relative to his explosive upside. Adames is saddled with a terrible lineup spot, but his career marks of a .355 OBP and 120 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers are worthy of a salary north of just $200 above the minimum salary.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Nick Castellanos (CIN) vs. CHC $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Michael Brantley (HOU) vs. SEA $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Lorenzo Cain (MIL) @ PIT $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Avisail Garcia (MIL) @ MIL $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Remember Brault’s struggles with righties I told you about? Well, two more right-handed options from the Brewers, Cain and Garcia, make for bargain exposure to Brault’s vulnerabilities. Castellanos joins Suarez as another lefty-killing piece of exposure to Lester. Since 2017, Castellanos has rattled off a .400 OBP, .273 ISO, and 169 wRC+ against southpaws.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Tyler Glasnow (SP – TB) $9,700: Nearly two weeks ago, Glasnow fired 49 pitches in a sim game, and he was a mixed bag in an intrasquad game last Monday. I’ll hazard a guess the Rays may allow him to throw 85-90 pitches if he reigns in his control, and Glasnow’s elite strikeout ability (33.0 K% last year) would play in GPPs on this particular slate even at a slightly depressed pitch limit.
  • Christian Yelich (OF – MIL) $4,400: Yelich has a couple of red flags against him. He’s both better at home and against righties, and he’s also facing a lefty on the road. That said he’s plenty good against southpaws, and I expect the Brewers to pummel Brault tonight. Consider Yelich in GPPs.
  • Kris Bryant (3B – CHC) $3,700: Here’s the man I’ve been teasing repeatedly. Since 2017, Bryant owns a .428 OBP, .291 ISO, and 167 wRC+ against lefties. Wade Miley isn’t the lefty to slow him down.
  • Javier Baez (SS – CHC) $3,600: Miley’s not the lefty to slow Baez, and he has an impressive.355 OBP, .279 ISO, and 139 wRC+ against southpaws since 2017.
  • Pete Alonso (1B – NYM) $3,600: The Red Sox are reeling already. They’re using lefty Josh Osich as an opener after struggling to keep Baltimore’s putrid offense in check in their season-opening three-game series. Good luck to their bad pitchers keeping the reigning homer champion and National League Rookie of the Year Award winner in check.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Jon Lester (SP – CHC) $8,600: Lester doesn’t strikeout enough batters to pony up for him over the value arms. Further, Great American Ball Park is tough for pitchers with park factors of 1.054 for runs and 1.186 for homers, per our park factors page.
  • Michael Fulmer (SP – DET) $6,600: Fulmer’s being eased back into starting after spending all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, and that makes him unusable.
  • Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL) $3,900: By now, most baseball fans are aware that Freeman’s battle with Covid-19 was a tough one. The fact he’s playing means he’s healthy, but I want to see an extra-base hit from him before I start treating him like good ol’ Freddie Freeman.
  • Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC) $3,700: Rizzo’s a defensible stack play with his touted teammates above, but he’s a poor standalone play in a lefty-lefty matchup. Additionally, I prefer to exclude him from Cubs stacks in favor of a pivot at first base.
  • Trea Turner (SS – WAS) $3,700: Turner’s fine against right-handed pitchers (116 wRC+ against them in his career), but fine’s not good enough to consider pivoting to him from Baez or spending up from the value options for his services tonight.

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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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