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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Saturday (8/15)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Aug 15, 2020

Tonight’s a night to pay up for hitting and spin down into the volatile bargain bin at pitcher. Two of my favorite pitching options — price considered — carry sub-$6,500 salaries, opening up tons of cap space required to roster the pricey hitters littered throughout this piece.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Cristian Javier (HOU) vs. SEA $7,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kevin Gausman (SF) vs. OAK $6,200 ⭐⭐ High
Cal Quantrill (SD) @ ARI $5,900 ⭐⭐ High

 
Javier and the Astros are sizable -225 moneyline betting favorites tonight, per bettingpros. The rookie righty’s coming off of a clunky start in which he was chased after just three innings in Oakland, but the Mariners are a far less imposing opponent. Check out the since-2017 numbers against righties for Seattle’s hitters who’ve been in the lineup against right-handed starters of late in this FanGraphs leaderboard table. Javier’s a matchup-driven selection.

Gausman’s enjoying a rebound with the Giants. Ramon Laureano began serving a suspension last night, eliminating one key cog from the A’s lineup. It’s still a talented group with depth, but Gausman’s ability to miss bats and strikeout hitters (13.6 SwStr% and 28.1 K%) coupled with his low salary make him a high-upside option worth rolling the dice on.

Quantrill’s worked exclusively in relief this year, but he totaled 77 pitches in his second relief appearance and tossed 48 pitches in his most recent appearance on August 10, leading me to believe he should be capable of exceeding 80 pitches. That’s plenty leash to deliver on his modest salary if his 22.9 K% carries over to the rotation. Quantrill’s plate discipline numbers suggest there might be even more strikeout upside beyond his current strikeout rate, too. I’ll take the plunge in order to save gobs of cash to spend on hitters. A Gausman/Quantrill pairing is my preferred pitching combo tonight.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Daniel Murphy (COL) vs. TEX $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Luke Voit (NYY) vs. BOS $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Eric Thames (WAS) @ BAL $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Murphy’s first year with the Rockies was disappointing, but he’s smacked three homers and is sitting on a .373 OBP, .196 ISO and 132 wRC+ through his first 60 plate appearances this year. He has a stellar matchup and is playing at Coors Field tonight. As a reminder, Coors Field is far and away the most run-scoring friendly ballpark in MLB, according to our MLB park factors. Voit and Thames are solid pivots with plus power as evidenced by the former’s .223 ISO and the latter’s .271 ISO against righties since 2017.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ketel Marte (ARI) vs. SD $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Donovan Solano (SF) vs. OAK $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Wilmer Flores (SF) vs. OAK $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
At the time of writing in the wee Saturday morning hours, Oakland’s starting pitcher status is up in the air. Frankie Montas was scratched from yesterday’s start and could get the ball tonight. If he does, Solano and Flores are fades. If Montas misses another day, Sean Manaea is reportedly the next man up, and the southpaw’s been a roaring tire fire through four starts totaling only 15.0 innings with a 9.00 ERA and 4.31 SIERA. My preference tonight at the keystone is to pay up to a forthcoming stud or use DJ LeMahieu hooked with the aforementioned Voit or part of a full-blow Yankees stack.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Justin Turner (LAD) @ LAA $4,800 ⭐⭐ Low
Manny Machad0 (SD) @ ARI $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Evan Longoria (SF) vs. OAK $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Turner’s an excellent option with a .421 OBP, .283 ISO, and 171 wRC+ against lefties since 2017. Machado has a better matchup that closes the gap between the two, though, his .364 OBP, .278 ISO, and 142 wRC+ against lefties since 2017 are quite great numbers in their own right. Like Solano and Flores, Longoria is only a consideration if Manaea starts.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Gleyber Torres (NYY) vs. BOS $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) @ NYY $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Carlos Correa (HOU) vs. SEA $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
What a star-studded group. Torres snapped out of his early-season funk with a four-hit performance last night. He loves facing righties at home, and in 405 plate appearances at home against righties in his young career, he owns a .334 OBP, .218 ISO, 121 wRC+.

Of the trio, however, Correa’s my favorite option in a five-star matchup. Lefty Nick Margevisius owns a 6.34 ERA and 5.04 SIERA in 65.1 innings in “The Show” since debuting last year. Picking on bat pitchers with good hitters is a staple of “no duh” lineup building, and Correa’s not the only hitter from the Astros in this space.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
George Springer (HOU) vs. SEA $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) @ COL $4,300 ⭐⭐ Medium
Yordan Alvarez (HOU) vs. SEA $4,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tommy Pham (SD) @ ARI $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Wil Myers (SD) @ ARI $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
So much for building the suspense after teasing more Astros hitters. Alvarez made his season debut after getting up to speed following suffering from Covid, and he wasted no time reminding baseball fans and gamers of his thump by drilling a homer in the first inning of last night’s game off of lefty Nestor Cortes. Not including last night’s work, he has a .389 OBP, .342 ISO, and 171 wRC+ against lefties through his first 131 plate appearances against them in the majors.

Pham and Myers will take aim at Alex Young tonight. Young’s been bumped into the rotation to fill in for Madison Bumgarner, and he’s worked entirely in relief this year with a season high of 33 pitches. Presumably he won’t be awarded a full starter’s workload tonight, but he makes for mediocre opposition for the above-average hitting duo of Pham and Myers as long as he’s on the bump.

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Charlie Blackmon (COL) $6,100: I’ve featured a few $6,000-plus hitters in the notable players to fade section this year, but Blackmon’s the first to appear in this section. It was a perfect storm of him facing a righty at home on a night with cheap pitching I’m inclined to roll with. Pony up for him.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD) $5,600: Tatis Jr. joins Machado, Pham and Myers among the touted Friars, and I like the idea of stacking them. As for Tatis Jr., he’s annihilated lefties in the majors with a .500 OBP, .308 ISO, and 204 wRC+.
  • Alex Bregman (HOU) $5,500
  • Jose Altuve (HOU) $4,900: An Astros stack should be popular — for good reason — and Bregman and Altuve are both worth spending heavily on in a stack or as standalone plays. Let me reiterate, picking on bad pitchers like Nick Margevicius is a no-brainer move.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Walker Buehler (LAD) $10,300: Buehler set season-high marks with 87 pitches, six strikeouts, and 17.2 DraftKings points in his last start. He also walked a season-high four batters and isn’t worth a five-figure salary just yet.
  • Trevor Story (COL) $6,200
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) $5,800: I don’t think it’s necessary to pay up for a full Rockies stack, and I prefer other studs at shortstop and third base. Story and Arenado can make me look bad for suggesting fading them, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take given the stellar alternatives at their positions tonight.
  • Mike Trout (LAA) $5,700: Even with Buehler not yet at his sharpest, I can’t fathom paying nearly $6,000 to use Trout against a pitcher who’s yielded just a .282 wOBA to right-handed batters since last year.
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) $4,800: Bellinger ended his early-season slump with a double-tater game last night, but I’m not point chasing.

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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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