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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (8/6)

Aug 6, 2020

Happy Thursday folks! The weekend is almost here. We’re two weeks into the season, and there’s still plenty of baseball to watch. Given the recent rashes of COVID outbreaks, I’m not sure how long we will get to enjoy this lovely sport, so enjoy it while we have it. We have 11 games on the MLB schedule today. DraftKings has an early slate of three games and a late slate of seven.

There’s one very early game (1:35 PM ET, MIN @ PIT) that we won’t include in our value plays, but everything else is on the table. Of course, keep an eye on your lineups as game time approaches and if you have any questions feel free to send me a message (@ty_burg). Play ball!

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Value Plays: Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Wade LeBlanc (BAL) @ MIA $6,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kyle Freeland (COL) vs. SF $7,200 ⭐⭐ High
Nate Pearson (TOR) @ ATL $7,300 ⭐⭐⭐ High

The pitching slate today is tough to dig deep on, but LeBlanc is my favorite for a value play. While he’s not a super exciting selection, especially given his low expected number of strikeouts, he’s had a strong start to the season. In his first two starts, his barrel percentage has been zero (compared to a career average of 8%). He now faces off against a Marlins lineup that, despite being 5-1 and in first place in their division, has been riddled with COVID cases and haven’t been fielding the most imposing of lineups — they’ve averaged 2.3 runs per game since resuming play.

My other two pitching picks aren’t as strong as true value plays, but if you’re running a little low on cash, you might have to roll the dice on one of these guys. Freeland is at home against a Giants lineup that has been swinging the stick well. On the flip side, Freeland has had a good start to the year and was lights out during his last start at home. He has a career .285 wOBA against left-handed bats, which the Giants lineup leans fairly heavily on. Pearson is a highly touted prospect for the Jays and is bound to go through some growing pains. He exhibited strong control during his time in the minors and had some great success during his first outing of the season (18.9 FP). While the Braves are ninth in the league in wRC+, they are last in the league in zone contact (77%). It’s a high-risk play, but it’s a decent matchup for Pearson.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Travis Shaw (TOR) @ ATL $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Rhys Hoskins (PHI) vs. NYY $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Joey Votto (CIN) @ CLE $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

Shaw comes in fairly cheap because he’s mostly a platoon player this year. While he’s not the most exciting platoon guy, he has a career 111 wRC+ against right-handed pitching and is patient at the plate (11.8 BB% vs RHP). While Hoskins has had his struggles, he still gets on base at a good clip and was recently moved up to the second slot in the lineup. For his career, he has a .403 OBP against LHP. To boot, he has a 136 wRC+ at home.

I don’t have high expectations for Hoskins, but at his sub-$4,000 price tag he could be a decent value play today. Lastly, we have Votto coming in a bit pricier, but if you have the extra cash, he has a great matchup. Votto is still one of the most selective batters in the league and has a career batting average of .400 against Carrasco. You could do worse.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Cesar Hernandez (CLE) vs. CIN $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
D.J. LeMahieu (NYY) @ PHI $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

There are a lot of tough matchups today for our second basemen. While there are some cheap plays (a-la Josh VanMeter, as it looks like Mike Moustakas is going to sit), the odds of a good return aren’t great. Switch-hitting Hernandez has had a great start to the year (125 wRC+, .349 wOBA), has a little bit of pop as well as some speed. He has a challenging opponent today in Luis Castillo, but at $4,000, he should be a decent selection.

If you can manage to spend a little bit more at the position, D.J. LeMahieu should exceed his price tag in value. He’s facing off against Zach Eflin, and while LeMahieu prefers to face lefties, he has more than ample success against right-handed pitching (.310 BA, 16 HR in 2019). Eflin is still coming back from injury and is due for an abbreviated day, giving LeMahieu and the Yankees an early crack at the bullpen.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Miguel Andujar (NYY) @ PHI $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Renato Nunez (BAL) @ MIA $4,100 ⭐⭐ High
David Fletcher (LAA) @ SEA $4,300 ⭐⭐ Medium

Andujar is a wild card in today’s slate, as he missed almost all of last season and is still working his way into the lineup. However, he has a 121 wRC+ on his career, and he managed 20 home runs against righties in 2018. If you roll the dice here, watch the lineups carefully — he’s not a lock to play, but he could be a true value selection if he does.

While Nunez doesn’t have the best matchup from his perspective (90 wRC+ against RHP in 2019), his opponent (Jordan Yamamoto) truly struggles against right-handed bats — he had a 5.08 xFIP in those matchups last season. Combine that with Nunez’s power (31 home runs in 2019) and he could be decent value at his price point. Fletcher had a modest 100 wRC+ against right-handed pitching in 2019, but is a pest at the plate (10.4 K% career), has been on fire this season (177 wRC+), and is batting in the Angels’ lineup.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Freddy Galvis (CIN) @ CLE $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Jose Iglesias (BAL) @ MIA $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adalberto Mondesi (KC) vs. CHC $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

We’re really digging at shortstop with our first two suggestions. Galvis carries a high-risk flag due to his struggles at the plate, but so far this season, he has a 180 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Also, his opponent (Carrasco) carries a .438 wOBA against righties into this contest.

Iglesias is coming off of an injury, but has been swinging the bat well in 2020 and had a .293 BA against righties last year. He may not do much other than make contact, but sometimes that’s enough to snag a few precious points in your DraftKings lineup. Mondesi is the pricier selection in this group, but with his electrifying athleticism, he always has a chance to pack the stat sheet.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Alex Gordon (KC) vs. CHC $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Ian Happ (CHC) @ KC $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Brett Gardner (NYY) @ PHI $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Eloy Jimenez (CWS) vs. MIL $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kole Calhoun (ARI) vs. HOU $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Both Gordon and Gardner fit a similar profile. Veteran left-handed outfielders that historically hit right-handed pitching fairly well. Both have struggled to start the year and therefore carry a sub-$4,000 price tag. Both face off against righties today, and both have a knack for getting on base. Gordon carries a bit more risk because he doesn’t hit in the Yankees lineup.

Happ, on the other hand, is still on the front nine of his career and has had an excellent start to the season. Last season, he hit righties to the tune of a 135 wRC+ despite his knack for striking out. Today, he has a great matchup against Brad Keller, who not only doesn’t strike out a ton of guys (career 6.42 K/9), but also doesn’t have the best control (career 3.53 BB/9). Happ looks like a great value today.

Jimenez brings a ton of pop into a favorable matchup against Milwaukee. With a career 129 wRC+ against RHP and his three home runs this season against the same, he’s poised to have a strong day. As we creep up in price, we have Calhoun (.245 ISO in 2019 against RHP) hosting Brandon Bielak and the Astros. So far this season, the Astros are fifth-worst in the league when pitching on the road (.358 wOBA).

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Aaron Judge, NYY ($5,300): Judge has had another great season and is going against Eflin who is on a pitch count.
  • Mike Trout, LAA ($5,800): It’s Mike Trout. Need I say more?
  • Nolan Arenado, COL ($5,600): Arenado at home against left-handed pitching. Matchups don’t get better than that.
  • Ronald Acuna, ATL ($5,500): He hasn’t had the best start to the season, but he’s hit righties well and can contribute in every category.
  • Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($5,000): Rizzo is as solid as they come. Patient, hits with power, and steals the occasional base.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • George Springer, HOU ($5,900): All of the Astros have been slow to start the season and Springer feels overpriced here.
  • Jordan Yamamoto, MIA ($8,400): Yamamoto is a very uninspiring start today and should be in the sub-$8,000 group.
  • Whit Merrifield, KC ($5,700): I’m a big Merrifield fan, but this price tag is a big pill to swallow when you could have Aaron Judge for less.
  • Christian Yelich, MIL ($5,100): It feels weird placing Yelich down here, but he has had an awful start to the season.
  • Omar Narvaez, MIL ($5,100): While it’s difficult to get value at catcher, Narvaez has stumbled out of the gate and is way overpriced.

All advanced statistics sourced from FanGraphs except barrel percentage which is courtesy of Baseball Savant.

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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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