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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (8/20)

Aug 20, 2020

Wilmer Flores has had some great salaries this season in DraftKings and that trend continues today.

I’ll never doubt Mookie again. I should have known better.

We have two groups of games on the slate today – eight in the later group and four in the early one. It feels like the season is really starting to take shape now that we have almost a month of baseball under our belt – the Red Sox are a dumpster fire, Charlie Blackmon is hitting .400, and TBD is becoming a daily entry for starting pitcher. The remaining month plus of baseball is sure to be an adventure, although it’s not guaranteed, so let’s enjoy baseball while we have it!

We have some real budget-friendly picks in our value list for today, so I would suggest taking a gamble or two on those to free up salary to get some studs in your lineup. Let’s dig in.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Trevor Williams (PIT) vs. CLE $5,600 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Cristian Javier (HOU) @ COL $7,800 ⭐⭐⭐ High
German Marquez (COL) vs. HOU $8,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Williams continues to be a very solid bargain bin selection. Last time out, I teased about him being winless and he was finally able to get that first W. Unfortunately for this week, he’s facing Shane Bieber so he’s not very likely to get you extra points for the win, but he has a solid matchup against the Indians. So far this season, Cleveland is 28th in wRC+, second to last in ISO, last in BA… their offensive shortcomings could turn into a short story. There’s a high risk here because Williams isn’t going to turn many heads with his stuff, but for his price point, he’s worth the risk.

Javier is a bit pricey for me, but he’s still quite a bit cheaper than many other options that don’t look as nice on paper. He carries high risk because of his intermittent control issues, but also has a decent upside. He posted a strikeout rate of over 13K/9 in the minors in 2019 and although that hasn’t transitioned to the majors yet, there will be a game or two this season where he gets strikeouts in bunches. The Rockies are also not-so-proud owners of a team wRC+ that is 26th in the league. I’m really not sure how they manage to be operating so poorly on offense as a team when Charlie Blackmon is batting over .400, but there it is.

I’m a huge Marquez fan. Maybe that plays into my pick of him today as a value pick despite a relatively higher price tag. However, he’s turned the corner in every way since seasons past and is looking like the legitimate ace some thought he could be. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in an outing this season and despite going against a still-solid Astros lineup, I like this matchup. Marquez’s knock has always been pitching at Coors Field and that has not been an issue this year.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eric Hosmer (SD) vs. TEX $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Wilmer Flores (SF) vs. LAA $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
J.T. Realmuto (PHI) @ TOR $4,300 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Hosmer hasn’t set the world on fire this year, but he’s performing great against right-handers. He has a 133 wRC+, .313 ISO, and .877 OPS when going against a righty despite a .208 BABIP which means he’s due for some positive regression.

Flores has had some great salaries this season in DraftKings and that trend continues today. Over his last four games, he’s 8/16 at the plate while seeing his price tag dip. His opponent today only has 81 innings in the big leagues in which he’s managed a 7.11 ERA/6.72FIP. Flores is an excellent pick today.

Realmuto has been crushing the long ball this year (.377 ISO). His performances have caused his salary to skyrocket a bit, but it’s come back to Earth for today. Even though he’s north of the $4,000 line, this is as good as catcher gets today for value plays.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jonathan Schoop (DET) @ CWS $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Mike Brosseau (TB) @ NYY $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ketel Marte (ARI) @ OAK $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Schoop typically struggles against right-handed pitching but is 5/10 in his career against Lucas Giolito. Schoop also has a lot of pop (20+ home runs in each of the last four seasons), so at this price point, he is a strong value play.

I’ve been a fan of Brosseau this year whenever the Rays face off against left-handed pitching. James Paxton has had great walk and strikeout numbers for the Yankees but has otherwise struggled. While Brosseau is 1/9 for his career against Paxton, he has a 277 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this year and I just can’t ignore that level of success.

Marte hasn’t exhibited the power that he had last year, but he’s been incredibly aggressive at the plate and has hit for average no matter the matchup (.391 vs LHP, .320 vs RHP). He’s facing off against Sean Manaea who’s struggling big time this year (7.65 ERA overall, .371 wOBA against righties).

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Yandy Diaz (TB) @ NYY $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Travis Shaw (TOR) vs. PHI $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Kyle Seager (SEA) vs. LAD $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Diaz has had a couple of strong games but overall has struggled this year, hence his extremely budget-friendly price tag. He’s also 0/9 this series. Not great. However, if you’re willing to take a gamble at third to free up salary elsewhere, Diaz is the gamble I would take. Despite the lack of home runs, he still has a 124 wRC+ against lefties and typically bats either first or third in the lineup. He’s also getting on base at a good clip against left-handed pitching (.429 OBP).

Shaw is another value play that is really easy on the wallet. His splits are a little inconsistent over the last couple of seasons, but if you look back to his most recent full season (2018 with the Brewers), he hit 30 of his 32 home runs against right-handed pitching. He’s also been playing well as of late going 3/9 with four runs scored, a home run, and three RBIs over his last two games.

I’m far less confident in Seager against Clayton Kershaw because, well, it’s Clayton Kershaw. However, for a sub-$4,000 price tag you could certainly do a lot worse. Seager has hit left-handed pitching to the tune of a 194 wRC+, .263 ISO, and a 1.090 OPS. No matter which left-handed pitcher he’s facing, he’s been crushing it this year.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Willy Adames (TB) @ NYY $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Didi Gregorius (PHI) @ TOR $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
David Fletcher (LAA) @ SF $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Adames has been an excellent value play at multiple points this season and continues to fit that role today. Yes, James Paxton can take over a game when he’s “on”, but he’s had some tough days this year. Adames has a 198 wRC+ against lefties but is also very susceptible to the strikeout making this a high-risk value play.

After fizzling out with the Yankees in 2019, Gregorius has enjoyed an excellent 2020 campaign with the Phillies. He’s done particularly well against right-handed pitching with a 143 wRC+ and will have plenty of opportunities for RBIs batting in the fifth or sixth spot.

Fletcher doesn’t seem to care which side of the rubber the pitcher is throwing from – he’s been just about equally good in both situations (137 wRC+ vs LHP, 128 wRC+ vs RHP). He’s a bit pricier, but provides much more stability and hits in a lineup that provides him a lot of protection.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Manuel Margot (TB) @ NYY $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Dexter Fowler (STL) vs. CIN $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Robbie Grossman (OAK) vs. ARI $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Brad Miller (STL) vs. CIN $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High
David Peralta (ARI) @ OAK $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
I can’t help but pick Margot when he has a decent matchup. He’s not a lock to play every day, but he’s got some pop, he has some wheels, and can really get going when he gets a hot bat. Margot is abysmal at home this year but has a 128 wRC+ in away games. This is a very high-risk pick, so make sure you utilize the extra salary effectively elsewhere.

Fowler is another high risk, low salary play. He has a difficult matchup against Sonny Gray but has hit righties well this year (155 wRC+). Depending on which slate of games you’re in, Fowler and Margot are very similar plays for each.

Grossman has enjoyed great success so far this year. He’s a very patient hitter (17.9 BB% in 2020) and has been putting the barrel on the ball better than in past seasons (10% vs. 3.3% career). Going up against a left-handed pitcher today, a situation in which he has a 274 wRC+, .400 ISO, and a 1.425 OPS. The sample size is small, but Grossman should return great value at his price point.

Miller is a tricky play in that he’s a veteran who is filling a utility role this year and happens to be swinging a hot bat. With both Grossman and Miller in the later slate of games, I would favor Grossman, but if you’re tight on cash you could play both. Miller doesn’t have as great of a matchup, but he is 5/9 over his last 4 games and that includes a 32 point contest.

Peralta has missed only one game this season and has managed to collect 17 RBIs so far. While he hasn’t hit left-handed pitching as well as righties, his opponent has struggled mightily this year (Sean Manaea, 0-2, 7.65 ERA). He has a great situation to net some cheap points as he mostly hits in the fourth slot in the lineup.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Shane Bieber, CLE ($10,600): Bieber has been amazing this year. Use some of the salary that you saved on your value plays to start him.
  • Mookie Betts, LAD ($6,000): I never should have doubted Betts last week – please forgive me.
  • Charlie Blackmon, COL ($5,600): Blackmon is tearing the cover off the ball and has a legitimate shot to finish the year with a .400 average.
  • Nelson Cruz, MIN ($5,400): Seemingly ageless, Cruz is enjoying another stellar campaign.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SD ($5,100): Tatis has three two-hit games in a row and is truly amazing to watch.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • J.D. Martinez, BOS ($5,600): Martinez missed his last game due to dehydration and has been struggling to stay productive this year.
  • Xander Bogaerts, BOS ($5,500): Bogaerts has also not been consistent enough to support such a lofty price tag.
  • Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,200): Still trying to turn his season around, Bellinger is hitting home runs but not much else.
  • Christian Vazquez, BOS ($5,100): While value at catcher is tough to find, this salary feels way too high for Vazquez.
  • Max Muncy, LAD ($5,000): Muncy is still trying to put things together. He’s hitting home runs, but like his teammate, not much else.

All advanced statistics sourced from FanGraphs and 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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