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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Wednesday (8/12)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Aug 12, 2020

The pitching options are ugly tonight, but that should mean an explosive night of offense. With that in mind, my strategy tonight is to pick a couple of the volatile arms from the value plays and spend heavily on the hitters. The result for this piece is a value plays section filled with pricier-than-usual hitters and an all-hitters section for the studs worth their salary.
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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) vs. ATL $7,600 High
Zach Eflin (PHI) vs. BAL $6,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Zack Godley (BOS) vs. TB $5,800 ⭐⭐ High

 
Tanaka’s still being stretched out to a full workload, but MLB.com’s probable pitching page indicates he should be awarded the freedom to throw 75 to 80 pitches tonight after throwing 59 in an incredibly efficient 59-pitch effort last Friday when he held the Rays scoreless on just one hit with five strikeouts. He doesn’t need to be as efficient as last time to pitch five or more innings tonight if he is allowed to hurl 75 to 80 pitches, and he could benefit from facing a Braves lineup down another of its young studs — more on that to come below.

Eflin’s my favorite pitching option tonight, price considered. His five-star matchup is the primary reason for my affinity for using him in one of the pitching slots across my lineups tonight. The Orioles are tied for eighth in wRC+ against righties this year, according to FanGraphs. However, taking a larger sample view of their hitters against right-handed pitchers reveals a mouthwatering matchup. Take a look at the stats compiled against righties since 2017 by a dozen hitters the Orioles have used in lineups against right-handed pitchers this year.

Godley’s being used on short rest after throwing 67 pitches in a start Saturday, and I actually like the Rays quite a bit tonight. Having said that, at under $6,000, his slate-high 16.4 SwStr% this year and solid if unspectacular 22.0 K% could allow him to strike out enough Rays to deliver a useful fantasy outing while awarding gamers tons of salary space to load up on hitters.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Miguel Sano (MIN) @ MIL $4,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Daniel Vogelbach (SEA) @ TEX $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Ji-Man Choi (TB) @ BOS $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Sano and Vogelbach pack punch in spades, but both also possess swing-and-miss issues that make the high-risk options. Sano’s the better hitter of the two and has a .291 ISO and 130 wRC+ against lefties since 2017, but Vogelbach has a dreamy matchup as a lefty facing Jordan Lyles and his .555 SLG and .382 wOBA coughed up to lefties since last year.

Choi’s my favorite option of the hitters at a steal of a salary. Nestled into the cleanup spot against righties, he calls a great lineup spot home that would warrant consideration for usage at his $3,300 salary alone. However, he’s no slouch with a .372 OBP, .231 ISO, and 135 wRC+ against righties since 2017.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Keston Hiura (MIL) vs. MIN $4,500 High
Brandon Lowe (TB) @ BOS $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Scott Kingery (PHI) vs. BAL $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Hiura and Kingery are options for gamers entering double-digit lineups in GPPs, those stacking the Brewers or Phillies, and those using Godley to free up salary for stud hitters at other positions, but Lowe’s the top play at the keystone position tonight. In 414 plate appearances against righties since reaching The Show in 2018, he has a .343 OBP, .236 ISO, and 126 wRC+. He’s also off to an excellent start in this abbreviated season with a .298 ISO, three homers, and 150 wRC+ in 63 plate appearances.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Justin Turner (LAD) vs. SD $4,700 ⭐⭐ Medium
J.D. Davis (NYM) vs. WAS $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Manny Machado (SD) @ LAD $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
As is the case at second base, there’s a clear-cut favorite at the hot corner for me tonight. Turner and Davis are acceptable pivots off of Machado, but San Diego’s third baseman is underpriced for his hitting prowess against southpaws. Machado’s raked to the tune of a .366 OBP, .280 ISO, and 144 wRC+ against lefties since 2017. Remember when he had a reverse platoon split early in his career? Funny, that normalized over time.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) vs. TB $4,200 High
J.P. Crawford (SEA) @ TEX $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jean Segura (PHI) vs. BAL $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
My favorite option at shortstop is included in the studs worth their salary selection below. Crawford’s treated to the same drool-inducing matchup against Lyles that aforementioned teammate Vogelbach is, and he’ll be the first hitter to step in against him serving as Seattle’s leadoff hitter. If spinning down from my favorite option at shortstop who shall be named shortly, taking the big discount for using Segura and his .367 OBP, .174 ISO, and 127 wRC+ in a plus matchup is the most palatable alternative. Normally, I’d be jazzed about using Segura at his salary with all things considered, so don’t consider my lukewarm touting of him to be a slight against Segura. Rather, it speaks volumes about just how much I love my preferred shortstop option.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Austin Meadows (TB) @ BOS $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Michael Brantley (HOU) vs. SF $4,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Andrew McCutchen (PHI) vs. BAL $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Tommy Pham (SD) @ LAD $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Wil Myers (SD) @ LAD $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Meadows makes it a third member of the Rays to be included in the tables. After opening the year on the IL recovering from Covid-19, he’s gotten off to a respectable start with a 106 wRC+, three doubles, one triple, and one stolen base i 32 plate appearances. Calling the leadoff spot home for the Rays bumps his value up, and his .370 OBP, .242 ISO, and 140 wRC+ against righties since 2018 play quite well at a sub-$5,000 salary.

McCutchen hasn’t found his groove yet, but Philadelphia’s leadoff hitter’s numbers against lefties are too good to ignore at his depressed salary in a plus matchup. Since 2017, he’s amassed a .391 OBP, .230 ISO, and 143 wRC+ against southpaws.

Julio Urias has been decent through three starts this year, but he hasn’t be a fire-breathing giant. Pham and Myers are well above-average hitters against lefties who check in as bargains at their respective salaries.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD) $5,500: I’m sure you guessed Tatis Jr. is the shortstop I love tonight, and with a .520 OBP, .324 ISO, and 218 wRC+ in his first 98 plate appearances against lefties in his career as well a eight homers, a .408 OBP, .448 ISO, and 219 wRC+ through his first 76 plate appearances this year entering play last night, why shouldn’t I love him tonight? Pony up for him.
  • Nelson Cruz (MIN) $5,400: Cruz is the first of a trio of outfielders included in this section and my favorite of the group with a .402 OBP, .319 ISO, and 159 wRC+ against lefties since 2017.
  • Bryce Harper (PHI) $5,300: Harper’s a must-have option in Phillies stacks tonight, and he could be a nifty swerve in GPPs if gamers turn their nose up to his salary in a lefty-lefty matchup. Harper’s .239 ISO and 135 wRC+ against lefties since 2017 indicate he can more than deliver the goods in same-handed matchups.
  • Christian Yelich (MIL) $5,100: Yelich has been out of his mind at home against righties with the Brewers, smacking 38 homers with a .422 OBP, .388 ISO, and 189 wRC+ i 424 plate appearances.
  • J.T. Realmuto (PHI) $5,100: Paying down at pitcher tonight awards gamers the luxury of paying up at catcher, a position frequently punted. Realmuto’s a great target tonight in a plus matchup.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Julio Urias (LAD) $9,700: Urias is simply too expensive in a tough matchup and having failed to pitch seven innings or strike out more than five batters in any of his three starts this year. He’s priced like an ace but hasn’t put up fantasy aces numbers.
  • Blake Snell (TB) $9,400: Snell’s still working up his pitch count and isn’t worth his salary until he’s fully unleashed.
  • Aaron Judge (NYY) $6,300: Judge is mashing taters, but even on a night where salary cap shouldn’t be an issue for paying for hitters, I’d much rather have the trio of significantly cheaper studs in the section above.
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) $5,200: Acuna was scratched from the lineup yesterday, so even if he’s back in the lineup tonight, I’m not paying full sticker price to use him at likely less than 100%.
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) $4,900: Maybe tonight’s the night the switch flips on for Bellinger, but his quality of contact simply hasn’t been there this year. The result is an ugly 43 wRC+ in 2020 entering play last night.

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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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