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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (8/14)

Aug 14, 2020

Matt Chapman is on a roll lately and has crushed right-handed pitching thus far. Can he keep it going tonight?

We’re right back at it after a small four-game slate on Thursday, loading up a nice 13-game slate that has something for everybody.  There are plenty of cheap boom-or-bust pitching options that allow us to load up on high ceiling GPP bats while having several safety-net plays for low-anxiety cash lineups on the flip side. Let’s start the weekend off right!

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Sonny Gray (CIN) vs. PIT $10,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Aaron Civale (CLE) @ DET $9,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Frankie Montas (OAK) @ SFG $8,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) @LAA $10,000 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Pablo Lopez (MIA) vs. ATL $7,400 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Gray is coming off of his weakest outing of the season, where he gave up four runs over 5 and 1/3 innings against the Brewers. He’ll have an easier time out tonight, as he takes on a Pirates team that’s lost 10 of their last 12 and owns just four wins. Admittedly, the Pirates are loaded in guys who will attack from the left side of the plate, who have slightly better results against Gray (.267 wOBA opposed to .214 to RHH) so far in 2020. I’m not concerned about this, however, especially considering their lone offensive bright spot, Colin Moran, is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his career against Gray. Besides, who has ever been scared off by a .267 wOBA?

Civale has been tremendous for the Indians through his first three starts. He’s gone 3-for-3 in quality starts with just six earned runs across 19 innings against the great offenses of the White Sox and Twins. He’ll have an easier time up against the Detroit Tigers, who just lost their biggest offensive threat in C.J. Cron. I think he’ll be fairly chalky, and there is still some blowup risk, but the spot is good enough for me to roll him out in cash games.

I’m not a massive fan of the matchup here for Montas, as the Giants are loaded with solid left-handed hitting (Yastrzemski, Belt, Dickerson, Crawford plus switch-hitting Sandoval), and Montas has a quiet 4.65 xFIP against led-handed hitting in his career. However, you simply can’t deny the roll that Montas has been on, allowing just four runs on 23 innings and earning an AL Player of the Week award. His low $8,800 price tag doesn’t represent that production, either.

This isn’t a good spot for Kershaw. That means he won’t be very popular, especially with the pitchers on this slate. This makes the surefire Hall of Famer a high-risk, high-reward GPP play for me. There are some stats to back it up, too, such as the fact that Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton are a combined 13-for-73 against him. Oh, and the Angels have a mid-pack strikeout rate of 8.5 per game.

Lopez goes up against the division rival Atlanta Braves, who he’s done surprisingly well against. He’s posted a 3.45 ERA with 27 strikeouts across 28 innings despite an 0-3 record. What really draws me to Lopez, though, is Atlanta’s strikeout rate. They’re the only team to have struck out over 200 times so far this year (203), with the next highest coming in at 192. They’re also first in runs, doubles, and total bases, however, which makes it a fairly boom-or-bust spot and limits him to only GPP lineups.

Catcher/First Base

Max Muncy (LAD) @ LAA $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Carlos Santana (CLE) @ DET $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Martin Maldonado (HOU) vs. SEA $2,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

While Muncy isn’t off to a great start, he’s still hitting left-handers better than righties as usual, which makes him one of my favorite Dodgers tonight. L.A. draws a lefty in Patrick Sandoval that owns a terrible 6.55 career FIP in lefty-on-lefty matchups to go with an ugly .529 slugging-percentage. The price tag is ugly for a player who’s hitting just .176, but you simply cannot deny Muncy’s slate-breaking ceiling in a near-perfect spot.

Santana goes up against a familiar foe in Ivan Nova, who he’s 8-for-21 against with two home runs, four RBI, and three walks. It also doesn’t hurt that Nova is off to a lousy start against left-handed hitting, giving up a .387 wOBA to them through 39 plate appearances.

Maldonado has strung together some solid games, collecting a double, two home runs, five RBI, and five runs over his last three games. He draws the Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi, who he’s 2-for-7 against with a long ball and three RBI. He’s a budget option favorite of mine tonight.

Second Base

Howie Kendrick (WSH) @ BAL $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Keston Hiura (MIL) @ CHC $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Derek Dietrich (TEX) @ COL $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

This one is simple. Kendrick has crushed Tommy Milone in his career, as he owns 13 hits, two homers, a double, and seven RBI against the left-hander through 34 career at-bats.

Tyler Chatwood fell back to earth his last time up after a pair of great outings, and he surrendered eight runs over 2 1/3 innings to an ok-at-best Royals team. He’ll set out to bounce back against a much tougher Brewers team. He takes on Hiura, who has a career 152 wRC+ in righty-on-righty matchups. Those matchups also happen to be Chatwood’s kryptonite thus far this season.

Dietrich and the Rangers go up against Ryan Castellani, who had a decent major league debut on his last turn against the Mariners. Things should be different this time, as it’ll be Castellani’s first time pitching inside of Coors, and his 4.80 career ERA in the minor leagues point towards a less fun outing for the rookie. As for Dietrich, he was great in his season debut on Wednesday, going 3-for-3 with a double, two runs, and a stolen base. Also, remember last year when Dietrich had that sudden massive power surge? All 19 of those long balls came off RHPs.

Third Base

Matt Chapman (OAK) @ SF $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Gio Urshela (NYY) vs. BOS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Marwin Gonzalez (MIN) vs KCR $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Chapman has done very well against right-handers so far this season, going 20-for-64 with 14 of his 15 RBI as well as all six of his home runs. He’ll face one tonight in Johnny Cueto, who has been battered by right-handed hitting to start the year, giving up three long balls and 10 earned runs through 11 innings. He’s my favorite play tonight.

At the time of this writing, it’s unclear who will take the mound for Boston tonight. What is clear, however, is how destructive Urshela has been in the rivalry since putting on the pinstripes last year, going 25-for-61 with five home runs and 17 RBI against the Red Sox.

Gonzalez goes up against the Royals’ Jakob Junis, who he’s had success against as recently as a week ago, where he went 2-for-2 with a long ball against the righty. 


Jonathan Villar (MIA) vs. ATL $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Marcus Semien (OAK) @ SF $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adalberto Mondesi (KCR) @ MIN $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

I love Jonathan Villar tonight. The Braves are rolling out Kyle Wright, who’s been effective against right-handed hitting but has gotten smoked by lefties throughout his career, serving up a .343/.439/.629 slash line with a .446 wOBA and 17 earned runs over 16 2/3 innings. That’s not all, however, as Villar also prefers right-handed pitching, collecting 15 of his 24 home runs and 31 of his 40 stolen bases against them last season.

Like Matt Chapman, Semien is a right-handed hitter who performs better in righty-on-righty matchups and goes up against one in Johnny Cueto, who has struggled in those matchups so far this season. Semien has also started to sort through his early-season slump too, collecting a hit in seven of his last 26 at-bats with a homer and three RBI.

While everyone knows of Mondesi as a speed demon, he quietly posted a solid .184 ISO from the left side of the plate last year. That’s where he’ll line up against the Twins’ Jake Odorizzi, who has had difficulties against LHH since moving to Minnesota (.277/.335/.426 slash allowed in 2019).


Corey Dickerson (MIA) vs. ATL $2,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Kyle Tucker (HOU) vs. SEA $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tommy Pham (SD) @ ARI $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jesse Winker (CIN) vs. PIT $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Michael Conforto (NYM) @ PHI $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

As I mentioned while talking about Jonathan Villar, Kyle Wright has almost been unable to pitch against left-handed hitting. Like Villar, Dickerson loves right-handed pitching, slugging 103 of his 116 home runs against them with a solid 124 wRC+. I slightly prefer Villar tonight for cash purposes, but I believe Dickerson has the higher GPP ceiling.

Kyle Tucker’s .207 career batting average definitely isn’t pretty. It would look a whole lot worse, though, if he wasn’t so good at lefty-on-lefty matchups. While 22-for-138 in his career against right-handers, Tucker is 19-for-60 against lefties. That’s a whole 158 points higher on than his batting average! If that doesn’t sell you on Tucker, let me add that Yusei Kikuchi has allowed 23 runs against LHH so far in his career — in 35 innings.

Pham goes up against Merrill Kelly, who has done well for Arizona despite having continued issues with right-handed hitting, serving up a hard-hit rate of 48.6% against them so far this year. These struggles behind Kelly’s good start has led to his ERA sitting 2.05 points better than his 4.34 FIP. I think Kelly is bound to blow up at some point, and I’ll have some San Diego stacks should it come tonight.

Winker has been on a tear lately, as he’s collected 13 hits and three home runs over his last 21 at-bats. I think there’s a good chance that he continues his white-hot streak tonight, as the Reds draw right-hander Chad Kuhl. While Kuhl has been solid since returning from Tommy John surgery, posting a 2.0 ERA through three games, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s struggled heavily against left-handed hitters, allowing 98 runs(91 earned) on just under 150 career innings. That lines up Winker nicely, who has almost exclusively played against RHP due to his .309/.400/.512 slash line against them.

While Conforto is no longer underpriced, he draws another division rival he’s done well against in Vince Velasquez, which has me on him once more. Through a team-leading 18 at-bats, Conforto has taken Velasquez yard three times on six hits with seven RBI and five walks. Admittedly, Conforto has seen some power loss against RHP this season with a .051 ISO through 39 at-bats. I’m not too concerned over that, though, as he still sports a very good 143 wRC+ through the same minuscule sample size.

3 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Jacob deGrom (SP – NYM) $11,200: He’s Jacob DeGrom. He has a 2.23 career ERA with a 7-1 record against the Phillies through 15 career starts.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD) $4,300: Merrill Kelly has done well for the Diamondbacks, but he still struggles against RHH like Tatis, who already owns three home runs against the right-hander.
  • Alex Bregman (3B – HOU) $3,900: Yusei Kikuchi has a 5.45 career FIP against right-handed hitting, partly in thanks to Bregman, who’s 5-for-11 with a homer off the left-hander already.

3 Notable Players To Fade

  • Stephen Strasburg (SP – WSH) $9,000: Strasburg is scheduled to make his return from a nerve issue — that he still has. The 2019 World Series MVP has powered through a lot, but an outing identical or worse than his last is far from out of the question, especially if he doesn’t feel it early, leaving him out of my pool.
  • Cody Bellinger (OF – LAD) $3,900: While Bellinger draws a pitcher who struggles heavily against left-handed hitting, he’s just 2-for-22 in lefty on lefty matchup to begin the year, making the high price of $3,900 not worth the potential.
  • Mitch Moreland (1B – BOS) $3,300: Moreland is off to a great start but faces one of the games’ best in Gerrit Cole, who he’s 1-for-14 against in his career.

All Advanced Statistics Sourced From FanGraphs

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Caleb Baggette is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Caleb, check out his archive and follow him @CalebBg9

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