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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (8/21)

Aug 21, 2020

Will Walker Buehler get back on track tonight against the Colorado Rockies?

It’s Friday again, meaning we get to sit back and enjoy some primetime baseball to kick off the weekend. Tonight we’ve got a 12-game slate with some risky top-heavy pitching and several value options that allow us to load up on plenty of nice bats in favorable matchups.

Pitchers

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Adrian Houser (MIL) @ PIT $7,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Aaron Nola (PHI) @ ATL $10,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Walker Buehler (LAD) vs. COL $8,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU)  @ SD $8,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Andrew Heaney (LAA)  @ OAK $7,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Houser is off to a solid start, as he sports a 1-0 record with a 3.27 ERA through four appearances. Tonight he heads back to Pittsburgh, who he faced in his season debut, after facing three much harder teams with mostly favorable results. He threw just 68 pitches in that last game, but he was effective through five innings, allowing just one run on one hit while walking three. He’ll throw more pitches this time around and has a good shot at being in line for a win.

Through six seasons, Aaron Nola hasn’t played anybody more than the Atlanta Braves, who he owns a fifth of his 55 career wins against with a dominant 2.82 ERA through 192 1/3 innings. The Braves are still a very scary lineup, so there is risk involved, but it sure looks a whole lot easier without Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies.

Much of Walker Buehler’s struggles thus far can be attributed to his home run rate, which has skyrocketed up to 2.37 long balls per nine innings, up from a sub-1 in each of his previous two seasons. He’ll get a chance to get back on track against a Colorado Rockies team he’s had moderate success against previously, holding the likes of Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story to a combined 10-for-50. He’s risky, but his ceiling is right there or beyond that of Aaron Nola’s.

There is arguably no hotter team in baseball right now than the San Diego Padres, who are currently riding a four-game grand slam streak. I think this will have McCullers fairly low owned, which paired with the right-hander’s hit-or-miss season thus far, make him a solid GPP play in my eyes.

Heaney has been quietly very good against the Athletics, holding many of their impact bats such as Matt Chapman (1-for-10), Marcus Semien (3-for-16) & Mark Canha (1-for-13) at bay. While risky, I think Heaney could be a sneaky source of 35+ FanDuel points. 

Catcher/First Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
J.T. Realmuto (PHI) @ ATL $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jose Abreu (CWS) @ CHC $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Pedro Severino (BAL) vs. BOS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

While most of Realmuto’s counting stats have come against right-handed pitchers, he’s actually been better against lefties, where he’s slashing .375/.474/.750 with an incredible 222 wRC+. He gets a lefty tonight in Max Fried, who he already owns five hits against including two homers.

Abreu goes up against Jon Lester, who’s quietly been struggling against right-handed hitters, owning a 5.75 xFIP through 81 batters faced. Abreu is familiar with Lester, too, as he’s 8-for-21 with a home run and five RBI against the potential Hall of Famer.

Severino is an interesting one, as the Red Sox are expected to roll out Colten Brewer as an opener for Darwinzon Hernandez, who will be making his season debut. Both Brewer and Hernandez struggle in righty-on-righty matchups. Brewer is giving up a wOBA of .375, and Hernandez surrendered one of .404 in 2019. Both of them also have xFIPs north of five. As for Severino, while he’s much better against left-handers, he’s built his breakout season on righty-on-righty matchups, where he’s 19-for-59 with three homers and 14 RBI.

Second Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Garrett Hampson (COL) @ LAD $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ketel Marte (ARI) @ SF $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Scott Kingery (PHI) @ ATL $2,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

As mentioned above, much of Walker Buehler’s struggles can be blamed on the long ball. Most of these homers, four out of five to be exact, have been from righty-on-righty matchups, which Garrett Hampson has found success on to the tune of a .325/.391/.575 slash line through 40 at-bats this season. While a long ball is far from guaranteed, a leadoff man that can hit, steal, and has a favorable power matchup is more than acceptable at $2,500.

Ketel Marte hasn’t been breaking any slates lately, though he has been hitting the ball well and is riding a five-game hit streak that includes four multi-hit games. While most of his damage has been done on the right side of the plate this year, he’s been no slouch as an LHH, which is where he’ll start tonight against Logan Webb. Webb has given up a rough .371 wOBA to left-handed hitters this year, and that’s despite his 3.54 ERA, which has actually outperformed his xFIP by 1.52 points.

Kingery has been terrible so far this season, but a lot of this can be attributed to an absurdly low .154 BABIP. That’s a whole .183 points lower than the .337 he posted in his breakout campaign last year! This bad luck caused his price to fall all the way down to $2,100, where he sits now despite having a matchup against Max Fried, who he’s already homered off twice.

Third Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Kyle Seager (SEA) vs. TEX $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Matt Carpenter (STL) vs. CIN $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Evan Longoria (SF) vs. ARI $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Seager has crushed lefty vs lefty matchups this season, as he sports a fantastic 198 wRC+ with a monstrous .348 ISO through 28 plate appearances. He draws one tonight against Kolby Allard, who’s given up a career .346 average and .397 wOBA against left-handed hitters.

Matt Carpenter is already 13-for-28 with four homers, six RBI and eight walks against the Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani. Even better, though, is that all of those came before this year. DeSclafani has really struggled against left-handed hitting this season, giving up a terrible .456 wOBA and 7.82 FIP thus far.

Longoria goes up against Robbie Ray, who has struggled against right-handed hitting to the tune of an abysmal .415 wOBA and 8.47 FIP. While Ray is much, much better than those numbers suggest, you want to take advantage of them while they are what they are, and Longoria is a solid choice to attack him with — he’s already 6-for-12 with a homer, three doubles and six walks against him.

Shortstop

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Corey Seager (LAD) vs. COL $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) @ BAL $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
David Fletcher (LAA) @ OAK $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Seager has slaughtered right-handed pitching this season, and he owns an incredible .452 wOBA to go with five homers and four doubles through 54 at-bats. He’ll draw one in Jon Gray, who has induced a soft-hit rate of just 8.8% with a 5.73 FIP against left-handed hitting this year. Oh, and he also already owns a homer against Gray.

Despite breaking out in 2019, the Orioles’ John Means has always been somewhat soft against right-handed hitting, where he has a career xFIP of 5.74. As for Bogaerts, he’s slashing .371/.389/.686 with a wRC+ of 175 against LHPs this season and is 5-for-12 with a home run in his career against Means.

Fletcher is enjoying a solid start to the season that has him slashing .299/.364/.449 through 121 plate appearances. A big part of Fletcher’s breakout is thanks to his gains in righty-on-righty matchups, where he owns a .315 average accompanied by a very good .351 wOBA. He gets one of those matchups tonight against Mike Fiers, who he’s already 7-for-14 against.

Outfield

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Luis Robert (CWS) @ CHC $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
J.D. Martinez (BOS) @ BAL $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) vs. CWS $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Whit Merrifield (KC) vs. MIN $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jesse Winker (CIN) @ STL $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 

As noted while talking about Jose Abreu, Jon Lester has struggled even more against RHH than his numbers suggest. What’s different between Robert and Abreu, however, is that while Abreu also hits righties, Robert has done pretty much all of his damage against LHP — he has a .303/.361/.606 slash line with a 162 wRC+ and four home runs. He’s the guy to include in most White Sox stacks.

As I mentioned above, John Means has struggled a good deal against right-handed hitting, allowing a .319 wOBA to them throughout his career. While Martinez doesn’t have the slash line against Means that Bogaerts does, he does own two home runs against him and famously loves left-handed pitching.

Schwarber is having a bit of a weird year that has him hitting lefties for a 140 wRC+ while struggling mightily against right-handers. He won’t have to worry about RHPs out of the gate tonight, as he draws the White Sox’s Dallas Keuchel, who owns an eye-popping soft-hit rate of just 5.9% in lefty on lefty matchups.

Jake Odorizzi will be making his third straight start against the Royals tonight. While Merrifield is just 1-for-7 in the previous two games, that’s a lot of looks that will help him tremendously this time around as he hopes to add to his collection of three homers against the Twins’ starter.

Winker has cooled off a bit after his tirade that resulted in seven multi-hit outings in eight contests, but he draws another favorable righty-on-lefty matchup against Dakota Hudson, who has a 5.45 career FIP against left-handed hitters. Winer is 4-for-8 against him.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Nelson Cruz (OF – MIN) $4,000: He’ll be the highest owned bat in many contests tonight. For good reason, though, as he has crushed the Royals’ Danny Duffy for five home runs and 10 RBI in his career.
  • Mike Trout (OF – LAA) $4,500: Like Cruz, Trout also owns five long balls against his opponent, Mike Fiers. He’s also Mike Trout — when isn’t he worth his price tag?
  • Cody Bellinger (OF – LAD) $3,900: Bellinger draws a familiar foe in Jon Gray, who he owns 10 hits with four doubles and a triple against through just 16 at-bats.
  • Tim Anderson (SS – CWS) $3,700: Anderson is 12-for-20 with four home runs so far against left-handed pitching this year. He draws one in Jon Lester, who I’ll talk about below.
  • Joey Gallo (OF – TEX) $3,700: Gallo has slugged left-handed hitting for an unheard-of .552 ISO so far this year. He gets on in Nick Margevicius, who’s given up a .676 slugging-percentage to left-handed hitters throughout his career.

5 Notable Players To Fade

  • Manny Machado (3B – SD) $3,100: While Machado has looked much better recently, he goes up against a rough righty in Lance McCullers Jr. who he’s hitless against through 11 at-bats.
  • Jon Lester (SP – CHC) $7,900: Lester has gotten off to a nice start to the season, giving up no more than one run in three of his four starts thus far. Things aren’t as great as they seem, though, as Lester owns an abysmal 5.75 xFIP against right-handed hitting, which the White Sox are absolutely armed to the teeth with.
  • Ryan McMahon (2B – COL) $2,500: McMahon is at his best against left-handers inside of Coors. He’ll be at Dodger Stadium facing a right-hander in Walker Buehler, who he’s 2-for-18 against in his career.
  • Marcus Semien (SS – OAK) $2,900: While Semien is coming off of an eight-game hit streak, his average still sits at a lousy .214 and he goes up against the Angels’ Andrew Heaney, who he has just three hits against through 16 at-bats.
  • Kolten Wong (2B – STL) $2,500: While Wong gets a tremendous matchup on paper against Anthony DeSclafani, he’s hitless in his career against the Reds’ starter through 21 at-bats with nine strikeouts.

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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