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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Monday (8/24)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Aug 24, 2020

Jesus Luzardo draws a Rangers squad that ranks 26th in wRC+ (68) against lefties this year.

An ultra-pricey ace is included in the studs worth their salary section of today’s piece, but bargain hunters have a pair of excellent alternatives for hitter-friendly team builds at their disposal, too. The hitting value plays for today feature a few more punts than usual with rostering the top-priced pitcher on tonight’s slate in mind.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs. COL $8,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jesus Luzardo (OAK) @ TEX $7,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Both the Diamondbacks and Athletics are rock-solid -150 moneyline favorites, according to the BettingPros consensus line. That’s a good starting point for using Kelly or Luzardo as your starter. Their five-star matchups also enhance the appeal of spinning down to them from the top pitching option or the other pricey starting pitchers on this slate.

The Rockies are awful on the road. You can see the road numbers for a bunch of their key players since 2017 in this table from FanGraphs. As for Kelly’s performance this year, his 2.59 ERA in five starts spanning 31.1 innings overstates how good he’s been this year, but his 3.89 SIERA and 23.2 K% are both good.

Luzardo draws a Rangers squad that ranks 26th in wRC+ (68) against lefties this year with a bloated 26.1 K%. As you can see in this table of stats against lefties since 2017, using a larger sample still yields a plus matchup for the young lefty. Luzardo’s twirled a 3.67 ERA, 4.25 SIERA, and 23.9 K% in six appearances (four starts) totaling 27.0 innings this year. I slightly prefer him to Kelly due in large part to the $900 discount he offers.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Christian Walker (ARI) vs. COL $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Matt Davidson (CIN) @ MIL $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Stephen Vogt (ARI) vs. COL $2,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Tonight is only a seven-game slate, and not every position is overflowing with exciting options. Case in point, first base is rather bland. A pair of Diamondbacks, Walker and Vogt, get nods essentially because of their favorable matchup against Ryan Castellani (4.70 SIERA). Davidson frequently makes his way into the lineup against lefties, and you could do worse than his .236 ISO and 133 wRC+ against southpaws since 2017 at such a cheap price.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Cesar Hernandez (CLE) vs. MIN $2,700 ⭐⭐ Medium
Kolten Wong (STL) vs. KC $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Luis Arraez (MIN) @ CLE $2,100 ⭐⭐ Medium

 
If first base is bland, second base is milquetoast — save for a forthcoming option at the keystone position featured in the studs worth their salary section. Hernandez and Wong are essentially in the table because they’re cheap and hit leadoff for their respective clubs. Arraez is my favorite option of the trio, though. At just $100 above the minimum salary, you’re getting really good bang for your buck in the form of a hitter with a .386 OBP and 125 wRC+ in 319 plate appearances against righties since he reached the majors last year.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) @ MIL $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Eduardo Escobar (ARI) vs. COL $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Maikel Franco (KC) @ STL $2,600 High

 
Suarez is the value play at the hot corner tonight. In 511 plate appearances against lefties since 2017, he’s tattooed them for a .407 OBP, .266 ISO, and 148 wRC+. He’s a steal.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Carlos Correa (HOU) vs. LAA $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jorge Polanco (MIN) @ CLE $2,900 ⭐⭐ Medium
Andrelton Simmons (LAA) @ HOU $2,200 ⭐⭐⭐ High

 
If you’re looking to nab the top pitching option and a stud bat or two, punting at shortstop with Simmons isn’t a terrible move. He has a respectable .341 OBP and 106 wRC+ against them since 2017. If you’re not punting the position, the guy to use is Correa. He’s amassed a .419 OBP, .183 ISO, and 154 wRC+ against southpaws since 2017 and, like Suarez, is a steal.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ian Happ (CHC) @ DET $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kole Calhoun (ARI) vs. COL $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Kyle Tucker (HOU) vs. LAA $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
David Peralta (ARI) vs. COL $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) @ DET $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Teammates galore in the value outfield options. A couple more Diamondbacks offer cracks at below-average Castellani. Out of the two, I like Peralta a bit better at a $300 discount from Calhoun.

Casey Mize takes the bump for his second start in The Show after allowing three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings against the White Sox in his debut. Happ and Schwarber will hold the platoon advantage against the right-handed rookie, and each have done above-average work against righties since 2017 with a 128 wRC+ and 119 wRC+, respectively.

Tucker’s inclusion might seem odd in a lefty-lefty matchup, but he’s been productive against lefties in his young career. Further, Patrick Sandoval has coughed up a .556 SLG and .359 wOBA to 71 left-handed batters faced since last year. That’s hardly a big sample, but the struggles against lefties is enough to further Tucker’s case for usage tonight.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Trevor Bauer, CIN ($12,000): Bauer’s been an unstoppable force this year and ranks first in ERA (0.68) and strikeout percentage (43.6 K%) this year among qualified pitchers. He and the Reds are -130 favorites tonight.
  • Mike Trout, LAA ($4,600): Trout’s the priciest hitter on this slate, but with a .431 OBP, .251 ISO, and 156 wRC+ against lefties since 2017 and a lack of studs I’m inclined to use at many of the hitter positions, he’s worth his sticker price tonight.
  • Nick Castellanos, CIN ($4,200): Castellanos is another lefty masher with a .388 OBP, .273 ISO, and 162 wRC+ against southpaws since 2017.
  • Christian Yelich, MIL ($4,100): Yelich is a contrarian play facing Bauer tonight. All the man’s done against righties in Milwaukee since joining the Brewers in 2018 is rip them for a .420 OBP, .383 ISO, and 187 wRC+. Sounds like the marks of a sweet GPP contrarian play.
  • Jose Altuve, HOU ($3,700): Altuve’s risen back up Houston’s order. His rise is probably partly attributable to Alex Bregman hitting the IL, but Altuve’s recorded multiple hits in four of his last five games and has a track record of excellence against lefties.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Jack Flaherty, STL ($10,000): Flaherty’s still on a pitch count as a result of getting stretched back out after the Cardinals extended run of postponed games. He’s unusable at a five-figure salary on a pitch count.
  • Charlie Blackmon, COL ($4,000): Blackmon has a 102 wRC+ on the road since 2017. Pass.
  • Trevor Story, COL ($3,900): Story has been exactly a league-average hitter with a 100 wRC+ on the road since 2017. That’s not gonna cut it at his salary.
  • Nelson Cruz, MIN ($4,300): Cruz draws righty Aaron Civale and his .272 wOBA allowed to righties since last year. This isn’t the spot to pay up for Nelly.
  • Joey Gallo, TEX ($3,800): Gallo’s prodigious power plays even in same-handed matchups, but Luzardo has been tough as nails against lefties thus far holding the 41 of them he’s faced to a .263 SLG and .215 wOBA.

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Whether you’re new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to more advanced strategy – like How to Make Custom Fantasy Baseball Rankings with Microsoft Excel – to learn more.

Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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