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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (8/27)

by Jon Mathisen | @eazymath | Featured Writer
Aug 27, 2020

We only have a handful of games to choose from in the main late swap on Thursday, so paying up for “proven” players is a worthy strategy. We can afford to take some calculated risks at pitcher, as no matchups really jump off the page there. There are some intriguing offensive stacks for Baltimore, Minnesota, and Toronto as well. Just a reminder to always check your lineups prior to the first pitch, just to make sure that there weren’t any late scratches or postponements. Here we go.

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Value Plays: Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Chris Bassitt (OAK)  @ TEX $7,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Sixto Sanchez (MIA)  @ NYM $6,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Globe Life Park in Arlington, through a very small sample size, is the opposite of the old Globe Life Park, which means it’s good for pitchers. It has a park factor score of 0.800, with 1.000 being neutral, making it more favorable for pitching. Contrast that with the 1.245 park factor in the old Rangers park. To make things better for Bassitt, Texas is third to last in total home runs, and they’re second to last with a .211 team batting average. He’s also increased his ground ball rate in every start this year; he induced 11 of them in his last start alone. Add this all up, and it’s a solid blueprint for a low WHIP pitcher like Bassitt. He’s registered a 1.080 WHIP on the year, and the A’s offense always gives their pitchers a chance to grab a win.

Sanchez is coming off his MLB debut against the Nationals, where his fastball jumped off the screen and clocked 99-100 MPH consistently. He did give up a few home runs against a very potent offense in Nationals Park, which is one of the best ballparks for hitters, but he still got the win, as the Marlins offense picked him up. Although he was ramped up to throw around 90 pitches, he was pulled after 66 through five innings. Now he gets to face the Mets at Citi Field, which is one of the friendlier ballparks in the league for pitchers. Yes, there’s definitely some risk in starting a rookie with pitch count limitations, but the 22-year old flamethrower should have a lot of the jitters out of the way, and there were encouraging signs to take away from his first start — he didn’t walk a batter, and he induced seven swinging strikes and 11 looking. He’s a dart throw, but a cheap one, and he could pay off if he racks up the strikeouts and the Marlins keep the game competitive.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Renato Nunez (BAL)  @ TB $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Yan Gomes (WSH)  vs. PHI $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Nunez is 4-for-10 with a home run in his career against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, and he’s hitting .286 with a .747 OPS against lefties across 21 at-bats this year as well. The first baseman is batting in the heart of the Baltimore lineup against a pitcher who’s struggled this year, especially at home (4.86 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, four home runs). Fire him up.

Yan Gomes has a nine-game hitting streak and a .893 OPS in the month of August (44 at-bats). He’s a cheap piece of a loaded lineup that’s facing a rookie in Spencer Howard, who hasn’t looked great in any of his three starts so far this year. Righties are hitting .296 off of Howard with a .368 BABIP. Gomes could give you great ROI for his price and allow you to spend up elsewhere.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Robinson Cano (NYM)  vs. MIA $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Hanser Alberto (BAL)  @ TB $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jean Segura (PHI)  @ WSH $2,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Over the last two weeks, Cano has hit three home runs and driven in seven with a 1.077 OPS. He gets to face rookie right-hander Sixto Sanchez, who is making just his second career start. Robby has always hit righties well, as he has a .314/.363/.523 batting line against them over his career. You’re paying up a bit for his services, but this is a smash spot for the veteran second baseman.

Like his teammate Renato Nunez, Alberto has career success against Ryan Yarbrough (3-for-9 with a homer). He’s scuffled a bit at the dish lately, going just 8-for-35, but he’s hit lefties consistently all season. He’s clocked a .364/.375/.591 batting line across 22 AB’s against southpaws this year. Alberto is likely to hit at the top of the O’s lineup and is in a good position to get some runs for your squad.

It’s never easy recommending players against Max Scherzer, but Jean ‘the hitting machine’ is 5-for-15 with one home run against him over his career. This is the first time in a long time that Mad Max has actually looked human, too, as he’s given up nine runs over his last two starts. I think there’s an arbitrage opportunity here with Segura’s affordable price and historical success against Scherzer, who’s been inconsistent this year.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Marwin Gonzalez (MIN)  @ DET $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Brian Anderson (MIA)  @ NYM $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

There’s a lot to like in Gonzalez’s matchup with the embattled Matthew Boyd. First of all, Gonzo is 7-for-15 with a 1.333 OPS against Boyd in his career. The season splits favor Gonzalez as well, as he has a .313 BA and a .385 BABIP against lefties across 32 at-bats this year. Boyd enters Thursday with an ugly 8.48 ERA, 1.744 WHIP, and a 33:11 K/BB ratio over 28.2 innings. He’s yet to make it past 5.1 innings pitch in any of his six starts this year, either.

At the time of this writing, the Mets still haven’t named a starter for Thursday’s game against the Marlins. It’s likely to be Steven Matz or Robert Gsellman, and the good news is that Anderson has career success against both pitchers. The 27-year old went through a lengthy slump through the middle of August, but he’s picked it up lately, going 6-for-17 with three doubles. He’s simply a low-cost option at a position that isn’t very deep on the main slate.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Xander Bogaerts (BOS)  @ TOR $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Marcus Semien (OAK)  @ TEX $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jorge Polanco (MIN)  @ DET $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

Xander is mashing lefties this year (.378/.410/.757 over 37 at-bats) and has throughout his career (.305/.383/.476). He gets to face LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu at the launching pad in Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, which is the third friendliest ballpark to hitters in the MLB in 2020 (1.519 park factor). Bogaerts has three of his six home runs over the last two weeks, and he has a chance to leave the yard in Buffalo during the series.

It’s no secret that Semien got off to a brutal start this season. His season batting line of .234/.291/.387 still doesn’t look pretty, but he’s reached base safely in 18-of-19 games and is 7-for-13 over his last three games with a home run and three walks. Jordan Lyles has a 7.16 ERA and a 1.653 WHIP in 16.1 innings (three starts) at home this year, and Semien will be in his usual leadoff spot, which gives him plenty of chances to reach base and put up some points.

The switch-hitting Polanco has fared better against lefties (.313/.313/406 over 32 at-bats) than righties (.271/.319/.365 over 85 at-bats) this season and has a wealth of experience against Matthew Boyd. He’s gone 11-for-39 with two home runs and eight RBI in his career against the lefty. Polanco is an affordable piece of the Twins’ offense that’s likely to tee off on the struggling Boyd.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Teoscar Hernandez (TOR)  vs. BOS $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Randal Grichuk (TOR)  vs. BOS $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Mark Canha (OAK)  @ TEX $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Stephen Piscotty (OAK)  @ TEX $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adam Eaton (WSH)  vs. PHI $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Teoscar has been tearing the cover off the ball and is currently working on an eight-game hitting streak with four home runs and five RBI. He’s slashing .324/.361/.794 at home this year, and he has a 1.001 OPS against lefties on the season. He’s a safe, cheapish bet to wreak havoc against Boston’s Martin Perez.

Grichuk has been on fire in August, like his teammate mentioned above, putting up a solid .297/.333/.615 slash line with eight home runs and 20 RBI over 91 at-bats. He’s also crushed left-handed pitching this year to the tune of a .429 batting average with a hefty 1.345 OPS over 35 at-bats. Stacking him with Hernandez could be a prize-winning combo.

Canha is the quintessential Money Ball Oakland Athletic — all he does is get on base. He’s reached base safely in 26-of-32 games and has a .404 OBP on the season. The A’s have been shuffling their lineup around lately, and Canha, who leads the team with a .278 batting average, has hit clean up in back-to-back games. He’s a safe floor if you’re running low on cash and need to round out your outfield.

Piscotty, not Matt Chapman or Matt Olson, is leading the A’s in RBI with 26. He’s been especially hot lately, rocking a .927 OPS with four home runs and 20 RBI over the last two weeks. Much like Canha, he’s an affordable piece of a great offense in a plus matchup.

Eaton has feasted on right-handed pitching this year, contributing nearly all of his counting stats (three home runs and 12 RBI) with a .310/.355/.521 slash line. Phillies rookie Spencer Howard has experienced some growing pains through his first three starts, and a tough matchup at the Nationals isn’t what I would call a ”get right” spot.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • J.T. Realmuto (PHI) $3,600: He’s only 3-for-40 in his career against Mad Max, but he’s slugging .554 over the last two weeks and has a career-high nine home runs in the month of August.
  • Juan Soto (WSH) $4,500: Over 42 at-bats against RHP this year, Soto has four home runs and nine RBI with a .405 BA and a 1.281 OPS. Enter rookie right-hander Spencer Howard, who’s registered a 6.17 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP through three starts.
  • Bryce Harper (PHI) $4,200: Harper has 11 runs, three homers, 11 RBI, and three stolen bases over the last two weeks to go along with a 1.039 OPS. He’s been crushing lefties and righties, so Mad Max, who’s looked shaky, shouldn’t strike fear.
  • Randy Dobnak (MIN) $7,200: Dobnak has picked up five wins for the Twins this season with a 1.78 ERA and a 1.022 WHIP. He’s only notched one quality start, though, and he isn’t a good bet for strikeouts. But a win is a win, and he’s got a good chance to nab his sixth against the Tigers.
  • Brandon Lowe (TB) $3,700: Even though he’s facing a fellow lefty in Baltimore’s John Means, Lowe is slashing .344/.462/.813 against LHP during his breakout season.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Max Scherzer (WSH) $10,600: You’re paying top dollar for Mad Max, who hasn’t been at the top of his game this year. He’s averaging 7.3 K/9 but has an uncharacteristic 4.31 ERA and 1.404 WHIP over 31.1 innings (six starts).
  • Trea Turner (WSH) $3,900: Even though he’s facing a struggling rookie in Spencer Howard, he’s the fourth most expensive player on the main slate, and that’s a steep price to pay at a deep position.
  • Joey Gallo (TEX) $3,600: Gallo is 2-for-2 with a homer against Bassitt, but he’s also 2-for-23 with no homers or RBI over his last six games. There are safer options out there.
  • Anthony Santander (BAL) $3,800: It’s hard to go against a guy that just had an 18-game hitting streak, but he’s facing a lefty, and the splits don’t favor him (.227/.292/.591 with two home runs and four RBI across 22 at-bats). The vast majority of his counting stats have come against RHP.
  • Matt Chapman (OAK) $3,700: He’s the priciest third baseman on the main slate, and he missed Wednesday’s game after getting hit in the helmet by a pitch on Tuesday. He’s likely to play on Thursday but his .240/.289/.560 batting line this year doesn’t justify his cost.

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Jon Mathisen is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @eazymath.

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