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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Tuesday 8/25

Aug 25, 2020

A trio of the game’s best aces (Bieber, Cole, Castillo) will take the hill on Tuesday, as well as a healthy handful of other quality starters (Giolito, Glasnow, Woodruff), so stacking a lineup anywhere in the league on Tuesday’s slate is a risky proposition. Additionally, there are still TBD’s in Houston and Atlanta, so choosing hitters from their opponents (Angels and Yankees, respectively) would be a leap of faith.

Normally, it would be easy to just stack the Bronx Bombers with three or four darts and a lineup card pinned to your wall — but with Judge, Torres, LeMahieu, and Stanton out, New York’s lineup does not offer the same appeal, especially without knowing Atlanta’s starter.  From a hitting perspective, there are some red-hot bats that deserve your attention; some of them are household names, some not so much but are deserving of our attention nonetheless.  So, if you want to deploy Bieber or Cole today, take a look below at some great bargains to help your budget.

Let’s get to it!

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Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Sean Manaea (OAK) @ TEX $6,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Luis Castillo (CIN) @ MIL $9,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs. CIN $7,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

You may look at Sean Manaea’s 6.39 ERA and think that I’m crazy. But I’m buying this super economical option for two main reasons. The first is obvious: he’s playing the Texas Rangers. Texas is easily one of the worst offenses in baseball, as they sport a .635 OPS (league-worst) and an ISO of .136 (only 23 homers all season). Since August 16th, their wRC+ is an almost unbelievably low 53, and they’ve struck out 26.8% of the time in that span. So, Manaea has a favorable matchup here.

The second reason I’m buying Manaea is for his underlying statistics that suggest his ERA is a result of some bad luck. His xFIP is 3.63, and his opponents’ BABIP is .359, well above his career .282 mark. He’s inducing ground balls 51.2% of the time, which are apparently finding too many holes. For what it’s worth, Texas batters have a pretty neutral .765 lifetime OPS against Manaea.

Luis Castillo has slipped a bit on fantasy charts in the 2020 campaign, but against the Brewers, there’s some reason for optimism. His K/9 is 12.30, and his SIERA is 3.43, a full run below his current ERA of 4.44. He’s also walking less (8.4%) than his career mark (8.6%) and limiting hard contact (32.9% per Statcast). He’s nearly eliminated the longball, as he’s allowed only one homer in 26.1 innings. So what gives with the 4.44 ERA? Well, a .403 BABIP might explain it. There’s simply no better time to buy low on Castillo, especially against the light hitting Brewers (80 wRC+, 26.0% K rate). With a handful of aces to choose from on Tuesday, Castillo might be the “bargain” you’re looking for.

Let’s just stay in Milwaukee, grab another beer, and swap dugouts for Brewers’ righty Brandon Woodruff. Woodruff is one of the most consistent pitchers in the Majors going back to last season, as he’s allowed three or fewer earned runs in his last 12 starts. His career HR/9 is a sparkling 0.91, so he has a knack for limiting damage, and this year is no different. He’s sporting a 53.6% ground ball rate while allowing three home runs in 30 2/3 innings pitched. You can count on the strikeouts as well (9.68 per 9 in 2020). Please note, though, that the Reds’ hitters have struck the ball particularly well against Woodruff in a small sample size (.985 OPS in 49 AB).

Catcher / First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) vs. BOS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Freddie Freeman (ATL) vs. NYY $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Miguel Sano (MIN) @ CLE $2,900 ⭐⭐ High

Vlad Jr. is on a solid hitting run of late, as he’s posted a hard-hit rate of 51.2% over the last two weeks. He’s seeing the ball well (6:4 BB:K in his last seven days) and draws Red Sox youngster Kyle Hart along with their bullpen. Hart has pitched 5 2/3 innings in two starts in 2020, and he’s surrendered two homers while posting a 6.80 xFIP in the tiny sample size.

Freddie Freeman has a tough draw against Gerrit Cole, but the lefty-righty matchup is favorable to Freeman, who has good numbers against Cole (.357 BA, .357 ISO in 16 PA). Freddie is also batting .361 over the last 14 days with a dazzling 11:3 BB:K rate. Finally, for a boom-or-bust option, I like Miguel Sano. Why would I recommend anyone against Shane Bieber? Sano is absolutely punishing baseballs right now, posting a 55.0% hard-hit rate since August 11th. He’s in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak that includes seven doubles and two home runs in that span. Against Bieber, Sano is 6-for-16 in his career with one home run.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jake Cronenworth (SD) @ SEA $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Cesar Hernandez (CLE) vs. MIN $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Keston Hiura (MIL) vs. CIN $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Rookie Jake Cronenworth has been very productive for the exciting San Diego Padres, as he’s batting .347 with three home runs. He gets the usually unfavorable lefty-lefty matchup with Marco Gonzales tonight, but Jake hit .357 against lefties in Triple-A Durham last year, and he’s 5-for-15 against southpaws in the big leagues in 2020.

Cesar Hernandez is not a very flashy option, but he’s hot right now, recording eight hits in his last four games, including homers in his last two. He’ll bat leadoff for Cleveland, where he’s been scoring runs with regularity (seven in last eight games). He’s not likely to hit more homers or drive in a lot of runs, but he’s pretty cheap and can contribute points in many ways. Keston Hiura is one of the few Brewers with any success against Luis Castillo, posting three hits in six at-bats, including a home run.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eduardo Escobar (ARI) vs. COL $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Yandy Diaz (TB) vs. BAL $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Alec Bohm (PHI) @ WSH $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Sometimes, you just have to ignore advanced statistics and hot-hitting and go with a hitter that owns a pitcher. Eduardo Escobar is 8-for-11 against German Marquez with three extra-base hits, including a homer.

Yandy Diaz is somewhat boom-or-bust, as he’s posted fantasy points of 3, 12, 37.4, 31.4, 0, and 0 in his last six games. He’s walked five times in the last three games and has pop (two homers in last 14 AB). He’ll have a somewhat favorable matchup when he faces lefty Tommy Milone of the Orioles; Milone’s peripherals are solid (3.77 xFIP, 1.13 HR/9, minuscule 2.9% BB rate), so Diaz is certainly a high-risk, high-reward candidate.

Bohm presents the third of three sub $3k options. The Phillies rookie is seeing the ball extremely well, batting .344 in 32 AB. He also went 3-for-3 with a homer on Monday night. He’s also walked more than he’s struck out (8:7). These are all unspectacular options, but they could be part of the solution to fitting in Bieber or Cole.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Trea Turner (WSH) vs. PHI $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Corey Seager (LAD) @ SF $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Dansby Swanson (ATL) vs. NYY $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Turner has really come on of late. He’s posted a hit in 14 of his last 15 games, and that includes a current 10-game hit streak. Since August 11th, he’s batting .404 with three doubles, two triples, three home runs, and he’s scored 15 runs in 12 games.

Corey Seager is one of my favorite hitters of 2020. Statcast has him at a 56.1% hard-hit rate, and he’s barreling the ball a whopping 19.5% of the time. When he’s on the field, he hurts the baseball, and he should be one the field on Tuesday when he faces Johnny Cueto. In 34 AB against the Giants’ right-hander, Seager is 12-for-34 with three homers and a 1.008 OPS. Swanson will face off against Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole, and he enters the game hitting .429 over the last two weeks. He is 2-for-5 with one home run against Cole in his career.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
David Peralta (ARI) vs. COL $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jesse Winker (CIN) @ MIL $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Wil Myers (SD) vs. SEA $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Luis Robert (CWS) vs. PIT $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) vs. BOS $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

David Peralta enjoys some solid success against German Marquez, though not nearly as much as teammate Eduardo Escobar. Still, it’s a more substantial record, as Peralta is 14-for-32 against Marquez with seven extra-base hits. He could be in line for some RBI opportunities and may rack them up against a guy he owns. Winker has found a groove in 2020, batting .315 with six homers. He’ll get a favorable lefty-righty matchup when he bats against Brandon Woodruff, against whom he is 6-for-9 with one bomb.

I love that Wil Myers is at $3,000 for his matchup against lefty Marco Gonzales. He’s murdering left-handed pitching so far in 2020, batting .407 with four dingers and three doubles in just 27 AB.  Statcast also has him at a 17.2% barrel percentage and a 45.3% hard-hit rate, so he’s bruising baseballs with regularity no matter the pitcher.

Another week, another Luis Robert plug. He’s homered four times in his last five games and barrels the ball 18.3% of the time. Pirates pitcher Steven Brault has yet to give up a home run in 12 innings this year, but walks a ton of hitters (career 4.67 BB/9) and has a career SIERA of 5.02, so Robert could be at the big kids’ table for a feast on Tuesday. Teoscar Hernandez is hitting baseballs very hard over the last two weeks (25.0% barrel rate, 58.3% hard-hit rate), resulting in a .313 BA with six homers in that span.  He’ll draw Kyle Hart and the Red Sox bullpen; Boston owns a 5.89 ERA in 2020.

Five Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Shane Bieber (CLE) $12,000: With some of the bargains above, Bieber’s price tag should pay off. His stats are eye-popping: 65-to-6 K:BB ratio, 14.39 K/9, and an equally impressive 1.11 ERA. Minnesota’s hitters do own a career .808 OPS against him in 127 AB, so buyers beware.
  • Juan Soto (WAS) $4,700: The most expensive hitter in the game on Tuesday is batting .400 with seven homers. He has a hard-hit rate of 62.5%.
  • Lucas Giolito (CWS) $10,400: If you need a cheaper option than Bieber or Cole, consider Giolito against the Pirates. Only the Rangers have a lower OPS on the season.
  • Jose Abreu (CWS) $4,000: Six homers in his last four games. He hasn’t scored less than 21.7 fantasy points since August 17th. He’s on fire.
  • Cavan Biggio (TOR) $4,000: Biggio will complete the Blue Jays stack against the struggling Sawx staff. He’s batting .356 with an 11:11 BB:K ratio and two homers in the last two weeks.

Five Notable Players to Fade

  • Chris Paddack (SD) $8,900: Even against the Mariners’ weak offense, it’s hard to ignore Paddack’s 11.7% barrel rate, 44.7% hard-hit rate, and 4.21 SIERA. Eight home runs allowed in 31 2/3 innings pitched is also ominous.
  • Randal Grichuk (TOR) $3,400: Grichuk has been hot and would go nicely in a stack on Tuesday, but he exited Monday’s game with back tightness.
  • Charlie Blackmon (COL) $3,900: Blackmon is day-to-day with a quadriceps issue and was scratched on Monday.
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) $3,800: Nolan is batting just .190 in his last 42 AB. When you also consider that Blackmon is possibly out and that Colorado is not playing in Colorado, it’s best to pass on Arenado on Tuesday.
  • Tyler Glasnow (TB) $9,000: Glasnow has not been effective in 2020 (5.57 BB/9, 1.71 HR/9), and Baltimore’s offense is eighth in baseball with a 109 wRC+.

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Steven Boysko is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Steven, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter, @StevenBoysko.

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