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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (8/13)

by Jon Mathisen | @eazymath | Featured Writer
Aug 13, 2020

Tatis has been the hottest hitter in baseball over the last two weeks

A whopping 18 teams have the day off on Thursday so we’re dealing with an abnormally small pool of players to select from. We only have six games total, four of which are part of the main slate. I’ve catered most of my selections to accommodate the main slate but threw in some players with good value in the early (WAS vs. NYM) and late (SDP vs. LAD) games. It doesn’t hurt to pay up for known commodities on shorthanded days like this and, when possible, stack players from potent offenses. With limited options, though, we’ll hunt for the best values we can find and also recommend where it’s worth paying a little extra. Go big or go home.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Yu Darvish (CHC)  vs. MIL $9,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Austin Voth (WAS)  @ NYM $7,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Trevor Williams (PIT)  @ CIN $7,100 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • Darvish scuffled a bit against the Brew Crew in his first start of the year (three runs over four innings with five strikeouts). He didn’t walk a batter in that game, however, and has an impressive 16:1 K/BB ratio on the season. Last year against the Brewers, which was a fine-tuned offensive machine, Darvish registered 0.90 ERA across two starts with a 15:1 K/BB ratio in 10.0 innings. I’m willing to bet that he’ll land somewhere in between his sterling 2019 numbers and his pedestrian 2020 start against Milwaukee. Split the difference and that makes him worth the investment.
  • Voth toes the rubber in the earliest game of the day and this looks to be a good matchup on paper. The Mets offense ranks in the bottom third of the league with 3.94/runs per game. New York usually fields a predominately left-handed lineup and Voth is holding lefty’s to a .111/.158/.111 batting line in 18 AB’s this year. You can’t expect a lot of K’s from the 28-year old, he has just seven over 10.0 innings thus far, but he’s only issued one walk over that same span. He’s a cheap option to produce a low WHIP and potentially lock up a win.
  • It’s never easy recommending pitchers at Great American Ball Park but Williams’ 2019 numbers against the Reds are worth looking into. In 2019 he registered a 2-1 record with a 1.80 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 6.1 K/9 across 25.0 innings (four starts) against Cincinnati. Also, in 12.0 career innings in Cincy he’s only given up four runs (3.00 ERA). He’s been decent overall for the Pirates in 2020 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.11 WHIP but does have an 0-3 record. There is some bad here as he’s prone to giving up the long ball (1.7 HR/9 in 2019) hence the high risk label next to his name. But if you’re sticking to the main slate and want to save money on pitching to spend up on offense then he’s not a bad option.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Wilson Contreras (CHC)  vs. MIL $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Joey Votto (CIN)  vs. PIT $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

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  • Contreras’ splits against lefties favor him in this matchup against Brett Anderson. For his career he has a .279/.374/.504 batting line against left-handed pitching. Anderson has looked suspect in his first two starts of the season as well as he’s yet to pitch into the fourth inning. He has been working his way back from a blister in his throwing hand, which caused him to start the year on injured list. I bet he’s still working some of that rust off and Contreras could reap the rewards. He has more counting stats upside than my other value play, Joey Votto.
  • Votto has excellent career numbers against Pirates starter Trevor Williams (.400/.423/.520) in 25 at-bats. The first-baseman started the season hot but a recent 0-for-16 slump sent his averages spiraling downwards. He broke out of said slump on Tuesday with a walk-off base hit and appears to be turning the corner. His plate discipline in 2020 is similar to his career marks and his .182 BABIP suggests he’s due for some positive regression.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Howie Kendrick (WAS)  @ NYM $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Michael Chavis (BOS)  vs. TAM $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • Kendrick comes into this matchup on quite the heater, going 12-for-25 so far in August. He’s facing Mets rookie David Peterson, who has been a pleasant surprise for New York, but has walked six batters while giving up 16 hits over his first three starts. A patient veteran like Kendrick is liable to tee off hitting behind experienced table setters Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, and Starlin Castro. He should also see better offerings from Peterson with the dangerous Juan Soto likely hitting cleanup one spot ahead of him.
  • Chavis is working on a four-game hitting streak and has success, albeit in a small sample size, against Tampa starter Tyler Glasnow. He’s got a pair of hits, including a home-run, in five career at-bats against the big right-hander. Glasnow has logged a 4.05 ERA in two career starts at Fenway and has also been inconsistent through his first three starts of 2020. While he does have 19 K’s across those starts (11.1 innings), he’s also walked eight batters, and has yet to pitch beyond 4.2 innings in any start. The Red Sox have generally fared well against him and Chavis is an inexpensive piece of Boston’s lineup.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Manny Machado (SDP)  @ LOS $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kris Bryant (CHC)  vs. MIL $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Yandy Diaz (TAM)  @ BOS $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

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  • After a rough start to the season Machado has really picked it up over the last week. He’s gone yard three times in the last four games and is facing the young Julio Urias. Urias has been decent but unspectacular in his previous starts against the Giants (twice) and D-Backs with a 10:6 K/BB over 15.0 innings. He’s done a good job limiting run damage but the Padres will be the young left-hander’s toughest test to date. Manny’s career splits against lefties (.287/.349/.500) are worth paying up for.
  • Like Machado above him, Bryant got off to a sluggish start with just a .196 batting-average and a .706 OPS. His slow start and hefty price tag means we’re hanging our hat on his career splits against lefties (.304/.413/.586). Those splits are amplified even more in 2020 with a .455 BA and a 1.236 OPS in 15 plate-appearances against LHP. Anderson has been nothing special through two starts this year and he’s the perfect candidate for Bryant to bust out of his slump against.
  • Diaz has at least one hit in nine of 10 games in August, four of those games were multi-hit efforts, three of which were against left-handed starting pitchers. Lefty Kyle Hart is making his major league debut for Boston and I’d put my money on the veteran with a penchant for hitting lefties and getting on base over his career (.289/.384/.452) to make his hay.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Javier Baez (CHC)  vs. MIL $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Freddy Galvis (CIN)  vs. PIT $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐ High

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  • Javy’s splits are quite dramatic with a .300 batting-average and .901 OPS against lefties versus a .260 BA/.760 OPS against righties. It’s worth stacking Cubs against lefty Brett Anderson and Baez figures to be one of the more reliable options at his position.
  • If you don’t want to pay a premium at shortstop then Galvis makes for an interesting dart throw. He’s better from the left side of the plate (.683 OPS) than the right (.658) and he’s fared much better at home this season than on the road. All three of his long balls have come at Great American Ball Park. An o-for-4 is certainly possible but the savings he gives you could pay off elsewhere.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Nick Castellanos (CIN)  vs. PIT $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Anthony Santander (BAL)  @ PHI $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tommy Pham (SDP)  @ LOS $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jose Martinez (TAM)  @ BOS $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Brandon Nimmo (NYM)  vs. WAS $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

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  • Castellanos has career success against Trevor Williams (.364/.462/.636) in 11 at-bats. He also has five homers in August and Williams is giving up 1.2 long balls per game. He’s got the most upside of any member of the Reds to take Williams deep and break out of his current 1-for-12 mini slump.
  • Santander has been on a tear in August and is a big reason why the upstart Orioles have a winning record. He’s currently working on a nine-game hitting streak with two home runs and nine RBI since August 2nd. Bet on him continuing to rake against Jake Arrieta.
  • Pham has killed it against left-handed pitching this year with a .785 OPS across 15 plate-appearances. Julio Urias is facing his toughest test of the season and Pham is an inexpensive piece of the Padres loaded lineup.
  • Martinez has always excelled against lefties (career .962 OPS) and he’s facing a rookie in Kyle Hart making his major league debut. The Rays are a patient team that will make young lefty work and Martinez with his .353 OBP is a safe bet to at least reach base and, possibly, score some runs.
  • Nimmo is getting on base at an extremely high clip this season. Entering Thursday he has a healthy .438 on-base percentage, which is top-1o in the league. He’s also 5-for-14 with two home runs over his last four games. He’s a good bet to hit leadoff for the Mets and if he gets four to five AB’s he’s likely to reach a couple of times, more than justifying his cheap price.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SDP) $4,500: He’s been the hottest hitter in baseball over the last two weeks with 12 runs, seven homers, and 12 RBI with a .407 OBP, .774 slugging-percentage, and four stolen bases to boot. Bet on the talent.
  • Christian Yelich (MIL) $4,400: Yelich is 4-for-11 with two long balls against Darvish in his career. After a slow start he’s picked it up in August with seven hits, including three home runs, in his last seven games.
  • Juan Soto (WAS) $4,300: It’s just hard to bet against a guy with a .423 batting average and a 1.444 OPS. Wowzer.
  • Bryce Harper (PHI) $4,300: Despite the fact he’s facing a lefty, Harper has been a force at the plate over his last five games with four multi-hit performances and two long balls.
  • Mookie Betts (LAD) $4,200: He’s gotten at least one base-knock in five of six games and is almost always worth paying up for, even in a tough matchup.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Tyler Glasnow (TB) $8,800: Apart from his crazy 37.3-percent strikeout rate, Glasnow has been rather pedestrian this year. He’s yet to make it past the fourth inning and has also walked eight batters in three starts. It’s just a steep price tag for strikeout upside.
  • Anthony Rizzo (CHC) $4,000: There are better options on the Cubs if you want to stack against Brett Anderson. Rizzo’s .143 batting average and .476 OPS against lefties doesn’t help matters.
  • Austin Meadows (TB) $3,600: Meadows is off to a painfully slow start in the counting stats department with one home run and four RBI. Even though he’s facing a rookie, a lefty at that, I’d rather spend my OF money elsewhere.
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) $4,000: Bellinger is just 1-for-6 in his career against Chris Paddack. Granted that one hit was a three-run home run but the risk of an o-for-3 with three strikeouts make the cost too great.
  • Max Muncy (LAD) $3,800: Muncy actually has career success against Paddack, going 3-for-6 with a home run. But his .581 OPS over the last two weeks give me hesitation to pay up in this spot.

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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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