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FanDuel MLB DFS Strategy Advice: Saturday (8/29)

Aug 29, 2020

Ryan Braun remains one of the most affordable first basemen on FanDuel

I’ve typically started this article by reviewing what games will not be included on the Saturday slate over at FanDuel. This intro will also need to outline which games are being left off the slate, but for different reasons.

We always have to deal with weather delays or postponements in MLB DFS. 2020 saw us have to juggle postponements or doubleheaders related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, players across the MLB (and other sports) have decided to sit out games in protest of the racial injustice that tragically resides in this nation.

I understand that you want to indulge in sports and DFS as a means of escape from the work week or what is going on in the world around us. However, when games are being delayed or postponed, it is impossible to separate the two issues. When players we love to see on the field have traveled and played games during a pandemic but have decided to hang up the cleats for a game or two in protest of something more important, I think it at least deserves a mention. It deserves our attention. We can all be better.

With all of that being said, be careful if you do decide to play any form of DFS. Check your lineups all the way up until game time. Have contingency plans in place. Be prepared to respect the decisions of the players. My hope is that we get to cheer for them, but that is ultimately not up to us.

Games not on the Saturday slate over at FanDuel: Tigers-Twins, Cubs-Reds, Astros-Athletics. Throughout this piece, I will reference implied team totals and winning probabilities that are generated from our consensus odds over at BettingPros.com.

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Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jack Flaherty (STL) vs. CLE $10,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Pablo Lopez (MIA) vs. TBR $8,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Dylan Cease (CHW) vs. KCR $8,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Griffin Canning (LAA) vs. SEA $6,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
The top arms for the Saturday slate also have the toughest matchups. Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals will be opposed by Carlos Carrasco of the Indians in a game that does not have a true Vegas favorite. What Flaherty lacks in win probability, he can make up with his strikeout upside against a Cleveland team that is susceptible to the punchout and has struggled to score runs all year. Flaherty is my top choice in that pitcher’s duel in St. Louis.

Pablo Lopez has gone at least five innings in every start this season and has yet to allow more than two runs in an outing. His young teammate, the electric Sixto Sanchez, managed to toss seven scoreless innings and rack up ten strikeouts against this same Rays lineup on Friday night. Tampa Bay has the second-most strikeouts in the league coming into Saturday’s action.

Cease has notched a quality start in all of his last three outings. After a poor showing in his first start of the season at Cleveland, he has posted at least 30 FanDuel fantasy points in every appearance since. He has strikeout upside against a Kansas City lineup that is going down on strikes above the MLB average.

If you are looking to save on salary at the pitcher position, Canning is my favorite choice. It’s been a disappointing year for the second-year player. He is still looking for his first win in 2020, but I feel that he has a solid chance to pick that up on Saturday at home against the Mariners. Canning has not been as bad as his stats suggest in 2020, as he has faced the Oakland Athletics three times and has not received much help from the defense behind him. With Andrelton Simmons and Anthony Rendon healthy on the infield, the  Angels defense should improve. Canning has always had strikeout upside, and he has already racked up 23 punchouts in 27.2 IP.

C/1B

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ryan Braun (MIL) @ PIT $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Eric Thames (WAS) @ BOS $2,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) vs. BAL $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Braun remains one of the most affordable first basemen on FanDuel, and he has been receiving opportunities as the leadoff hitter for the Brewers. Once again, the Brew Crew will be facing a Pirates team that is allowing over five runs per game.

Thames is the type of budget player that can pay off for DFS managers. He has the ability to hit the ball out of the park, and he has a low salary. The Nationals-Red Sox game has an over/under of 11.5, and the Nationals have an implied team total of 5.89 runs. Thames figures to be involved in the action if this does indeed become a high scoring affair.

Though it may not have the glamour of a major league park, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has not minded at all making the AAA park in Buffalo his home. In his past two home games, the young star has gone four-for-eight with three doubles, a HR, four RBIs, and four runs scored. He is still considerably cheaper than the elite options at 1B.

2B

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ryan McMahon (COL) vs. SDP $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Howie Kendrick (WAS) @ BOS $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jake Cronenworth (SDP) @ COL $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Like most hitters, Ryan McMahon enjoys hitting at Coors Field. The last time the Rockies second baseman started a game at home, he clocked two HRs on his way to a 50 point night on FanDuel. Just make sure that he is in the lineup on Saturday against southpaw Adrian Morejon of the Padres.

The journeyman Kendrick has put together a solid 2020 campaign, as he is hitting .313 on the year with two HRs, 11 RBIs, and 10 runs scored. He homered on Friday night, and his Nationals have one of the highest implied team totals on the slate.

Also playing at Coors Field on Saturday, Jake Cronenworth is enjoying a breakout season for the Padres. The entire lineup of San Diego has been able to put up crooked numbers, and Cronenworth has been a large contributor. He is hitting .360 on the season including three HRs, 12 RBIs, and 15 runs scored.

3B

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Asdrubal Cabrera (WAS) @ BOS $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Rafael Devers (BOS) vs. WAS $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Yoan Moncada (CHW) vs. KCR $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
We once again look to the game at Fenway Park that has an over/under of 11.5. Starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Chris Mazza have struggled this year, and we expect this contest to feature plenty of scoring. The 3B for each team is in play here, as Cabrera is below the $3,000 mark and Devers still offers salary relief when compared to the elite options at the hot corner.

Moncada is four-for-eight with two doubles in his last couple home games. The White Sox have been able to score runs at a high rate all year, and Moncada has been a key cog in their offense with five HRs, 16 RBIs, and 16 runs scored.

SS

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) vs. WAS $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
David Fletcher (LAA) vs. SEA $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Nick Ahmed (ARI) vs. SFG $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
The elite shortstops are in smash spots as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Trevor Story will be playing at Coors Field. Trea Turner will be playing on the other side of this high-scoring affair at Fenway Park, and he also carries a high price tag. However, Bogaerts offers some salary relief while allowing us to get a piece of the Red Sox offense.

Fletcher has been the leadoff man for the Halos all year long, and he has quietly been one of the best in baseball. Going into Saturday’s action, he is hitting .314 with three HRs, 13 RBIs, and 22 runs scored. He also has nine doubles and fifteen walks to go along with a couple of stolen bases. He will hit in front of fellow right-handed hitters Mike Trout and reigning AL Player of the Week Anthony Rendon in a matchup against Seattle’s southpaw Justus Sheffield.

If you are really looking to save money at the shortstop position, Ahmed is always a great budget option. He is consistently in the lineup for the Diamondbacks due to his defensive prowess, but he has been a much better hitter at the midway point of the 2020 season. He has three HRs, 17 RBIs, 16 Runs scored, and two stolen bases on the shortened season. The Arizona offense should have success against Trevor Cahill of the Giants who comes into Saturday’s action with a 5.98 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.

OF

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Matt Kemp (COL) vs. SDP $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Alex Verdug0 (BOS) vs. WAS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
David Peralta (ARI) vs. SFG $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Matt Kemp at Coors Field? Check. Matt Kemp against a left-handed pitcher? Check. With a salary just above $3,000, I’m in on Kemp at this price. He is three-for-eight with a HR, three RBIs, and three runs scored in his last two starts at home, including the HR on Friday night.

Rinse, repeat. The Boston players tend to have a more affordable salary when directly compared to their Washington counterparts, and even when compared to the teams playing at Coors Field. The Red Sox could offer sneaky value as they are expected to score just as many runs as the Nationals in this high-scoring contest at Fenway Park. That all starts with the leadoff hitter Verdugo who is hitting .287 with five HRs, 12 RBIs, and 19 runs scored on the year.

Another underrated lineup for the slate is the Diamondbacks. They are getting to face Trevor Cahill for the second time in the last six days. While Cahill had success against the D-Backs last Sunday, Arizona will have the opportunity to adjust their approach. After tossing a complete game in which he dominated Arizona bats a week ago, Tyler Anderson was hit around for nine hits and seven earned runs in less than five innings of work on Friday night. I expect the Diamondbacks to be able to make similar adjustments against Cahill. Peralta is the cleanup hitter, and he is a left-handed hitter who will benefit against a righty in Cahill.

Three Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Nolan Arenado (3B – COL): He has put up FanDuel performances of 12, 22.2, and 25.4 fantasy points in his last three games. Only one of those games came at Coors Field, where the righty will get to face off against a southpaw with a 5.79 ERA in Adrian Morejon of the Padres.
  • Juan Soto (OF – WAS) $4,700: Remember that game at Fenway Park we have been talking about? Well, Soto will be playing in that one as well. The lefty is hitting an absurd .368 on the season and already has nine HRs despite missing the first part of the season after a positive Covid-19 test.
  • Fernando Tatis (SS – SDP) $4,900: He is once again the most expensive hitter on the slate, but he has arguably been the best hitter in baseball in 2020. The shortstop enters Saturday’s action with 13 home runs, 30 RBIs, and 32 runs scored. He has also walked 15 times and swiped six bags. He gets to hit at Coors Field on Saturday.

Three Notable Players to Fade

  • Shohei Ohtani (OF – LAA) $3,000: While the elite right-handed bats in the Angels lineup will benefit on Saturday, Ohtani could struggle against lefty Justus Sheffield. The tw0-way player is just a .233 career hitter with a .371 slugging percentage against southpaws in his career.
  • Cody Bellinger (OF – LAD) $4,200: There are plenty of great outfield options, and I just don’t see the value in paying up for Bellinger. While I didn’t write him up in the pitchers section, Lance Lynn is having a terrific season on the bump. I prefer players like Mike Trout, Juan Soto, or Charlie Blackmon who are all similarly priced.
  • Jose Ramirez (3B – CLE) $3,800: I really don’t want any Cleveland hitters against Jack Flaherty, but I’ll highlight Ramirez here. While he is one of the better young hitters in the game, there are simply too many great options at the hot corner. As a team that has struggled to score all year, I’m not expecting a sudden outburst against a great opposing pitcher.

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Shane Bryant is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @ShaneBryant31.

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