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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (9/11)

Sep 11, 2020

We have ten games on the board tonight for a main slate that starts an hour later than usual. This one gets going at 8:00 EST, so keep you’ll have to keep your eye on the news line for an extra hour tonight. Let’s talk about some preferred plays and fades.

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Value Pitchers to Target

Kenta Maeda (MIN) vs. CLE $10,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Brandon Woodruff (MIL) vs. CHC $8,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Mike Fiers (OAK) @ TEX $7,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Maeda: The Twins’ ace comes in as the third most expensive pitcher on the board tonight, which could lower the ownership on him. This is an incredibly appealing spot as the Indians have been one of the worst offenses in baseball this year. So far, they have generated just 1.56 DraftKings points per plate appearance. There is also the chance that their best hitter, Jose Ramirez, misses another game tonight. He has missed two of the last three with a bruised hand. Maeda owns a 28% strikeout rate to go with a 7.3% walk rate over the last two seasons, and he has been especially elite in 2020, scoring fewer than 20 DraftKings points just once all year. This is too cheap of a price for him.

Woodruff: Things have not gone as smoothly for Woodruff lately after he got off to a ripping start to this season. He has failed to reach 15 DraftKings points in five of his last six starts, but the price has come down to a very manageable level because of it. For the last two seasons, Woody has a 29% strikeout rate and a 6% walk rate while giving up less than one home run per nine innings — those kinds of numbers are hard to find for $8,500 — so I’m willing to take a bit of a gamble that he’ll pitch like his normal self tonight. The Cubs are a fine offense, but they’re not a juggernaut by any means, as they average 1.69 DK points per plate appearance and strike out 23% of the time — a slightly below-average number.

Fiers: Of course, we should avoid playing pitchers with 16% strikeout rates at all costs, but this matchup is very appealing. Of all the projected lineups for tonight’s slate, the Rangers have the highest collective strikeout rate by a mile. They check-in at 28%, which is 3% more than I have seen all season long looking at these numbers. Fiers is still very good at limiting damage, generating soft contact, and getting outs — and there might be an extra couple strikeouts there for him due to this matchup. It’s a high-risk play, as always. That’s because he has a chance to go for only five innings with one strikeout, but there isn’t much else to like for cheap pitching tonight, so this Fiers is still your best option.

Catcher/First Base

Carson Kelly (ARI) vs. SEA (Kikuchi) $2,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) @ COL (Marquez) $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Mitch Moreland (SD) vs. Giants (Cueto) $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Brandon Belt (SF) @ Padres (Richards) $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Kelly: It hasn’t been a great year for Kelly, but at $2,300, do we really care? Kikuchi has given up a .362 wOBA to righties this year, so Kelly, near the stone minimum, is my favorite catcher to start.

Moreland: This pricing on Moreland has baffled me since his trade to the Padres. He has averaged a great 2.32 DK points per plate appearance this year, and now he is hitting cleanup in one of the best lineups in baseball. He also gets a matchup with Cueto, who has walked lefties 12% of the time over the last two seasons and has surrendered a .369 wOBA to them. He should be a $5,000 player tonight, but you can have him for $4,000.

Belt: Belt has had one of the most under-the-radar great seasons. He is hitting .312 with a .409 on-base percentage and is averaging 2.42 DK points per plate appearance. He faces Richards tonight, who has given up a .357 wOBA to lefties while struggling to fool anybody with an 11% walk rate. Belt has a rock-solid floor with some decent upside for just a $3,300.

Second Base

Garrett Hampson (COL) vs. LAA (Canning) $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jake Cronenworth (SD) vs. SFG (Cueto) $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ LowMedium
Luis Urias (MIL) vs. CHC (Lester) $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

Hampson: On nights where there are two solid pitchers going in Coors, I like to just look for the cheaper guys to get some exposure. Hampson offers that at $4,100. He has been an above-average fantasy point producer, grabbing 1.99 DK points on average every time he steps to the plate. The downside is his lineup spot, as he’ll likely hit in the bottom third tonight. However, the power/speed combination at $4,100 in Coors is a very good value nonetheless.

Cronenworth: Another Padre that DraftKings has under-priced here. Jake has scored 2.24 DK points per plate appearance while posting an elite .476 xwOBA — he scorches the ball when he makes contact. Add in the matchup with Cueto, which we have already talked about, and you have yourself a high upside second baseman for not too much money.

Urias: Very low upside here, as Urias has very little power in the bat. However, he makes tons of contact and is priced criminally low. Lester has struggled with righties over the last two seasons, as he’s surrendered a .344 wOBA and a 9.1% barrel rate to them. This is more of a cash-game salary saver, but Urias should probably be a few hundred more.

Third Base

Yoan Moncada (CHW) vs. DET (Mize) $5,300 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Anthony Rendon (LAA) @ COL (Marquez) $4,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jedd Gyorko (MIL) vs. CHC (Lester) $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Moncada: It’s probably not right to call a $5,300 Moncada a “value,” but the upside against Mize is enormous here. Mize has given up an 82% contact rate to lefties, which helps negate some of Moncada’s swing and miss problems, and there should be almost no ownership on the guy with Arenado and Rendon on the board.

Rendon: This is my preferred play in Coors tonight. Rendon has not been his elite self as an Angel, but he still comes in with a strong 2.03 DK points per plate appearance. Now he gets to hit in Coors, and the price really has not come up. I think he’s a near-lock in this spot.

Gyorko: Gyorko has been another surprisingly good hitter this year, and he is averaging 2.25 DK points per plate appearance. We talked about Lester’s inability to control righties. While I don’t really think Gyorko is suddenly a great hitter, there is still some upside in this spot at home against a guy that gives up tons of contact.


Andrelton Simmons (LAA) @ COL (Marquez) $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Adalberto Mondesi (KC) vs. PIT (Brault) $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Simmons: You typically want a little more upside than Simmons offers when you’re paying close to $4,000, but he is a nice cash game option here if he finds himself in the lineup. He continues to be one of the league’s best contact hitters, which opens up tons of opportunity in the cavernous Coors Field.

Mondesi: His 2018 power showcase (14 homers in 75 games) seems to have been a mirage, but he is still running like crazy. Steven Brault is an average pitcher at worst, but he does give up a good amount of contact. The Pirates’ bullpen has also been pretty brutal this year, so Mondesi should have ample opportunity to reach base and swipe a bag or two.


Eloy Jimenez (CHW) vs. DET (Mize) $5,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Luis Robert (CHW) vs. DET (Mize) $5,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Trent Grisham (SD) vs. SFG (Cueto) $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Tim Locastro (ARI) vs. SEA (Kikuchi) $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

Jimenez & Robert: Two very good hitters facing Mize tonight, who has given up a .991 OPS, a .418 wOBA, and a 10.5% barrel rate to righties in his short career. The prices have come down a few hundred on these two, but I don’t think that the matchup actually justifies that. This is a good way to get some White Sox exposure.

Grisham: Padres lefties really pop off the page tonight, and Grisham is one of those. He should be leading off for San Diego tonight to boot, so he has a great floor here.

Locastro: Righties see the ball very well off Kikuchi, and Locastro is a Mondesi-esque base stealer when he reaches base. He is not a great hitter, so the risk is high that he won’t actually get on base, but he projects very well for a $2,500 player if he’s leading off.

Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Shane Bieber (SP – CLE) $11,000: He has a tough matchup with the Twins, but that hasn’t bothered Bieber this year, as he’s posted 46 and 29 DraftKings points against them in his first two starts. The $11,000 mark is about as high a price as we’ve seen all year for a pitcher, but if anybody necessitates that tag, it’s Bieber. He has a ridiculous 32.8% strikeout rate with a 5% walk rate over the last two seasons, a 2.91 xFIP, a 34.8% called strike plus whiff rate, and he has been even better than those numbers when you just isolate 2020. He is the top projected player on the slate by a good bit.
  • Lucas Giolito (SP – CHW) $10,500: If you are worried about the matchup for Bieber, or you don’t quite have the cash, then Giolito is a fine consolation prize. He has posted a 32.9% strikeout rate with an 8.2% walk rate since his resurgent 2019 season began. The opponent is a plus one for him, as he faces the Tigers, who have a 23% collective strikeout rate and score 1.7 DK points per plate appearance. I still prefer Bieber or just $500 more, but Giolito is a fine hedge.
  • Mike Trout (OF – LAA) $6,000:  Trout has played like a $6,000 player all year, and now he gets a series in Coors. I’m surprised that they didn’t push the boundaries of their hitting salary limit here to make Trout something like $6,500. While Marquez is a pitcher capable of pitching well in Coors, I am not sure you can actually fade a Coors Trout at this point.
  • Tim Anderson (SS – CHW) $5,700: Anderson doesn’t really feel like a $5,700 player, but it’s gotten to the point where we have to just believe the data. He has posted an elite 2.48 DK points per plate appearance this year and continues to score points in a variety of ways. We have already talked about Mize’s struggles in the Bigs, and Anderson is the straw that stirs the White Sox drink.

Notable Players to Fade

  • Luis Castillo (SP – CIN)  $9,800: The upside is huge with Castillo, and the Cardinals have not been a super great offense in 2020, but I just don’t see why you’d want to pay this price for him with Maeda just a few hundred more. Castillo has been his normal inconsistent self in 2020, and you will always have that as long as he is posting 10% walk rates.
  • Adam Wainwright (SP – STL) $8,800: Wainwright has looked like an ace again in 2020 with a 2.68 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. The problem is that the strikeouts still aren’t there, as he has just a 19% strikeout rate on the year and a 20% rate over the last two seasons. He seems like a decent floor play, but there is nowhere near the upside to justify this $8,800 price.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SD) $6,000: The matchup is probably irrelevant for a guy like Tatis, but here is some information anyways. This year, Johnny Cueto has surrendered just a .591 OPS with a .261 wOBA and a 5% barrel rate to right-handed batters. Those are elite, elite numbers. Of course, it is a smaller sample size (143 plate appearances), and Tatis has the ability to put a big score up on anybody, but it’s enough to make me pass on a $6,000 price tag for him on a night with Coors on the board. You can say the same thing for Manny Machado in this spot as well.
  • Nolan Arenado (3B – COL) $5,600: “Hey, did you see that moron on FantasyPros saying to fade Arenado in Coors? I’m probably canceling my subscription.” Don’t send the mob after me, please, it’s just an opinion. Arenado has not been very good this year, as he’s posted his lowest OPS since his rookie year. He is averaging just 1.72 DK points per plate appearance, an incredibly average number. Things have been better at home, of course, but his .389 Coors Field wOBA still leaves a lot to be desired. I don’t think Arenado justifies a $5,600 tag against a talented pitcher while you have other strong options at the position, including Rendon for $700 less.
  • Cardinals Bats: This is pretty obvious given the matchup with Luis Castillo, but the prices are also strangely through the roof on the Red Birds. Seven of their nine projected hitters are priced at $4,500 or above, and the top four are all above $5,000. You can just immediately cross that whole lineup off your list as far as I’m concerned.

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

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