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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Saturday (9/5)

Sep 5, 2020

Colin Moran headlines a Pirates stack against the Reds’ Anthony DeSclafani.

It’s finally the weekend once more. We’ve got a fun 12-game slate tonight with a three-headed monster at the top of the pitching options, as well as a few cheaper options in great matchups. A number of value options give the ability to spend up on those aces.

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Pitchers

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Lucas Giolito (CHW) @ KC $10,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Kenta Maeda (MIN) vs DET $10,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Gerrit Cole (NYY) @ BAL $10,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Max Fried (ATL) vs WAS $9,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Justus Sheffield (SEA) vs TEX $7,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Giolito has really turned up the volume after his rocky start, pitching to a 2.18 ERA with 48 strikeouts over his last five games. That includes the first no-hitter of the year in a beautiful 101-pitch master class. He’ll take the ball again tonight against the Kansas City Royals, whom he sports a career 6-2 record and 2.75 ERA against in 12 starts. He’s dominated the likes of Whit Merrifield, Mondesí, and Alex Gordon, limiting the trio to 11 hits over 69 at-bats. It will be a coin flip on who finishes as top dog between Giolito and Maeda, but with the Tigers making a surprising run at the postseason, I give the edge to the former.

While Maeda doesn’t have the no-hitter Giolito does, he sure came close. Minnesota’s righty carried one into the ninth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 18 before ultimately earning a no-decision. The near no-no is just part of Maeda’s dominance, though, as the Cy Young candidate has limited both right and left-handed hitters to sub-.180 batting averages and sub-30 hard-hit percentages. His 3.09 SIERA also ranks second-best on the slate, trailing only converted reliever Seth Lugo. He takes the mound against the Tigers, who are still dealing with the loss of C.J. Cron and JaCoby Jones.

Cole made some headlines following his latest start, where he hinted that he believes his recent minor struggles are due to pitch tipping. While this is concerning, it’s typically easy to fix after you find where the tipping is happening. Sometimes the correction can occur mid-game, like when Stephen Strasburg turned around in Game 6 of last year’s World Series. Should Cole figure out this potential issue, he comes at a smaller price than he would otherwise in a plus matchup against the Orioles, whom he has a 2.29 ERA against across three starts.

The Nationals have been on one of their worst streaks in a long time, dropping 10 of their last dozen games that include two shutouts and four more where they scored three runs or fewer. They could be without Juan Soto, who has essentially become one half of their offense alongside Trea Turner. The star shortstop is also dealing with soreness in his elbow. Fried has performed well against right-handed hitters this season, limiting them to a .188/.257/.266 slash with a 1.99 FIP. That should help against Turner, as well as Howie Kendrick, Asdrúbal Cabrera, and Victor Robles.

Despite a six-run hiccup his last time up against the Angels, Sheffield has really turned it around lately. He owns a 3.18 ERA over his last four starts, notching three quality starts and two wins. He gets a soft matchup against a famously bad Rangers offense that ranks in the bottom two in runs, home runs, AVG, OBP & SLG. They do have some big damage potential from Joey Gallo, who has been powerful in lefty vs. lefty matchups this season. Sheffield, however, has quietly dominated left-handed hitters this season, owning a 1.58 FIP against them while limiting them to a .100/.156/.133 triple-slash and .137 wOBA.

Catcher/First Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Colin Moran (PIT) vs CIN $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Travis d’Arnaud (ATL) vs WAS $4,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Gary Sánchez (NYY) @ BAL $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Moran goes up against Anthony DeSclafani, whose terrible 7.71 ERA has been fueled by his struggles against LHH. He’s surrendered a .327/.417/.558 slash line with an awful .415 wOBA. To make matters worse for DeSclafani, Moran isn’t just a left-handed hitter. He’s had great success against the Reds’ starter, tallying three home runs, seven RBIs, and four runs in 12 at-bats.

D’Arnaud hasn’t slowed down since breaking out with the Rays last season and has secured himself as one of the best hitters in a deadly Braves lineup with a fantastic .326/.371/.551 slash and 142 wRC+. Almost all of that is thanks to his success in righty vs. righty matchups, where he has raked to the tune of a .371 batting average to along with all five of his home runs and 18 of his 20 RBIs. He’ll face Erick Fedde, whose struggles against RHH have pushed his ERA all the way back to 4.71. Fedde is sitting on a 7.09 FIP with a .382 wOBA of .382 against righties.

Sánchez has had his fair share of struggles to this point, hitting a brutal .135 with an abysmal 40% strikeout rate. He’ll get another shot to bounce back and find some good luck against Keegan Akin, who will make his second career start. The Orioles’ 14th-best prospect according to FanGraphs, has already allowed three doubles and a homer in 20 plate appearances against righties. While Sánchez has massively struggled thus far, he’s still brandishing a .974 OPS and 15.8% strikeout rate against left-handers, His .167 batting average against them is still far from optimal, so I’m limiting him to GPP, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sánchez hits one out.

Second Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Adam Frazier (PIT) vs CIN $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Luis Guillorme (NYM) @ NYM $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Wilmer Flores (SF) vs ARI $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Frazier is another left-handed bat going up against DeSclafani. Like Moran, Frazier too has prior success against the Cincinnati starter, hitting two home runs in 15 career at-bats.

If starting, Guillorme is a cheap left-handed bat to get in against the Phillies’ Spencer Howard. While talented, Philadelphia’s rookie has given up a dreadful .485 wOBA to LHH. Guillorme is enjoying a breakout season that has him hitting .441/.500/.529 against right-handers with a fantastic 186 wRC+. With many of the Mets coming in much more expensive, Guillorme is a near must-play for me if given the starting nod.

Flores will face a returning Madison Bumgarner, who will try and fix a dreadful 9.35 ERA he posted through four starts as a Diamondback before landing on the IL. His also terrible 5.87 SIERA indicates there’s not a whole lot of room to get better, especially when he’s sitting on a 11.31 FIP, .722 slugging percentage, and .451 wOBA allowed against right-handed hitters. Flores is arguably the Giants’ best righty bat, with many of their core being left-handed, which makes him my favorite play to attack Bumgarner. Flores has done extremely well against LHP, too, possessing an incredible 1.067 OPS and 175 wRC+ against them this season.

Third Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eduardo Escobar (ARI) @ SF $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jeff McNeil (NYM) vs PHI $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
On the other side of the evening’s last game, Escobar is my 3B to play tonight. He’s 2-for-5 with two home runs in his career against Trevor Cahill. While Cahill is enjoying a great 2.51 ERA, his 4.56 SIERA is among some of the worst on the slate. He also has a 6.14 FIP against RHH to go with an eye-popping 58.3 hard-hit percentage. It’s not a matter of if Cahill cracks, but when, and Escobar might be the one to fuel it.

McNeil is another batter I like going against Howard. While he’s not nearly as inexpensive as Guillorme, he’s still on the cheaper end of the Mets’ lineup. McNeil has finally started to get things going recently, hitting .345/.367/.483 over the last seven days. He’s yet to homer this season, which limits his upside. Yet there’s a decent chance he finally finds one against Howard, who’s given up an ugly .757 slugging-percentage to lefties.

Shortstop

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jonathan Villar (TOR) @ BOS $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jorge Polanco (MIN) vs DET $4,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Villar hasn’t looked that great in his first handful of games with the Blue Jays, collecting just three hits through 15 at-bats. He’s got a great chance to turn that around tonight against Mike Kickham, who will make his second major league start since 2014. Kickham pitched just three innings in his first start, giving up three runs on four hits with a home run against right-handed bats.

Tarik Skubal is another pitcher I’m targeting every chance I get tonight, especially with right-handed hitters like Polanco. Skubal’s 6.75 ERA is fueled by a dreadful 8.82 FIP against RHH with a slate-worst .815 slugging-percentage served up. Polanco gets a boost from facing an LHP, also, as the switch-hitter has performed much better (.368 wOBA) right-handed.

Outfield

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Eloy Jiménez (CWS) @ KC $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nomar Mazara (CWS) @ KC $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Gregory Polanco (PIT) vs CIN $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Randal Grichuk (TOR) @ BOS $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS) vs TOR $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
While Kris Bubic did fairly well in his last outing against the White Sox, his splits still indicate very favorable matchups across the board for the White Sox. My favorite of which is Mazara, who is hitting an impressive .313 against LHP in a small sample size this season. I find him risky, as Mazara has never been able to reach his full potential and is far from Chicago’s best bat. Jiménez represents a much safer option and is somehow coming in as one of the more affordable options for Chicago at $4,800. Jimenez has hit left-handed pitchers better than counterparts such as Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, posting an .850 OPS and 126 wRC+ in those matchups.

Polanco is my third and final left-handed Pittsburgh batter to play tonight. He too, like Moran and Frazier, has hit Anthony DeSclafani well, owning two home runs, four RBIs, four runs, and a stolen base against him. Coming in at a budget price of $2,900, he’s a great option to use to help get the top starters on the slate.

Grichuk has hit the ball well over the past month, sporting a .275/.313/.567 triple-slash with nine homers and 25 RBIs despite cooling off a bit over the past week.

On the flip side of the Boston/Toronto game, I want a few shares of left-handed batters against Chase Anderson, who has surrendered a .387 wOBA with a 5.66 FIP against them despite a great 3.20 ERA with the Blue Jays. Bradley, a streaky hitter, has hit the ball well recently, sporting a .289 average with four homers and 10 RBIs over the past two weeks.

Three Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Nelson Cruz (OF – MIN), $5,800: The ageless wonder gets another great matchup against Skubal, who owns a slate-worst .815 slugging-percentage to RHH.
  • Tim Anderson (SS – CWS), $5,600: Anderson also gets a great matchup against Bubic, who has allowed a .274/.343/.453 triple-slash to RHH.
  • DJ LeMahieu (2B/3B – NYY), $5,200: LeMahieu gets to pick on Akin, who has allowed a .425 wOBA to RHH in a small sample size.

Three Notable Players To Fade

All Advanced Statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs.

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Caleb Baggette is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Caleb, check out his archive and follow him @CalebBg9

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