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DraftKings DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Thursday (10/1)

Oct 1, 2020

Ian Anderson has managed to average 21.8 FPPG and notched over 20 FP in four out of six starts.

When the season finally got underway, I wasn’t sure that we would make it all the way to the playoffs, but we’re here and it’s happening! The player pool grows ever smaller with each passing day, so I’ve adjusted our selections accordingly. There are still some starting pitchers yet to be determined, so as always watch those lineup cards as we approach first pitch.

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Value Plays

Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Luis Castillo (CIN) @ ATL $8,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ian Anderson (ATL) vs. CIN $7,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Sixto Sanchez (MIA) @ CHC $7,100 ⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Castillo is facing a Braves team that was third in the league this season with a 121 wRC+, so this will not be easy. However, this is a guy who has been going deep into games and averaged 21 FPPG this year. In three of his final four regular-season games he posted totals above 30 FP. Despite the stout opponent, he has the tools to be a value play with an elite repertoire and a sub-$9,000 price tag.

On the other side of the hill, we have Anderson facing the Reds. Unfortunately for Castillo, the Reds offense finished 23rd in the league in wRC+ at 91, so the Reds have been riding this season on pitching. This bodes well for Anderson who has managed to average 21.8 FPPG and notched over 20 FP in four out of six starts.

Sanchez stumbled to finish what was otherwise a strong rookie season. After managing to go at least six innings in four consecutive starts, Sanchez couldn’t get past the fourth in the final two. He was largely undone by a high BABIP and some control issues. With the Cubs offense ranking 21st in the league with a 91 wRC+ (technically tied with the Reds), I’m still hopeful that Sanchez can turn it around and while he isn’t quite a locked-in bargain, he’s a solid value.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jose Abreu (CWS) @ OAK $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Yasmani Grandal (CWS) @ OAK $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
I’m picking one player from each position, from the same game, but with different splits. The A’s haven’t announced their starter yet. If the A’s go with a right-handed starter, Abreu is your man (for first base, at least). Against righties, he owns a 175 wRC+ and a .424 wOBA.

As the player pool shrinks, it gets a little trickier finding value at catcher without paying a premium. Grandal is hitting the sweet spot today in the low $4,000’s. Grandal has hit a home run in three straight games and has a plus matchup today against left-hander Manaea (if the A’s go that route), a split that favors Grandal to the tune of a 147 wRC+.

Keep an eye on the lineup sheet for this game and make changes accordingly.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Chris Taylor (LAD) vs. MIL $4,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kolten Wong (STL) @ SD $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
It’s tough to dislike almost any player in the Dodgers lineup. Even if they aren’t one of the stars, batting with these guys gives them an unfair advantage most don’t have. Taylor has fairly stark splits for home games and luckily that’s where he’s batting today. When at home, his OPS is .310 higher than on the road. He’s also projected to face a right-handed opponent where he has a 145 wRC+.

Wong is not the most exciting option at second base, but he’s been swinging a hot bat over the past month. For September, Wong has an above-average 108 wRC+, a .301 BA, and a .741 OPS. He has been hitting for excellent average, but unfortunately doesn’t do much else. Even still, if you need to save a little money at a position, Wong shouldn’t be a liability and comes at a solid price.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Tommy La Stella (OAK) vs. CWS $4,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) @ ATL $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐ High

 
La Stella is a little pricey for my liking today, but we don’t have a ton of options today, so I’m picking some higher-priced guys that I believe will return their salary and hopefully more. La Stella is (likely) facing right-hander Dane Dunning, and the splits favor La Stella (151 wRC+, .903 OPS). La Stella has also been an absolute pest at the plate with an 11.8 BB% paired with a 5.3 K%.

Suarez has a lot of pop in his bat (as exhibited by his 49 home runs in 2019), but has really struggled to keep his batting average above the Mendoza line this year. The BA struggles have kept Suarez’s salary down in DFS, but he’s still managed to hit a very respectable 15 homers in 57 games in 2020. He’s a high-risk play due to his BA, but I still like him at this price point given the possibility of a home run. While I would like this even more if the Reds were playing at home, I’ll still take it at Truist Park.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Tim Anderson (CWS) @ OAK $4,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Dansby Swanson (ATL) vs. CIN $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
If Anderson faces lefty Sean Manaea, I absolutely take him at this price point. The A’s are still undecided (publicly, at least) on who will toe the rubber today. Anderson has a 300 wRC+ against left-handers this year (360 wRC+ on the road against lefties!). All of the splits show that Anderson rakes lefties no matter where he is. However, against righties, he becomes a very average bat and would not be worth his price. Keep an eye on this game and adjust accordingly.

Swanson faces some stiff competition today against Castillo, but all other situational splits push the needle in his direction. Against right-handers this year, Swanson has a 133 wRC+ which improves even further when he’s playing at home (171 wRC+). He wasn’t exactly on fire in September, but I just can’t say no to those splits at a sub-$4,000 salary.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Marcell Ozuna (ATL) vs. CIN $4,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Eloy Jimenez (CWS) @ OAK $4,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Christian Yelich (MIL) @ LAD $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jurickson Profar (SD) vs. STL $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Ozuna has been an absolute beast this year. As noted above, he is facing tough competition today in Castillo, but it’s hard to ignore Ozuna’s numbers with a sub-$5,000 salary. He’s the proud owner of a 189 wRC+ at home and a 165 wRC+ against righties (his “weaker” split). He also had a 223 wRC+ in September.

Jimenez’s splits are great across the board – home, away, versus lefties, versus righties. It’s hard to find a situation where he isn’t, at the very least, a strong selection. That’s one of the reasons I find him a great pick today – we don’t know for certain who the opposing pitcher will be, but I’m comfortable with Jimenez no matter who it is. The high risk is Jimenez is battling a foot sprain and hasn’t played in a few games. You’ll have to have a plan B at the ready in case he’s on the bench again.

At the end of the 2019 season, it would have been impossible to imagine getting Yelich in DFS at this price. He’s really struggled this year and his salary reflects that. However, both the matchup and salary are finally right for me to pick him as a value play. Yelich has a 180 wRC+ against lefties on the year (and a 1.460 OPS career against Kershaw with a .500 BA in 18 at-bats). Furthermore, against lefties, he has a .293 BA and a .431 OBP, so he’s getting on base at an awesome clip.

Profar has had a rock-solid second half to the abbreviated season: 142 wRC+, .359 BA, .892 OPS, and 5/5 on stolen bases. He’s one of those talented guys that can absolutely stuff the stat sheet when they’re hot. His batting average has dipped when facing righties, but he’s made up for that with a higher OBP. He’s only 1-for-5 against Adam Wainwright in his career, but I still like him at this price given how well he’s been playing. He has four two-hit games over this last ten and at least one hit in nine of them.

3 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Yu Darvish, CHC ($9,700): Darvish has been absolutely on point this year and has managed to be productive even in the starts where he’s “struggled.”
  • Manny Machado, SD ($5,700): Machado has been far more productive in home games this year (3.6 FPPG more than away games) and is at home today.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SD ($5,500): Overall, Tatis has cooled off since the start of the year, but is still one the top hitters in the game and is worth his salary every day.

3 Notable Players to Fade

  • Clayton Kershaw, LAD ($9,400): Kershaw has a long track record of struggling in the postseason (158.1 innings, 4.43 ERA).
  • Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL ($5,700): Difficult opponent today, and Acuna has not produced consistently enough lately at a level that warrants a salary above the low $5,000’s.
  • Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,300): While Bellinger has shown signs of life here and there, and was improved in September, I still don’t believe in him being priced into the $5,000 group.

All advanced statistics sourced from FanGraphs.

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Tyler Burgess is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, check out his archive and follow him @ty_burg.

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