We have more baseball! Not only do we have MLB appearing closer to a return and KBO underway, DraftKings will be running DFS contests for Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). The scoring works the same way as Classic MLB contests, but there is a difference in how lineups are constructed. Check out the rules and lineup requirements below before building any lineups!
Set your lineups here: NPB Short Slate $30K Check Swing [$10K to 1st] (Japanese Baseball)
Check out the NPB Short Slate $30K Check Swing [$10K to 1st] (Japanese Baseball) contest for Opening Day.
I have a few notes to mention before diving into this article. First, the starting pitchers have not yet been officially announced for the first slate of games at the time I am writing this article. Expected pitchers can be found on Reddit, but for obvious reasons, this isn’t a source I am totally willing to trust. At the same time, I really don’t have any other information to go off of. We also don’t have starting lineups. Like KBO, we can probably expect starting lineups to come out around 30 minutes or so before first pitch. These are some value plays that stand out to me based on the information at hand.
IF Munetaka Morakami, YAK vs. CHU, $5,700
A boom or bust play, Morakami didn’t get on base a ton last year, but when he did, he usually did damage. He only had a .231 batting average last year and struck out a decent amount. On the positive side, he was near the league leaders in homers with 36 long balls. If I need to come up with a comp for him, he seems like Japan’s version of Joey Gallo. Morakami is going to have games where he breaks the slate and hits a pair of homers and plenty of other nights where he fails to reach base and has multiple strikeouts. For GPP, the upside is appealing.
IF Tetsuto Yamada, YAK vs. CHU, $6,500
At first glance, Yamada looks like he should be priced way higher than he is. This isn’t to say he’s a bargain, although it stands to reason that he should be $1,000 or so more expensive. For fantasy purposes, he should have a really friendly style of play. One of the only players in the NPB with elite power and speed, Yamada hit 35 homers last season and stole 33 bases. He was the only player to have a 30/30 season and this bodes well for his potential as an asset on Draftkings.
OF Yuji Kaneko, SAI vs. HOK, $4,800
Making more comparisons between NPB and MLB players, think of Kaneko like Billy Hamilton. Kaneko doesn’t have much power and he struggles to draw walks, but when he gets on base, look out! He led the league with 41 stolen bases last year and he does appear to be a moderately better hitter than what have seen from a guy like Hamilton since Kaneko is coming off a year with a .324 OBP. All we need is for him to get on base once for a chance at upside and to be one of the better value plays on the slate.
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OF Adam Jones, ORI vs. TOH, $6,100
Priced in the midrange, it’s hard to ignore Adam Jones. In case you are wondering, yes, this is the same Adam Jones that spent 14 seasons in MLB. While NPB is widely considered the second best baseball league in the world, this is still a big step down in competition for Jones. Playing against lesser pitchers, he should be able to fair well in Japan. Even though he’s past his prime, Jones is a five-time All-Star and he hit at least 15 homers every year sine 2009. I think he has just enough left in the tank to be one of the better fantasy players during his first season overseas.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.