The dying days of August. It’s a weird time for baseball fans. On the one hand, there’s a couple fun division races to solve down the stretch of September, not to mention the tight Wild Card standings. However, there’s also the looming presence of the football, ready to steal the spotlight and, if we’re being honest, most of your attention when it comes to fantasy.
That’s why you have me. I’m locked in on the diamond. Here are some targets and values for tonight’s 12-game featured slate.
Kevin Gausman, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Chicago Cubs, $8,700 - This is an interesting spot for Gausman. At first glance, the right-hander is clearly too cheap on tonight’s slate, considering his 2.01 FIP is by far the best qualified mark in all of baseball. Gausman’s 27.7% strikeout rate and 15.5% swinging strike rate are also top 10 among starting pitchers, illustrating just how much ceiling Gausman’s possesses as a DFS asset. However, the fact that the veteran sports a 4.63 ERA at Rogers Centre in 2022 is quite the blemish, despite an extremely unstable .423 BABIP within the split mostly being to blame. I’ll err on the side of normalization. Particularly with the Cubs owning a 71 wRC+ across the past two weeks.
Cole Irvin, Oakland Athletics at Washington Nationals, $7,900 - If I were to tell you that Irvin owns a 2.69 ERA since the beginning of July, would that shock you? Or have we just reached a point where we’ve all collectively forgotten that the Athletics exist? It’s probably the latter, which is why Irvin’s exploits are sort of flying under the radar. In that same 10 start span, the lefty has limited opponents to a .193 average and a .233 wOBA. He’s not a huge strikeout arm — despite racking up 11 in his most recent outings — but against a struggling Nationals’ lineup, Irvin should be able to exceed 20.0 DKFP.
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets, $5,900 - It’s been a rough couple weeks for Taijuan Walker ($7,200). The RHP has been rocked in his last few starts, with LHBs doing most of the damage. To wit, lefties have combined for a .711 slugging percentage and a .461 wOBA off Walker in his last six appearances. Yikes. That’s bad news with the Dodgers and Freeman coming to town. For the season, Freeman has registered a 165 wRC+ versus right-handers. Since July, he’s simply hitting .390 within the split.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers at New York Mets, $4,700 - While Muncy can not claim the level of consistent success that Freeman has had in 2022, the veteran is finally starting to look like himself in August. In 100 plate appearances in the month, Muncy is slashing .282/.370/.600 with a .318 ISO and a 166 wRC+. As if the Dodgers needed an even deeper lineup, right? Like Freeman, look for Muncy to exploit Walker’s recent issues with left-handed bats.
Luis Arraez, Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox, $4,000 - At this point, we know the deal with Arraez. You want to exclusively use him when the Twins are facing a right-handed opponent, as the infielder is hitting .344 with a 152 wRC+ within the split. If that RHP also happens to be in the midst of a meltdown, even better! Kutter Crawford ($5,500) has pitched to a ghastly 9.31 ERA in his last four starts. For the season, LHBs have combined for a .397 wOBA off the rookie.
J.D. Davis, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres, $3,000 - Davis has picked it up since the All-Star break, hitting five home runs and posting a 152 wRC+ in his limited plate appearances. For the season as a whole, Davis sports a 125 wRC+ against LHPs, which is why he’ll likely be in the lineup on Tuesday against Blake Snell ($9,300). Now, you never quite know which version of Snell you’re getting on any given night, but he did just surrender three home runs to the Guardians in 3.1 innings. Davis hitting a bomb of his own is very much in the cards.
Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros at Texas Rangers, $4,500 - While Dane Dunning ($6,400) has been much better pitching at home in 2022, I still like this matchup for Tucker. Dunning has conceded a noteworthy .366 wOBA to opposing LHBs this season, while Tucker has been on absolute fire since the beginning of the month. Going back to August 1, the outfielder is batting .341 with a 176 wRC+. How can you ignore that type of production?
Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies, $4,200 - Though Harris does hit towards the bottom of the Braves’ batting order, he’s been a force against right-handed pitching in his rookie campaign. In fact, across 222 plate appearances within the split, Harris is slashing .308/.351/.567 with a 152 wRC+. Again, this is as a rookie. The man is just 21-years-old. Look for the good times to continue in a matchup with Jose Urena ($5,000), who has surrendered a .400 wOBA to opposing LHBs in 2022.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox, $3,100 - Kepler’s been slumping pretty severely since the All-Star break, and injuries have limited his abilities all season long. However, he does have two multi-hit games in his last three starts, and he’ll get the opportunity to face the aforementioned Crawford on Tuesday evening. Boston’s rookie has faced 31 LHBs in his last four outings. They’ve combined for an .846 slugging percentage.
Ben Gamel, Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers, $3,100 - It’s not 100% clear what Milwaukee’s plan on the mound is tonight, but it seems like it’s going in heavily involve both Jason Alexander ($5,400) and Adrian Houser ($7,400). The good news for all the LHBs in the Pirates’ lineup? Both have been horrendous against lefties in 2022. Alexander has a .406 wOBA within the split. Houser’s not much better at .389. That opens the door for someone like Gamel — or Jack Suwinski ($3,000) — to have an impact. Gamel owns a 114 wRC+ versus RHPs this season and he’ll likely be batting third this evening.
TEAMS TO STACK
Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers - Obviously the Braves or the Dodgers are the safer path, but few teams have as many LHBs to throw at an opposing pitcher than the Pirates. They’re all super affordable, too. Bryan Reynolds ($4,500), Oneil Cruz ($4,000), Rodolfo Castro ($2,400), Gamel and Suwinski all make for solid plays on tonight’s slate. Feel free to use two or three in a build to open up some salary elsewhere.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and customer (my username is theglt13) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.
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