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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for August 23

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and values at each position for Sunday’s seven-game DraftKings MLB slate, which locks at 1:05 p.m. ET.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve got another full day of baseball action on Sunday. Today’s main slate starts at 1:05 p.m. ET and features seven games to choose from. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite targets and values to help you build your lineups.

Set your DraftKings lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]


PITCHER

Stud

Carlos Carrasco, CLE vs. DET, $10,600 – You have to feel good for Carrasco. He struggled in 2019 after battling his way back from leukemia but he’s turned things around in 2020. He’s pitched to a 3.71 ERA over his first 26 23 innings and he’s also posted a career-best 11.81 K/9.

Carrasco takes the mound today in an excellent spot vs. the Tigers. Detroit has been dreadful offensively this season against right-handed pitchers, ranking merely 27th in wRC+ and first in strikeout rate, and the Tigers’ implied team total of 3.7 runs is the lowest mark on the slate. Carrasco is also the largest favorite on the slate at -244 and pitchers with comparable Vegas data have historically averaged 19.67 DKFP.

Other Options – Yu Darvish ($11,000)

Value

Corbin Burnes, MIL @ PIT, $7,400 – Burnes may not be a household name yet but there’s a lot to like about him from a fantasy perspective. For starters, he piles up the strikeouts. He pitched to a K/9 of 12.86 over 49.0 innings in 2019 and he’s followed that up with a K/9 of 12.43 over his first 21.0 innings in 2020. He does have some major control issues – he’s posted a BB/9 of 6.00 this season – but that hasn’t stopped him from recording a 3.00 ERA and 3.30 FIP.

Burnes has a great matchup today vs. the Pirates, who have been anemic offensively this season. Pittsburgh has posted a wRC+ of just 58, which is the lowest mark in the league by a mile. The Pirates have also posted the lowest walk rate in baseball vs. right-handers this season, so they don’t seem well equipped to take advantage of Burnes’ biggest weakness.

Other Options – Trent Thornton ($7,000), Josh Fleming ($5,600)


CATCHER

Stud

Christian Vazquez, BOS @ BAL, $4,800 – The Red Sox are currently implied for 5.6 runs, which is the second-highest mark on today’s slate. That should make Boston a popular target vs. Orioles left-hander Wade LeBlanc ($6,500). The Boston offense has come alive recently, scoring at least six runs in four of the past five games and the Red Sox have plenty of guys in the lineup who mash vs. left-handed pitchers.

Vazquez would qualify as one of them. He posted a .370 wOBA and .272 ISO vs. southpaws in 2019 and only 11.9% of his batted ball events in those matchups ended in soft contact. That bodes well for his success against LeBlanc, who allowed right-handed batters to post an expected wOBA of .351 against him last season.

Other Options – Willson Contreras ($4,900), Pedro Severino ($4,700)

Value

Omar Narvaez, MIL @ PIT, $3,600 – Narvaez was pretty quietly one of the best hitting catchers in baseball vs. right-handed pitchers last season. He posted a .365 wOBA and .208 ISO and he also hit 20 of his 22 HRs against right-handed pitchers.

He’ll be on the positive side of his splits today vs. JT Brubaker ($6,000), who has pitched to a 5.93 xFIP in his first 11.0 innings at the MLB level.

Other Options – Victor Caratini ($3,000), Danny Jansen ($3,000)


FIRST BASE

Stud

Anthony Rizzo, CHC vs. CWS, $5,100 – The Cubs are in an interesting spot today vs. right-hander Dylan Cease ($9,300). He’s one of the more expensive pitchers on the slate and has posted a solid 3.16 ERA through his first five starts this season. That said, his advanced metrics suggest he’s been one of the luckiest pitchers in baseball over that time frame. As a result, his 6.16 FIP is significantly higher than his traditional ERA.

Rizzo is someone who is definitely capable of taking advantage of this matchup. He posted a .399 expected wOBA vs. right-handers last season and he’s posted a 148 wRC+ in those matchups in 2020.

Other Options – Joey Votto ($4,700), Carlos Santana ($4,600)

Value

Justin Smoak, MIL @ PIT, $3,700 – Smoak is another player you can definitely use today vs. Brubaker. He’s expected to occupy the No. 4 spot in the lineup and his Statcast data vs. right-handers last season was excellent. He posted a hard-hit rate of 47.7%, resulting in an expected wOBA of .385.

Other Options – Renato Nunez ($4,200), Ji-Man Choi ($3,500)


SECOND BASE

Stud

Cesar Hernandez, CLE vs. DET, $4,800 – The Indians should be one of the most popular targets on today’s slate. Cleveland’s current implied team total of 6.0 is the highest mark among today’s offenses and the team has excellent upside vs. Tigers left-hander Tarik Skubal ($6,700). Skubal has pitched just 2.0 innings above the Double-A level and the White Sox were able to score four runs against him over that time frame.

Hernandez is a switch-hitter who typically fares better against right-handers than left-handers but it’s hard to ignore the leadoff batter for an offense with so much potential.

Other Options – Keston Hiura ($5,100), Hanser Alberto ($4,600)

Value

Kolten Wong, STL vs. CIN, $3,200 – Speaking of leadoff hitters, Wong is expected to draw that assignment today for the Cardinals. St. Louis is taking on Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle ($8,000), which puts Wong on the positive side of his batting splits. He posted a solid 111 wRC+ vs. right-handers in 2019 and cheap leadoff hitters are always appealing in cash games.

Other Options – Michael Chavis ($3,900), Nicky Lopez ($2,300)


THIRD BASE

Stud

Jose Ramirez, CLE vs. DET, $5,600 – Ramirez might have the highest upside on the slate today vs. Skubal. He has been on fire vs. left-handers over the past 12 months, posting a ridiculous .470 wOBA and .548 ISO. He’s been awesome in general vs. southpaws since the start of the 2016 season, averaging 9.68 DKFP per start.

Other Options – Rafael Devers ($5,300), Tommy Edman ($4,200)

Value

Marwin Gonzalez, MIN @ KC, $4,100 – Gonzalez doesn’t stand out as a particularly impressive hitter but there’s a lot to like about him today. For starters, he’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot in the order for the Twins. There is currently no total on that game, but we know that the Twins are capable of doing some damage offensively.

Gonzalez is also a switch-hitter, which means he’ll have the advantage vs. Royals left-hander Kris Bubic ($7,200) on today’s slate. Bubic has a very small sample size at the MLB level but he’s pitched to a 5.12 ERA and 5.43 FIP through his first 19 13 innings.

Other Options – Hunter Dozier ($3,600), Yandy Diaz ($3,300)


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Xander Bogaerts, BOS @ BAL, $5,200 – Paying up at SS today comes down to a decision between Bogaerts and Francisco Lindor ($5,300). Both guys are strong options but I’m giving the slight edge to Bogaerts.

He was excellent against left-handers in 2019, posting a .378 wOBA and .261 ISO, and he’s been even better vs. southpaws to begin the 2020 season. He’s posted a 204 wRC+ in those matchups, albeit over a small sample size of just 36 at-bats.

Other Options – Francisco Lindor ($5,300), Javier Baez ($4,500)

Value

Kevin Newman, PIT vs. MIL, $3,800 – Burnes is going to be a popular option at pitcher on today’s slate, so rostering Newman is an interesting way to be contrarian. He’s the rare right-handed batter who actually fares better against right-handed pitchers and he’s posted a solid .375 wOBA and .180 ISO in those matchups over the past 12 months.

Other Options – Joey Wendle ($3,600), Luis Urias ($3,000)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Christian Yelich, MIL @ PIT, $5,600 – Yelich got off to a slow start offensively this season – he recorded just one hit over his first 27 at-bats – but he’s started to turn things around. He’s posted a .270 average and launched six HRs since then and he’s gone deep twice in his past four games.

He’ll be on the positive side of his splits today vs. Brubaker and Yelich is quite possibly the best hitter in baseball vs. right-handed pitchers. He posted a .484 wOBA and .379 ISO vs. right-handers in 2019 and his Statcast data in those matchups is ridiculous: 53.4% hard-hit rate, 97.6 mile per hour exit velocity and 19.6% barrel rate.

Other Options – J.D. Martinez ($5,800), Austin Meadows ($5,000)

Value

Ian Happ, CHC vs. MIL, $3,500 – I am almost always interested in Happ when he’s facing a right-hander and today’s slate is no exception. He absolutely rakes in those matchups – he posted a .389 wOBA and .321 ISO vs. right-handers in 2019 – and he’s expected to occupy the leadoff spot today with Kris Bryant (finger) on the IL. He’s usually priced around $3,500 in those matchups when batting near the bottom of the order, so he’s an absolute steal at $3,500 batting leadoff.

Other Options – Kevin Pillar ($3,800), Jesse Winker ($3,800)

Set your DraftKings lineups here: MLB $250K Relay Throw [$50K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.