With just two weeks to go in this truncated MLB regular season schedule, every contest is starting to take on some serious meaning. For instance, on tonight’s 12-game featured slate, we’ve been blessed with pivotal matchups between the Blue Jays and the Yankees, the Mets and the Phillies, the Twins and the White Sox and the the Dodgers and the Padres.
Strap in for some fun and let’s break it all down position-by-position from a DFS perspective.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s Giants-Mariners game has been postponed due to poor air quality.
Jack Flaherty, STL at MIL, $9,400 - It’s been a weird year for Flaherty. With positive COVID tests shutting down the Cardinals’ season for over a week back in August, the 24-year-old had to have his endurance built up once again across the past month. Thankfully, with 95 pitches his last time out against the Tigers, it seems like the Flaherty is finally back at full strength. That’s good news for St. Louis’ playoff push and for fantasy owners this evening. The man who finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting in 2019 draws a matchup with the Brewers — a team that simply can not hit right-handed pitching. Milwaukee comes into this slate with the league’s second-highest strikeout rate (26.8%) and its third-lowest wRC+ (76) within the split.
Other Option: Yu Darvish ($11,300)
Deivi Garcia, NYY vs. TOR, $6,800 - Last week, we had a situation where a young pitcher making his fourth-career start was the obvious chalk at the low-end of the pitching slate. That man was Sixto Sanchez and he turned in a fantastic performance against the Braves. I think we see something similar in an eerily reminiscent spot for Garcia on Tuesday. The 21-year-old is a top pitching prospect in the Yankees’ system, and he’s been throwing like it since coming up to the big leagues. In fact, in his first three MLB outings, Garcia has compiled a 3.14 FIP, a 0.91 WHIP and a 9.00 K/BB ratio. Obviously we’re dealing with the smallest of sample sizes here, but I truly believe that Garcia has the pedigree and the stuff to take care of a Blue Jays lineup that is currently without Teoscar Hernandez (oblique; 163 wRC+) and Rowdy Tellez (knee; 134 wRC+).
Other Option: Dane Dunning ($7,600)
Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.
Will Smith, LAD at SD, $4,200 - The Dodgers can do whatever they want — they win almost every night — but it’s sort of insane that they don’t play Smith as often as physically possible. Dating back to the beginning of August, the catcher is slashing .349/.468/.682 with a 204 wRC+ over 77 plate appearances. Essentially, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more locked in hitter at any position, let alone catcher.
Other Option: Travis d’Arnaud ($4,700)
Yadier Molina, STL at MIL, $3,600 - Molina doesn’t really have all that large a sample against LHPs in 2020, but in 2019, the veteran backstop hit .320 with a 130 wRC+ within the split. Considering Brett Anderson’s ($6,700) career 91.6% zone contact rate and his 5.16 expected ERA so far this season, I don’t think Molina will be overmatched in the batter’s box.
Other Option: Alejandro Kirk ($2,000)
Freddie Freeman, ATL at BAL, $5,700 - Let’s just start by saying that Thomas Eshelman ($7,200) should not be starting at the MLB level. Red flags don’t get any more obvious than allowing 2.51 opponent home runs per nine in your first 61.0 career innings. Although, the case could be made that Eshelman’s numbers against LHBs in 2020 are equally damning. To wit, the 26-year-old has faced 42 lefties this season and he’s yet to record a single strikeout. Not even one. Freeman currently owns a 99th percentile expected wOBA (.461). You don’t generally want him making too much contact if you’re a pitcher.
Other Options: Matt Olson ($5,300), Paul Goldschmidt ($4,800)
Hunter Dozier, KC at DET, $3,900 - Putting aside the fact that Dozier has been swinging the bat really well in 2020 — including his 7-for-10 (.700) mark against LHPs — almost any RHB in the world is currently viable against Matthew Boyd ($8,000). Yes, he has strikeout potential, but right-handed batters are averaging 3.12 home runs per nine with a HR/FB ratio of 26.7%. So, basically, if Dozier can muster any contact this evening, he’s got a chance to go yard.
Other Option: Albert Pujols ($3,500)
Tommy La Stella, OAK at COL, $5,000 - In a vacuum, it’s hard to think of a more ideal combination than La Stella and Coors Field. The whole key to taking advantage of the altitude is to actually put the bat on the ball, so it’s noteworthy that La Stella comes into Tuesday’s slate with the second-highest qualified contact rate in the majors (90.4%). He’ll also get to face off with Antonio Senzatela ($6,900), who conceded a massive .394 wOBA to left-handed batters in 2019. Again, what’s not to like?
Other Options: Whit Merrifield ($4,800), Ozzie Albies ($4,400)
Rougned Odor, TEX at HOU, $3,100 - There are few professional baseball players on this planet as deeply flawed as Odor, but the man is a renowned streaky hitter and he’s currently in one of those grooves at the plate. Odor has registered three home runs and eight RBI across his past three games and, despite his putrid 38 wRC+, there’s a decent chance that he’ll be batting clean-up for the Rangers this evening against Jose Urquidy ($6,600). You don’t have to enjoy the experience, but this is a fair price for that sort of upside.
Other Option: Nick Madrigal ($3,200)
Anthony Rendon, LAA vs. ARI, $5,400 - I’m running out of ways to explain that Madison Bumgarner ($7,200) is absolutely cooked. The veteran left-handed has lost a considerable amount of velocity in 2020 and that’s essentially made his pitches look like the size of beach balls to RHBs. To that point, Bumgarner has surrendered a .470 expected wOBA to righties so far this season — the second-highest mark of the 192 pitchers to face at least 50 opponents within the split. Rendon should feast in this matchup.
Other Option: Alex Bregman ($5,100)
Maikel Franco, KC at DET, $4,100 - Quietly, Franco’s put together a decent comeback season in Kansas City, slashing .284/.321/.481 across 48 games. This nice run of success has included some fantastic numbers against southpaw pitching, as Franco owns a .393 wOBA within the split in 2020. He’s also just right-handed and, as I explained above, that makes him more than viable against the struggling Boyd.
Other Option: Josh Donaldson ($3,900)
Corey Seager, LAD at SD, $5,000 - While Zach Davies ($9,600) has undoubtedly had a magical season with the Padres, I don’t mind getting a small discount on Seager, who was as expensive as $5.7K last week. It’s not like the shortstop can’t punish any RHP in the league, either. Coming into Tuesday’s slate, Seager leads all hitters with at least 150 plate appearances in both expected slugging (.732) and expected wOBA (.467). Davies, meanwhile, has surrendered the fourth-most opponent barrels in baseball (16).
Other Option: Trevor Story ($5,600)
Editor’s Note: Royals SP Danny Duffy will not start Tuesday vs. the Tigers
Willi Castro, DET vs. KC, $3,900 - I keep waiting for Castro’s numbers to plummet back down to Earth, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m also not overly confident that Danny Duffy ($7,700) is going to be the one that finally shuts him down. Sure, you’d probably prefer the switch-hitting Castro to be batting from the left-side of the plate; however, the Tigers as a team own a 136 wRC+ against southpaws, and Castro could be an integral part of a lineup that does some serious damage tonight.
Other Option: Jose Iglesias ($3,800)
Marcell Ozuna, ATL at BAL, $4,900 - The fact that you can still insert Ozuna into your lineups for less that $5K is insanity. Maybe the 29-year-old gets a little lost in the shuffle batting in a lineup that includes Ronald Acuna Jr. ($6,000) and the aforementioned Freeman; but Ozuna is near the top of the league leaderboard in almost every major offensive category. In fact, Ozuna comes into this matchup with the Orioles sitting in the 97th percentile in expected slugging, the 96th percentile in expected wOBA and the 96th percentile in average exit velocity. Baltimore’s pitching staff doesn’t stand a chance.
Other Options: Mike Trout ($5,900), Michael Conforto ($4,800)
Ryan Mountcastle, BAL vs. ATL, $3,400 - For as good as Atlanta’s offense projects to be this evening, let’s not pretend that the team is thrilled about having to start Huascar Ynoa ($5,600). The Orioles could also have a nice night at the plate, and that likely starts with Mountcastle, who has not stopped hitting since getting called up to the bigs. In 87 plate appearances, the rookie is slashing .364/.425/.610 with a 178 wRC+. Simply put, he should not be priced this cheap in such a soft matchup.
Other Options: Andrew McCutchen ($3,800), Austin Hays ($2,600)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (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 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.