Saturday features a four-game main DraftKings MLB slate starting at 7:15 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Trevor Bauer, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers ($9,800) – If Major League Baseball didn’t crack down on Gerrit Cole on Wednesday (nine strikeouts), then Bauer should be fine. These pitchers knew this day was coming, and with tens of millions of dollars on the line, it would make sense that these spin rate wizards have a workaround in place. This is a sticky situation, but it’s nothing new to baseball. A couple of nerds with computers found a way to quantify gamesmanship, and the nerds think that a 150-year-old sport is going to suddenly change because of a few spreadsheets. Bauer has a 32% K rate this season and the Rangers stink against right-handed pitching (89 wRC+, .296 wOBA, .146 ISO, 27% K rate). Nothing is going to change tonight; Bauer is going to strike out a bunch of Rangers.
Other Option: Luis Garcia ($8,100)
Kolby Allard, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Dodgers ($5,800) – Targeting the Dodgers does not invoke a pleasant feeling, but this team isn’t firing on all cylinders and they can struggle with left-handed pitchers (96 wRC+, .305 wOBA, .163 ISO, 35% hard contact, 24% K rate). Those numbers aren’t terrible, especially the hard contact rate, but on a four-game slate, there is a chance that the value pitcher can work. Mookie Betts ($5,700), Justin Turner ($5,200) and Chris Taylor ($4,500) are terrifying, but after that, the lineup is not that difficult for left-handed pitching. In Allard’s two starts, he has a 3.34 xFIP and a 30% K rate. It’s a small sample size, but if the size were bigger his price would be higher.
Other Option: John Gant ($7,100)
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Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($4,600) – The top of the catcher pricing structure is absent of good plays today. Contreras is having a great season, but his matchup against John Gant ($7,100) isn’t very appealing. It doesn’t take much to convince DFS players to spend down at catcher given the lack of points typically provided by this position. However, contrarian players can gain leverage on the field by playing the likely low-owned Contreras that should get several at-bats against the worst bullpen in baseball (5.01 xFIP).
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals ($4,300) – Keep your eye on the lineups. The Giants are playing a doubleheader, so it’s unlikely that Posey will be in both games. Also, if Posey does play, this will be a seven-inning game. Statistically, Posey is in the best spot. He has a .381 wOBA, .206 ISO, 146 wRC+ and a 40% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Joe Ross ($7,600) has been decent against right-handed batters (.308 wOBA, 26% hard contact), but his BABIP is .239 and his K rate is 19%. Eventually, this contact is going to get to him.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Buster Posey is not in the lineup for the second game of today’s doubleheader between the Nationals and Giants. Nationals SP Joe Ross is also not starting tonight’s game and will instead start on Sunday.
Other Option: Yadier Molina ($3,900)
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5,900) – It’s a small slate, so DFS players cannot avoid targeting good pitchers. John Gant ($7,100) is allowing an anemic .053 ISO to right-handed batters and has not allowed a single home run in 29 innings. However, just like the situation with Contreras, when Gant exits, the worst bullpen in baseball enters. Bryant’s price seems steep for a batter losing several at-bats due to Gant, but it’s a steal from the perspective of getting a .407 wOBA, .269 ISO, 160 wRC+ hitter facing the worst bullpen in baseball.
Other Option: Anthony Rizzo ($5,000)
Nate Lowe, Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Dodgers ($3,700) – Trevor Bauer ($9,800) is allowing a .224 ISO and 37% hard contact to left-handed batters this season. What if the Spider Tack crackdown is real? Either way, Texas lefties are in play on a small slate. Lowe has a 44% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching, and he hits much better on the road when he gets away from the pitcher-friendly park in Texas (away wOBA - .341; home wOBA - .291).
Other Option: Albert Pujols ($3,300)
Chris Taylor, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers ($4,500) – Kolby Allard ($5,800) has been very good since becoming a starter since the end of May. He struggled as a reliever, but the three-batter rule has made the game much more challenging for left-handed relief pitchers, so some of his poor reliever stats should be scrutinized (vs RHB – 42% hard contact, 1.4 HR/9). Even if Allard fares better against right-handed batters, he’s not likely going to fare well against batters with strong platoon splits like Taylor (.435 wOBA, .344 ISO, 182 wRC+).
Other Option: Jose Altuve ($5,500)
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs ($3,500) – Those who bought stock in Carpenter are finally starting to see their belief pay off. Over the past 10 games, Carpenter has a .406 wOBA and a 162 wRC+. He’s a classic example of bad luck in baseball. His xwOBA and has been significantly higher than his wOBA all season, but his hits never seemed to find an open space. His high strikeout rate has not helped either, but the tide has turned. Kyle Hendricks has been fine against right-handed batters, but he has struggled against left-handed batters (.444 wOBA, .322 ISO, 3.2 HR/9).
Other Option: Tommy Edman ($4,400)
Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers ($5,200) – When Turner faces a lefty on a regular slate, he immediately jumps to the top of the list. On a small slate, it’s a “jam him in” situation (vs. LHP - .376 wOBA, .282 ISO, 143 wRC+, 46% hard contact). Kolby Allard has allowed a 42% hard contact and 1.42 HR/9 to right-handed batters this season. If Allard continues to improve as a starter, and Turner’s opportunities are limited to Texas relievers, then he should be fine. The Rangers have allowed the second worst wOBA when they leave their pitcher-friendly park (.347).
Other Option: Alex Bregman ($5,600)
Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($4,600) – His price tag doesn’t scream value, but his upside does. DFS players love this archetype. Wisdom is cut from the same cloth as Joey Gallo and Adam Dunn. They are all-or-nothing GPP plays. Wisdom will strikeout, but that doesn’t count against DFS lineups. Anyone will take three strikeouts with a home run. In 52 plate appearances, Wisdom has a 37% K rate, but he has a .518 wOBA, .542 ISO and a 233 wRC+. His home run rate is 15%; that’s double his walk rate. How do you not love this guy?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Patrick Wisdom is not in the lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Cardinals.
Other Option: Starlin Castro ($3,000)
Trea Turner, Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants ($4,800) – Against left-handed pitching, Turner has a .440 wOBA, .232 ISO and a 179 wRC+, but he’ll likely only get one shot at Conner Mennez. After that, he’ll face a strong bullpen. On a larger slate, Turner would not be in play, but shortstop on this slate is weak tonight. He is in a less-than-perfect matchup and in a seven-inning game, but this is still a better upside play than anyone else at this position.
Other Option: Carlos Correa ($5,000)
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals ($4,000) – What is the excuse for Crawford being cheap tonight? Is it because the game is a short double-header game? Crawford is a steal every day. Against right-handed pitching, he has a .420 wOBA, .295 ISO and a 171 wRC+. Ross has a 5.62 xFIP against left-handed batters and is allowing them a .352 wOBA. This is also a park upgrade for Crawford.
Other Option: Gavin Lux ($4,300)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Texas Rangers ($5,700) – Playing Allard and Dodgers on this slate might be a little too contrarian. The safest route for DFS players is to play the top of the Dodgers’ lineup. Betts has a .349 wOBA and 126 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Those aren’t monster numbers, but he can hit right-handed pitching and he’s likely going to get more at-bats against the Texas bullpen than Allard (vs. RHP - .355 wOBA, .196 ISO, 130 wRC+).
Other Option: Juan Soto ($4,900)
Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs ($4,100) – He’s the second hottest hitter in baseball over the last week (.653 wOBA, .688 ISO, 69% hard contact rate, 324 wRC+). The hot streak should continue against Kyle Hendricks ($8,500). Stacking against Hendricks never seems to work because he limits fly balls and hard contact to right-handed batters, but he is prone to the occasional mistake (1.6 HR/9). O’Neill has not been missing mistake pitches this week.
Other Option: Kyle Tucker ($3,500)
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