Saturday features a seven-game main MLB slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway 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.
Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks ($11,100) – The concern with Buehler is that he allows too much hard contact (35%) and too many fly balls (39%), but Statcast ranks Arizona as one of the hardest parks for hitting a home run. Arizona has an 83 wRC+, .292 wOBA and a .133 ISO against right-handed pitching. At home, they’ve hit 27 home runs (fifth fewest). Buehler held the Diamondbacks to one hit over seven innings on May 17. He may very well repeat that performance on Saturday night.
Other Option: Patrick Sandoval ($8.600)
Austin Gomber, Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($6,600) – After a rough start to the season, Gomber changed his approach from pitching to batters’ weaknesses to pitching to his own strengths. His knucklecurve has a 35.3% CSW% (called and swinging-strike rate) and a .160 xwOBA. At Coors Field, his changeup generates a 19.5% SwStr%. Since Gomber’s epiphany on May 12, he has four wins, a 2.88 xFIP and a 25.9% K rate in seven starts. Milwaukee has improved against left-handed pitching, but they still strike out at the third-highest rate (28.6%).
Other Option: Josh Fleming ($6,800)
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Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,300) – It’s best to attack Matt Peacock ($5,500) with left-handed batters, and there are several affordable options, but a Dodgers stack will require a few right-handed batters. Will Smith has been crushing right-handed pitching (.403 wOBA, .231 ISO, 162 wRC+), and if he doesn’t do any damage against Peacock, then he has a great shot against the third-worst bullpen (4.70 xFIP) in the Major Leagues.
Other Option: Yasmani Grandal ($4,500)
Max Stassi, Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers ($4,200) – Houston gave up on Stassi too fast. He joined the Angels last season and had a .370 wOBA and a .256 ISO. This season he has a .416 wOBA and a .268 ISO. For the Tigers, Wily Peralta ($4,700) — yes that Wily Peralta — will make his first start since 2017. Other than an excellent 2014 season (3.64 xFIP), Peralta has been a below-average pitcher (4.23 career xFIP). In his six minor league starts, Peralta is averaging only three innings per outing. It’s very likely that the Angels see a lot of the fifth-worst bullpen (4.59 xFIP) in the Major Leagues.
Other Option: Tyler Stephenson ($4,000)
Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels vs. Detroit Tigers ($5,500) – Home runs win DFS slates. Barrels are the best stat for predicting who is the most likely to hit a home run. Ohtani leads the league in barrel percentage (21.5%). DFS players could not ask for a better swing (93.8 mph EV with a 16-degree launch angle). The Tigers cannot stop Ohtani and last night he homered twice.
Other Option: Freddie Freeman ($5,800)
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres ($3,900) – Miguel Diaz ($8,100) is the surprise starter in this one. He has not started a game since May 3, and his average outing length is two innings. He has a 3.83 xFIP and a 27.7% K rate, but his BABIP is .191, and against left-handed batters, he has a 6.22 xFIP because his K rate drops to 17.1% while his walk rate balloons to 19.5%. Votto is one of the most disciplined hitters in baseball, and he will make Diaz throw him a good pitch. The internet meme is true - Votto still bangs (vs. RHP - .368 wOBA and a .218 ISO). This month, Votto has a .443 wOBA and a .250 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Other Option: Ji-Man Choi ($4,200)
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies vs. Milwaukee Brewers ($5,400) – Over the last week, McMahon has a .412 wOBA, .450 ISO and a 55% hard contact rate. At Coors Field, he has a .371 wOBA and a .280 ISO. His matchup against Adrian Houser ($7,700) is fairly neutral, but many hitters on this slate are in unfavorable matchups and are not playing in Coors Field.
Other Option: Brandon Lowe ($4,800)
Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves ($4,700) – A Cardinals stack is very tempting on this slate. While this is not a great offense, it is filled with right-handed bats. In general, St. Louis has a below-average offense but ranks inside the top 10 against left-handed pitching (107 wRC+). Edman has a .428 wOBA, .275 ISO, 177 wRC+, 37% hard contact rate and a 9% K rate against left-handed pitching. He bats at the top of the order and should get a couple of cracks at Drew Smyly ($6,500) .
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s Cardinals-Braves game has been postponed due to inclement weather.
Other Option: Danny Mendick ($2,400)
Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves ($5,200) – Drew Smyly ($6,500) has been awful against right-handed batters in nearly every category that matters (.351 wOBA, .210 ISO, 2.0 HR/9, 17% K rate, 10% BB rate, 45% flyball rate, and a 5.46 xFIP). That is a very long list of bad statistics. Arenado has a .374 wOBA, .271 ISO and a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.
Other Option: Austin Riley ($4,600)
Eugenio Suárez, Cincinnati Reds at San Diego Padres ($4,000) – He’s a streaky hitter, and his slumps decrease his price tag. In 2020, he was ice cold for half of the short season, then red hot. This April was rough, but May was better (.255 ISO). June has been yet another funk, but with funky stats. Suarez has dropped his K rate to 23% (his career average is 25%), and 31% of his contact had been to the opposite field (his career average is 23.5%). Could this change be the reason for his recent struggles or a hint at a major breakthrough on the horizon?
Other Option: Jeimer Candelario ($3,200)
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres vs. Cincinnati Reds ($6,100) – A player does not get any hotter than Tatis. It’s one thing to have great averages over a week (.534 wOBA, .607 ISO, 247 wRC+) and those are monster numbers, but it’s another level when the counting stats look like this - 5 home runs, 2 doubles, 11 RBIs. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the first name DFS players should click on Saturday.
Other Option: Carlos Correa ($4,800)
Taylor Walls, Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners ($2,400) – It’s extremely risky to fade Tatis Jr., but there is plenty of variance in baseball and elite players cannot hit a home run every night. Walls hasn’t been great, but he is cheap and there is potential in this matchup. Logan Gilbert ($6,900) is allowing a 39% hard contact rate to left-handed batters and Walls has a 48% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching.
Other Option: Daniel Robertson ($2,800), Gavin Lux ($3,700)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($6,200) – Adam Wainwright ($9,300) is not the gas can that he is purported to be. In fact, while other pitchers come back to Earth as their spin rates decline, control experts like Wainwright may once again become stars. With that being said, Wainwright lives and dies on the corners. If he is a little off one way, then walks lead to danger. If he is a little off the other way, then the ball sails over the fence (1.6 HR/9 vs. RHB). Against right-handed pitching, Acuña has .414 wOBA, .311 ISO and a 164 wRC+. Those stats were compiled in the spring at Atlanta. It’s summertime now, and the ball is about to start flying.
Other Option: Jesse Winker ($5,600)
Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves ($4,000) – He hasn’t homered since June 9 and he has a .262 wOBA and a .087 ISO over the last week. This is the time to buy low. O’Neill draws a preferable matchup (vs. LHP - .241 ISO, 47% hard contact) in a hitter-friendly park. More importantly, his advanced stats during this mini-slump look good (53% hard contact with a 46% fly-ball rate).
Other Option: Zach McKinstry ($3,700)
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