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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Lineup Strategy for Mariners vs. Angels Showdown on July 17

Zach Thompson gives his top lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy baseball Showdown contest on DraftKings between the Mariners and Angels, which starts at 9:07 p.m. ET.

MLB: JUL 01 Mariners at Blue Jays Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This week’s featured Saturday night Showdown contest on DraftKings is an AL West matchup between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels. The two teams played right before the All-Star break as well with the Mariners taking two of three games in Seattle. They also took the first game back after the break on Friday night in Anaheim, holding on to beat the Angels, 6-5. Winning three of four from their division rivals has pushed the Mariners to three games ahead of the Angels but still seven back of the first-place Houston Astros. Seattle is making a run at the playoffs, though, and is currently 3.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild Card spot.

The Angels will try to get back on track by giving the ball to veteran Alex Cobb ($15,300 CP; $10,200), who has gone 6-3 in his 13 starts with a 4.23 ERA but only a 2.61 FIP, which would seem to indicate he has been somewhat unlucky in his batted-ball results. His .324 BABIP against is another indication that he may be in for a better second half if he continues to pitch at the same level. The veteran righty will be opposed in this contest by lefty Yusei Kikuchi ($15,900 CP; $10,600), who is 6-4 in 16 starts with a 3.48 ERA and 3.55 FIP. Despite Seattle’s recent form and possibly a slight starting pitching advantage, the Angels are actually slight favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook at -130.

It’s an interesting pitching matchup that includes some interesting fantasy plays from both sides of the Bay Bridge, so let’s take a look at how to construct your DraftKings lineups for Saturday night’s Showdown contest.


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Captain’s Picks

Yusei Kikuchi ($15,900 CP) - Taking on the Angels lineup is no easy task with the big bats of Shohei Ohtani ($10,800) and Jared Walsh ($9,800). However, the offense is a little thin aside from those All-Stars, and Kikuchi was an All-Star himself after putting together solid results for much of the season, although he did not play in the game.

He has an 8.97 K/9 rate with 98 strikeouts in 98 13 innings. He had held opponents to a 30.1% hard-hit rate, per FanGraphs, and he has been especially dominant against lefties, holding them to a .120 batting average and .179 wOBA. Since the Angels’ lineup is lefty-heavy, Kikuchi should match up well against them and be able to put together a good outing. He had 15.4 DKFP in his only other start against the Angels this season in a no-decision. Before getting knocked around in his most recent outing by the Yankees, Kikuchi had posted over 23 DKFP in four straight outings with exactly six strikeouts in each of those games and seven innings in three of those contests.

Mitch Haniger ($13,500 CP) - Haniger went into the All-Star break hot and picked up where he left off with a 3-for-5 performance on Friday night that included his 20th home run of the season and netted him 28 DKFP. Over his past 16 games, Haniger has gone 21-for-64 with five of those home runs, an ISO of .266 and a wOBA of .426. He has six barrels during that span with a 12.2% barrel rate and 44.9% hard-hit rate, per Statcast. He has also fared well against Cobb in the past, going 4-for-11 in their previous meetings, so he should be able to keep mashing from the second spot in the Mariners’ order, making him my top bat to target in this contest.


Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $4K Extra Inning [$1K to 1st] (SEA vs LAA)


Value Plays

David Fletcher ($7,800) - Fletcher extended his hitting streak to an impressive 25 games with a 3-for-5 performance Friday night on his way to 17 DKFP. The line-drive hitting leadoff-hitter is hitting .360 this season against southpaws with a .100 ISO and .378 wOBA. He doesn’t typically bring a ton of power but has been getting so many hits lately that he has been a great fantasy asset with 21 runs scored, 16 RBI and a 195 wRC+ over his 25-game hitting streak.

Jarred Kelenic ($4,000) - Kelenic is the Mariners’ top prospect and was ranked the No. 4 overall in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline coming into the season. Kelenic and his service-time situation got plenty of attention in spring training, but the 22-year-old lefty struggled badly in his first stint with the Mariners, batting only .096 in 22 games with two home runs, three stolen bases and a woeful 31 wRC+ (league average is 100). He hit well when sent back to Triple-A Tacoma, hitting .306 with seven home runs, four stolen bases, a .316 ISO, a .408 wOBA and a much-better 135 wRC+. Kelenic was recalled over the All-Star break and should get a chance to prove he’s ready to make the jump to the big leagues. He started Friday night even against a lefty, going 1-for-4 with 3.0 DKFP. He should be back in the lineup Saturday against Cobb and can produce a big fantasy night either with his power or his speed, making him a very attractive option at the minimum salary.


Fades

Jared Walsh ($9,800) - I’m not going to be the guy who tells you to fade Shohei Ohtani ($10,800) no matter how good the opposing pitcher is against lefties. However, Walsh at this salary in this matchup is not someone I’m trying to squeeze under my salary cap. The 27-year-old first baseman is in the midst of an impressive breakout campaign but is hitting only .177 against southpaws like Kikuchi with a .212 ISO and .253 wOBA. Those power numbers aren’t bad, but they do pale in comparison to how much he has crushed righties. I like Walsh and use him in my lineups all the time, but I won’t be chasing him in this lefty-lefty matchup. Ohtani is definitely not a fade for me, but neither is he a “must-own” against Kikuchi.


The Outcome

Despite Cobb’s advanced metrics indicating some positive regression is coming, I still think the Mariners have a great shot at picking up the win on the road in this contest. Seattle’s bats have been producing, and Kikuchi has been very impressive in his third season in the Majors. The Angels’ lineup still badly misses Mike Trout and is a little thin as a result, so I think the Mariners will be able to eke out another win in this contest tonight

Final Score: Mariners 4, Angels 2

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB Showdown $4K Extra Inning [$1K to 1st] (SEA vs LAA)


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


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