Monday features a 10-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
Kevin Gausman, San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets ($10,100) — In this chapter of my Kevin Gausman diary, nothing changes — like most diaries the theme stays the same and theme is infatuation (previous diary entries can be found here: Aug. 11, Aug. 4, July 24). Gausman is in the thick of the battle for the NL Cy Young. He has the stats to support his campaign and his team has the best record in baseball. On Monday night, Gausman will enjoy the benefits of pitching in San Francisco (0.9 HR/9 at home), but not fully — his away fly ball rate (41.8%) is higher than it is at home (32.7%) and that has allowed his away ERA to be 1.55, while his home ERA is 3.21. The advanced metrics show that Gausman has been better at home (3.14 home xFIP vs. 3.63 away xFIP), but he has not fully exploited the deep fences at San Francisco. If Gausman can generate more quick fly ball outs, then he could pitch deep into this game against a dragging Mets offense — extra innings on Saturday night followed by Sunday Night Baseball in New York, and a red eye across the country to San Francisco — that doesn’t hit right-handed pitchers to begin with (91 wRC+, .301 wOBA, .149 ISO and a 23% K rate). The only question with Gausman is whether his splitter is working or not. In his last start, the swinging strike rate on his splitter dropped from 20.9% to 12.6%. That’s still very good, and the drop is likely due to facing the same team, the Diamondbacks, in consecutive starts.
Other Option: Gerrit Cole ($10,900)
Wade Miley, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($8,200) — This isn’t the cheapest pitcher and Miley does not offer maximum savings, but he is valuable from a point per dollar perspective. Miley’s salary peaked at $9,700 against Milwaukee on July 9, so $8,200 against the Iowa Cubs is a steal. The Cubs’ current lineup is embarrassing and will be a DFS target for the rest of the season (81 wRC+, .292 wOBA, .125 ISO and a league worst 32.4% K rate over the last two weeks). In a smaller sample size — vs. LHP over that span — the Cubs have hit better (.359 wOBA and a .242 IS0), but they’re still striking out at the highest rate in baseball (29.4%). The stat sheet does not look favorable for Miley in his July 26 start against the Cubs, but in that matchup he battled bloop hits, walks and surrendered a home run to Anthony Rizzo — now a Yankee. The last time the Cubs faced a good lefty, Carlos Rodón on Aug. 7, they struck out 11 times and managed two hits in five innings. Miley isn’t at Rodón’s level, but Rodón was not at 100% in that start — he went on the IL shortly after that game.
Other Option: Matt Harvey ($6,300)
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros ($5,100) — Paying up at catcher is not something that is normally prescribed, and on this slate it’s not the greatest strategy. Typically, if DFS players are paying up in this spot, then it’s part of a stack or the matchup is juicy. Neither are the case tonight, but Perez is the best hitting catcher on the slate and he’s facing a hittable Jake Odirizzi ($7,300).
Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets ($4,000) — It’s surprising to see Posey’s salary drop this much. He’s not slumping — .488 wOBA and a .261 ISO over the last week — and he’s hitting in the middle of a stacked lineup. At home, he’s a much better hitter (.439 home wOBA; .397 away wOBA) and he’s facing a lefty (.444 wOBA, .213 ISO, 181 wRC+). Rich Hill ($8,100) has allowed a .200 ISO, 34% hard contact rate and 1.5 HR/9 to right-handed batters. Furthering the idea of a Giants stack is the fact that the Mets bullpen pitched seven innings on Sunday night.
Other Option: Tyler Stephenson ($4,300)
Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($5,800) — Paying up for a lefty-lefty matchup is contrarian, but Votto still bangs and Justin Steele ($5,400) is primed for some regression. In his first Major League start last week, Steele’s results were great, but they’re unsustainable — 57.9% ground ball rate, .176 BABIP and one strikeout over 5 1⁄3 innings. Hints of the unsustainability were present in the matchup. When Steele left the ball up in the zone, he got rocked — two home runs. The former reliever likely won’t last long and will hand the ball over to a below-average bullpen (4.36 xFIP)
Other Option: Max Muncy ($5,500), C.J. Cron ($4,800)
Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($2,600) — Check the lineup or follow @DKLive because there is not a guarantee that Pujols will start against the lefty, Steven Brault ($7,600). Pujouls has been exceptional as the Dodgers’ platoon hitter — .400 wOBA, .295 ISO, 155 wRC+ and a 42% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. In a small sample size (eight innings), Brault has allowed a .267 ISO, 48% hard contact rate and 2.3 HR/9 to right-handed batters.
Other Option: Connor Joe ($2,800)
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Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($5,500) — Steven Brault provided some hope for Pirates fans last season (3.38 ERA), whether it was an illusion (4.85 xFIP) does not matter because hope was lost when the Pirates lost Brault for most of this season. In his first two starts, his fastball is sitting at 90.7 mph. That’s two mph slower than last season making it a BP fastball. Turner has a .462 wOBA, .259 ISO, 189 wRC+, 38% hard contact rate and a 13% K rate against left-handed pitching.
Other Option: Jonathan India ($4,800)
Adam Frazier, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($4,100) — An affordable hitter at Coors Field should always be on the menu. Since leaving the cellar dweller Pirates for the Padres, Frazier has stunk — .285 wOBA and a .065 ISO in 66 at-bats. The good news is that his position is safe because Jake Cronenworth will play shortstop as Fernando Tatis Jr. moves to the outfield. This is a great spot for Frazier to stop pushing, relax and enjoy the thin air of Colorado.
Other Option: Donovan Solano ($2,300)
Manny Machado, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($5,900) — Antonio Senzatela ($6,800) is not a gas can and has been decent for a pitcher that tosses half of his pitches in Coors Field, but there are issues with his metrics. He allows a .350 wOBA, 39% hard contact rate and an 18% strikeout rate to right-handed batters. That’s too much contact and too much reliance on ground ball outs. Machado has crushed right-handed pitching this season — .372 wOBA, .233 ISO, 135 wRC+, 43% hard contact rate and an 18% K rate.
Other Option: Matt Chapman ($5,300)
Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($4,100) — Stacking against Matt Harvey has not worked this season, but a player or two will work. In three games at Baltimore last week, the Rays scored 31 runs. While playing at Tampa might seem like a downgrade, most of the Rays hitters have better numbers at home in the pitcher-friendly ball park. Unfortunately, Wendle is not one of those hitters, but he’s cheap and facing a right-handed pitcher (.354 wOBA, .177 ISO and a 130 wRC+), and Harvey has some holes against left-handed batters — 35% hard contact rate, 46% fly ball rate and a 16% K rate.
Other Option: Evan Longoria ($3,500)
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($6,100) — The Padres are in control of the final wild card spot, but the surging Reds are only 2.5 games back. Tatis needs to put this team on his back and carry them into the playoffs. In his first game off the IL, Tatis went 4-for-5 with two home runs, four RBIs and scored three runs. This team will be on his back while he goes mountain climbing this week in Colorado.
Other Option: Trevor Story ($5,400)
Jake Cronenworth, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($4,400) — It’s not scientific, but it appears that Tatis lit a fire under this team on Sunday — San Diego plated eight runs against Arizona. If the Padres are about to go on a heater, then it’s time to jump on the train now before it leaves the station. Everyone is going to jam in Tatis tonight, and rightfully so, but the leverage option is the lefty Jake Cronenworth — .348 wOBA, .199 ISO, 119 wRC+ and a 14% K rate against right-handed pitching.
Other Option: Kyle Farmer ($3,900)
Starling Marte, Oakland Athletics at Chicago White Sox ($5,900) — He doesn’t stop hitting and he doesn’t stop running. Marte extended his hit streak to 13 games on Sunday (hits in 14 of 15 games with Oakland) and added his league leading 33rd stolen base. Since joining the A’s, Marte has a .409 wOBA and 168 wRC+. Chicago’s -3 rSB is the fourth-worst in baseball, so multiple stolen bases are a possibility for Marte on Monday night.
Other Option: Franmil Reyes ($5,400), Nick Castellanos ($4,800), Kris Byrant ($4,900)
Aristides Aquino, Cincinnati Reds vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,700) — Jesse Winker aggravated his intercostal strain and left Sunday’s game early, so Aquino should draw the start on Monday night against the lefty — .372 wOBA, .304 ISO, 129 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate. Those splits in the premier hitter’s park in Cincinnati make the inconsistent Aquino an appealing value option on Monday night.
Randy Arozarena ($4,100), Austin Slater ($2,200)
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