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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for August 19

Stan Son gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Thursday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.

There’s morning baseball for those of us on the right coast! Unfortunately, that means the main slate is a small one today with only four games. The Minnesota Twins (4.1) visit the New York Yankees (6.5), the Miami Marlins (3.1) travel to the Cincinnati Reds (5), the Milwaukee Brewers (4.7) play at the St. Louis Cardinals (3.4) and the New York Mets (3.8) are at the Los Angeles Dodgers (5.3). Weather doesn’t look to be a factor anywhere, so let’s dig in and see what plays we can isolate.


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Marlins SP Nick Neidert will start Thursday vs. the Reds.

PITCHER

Stud

Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds vs. Miami Marlins ($8,500) — It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Castillo. His first 10 starts to open the season resulted in a 7.61 ERA, 8.56 K/9 and 1.52 HR/9. There was bad luck as the BABIP was .382 and the FIP was 4.8. Over the next 13 starts, the ERA was 2.02, the strikeout rate ticked up to 9.3 while the HR/9 plummeted to 0.56. That said, the luck pendulum swung the other way as the BABIP was .261 and the FIP was 3.33. Baseball, man. In his two most recent starts, he’s allowed three and eight earned runs, so are we headed back down on the ride? It wouldn’t shock me and if the projected ownership levels get too high, then I will be inclined to fade and stack against him. As it stands now, though, I just like the matchup too much. The Marlins are sixth in strikeouts and 27th in ISO against right-handed pitching.

Other Option: Brandon Woodruff ($10,200)

Value

Jameson Taillon, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($6,300) — It’s a four-game slate so there aren’t many options for value. The Dodgers will have a bullpen game while John Gant ($6,100) and Jon Lester ($5,700) are no bueno for me. That leaves the third J, and I guess it makes sense because he’d be first alphabetically. I know, I’m stretching here. Let’s dig into the numbers. The swinging-strike rate is a respectable 11.9% and the K/9 is 8.85. The FIP is 4.23 so he’s no world-beater by any means but he has produced double-digit DKFP in seven of the last eight games with three above 20 and a high of 32.8. The Twins don’t strike out that much and are top 10 in ISO against right-handed pitching, but Taillon is the best of the worst options today.

Other Option: None


CATCHER

Stud

Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ($5,300) — Most of the pitchers on this slate do a good job of suppressing the long ball, especially those down in the price range. Taijuan Walker ($7,100), though, has reverse splits and is much more effective against lefties than righties. He only allows 0.88 HR/9 to lefties but 1.62 to righties. Smith mashes righties and has a .286 ISO against them. 1+1=2.

Other Option: None

Value

Manny Pina, Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,400) — If you haven’t received the memo, Jon Lester ($5,700) kind of stinks, especially against righties. The K/9 is sub-6 while he’s walking 4.1 per nine innings. The FIP is 5.94 and he’s allowed 1.85 HR/9. Pina kind of stinks too as the batting average is below .200, but he only strikes out 13.4% of the time against left-handed pitching and has a .228 ISO against them.

Other Option: None


FIRST BASE

Stud

Eduardo Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,600) — I guess we are stacking against Lester today. What could go wrong? I just went over Lester’s numbers above in the Pina section. Escobar bats third in the order and has a .225 ISO against left-handed pitching while only striking out 14.3% of the time. The slash is .279/.328/.505.

Other Option: None

Value

Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($3,700) — I don’t like the value options at first base on this slate and was tempted to just leave this section blank. Against right-handed pitching, Rizzo has a .217/.323/.415 slash. Against lefties, it’s .337/.419/.554. The ISO is still .198 against righties, though, and he faces John Gant ($6,100) who has a 5.75 FIP against lefties and the HR/9 is 1.18 compared to 0.39 to righties. Once he’s out of the game, the Twins bullpen has the 10th-highest FIP.

Other Option: None


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SECOND BASE

Stud

Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ($5,600) — Taijuan Walker ($7,100) just faced the Dodgers last start and went 6 23 innings while striking out eight and allowing only one earned run. I’m not expecting a repeat performance today as the Dodgers should be more comfortable facing him. They are eighth in ISO against right-handed pitching and I went over the numbers against righties in the Will Smith section above. Turner can send one over the fence or wreak havoc on the base paths, so there are multiple paths to fantasy goodies.

Other Option: None

Value

Jorge Polanco, Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees ($3,200) — Polanco is the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy baseball. What’s a guy gotta do to get some respect in these streets? On the season, he has 21 home runs, 72 runs, 67 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. His strikeout rate is only 16.4%, his ISO is .209 and he generally bats third in the Twins’ lineup. Against right-handed pitching, he has a .230 ISO. Polanco has scored double-digit DKFP in each of the last four games yet his price has gone down.

Other Option: None


THIRD BASE

Stud

Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. New York Mets ($5,700) — Against right-handed pitching, Turner has a .304/.399/.489 slash with a .185 ISO. The walk rate is 11.1% while the strikeout rate is 17.1%. I normally wouldn’t want to target Mets pitching, but it’s a small slate. I went over reasons why Walker could struggle against the Dodgers righties, he just faced them in his last start and the projected run total is 5.3 runs for Los Angeles.

Other Option: Chris Taylor ($5,000), Eduardo Escobar ($5,600)

Value

Rougned Odor, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($3,000) — Odor has been better against lefties than righties this season, which is contrary to his career averages. I’d think the pendulum will start swinging back as the sample size gets larger. That said, the ISO is still .173 against righties and Gant is weaker against lefties than righties. Am I crazy about this play? I am not, but Odor will bat sixth in a stacked Yankees lineup, the projected run total is the highest on the slate at 6.2 and the Twins bullpen is susceptible.


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Willy Adames, Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals ($5,200) — I went over the numbers on Lester earlier. I’m curious to see what the ownership levels will be on the Brewers since the projected run total is under five while the Yankees are over six and the Dodgers are over five. Adames bats second in the lineup and mashes lefties. The ISO is .241 but he does strike out 32.8% of the time against them. Facing Lester should mitigate the concerns somewhat.

Other Option: Trea Turner ($5,600)

Value

Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds ($4,100) — Facing Luis Castillo ($8,500) isn’t great, but Chisholm bats second in the lineup and has multiple ways to score those fantasy goodies. He has 13 home runs and 11 stolen bases on the season. The strikeout rate is high at 28.9% but he does have a .179 ISO. The choices are limited today so give me someone who bats high in the order and has the power/speed combo.

Other Option: None


OUTFIELD

Stud

Joey Gallo, New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins ($4,500) — Gallo is one of the preeminent power sluggers in the game. The strikeout rate is high at 33.7% and the batting average is low but the ISO is .260. He has 29 home runs and six stolen bases on the season. He gets to face Gant who is worse against lefties than righties and a Twins bullpen that is among the worst in the game. In the last six games, Gallo has put up 18 and 32 DKFP, so the ceiling is massive. Granted, so is the floor, but it’s baseball — even the best can be a zero on any given day.

Other Option: Chris Taylor ($5,000), AJ Pollock ($4,400), Avisaíl García ($4,300)

Value

Lewis Brinson, Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds ($2,200) — Since Aug. 1, Brinson has a .302/.362/.571 slash line with a .270 ISO in 69 plate appearances. The strikeout rate is only 20.3%, while the walk rate is 8.7%. That’s translated into four home runs and 17 RBIs. The BABIP is .333, though. That number was above .380 not too long ago, so some regression has already happened. Has he learned and developed or is he the Brinson that we know and despise (29% strikeout rate and .203/.254/.334 career slash line)? We’ve all been hurt by Brinson in the past, but he’s batting cleanup for the Marlins and is only $200 above the minimum. Facing Castillo isn’t ideal and he’s failed to scored double-digit DKFP in five games, but prior to that, he went over 10 in four of five games with a high of 35. The price is just too cheap for the ceiling that he possesses.

Other Option: Tyler Naquin ($2,300), Brett Gardner ($2,900), Michael Conforto ($3,000), Lorenzo Cain ($3,300), Max Kepler ($3,700)

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


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