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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for August 21

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

Red Sox vs Orioles Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Saturday features a five-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.


PITCHER

Stud

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($9,100) — For a five-game main slate, there are quite a few pitching options. Aaron Nola ($9,900) might be the best pitcher, but he has the worst matchup against San Diego. Eduardo Rodriguez ($9,500) is the least dependable of the top-tier pitchers on Saturday night, but he has one of the best matchups against Texas. Musgrove’s matchup against Philadelphia — 88 wRC+, .305 wOBA, .160 ISO and a 23% K rate against right-handed pitching — isn’t the easiest, but it’s on the soft side of the difficulty spectrum. In his last start, Musgrove was very popular and he burned a lot of DFS players when he got into trouble in the first inning — five hits (including a home run), one walk and five runs. After getting out of the first, Musgrove pitched four scoreless innings and held Arizona to five hits. That’s the Musgrove that was expected because that’s the Musgrove that has pitched most of the season — 3.49 xFIP and a 27.6% K rate.

Other Option: Eduardo Rodriguez ($9,500)

Value

J.A. Happ, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($7,600) — “Look at us. Hey, look at us. Who would’ve thought? Not me.” J.A. Happ is not a stacking target — he’s an actual play. In three starts since being traded to the Cardinals, Happ has allowed three earned runs and 11 hits over 16 23 innings. The Cardinals clearly saw something that they knew they could fix, so they traded for Happ and his 6.77 ERA and 17.3% K rate. Honestly, the old Happ would be worth considering against Pittsburgh — 76 wRC+, .285 wOBA, .119 ISO and a 30% hard contact rate against left-handed pitching. Before rostering Happ, DFS players are going to need know how the Cardinals fixed Happ. It’s pretty simple: Happ was a sinker ball pitcher with a 45% fly ball rate — clearly the pitch wasn’t working. With the Cardinals, Happ has increased his four seamer usage to 60% and rarely throws his sinker. He had success with this strategy on Aug. 10 against the Pirates, holding them to one earned run and one hit (a home run) over six innings.

Other Option: Dillon Peters ($5,200), Kyle Freeland ($5,700)


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CATCHER

Stud

Elias Díaz, Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,400) — This is a small slate, but there are quite a few obvious places to attack. Zac Gallen ($7,200) in Coors Field should lead to the Rockies being popular. Against right-handed batters, he has a .337 wOBA, .269 ISO, 44% hard contact rate, 2.5 HR/9, 11% BB rate and a 47% fly ball rate. His 31% hard contact rate isn’t terrible but with his fly ball rate, it could very well be an issue. Díaz has a .338 wOBA, .232 ISO and a 14% K rate against right-handed pitchers.

Other Option: Carson Kelly ($4,600)

Value

Kevin Plawecki, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers ($3,300) — It doesn’t matter which Boston catcher is in the lineup — Christian Vázquez ($3,200) —Jordan Lyles is a stacking target every time he pitches. Against right-handed batters, he has a .377 wOBA, .251 ISO, 39% hard contact rate and 2.4 HR/9.

Other Option: Pedro Severino ($3,600)


FIRST BASE

Stud

Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles ($5,500) — Matt Harvey has gotten by on smoke and mirrors this season. Despite a very low strike out rate (18%) he had limited home runs until his last three starts (four home runs). Against left-handed batters his .196 ISO and 1.4 HR/9 are not terrible, but his number should be worse based on his low strikeout rate, 36% hard contact rate and 46% fly ball rate. Freeman has obliterated right-handed pitching this season, .400 wOBA, .237 ISO, 149 wRC+, 41% hard contact rate and a 16% K rate.

Other Option: C.J. Cron ($4,800)

Value

Travis Shaw, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers ($4,100) — He might be washed up and the Boston magic might not work this time, but there will be days where Shaw shines. A matchup on Saturday night against Jordan Lyles should be one of the evenings where it looks like the old Travis Shaw is back.

Other Option: Ryan Mountcastle ($4,000)


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SECOND BASE

Stud

Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,400) — It’s a five-game main slate and it’s a Coors Slate. Avoiding this game will provide differentiation in large tournaments, but it could prove fatal to lineups because the over/under sits at 12. After an average July (.335 wOBA), the prospect has bounced back in August (.386 wOBA). Unfortunately his ISO swung in the opposite direction — .244 to .102. What’s peculiar about Rodgers is that he isn’t hitting for power at Coors field (.134 ISO), but he’s starting to be a more productive hitter at home — .261 home wOBA in July and a .432 home wOBA in August.

Other Option: Ozzie Albies ($5,900)

Value

Rodolfo Castro, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals ($) — Small sample size alert — 25 at-bats vs. LHP — Castro has a .421 wOBA and a .280 ISO. If the J.A. Happ hype train builds throughout the day, then consider this cheap leverage option. J.A. Happ has allowed a .379 wOBA, .254 ISO, 35% hard contact rate, 2.0 HR/9, 17% K rate and a 47% fly ball rate to right-handed batters.

Other Option: Josh VanMeter ($2,700)


THIRD BASE

Stud

Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers ($6,000) — The Red Sox and the Rockies will be popular on this small slate. The Rockies are in Coors and Red Sox are facing the personification of Coors in Jordan Lyles — .355 wOBA, .207 ISO, 40% hard contact rate, 1.7 HR/9, 16% K rate, 11% BB rate and a 49% fly ball rate. It’s a wonder that he still has a job, but the Rangers have to fire Mike Foltynewicz before Lyles gets sent packing. Devers has some of the best lefty-vs-righty splits in the league — .398 wOBA, .347 ISO, 152 wRC+ and a 47% hard contact rate.

Other Option: Nolan Arenado ($5,000)

Value

Asdrúbal Cabrera, Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies ($3,100) — Getting value at Coors on a small slate with a multi-position eligible player is a gift. Cabrera is not a lock, but he has a .360 wOBA, .169 ISO and a 123 wRC+. His 32% hard contact rate isn’t great, but his 38% fly ball rate with an average launch angle of 14.6-degrees could translate into extra base hits against Kyle Freeland ($5,700). Against right-handed batters, Freeland has allowed a .356 wOBA, .198 ISO, 35% hard contact rate and 1.4 HR/9.

Other Option: Ramón Urías ($3,200)


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers ($5,700) — As always, the shortstop position is stacked up top. Bogaerts has the juiciest spot — against right-handed pitching, he has a .376 wOBA, .220 ISO, 137 wRC+, 37% hard contact rate and a 16% K rate. On Saturday night, he’ll face one of the worst right-handed starters in the league.

Other Option: Trevor Story ($5,300)

Value

Nick Ahmed, Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies ($3,400) — One knock against Ahmed and his Arizona teammates is that the Rockies have the best defense in baseball. Kyle Freeland might be a viable option despite pitching in the highest implied total of the night. However, if Vegas says Arizona is scoring five runs, then they’re scoring five runs. Ahmed has been very strong against left-handed pitching — .367 wOBA, .217 ISO, 128 wRC+ and a 13% K rate.

Other Option: Edmundo Sosa ($2,200)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Adam Duvall, Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles ($4,600) — He strikes out a lot, but Harvey doesn't strike anyone out. If Duvall makes contact, then good things happen — .341 wOBA, .270 ISO, 116 wRC+ and a 36% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching. Since joining the Braves, he has a .358 wOBA, .311 ISO and a 122 wRC+ in 51 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.

Other Option: J.D. Martinez ($5,300)

Value

Bryan Reynolds, Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals ($4,200) — Happ can be the value pitcher of the day and still serve up a solo shot or two. Against left-handed pitching, Reynolds has a .389 wOBA, .206 ISO, 144 wRC+ and a 42% hard contact rate. Also, he has 35 barrels this season and he’s a better hitter when he leaves Pittsburgh's pitcher-friendly park — .409 wOBA, .227 ISO and a 155 wRC+ on the road.

Other Option: Connor Joe ($3,600)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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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