DFS Plays of the Day – August 21

Rich Holman previews the top DFS plays for August 21st's slate.

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Friday! Is Rebecca Black’s classic ear-worm stuck in my head now? 100% and I hate it, but I’ve been drinking margaritas on a Thursday like I’m back in college, so turn that jam up! Let’s turn things around and get started on our 13-game slates. In Atlanta, we get an awesome pitching matchup of Aaron Nola vs. Max Fried. However, after those two things get slightly shady. Walker Buehler faces the Rockies outside of Coors, but Buehler has not been the ace we know and love. Do you trust Jon Lester and his .188 BABIP to keep the good times rolling? Finally, we have a southpaw matchup in Seattle where the Rangers are visiting the Mariners. Both teams are hot garbage against lefties, so maybe we’ll look to Kolby Allard and Nick Margevicius. Oh god, I threw up in my mouth. Let’s move on before I mess myself again.


Top SP: Aaron Nola, PHI ($9,900 DK, $10,700 FD) at ATL


Boy, oh boy. You know I’m breaking out my “Nola Day” shirt today! Aaron Nola has been absolutely filthy to start the year. The only question is, which stat is your favorite? 35.5% K-BB% or .250 xwOBA. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” The matchup with the Braves scared me a little initially, but once I remembered they’re without Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies, I calmed down some. Then I checked the game logs and remembered the 8 IP gem that he threw against these same Braves 11 days ago. Eight innings pitched, one earned run with three baserunners while striking out 10 – that’s what I’m talking about.

The Braves offense has been good against right-handed pitching on the year, posting a .349 team wOBA, but that number has ticked back some since losing Albies and Acuña. Over the past 14 days, that team wOBA has hit .337 which is still respectable, but the 26% strikeout rate will not mesh well with Nola’s 39.8% K%.

Honorable Mentions: Max Fried, ATL ($8,900 DK, $9,400 FD) vs. PHI


Value SP: Chad Kuhl, PIT ($6,900 DK, $6,600 FD) vs. MIL


Did I choose Chad Kuhl because he’s $6.9K on DK – maybe? Have I been drinking tonight – maybe? But just because I have a tummy full of margs doesn’t mean he’s not a good option. Kuhl is doing some fun things on the mound, featuring his breaking pitches 58% of the time. The results have been a dramatic increase in his strikeout rate, however, when he misses his spots, he’s gotten hit pretty hard – 50% fly-ball rate with a 56.3% hard-hit rate. Those are scary, but you know what’s not scary right now? The Brewers bats. Over the last 14 days, they’ve posted a league-worst .267 wOBA against right-handed pitching while striking out 27.1% of the time. If it’s even possible, that number has dipped even lower to .231 over the last 7 days. Kuhl makes for a fun cheap option on DK to help us fit in Nola with some decent bats.

I wanted to add a quick note about Garrett Richards. Normally, I’m avoiding a matchup with the Astros, but this Houston team is a shell of its former self. Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez joined Michael Brantley on the IL this week, leaving George Springer, Carlos Correa, and a struggling Jose Altuve to hold down the fort. The results are exactly what you’d expect – a .284 wOBA against righties over the last 14 days. That number includes two games played at Coors this week. Richards has been decent despite a really tough schedule to open the year. While facing the Dodgers twice, the Rockies in Coors, and the Diamondbacks twice, Richards has posted a 3.45 ERA with a .294 xwOBA. I like Richards as a low-owned SP2 today.

Honorable Mentions: Adrian Houser, MIL ($8,400 DK, $7,400 FD) at PIT; Garrett Richards, SD ($7,500 DK, $7,400 FD) vs. HOU


OF Ramon Laureano, OAK ($4,400 DK, $3,100 FD) vs. LAA


I wanted to make sure I highlighted the Athletics today as they’re scorching as a team against lefties. Over the last seven days, they’ve posted a team wOBA of .396. Ramon Laureano has crushed lefties so far this year. He’s posted a .353 batting average with a .353 ISO and .454 wOBA against lefties. Today, the Athletics face Andrew Heaney. While I root for nothing but success for Heaney, it just hasn’t been there to start the year. Heaney’s posted a 4.74 ERA, but it’s a 42.6% hard-hit rate that has me excited about the Athletics bats. They’re one of my favorite stacks of the day.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Yastrzemski, OF ($5,000 DK, $3,600 FD) vs. ARI; Anthony Santander, OF ($4,600 DK, $3,800 FD) vs. BOS; J.D. Martinez, OF ($5,800 DK, $3,600 FD) at BAL; Nelson Cruz, OF ($5,700 DK, $4,000 FD) at KC


1B/OF Cody Bellinger, LAD ($5,300 DK, $3,900 FD) vs. COL


Cody Bellinger finally looks like the slugger we know and love. Over the past seven days, Bellinger has heated up posting a .280/.379/.760 triple slash. He has four bombs and a stolen base in that time. The Dodgers face Jon Gray today. For the deep dive on Gray and the Rockies bullpen, head on down to the “Stack” section, but here’s a preview – they’re not good. In his career, Bellinger has faced Gray 18 times. He’s 10/16 with five extra-base hits. While, I’m not a huge BvP guy, but I do like to think that Bellinger sees the ball well out of Gray’s hand.

Honorable Mentions: Anthony Rendon, 3B ($5,300 DK, $3,900 FD) at OAK; Corey Seager, SS ($5,000 DK, $3,900 FD) vs. COL; Matt Chapman, 3B ($4,700 DK, $3,500 FD) vs. LAA; Jose Ramirez, 3B ($5,400 DK, $4,000 FD) vs. DET


Value Batter: OF Austin Slater, SF ($2,800 DK, $2,800 FD) vs. ARI


To be fair, I could list almost this entire Giants team here – Austin Slater just to happens to be my boy. I wrote about Slater heading into the week in the Hitters to Stream article. In the article I wrote, “Slater has been quite the power-speed threat, hitting three homers while swiping five bags. This week, the Giants face the Angels for 4 games and the Diamondbacks for 3 games. Those two teams are ranked first and second in stolen bases allowed on the year.” While Slater missed two games against the Angels, he returned to the lineup on Wednesday and has a pair of multi-hit games including a homer and a stolen base.

Today the Giants get Robbie Ray, who has struggled mightily to open the year. Ray used five shut out innings against the Padres in his last outing to lower his ERA to 8.59. He’s struggled with walks and that was no different in the Padres matchup where he issued six free passes. In addition to the walks, he’s giving up a ton of hard contact (48.3%). This is a terrible combo against a Giants team that has excelled against lefties on the year. Over the last 14 days, they’ve posted a .379 wOBA against lefties while striking out just 19.7% of the time. If we zoom in some, that wOBA has ballooned to a league-leading .438 in 82 plate appearances over the last 7 days, while the strikeout rate has crept down to 12.2%. I expect good things from this Giants team today and FTN’s Lineup Optimizer confirms my good feelings by having them at a 4.9 expected team total.

Honorable Mentions: Joey Bart, C ($2,300 DK) vs. ARI; Mark Canha, OF ($3,700 DK; $3,000 FD) vs. LAA; Darin Ruf, 1B/OF ($2,400 DK; $2,300 FD) vs. ARI; Marwin Gonzalez, 2B/3B ($3,700 DK, $2,700 FD) at KC; Jesse Winker, OF ($3,500 DK; $3,000 FD) at STL


Lineup Stack: Dodgers vs. Rockies (RHP Jon Gray)


If I’m stacking up some value Giants, I get to spend my money on my second stack, so let’s roll with the Dodgers. FTN’s Lineup Optimizer has the Dodgers at a slate-high 5.5 projected run total. The Dodgers are white-hot over the last 14 days against righties, posting a .364 team wOBA. If we zoom in even closer, they lead the league with a .378 wOBA and have put up an eye-popping .292 ISO. All that means bad things for Jon Gray. On the year, Gray has posted a 5.74 ERA thanks in part to a 42.2% hard-hit rate. Once Gray inevitably leaves the game, the Dodgers will have the pleasure of teeing off against a bullpen that has allowed a 51.1% hard-hit rate over the last 14 days. They’ve managed to post a 6.74 ERA in that timeframe. I love stacking a team that gets the advantage against the starter as well as the pen.

You already know I want to get Mookie Betts ($6,100 DK, $4,300 FD) and Cody Bellinger ($5,300 DK, $3,900 FD) in my stack if we can afford it. After that, I’m looking to Corey Seager ($5,000 DK, $3,900 FD), Max Muncy ($5,200 DK, $3,400 FD), Justin Turner ($4,900 DK, $3,200 FD), A.J. Pollock ($3,900 DK, $3,000 FD), and Joc Pederson ($4,100 DK, $2,800 FD). Honestly, any of these bats will do, although I’m definitely playing Giants’ catcher Joey Bart today, so we can skip the Dodgers catcher. Good luck today!

Honorable Mentions: Giants vs. Diamondbacks; Athletics vs. Angels

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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Rich Holman

Tax Auditor by day (I promise I'm not the devil), dad to twin velociraptors by night. Complete sports junkie. Philly fan that only boos occasionally.

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