DFS Plays of the Day – August 23

Ryan Amore previews the DFS slate for Sunday, August 23rd.

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Sunday’s main slate on FanDuel features thirteen games and starts at 12:35 EST. Meanwhile, DraftKings’ main slate starts at 1:05 EST and has just seven games. Note for this article we’re going to focus mostly on plays from the games on DraftKing’s main slate.

Top SP: Yu Darvish, CHC ($11,000 DK, $10,200 FD) vs CWS


Yu Darvish has dazzled so far this year posting a lovely 1.80 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, and it’s backed by a fantastic 25.2% K-BB% that leads the board this afternoon. In his last start against the Cardinals, Darvish went six innings and came away with seven strikeouts (31% CSW). He gets the White Sox this afternoon, a powerful lineup for sure, but also one that does strike out a bunch with a 25.3% K rate that’s 8th worst.

Last time out I was on Carlos Carrascothinking a matchup against the lowly Pirates and their league-worst .275 team OBP could get him back on track. That was not the case as he struggled and didn’t get out of the fifth inning. Carrasco has been striking out batters at a 30.7% clip, the problem though right now seems to be an uncharacteristically high walk rate of 12.3%. Given their recent form, I’d rather pay the extra fee for Darvish, but it wouldn’t be surprising in the least bit to see Carrasco spike a ceiling game here. Hey, it’s the Tigers after all and we know they love to stack up the strikeouts.

Honorable Mentions: Carlos Carrasco, CLE ($10,500 DK, $9,300 FD) vs DET; Dylan Bundy, LAA ($9,100 FD) at OAK. 


Value SP: Corbin Burnes, MIL ($7,400 DK, $7,300 FD) at PIT


If you recall, last year Corbin Burnes was a name with some sleeper appeal in season-long formats. His 2019 season ended up being a complete disaster as he allowed an unbelievably bad 38.6% HR/FB rate. No, that wasn’t a typo. Part of the problem was a broken fastball that allowed a horrifying .533 wOBA. So far this year, fastball command looks to still be an issue as it’s surrendered a .496 xwOBA. Yikes. Fastball aside, there’s still a lot to like here. This year he’s added some serious velocity to his slider as it now sits at around 93. He’s been using his curveball and changeup more too and both pitches have so far shown impressive whiff rates in an albeit short sample. In his first start, after spending a few turns in the pen, Burnes threw 83 pitches and went five innings allowing one earned run with five strikeouts (28% CSW)  at Minnesota. He finished his night with a flourish walking the bases loaded before striking out Nelson Cruz with a nasty slider. Burnes is far from safe, his walk rate is currently 16.1% so not good, but this also comes with a 33.3% K rate. Considering that he gets a weak Pirates offense, this is a chance I’d be willing to take. The Brewers are strong road favorites this afternoon.

Honorable Mention: Daniel Ponce de Leon, STL ($7,800 DK, $6,600 FD) vs CIN; Ross Stripling, LAD ($7,800 FD) vs COL.


OF Nelson Cruz, MIN ($5,700 DK, $4,200 FD) at KC


The young lefty Kris Bubic will be making his second start in a row against the Twins. In his first start, well it wasn’t great but that’s to be expected given that it’s the Twins and that Bubic, prior to this wild year of 2020, hadn’t pitched above High-A. Meanwhile, the ageless wonder that is Nelson Cruz, who is once again among the league-leaders in OPS, should be fresh after a night out of the lineup yesterday.

Poor Wade LeBlanc. The projections at FTN are simply not a fan of the soft-tossing lefty. Expect to see plenty of lineups featuring J.D. Martinez today. For his career, Martinez owns a .412 wOBA against southpaws. Not too shabby.

Honorable Mentions: J.D. Martinez, OF ($5,800 DK, $3,600 FD) at BAL; Christian Yelich, OF ($5,600 DK, $4,300 FD) at PIT; Juan Soto, OF ($4,700 FD) vs MIA; Cody Bellinger, OF ($4,000 FD) vs COL. 


1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC ($5,100 DK, $3,300 FD) vs CWS


There’s no denying Dylan Cease’s raw stuff, but he’s a pitcher whose command is spotty at best and it’s really capping his upside. Evidence being a 15.4% K rate as we sit here five starts into his season. Only four strikeouts in his last outing against the Tigers gives you an indication of where he’s at. The hard-throwing righty’s most glaring weakness has come against lefties to which he’s surrendered a .371 wOBA including last season. The Lineup Optimizer over at FTN is liking the Cubs today as their implied total of just over five and a half runs is right there at the top. This all lines up well for Anthony Rizzo who owns a career .380 wOBA against RHP.

Honorable Mentions: Xander Bogaerts, SS ($5,200 DK, $3,600 FD) at BAL, Franmil Reyes, OF ($4,700 DK, $3,300 FD) vs DET; Jose Ramirez, 3B ($5,600 DK, $3,900 FD) vs DET; Francisco Lindor, 3B ($5,300 DK, $3,400 FD) vs DET; Jorge Soler, OF ($4,100 DK, $3,000 FD) vs MIN; Austin Meadows, OF ($5,000 DK, $3,600) vs TOR. 


Value Batter: OF Jesse Winker, CIN ($3,800 DK, $3,000 FD) at STL


So we have a hitter in Jesse Winker whose current OPS of 1.115 is, checks notes, third in all of baseball and yet he’s priced below $4,000 on DraftKings. And he’ll be on the plus side of his platoon split. Interesting. Ponce de Leon has shown strikeout upside, but the thing is Winker doesn’t strike out much at all against righties at just a 14.5% clip on the year. I’ll gladly take a chance on what looks like a bonafide breakout in Winker.

Once again, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber are priced too cheaply on both major sites. They’ll be on the plus side of their platoon going against the talented but very erratic Dylan Cease

Honorable Mentions: Ian Happ, OF ($3,500 DK, $3,200 FD) vs CWS; Ryan Mountcastle, OF ($2,600 DK, $2,300 FD) vs BOS; Kyle Schwarber, OF ($3,800 DK, $2,700 FD) vs CWS; Yoshi Tsutsugo, 3B/OF ($2,600 DK, $2,600 FD), Andrew McCutchen, OF ($2,500 FD) at ATL; Rafael Devers, 3B ($3,000 FD) at BAL; Michael Brantley, OF ($3,000 FD) at SD; Carlos Correa, SS ($3,100 FD) at SD; Ji-Man Choi, 1B ($3,500 DK, $2,500 FD) vs TOR. 


Lineup Stack: Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles (LHP Wade LeBlanc)


The Twins are a little banged up right now sans Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton and Mitch Garver, but they are still a strong stack to consider in tournaments as they get the young lefty Bubic for the second time. And as mentioned earlier Cease is someone who could struggle against the Cubs. In his debut against the White Sox, we saw the rookie Tarik Skubal struggle. The Indians are another team that projects well today.

As mentioned earlier, J.D. Martinez grades out as an exceptional play and should be fairly popular. It’s pretty easy to see why, as the Red Sox will face off against one of the more susceptible pitchers of the slate in LeBlanc (6.1% K-BB% this season) at Camden Yards. Xander Bogaerts stands out as a great play too as he’s been stinging the ball so far this year with a .379 xwOBA. Kevin Pillar could provide some salary relief as he’s been leading off for Boston against lefties. LeBlanc has actually shown some fairly strong reverse splits allowing a .360 wOBA to lefties making Rafael Devers a strong play as part of a tournament stack. And LeBlanc’s low K rate definitely adds some appeal to Michael Chavis as a boom/bust play near the bottom of the order.

Honorable Mentions: MIN at KC (Singer); CLE vs DET (Skubal); MIL at PIT  (Brubaker); CHC vs CWS (Cease). 

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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Ryan Amore

Writer for PL, artist, DFS enthusiast, and occasional Yankee fan. Once won a GPP with Henderson Alvarez. A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club. Appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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