DFS Plays of the Day – August 5

Nicklaus Gaut previews the DFS slate for Wednesday, August 5.

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Baseball may still have a few teams missing in action but we’re mostly full and accounted for. That means a 10-game slate tonight, with a slew of interesting pitching and yet another game at Coors. Using the projections and tools at FTN, we’ll identify the best plays for DraftKings and FanDuel today, looking at overall scoring potential, values, and likely ownership. Let’s go.


Top SP: Yu Darvish ($10,400 DK, $9,500 FD) vs. KC

You’ll have to pay up for him, as he’s the most expensive option on DraftKings and the 2nd-highest on Fanduel, but I think Darvish is in a juicy spot tonight in a game at Kansas City. For one thing, he’ll face a Royals offense that has struggled versus all pitchers but especially against right-handers. Kansas City only has a .283 wOBA and 79 wRC+ against righties (compared to .323 wOBA and 109 wRC+ versus left-handers), with a 24% K-rate and 5% BB%.

Another reason to roster Darvish is that his big price tag should work in his favor in terms of ownership, making him a strong choice for tournaments, as well as cash games. With Mike Clevinger ($9200 DK/$9600 FD) facing the Reds and costing a grand less, as well as Lance McCullers Jr. ($8,300 DK/$8,100 FD) taking on the Diamondbacks, plenty of players aren’t going to want to pay a few grand more to get Darvish.


Honorable Mentions: Hyun-Jin Ryu, TOR ($9,500 DK, $8,400 FD) at ATL, Lance McCullers Jr., HOU ($8,300 DK, $8,100 FD) at ARI


Value SP: Randy Dobnak ($7,200 DK, $7,100 FD) vs. PIT

Dobnak has been really strong in 2020, allowing just one run in his two starts, with seven strikeouts in nine innings. His 1.00 ERA isn’t as good as it seems, as it’s backed by a 2.81 FIP and 3.83 SIERA, and Dobnak will never be confused with a strikeout artist. But he does get to face the Pirates and that’s a boon for any right-hander. Pittsburgh isn’t just bad against righties; they’re basement-level bad. So far in 2019, the Pirates have a 37 wRC+ and .219 wOBA against right-handers. I take back calling them basement-level bad…They’re basically mole people.

The Twins hurler also gets the benefit of being backed by one of baseball’s best offenses, so run support shouldn’t be an issue. And PNC Park is one of the league’s best pitcher parks, with a 96 park factor (BP) for runs over the last three years. The over/under is set at 8.5 runs but a majority of the total is accounted for by the Twins; the Pirates have the 2nd-lowest implied total on the slate, at 3.6 runs.


Honorable Mention: Kris Bubic, KC ($6,400 DK, $5,600 FD) vs. CHC, Adrian Houser, MIL ($8,100 DK, $6,500 FD)


1B Daniel Murphy ($5,100 DK, $3,500 FD) vs SEA

I’m not one to flock to Coors games due to the usual ownership but Murphy is hard to ignore, especially on FanDuel with a $3.5 K price tag. Murphy crushes right-handed pitching and has excellent plate-discipline, with a 13.9% K-rate. He also has an elite 88.2% contact-rate that should make DFS life easy tonight, and he should have plenty of men on base in front of him being preceded in the lineup by Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon. While everyone runs to those big bats, I’ll take Murphy for what should be a very high floor tonight. And besides the floor, his ceiling is just as exciting with Murphy’s penchant for throwing up four-hit games.


Honorable Mentions: Anthony Rendon, LAA ($5,200 DK, $3,800 FD) Brandon Belt, SF ($4,400 DK, $3,400 FD), Alex Bregman, HOU ($5,300 DK, $3,900 FD) vs. ARI, 


OF Nelson Cruz, MIN ($4,900 DK, $4,100 FD) at PIT

Death, taxes, and Nelson Cruz hitting bombs. These are the only guarantees in life. And since Cruz hasn’t hit a home run in seven days, I have to assume that he’s itching to get one out. Cruz has three home runs on the season, with a .359 AVG and 206 wRC+. Since the start of 2019, Cruz has a 52% hard-hit rate versus right-handed pitchers, with a .402 wOBA, .278 ISO, and a 92 mph average exit velocity. He’ll face off against Pittsburgh’s Trevor Williams, who’s given up five earned runs in eight innings this season, with just a 12.8% K-BB%. Everyone else can run to Coors; I’ll take one of baseball’s best hitters versus one of baseball’s worst teams.


Honorable Mentions: Alex Dickerson, SF ($4,800 DK, $3,100 FD) vs. COL, Max Kepler, MIN ($4,100 DK, $3,100 FD) vs. PIT, Eddie Rosario, MIN ($4,000 DK, $3,100 FD) vs. PIT, 


Value Batter: OF Steven Souza, CHC ($3,000 DK, $2,600 FD) at KC

While I do like Kansas City rookie Kris Bubic in this game, Souza is one of the best values going. Souza doesn’t do very much versus right-handers – which is why he’s only played three games – but he mashes against lefties and draws the start tonight.  He has an outlandish 50% hard-hit rate and 103 average EV (albeit in a very small sample), with a 16.7 BB% versus lefties. In his three starts this season, Souza has scored 11, 6, and 5 points on DraftKings, garnering low ownership every time. The problem with Souza has never been talent, only health. This makes him perfect for DFS because he won’t break your hear when he eventually gets hurt this season. I’m not necessarily looking to stack against the Royals rookie but Souza is a great value play at only $3,000 on DraftKings and $2,600 on FanDuel.


Honorable Mentions: Matt Kemp, COL ($4,000 DK, $3,100 FD) vs SF, Chris Owings, COL ($3,700 DK, $2,700 FD) vs SF, Justin Upton, LAA ($3,500 DK, $2,600 FD)


Lineup Stack: Twins vs. Pirates (RHP Trevor Williams)

Another week, another recommendation to stack the Minnesota Twins. The only downside with the Twins matchup with Pirates is playing at a ballpark that suppresses runs so well, with PNC Park having some of the lowest three-year park factors in baseball. But no ballpark can contain Minnesota when they’re hitting and it seems like they haven’t stopped doing so for two seasons.

The conditions are favorable for a Minnesota outburst, with Pittsburgh sending out a suspect pitcher that’ll be followed by a suspect bullpen. The Pirates relievers have a combined 3.99 ERA that isn’t terrible but a 3.7% HR/FB tells me that some pain is coming in there future. There’s also a lot of value to be had in Minnesota’s lineup, with many of the big bats being priced down today.  Taking a looks at FTN’s MLB optimizer, Twins litter the top value scores, particularly when it comes to hitters projected to score at least nine points; Max Kepler has 2.39 value-score (Highest on the slate), Eddie Rosario has a 2.20 VS (3rd), and Nelson Cruz has a 2.09 VS (5th).

Stacking up the Twins may not have the same sexiness as piling on at Coors but the points you get could be the same. The difference is the discrepancies in ownership that you’ll end up with, while at the same time saving some cash.

Honorable Mentions: Giants at Rockies (Gray); Angels vs. Mariners (Gonzales)


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Featured image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Nicklaus Gaut

Born scores ago, Nicklaus Gaut is confused by the internet and people in general. But baseball sometimes makes sense, even when it doesn't. So after getting second-place in a writing contest, he now writes for Brad Johnson at his @BaseballATeam, as well as in an editor role at RotoBaller.com. Read Nicklaus for his numbers and stories, but beware of @Nt_BurtReynolds...That dude might be nuts.

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