DraftKings Plays of the Day—8/15

Rich Holman previews the Aug. 15 slate on DraftKings with his must-plays and best values of the day.

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Top Play SP: Yu Darvish, CHC ($9,700) at PHI


This pains the Phillies fan in me, but the realist in me knows this is the right play. Since the start of July, Yu Darvish has a 3.24 ERA to go along with his 53 strikeouts and just two walks. To put that into context, prior to July, Darvish had two or more walks in 13 of 17 starts this season. Darvish faces the Phillies, who rank just 25th in wOBA against right-handed pitching in the second half. I’m fully expecting the struggles to continue today.

Honorable mention: Sonny Gray, CIN ($9,100) vs. STL.


Value SP: Aaron Sanchez, HOU ($7,700) at OAK


Two starts into Aaron Sanchez’s Astros career, he’s already getting Cy Young votes. OK, maybe not exactly, but this is a completely changed pitcher. Sanchez has faded his sinker in favor of throwing his four-seam fastball, which has made all the difference. The only issue is that the price is creeping up. He’s gone from $5,300 on Aug. 3 to $6,900 on Aug. 10 and all the way up to $7,700 today. If he has another good start, this will be the end of Aaron Sanchez value days.

Honorable mention: Devin Smeltzer, MIN ($7,200) @ TEX.


Top Play: OF Nick Castellanos, CHC ($4,700) at PHI


Can you imagine the excitement Nick Castellanos must have had when he found out he was being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs? In the 13 games since becoming a Cub, Castellanos has hits in 12 of those games with five taters and a 194 wRC+. Today, he’ll face Drew Smyly, who after two really good starts to begin his Phillies career has gone back to the pitcher we know and love (to pick on), giving up 11 runs over his past two. For the year, Smyly has allowed a 48% hard-hit rate to all batters. Castellanos has crushed lefties this year, as noted by his .333 ISO, .481 wOBA, and 50.9% hard-hit rate against. After dropping the first two games to the Phillies, I feel like this is a real smash spot for the Cubs.

Honorable mention: OF Brett Gardner, NYY ($4,700) vs. CLE; OF Aristides Aquino, CIN ($4,900) vs. STL.


Top Play: 3B Eugenio Suarez, CIN ($4,600) vs. STL


My BFF, Eugenio Suarez, and the Reds get a great matchup today against Michael Wacha. Wacha sports a 5.54 ERA, which is supported by his 5.26 SIERA, and has struggled against both sides of the plate⁠—at least he’s consistent. For the year, Wacha has allowed a 40.7% hard-hit rate to right-handed batters, which has led to a .260 ISO and .415 wOBA. This fits in nicely with Suarez’s game as he has hit righties very hard this year, putting up a .275 ISO and .361 wOBA against righties. The Reds are one of my favorite stacks today, but more about that in a second.

Honorable mention: 3B Giovanny Urshela, NYY ($5,200) vs. CLE; 3B/OF Kris Bryant, CHC ($5,000) at PHI.


Value: OF Michael Brantley, HOU ($4,000) at OAK


When I saw this price on Michael Brantley, I assumed he had been struggling as of late. Nope, still batting .342 in August with a 135 wRC+. So I’ll just say, “Thank you, DraftKings,” accept the discount and eat the chalk on Brantley. The matchup with Mike Fiers is middle of the road, but he does have a 5.21 SIERA to go with his 3.30 ERA.

Honorable mention: 1B Joey Votto, CIN ($4,000) vs. STL; OF Eloy Jimenez, CHW ($3,400) at LAA. 


Top Stack: Reds vs. Cardinals (RHP Michael Wacha)


In my eyes, the Twins, Cubs, and Reds are all neck and neck as the top stack on today’s slate. However, because of the value it provides, I give a slight lean to the Reds as my favorite today. Michael Wacha has struggled against both sides of the plate, giving up a 40% hard-hit rate while striking out just 17.9% and walking 10.4% of batters faced. He’s allowed pop from both sides of the plate, with both lefties and righties putting up an ISO greater than .200. In addition to Eugenio Suarez, my favorite bats from the Reds are Jesse Winker ($4,100), Aristides Aquino ($4,900), Joey Votto ($4,000), and Josh VanMeter ($4,000), which is projected to be the lineup 1 through 5 today. Good luck today!

Honorable mention: Twins at Rangers (RHP Pedro Payano); Cubs at Phillies (LHP Drew Smyly).


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RMoss1983) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. 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 nonpublic information.      

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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