DraftKings Plays of the Day—8/9

Ryan Amore details his DraftKings plays for tonight's 14-game slate.

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Top Play SP: Yu Darvish, CHC ($9,200) at CIN


There are a couple of excellent options in the top tier tonight in both Shane Bieber (25.7% K-BB rate) and Walker Buehler (25.2% K-BB rate). Bieber, though, gets a really tough divisional opponent in the Twins, whose offense leads the majors in home runs and doesn’t strike out much at just 20.5% (fourth-lowest in MLB). The tough matchup probably leaves him best suited for tournaments. Buehler is a big home favorite (-192) against Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks, but I’m a little leery of the price increase coming off his huge complete game against the Padres his last time out. The Diamondbacks also do not strike out much against right-handed pitchers at just 21.5%. That’s sixth-lowest just behind the Red Sox at 21.1%.

That brings us to Yu Darvish, who comes at a really nice discount relative to Bieber and Buehler. Darvish has an excellent strikeout rate this year at 28%, and he’s shown very sharp control lately, having issued just two walks total in his past six starts. The Reds meanwhile have lost some key batstwo to trades in Yasiel Puig and Scooter Gennett and one to injury in Derek Dietrich. So this current iteration of the Reds lineup looks like a favorable matchup for Darvish.

Honorable mention: (GPP) Bieber, CLE ($10,700) at MIN (Devin Smeltzer); Buehler, LAD ($11,500) vs. ARI (Robbie Ray). 


Value SP: Drew Smyly, PHI ($5,800) at SF


A grand slam from Leury Garcia spoiled his last outing against the White Sox, but the encouraging thing for Drew Smyly was that he was able to notch seven strikeouts (31% CSW). This game sets up nicely for Smyly at pitcher-friendly Oracle Park against the light-hitting Giants, whose .296 team wOBA is the third-worst just ahead of the Tigers and Marlins. As of this writing, this game is basically a pick ’em, with both teams sporting a total just over four runs. The price drop from his last start ($6,600) adds to the appeal here.

Kyle Freeland is also worth a mention too. This is totally a price play because he’s basically free at just $4,800 tonight. Freeland’s 2019 season has been miserable with a 7.24 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, but this game sets up reasonably well for him in that it’s most importantly away from Coors Field and against a Padres team that has struck out quite a bit against left-handed pitchers (25.4%). There’s certainly risk here though given the righty power with the Padres, so Freeland sets up as a boom/bust punt in GPPs.

Honorable mention: (GPP) Freeland ($4,800) at SD (Cal Quantrill); Gio Gonzalez ($7,300) vs. TEX (Kolby Allard).


OF: Yordan Alvarez, HOU ($5,700) at BAL


The schedule makers were none too kind to the poor Orioles this year. After being embarrassed by the Yankees backup squad, they’ll look for a much-needed reprieve against … the Astros. Arguably the best lineup in baseball, which will have the added advantage of being at or near full strength. We’ll key in on the sensational record-setting rookie Yordan Alvarez, who will hold the platoon advantage against the righty Dylan BundyTo his credit, Bundy has been a little bit better against lefties this year, only allowing a .323 wOBA, as opposed to .399 last year, in large part because of increased use of his changeup. Regardless, this just has all the makings of an eruption spot for Alvarez, who is sporting a .442 wOBA vs. right-handed pitchers so far.

Honorable mentions: 3B/SS Alex Bregman ($5,400) at BAL (Bundy); OF George Springer ($5,600) at BAL (Bundy); OF Mookie Betts ($5,000) vs. LAA (Jaime Barria); OF JD Martinez ($5,000) vs. LAA (Barria); OF Michael Brantley ($5,100) at BAL (Bundy); OF Mike Trout ($5,800) at BOS (Brian Johnson). 


OF: Aaron Judge, NYY ($4,200) at TOR


It’s been a relatively disappointing, injury-shortened campaign for Aaron Judge, who has tallied just 12 home runs to date. Still, we know the true talent level here is elite, and this price point just seems oddly low. Case in point: He’s not even the highest-priced Yankee outfielder this evening. That honor goes to Mike Tauchman ($4,500), followed by Cameron Maybin ($4,400). Yeah, I did not see that coming. Anyway, the Yankees will be matched against the righty Sean Reid-Foley, who has really struggled across his 21.2 innings in the majors this year with a horrific 4% K-BB rate, 5.86 SIERA, and 6.36 xFIP. Given the matchup against a struggling young pitcher and the discount, Judge looks like an easy buy this evening.

In that same game, the Blue Jays will be facing the lefty J.A. Happ, who has allowed a .343 wOBA and 20 home runs to right-handed hitters this year. It’s hard not to give a long look at the two rookie sensations in Bo Bichette, who is off to an unbelievable start, and of course Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

Honorable mentions: SS Bichette ($4,600) vs. NYY (Happ); 1B Josh Bell ($4,500) at STL (Dakota Hudson); SS Didi Gregorius ($4,000) at TOR (Reid-Foley); 3B Guerrero Jr. ($4,600) vs. NYY (Happ); OF Jorge Soler ($4,600) at DET (Edwin Jackson); SS Francisco Lindor ($4,900) at MIN (Smeltzer); 2B Keston Hiura ($4,900) vs TEX (Allard).  


Value: OF Justin Upton, LAA ($3,800) at BOS


Red Sox lefty Johnson has been awful this year, sporting a 17.7% strikeout rate, 5.57 FIP, and 5.53 xFIP. Granted, that’s just 17 innings, but Johnson was similarly unimpressive last year with a 4.77 xFIP and 20.1% strikeout rate. For his career, he has allowed an alarmingly bad .371 wOBA to right-handed hitters. In a park that amplifies righty power at Fenway, this looks like a great time to buy low on Justin Upton

Honorable mentions: OF Alex Gordon ($3,800) at DET (Jackson); OF Franmil Reyes ($3,600) at MIN (Smeltzer); 1B Mike Ford ($3,400) at TOR (Reid-Foley); 1B Jesus Aguilar ($3,500) at SEA (Marco Gonzales). 


Top Stack: HOU at BAL (Bundy)


Mentioned earlier with Alvarez, the Astros will be the next offense to take batting practice at Camden Yards. It’s a phenomenal lineup getting a great park shift against a dreadful pitching staff, so there is no real reason to not expect the Astros to go off tonight. They’ll command a ton of ownership in tournaments, and they are priced exorbitantly. Their potential upside tonight is tremendous, especially so against Bundy, who has allowed more than 50 home runs in each of the past two seasons. The Astros currently lead the slate with an implied total over 6.5 runs.

The Red Sox are also a strong team to consider stacking tonight. And they will probably come at significantly lower ownership than the Astros. They’ll face Angels righty Barria, who has shown some very strong reverse splits allowing a .373 wOBA to right-handed hitters for his career as opposed to just .289 against left-handed hitters. So this would appear to play right into the strengths of the Red Sox lineup with Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Martinez.

Honorable mentions: BOS vs. LAA (Barria); NYY at TOR (Reid-Foley); MIL vs. TEX (Allard).


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

Ryan Amore

A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club, Ryan Amore has been writing things at Pitcher List since 2019. He grew up watching the Yankees and fondly remembers Charlie Hayes catching the final out of the '96 WS. He appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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