FantasyDraft DFS Plays for August 16

Thursday night's DFS slate is light on top-tier starting pitching.

Young aces Blake Snell and Aaron Nola will toe the rubber on Thursday, but both will start before the sun goes down. That leaves the evening slate devoid of any top-tier aces. While the best remaining options are far from locks, FantasyDraft players should still choose one or two of the three costliest options (Clay Buchholz, Tanner Roark, and Jon Gray) rather than swimming in the swamp.

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Top SP: Tanner Roark ($17,600) at St. Louis Cardinals

Buccholz easily has the best matchup (at San Diego). Gray, away from Coors at Atlanta, has the highest strikeout ceilng. Roark, however, is simply too hot to ignore. Since relinquishing 28 hits and 17 runs over three starts, the 31-year-old righty has allowed four runs in four spectacular outings. He has worked at least seven innings in each turn, leading him to 28 strikeouts and four wins while issuing two walks. Considering he adeptly handled three other tough NL Central lineups (Brewers, Reds, and Cubs) along the way, let’s trust him against a rolling Cardinals offense. DFS requires a short-term memory, so ride out Roark’s torrid streak.

Honorable Mention: Clay Buchholz ($18,600) at SD

Value SP: Sam Gaviglio ($14,000) at Kansas City Royals

I’m probably pairing Roark with Gray or Buchholz, but Sam Gaviglio is the one hurler outside those three I’d consider. He has submitted seven strikeouts in consecutive outings, during which he lowered his ERA to 4.86 by allowing four combined runs. Kansas City’s ineptitude, of course, is the main reason to consider a fringe starter with a 22.0 % strikeout rate. Let’s hope his 8.10 road ERA is merely a small-sample byproduct of facing strong opponents (Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, and Oakland) rather than an inability to handle an unfriendly environment.

Honorable Mention: Jon Gray ($16,900) at ATL

IF Anthony Rizzo ($9,000) at Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Ivan Nova)

I recommended Ivan Nova last week. Now I’m targeting his opponents. San Francisco’s right-handed lineup posed a favorable matchup for someone routinely roughed up (.290/.337/.527) by lefties. That’s not the case for the Cubbies. They’re my second-favorite stack of the evening, one I like enough to potentially load up on two lineups. Since Kyle Schwarber ($8,200) and Ian Happ ($7,300) are never certainties to start, I’ll confine my focus to Anthony Rizzo. A long ways away from his early-season slump, the star first baseman deposited his sixth homer in 18 games on Wednesday night. He’s batting .292 with a 11.5 % walk rate since the nightmarish April, but remnants of those early struggles show in a $9,000 price tag against a vulnerable adversary. Rizzo is still a stud to trust accordingly.

Honorable Mentions: Miguel Sano ($9,200) vs. DET (Francisco Liriano); Rougned Odor ($8,700) vs. LAA (Bullpen)

IF/OF Nicholas Castellanos ($8,300) at Minnesota Twins (RHP Ervin Santana)

Nicholas Castellanos had 11 hits in 19 second-half games before collecting seven in his last three. Baseball! Although he’s far better against lefties, the price is too tempting against a reeling Ervin Santana, who has surrendered a 6.53 ERA with a 89.2-mph fastball velocity since returning from a finger injury. Niko Goodrum, who took Santana deep on Friday, also merits a look at $7,700.

Honorable Mentions: David Freese ($8,300) vs. CHC (Jon Lester); Kyle Schwarber ($8,200) at PIT (Nova); Randal Grichuk ($8,000) at KC (Glenn Sparkman)

Value: IF Tyler Austin ($7,300) vs. Detroit Tigers (LHP Francisco Liriano)

This isn’t only because Tyler Austin took Francisco Liriano yard on Saturday. The outcome makes sense given his career dominance (.290/.367/.413) over southpaws. Away from the Yankees, who for some reason ditched them so Luke Voit could serve the same platoon role, he’s a safe bet to start with prominent lineup placement against the erratic Detroit lefty. Liriano has relinquished a .360 wOBA to righties while sporting an ugly 5.32 FIP, so a repeat of last weekend is well within the realm of possibility.

Honorable Mentions: Ian Happ ($7,300) at PIT (Nova); Logan Forsythe ($6,500) vs. DET (Liriano) 

Lineup Stack: Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Luke Weaver)

Washington’s hitters might have been priced under the original assumption of St. Louis starting Jack Flaherty. Luke Weaver, who added his name to baseball’s Embarrassing Injury lore by cutting his finger on aluminum foil, will instead get the nod. Lefties are hitting .291/.366/.470 against Weaver, so this change especially helps a certain few.

Bryce Harper ($9,600) and Juan Soto ($9,400) are both tantalizing building blocks. Those with the budget for just one star outfielder should prioritize Harper, who is back to his old ways with a .459 second-half wOBA. (Does that mean we have to credit the Home Run Derby now?) Daniel Murphy is also swinging a red-hot bat since the All-Star break (.408 wOBA), but he’s available for just $7,300. Adam Eaton, who is batting .312/.396/.410 against righties, carries the same cost. Maybe Dave Martinez will do DFS gamers a favor and start Matt Adams ($7,500) over the streaking Ryan Zimmerman.

Honorable Mention: Cubs at Pirates (Nova); Blue Jays at Royals (Sparkman)

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Andrew Gould

Andrew is Pitcher List's DFS Manager who also covers MLB and NFL for FantasyPros and Bleacher Report. He placed second in FantasyPros' MLB accuracy ratings in 2016 and fifth in 2018.

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