FantasyDraft DFS Plays for May 26

Aaron Nola and Alex Wood headline Saturday's afternoon and evening DFS slates.

Saturday’s FantasyDraft action kicks off at 4:05 p.m. ET with an eight-game slate before transitioning to six evening contests. Despite secluding the day’s Braves vs. Red Sox opener, the afternoon is littered with potent hitters facing poor pitchers. Late-night success, on the other hand, will rely on finding cheaper bats to fund some Coors Field exposure.

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Early SPs: Aaron Nola ($23,900) vs. Toronto Blue Jays; Daniel Mengden ($13,700) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

The afternoon features some truly atrocious pitching, but a few value arms should escape from the scrum. For those willing to test the baseball gods, Francisco Liriano ($15,100) and Ian Kennedy ($11,800) could each turn a profit against the strikeout-prone White Sox and Rangers, respectively. Chase Anderson ($13,700) is a safer, playing-not-to-lose second starter following a solid return from the shelf. Let’s instead roll with Daniel Mengden, who has been a poor man’s Miles Mikolas (bet you never expected to see that phrase) with a 3.30 ERA and six walks in 57.1 innings. He generates fewer grounders (38.7 %) and strikeouts (16.1 %), but the slumping Diamondbacks will hide those deficiencies. Even after roughing up Sean Manaea last night, they enter the weekend batting .190 with a 27.8 strikeout % in May. Playing with a DH won’t save them at Oakland, and there’s no matchup tax like the one levied on Tanner Roark, who costs $22,300 for his tilt at Miami. The affordable Mengden allows gamers to pay $23,900 for Aaron Nola, an ace whose 23.0 strikeout % should rise in accordance to an 11.6 % swinging-strike rate.

Honorable Mentions: Tanner Roark ($22,300) at MIA; Francisco Liriano ($15,100) vs. CHW

Late SPs: Alex Wood ($19,700) vs. San Diego Padres; Jose Quintana ($15,800) vs. San Francisco Giants

Alex Wood wields a 2.52 ERA in seven starts since surrendering seven runs to Oakland on April 11. That stretch started by allowing two hits and one unearned run against the Padres, who struck out seven times. Despite diminished velocity, the Dodgers’ southpaw has earned a 2.70 FIP and 11.1 swinging strike % for the defending NL champions. A lack of longevity and run support have limited him to one win, but DFS players should risk the opportune matchup yielding better fortune over five or six dominant frames. Finding an efficient and moderately priced second starter is a challenge, so let’s roll the dice on the good Jose Quintana showing up on Saturday. He has exited four of nine starts with one or zero runs relinquished, but coughed up six or seven runs in three other turns (two against Atlanta). It’s a leap of faith, but would you really rather pay an extra $2,000 for Jake Odorizzi? After them, the evening SP pickings get bleak in a hurry.

Honorable Mentions: Lance McCullers ($21,500) at CLE; Jordan Lyles ($12,600) at LAD

OF David Dahl ($8,600) vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Tyler Mahle); IF/OF Adam Duvall ($8,200) at Colorado Rockies (LHP Tyler Anderson)

I couldn’t choose one outfielder playing at Coors, so here’s two. This is a bout perfectly designed for David Dahl, who is useless against a lefty (.159 wOBA) or on the road (.227 wOBA). Yet he’s batting 18-for-54 versus righties and 12-for-32 with a double, two triples, and a homer at home. His opponent, Tyler Mahle, has allowed nine homers and a .408 wOBA to lefties in 10 starts. None of them were at Coors, so it’d also be wise to find room for the $10,800 Charlie BlackmonAlthough struggling against everyone this year, Adam Duvall has a career .345 wOBA against lefites. There’s lofty power potential against Tyler Anderson, who approaches the weekend with a 38.1 % fly-ball rate and career .476 slugging percentage permitted to righties.

Honorable Mentions: Anthony Rizzo ($9,100) vs. SF (Chris Stratton); Shohei Ohtani ($8,300) at NYY (Sonny Gray)

IF Mike Moustakas ($8,100) at Texas Rangers (RHP Bartolo Colon)

Happy belated birthday to Bartolo Colon, who turned 45 years young on Thursday. He may not like Mike Moustakas‘ present. The portly righty has served up 10 home runs at home this season. He has a 1.59 ERA on the road, but has yet to cement a quality start at Texas. That all ads up to some trouble against Kansas City’s third baseman, who snapped a 15-game home run drought on Friday night. That dinger came against Mike Minor, but Moustakas is hitting .299/.362/.575 against righties in 2018. He’s one of many excellent afternoon plays around the same price point.

Honorable Mentions: Anthony Rendon ($8,100) at MIA (Wei-Yin Chen); Nicholas Castellanos ($8,000) vs. CHW (Hector Santiago); Mark Reynolds ($7,800) at MIA (Chen)

Value: OF Justin Upton ($7,300) at New York Yankees (RHP Sonny Gray)

Justin Upton is quite good. Never one to struggle against same-handed pitchers, has has accrued 10 of his 11 homers against righties this season. He costs a pedestrian $7,300 at Yankee Stadium against Sonny Gray, who is currently saddled with a 5.48 ERA. The struggling starter has ceded five homers in his last four home starts, so take the generous discount.

Honorable Mentions: Brian Dozier ($7,300) at SEA (Wade LeBlanc); Jorge Soler ($7,200) at TEX (Colon); John Hicks ($6,500) vs. CHW (Santiago); Justin Bour ($6,500) vs. WAS (Roark)

Stack: Milwaukee Brewers vs. New York Mets (LHP Jason Vargas)

I recommended a Brewers stack on Thursday, and they got shut down by Steven Matz. Now I have learned my lesson and … just kidding. I’m doing it again. Tanking basketball teams aren’t the only ones who can benefit in the long run by Trusting the Process. DFS players can’t let one bad day alter a sound approach. Even the top sharks (of which I admittedly am not) will have bad days backed my smart logic. Lorenzo Cain ($9,000) and Ryan Braun ($8,200) have still trounced lefties over their respective careers, and I’m not ready to say Jason Vargas is fixed because he followed three horrific starts with five shutout innings against the hapless Marlins. He has still allowed 19 runs, 28 hits, and eight walks in 17.1 innings with a .453 opposing wOBA. Mike Trout has a .454 wOBA. If there was one positive from a disappointing Thursday night, a returning Braun started without replacing Jesus Aguilar, who is available for $8,000. Keep an eye on their lineup sans the demoted Orlando Arcia, as Tyler Saladino ($6,700) and/or Hernan Perez ($5,700) can alleviate some budgeting concerns.

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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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