Tuesday baseball is back, and we have 15 games on tap for the main fantasy baseball slate. There are a wide array of pitching options, and there will be some tough decisions to make tonight. That is what I am here to help with!
1. Brandon Woodruff, $8,700, MIL vs. ATLThe pitching on today’s slate is…not good. As such, I’m going to be leading today’s piece with a couple of cheaper options. Where there is uncertainty, it is often best to save money and/or avoid the chalk.
Woodruff is certainly the former, as I would expect him to be quite popular today. He has had a strong season, coming in with a 3.67 ERA, but a sterling 3.13 xFIP. In his last 13 starts, Woodruff has allowed one or fewer earned run seven times. His 28.8% strikeout rate gives optimism in most matchups.
The Braves are a tricky matchup for right-handed pitchers. They rank 11th in wRC+, and are 21st in strikeout rate. But this is the dilemma of the slate: we can take good pitchers in tough matchups, or bad pitchers in good ones. Especially given Woodruff’s price, he is worth any matchup risk a member of the former group.
2. Jack Flaherty, $7,400, STL vs. PITFlaherty has not been as good as Woodruff, but there is evidence to suggest he has been rather unlucky in his second full season with the Cardinals. His ERA sits at 4.64, but his xFIP sits almost a full run less than that: 3.67. Part of this bad luck can be attributed to home runs allowed. 20% of all fly balls allowed by Flaherty this season have gone yard. That number is abnormally high.
Unfortunately for Flaherty, this is a very difficult matchup for him. Pittsburgh is 10th in wRC+ against righties and barely strike out against them. The Pirates are one of just four teams to strike out less than 20% against right-handed pitching.
The Pirates, however, do not boast a ton of power. They are 21st in ISO, which should limit the chance that Flaherty is blown out in this spot. This makes me feel much more optimistic about him as a DFS play, especially with such a dramatic impact the matchup and poor luck has had on his price. This is still a pitcher striking out over a batter an inning, with peripheral statistics that display talent. To get him under $7,500 makes him a strong play.
3. Walker Buehler, $10,200, LAD at PHIBeuhler may be the most talented pitcher on the slate, but his cost is what lands him down at third on today’s rankings. His ERA sits at 3.46 on the season, and his xFIP is 3.13. Buehler has also been going deeper into games of late. In five of his previous six starts, he has gone at least seven innings, after doing so in just two of his first 11 appearances. Buehler has also struck out 55 batters in that time frame (43.2 innings). The additional longevity is exactly what gives Buehler an immense DraftKings ceiling.
Philly is the best matchup mentioned so far. They are 15th in wRC+ against righties and strike out 23% of the time, 14th most-frequently. Buehler is pretty balanced against both right-handed and left-handed hitters, but he strikes out righties 5% more frequently than lefties. The Phillies are expected to have six righties in the lineup tonight.
The trajectory that Buehler has been on gives him the best floor/ceiling combination on the slate in my opinion. However, playing him likely means not having as much access to a Coors game with an implied run total of 14.5.
4. Jordan Yamamoto, $9,500, MIA vs. SDPYamamoto has made just five starts, but he has pitched excellently. He has an awesome 1.24 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in those starts while striking out 30 batters in 29 innings. His one major issue is that he is walking 13.5% of batters faced. Fortunately for him, the Padres are not terribly patient, ranking 26th in walk rate.
San Diego is not just impatient, they are a great matchup overall for right-handed pitching. They are 19th in wRC+ and, more importantly, possess the highest strikeout rate in the league against righties at 26.2%. So far in his young career, Yamamoto has thrown mostly his fastball and slider (combined 64.1%). According to Fangraphs’ pitch value, the Padres rank 22nd against fastballs and 29th against sliders.
Miami is a slight underdog in this matchup, which speaks to just how bad the Marlins are, but Yamamoto should still be able to post a quality DraftKings performance. He has gone over 21 DKFP in four of his five starts.
5. Zach Plesac, $7,000, CLE vs. DETEarlier I talked about taking bad pitchers in good matchups. That is exactly what we have here with Plesac. His xFIP on the year is 5.03, and he is striking out just 18.2% of opposing batters.
However, the Tigers are abysmal when facing righties. They are last in wRC+, and strike out 25.9% of the time, second-highest in the league. When Plesac faced them earlier this season, he gave up just one run over seven innings. Plesac is mostly a fastball pitcher, deploying the pitch over 55% of the time. The Tigers are 26th in Fangraphs’ pitch value against fastballs.
There are some obvious warts here, but the matchup is so good that Plesac is worth taking a stab on in GPPs. When the pitching is this poor on a slate, I am willing to take on more risk to differentiate and take advantage of the variance.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is amicsta) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. 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 non-public information.