We have finally reached the day where we are deciding between Lucas Giolito and Max Scherzer as the highest priced options at pitcher. It’s a really interesting nine-game afternoon fantasy baseball slate with some clear-cut options at the top of each position, but it’s all about how you find the room to put them together. Let’s get into it and figure some things out.
StudMax Scherzer, WAS at CIN, $11,600 — I can’t bring myself to believe that Giolito ($11,100) belongs in the upper tier and will take Scherzer at a similar price 10 out of 10 times. Although Scherzer has had a rough 2019, he still has six or more strikeouts in every start and six or more innings pitched in all but one. He’s got the highest floor on the slate and the best matchup for strikeouts, he should be a priority in all formats.
Other Options — Lucas Giolito ($11,100)
ValueGabriel Ynoa, BAL vs. SF, $5,200 — The Orioles are very bad and they have a very bad bullpen, but Ynoa is a promising arm that I believe has upside as a starter at his price. That’s not to say that he’s a stone-cold stud, but he has good strikeout stuff and was really unlucky in his first start, which depresses his peripherals. Against a weak offense at a bare bones price he’s one of my favorite values on the slate.
Other Options — Zach Plesac ($5,000)
StudJames McCann, CWS vs. CLE, $4,200 — The top-end options for catcher don’t inspire a lot of confidence even if they each have upside in their own right. McCann is someone with good power and solid contact skills with a .338/.380/.511 slash line in 2019, and although he doesn’t have a lot of home runs with just four, he makes up for it in doubles with 11. He’s a solid option with a good floor at a bad position.
Other Options — Yasmani Grandal ($4,300), Chris Iannetta ($4,000)
ValueMike Zunino, TB vs. MIN, $2,800 — Zunino was just taken off the injured list and should get right back into the main spot behind the plate, giving the rays yet another upside bat in the back of the order. Zunino doesn’t have a good batting average this year and has struggled in general but the power is there when he does hit, and that’s what we need from a punt against a home-run prone pitcher.
Other Options — Danny Jansen ($2,500)
FIRST BASERenato Nunez, BAL vs. SF, $5,100 — In an odd turn of events, the Orioles find themselves in a spot that may set them as one of the better stacks on the slate, and Nunez has a lot to do with that. He’s hitting like a mad man with seven home runs in his last 10 games, 15.8 DKFP per contest over that span, and faces one of the most home-run prone pitchers on the slate in a solid hitter’s park. He’s expensive but more than worth the price.
Other Options — Josh Bell ($5,400), Justin Smoak ($5,200)
Other Options — John Hicks ($3,000)
StudWhit Merrifield, KC at TEX, $5,300 — Merrifield and the Royals continue their road trip in Arlington against Adrian Sampson ($6,900), and you’ve got to love their upside. Merrifield is the top play at the position for me thanks to the matchup as well as his recent play with an .878 OPS and 8.7 DKFP per game with 14 hits (four extra base hits) and a stolen base thrown in there.
Other Options — Danny Santana ($5,000), Jonathan Villar ($4,900)
ValueBrian Dozier, WAS at CIN, $3,100 — The Nationals have been heating up lately and Dozier is no exception. His season-long stats have all received a healthy bump and most importantly his power has shown up turning his .381 SLG% in 2019 to .514 over the last 35 at-bats. He’s coming off a game with two hits, including a home run, and I like him to continue his strong play at a great price.
Other Options — Luis Arraez ($3,100)
StudNolan Arenado, COL vs. ARI, $5,800 — I know it seems like I’ve talked about Arenado for two weeks straight but in the last two weeks he has hit .487/.545/.897 and averaged 15.9 DKFP per game, so it’s paid off! He’s a monster when playing in Coors and up against Aaron Sanchez ($5,700), who has struggled and is coming off a finger injury, so I will never mind going back to the well. Arenado is crazy expensive but almost needs to be in cash lineups.
Other Options — Anthony Rendon ($5,300)
ValueMarwin Gonzalez, MIN at TB, $3,000 — Marwin is kind of a weird player because his floor is generally pretty good (only one game with zero fantasy points in the last 10) but his ceiling is fleeting (only two games with 10-plus in the same sample). That being said, he certainly has a ceiling and at $3,000 you are really only paying for the median outcomes, making him a solid GPP play with upside. The matchup is better than people think and his switch-hitting helps his floor even more.
Other Options — Cheslor Cuthbert ($3,600)
StudAdalberto Mondesi, KC at TEX, $5,500 — The top two studs at this position will presumably demand a hefty bit of ownership but it’s worth eating that chalk. I prefer Mondesi as his upside comes from multiple sources with five extra-base hits as well as four steals over the last 40 at-bats. Up against Sampson, the Royals top of the order bats are extremely valuable regardless of price.
Other Options —
Trevor Story ($5,900), Eric Sogard ($4,900)
ValueOrlando Arcia, MIL at PIT, $3,300 — Look I’m not here to try to explain this recent explosion from Arcia, but he’s been incredible. His .306/.390/.694 slash line and 12 DKFP per game over the last 10 are incredible figures and deserving of a higher price. The matchup is difficult, but it hasn’t been stopping him. So long as he is cheap, we know his upside far outweighs the price and we need to take advantage.
Other Options — Addison Russell ($3,400)
StudAustin Meadows, TB vs. MIN, $5,400 — Once again it’s probably a good idea for you to consider Christian Yelich ($5,600) in your lineups before fitting anyone else, but Meadows fits the mold as a fantastic high-priced option in the outfield. His 14.8 DKFP over the last 45 at-bats is the highest mark at the position and with a .400/.449/.689 slash line and a rounded three home runs and three steals, he is about as terrific a play as you’ll find.
Other Options — Christian Yelich ($5,600), Juan Soto ($5,400)
ValueOscar Mercado, CLE at CWS, $3,600 — In his brief major league career, Mercado has shown off the reasons he is such an intriguing prospect, with 14 hits, including three doubles and a home run as well as swiping two bases and averaging 7.9 DKFP. He’s only $3,600 with good stolen-base upside, and although Giolito has been incredible lately, I expect some regression giving the Indians a chance at being a low-owned leverage stack with Mercado in the middle of it.
Other Options — Byron Buxton ($3,600)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Multichem) 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.