Paul previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for August 18th.
Today we have 15 games on the MLB schedule starting at 7:05 pm. As always, be sure to check the weather report before game time, as there may be issues with the following games: Detroit at Chicago (NL), San Francisco at St. Louis, Arizona at Pittsburgh. Also, be sure to check your lineup for any last-minute scratches. Good luck!
If I’ve learned anything this year playing DFS, it’s the need to be flexible with your lineup. While 35% may be the optimum amount to spend on starting pitchers, it’s okay to spend 40-45% some days just as it’s okay to spend 25-30% on others. I think the risk increases the further you stray from center, but some days it is warranted depending on the match-ups. Today I’m going with some cheaper pitchers because I’m confident in a lot of different hitting options. If my starting pitchers do well today, I should have no trouble scoring a lot of points on Draft Kings. I don’t recommend this strategy every day, but when the pieces fit it’s alright to do something different.
1. James Shields, SP, San Diego Padres ($8,600) Shields goes up against the Braves who are the worst offensive ball club over the past 30 days. Shields hasn’t had a lot of success against Atlanta in the past, but the game is in SD where Shields has been very good. In 10 of his 12 home starts, he has held opponents to 3 ER or less, and he has a 28.3% K rate along with a 3.00 ERA at Petco. Vegas likes this match up as well, with San Diego as -170 favorites with just a 7 as the over/under. It’s not a flashy pick, but for $8,600 the value is too good to pass up.
2. Kevin Gausman, SP, Baltimore Orioles ($5,100) Now this is a flashy pick! Gausman takes on the Mets in New York today, having only faced them for 1 inning in relief this year striking out 2 batters in a clean inning of work. Gausman has 3 QS in his last 4 games started, striking out 23 batters in 27 innings. The Mets have the third highest K rate in baseball over the past 2 weeks and are the fourth worst offensive team against RHP for the season. Vegas likes the Mets to win this game as -120 favorites with deGrom on the hill. To me that’s a pretty good endorsement of Gausman too.
3. Brian McCann, C, New York Yankees ($4,700) McCann has had huge success against Pelfrey in the past, hitting .475 with 10 extra base hits in 40 at bats. He’s hit 15 of his 20 HR against RHP and holds a .930 OPS at home this year. Against RHP at home, McCann is hitting a cool .272/.367/.592. New York LHH are killing RHP at home this year and I’m looking for that trend to continue today. Pelfrey has a 5.95 ERA on the road this year, adding another level of goodness to this match up.
4. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins ($4,300) Sano is batting .292/.401/.554 in 28 games so far with the Twins. In August, he has hit 4 home runs already with a .940 slugging percentage. Today he faces off against LHP C.C. Sabathia who has given up 21 HR and has a .529 SLG against RHH this year. Sano has struggled against LHP since his big league debut, but he absolutely crushed them in the minors. This year’s results against LHP are nothing more than a small sample size and once the numbers correct, look out. Sano is already one of baseball’s premiere power-hitters, and he’s facing a HR-prone SP in the 4th best ball park for home runs. I’m starting him with confidence.
5. Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees ($4,300) Gardner doesn’t have a huge track record against Pelfrey, but he has gone 5-13 for a .385 average. He does however make up for it with huge numbers at home against RHP, hitting .348/.436/.578 for a 1.014 OPS! He has had a slow second half, but has reached base in 11 of his past 12 games thanks in part to his BB rate. Pelfrey meanwhile has a 7.6% BB rate to go with his laughable 7.6% K rate on the road. Gardner should be good to get on base a couple of times today.
6. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals ($6,400) Everyone will be playing Harper today against RHP David Hale in Colorado, and I don’t want to miss out on the fun. If he goes 0-4 we all suffer; if he slugs a couple of home runs and you don’t have him in your lineup, you’ll be hard-pressed to catch up. With the fine cheap SP options, there’s no reason for me not to put today’s top offensive choice in my lineup. With 25 home runs against RHP, and a dinger over the weekend ending his 14-day homer-less streak, I don’t mind paying this kind of money for Harper in Colorado. There’s a much greater risk in not playing him.
7. Pedro Alvarez, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates ($3,300) With 2 more hits last night Alvarez is riding a 7-game hitting streak, bringing his August AVG up to .357. As impressive as that is for a career .237 hitter, his 4 home runs in the past week are what I’m really after. Today he faces Chase Anderson of the D’Backs in Arizona who hasn’t made it past the 5th inning in 3 of his last 4 starts. He has struggled in the second half, allowing a .349 BAA as well as a .500 SLG. They’re two opposing forces going in opposite directions and I’m looking for Alvarez to hit one out again tonight.
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @fantasyassembly
Need more DFS picks, Waiver wire suggestions, prospect news and general fantasy baseball goodness, head on over to Fantasy Rundown.