Jim shares his top Draft Kings plays for August 20th along with his thoughts for the day.
We have 11 games on tap today kicking off with 3 games at 7:05.
Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for potential cancellations and make sure to check your lineups before game time for any late scratches.
In one of my seasonal leagues I have 3 set starting pitchers and primarily stream the rest of the spots. There are 16 free agent starters available for today’s games in that league, and quite honestly every one of them scare me. Arrieta, Corbin, McHugh, Archer Scherzer and Quintana are the only pitchers owned; while some of today’s pitchers have had better numbers over the past 30 day, all but Quintana comprise the top 6 players for the season. Those 5 pitchers are also the most expensive today on DraftKings, but that does not concern me. With so many unstable pitching options, finding a few quality cheap bats should be somewhat easy so don’t be stingy when it comes to spending on pitching today – unless you really have to.
1. SP – Jake Arrieta ($11,900) vs Atlanta: Of all of today’s starters, Arrieta has the second best numbers for the season and has been the best of the bunch over the past 30 days. He has a 1.56 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a .175 BAA since the all-star break. Since June 16th he has not allowed more than 3 earned runs in a game and allowed 3 earned runs only once – meaning 10 out of his last 11 starts have been 2 runs or less. He has also only given up 1 home run in that stretch; that’s 1 home run over 80 innings. Arrieta has also gone at least 6 innings in each of his last 11 starts and has 6 or more K’s in 8 out of 11. If that doesn’t excite you, the fact that he faces the Braves should. In August they are in the middle of the road for average and OBP, 22nd in runs scored and 28th in home runs. Arrieta faced the Braves on July 19th and held them to 3 hits through 7 innings while striking out 10. Expect another Arrieta gem today and a minimum of 24 points.
2. SP – Jose Quintana ($8,500) @Los Angeles: Quintana has been a top 5 option for the past 30 days and is one of the best options to own outside of the top 5. His home and away numbers are very similar, but his day and night splits are interesting. The ERA for night games is 2.62 (106 innings) while the ERA in day games is 5.85 (48 innings). Speaking of ERA, over the past 30 days (5 starts) Quintana has an ERA of 2.91. While Quintana is capable of putting up a clunker on occasion, I like his odds against today’s opponent. In August the Angels are last in BA, 29th in OBP, 29th in runs scored and tied for 20th in home runs. Their numbers are just as bad against lefties where they are 28th in BA, 25th in OBP and 23rd in runs scored. Granted, the Angels have the firepower to bust out at a moments notice, but their current offensive production combined with Quintana’s recent success make this a nice match-up (on paper).
A few other starts to consider (or not): The Reds are 29th in BA, 28th in OBP, 28th in home runs and dead last in runs scored for August so Patrick Corbin ($9,300) makes for an attractive option. Chris Archer ($12,400) has a nice matchup against the Astros who are 25th in BA and 26th in runs scored for August. As for Max Scherzer ($11,400): he has a nice price today and faces a weaker hitting them, but his ERA in Colorado is 5.63 and he has been hittable and homer-prone recently. I’d avoid Mad Max.
3. 1B – Mitch Moreland ($3,800) @Detroit: A great matchup for a great price. Tigers starter Alfredo Simon had an ERA of 7.26 in July and currently has a 7.71 for August. His biggest struggles have come against left-handed bats; 12 of his 14 home runs allowed have been to lefties and lefties are hitting .307 against him. Moreland is batting .303 against righties, .320 on the road and .333 in August. 15 of his 17 home runs have come against righties and (surprisingly) 12 of those 17 have come on the road. Moreland has slowed down in the power department, but with an average fly ball distance of 298 feet and a home run last night, I can see things picking up again.
Prince Fielded ($4,600) is a more expensive but similar (and somewhat safer) option. He is also a lefty that crushed righties (.363 with 9 homers) and does well on the road (.330 with 10 homers). He also has a career .304 average at Comerica Park with 32 home runs in 602 at bats. Could be a home-coming party and he might be worth a few extra dollars if you have it to spare.
4. OF – Shin-Soo Choo ($4,000) @Detroit: Choo has been a disappointment this year, but that is the beauty of DFS – the past doesn’t matter. Choo is hitting .300 in August and .400 over the past 7 days. While he isn’t hitting well on the road, he has a decent track record in Detroit. At Commerica Park he is batting .287 with 12 doubles, 7 home runs and 30 runs scored over 49 games. He also hits righties better than lefties not only for average but for power; 12 of his 15 homers this year are against right-handed pitchers. And while Choo doesn’t steal much, Texas is one of the worst teams when it comes to stolen base percentage so there is always a chance – just sayin’. I’ve always been a Choo fan, but that has nothing to do with today’s pick.
5. OF – A.J. Pollock ($5,800) @Cincinnati: I’ve been a Pollock fan since last season and he has lived up to and exceed all my expectations of him. Pollock hits equally against lefties and righties as well as home and away. Other than June he has hit over .300 in each month and contributed numbers across the board. We all know what Pollock has done so no need to whitewash things. This is more about the opposing pitcher, John Lamb.
Lamb put up some solid numbers this year in AAA between the Royals and Reds, but his numbers prior to this season say he’s a poor mans option for a number five pitcher. His first game against the Dodgers support that as they tagged him for 5 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. Lamb did strikeout 7, but Pollock doesn’t strikeout much. In addition to going up against a weak pitcher, the Reds are 28th in the league when it comes to stolen base percentage and are 5th in stolen bases allowed. I smell a 20+ point game here and will spend the extra money to get it.
6. 2B – Chris Coghlan ($3,400) vs Atlanta: Coghlan hasn’t been the most consistent player this year so you have to catch him at the right time. Over the past 7 days he is batting .294 with 3 home runs, 7 RBIs and 5 runs scored – I’d say now is one of those times. For the season he has 14 home runs and 11 stolen bases, all against right-handed pitchers which is another thing in his favor today. Opposing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz hasn’t had much success as a starter, is sporadic when it comes to strikeouts and has had issues keeping the ball in the park. He has been bad against righties (.297 BAA – 7 HR – 180 total batters) but he has been even worse against lefties (.333 BAA – 8 HR – 170 total batters). On top of the ineptness of Foltynewicz, the Braves have allowed the 6th highest stolen base total this year despite throwing out their fair share of runners. Coghlan has multiple ways to score points today and is reasonably priced; I just hope he’s in the lineup tonight.
7. OF – Rusney Castillo ($3,500) vs Kansas City: Castillo likes hitting in Boston (.301) and is have a great month so far (.347), but the best number of all is his average against lefties (.385). He has also found his power stroke launching 2 home runs this week. Danny Duffy has done a good job at keeping the ball in the park this year, but he has given up 10 long balls – all to right-handed hitters along with 7 on the road. While Duffy’s overall numbers look good on the surface, he has been extremely lucky considering he has a 26.7% line drive rate, a 37% flyball ratio with a HR/FB% under 9 and an xFIP and SIERA over 5.0.
Those things are important today because the Red Sox are the best hitting team in the month of August (.311) and are the 4th best team against lefties (.272). Expect the Sox to hit Duffy hard and fast today, and if he gets the early hook the hits should continue since the Royals pen hasn’t been sharp lately. I like Castillo today for his bat and price, and a second lineup with a Boston stack is an option you might want to consider.
What about the wild-card player? Well, I’ve got $9,100 for a catcher, shortstop and third baseman; that’s not a lot to spend without being creative so my wild cards are the rest of my lineup. For third base, Lonnie Chisenhall ($3,100) at New York makes a great play today. Chisenhall is batting .471 with a homer, 5 RBIs and 4 runs scored over the past week and is looking like the player we all loved in the first half of 2014. At shortstop there are several cheap options. Marwin Gonzalez ($2,700) is hitting .368 over the past week and .292 at home, and opposing pitcher Chris Archer has a 3.52 ERA since the all-star break. Nick Ahmed ($2,500) is a lefty specialist (.309) and I already talked about his opposing pitcher when discussing A.J. Pollock.
As for catcher, I have found it safer to make that decision closer to game time since you never know when a team will decide to give their backstop a break. There are plenty of good cheaper options available so I’m not worried one bit, and it is totally possible if you go with my suggested 3B option and Ahmed at short that you can afford Fielder at first with a cheap enough catcher..
That’s all I got for you today gamers. I will attempt to send out my final lineup on twitter later @TheJimFinch, but don’t hold me to that as today will be hectic. Good Luck
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