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In this article, we’ll be going over our plays for tonight’s eight-game slate on DraftKings.
Top Play SP: Justin Verlander, DET ($12,400) vs. SEA
Justin Verlander leads the slate in strikeout rate for the season at 35.1%, thus, he must be anointed the top play of the day. Other than a little homer-itis, which every starting pitcher has dealt with this year, Verlander has been his excellent self all season. In fact, his 2.99 SIERA places him at third-best among qualifying starters.
Since the All-Star break, Verlander’s opponent, the Mariners, has struggled. The Mariners have managed to put up the 25th best wRC+ against right-handed pitching and are striking out at a 26.7% rate, fourth-highest in the majors. Verlander should have no problem cruising in his first start since pitching his third career no-hitter.
If you’re looking to pay up at pitcher, but pivot off of Verlander, look no further than Andrew Heaney. Heaney has struck out 29% of the batter’s he’s faced this year, good for the second-highest on today’s slate, behind only Verlander. Andrew Heaney faces the White Sox, who have struck out at a 26.6% clip against lefties over the last three weeks.
Value SP: Tony Gonsolin, LAD ($8,600) vs. SF
Yeah, I cheated here. All year I’ve managed to keep the “Value” pick under $8,000, but truth be told, there are some serious trash pitchers under $8,000 today. Can I introduce you to Dylan Covey versus the Angels or Yusei Kikuchi against the Astros? Of course not, because you’re not a crazy person.
Tony Gonsolin has seen his price rise from his $6,800 debut and for good reason. Gonsolin has a 2.89 ERA over 28 innings thrown. Gonsolin faces the Giants, who have a 76 wRC+ against righties post All-Star break, placing them 26th in the league.
The main downside in this play is that Gonsolin has only gone six innings once in his six appearances. The only other value play that doesn’t make me throw up a little in my mouth is Jeff Hoffman, who faces the Padres in San Diego. Counterpoint though, Hoffman is not a good pitcher.
Honorable mentions: Hoffman, COL ($5,100) at SD.
Top Play: OF Yordan Alvarez, HOU ($5,300) vs. SEA
I really like the Astros today as they go up against Yusei Kikuchi. Kikuchi has struggled with consistency all year, and the second half hasn’t shown any growth in that department. In nine starts since the All-Star break, Kikuchi has a 6.26 ERA in 46 innings pitched and that includes a complete-game shutout against the Blue Jays.
Probable Rookie of the Year, Yordan Alvarez, has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. Over the 68 games he’s played, Alvarez has mashed 22 taters and driven in 64 runs. Against lefties, Alvarez has a .350 ISO and .411 wOBA. I fully expect the Astros to smash in this spot today.
Top Play: 1B Pete Alonso, NYM ($5,200) vs. PHI
Speaking of mashing, haaaaaaaaaaaaave you met Pete? I figured it was only right to pair the probable Rookies of the Year on this slate. Pete Alonso has crushed expectations, mashing 45 homers in his first major league season. Like Alvarez, Alonso has also crushed lefties all year, putting up a .372 ISO.
Alonso and the Mets face lefty Drew Smyly today. In six starts since the beginning of August, Smyly has allowed 23 runs (21 earned) in 30.1 innings pitched. He’s been giving away homers like he’s Oprah, allowing 10 bombs in that time. I fully expect Smyly’s homer problem to continue today.
Value: OF Justin Upton, LAA ($4,000) at CHW
Maybe September is Justin Upton’s “healthy month.” Upton has gotten off to a hot start since his kids went back to school, batting .314, but more importantly, he already has three bombs. That puts him one tater short of matching the most homers he’s hit in a month so far.
The Angels get an awesome matchup with Dylan Covey, who is #notgoodatbaseball. Covey has been pitching in AAA since August 11th and this will be his first start back up with the White Sox since being sent down. Before being sent down, Covey managed to put up a 6.88 ERA over 52.1 innings pitched. I expect the Angels to give Covey a rude welcome back today.
Top Stack: Athletics vs. Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann)
You thought I forgot to pick on Jordan Zimmermann, didn’t you? Truth be told, my kids woke up early, so I’m juggling that dad-life with getting this finished. There are a bunch of really nice matchups on today’s slate, but you could’ve figured that out by the lack of decent value pitchers.
We’ll start with the Athletics, who get a premium matchup against Zimmermann. Zimmermann has been crushed by lefties this year, so I’m starting my Athletics stack with Matt Olson ($4,800), before adding Marcus Semien ($5,100) and Matt Chapman ($4,500). It’s up to you whether you want to make this a full-stack or just keep it to a mini-stack.
I think I’ve touched on the Astros enough, but facing Yusei Kikuchi really makes Alvarez, Alex Bregman ($5,300), Jose Altuve ($5,100), and Yuli Gurriel ($4,700) really appealing. The problem is their price, so I’d look to fit as many of them in your lineup as you can. Good luck today!
Honorable mentions: Angels vs. White Sox (RHP Covey); Astros vs. Mariners (LHP Kikuchi).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is RMoss1983) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. 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 nonpublic information.