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No true ace takes the hill on Tuesday night, and most of the top starters (Patrick Corbin at COL, Jose Quintana vs. LAD, Zack Wheeler vs. PHI) draw too tough of an opponent to trust in cash contests. DraftKings players can luckily build their lineups around two surging, yet affordable starters toeing the rubber in pitchers’ parks. Using both will save plenty of funds for hitting.
Top SP: Luke Weaver, ARI ($8,100) at PIT
This is the Weaver we all wanted to see last year. After hoarding 17 strikeouts in his last two starts, the righty has recorded a 2.90 FIP and 53.4% ground-ball rate underneath his 3.92 ERA. Both his contact (77.7%) and swinging-strike (10.3%) rates represent personal bests heading into his start at Pittsburgh. The Pirates welcomed back Gregory Polanco on Monday, but only after losing fellow outfielder Starling Marte. Only the Tigers have gone deep fewer times than the Pirates (16), so Weaver is a relatively trustworthy choice at PNC Park.
Value SP: Frankie Montas, OAK ($7,600) vs. TEX
Fueled by a streaking Joey Gallo, the Rangers are a treacherous opponent against any righty. Yet they also strike out in bunches (25.3%), and playing in Oakland instead of Arlington makes a major difference. Besides, Montas has limited the Astros to three runs in two starts. He now boasts a 2.70 ERA with a 59.4% ground-ball rate and .296 xwOBA. Those uneasy about trusting Montas or testing Texas can hope Wheeler is encountering an injured Phillies lineup at the right place (Citi Field) at the right time.
Cruz is doing typical Cruz things this year, batting .315/.439/.556 as barely anybody notices. He has drawn just six plate appearances against lefties, whom he has pounded for a career .390 wOBA. The designated hitter finally gets to face one in Miley, who can’t run from a 5.02 SIERA forever. Three days removed from going yard twice, Cruz is a luxury DraftKings players can afford without devoting significant resources to pitching.
There’s another pricier third baseman included in the team stack, but Machado offers a cost-effective pivot at $4,200. DraftKings must really be convinced Swanson is the real deal, as the star’s price dropped $400 from Sunday. Even a laboring Machado still brandishes a .340 wOBA, and Swanson has a mere eight major league innings under his belt.
Although experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump, Torres is a career .266/.329/.472 hitter with 28 homers through 145 games. As one of the last healthy Yankees left standing, he’s too good to be priced so modestly against an opponent as bad as Stratton. The Angels’ probable starter has served up 23 hits, 13 walks, and 14 runs through 18 miserable innings. It’s hard to ignore a capable shortstop with a $3,900 salary who will likely bat in the heart of a diminished lineup.
DraftKings is still being mean to Davis despite breaking his hit drought with six knocks (three doubles and a homer) in his last seven games. Lefties have notched a career .344 wOBA against Nova, who has served up four homers to Davis. It would be a better gambit on a slate with an expensive ace, but it’s at least an intriguing GPP thought.
Lineup Stack: White Sox at Orioles (RHP Andrew Cashner)
Turns out Cashner beats Coors. The constant DFS target has allowed a 4.97 ERA and .402 xwOBA through five starts, four of which he made on the road. He’ll retreat to Camden Yards to host the White Sox, who wield a handful of enticing (but pricey) options.
Righties posted a better wOBA (.370) against him than lefties last season and have accounted for all five of his home runs surrendered this season. Tim Anderson ($5,100) is expensive for a player with his plate approach, but he’s also scorching hot and lapping everyone with an MLB-high nine steals. DraftKings players can only pick one of first basemen Jose Abreu ($4,300) and Yonder Alonso ($4,100), but with six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a homer) in his last three games and a career .361 wOBA against righties after touching them all on Monday night, Abreu gets the nod. In the midst of a breakout with most of his power obtained against righties, Yoan Moncada also justifies the hefty $4,900 price tag.
Honorable Mentions: Nationals at Rockies (Bettis); Yankees at Angels (Stratton).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is akgould4) 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.