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Everyone playing DFS on Tuesday night will start cash-contest lineups by answering the same conundrum: Trevor Bauer or Blake Snell? While other high-end starters will toe the rubber, both of those aces draw savory matchups in the Marlins and Royals, respectively. Paying for one of the priciest pitchers will make it difficult to craft a DraftKings lineup, as few complementary bargains exist in a top-heavy crop. It’s nevertheless wise to start the puzzle with a Cy Young Award candidate.
Top SP: Trevor Bauer ($10,900) at MIA
Perhaps Snell would be the play if given a bigger discount, but he’s only $400 cheaper than Bauer despite struggling (3.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K) in his first start back from the injured list. With every other top-flight hurler struggling, fantasy players are too appreciative of Bauer’s 1.99 ERA to worry about his 12.0% walk rate and 3.43 FIP. Those are problems for another day, as he faces baseball’s second-worst offense (in terms of wOBA) in one of the game’s most spacious pitcher’s parks. After thriving at Seattle and Houston in recent turns, Bauer has worked past the sixth frame in all but one start. He’s a high-floor, high-ceiling cash play.
Value SP: Jhoulys Chacin ($6,200) vs. COL
I’m not even sure I’d play Chacin for $62 at Coors Field. Miller Park is no picnic either, but it at least makes Colorado a palatable matchup for the veteran who has often performed better at home. As of Monday, the Rockies ranked 27th in wOBA (.269) and 28th in strikeout rate (28.6%) on the road. Chacin has looked abysmal (6.35 ERA, 6.17 FIP, 8.2 K-BB%) this season, but a .316 xwOBA offers hope of him bouncing back into a serviceable veteran. He hasn’t fared nearly as badly in two home turns, allowing five runs in 10.1 frames with 12 punchouts. The basement price makes him a reasonable flier to pair alongside Bauer.
This feels like a gimme. Suarez sports a career .377 wOBA against lefties. Vargas is Vargas. A pair of decent outings depreciated his ERA all the way to 7.20. He’s on the hook for a .413 wOBA and .423 xwOBA. Righties, who hit .284/.337/.511 against the 36-year-old last year, have already taken him deep three times in 2019. Unfortunately, the rest of the Reds’ lineup leans left-handed, and Yasiel Puig has delivered reverse splits in recent years. There aren’t enough candidates for a full stack with Matt Kemp sidelined, but the struggling Jose Peraza is worth a look if you need to top the lineup card at just $3,300.
A White Sox stack is going to drain your budget, as Tim Anderson ($5,400), Jose Abreu ($5,200) and Yoan Moncada ($5,100) are too expensive to jam into a lineup led by Bauer. While the beleaguered Baltimore starter just allowed one run over seven strong frames against this same squad last Tuesday, he still possesses a 5.11 FIP and .387 xwOBA. Alonso, meanwhile, is in the midst of reversing his early misfortune. The first baseman is batting .190 despite improving his contact rate and registering more walks (16) than strikeouts (15). He brandished a .375 xwOBA far above his .301 wOBA before homering in his second straight start on Monday night. Consider Alonso a strong play despite early struggles that included a hitless game against Cashner last week. Those wanting a bit more White Sox exposure can also play James McCann ($3,900) or Welington Castillo ($3,600) at catcher.
Value: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR ($3,900) at LAA (RHP Griff Canning)
Mentioning two guys at the same position isn’t ideal without a utility spot, but this is a generational talent costing as much as Dexter Fowler. Possibly because he has yet to homer or officially make the Hall of Fame, Guerrero’s price has already dropped $500 from the weekend. Maybe this is more about respecting the debuting Canning, but Toronto’s rookie is a strong play against most at this rate.
Lineup Stack: Dodgers at Giants (LHP Drew Pomeranz)
There are many worse pitchers taking the mound than Pomeranz, who has posted a 3.65 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. Yet some affordable prices make the Dodgers an intriguing GPP bargain stack, or at least a source of individual punt plays.
- 2B/OF Enrique Hernandez ($4,100): The best cash play of the bunch, Hernandez has a career .365 wOBA against lefties. He typically leads off against southpaws, and the price is reasonable, as he has been cooling down from a torrid start.
- 3B Justin Turner ($3,600): Suarez or Guerrero are the preferred play at the hot corner, but Turner sure is tempting if needing to save a few bucks. Still searching for a home run, he comes at a basement price despite demolishing lefties (.336/.448/.550) last season.
- C Austin Barnes ($3,600): Yet to draw a hit against a lefty this season, Barnes holds a career .334 wOBA against opposite-handed pitchers.
- 1B David Freese ($3,300): The .301/.384/.461 hitter in 1,106 career plate appearances against lefties costs a pittance just because he’s 1-for-17 versus them this year. But there are plenty of cheap first basemen on Tuesday slate, such as this guy…
Honorable Mentions: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Brooks); White Sox at Orioles (Cashner).
Hey, it worked last week. Davis, priced at just $2,700, took Nova deep in Tuesday’s 9-1 victory. He now has five home runs and a .466 wOBA in 44 career plate appearances against Nova, and he even went deep again on Sunday. Those digging this deep for a first baseman, however, will find Nate Lowe available for the same cost in his second career big league bout.
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.