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DraftKings contestants have a difficult dilemma for Tuesday night’s 10-game slate. Do they pay up for a seemingly indestructible ace, or should they save funds for Coors Field exposure? Unless the lineup cards unearth some dirt-cheap values, it’s going to be awfully difficult to have it both ways.
Top SP: Jacob deGrom, NYM ($11,600) vs. MIN
Jacob deGrom posted a 1.70 ERA last year. He’s somehow getting better. Yet to allow a run in two dominant displays, the defending NL Cy Young Award winner has tallied 24 strikeouts with a 20.3% swinging-strike rate in 13 innings. His velocity has risen from a world-beating 2018. Dating back to last year, he has twirled 26 straight quality starts and three consecutive scoreless outings with double-digit strikeouts. Even if it means sacrificing some offensive studs in Colorado, deGrom is an essential cash play at home against a Twins squad likely to sit Nelson Cruz in the NL park. All that said, Aaron Nola offers tremendous value at $9,400.
Honorable Mentions: Aaron Nola ($9,400) vs. WAS; Joey Lucchesi ($9,200) at SF.
Value SP: Derek Holland, SF ($6,800) vs. SD
I don’t feel great about this, so I see the appeal in instead pairing the discounted Nola with Joey Lucchesi, whose Padres oppose Derek Holland’s Giants in San Francisco. San Diego touts plenty of capable lefties. In fact, Manny Machado ($4,400) is reasonably priced, and whoever starts between Hunter Renfroe or Franmil Reyes ($4,100 each) will draw DFS appeal. Holland hasn’t looked particularly crisp in his first two starts, allowing five runs and six walks in nine innings. He has, however, garnered 12 strikeouts while holding his own against the sizzling Dodgers (5 IP, 2 ER) after a lackluster debut at Petco. Anyone playing deGrom needs a cheap option, and Holland at least offers strikeout upside and a spacious home venue.
Honorable Mention: Marco Gonzales ($7,600) at KC.
1B/3B Travis Shaw, MIL ($4,200) at LAA (RHP Matt Harvey)
As a Mets fan, it’s sad to see Matt Harvey devolve into a DFS bullseye. Last year, lefties lifted 17 homers and a .489 slugging percentage against the former ace, whom the Rangers shelled for eight runs on Thursday. Mike Moustakas is available for the same price as Shaw. It would have been nice to sneak in Eric Thames at a discount with Milwaukee playing under AL rules, but DraftKings knowingly bumped his price up to $4,300. Christian Yelich costs as much ($5,300) as Nolan Arenado at Coors against a lefty. So let’s focus on Shaw, who compiled 30 home runs and a .374 wOBA against righties last season. Don’t sweat the slow start; he has maintained a sharp batting eye and hard-hit rate despite the early slump.
Honorable Mentions: 2B/3B Mike Moustakas ($4,200) at LAA (Harvey); 1B Christian Walker ($4,200) vs. TEX (LHP Mike Minor); 1B Matt Reynolds ($4,200) vs. ATL (LHP Max Fried).
1B/OF: Trey Mancini, BAL ($4,200) vs. OAK (LHP Brett Anderson)
Righties hit .290/.315/.467 against Brett Anderson last year, and Trey Mancini is apparently Barry Bonds now. It took him until May 12 last year to register his fifth home run last year, and he reached that milestone on Monday night. Reverse splits keep his price at bay despite a sizzling bat and exploitable opponent. Ride the wave in hopes of another big evening.
Honorable Mentions: OF Joey Gallo ($4,700) at ARI (RHP Zack Greinke); OF Michael Conforto ($4,300) vs. MIN (RHP Kyle Gibson); OF Joc Pederson ($4,200) at STL (RHP Daniel Hudson).
Value Bats: 1B Justin Bour ($3,600) and OF Kole Calhoun, LAA ($3,400) vs. MIL (RHP Freddy Peralta)
Freddy Peralta procured 11 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings in Wednesday’s gem at Cincinnati. Yet we should all know better than to trust this dominance as the new norm. After all, the polarizing pitcher allowed nine baserunners and four runs to open 2019. DraftKings nevertheless prices him as a bankable ace ($9,900) over the likes of Nola and Stephen Strasburg ($9,700). Justin Bour and Kole Calhoun are accordingly each available for a pittance against a righty who relinquished a .374 wOBA to lefties last season.
While Bour is slugging .250 after hitting his season’s first homer on Monday, the first baseman notched a .349 wOBA versus righties in 2018. Calhoun, meanwhile, should lead off ahead of Mike Trout. Playing one or both bargain bats allows contestants to surround deGrom with some solid hitters.
Honorable Mentions: SS Andrelton Simmons ($3,400) vs. MIL (Peralta); 3B Evan Longoria ($3,400) vs. SD (Lucchesi).
Lineup Stack: Athletics at Orioles (LHP John Means)
Maybe it’d be easier to rename this section, “Who’s facing the Orioles today?” John Means will make his first career start after carving out nine strikeouts through 5.2 innings from the bullpen, all against the Yankees. A strong changeup would make him a daring GPP play if not for a likely short leash and a pedestrian 3.83 ERA over his minor league career. The A’s, who boasted baseball’s sixth-best wOBA (.322) against lefties last season, aren’t cheap. Khris Davis ($5,300) will be especially tough to budget into lineups. Although he has fared better against righties, Matt Chapman ($4,600) represents a top-tier pivot to the costly Arenado. Mark Canha ($4,400) and Chad Pinder ($4,200) should each start with the platoon advantage on their side. Stephen Piscotty ($4,600) and Marcus Semien ($4,400) also step up their game against southpaws.
Honorable Mentions: Rockies vs. Braves (Fried); Brewers at Angels (Harvey).
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.