Using Monday (7/21) prices, here are some of the top MLB plays on DraftKings for Monday-Wednesday:
Ryan Vogelsong, SF (Mon. at PHI), $7,500 – When Vogelsong fell apart last season, many were quick to assume that his 2011 and 2012 campaigns were flukes. He's now proven that the opposite is true, with 2013 the only blemish on his post-Japan resume. The 36-year-old righty will never be mistaken for a dominant pitcher, but his average fastball velocity has jumped back up above 90 mph, after sitting at 89.0 last season. His peripherals have noticed similar improvement, and his all-round profile looks very similar to what we saw from 2011-12. At the very least, Vogelsong is a league-average starting pitcher, which makes him a steal at just $7,500. Citizens Bank Ballpark is no friend to pitchers, but the Philadelphia offense sure is. Despite playing in a hitter's haven, the Phils rank 29th in both home wOBA and (.291) home OPS (.654). And, as bad as they've been against southpaws, the Phillies have been even worse against right-handers.
Adam Wainwright, STL (Tue. vs. TB), $10,800 – Wainwright struggled in the All-Star Game and hasn't piled up many strikeouts recently, but he's still approaching must-start status at a price south of $11,000. The Cardinals' ace is one of the few pitchers who do not need punchouts to put together a big fantasy performance on DraftKings, as he's seemingly allergic to both walks and home runs. The Tampa Bay offense has improved significantly over the last six or so weeks, but it's not as if the Rays are crushing home runs. They still trot out a rather unintimidating lineup, and rely heavily on drawing the free passes that Wainwright is so averse to.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA (Wed. vs. NYM) – Iwakuma's price has been hovering around $10,000 for much of the season, making him a strong play in pretty much any matchup at home, and also some on the road. His 83:8 K:BB ratio through 103.3 innings is excellent even by his own high standards, and he falls into the Wainwright category of being able to dominate without many strikeouts. With the light-hitting Mets coming to town, Iwakuma is an incredibly safe play that also offers plenty of upside.
Other intriguing options: Julio Teheran, ATL (Mon. vs. MIA), $9,400; Chris Sale, CHW, (Mon. vs. KC), $12,100; Kyle Hendricks, CHC (Tue. vs. SD), $6,500; Scott Kazmir, OAK (Tue. vs. HOU), $9,100; Trevor Bauer, CLE (Wed. at MIN); Ian Kennedy, SD (Wed. at CHC)
Buster Posey, SF, C, $4,300 – Posey's first half was moderately disappointing, but he homered in his final game before the All-Star break, and has five hits and two walks in three games since the Midsummer Classic. His peripheral numbers are right in line with expectations, as an uncharacteristically low .298 BABIP (career .323) explains the slight dip in his numbers. Given that he rarely strikes out and ranks 10th in the majors in line-drive rate (26.6), Posey will likely hit above .300 from here on out.
Dan Johnson, 1B, TOR, $2,000 – Best known for his heroics on the final day of the 2011 season, Johnson hasn't been able to turn his Triple-A success into a lasting gig in the majors. I'm not here to tell you that he'll finally break through at the age of 34, but he is a decent hitter coming at a dirt-cheap price. He walks about as often as he strikes out, and has 38 Triple-A homers since the beginning of last season. With Edwin Encarnacion (quad) still sidelined and the Jays not scheduled to face a southpaw until July 30, Johnson should be a productive player for the next 10 days. He started each of the Jays' first three games out of the break, batting fifth on Friday and seventh on both Saturday and Sunday.
Anthony Rendon, 2B/3B, WAS, $4,600 – After posting a .294/.359/.471 slash line against lefties last season, Rendon has improved to .356/.404/.556 in his sophomore campaign. The Nats will face at least two – and probably three – southpaws in the next three days, all while playing at Coors Field. Rendon is comfortably a top-five option at second base, and he won't draw a better set of matchups all season. This one is almost too easy, as the former No. 6 overall pick would still be a strong choice at $5,000.
Dee Gordon, 2B/SS, LAD, $4,400 – Gordon's price has dropped along with his stolen-base pace, but his bat remains a pleasant surprise. After a tough stretch on the base paths in June and early July, the speedster has successfully swiped his last four bags, including two in the last four games heading into Monday. With his bat seeming like the real deal and his speed never in question, Gordon should be in for an excellent second half, starting with matchups against shaky Pittsburgh righties Edinson Volquez and Vance Worley.
Jayson Werth, OF, WAS, $5,000 – Werth is crushing left-handed pitching for a third consecutive season, sporting a .370/.452/.531 slash line against southpaws that actually looks a bit worse than what he did in 2012 and 2013. With the Nats headed to Colorado to face the Rockies' awful, lefty-heavy rotation, Werth is your top play for the next three days. Price being equal, I'd prefer him to the likes of Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton.
Daniel Nava, OF, BOS, $3,500 – I was rather perplexed by the Red Sox's impatience with Nava earlier this season, as the 31-year-old outfielder has repeatedly proven that he's a weapon against right-handed pitching. He owns a career .289/.387/.428 slash line against righties, and had what was easily his best season in 2013. Once again getting the semi-regular playing time that he deserves, Nava is 33-for-98 (.337 BA) since the beginning of June. He's been batting either second or fifth in the Boston lineup, but still doesn't start against southpaws, which will likely always be the case.
Other intriguing options: Stephen Vogt, C/OF, OAK, $3,300; Derek Norris/John Jason, C, OAK, $3,600; Jose Abreu, CHW, 1B, $5,200; Victor Martinez, 1B, DET, $4,600; Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, OAK, $4,400; Jose Reyes, SS, TOR, $4,600; Josh Rutledge, 2B/SS, COL, $3,300; Enrique Hernandez, 2B/SS, HOU, $2,500; Jed Lowrie, SS, OAK, $3,700; Alexei Ramirez, SS, CHW, $3,900; Danny Santana, SS/OF, MIN, $3,400; Jose Bautista, OF, TOR, $5,000; Carlos Gomez, OF, MIL, $4,600; Melky Cabrera, OF, TOR, $4,100; Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL, $4,800; Kole Calhoun, OF, LAA, $4,400; Bryce Harper, OF, WAS, $4,700; David Peralta, OF, AZ, $3,500.