Note: All player prices are based on Fridayís (08/01) games.
Here are some of the top plays on DraftKings from Friday-Monday:
Danny Salazar, CLE (Fri. vs. TEX), $7000 Ė While he probably isnít the best choice for 50/50s or other contests with flat payout structures, Salazar offers plenty of upside at a low price, making him the perfect option to pair with a more expensive pitcher in GPPs. The young right-hander has made only two starts since being called back up to the majors, but the results thus far have been as good as anyone could have hoped for. Heís posted a 13:3 K:BB over 12 innings, allowing just four runs on 13 hits with no homers. The Texas lineup isnít much to begin with, and the Rangers are particularly bad against right-handers, as one might expect. Righty-killer Shin Soo-Choo is having a shockingly poor season, while the rest of the lineup consists of lefty-mashers Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios, rounded out by a bunch of nobodies.
Ian Kennedy, SD (Sat. vs. ATL) Ė Kennedy was scratched from his last outing due to oblique soreness, but all signs point to him pitching Saturday, after the Padres decided not to move him at the trade deadline. Matchups donít get much better than this for a right-handed strikeout pitcher, as Kennedy will be hurling at Petco Park against a strikeout-happy team thatís had most of its success against lefties. The Braves have some pretty shocking handedness splits as a team, ranking 27th in wOBA (.296) against righties but sixth (.330) against lefties. Looking deeper into the stats against right-handers, Atlanta ranks 25th in wRC+ (86), 27th in OPS (.666), 24th in strikeout rate (21.7) and 15th in walk rate (7.6). Kennedy, meanwhile, cost right around $8500 in each of his last six starts, five of which produced 16 or more points. His 3.66 ERA is somewhat deceptive, as he owns a 3.09 FIP, 3.29 xFIP and 3.27 SIERA, backed by a 9.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9.
Stephen Strasburg, WAS (Sun. vs. PHI) Ė While he hasnít been dominant lately, Strasburg has still been pitching pretty well, and his price dropped below $10,000 for his last two starts. Assuming thereís no major price hike on the way, the fire-balling right-hander should make for an excellent play in Sundayís home start against the weak Philadelphia lineup, offering an attractive combination of high floor and high ceiling. Though his 3.55 ERA isnít particularly appealing, Strasburg has a fantastic 10.4 K/9, which is of course all-important on DraftKings. Whatís more, his peripherals far outpace his ERA, highlighted by a 2.83 FIP, 2.59 xFIP and 2.70 SIERA. Sure, Strasburg tends to give up more hard contact than your average ace, but the gap between his ERA and ERA estimators is too wide to write off.
Corey Kluber, CLE (Mon. vs. CIN) Ė Itís probably safe to assume that Kluberís price will rise from the $9400 he cost last time out, as heís averaging an insane 39.1 points over his last three outings. No matter, the Indiansí ace is essentially a must-play for Mondayís limited slate, given how well heís pitching and the expectation of a reasonable price. Iíd use Kluber against pretty much any lineup Monday, but further adding to the appeal is a matchup against the injury-marred Reds.
Other intriguing options: Chris Sale, CHW (Fri. vs. MIN), $12.600; Doug Fister, WAS, (Fri. vs. PHI), $7800; Jordan Zimmerman, WAS (Sat. vs. PHI); C.J. Wilson, LAA (Sat. at TB); Marcus Stroman, TOR (Sun. at HOU); Trevor Bauer, CLE, (Sun. vs. TEX); Tyson Ross, SD (Sun. vs. ATL); Jeff Samardzija, OAK (Sun. vs. TB)
Ian Kinsler, DET, 2B, $4500 Ė The all-lefty Colorado rotation makes for an easy target, but thereís no reason to stop piling on. Thatís especially true this weekend, when the Rockies travel to Detroit to face the Tigersí dangerous, righty-heavy lineup. While Kinsler struggled to the tune of a .218/.235/.282 slash line in July, the lousy recent performance has now been priced in. Though heís been oddly mediocre against southpaws this season, Kinsler has a long history of mashing lefties (.888 career OPS vs. LHP), so we can probably chalk it up to the sample size. While pretty much every Detroit bat is in play this weekend, 3B/OF Nick Castellanos ($3500) and 1B Victor Martinez ($4500) are particularly strong options at those prices.
Yangervis Solarte, 2B/3B, SD, $3400 Ė While Solarte was largely forgotten once his strong start faded into a stretch of extended mediocrity, the peripheral numbers have remained encouraging. Both his strikeout percentage (12.0) and walk percentage (10.2) are excellent, and a .138 ISO proves that heís something more than a walks and singles specialist. Solarte has primarily batted second since being traded to the Padres, and heís rewarded the team with a .324/.372/.541 slash line through nine games. Yes, heíll be hitting at Petco Park this weekend, but the Padres draw the soft part of the Atlanta rotation after Alex Wood and Julio Teheran pitched the last two days. For $3400, youíre getting an above-average hitter that will likely bat second or third in what is admittedly an awful lineup.
Josh Donaldson, 3B, OAK, $5000 Ė Heís baaaaack. You knew Donaldsonís slump wouldnít last forever, though it may have seemed that way for those who continued to use the star third baseman as part of the always-popular Aís stacks. In any case, after watching his OPS slip from .927 on June 1 to .766 at the All-Star break, Donaldson has since slashed .318/.426/.614, with three home runs, four doubles, 11 RBI and 11 runs in just 12 games. Heíll face James Shields on Sunday and Alex Cobb on Monday, but he draws excellent matchups against human BP-machine Jeremy Guthrie and lefty fly-ball specialist Jason Vargas. Come Saturday, donít be scared off by Donaldsonís 1-for-18 track record against Vargas. The KC lefty has struck him out just twice, and the one hit was a homer.
Yasiel Puig, OF, LAD, $5300 Ė A red-hot Puig against the Cubsí makeshift pitching staff has the potential to get ugly/beautiful, depending on where youíre sitting. The Cuban superstar has eight extra-base hits over his last six games, yet his price is still entirely reasonable. Further helping matters, the Dodgers have been excellent lately, with Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp both looking like the best versions of themselves. A Dodgers stack, while always expensive, will likely be in play all weekend. Monday looks quite a bit trickier, with Angels ace Garret Richards traveling across town.
Giancarlo Stanton, OF, MIA, $5100 Ė Stantonís quasi-slump seems to be over, as he homered against the Nationals on Wednesday, then took Johnny Cueto deep Thursday afternoon. With Cueto out of the way, Stanton should make for a strong play all weekend, even if his price bounces back to its normal level by Saturday or Sunday. Fridayís matchup is particularly enticing, as Cincinnatiís Mat Latos has seemingly lost both his velocity and his ability to miss bats.
Dustin Ackley OF, SEA, $3400 Ė Even with the Marinersí acquisition of Austin Jackson, Ackley figures to bat either first or second, at least until he cools off. With 16 hits over his last 10 games and a homer Thursday evening, the former second baseman has shown no signs of slowing down, though itís safe to assume that he eventually will. But this isnít the time to stop riding the wave, as Ackley will spend his weekend at Camden Yards, one of the top ballparks for all hitters, especially lefties. Helping matters is the Baltimore pitching staff, which will trot out Wei-Yin Chen (Friday), Miguel Gonzalez (Saturday) and Kevin Gausman (Sunday). The first matchup isnít all that attractive, but at this price, Ackley could still be a viable play.
Other intriguing options: Miguel Montero, C, AZ, $3900; Stephen Vogt, C/OF, OAK, $3800; Travis díArnaud, NYM, C, $3100; Victor Martinez, 1B, DET, $4500; Jose Abreu, 1B, CHW, $5400; Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU, $4900; Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, NYM, $4100; Dee Gordon, 2B/SS, LAD, $4500; Neil Walker, 2B/3B, PIT, $4400; Kyle Seager 2B/3B, SEA, $4300 Marwin Gonzalez, 3B/SS, HOU, $2900; Jose Reyes, SS, TOR, $4900; Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX, $4700; Jim Adduci, OF, TEX, $2900; Billy Burns, OF, OAK, $2000; Brett Gardner, OF, NYY, $5200; Adam Jones, OF, BAL, $4800; David Peralta, OF, AZ, $3500;
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