DraftKings MLB: Weekend Value Plays

DraftKings MLB: Weekend Value Plays

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

All player prices are as of Friday, May 22


Michael Pineda, NYY (Fri. vs. TEX), $9400 – Pineda had easily his worst start of the season last time out, posting -2 DraftKings points in Kansas City. But his previous outing was that memorable 16-K gem against a pretty good Orioles lineup, and he's still averaging 21.7 DK points per game, despite facing either the O's, Blue Jays or Royals in five of his first eight starts. Friday brings a more favorable matchup, with the Rangers sporting the following ranks against right-handers: 21st in strikeout rate (21.0 percent), 27th in wRC+ (80) and 26th in OPS (.656). Even if he were facing a tougher opponent, Pineda's 55:3 K:BB ratio and strong ground ball-rate (52.7 percent) through 51.2 innings would make him tough to pass up. His 3.31 ERA doesn't look all that special, but he has a 1.98 FIP, 2.38 xFIP and 2.41 SIERA.

Matt Harvey, NYM (Sat. afternoon at PIT) – The days of getting Harvey at under $10,000 are gone, but he still isn't quite priced like an elite pitcher, costing $10,600 and $10,400 in his last two starts. That should creep back into the $11,000 range, which is still somewhat of a bargain for a guy who will likely make a run at the NL Cy Young Award. Despite only reaching 100 pitches in one of his first eight starts, Harvey is averaging 24.9 DK points per game on the strength of a 56:8 K:BB ratio and 1.98 ERA through 54.2 innings. The Pirates are middle-of-the-pack in strikeout rate against right-handers, but they rank dead last against southpaws, and have been surprisingly punchless versus pitchers from both sides.

Jake Arrieta, CHC (Sat. night at ARI) – Arrieta has safely dispelled any notions of his 2014 breakout being a fluke, and yet his price still hasn't crossed the $10,000 barrier this season. Even against a respectable lineup in a hitter's ballpark, the 29-year-old righty is an excellent option, assuming his price stays south of $10,500. Further adding to the appeal, Saturday's night slate is utterly lacking in other top-notch pitchers, although Arizona's Rubby De La Rosa is a strong value play on the opposite side of this matchup. Given the other choices, I wouldn't hesitate to use both pitchers from this game.

Jimmy Nelson, MIL (Sun. at ATL) – Nelson has been up-and-down so far this season, and while his 43 strikeouts through 50.2 innings won't blow you away, he still has strikeout-per-inning potential. His excellent swinging-strike rate (11.7 percent) and contact rate (75.1 percent) rank in the top 15 among all starters, with both marks showing significant improvement from last season. As much as I'd typically try to avoid the Braves and their 15.5-percent strikeout rate against right-handers, Nelson offers a combination of talent and price that makes him playable in any matchup.

Other options:Gerrit Cole, PIT (Fri. vs. NYM), $9200; Ubaldo Jimenez, BAL (Fri. at MIA), $7000; Chris Sale, CHW (Sat. afternoon vs. MIN); Stephen Strasburg, WAS (Sat. afternoon vs. PHI); Rubby De La Rosa, ARI (Sat. night vs. CHC); Francisco Liriano, PIT (Sun. vs. NYM); Carlos Frias, LAD (Sun. vs. SD); Miguel Gonzalez, BAL (Sun. at MIA)


C Brian McCann, NYY (vs. TEX), $3700 – McCann is no longer the type of player one gets excited about using, but he's still an excellent option when deployed in the right matchups. As it just so happens, he'll be swinging for the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium this weekend, with the Bronx Bombers facing an unimpressive trio of Texas right-handers. Colby Lewis (Friday's starter) is arguably the best of the bunch, but with a consistently high fly-ball rate, he's always an excellent pitcher to target. Meanwhile, Nick Martinez's 1.88 ERA may be the flukiest statistic of the season, and Yovani Gallardo is no longer even a league-average starter. I highly recommend loading up on Yankees this weekend.

1B Freddie Freeman, ATL (vs. MIL), $4000 – Freeman hasn't homered since May 5, but his overall production is right in line with expectations, and the mini-slump has led to a price that's reduced by a few hundred more dollars than it probably should be. Friday's matchup against Wily Peralta is the best of the bunch, but I also wouldn't hesitate to use Freeman on Saturday (Mike Fiers) or Sunday (Jimmy Nelson), if his price sticks around $4000.

2B Kolten Wong, STL (at KC), $4200 – Wong's price has adjusted to match his production, but now that he's batting leadoff against right-handers, he should be worth every penny. While I'll probably look elsewhere when he faces Danny Duffy on Saturday, it's wise to roster the red-hot Wong on both Friday (Chris Young) and Sunday (Edison Volquez), with the first matchup providing an especially good chance for a home run. Keep in mind that Wong will be playing in an American League ballpark – albeit a tough one for hitters – meaning he won't have the pitcher batting in front of him.

3B Aramis Ramirez, MIL (at ATL), $3400 – While Ramirez almost certainly be any better than he was last season, I also think the early drop-off is far worse than what we can expect for the year. To that tune, the veteran third baseman has been somewhat improved of late, notably hitting home runs Monday and Tuesday. Given the depressed price and manageable matchups, Ramirez is a sneakily good option that probably won't be highly owned in GPPs.

OF Joc Pederson, LAD (vs. SD), $3700 – Pederson has been unusually un-Joc-like for the last week, with his three-true-outcomes profile giving way to a bunch of fielded outs and a few base hits. The lack of long balls has his price way down, and it's almost always a good idea to jump on this kind of power at a sub-$4000 price in GPPs. Even with the Dodgers facing some tough pitchers, Pederson shouldn't come so cheap.

OF Billy Burns, OAK (at TB), $2500 – With Coco Crisp (neck) likely to miss at least a few more games, Burns should get some more opportunities at the top of the Oakland lineup. I won't bother hyping the young speedster's unpromising bat, but between the lineup positioning and stolen-base potential, he's one of the top bargains among all position players. Just make sure he's actually in the lineup and batting leadoff.

Other options:C Buster Posey, SF (at COL), $5000; 1B Mark Teixeira, NYY (vs. TEX), $4400; 2B/3B Logan Forsythe, TB (vs. OAK), $3100; 3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY (vs. TEX), $4100; SS Brad Miller, SEA (at TOR), $4000; OF Bryce Harper, WAS (vs. PHI), $5500; OF Mookie Betts, BOS (vs. LAA), $3900; OF Melky Cabrera, CWS (vs. MIN), $3800; OF Nick Markakis, ATL (vs. MIL), $3200

Lineup Stacks


Cubs at ARI's Josh Collmenter
Giants at COL's Kyle Kendrick
Orioles at MIA's Henderson Alvarez
Braves vs. MIL's Wily Peralta
White Sox vs. MIN's Phil Hughes
Pirates vs. NYM's Noah Syndergaard
Nationals vs. PHI's Sean O'Sullivan
Rockies vs. SF's Ryan Vogelsong
Yankees vs. TEX's Colby Lewis
Mariners vs. TOR's Marco Estrada

Saturday afternoon

Astros at DET's Kyle Lobstein
Tigers vs. HOU's Lance McCullers
White Sox vs. MIN's Trevor May
Blue Jays vs. SEA's James Paxton
Yankees vs. TEX's Nick Martinez

Saturday night

Angels at BOS's Steven Wright
Giants at whoever pitches for Colorado
Orioles at MIA's Dan Haren


Red Sox vs. LAA's Hector Santiago
Cubs at ARI's Jeremy Hellickson
Angels at BOS's Wade Miley
Giants at COL's Chad Bettis
Tigers vs. HOU's Roberto Hernandez
Orioles at MIA's Tom Koehler
White Sox vs. MIN's Kyle Gibson
Blue Jays vs. SEA's Taijuan Walker
Athletics at TB's Erasmo Ramirez
Yankees vs. TEX's Yovani Gallardo

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jerry Donabedian plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: jd0505, DraftKings: jd0505.
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Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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