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, July 17


Lance Lynn, STL (Fri. vs. NYM), $9300 – There's a wealth of attractive pitching options for Friday night, with the group headlined by superstars Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka. All of those guys are perfectly viable options, but I'd rather look to a second tier that includes Lynn, Noah Syndergaard and James Shields in the low $9000s. With Fernandez facing the Phillies, Kershaw always a popular choice, and Syndergaard coming off a dominant performance, Lynn's ownership percentage should be pretty low in GPPs. This is the perfect time to pounce on the Cardinals right-hander, as he carries a very reasonable price tag into a home matchup with a team that ranks 24th in strikeout rate (21.1 percent) and 28th in wRC+ (87). The Mets have admittedly fared a tiny bit better against right-handers, but their lineup is still one of the softest targets in the league.

Michael Pineda, NYY (Sat. afternoon vs. SEA) – Even if you only focus on the traditional statistics, Pineda seems like a nice bargain for pretty much all of his starts. Once you factor in the superb peripherals that have led to a 2.63 FIP and 2.62 xFIP (3.64 ERA), there's arguably no better bargain on DraftKings. A .345 BABIP is really the only thing that's held Pineda back this season, keeping his ERA modest in spite of his 111:13 K:BB ratio through 106.1 innings. With a bit of luck, he could post a sub-2.50 ERA in the second half, and he'll start that bid with a matchup against the strikeout-prone Mariners. The Seattle lineup should fare somewhat better in the second half, but there doesn't seem to be anything flukish about the group's 22.1 percent strikeout rate (27th) against right-handers, as the lineup features a slew of players with K-heavy track records. Just keep in mind that Pineda's ownership percentage will be sky-high in afternoon-only contests, with the slate including just four games.

Jon Lester, CHC (Sat. night at ATL) – Lester's 4-8 record and 3.59 ERA have some viewing him as a disappointment thus far, but he's arguably having his second or third-best season if you dig a bit deeper. His strikeout and walk rates have only declined a tiny bit from last year, and his 3.14 xFIP is the third-best mark of his career. He should fare much better in the second half when it comes to traditional statistics, starting with Saturday's matchup against a hopeless Atlanta lineup. The Braves have been a disaster against southpaws all season, ranking 18th in strikeout rate (22 percent), 27th in wRC+ (80) and 29th in OPS (.641). Sans Freddie Freeman (wrist), the already feeble Atlanta lineup has truly gone into the tank, topping four runs just four times in 23 games. The Braves somehow produced just 11 runs in a four-game series at Coors Field right before the All-Star break, getting swept by the Rockies in the process.

Jake Arrieta, CHC (Sun. at ATL) – Lester was signed to be the Cubs' ace, but it comes as no surprise that Arrieta actually holds that title. Following last season's breakout performance, the 29-year-old has been just as dominant this year, putting up 23.4 DraftKings points per game. He's yet to allow more than four earned runs in a game this season, and he's recorded five or more strikeouts in all but one start. Arrieta has been especially dominant of late, allowing just five runs over 39.2 innings in his last five starts, with two complete games and a 34:4 K:BB ratio. If not for the player-per-team requirement and continued obsession with ERA, Arrieta undoubtedly would've made his first All-Star appearance this season.

Other options:Noah Syndergaard, NYM (Fri. at STL), $9300; Drew Hutchison, TOR (Fri. vs. TB), $6700; Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA (Sat. afternoon at NYY); Corey Kluber, CLE (Sat. night at CIN); Carlos Carrasco, CLE (Sun. at CIN); Cole Hamels, PHI (Sun. vs. MIA); Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS (Sun. at LAA)


C Buster Posey, SF (at ARI), $4100 – The Rolls Royce of catchers, Posey has pretty much everything working in his favor this weekend, including a price that's slightly south of what he normally costs. He'll spend the weekend at Arizona's Chase Field, where he owns a lifetime .336/.406/.544 slash line in 170 plate appearances. The excellent numbers can be attributed to some combination of the batting environment and Arizona's weak pitching staff, but it's not as if either of those factors has changed this season. Further adding to the appeal, Posey will face lefties on Friday (Robbie Ray) and Sunday (Patrick Corbin), sandwiched around a mediocre right-hander Saturday (Chase Anderson).

C/1B Stephen Vogt, OAK (vs. MIN), $3200 – All of the Athletics' key left-handed bats carry favorable prices for this weekend, even when you account for the cavernous nature of O.co Coliseum. Vogt did slow down in the weeks leading up to the All-Star break, but he still finished the first half with a .287/.374/.498 slash line, averaging 7.7 DraftKings points per game despite making 10 appearances off the bench. He also appeared to end his slump right before the All-Star break, putting up 30 DK points over his final two games. And he won't have to deal with any southpaws this weekend, as the Twins are scheduled to toss Ervin Santana (Fri.), Phil Hughes (Sat.) and Kyle Gibson (Sun.).

1B Albert Pujols, LAA (vs. BOS), $4300 – Pujols finished the first half with a bit of a whimper, but it shouldn't take him long to get back on track, even if he'll inevitably fall short of his monstrous May-June production. The Red Sox are scheduled to toss lefties Wade Miley (Fri.) and Eduardo Rodriguez (Sun.) this weekend, with struggling right-hander Rick Porcello sandwiched in between. Pujols' price has dropped back down to its April range due to the recent slump, after lingering in the mid-$4000s to mid-$5000s for quite some time. You also can't go wrong with his red-hot teammate C.J. Cron ($3200), who is 16-for-30 with three home runs in July. Unfortunately, the duo can't be used together, so you'll have to pick one or the other for those Angels mini-stacks.

2B Jason Kipnis, CLE (at CIN), $4200 – Although Kipnis has done most of his damage at home this season, a cross-state trip to homer-happy GABP should treat him just fine. He won't face to face any lefties, and while I don't recommend using anyone against Johnny Cueto on Sunday (if he's still on the Reds), Kipnis should have the upper hand in matchups with Mike Leake (Friday) and Anthony DeSclafani (Saturday). Kipnis ranks second among second basemen with 9.1 DK points per game, but his Friday price is only fifth highest among healthy players at the position.

3B Manny Machado, BAL (at DET), $3900 – Machado may not have the easiest matchups this weekend, but I'd still challenge anyone to justify the $3900 price tag. There are 11 healthy, 3B-eligible players that cost more than Machado for Friday, and only two of those (Josh Donaldson and Todd Frazier) have averaged more DK points per game. Plus, Machado's Friday (Anibal Sanchez) and Sunday (Justin Verlander) opponents haven't had the performances to match their names this season. Don't be fooled by Machado's .231 batting average in July – he has three home runs, two stolen bases and a 6:7 K:BB ratio in 39 at-bats. What appeared to be an extended hot streak may just be the new reality for baseball's latest bonafide superstar. After all, post-hype Beltway breakouts do seem to be all the rage this season.

SS Carlos Correa, HOU (vs. TEX), $4100 – If you're going to follow my advice and roster Machado, you might as well also use mini-Manny, who's quite similar to the younger version of Baltimore's star third baseman, only with more power and less ears. Also, Correa was allowed to stay at his natural position, which isn't exactly teeming with great fantasy options. The 20-year-old phenom has been even better than expected, sporting a .276/.312/.507 slash line with a modest .303 BABIP, plus he's 5-for-5 on stolen-base attempts. Friday brings a friendly matchup with Rangers lefty Martin Perez, who will be returning from Tommy John surgery to make his first start of the season. Then, the Astros face the immensely hittable Colby Lewis on Saturday, followed by a Sunday matchup against the overrated Yovani Gallardo. With Tulo playing in San Diego this weekend, Correa just might be the top option at shortstop, prices being equal.

OF Justin Upton, SD (vs. COL), $3900 – There are a slew of talented outfielders in this price range, including Hunter Pence, Michael Brantley and Adam Jones. It's tough to pick one above the others, but Upton arguably has the best combination of price and matchup. Yes, he'll be playing at his pitcher-friendly home ballpark, but Upton has oddly been far, far better at Petco Park this season, posting a .918 OPS at home and .614 OPS on the road. I obviously don't expect those massive splits to hold up in the long run, but they at least show he isn't too bothered by a ballpark that's caused trouble for many a right-handed slugger.

Other options:C John Jaso, TB (at TOR), $3900; 1B James Loney, TB (at TOR), $3500; 1B C.J. Cron, LAA (vs. BOS), $3200; 2B Jose Altuve, HOU (vs. TEX), $4400; 2B/OF Ben Zobrist, OAK (vs. MIN), $3500; SS Francisco Lindor, CLE (at CIN), $3000; OF Hunter Pence, SF (at ARI), $4100; OF Michael Brantley, CLE (at CIN), $4100; OF Adam Jones, BAL (at DET), $3800; OF Josh Reddick, OAK (vs. MIN), $3600

Lineup Stacks

Indians at CIN's Mike Leake
Brewers vs. PIT's Charlie Morton
Astros vs. TEX's Martin Perez
Royals at CWS's John Danks
White Sox vs. KC's Chris Young
Athletics vs. MIN's Ervin Santana

Saturday afternoon

Rays at TOR's R.A. Dickey
CWS vs. KC's Jeremy Guthrie

Saturday night

Tigers vs. BAL's Chris Tillman
Pirates at MIL's Jimmy Nelson
Cubs at ATL's Manny Banuelos
Indians at CIN's Anthony DeSclafani
Astros vs. TEX's Colby Lewis
Rangers at HOU's Scott Feldman
Giants at ARI's Chase Anderson


Rays at TOR's Marco Estrada
Orioles at DET's Justin Verlander
Pirates at MIL's Taylor Jungmann
Astros vs. TEX's Yovani Gallardo
Rockies at SD's Andrew Cashner

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.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
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.
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Wednesday, Sept. 27
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Wednesday, Sept. 27
MLB Best Bets Today: Expert MLB Picks and Props for Tuesday, Sept. 26
MLB Best Bets Today: Expert MLB Picks and Props for Tuesday, Sept. 26
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Plays and Strategy
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Tuesday Plays and Strategy
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: Tuesday Breakdown
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Tuesday, Sept. 26
MLB DFS Picks: FanDuel Plays and Strategy for Tuesday, Sept. 26
Lineup Lowdown: American League
Lineup Lowdown: American League