All player prices are as of Saturday, October 3
Yordano Ventura, KC (Sat. afternoon at MIN), $8600 – Ventura was demoted to Triple-A Omaha in June and then struggled upon first returning to the majors, but he’s been surprisingly dominant over his last 10 starts, putting up 21.9 DraftKings points per game with a 70:25 K:BB ratio (61 innings). Though he’s come back to Earth a bit in his last few outings, Ventura should thrive in Saturday’s matchup with a Minnesota team that’s struggled against right-handed pitching all season. The Twins rank 27th in wRC+ (88), 26th in OPS (.696) and 22nd in strikeout rate (21 percent) versus righties this season, and the vast majority of the team’s at-bats have come from players who will be in Saturday’s lineup.
Justin Verlander, DET (Sat. night at CWS), $9200 – Another surprising post-break standout, Verlander has arguably been even better than Ventura, putting up 23.4 DK points and a 64:19 K:BB ratio (70.1) over his last 10 games. Though unlikely to match his peak numbers over a longer period, the 32-year-old has at least proven that he’s still an above-average big-league starter. And while I’d normally avoid a heavy fly-ball pitcher at US Cellular Field, the combination of a favorable price tag and soft opponent more than makes up for the ballpark.
Rick Porcello, BOS (Sun. at CLE) – Sticking with the theme, Porcello doesn’t quite have the gaudy numbers to match Verlander or Ventura, but he does have an excellent 63:14 K:BB ratio over his last 10 starts, showing massive progress from the disaster that he was earlier in the season. Even though there’s no chance he keeps striking out batters at anywhere near the same rate, Porcello is at least back to being be the low-end No. 2/high-end No. 3 pitcher that he was before this year. Just make sure he’s still priced under $8000.
Other options: Jake Peavy, SF (Sat. afternoon vs. COL), $8900; Kyle Hendricks, CHC (Sat. afternoon at MIL); J.A. Happ, PIT (Sun. vs. CIN)
C/OF Kyle Schwarber, CHC (at MIL), $4400 – Although his high strikeout rate has caught up to him to some extent, Schwarber should still be viewed as the best or second-best DK producer among catcher-eligible players , boasting a .282/.397/.563 slash line against right-handed pitchers. He even owns a very reasonable 23.9 strikeout rate against righties, with his 44.3 percent mark versus southpaws the only thing holding him back. Luckily for Schwarber, the Cubs end their season with two matchups and poor right-handers, facing Milwaukee’s Tyler Wagner and Jorge Lopez.
1B/3B Jefry Marte, DET (at CWS), $2400 – With Miguel Cabrera likely to be held out of one or both of the last two games, Marte should get a chance to bat fifth or sixth in the Detroit lineup, and he’ll be facing very bad pitchers in a homer-friendly park. The 24-year-old Marte may be a borderline prospect, but he has everything else working in his favor this weekend, including a dirt-cheap price.
3B/OF Derek Dietrich, MIA (at PHI), $2800 – While his awful defense may keep him off the field when the Marlins still have dreams of contention, Dietrich has proven that he’s a big-league quality hitter, posting a .236/.319/.425 slash line through 695 career plate appearances, with his batted-ball luck appearing either neutral or slightly unfavorable. He’s also been better against right-handed pitching (.243/.332/.443), and the Marlins will face three lousy right-handed starters in a homer-friendly ballpark to finish the season. Just make sure he’s in the lineup, especially for Saturday’s doubleheader.
OF Gerardo Parra, BAL (vs. NYY), $3100 – Parra isn’t nearly good enough to sustain the .886 OPS he posted for Milwaukee, but he’s far better than what he’s shown in Baltimore. Essentially, he can be viewed as a league-average hitter or slightly worse, just as he was before this season started. The cold streak makes him a tough sell, but it should also keep ownership down, and he has plenty else (matchups, lineup positioning and price) working in his favor.
1B/OF Darin Ruf, PHI (vs. MIA), $2700 – Ruf is always a strong option when the Phillies face a mediocre or poor lefty, as his price tag is consistently below $3000 and he owns a .301/.388/.561 career slash line against southpaws over 282 plate appearances. He would likely be a very effective platoon player, but the Phillies have given him far too many at-bats against righties, which has resulted in mediocre (at best) overall statistics. As you can probably guess by now, the Phillies face very hittable lefties both Saturday night (Justin Nicolino) and Sunday afternoon (Adam Conley).
Other options: C Miguel Montero, CHC (at MIL), $3500; 1B Justin Bour, MIA (at PHI), $3900; 2B/3B Josh Harrison, PIT (vs. CIN), $3400; SS Carlos Correa, HOU (at ARI), $5000; 1B/OF Chris Davis, BAL (vs. NYY), $4500; OF Christian Yelich, MIA (at PHI), $4000
Rangers vs. LAA’s Hector Santiago
Royals at KC’s Tommy Milone
Marlins at PHI’s Aaron Harang
Orioles vs. NYY’s Ivan Nova
Orioles vs. NYY’s Luis Severino
Tigers at CWS’s Erik Johnson
Dodgers vs. SD’s Robbie Erlin
Indians vs. BOS’s Craig Breslow
Pirates vs. CIN’s Brandon Finnegan
Cardinals vs. ATL’s Matt Wisler
Pirates vs. CIN’s Josh Smith
Tigers at CWS’s Frankie Montas
Cubs at Mil’s Jorge Lopez
Marlins at PHI’s David Buchanan