This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
Tuesday was a critical day on the KBO schedule, as the fourth-place Bears and fifth-place Landers defeated the sixth-place Heroes and seventh-place Dinos, moving into relatively safe positions in the final two playoff spots with just four days left in the regular season. Shin Soo Choo went 2-for-4 with a homer in the Landers' 7-5 victory over the Dinos, while Soo Bin Jung hit just his third homer of the season as the Bears beat the Heroes by a 7-2 score. Elsewhere, the Twins cruised past the Eagles 4-0 thanks to an excellent performance from rookie lefty Jun Hyeung Lim, who allowed just three hits across six scoreless innings.
We're back to a full, five-game slate Wednesday, with all five games beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET. Given the size of the slate, we'll go with the standard setup for today's column.
Wilmer Font ($9,000) earns the top spot among this fairly deep pool of pitchers. He has the highest average fantasy points per game on the slate and sits second in the league overall, trailing only Ariel Miranda. He's gotten to that point primarily through his 26.9 percent strikeout rate, a number which sits second among qualified starters, again trailing only Miranda. Font was a bit shaky to start the second half, struggling to a 6.60 ERA over his first three starts after the break, but he's since bounced back to post a 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over his last six. While the third-ranked Bears lineup does present a real challenge, no one else on this slate can match Font's upside.
In the middle of the board, Daniel Mengden ($7,900) looks interesting even against the second-ranked Giants lineup. He hasn't been dominant in his first season in Korea and owned an ERA as high as 4.50 as recently as September 19. In five starts since then, however, he's been excellent, cruising to a 1.57 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. In the last two of those, he allowed a combined four hits and zero runs, picking up wins against the Wiz and Lions, the top two teams in the standings. He now owns a solid 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP on the season, numbers he's backed up by a strong combination of a 20.8 percent strikeout rate and 7.3 percent walk rate.
If you're looking to save a bit of cash, consider Mike Montgomery ($7,100). The lefty hasn't had the smoothest transition to life in Korea, struggling to a 5.36 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP through his first 10 starts and picking up a 20-game suspension after throwing a rosin bag at an umpire. It hasn't all been bad for the pitcher who recorded the final out of the 2016 World Series, however. He's walked far too many batters (16.4 percent), but he also owns a strong 21.5 percent strikeout rate, giving him a fair amount of fantasy upside. He's riding a streak of two straight quality starts and has a chance to make it three against a Heroes lineup which sits a modest fifth in scoring and skews left-handed.
It's been a disappointing season for the defending-champion Dinos, who sit two games out of the playoffs with just five left to play after losing four everyday players to season-long suspensions due to health-protocol violations over the break. Aaron Altherr ($5,200) is doing his best to single-handedly keep the team in the mix down the stretch, however. He owned a merely good .833 OPS heading into the final day of September, down from the .897 mark he posted last year, but he's been on fire ever since then. In 22 games, he's hit .354/.440/.696 with seven homers and six steals. He should stay hot Wednesday against Wiz righty Je Seong Bae, who's been good for most of the year but owns a 4.79 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP over his last four outings.
The Eagles are stuck facing the excellent Andrew Suarez, who owns a 2.28 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, but it looks like it could wind up being more of a bullpen day, as Suarez has topped out at three innings and 59 pitches in his three starts since returning from a back injury in early October. That could make the Eagles an interesting contrarian pick, as they should face relievers for the majority of their at-bats. Eun Won Jung ($4,400) could be particularly low-owned, as he'll be at a platoon disadvantage against Suarez. The leadoff man is one of the league's premier on-base threats, with a 17.3 percent walk rate helping him to a .406 on-base percentage.
The Wiz could have been one of today's top stacks against Jae Hak Lee, who's been much better lately in terms of run prevention but whose 2.31 ERA over his last four starts comes with an awful 11:16 K:BB, suggesting that an implosion is imminent. If you don't go all-in on the team's biggest bats, Han Joon Yoo ($2,700) looks like an excellent budget outfielder. It's hard to understand why the 40-year-old should be so cheap, as his .296/.414/.388 slash line on the season is seemingly far too good for a sub-$3,000 price tag. He's been considerably better than that over his last 10 games, hitting .364/.439/.545 with six walks against just five strikeouts.
If another team were facing Giants righty In Bok Lee, who owns a mediocre 4.55 ERA and 1.48 WHIP through 55.1 innings as a swingman this season, they could potentially have been one of the top stack recommendations, but it's tough finding three Tigers I can recommend in good conscience. Dae In Hwang ($2,500) isn't anything special, but he's a good deal at his near-minimum price. Hwang's season-long .242/.290/.420 slash line is unimpressive, though he does have a respectable 12 homers in 82 games. He's been quite good over his last 13 games, however, homering three times while hitting .306/.333/.592.
Stacks to Consider
There are a few other pitchers who are mediocre at best on the slate, but Kim stands out alone at the bottom as a clear outlier. He started a pair of games to start September, allowing a combined seven earned runs while lasting a combined four innings. He's since moved back to the bullpen, but that hasn't gone well either, as he's allowed three runs (two earned) in 3.1 innings. Those struggles match his season-long numbers, as he owns a 6.40 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP overall in 52 innings across five starts and 25 relief appearances. Given his poor combination of a 14.8 percent strikeout rate and a 10.2 percent walk rate, don't expect things to improve any time soon. The Landers are already appealing against most starters, as they lead the league in scoring, but they're extra interesting here. A potential stack can go in many different directions, but I've gone with the team's two elite bats in Choi and Choo here, pairing them with inexpensive number two hitter Lee.
No other pitcher is nearly as appealing of a stack target as the aforementioned Kim, but I like a speculative stack against Jeong here. Jeong has respectable enough season-long numbers, posting a 4.24 ERA and 1.43 WHIP across 22 starts split between the Twins and Heroes. His recent performances have been quite shaky, however, as he owns an 8.44 ERA and 2.34 WHIP across his last five outings. He does have one good outing over that stretch, tossing six scoreless innings against these same Lions, but he wasn't great his last time out, giving up three runs in five innings while allowing 10 baserunners and striking out just three. That low strikeout total has been a theme for him throughout the season, as the last time he reached even five strikeouts came all the way back on May 8. Giving up that much contact should benefit the Lions' bats, who are affordably priced here away from their hitter-friendly home park. We'll go here with a pair of lefties in Park and Koo who typically hit first and second, pairing them with cleanup man Kang, who's always one of the top options behind the plate.