This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
The final NPB contests of the week include the four early games Sunday, giving us another typically compact weekend slate. Pitching appears to especially be at a premium, leaving us with two suggestions at fairly disparate price points. The abundance of suspect arms naturally leads to plenty of bats that stand out, and as such, we have an abundance of suggestions in terms of both individual hitters and stacks. With the Carp, which were highlighted as a stack to consider yesterday, having exploded for 19 runs Saturday, they carry especially high appeal again considering how deep into the bullpen the Dragons were forced to go just 24 hours ago.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto ($13,500) is a clear-cut top choice at pitcher if you can afford him, as he's been outstanding in two of his first three starts and has yet to allow a home run in his first 20.2 innings of the season. Yamamoto did run into some trouble in his second start, which came against the Marines, but even in that outing, he was able to go 5.2 innings. Sunday, he'll face a Fighters squad that sports a 7-11-2 mark on the season overall and that's hitting an NPB-low .214 over its first 20 games. Yamamoto has the stuff to induce plenty of swings and misses from the light-hitting lineup, as he's already racked up 17 Ks, including a 10-strikeout effort against the potent Golden Eagles nine in his first start of the campaign.
Kaito Yoza ($9,000) is one of several pitchers with question marks attached on Saturday's four-game slate, but he has a solid matchup and chance at victory considering opposing pitcher Jose Flores will be making his NPB debut and often scuffled at the Triple-A level stateside before coming overseas. Yoza has been far from ineffective as well, as he opened the season with a pair of quality starts against the Fighters and Hawks while coming with just within one out of doing the same in his last outing against the Buffaloes.The right-hander will have to be cautious with his location, given that he's already surrendered four homers on the season, but the opposing Marines have only hit .230 as a team, the second-lowest mark in NPB.
Seiya Suzuki ($8,800) was a prominent part of the Carp's 19-run outburst Saturday, going 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs to post his fourth double-digit fantasy-point tally in the last six games. Suzuki's season line is up to .365/.474/.762 following yesterday's multi-hit effort, and he draws a matchup Sunday that could facilitate more of the same production. Opposing starter Kodai Umetsu has struggled in the early going while generating a 5.00 ERA across his first three starts, pitching to plenty of contact while surrendering 18 hits – including three home runs – over his first 18 innings.
Stefen Romero ($7,500) represents an excellent way to capture some power upside against a pitcher that's had trouble keeping the ball in the park in Hawks starter Shuta Ishikawa. Despite an impressive 21-9 record across his first two seasons (2017-18), Ishikawa also allowed 31 home runs over that span and exhibited significant control issues (3.6 BB/9). Ishikawa has only been slightly better with his location thus far this season – he's allowed three walks and one home run over his first 9.2 innings – but he's still pitched to a 5.59 ERA. Romero posted his second multi-hit effort of the last four games Saturday, which pushed his season line to an impressive .348/.430/.638. Half (eight doubles, four homers) of Romero's 24 hits this season have gone for extra bases, a testament to how much pop he brings to the table.
Ryoya Kurihara ($6,000) carries a very reasonable price for a player averaging 9.6 DK points per contest and slashing a solid .286/.326/.548 across his first 20 games this season. Kurihara has impressively laced 14 (10 doubles, four home runs) of his 24 hits for extra bases and draws an appealing matchup versus Golden Eagles starter Ryota Ishibashi, who's opened the season with a 6.43 ERA and 1.50 WHIP across 14 innings. Kurihara had been swinging a hot bat prior to Saturday's 0-for-4 effort as well, as he'd come into the contest with a four-game hitting streak and having hit safely in eight of his nine prior games overall.
Ryuhei Matsuyama ($4,200) draws the same appealing opposing pitcher matchup against Kodai Umetsu as his teammate Suzuki, and the veteran outfielder therefore makes for one of the best potential bargains of the night. Following a 2-for-4 night Saturday that netted 16 DK points, Matsuyama is now slashing .412/.429/.500 over his first nine games. That includes a .400 average across five road games (8.4 DK PPG) and a .417 mark against Dragons pitching in three contests (9.7 DK PPG).
ALSO CONSIDER: Takumi Kuriyama ($4,000)
Stacks to Consider
Umetsu's vulnerabilities have already been discussed in the entries for Suzuki and Matsuyama, and the fact the Carp just hung 19 runs on the Dragons on Saturday means Chunichi will work this game with a fatigued, short-handed bullpen.
Nishikawa makes for a very cost-effective way to start the stack, and he comes in averaging a solid 7.2 DK points per game that's bumped up to a figure of 8.3 over the last 10 games. Following Friday's 2-for-3 performance, Nishikawa is also now hitting .313 (5-for-16) with four RBI in four games against Dragons pitching this season. He's also certainly capable of more power than what he's shown so far with just one home run, considering he slugged 16 round trippers last season over 138 games.
The virtues of Suzuki and Matsuyma were already highlighted in their respective entries, while Dobayashi checks in as one of the hottest hitters in all of NPB. After a 4-for-6, two-RBI effort Saturday (25 DK points), the veteran is now slashing an outstanding .412/.448/.618 across his first 59 plate appearances. While some regression is going to inevitably befall him, especially considering he's significantly overshooting his career numbers at the moment, Dobayahsi is hitting .444 versus Dragons pitchers this season across four games. Moreover, his scalding hot bat matches up particularly well against the likely tired Chunichi arms he's set to encounter at some point in this game.
As is evident with the inclusion of this stack, I can see some runs being scored on both sides of the Carp-Dragons battle Sunday. The Dragons carry less cumulative firepower than their opponent, so this stack can be considered much more appropriate for tournaments than cash games. Nevertheless, it's worth noting Endoh has had trouble keeping the ball down over his first two starts, as he's allowed four home runs over his first 10 innings on his way to a 9.90 ERA. He's combined that vulnerability with control issues, handing out eight free passes in that span as well.
Ohshima isn't going to contribute much on the power front (31 career home runs across 10-plus seasons), but he possesses excellent speed that helps him to strong doubles, triples and stolen-base numbers annually. The veteran, who typically operates out of the leadoff spot, checks in with a solid .275 average and .337 OBP, and he enters Sunday's contest with three consecutive two-hit efforts.
Fukuda is a candidate for an impending breakout at the plate, as he's been underperforming in several categories thus far relative to his career numbers. The 12-year veteran has yet to leave the yard in 2020 over his first 45 plate appearances, but he came into the season with double-digit homers in each of the prior four seasons, including a career-high-tying 18 in 2019. He's also slashing a pedestrian .238/.289/.310 thus far, yet he carries a career .262/.325/.440 line. Fukuda comes into Sunday having hit safely in five of the last six contests as well and hitting .300 over his first four games against Carp pitchers this season.
Finally Viciedo is easily the most potent bat of the trio, and as such, arguably the most well-equipped to exploit Endoh's struggles with the long ball. Although he had a rare 0-for-3 performance Saturday, Viciedo is still sporting a .395/.444/.868 slash across his last 10 games, a span during which eight (five home runs, three doubles) of his 15 hits have gone for extra bases. The slugger has also been at his best at home, where he's hitting .318 (14-for-44) with four of his seven homers for the season, and where he's struck out only twice in 11 games.
ALSO CONSIDER: Golden Eagles vs. Shuta Ishikawa