This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
We kick off a new NPB week with a full six-game slate that features four games with projected run totals of eight runs or higher. That includes a Marines-Lions tilt that leads the way with a projected 9.5-run tally due to a pair of pitchers that have their fair share of vulnerabilities. In essence, it could be a strong night for offense overall across NPB, leading me to suggest a total of three stacks to consider, as well as a number of one-off bats that could also deliver.
After delving into three pitching suggestions, I'll examine hitters at three fairly different price points across the scale, along with some alternative considerations. The aforementioned trio of stacks will round out the article, with detailed breakdowns of the two I feel could be the most potent.
Tomoyuki Sugano ($13,500) is the highest-priced pitcher on the slate by far, but with a 3-0 record, 2.36 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 28:6 K:BB and average of 26 DK points over his first four starts, he's worth the steep salary. The one shaky outing on Sugano's ledger this season did come on the road against the Swallows on June 26, but he bounced back nicely in his second away turn versus the Carp in his most recent start. Sugano fired five scoreless innings and recorded five strikeouts in that outing, leading to his third tally of greater than 20 DK points. Tuesday's matchup against the Dragons pits Sugano versus the squad he spun a complete-game, one-hit, 11-strikeout gem against July 3. The Dragons have hit an NPB-low 15 home runs this season.
Kodai Senga ($10,300) offers you considerable savings if you need to pivot down to more of a mid-tier option at pitcher. Senga is an inning short of having put together back-to-back quality starts to open the season, and he encouragingly took a step forward in his second turn of the year against the Buffaloes his last time out (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 K). Senga has now racked up 12 strikeouts over his first 11 innings, which is par for the course for the veteran right-hander, who boasts a career 10.4 K/9 to go with a stellar 57-29 record and 2.79 ERA.
Takumi Akiyama ($8,200) posted a solid 14.5 DK points in his one home start thus far this season, which came against the Swallows in his most recent trip to the mound. The right-hander has really had just one hiccup among his first three starts, as he also fired six scoreless frames (15.9 DK points) versus Yakult in his first turn of the season back on June 25. It is worth noting Akiyama has traditionally tended to pitch to a fair amount of contact over his long career, but he's also done a very good job with control (1.8 career BB/9) and keeping the ball in the park (0.8 career HR/9). The opposing Carp do bring an NPB-high .289 team batting average – giving Akiyama a certain element of risk – but Hiroshima is also a lackluster 9-13-2 due in part to poor timely hitting.
Munetaka Murakami ($8,300) not only draws an appealing matchup, but he checks in with a blistering .380/.468/.587 line that includes three home runs and 28 RBI, leading to an outstanding average of 11.2 DK points per contest. He's been even better on the road, where he's hitting .409 over 11 contests. Murakami enters Tuesday's action having hit .436 (17-for-39) in his last 10 games, a span during which he's accumulated half of his stellar RBI total for the season and has averaged 11.8 DK points. Opposing pitcher Michael Peoples makes for a good target for Murakami as well, as he's yielded a home run in each of his first two starts and typically struggled limiting contact when facing Triple-A hitters back in his days with the Yankees organization. In turn, Murakami, as good as he's been, may be due for a power surge, as he left the yard once every 3.9 games last season in his breakout 36-homer campaign but has slugged just three round trippers over 25 contests thus far.
Leonys Martin ($7,700) gets a tantalizing matchup versus righty Tatsuya Imai, a pitcher whose handedness Martin laced 135 extra-base hits – including 44 of his 58 home runs – against during his eight-season MLB career. Imai has been wholly ineffective in his first two home starts of the season, allowing an 8.18 ERA, 2.09 WHIP and .333 BAA across 11 innings. That sample includes three home runs allowed as well, and Imai has surrendered four round trippers overall in his first 22 frames. Meanwhile, Martin has been at his best on the road, hitting .296 with all five of his homers and 15 of his 19 RBI over 15 contests, leading to an average of 10.9 DK points.
Masataka Yoshida ($6,600) is one of several Buffaloes I think could produce Tuesday in a matchup versus Ryota Ishibashi, who enters this game with a 7.20 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and .299 BAA over his first four starts. Yoshida boasts an impressive .309/.417/.515 line with 10 extra-base hits (five doubles, five home runs) and 16 RBI, and he's also drawn an elevated 18 walks, par for the course for a player who boasts a career .402 on-base percentage. Yoshida has not been at his best over the last 10 games, however, hitting just .152 during that span. That's led to the price drop that makes him an excellent mid-tier option Tuesday, as his salary was as high as $8,400 as recently as July 12. It's also worth noting Yoshida has been a highly productive performer on the road, where he owns a .356/.453/.622 and an average of 10.1 DK points across 12 games.
Akira Nakamura ($4,300) didn't make his season debut until July 11, but he's opened the campaign on a torrid stretch that's led to a .357/.424/.500 line over his first eight games. There's reason to believe in the staying power of those numbers, as Nakamura sports a career .290/.375/.377 slash across 10-plus seasons. His matchup versus right-hander Toshihiro Sugiura gives him a crack at a hurler who's pitched to plenty of contact both this season (16 hits allowed over 14.1 innings) and over his career (210 hits surrendered over 208.1 frames), and who owns a career 4.32 ERA.
Takumi Kuriyama ($4,100) represents excellent value as well, as he's averaging 8.4 DK points in his first 24 games and owns a .342/.453/.519 slash with eight extra-base hits (five doubles, three home runs) and 18 RBI. That includes a .348 average (16-for-46) in 14 home games, while opposing right-hander Manabu Mima has yielded a .287 BAA and 1.46 WHIP over his first four starts and came into 2020 having allowed 63 home runs over the previous four seasons. Kuriyama has also been extremely reliable lately, hitting safely in seven of his last eight contests while producing five double-digit fantasy-point tallies in that sample.
Stack to Consider
ALSO CONSIDER: Ikuhiro Kiyota ($5,100)
As mentioned in Martin's entry, Imai has struggled considerably during his first two home starts, and the Marines also check in with a co-slate-high 4.5 projected runs for the night.
Ogino is an excellent way to get thing started, as the leadoff hitter is averaging 9.8 DK points, boasts a stellar .427 OBP and is hitting .341 on his way to an average of 10.2 DK points in his last 10 games. The veteran also brings some nice stolen-base upside that helps to significantly augment his fantasy production, and Imai is the type of contact-heavy pitcher Ogino could thrive against.
Martin's appealing attributes were already detailed earlier in his entry, while Laird, as mentioned in Saturday's article, is a potential explosion waiting to happen in my view. The slugger has hit 32 or more homers in four of his first five seasons and he's currently stuck in a home-run drought that's extended to double-digit games.
Finally, Inoue certainly requires some faith to roster, considering he's mired in a deep slump that's seen him hit just .128 over the last 10 contests. However, Inoue has hit two his four homers on the season in that span and is capable of much more power than he's shown thus far. Inoue has a modest six extra-base hits (two doubles in addition to his four homers) over his first 103 plate appearances, yet averaged an extra-base hit once every 11.4 plate appearances over the prior two seasons.
Hara is making his first start of the season and comes into 2020 having produced a 3-7 record, career-high 4.86 ERA and 1.2 HR/9 across 12 starts in 2019.
Kajitani has been excellent while often operating of the leadoff role, as he's slashing .306/.409/.459 over his first 26 games. However, he's seen a welcome price drop due to a slump over his last 10 games (.222 average), but he's thrived versus Swallows pitching with a .417 average in three games against Yakult. Kajitani even offers the promise of an occasional steal, as he's swiped three bases thus far and earlier in his career recorded over 20 steals in four consecutive seasons.
Soto is the most prolific slugger of the group, as he checks in with seven home runs, 11 extra-base hits overall and a .602 slugging percentage. Soto has been even better against Swallows arms as well, as he owns a .538 average (7-for-13) with three homers and eight RBI against them in three games thus far in 2020.
Sano is nicely priced considering he comes into the week with a .357/.418/.439 line over 26 games. That's hardly the end of his selling points, however, as he also is hitting .364 in 12 home games and .429 (6-for-14) across three prior contests versus Yakult pitching.
Finally, Miyazaki boasts a .327 average and .535 slugging percentage that includes 11 extra-base hits (six doubles, five home runs) and 18 RBI across 26 games. The veteran infielder's numbers are far from outliers, as Miyazaki owns a career .304/.355/.473 slash and is an excellent contact hitter for a player who came into 2020 averaging just over 17 homers per year in the prior four seasons. Miyazaki owns a .422 average with three homers and nine RBI in 12 home games, but a slump over the last 10 contests overall (.211 average) has helped bring his salary way down from its high point of $7,600 at the beginning of that span.