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FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 21st

After a break over the weekend and on Monday, I’m back to the daily fantasy baseball grind on Tuesday night. FanDuel is pushing out a fat 15-game main slate, which features all 30 MLB teams. It promises to be pretty intense, which may make this a terrific time to aim high in a GPP or three.

Despite the crazy amount of games, there are not that many elite pitching options. That at least opens the door a crack to a lot of Coors Field exposure and one way or another, a plethora of pricey bats.

Let’s dive into tonight’s MLB slate to see which of my favorite daily fantasy baseball picks can combine to build a tournament winner:

SP: Michael Kopech – Chicago White Sox ($6k)

This isn’t a GPP lineup for nothing, folks. I understand the appeal of Patrick Corbin, Jose Berrios and others, but I don’t trust the top pitching options tonight. In addition, I have some expensive bats I covet.

I tried the value bats thing the past few days and it really hasn’t worked out, so I’ll deep dive with a cheap arm and see if the reverse daily fantasy baseball strategy pans out.

I think it can, as Kopech is a very talented pitching prospect making his first MLB start. Obviously these debuts can go a million different ways, but the Twins are not a reliable offense, they are on the road and they have never seen this guy.

Kopech has had some issues with walks in the past in the minors, but he’s known for a big arm and strikeout upside. That’s what I’ll be rostering him for, as he’s dirt cheap given his talent and the spot he’s in. Minnesota’s 21.7% K rate versus right-handed pitching is enough to get me on board here.

There is risk here, to be sure, but Kopech is a tantalizing young talent that is worth the gamble to me on this slate.

C/1B: Kendrys Morales – Toronto Blue Jays ($2.4k)

Morales is red hot right now and he’s just too cheap given his tear (3 HR in last two games), as well as a date in a solid park with Dylan Bundy. Bunday is the king of contact this year, as he’s allowed a staggering 40 long balls.

I’m game for a full Jays stack here, but Morales is just too cheap. He brings fun splits (.369 wOBA, .210 ISO, 45% hard hit rate) to the table and is actually one of your least concerns when it comes to Toronto bats whiffing. Bundy can make people miss, but he’s coughing up a .226+ ISO to both sides of the plate.

There’s going to be some dongs in this one and I don’t mind rolling the dice on Morales keeping his hot run going. Bundy has been an equal opportunity sad sack all year, so feel free to target as many Jays as you’d like and don’t worry about which side of the plate they come from.

2B: Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves ($3.4k)

Albies has been in a bit of a rut lately, but he is way too cheap given his talent and upside. I also don’t love 2B as a whole tonight, so he’s pretty much my exlusive play here. I’ll also look at D.J. LeMahieu if Coors is safe, but Albies can mash righties and Ivan Nova (.368 wOBA, .230 ISO) has a difficult time with left-handed power.

You can also look at Jed Lowrie and Brian Dozier in the same price range, but I’m eating up this value all day.

3B: Mike Moustakas – Milwaukee Brewers ($3.7k)

Moose was a sorry sack last night and he’s been struggling a bit lately, but I love him tonight. Not only is he at home in a hitter’s park, but he mashes right-handed pitching (.228 ISO) and gets a beatable arm in Sal Romano.

Milwaukee has every reason to start heating up right now, while Romano just gives up way too much contact to lefties (.391 wOBA, .220 ISO, 35% fly ball rate, 42% hard hit rate) to ignore in this spot. Consider tacking on Travis Shaw and Eric Thames (if active) in a Brewers stack.

SS: Carlos Correa – Houston Astros ($3.6k)

Correa hasn’t really been in a groove lately, but he’s typically a very good hitter that brings some power to the table. He’s not in the best park tonight, but he’s a terrific price compared to the expensive SS option and he faces the beatable Mike Leake.

Houston needs to get wins and this Astros lineup is finally getting healthy, so I expect Correa and company to start heating up soon. Taking shots on Astros before they fully get back to their old ways isn’t a bad idea, while Correa’s .209 ISO versus right-handed pitching is nothing to sniff at.

OF: Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals ($4.6k)

I am a fan of Harper tonight. Coors Field is worth a look like always, but it’s due for some pretty bad weather. I might just pivot off of that game tonight and load up with some heavy mashers elsewhere. Harper fits the bill with his .291 ISO versus right-handed pitching.

He’ll be at home against Vince Velasquez, who is talented but gives up a lot of contact. For what it’s worth, Harper has hit Velaquez well in limited duty and Vince gets abused by lefties (.346 wOBA, .212 ISO, 34% hard hit rate, 41% fly ball rate). You can fire up a full Nats stack if you want, but I’ll leave it at Harper for now.

I loved Harper for tonight but it’s being reported he may go to the Dodgers. While he could get shipped out to L.A. and still suit up, I’ll give you another option in the event you can’t use him; Nolan Arenado.

You can use him at 3B if you’d like (and that Coors game still has dicey weather), but he mashes southpaws (.431 ISO!) and is always worth a shot in Coors Field. Just make sure the game is safe to play.

Update: The Nats nixed the deal, so Bryce is playing and won’t be traded. I like Harper too much to not use him AND I’m using Arenado tonight. 

OF: Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers ($3.2k)

Thames has been dealing with a lingering knee issue, but it hasn’t been so bad that he’s been unable to enter Milwaukee’s last two games in relief. I think he’s getting closer to a return to the lineup and I’m sure the Brew Crew could use his nasty .293 ISO against righties in this spot.

I already broke down Romano, so Thames is by default a very interesting play on this slate. He’s a good price and the park/splits align for a big game. Not only that, but he’s tattooed the Reds (14 HR) over the past two years. As long as he’s out there, he’s a lock for me tonight.

OF: Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees ($5.2k)

Stanton is the most expensive OF option in his return home to Marlins Park. I can see why, as he’s been ablaze basically ever since Aaron Judge went down. I don’t want to go hard after Yankees on the road in a pitcher’s haven, but this is Stanton’s old spot. I would be mildly shocked if he didn’t dong tonight.

Util:Ramon Laureano – Oakland Athletics ($2k)

I still think you need to keep tabs on weather (see: Arenado, Nolan), but I love the stacking I can do here and Laureano’s bare minimum price tag allows me to make it happen. He donged twice last night, so he’s just too cheap right now, assuming he starts.

It all starts and ends with Kopech. If his K upside shines through, this could be a magical night. If he struggles with walks and/or the Twins take advantage of a hittable park, I could drown in sadness right from the start.

Kopech is worth rolling the dice with, though, while he allows for quite the stacked roster. If you want to pay down from Harper/Stanton and don’t like the risk associated with Kopech, consider chasing Masahiro Tanaka. I don’t love using pitchers against the Marlins, but the matchup is quite clearly fantastic.

Overall, I am using the cheap arm and hoping he can keep it together and my big bats meet expectations. Whether you’re on board with me, hopefully my MLB DFS picks help you in some manner tonight. Good luck and enjoy the games!

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