FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – August 22nd

After a crazy 15-game daily fantasy baseball slate where all 30 MLB teams were in action, things quiet down a bit with a 10-game main slate on Wednesday. There is still action to be had on an early slate today, but I’ll be focusing on the 10-game main slate at FanDuel.

Just as a quick recap, I got hosed last night pretty bad. My team ended with 132 fantasy points and failed to cash. Depending on the contest you played, you still may have won some money. It would have been difficult, however, as my pitcher (Michael Kopech) only got 18 fantasy points.

You’d think the rookie would have gotten rocked, but he didn’t. Instead, he struck out four batters in two frames of work, but had his night cut short due to a long rain delay that pretty much came out of nowhere. The risk was minimal at best for this game, so this was very frustrating to have happen.

Kendrys Morales (31 fantasy points!) was a big hit, while the likes of Bryce Harper (18.5), Nolan Arenado (12.5), Carlos Correa (15) and Ramon Laureano (15) all put up some solid production. I expected more out of Arenado, while Giancarlo Stanton (9) and Eric Thames (6.5) left me wanting for more as well.

It really wasn’t a bad team as a whole, but only getting one homer and my pitcher robbed from me after two innings kept me from the cash.

Tonight there is a good amount of solid pitching, but nobody really stands out with an amazing matchup or price. That should allow for me to pay down slightly and again load up with some fun bats.

Let’s break this slate down with my favorite MLB DFS picks for tonight’s action:

SP: Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs ($7.7k)

I’ll be the first to admit Lester is always a roll of the dice and there are absolutely safer options and ones with more upside on the board. That being said, Lester may have turned the corner after wrecking the Pirates in his last start and he remains too cheap for what he can do.

He’s even got a better matchup tonight. The park factor isn’t good and the Tigers can damage southpaw, but they aren’t a very efficient offense and they still whiff at a 20% rate against southpaws. They do have some power in spots, but a collective .137 ISO isn’t something I’d fear.

Can Lester fall back into his traps and bomb in this spot? Sure, but the Cubs are still fighting for first place in the NL Central and this is a spot they’re favored in. I don’t know if Lester will pitch a shutout gem again, but I like his chances to get you around 40 fantasy points.

C/1B: Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs ($2.4k)

I love the value here with Conteras, as he gets me cheap exposure to what could be a fun Cubs stack. He can wreck southpaws and owns a nice .187 ISO against left-handed pitching.

Conteras and company will be taking on the ever beatable Francisco Liriano, who has a lot of problems with quality righties. A .379 wOBA and .204 given up to right-handed hitting put all Cubs righties in play on this slate.

2B: Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs ($3.7k)

If I like Contreras, you better believe I’m into Baez (.282 ISO vs. L). I am very much down for a Cubs stack to accompany Lester, but they actually don’t have a ton of bats that slay southpaws readily available.

You can look at Anthony Rizzo or Albert Almora to push it to a three or four-man stack, but I’ll stop my exposure at Baez. If you must pick one, go with Baez. He’s the top 2B option on this slate. Contreras just saves you cash and is part of a nice two-man stack.

3B: Miguel Andujar – New York Yankees ($4.4k)

I think the Yankees will fly under the radar on this slate, seeing as they’re in a pitcher’s park and will not be cheap. Boston will be even sneakier, but I’m not sure I can feel good about stacking against Carlos Carrasco.

I’ll roll out the pinstripes and it starts with Andujar, who is scorching hot right now. He also sports nice splits (.372 wOBA, .228 ISO) against right-handed pitching. Trevor Richards has talent and could benefit from his home park, but he does have issues against bats from the right side (.385 wOBA, .203 ISO, 47% hard hit rate).

SS: Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees ($3.6k)

Torres has hit a bit of a wall during the second half of the year, but he’s still talented and brings pop (.223 ISO) against right-handed pitchers. Given Richards’ woes with fellow righties, a stack on the right side isn’t crazy at all.

OF: Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies ($3.6k)

I could fit in a Coors bat like David Dahl or Carlos Gonzalez here, or even work to force Charlie Blackmon into my lineup. If I’m going for Rockies, I’m sticking to the lefties, but targeting Coors bats is a little too easy. If I can find a nice pivot, I like to try.

Hoskins can provide that, as he can mash righties (.274 ISO) and will face Stephen Strasburg in his first game back in over a month. Strasburg has not been elite against righties (.209 ISO), so if there’s rust I think Rhys could give him some trouble. Either way, Stras might be limited in his return to duty, so Hoskins at a discount is pretty appealing.

OF: Kevin Kiermaier – Tampa Bay Rays ($2.2k)

I never trust Kiermaier, but he is dirt cheap and will face Jakob Junis. Junis has serious issues with hard contact and while I prefer to target him with righties, Keirmaier will have to do.

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

I’ll gladly complete the three-man Yanks stack with Stanton, who will seek out further revenge in game two against his former fish squad. Stanton is better used against southpaws, but he still slays righties to the tune of a .227 ISO.

He’ll be popular as a one-off, so you can try to differentiate elsewhere or pivot to a contrarian power bat like J.D. Martinez. I’ll just eat the chalk with a smile on my face.

Util: Brandon Guyer – Cleveland Indians ($2k)

One other cheap bat I’ll eye in Guyer, who is called on when Cleveland takes on southpaws. He gets to face Brian Johnson at Fenway, which should give his elite power versus lefties (.256 ISO) a nice bump. Johnson has been solid, but he still gives up a 39% fly ball rate and is pitching in a dangerous ballpark.

I do not trust the top pitchers on this slate. There are a lot of big names, but just consider the following:

  • Carlos Carrasco @ Red Sox
  • Noah Syndergaard hasn’t been elite
  • Stephen Strasburg one month layoff, faces Phillies
  • Jon Gray is in Coors

That all is a bit discouraging, while Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler have a difficult matchup against each other when the Cards and Dodgers face off.

All roads lead me to Lester, who is a risk, but a calculated one. I also like Coors as much as anyone else, but I love the Yanks as a viable, under the radar stack. Combine them with the Cubs and a few one-offs and I think we may have a nice GPP squad here.

As always, play this lineup as it stands or pick your spots. Just be sure to do your own research and always keep an eye out for late scratches or weather impacting games. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck in your MLB DFS contests tonight at FanDuel!


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