We have a seven-game MLB main slate on our hands tonight, with plenty of opportunity across the board.
Let’s see if we can get some money into our pockets to get this week started on the right note with tonight’s FanDuel MLB DFS Picks!
P – Jason Vargas (PHI) – $6,800 vs. PIT
Truth be told, I never anticipated rostering Jason Vargas in DFS. However, very few times this season had a slate been so devoid of pitching. Sonny Gray is the clear-cut top option, but if we want to make some noise in GPPs we’re going to have to differentiate a bit. I also like Pablo Lopez of the Marlins given his home/road splits, but Lopez is making his first big league start since mid-June and threw just 70 pitches in his most recent rehab start, lending truth to the idea that he’ll be on some sort of pitch limit against the Reds. Alas, I’ve landed on Vargas who takes on a Pirates team that is actually the worst team in baseball versus left-handed pitching. The Pirates enter this one sporting a .280 wOBA versus lefties on the season, by far the worst mark in the bigs behind the Marlins and their .289 mark. The Pirates don’t strike out a ton versus lefties, but their 22.4% K-rate against them is much worse than their number versus righties. For his part, Vargas owns a 3.99 ERA on the season to along with a 7.06 K/9 that isn’t spectacular in the least. However, in terms of a run-suppressing pitcher that can give us length, quality start points, a win and some strikeouts mixed in, Vargas is actually a solid option tonight and one that allows for some big bats to compliment him.
C/1B – Yasmani Grandal (MIL) – $3,100 vs. STL
A wildly important NL Central series kicks off tonight in Milwaukee as the Cardinals and Brewers – separated by 4.5 games in the division – get together. Adam Wainwright gets the nod for the road side tonight, and given his home/road splits, I’m going to pick on the veteran in this one. His 4.51 ERA on the season is decent for a back-end starter, but most of the good work he’s done on the season has been at home where he owns a 2.67 ERA. However, Wainwright has been touched up on the road to the tune of a 6.64 ERA, although his 5.08 FIP and 4.78 xFIP do suggest positive regression. Still, this is a results-based business and Wainwright was just touched for five runs in five innings against this Brewers team his last time out. The switch-hitting Grandal actually sports some remarkably similar splits on the season as he owns a .210 ISO, .843 OPS, .358 3OBA and 118 wRC+ versus lefties compared to a .208 ISO, identical .843 OPS, .359 wOBA and 119 wRC+ versus righties on the season. Of all the players I’ve covered this season, I’ve yet to seen splits come even that close to one another. It makes his bat matchup-proof for when the bullpen makes its way in, which always helps. I like the value we’re getting as he is expected to hit out of the two-hole tonight to boot.
2B – Cesar Hernandez (PHI) – $3,000 vs. PIT
I believe Jason Vargas will get run support in his bid for a victory tonight as the Phillies’ offense takes on right-hander Joe Musgrove. Musgrove was a popular breakout candidate this season, his first with the Pirates, but he’s actually seen some regression in his results. He’ll enter tonight’s start sporting a 4.74 ERA on the season, so I’m going to target him with three left-handed Phillies bats since he’s allowed an .816 OPS to them compared to a .703 mark versus righties. Hernandez gives us some power and speed to work with as he’s homered eight times and swiped seven bases as well. As I mentioned when I rostered him last week, Hernandez is a switch hitter who brings almost all of his power to the plate from the left side, where he’ll hit from tonight. All eight of his long balls have indeed come against a right-handed pitcher. His best work on the season has been against righties at home as he owns a .140 ISO, .799 OPS, .342 wOBA and a 110 wRC+ on the season versus righties ast Citizens Bank Park. Hernandez brings a six-game hitting streak into tonight’s action as he’s doubled twice and scored five runs in that time as well. He’s not the sexiest player on the slate, but should see some low ownership in a solid matchup.
3B – Mike Moustakas (MIL) – $3,700 vs. STL
Next man up in our four-man Brewers stack is Moustakas who is simply destroying right-handed pitching, once again. We’ve seen Moustakas feast off of right-handers in the past, but this season he’s clobbered them to the tune of a .271 ISO, .874 OPS, .358 wOBA and 118 wRC+ on the whole. Interestingly, Moustakas owns better numbers versus righties on the road despite Miller Park in Milwaukee owning some hitter-friendly confines, especially for left-handed bats. Nonetheless, I’m not about to argue with the .261 ISO and .842 OPS he’s posted versus righties at home, or the .345 wOBA and 110 wRC+, either. July was the worst month of the season for the slugger, but Moustakas’ bat has roared back to life in August as he homered four times in a five-game stretch that ended on August 21st. He’s doubled since then, but it would be nice to see him get back into the long ball business in this matchup tonight. That appears to be a distinct possibility as Moustakas has gone 4 for 10 with a homer in his career against Wainwright. Let’s look for him to double that homer total against the veteran tonight.
SS – Nick Ahmed (ARI) – $3,000 vs. SF
After I filled in my four-man Brewers stack and three-man Phillies stack I was left with $3,000 and the shortstop position to fill. There’s some solid candidates in that range, but I am simply going to go with the D-backs’ Nick Ahmed as he takes on right-hander Tyler Beede and the Giants tonight at Oracle Park in San Fran. The pitcher-friendly venue could have Ahmed seeing lower ownership than he normally would, and I like that his power isn’t strictly coming against left-handed pitching. Sure, I would like his upside more against a lefty, but the truth is that Ahmed has homered 17 times this season and 11 times versus a right-handed pitcher. His .260 ISO and .940 OPS versus lefties is far superior to his .162 ISO and .719 OPS against righties, but Ahmed owns a .209 ISO and .811 OPS on the road versus righties this season. He’s also raking in the second half to the tune of a .241 ISO, .870 OPS, .361 wOBA and a 120 wRC+. There’s also the case of his stolen base upside increasing against righties such as Beede as he’s swiped seven bases on the season, six of which came come against a righty. When we add in Beede’s 5.82 ERa 5.77 FIP and big 2.08 HR/9 clip, we certainly have something to work with here.
OF – Christian Yelich (MIL) – $4,800 vs. STL
There’s no reason that we should be fading Yelich in any Brewers stack. Like ever. He’s in the midst of another NL MVP bid and he’s putting the boots to both left and right-handed pitching, however his numbers versus righties are simply off the charts. Against right-handed pitching here in 2019, Yelich is hitting .356 with a .384 ISO, 1.193 OPS, .472 wOBA and 193 wRC+. If that weren’t quite enough, he owns a .451 ISO, 1.261 OPS, .494 wOBA and 207 wRC+ on the season against righties at home. As was expected after a simply enormous first half of the season, Yelich’s second half hasn’t quite matched up. That said, I’m not going to get too worried about the .286 ISO, 1.008 OPS, .414 wOBA and 155 wRC+ he’s posted to this point in the season’s second half, either. Like a lot of his teammates, Yelich has enjoyed success against Wainwright in the past. He’s gone 4 for 11 (.364) with a double against the veteran right-hander. There’s not much else to say other than he once again brings one of the highest ceilings on the slate into play tonight.
OF – Bryce Harper (PHI) – $4,200 vs. PIT
Our next two outfielder both reside on the Phillies, beginning here with Harper. His first season with the Phillies perhaps hasn’t gone quite as expected, but the reality is that his bat has been wildly productive still. Entering this one tonight, Harper’s launched 27 home runs, owns a .243 ISO (versus .234 career) and has posted a 123 wRC+. Only the wRC+ figure is below standards, but that stat tells us what I just mentioned: his production hasn’t been up to previous standards. Still, he has mashed right-handed pitching for a .225 ISO, .852 OPS, .355 wOBA and 119 wRC+ on the season. Interestingly, those numbers are worse than his .281 ISO, .907 OPS, .377 wOBA and 132 wRC+ he’s posted against lefties. However, that simply means that he is matchup-proof later on in the ball game. While the season as a whole hasn’t been up to standards, the second half of the season has been. Harper has posted a .310 ISO, .948 OPS, .386 wOBA and 138 wRC+ in the second half of the season to this point. Finally, we still get some stolen base upside with Harper as he’s swiped seven bases on the season, all of which have come versus a right-handed pitcher. No reason to fade the former MVP tonight.
OF – Corey Dickerson (PHI) – $3,500 vs. PIT
The move to acquire Dickerson was an underrated one for the Phils as this dude simply destroys right-handed pitching. Entering play tonight, Dickerson has smashed righties for a .325 average, .279 ISO, .969 OPS, .388 wOBA and 141 wRC+. Hitting righties for big-time power isn’t new to Dickerson as he has posted a .290 average, .243 ISO, .866 OPS, .363 wOBA and 125 wRC+ for his career to this point. Dickerson’s game logs are riddled with multi-hit games and he’s done so twice over his last four outings with three doubles in that time to go along with a triple and a whopping nine runs batted in. The run-production can be attributed both to Dickerson’s skill set versus righties and his position as the club’s cleanup hitter as well. The month of August has been a powerful one for the former Rockie, Ray and Pirate as he’s posted a .261 ISO for the month, the second-highest mark of any month this season. He’s also posted a .275 ISO, .955 OPS, .383 wOBA and 139 wRC+ to this point in the second half of the season. There’s a lot to like about Dickerson almost every time he takes the field against a right-handed pitcher.
UTIL – Eric Thames (MIL) – $2,900 vs. STL
Last man up in our four-man Brewers stack is Thames who brings the most value upside to the table considering the price tag. Of course, Thames does some serious damage against right-handed pitching as he enters this one sporting a .274 ISO, .900 OPS, .371 wOBA and 127 wRC+ on the season versus righties. The numbers trend up at home versus righties as well as he’s posted a .273 ISO, .928 OPS, .386 wOBA and a 137 wRC+ against right-handed pitching at home. Thames has been bringing plenty of power to the table as of late as he’s homered twice over his last three games. In the month of August, Thames has posted a huge .262 ISO, .874 OPS, .362 wOBA and 121 wRC+ which represents a real nice rebound month after a less-than-stellar month of July. Of all the players on the Brewers, Thames is the one sporting the most dangerous numbers against Wainwright for his career. Thames has gone 5 for 15 (.333) with a double and two home runs in his career against the veteran hurler. That represents a .467 ISO, .1.133 OPS and a .470 wOBA against Wainwright for his career. He’s the last player to hit in this stack as per their projected lineup, but he certainly isn’t the least.