In the MLB DFS 8-20-21 Pitching Primer, we have a fourteen-game slate.
There are no weather threats, so early lineup builders can set it and forget it.
Every option I give today has a similarly priced alternative, so there should be no real chalk and ownership will be spread out.
There are three games with a total of 10 runs or more, including a game in Coors Field. Scores should be pretty high in DFS today, so we need to get the pitcher right.
Let’s do it!
MLB DFS 8-20-21 Pitching Primer
Walker Buehler, Dodgers ($11.6k FD, $10.5k DK) vs. NYM
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The Mets are in a pivotal thirteen-game stretch against the Giants and Dodgers. So far, it has not gone well. They are 1-6 over the last week. The offense has been so bad that owner Steve Cohen took to Twitter to call out how bad the offensive is right now, calling them “unproductive”.
The team responded to this by scoring one run yesterday against a Dodgers bullpen game in which they used seven pitchers. Most alarming, the Mets offense recorded zero walks in the contest. So much for the approach.
Walker Buehler slides into the start having logged seven straight quality starts. Buehler has given up two runs in a contest only once in six weeks, and that was a gem in Coors Field. He has struck out eight or more in every game across that stretch, save for one. The Dodgers need length out of him as the bullpen is taxed. The price is high, but the path to paying it off should be relatively easy. The best price is on DraftKings.
Robbie Ray, Blue Jays ($10.5k FD, $9.9k DK) vs. DET
If you need to save a few dollars off of Walker, Robbie Ray is an easy pivot and the direction I will be going for cash games. The Tigers strike out the fourth-most in baseball, and Ray sports an 11 k/9 rate. The Blue Jays are a -295 favorite, the largest on the board today. Ray is going over 50 FanDuel points today, lock it in, and don’t sweat the price. He will be lower-owned on DraftKings, where he is more expensive than Chris Sale.
Max Fried, Braves ($8.9k FD, $8.6k DK) @ BAL
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Game logs are our friend, and Max Fried’s recent ledger is impressive. He has gone six innings or more in five of his last six starts, recording five quality starts and/or wins across that streak. He averaged seven strikeouts and only one walk per game across this span. Those five games all went over 40 FanDuel points. We only need 36 today to pay off his cash value of 4x. The Orioles are only behind the Rangers in runs scored in the American League this year.
Lance McCullers, Astros ($8.5k FD, $9.5k DK) vs. SEA
Lance McCullers has enjoyed success against division foe Seattle across his career. He comes into today’s matchup with a .278 xWOBA and .208 xBA against tonight’s expected lineup with a 25.8% strikeout rate.
McCullers’ game logs are not consistent, but he has four contests this year of 57 or more FanDuel points. He sets up nicely as a high upside GPP play today, with the possibility to record a fifth. The price is much better on FanDuel.
Sonny Gray, Reds ($8.3k FD, $8.4k DK) vs. MIA
This play is solely an opportunity to target the Marlins, who have been one of the worst offenses in the league in August. They have become the perfect DFS storm, striking out the third most and scoring the fifth-fewest runs.
Sonny Gray has been great at avoiding hard contact, which negates the poor home park effect well. 32.6% represents the lowest hard-hit rate of his career, while his 4.5% barrel rate against is among the league’s lowest. The Marlins average less than one home run per game, fourth-worst in baseball.
Nester Cortes, Yankees ($7.3k FD, $7.7k DK) vs. MIN
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Nester Cortes has risen to the occasion as the Yankees rotation continues to be a revolving door. Somehow, the Yankees have the best record in baseball despite this. Cortes was lights out in his last start, quieting the powerful White Sox offense to only one run behind seven strikeouts in a road win.
Today the Sid Fernandez throwback gets the Minnesota Twins who are a shell of what they used to be. This is your opportunity to load up bats, possibly with a Coors game stack.
I cannot see Chris Sale going deep into this game. Despite the juicy matchup against the Texas Rangers, his innings limit will keep the ceiling low compared to Ray at a similar price.
If you don’t cross off Lucas Giolito automatically, you aren’t paying attention. His game logs this season make me seasick. I can’t do it, regardless of the strikeout floor the Tampa Bay Rays offer.
The Philadelphia Phillies offense is asleep right now, and they will be forced to play more lefties than is comfortable against Blake Snell due to injuries. But Snell rarely pitches past the fifth inning. Fried offers more upside for the price.
For any questions related to the MLB DFS 8-20-21 Pitching Primer, or for additional options, you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE this Wednesday at 9:00 PM EST on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.