My DraftKings plays of the day for Friday, August 15th.
Tyson Ross ($9,400 SD at STL) – Ross has emerged as a fantasy stud this year. After battling home/road split issues earlier this season, he’s worked his road ERA down to 3.48 by allowing two or fewer earned runs in each of his past four roadies, including one in Coors. He has been a bona fide ace at home, taking full advantage of Petco Park to the tune of a 1.94 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in 88 1/3 innings. The Cardinals offense can’t get on track this year with a .677 OPS against righties, good for 21st in the league. It’s down to .657 in the second half, also slotting 21st in the league.
Marcus Stroman ($7,700 TOR at CWS) – Stroman’s composite numbers don’t tell the whole story about how great he has been this year because a couple of horrendous relief outings are inflating his ERA. He had back-to-back four-ER outings in his final two relief appearances before shifting into the rotation, where he’s posted a 2.59 ERA in 80 innings with 1.04 WHIP and 3.4 K:BB ratio. In his last seven outings, he has gone fewer than seven innings just twice. The White Sox present a real challenge, but they aren’t a team that needs to be universally avoided or anything. Just don’t let Abreu beat you, Marcus.
Wei-Yin Chen ($6,700 BAL at CLE) – Chen is my bargain play of the day (though Stroman’s price is pretty juicy, too). Lefties own this Cleveland team and we saw a nice microcosm of that during their doubleheader against Arizona. A couple of nondescript lefties (Vidal Nuno and Andrew Chafin) held them to just two runs in 10 2/3 innings, dropping their season OPS against southpaws to .659 (27th in the league). They are at .599 in the second half alone (28th). Chen has been his usual up-and-down self, yielding yet another league-average season (4.02, 4.07, and 3.90 ERAs as a major leaguer so far).
Jose Bautista ($5,200 TOR at CWS) – Bautista does his best work against lefties (1.140 OPS in 111 PA), but he is still well above average against righties with an .862 OPS, while Hector Noesi has major right-on-right issues this year. He’s allowing righties an .854 OPS (.678 for LHB) this year, up from an .821 career mark—he has struggled with righties throughout his career. Bautista is walking (79) more than he’s striking out (75) this year and he’s having his best season since 2011 thanks to a .294 AVG and AL-best .409 OBP.
Jose Altuve ($5,100 HOU at BOS) – Star power is on the menu offensively this Friday, as I’m looking to roster three bats at or just below $5,000, but if you take Stroman and Chen (or comparably priced arms) and all five of these hitters, you still have $4,000 per spot for 3B, SS, and your last OF. As with Bautista, Altuve does his best work against lefties, but I’m still using him against righties because the pitcher (Clay Buchholz) has right-on-right issues this year. Actually, Buchholz has issues with anyone holding a bat this year, but he’s allowing a .293 AVG and .800 OPS against righties. Altuve is still hitting .308 against righties (which actually pales in comparison to his .424 v. LHP), but there isn’t much pop behind it, yielding a .750 OPS. Alas, I’ll take a 2-for-4 with two singles and a stolen base (11 points) any day.
Devin Mesoraco ($4,900 CIN at COL) – I think this is my first recommendation of Mesoraco all season despite his huge breakout. Mesoraco is just obliterating everyone this year with a .940 OPS against righties and a .928 against lefties. He gets the latter today in the form of Franklin Morales, and the added bonus of Coors just makes him that much more appealing. His home/road split is similarly close to his righty/lefty splits with a .931 OPS at home and .944 on the road. He’s just 2-for-15 in his career at Coors so far, but he was terrible prior to 2014 so I’m not really surprised by his modest effort in that tiny sample.
Albert Pujols ($4,600 LAA at TEX) – We close with a pair of Angels as we pick on Nick Martinez. One of them is a staple in this piece, but we’ll get to him in a second. Pujols had a career-low OPS against righties last year at .790 in 342 PA and while he hasn’t been much better this year, he has at least curbed the four-year drop so far with an .803 mark this season. Martinez has been a fruitful DFS punching bag this year, with near-equal platoon splits including an .830 OPS against righties and .893 against lefties (OBP being the entire difference). Pujols is hitting .317 in Arlington for his career, including a .471 in a small four-game sample so far this season.
Kole Calhoun ($3,800 LAA at TEX) – Welcome back, Kole! I’m probably overstating how regularly Calhoun is recommended, but it definitely feels like he’s been involved a lot in the last month or so. His price is just too good to ignore. We already covered Martinez’s struggles against lefties this year and they marry well with Calhoun’s surge against righties, as he’s hitting .294 with an .835 OPS in 288 PA. He had an odd reverse split a year ago en route to a strong .808 OPS. He’s slightly improved that up to .816, but he’s done so via the “normal” route of crushing opposite-handers while struggling with same-handed pitchers.