Simply put, Sunday's DFS action didn't go well for us. Between two players not playing and some struggles from our stack targets, we saw only a few of our targeted plays hits. Fortunately, it all provides an opportunity to learn from it and the games add additional data and knowledge to work off of so we all can improve and put ourselves in better position for success the next time.
Let's jump right back into it on Monday. While the slate of games is a little smaller, the start of the week is also "Ace Day" and an opportunity for us to find extreme value plays so we can structure our two-pitcher lineup to feature some of the top-priced pitchers on the slate.
Whether you're looking for a main slate GPP contest, an early slate 50/50 or perhaps an evening slate pick 'em contest, DraftKings has you covered with those and so many more options to fit your needs. Of course, the key to winning these contests is putting the right lineups together and maximizing your lineup with a mix of value plays, mini stacks and studs to help propel you into the green to finish the day as a winner.
Let's now get it all started with our DraftKings' DFS lineup for Monday's slate of games.
Noah Syndergaard, NYM @ MIA, ($12,300)
In two starts this season, we've seen Syndergaard return to his 2016 form and quickly reclaim his rank amongst one of the four best pitchers in baseball. In two outings this year, Syndergaard generated a 14.7 percent swinging strike rate and a historic 40.5 percent strikeout rate in 10 innings. Even though Thor isn't working deep into games the 25-year-old southpaw's ability to generate strikeouts at a record pace is worthy of DFS consideration no matter the opponent. So when someone of Thor's caliber faces the Miami Marlins, he immediately becomes the top pitcher on the slate for that day.
In 136 plate appearances versus left-handed pitching this season, Miami's hitters rank 20th in wRC+ (84), 23rd in isolated power (.091) and 18th in OPS (.665). When the Marlins faced Chris Sale last week, the lefty struck out six batters in five innings. The strikeout upside for Thor could be even greater, in fact he offers the greatest likelihood of a 10-plus strikeout game on the entire slate. Meanwhile, Max Scherzer faces a scorching hot Atlanta Braves lineup and will cost you more to roster him.
Garrett Richards, LAA @ TEX, ($6,700)
After a rather rough start to the 2018 season, Richards bounced back in his next outing and displayed so much of the stuff everyone fell in love with before injuries took away his 2016 and '17 seasons. Across 5 2/3 innings, Richards struck out nine batters and allowed just one hit and two earned runs against the Cleveland Indians. While the Texas Rangers aren't experiencing quite the struggles we've seen from Cleveland, Texas still entered Sunday with a lowly 83 wRC+, .293 wOBA and .359 slugging percentage on the season.
The Rangers' bats also have the 11th highest swinging strike rate on the season and have the seventh-lowest contact rate entering the week. This all bodes well for Richards' swing-and-miss stuff and given his 14.1 percent swinging-strike rate so far this season and 10.6 percent SwStr% in his career, Monday's matchup presents some excellent upside for Richards. His command can be inconsistent at times and if he is off, Texas will not be shy with its power. But as an SP2, the risk is worth the potential reward and the cost helps make him a very affordable SP2 who allows us the flexibility to spend more on bats.
Other Options: Jakob Junis, KC vs. SEA, ($7,000), Zack Godley, ARZ @ SF, ($9,800)
John Ryan Murphy, ARZ @ SF, ($2,500)
This is a bit of a gamble play for us as Arizona could go in a number of directions at catcher. Alex Avila typically starts most days, but the left-handed hitter matches up very poorly against San Francisco Giants southpaw Derek Holland. The same can be said for backup catcher Jeff Mathis, who owns a career. 221 batting average against left-handed pitching. So we turn our attention to Murphy, who caught Godley's last start and hit .252 against LHP in 171 career plate appearances. This is certainly a risk and going with one of Arizona's right-handed catchers against Holland's .302/.400/.574 slash line and .408 wOBA allowed to right-handed batters is risky, but we'll take the chance on it for a punt play.
Other Options: Austin Hedges, SD @ COL, ($3,200), Evan Gattis, HOU @ MIN, ($3,800)
Daniel Vogelbach, SEA @ KC, ($2,800)
As we work our way down the lineup, with our eye on targeting two specific outfielders, we pinpoint our potential bargain plays immediately and plug them into our lineup. A strong spring training by Vogelbach opened the door for him to see playing time in Seattle and that door opened even wider with injuries to Ryon Healy and Nelson Cruz. Now locked into a lineup spot, the left-handed hitter awaits a quality opportunity against Jakob Junis and his .272/.330/.438 slash line allowed to left-handed hitters in his major league career. Given Vogelbach is profoundly better against right-handed pitchers than southpaws, this is a matchup we can try to take advantage of. Vogelbach is a bargain play who could net you seven-plus DFS points.
Other Options: Carlos Santana, PHI vs. CIN, ($4,700), Paul Goldschmidt, ARZ @ SF, (($4,800)
Scott Kingery, PHI vs. CIN, ($3,300)
Kingery would be a bigger DFS name if the Philadelphia Phillies gave him every day playing time, but right now they are taking their time getting him into the lineup regularly. Fortunately, Kingery already had the day off on Sunday and the Phillies would be wise to start another right-handed bat in Monday's cost against a pitcher who is routinely crushed by RHB to the tune of a .305/.411/.580 slash line and .413 wOBA to 238 batters faced. When Kingery play, Philadelphia trusts his bat enough to put him in the top five of its batting order and when a team carries that much confidence in a rookie's bat and the splits are this strongly in his favor, we must play him as well. Just be sure to monitor the lineups a few hours before first pitch when Philadelphia announces if he plays, we do expect him to be out there.
Other Options: Jose Altuve, HOU @ MIN, ($5,400), Cesar Hernandez, PHI vs. CIN, ($4,200)
Maikel Franco, PHI vs. CIN, ($4,000)
We continue our Phillies' stack against Cody Reed with Franco at the hot corner. His price is on the rise after he scored 66 points on DraftKings in two consecutive games, so needless to say he is on a hot streak. While he isn't a great contact hitter, Franco has displayed more power output ISO (.209) and OPS (.757) versus southpaws than right-handed pitching, so that also plays in his favor against Reed. He should be able to pick up on Reed's fastball-slider combo and along with the other Phillies' right-handed bats, to help deliver some excellent point production into our DraftKings' lineups.
Other Options: Manny Machado, BAL vs. TOR, ($4,500), Luis Valbuena, LAA # TEX, ($3,500)
Bryce Harper, WAS vs. ATL, ($5,800)
We often try to avoid batter versus pitcher as a primary reason for starting a player. Granted, Harper is almost always a DFS target no matter who he is facing that day. On Monday though, you must get a heavy percentage of Harper shares in your lineup. In 39 career at bats versus Julio Teheran, Harper hit eight home runs, drove in 19 RBIs, walked seven times and racked up 18 hits. This is beyond ownage, it's reached a point where it would be more surprising if Harper didn't take Teheran deep in a game. Just get Harper in your lineup, there are some value players at other positions who can allow us to afford Harper's bat.
Rhys Hoskins, PHI vs. CIN, ($5,600)
While Hoskins carries an awful .178 batting average in 64 plate appearances versus left-handed pitchers, the 25-year-old isn't lacking for power against southpaws. In that span, Hoskins hit six home runs, carries a .400 isolated power and outstanding 150 wRC+. Perhaps Hoskins won't have three hits in this game, but he is a nightmare matchup for Reed and is a major target for those looking for potential home runs. It will cost us over $11K, but the Hoskins-Harper duo could deliver a lineup-changing day of point production.
Jesse Winker, CIN @ PHI, ($3,000)
While this pick didn't work out in our favor on Sunday, we are going to go back to Winker again. Even after his bad day at the plate, Winker still carries strong slash lines at the plate and the splits are once again in his favor. Facing Winker will be Ben Lively, who has allowed a .280 batting average and .494 slugging percentage combined to the 204 left-handed batters he has faced in his career. Our two elite outfielders need to be accounted for with a cheap OF3 and given Wonker's price, the matchup and the park factors, you couldn't ask for much more when you spend $3K on an outfielder.