Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: Top DraftKings Bargains, Strategy for September 12 – Bleacher Report

Before the NFL distracts everyone on Sunday, DraftKings savants can devote Saturday to a full MLB slate.

Eliminated from the postseason or too far down the standings to mount a comeback, many traditional fantasy baseball players have lost interest. Worn down and defeated by the grueling season, they’ll shift their attention to the gridiron, where a shiny new toy with a shorter schedule awaits.

This is usually where “But not in daily!” follows. Well, not necessarily. Filling out a lineup gets cumbersome in a six-month sport with no days off. Anyone who hasn’t profited from MLB action now sees a chance for redemption elsewhere.

But hey, the only way to get better is to keep working. Those players tapping out will miss a slate featuring several bargains. As Madison Bumgarner faces the San Diego Padres, surround the $12,200 ace with these discount plays. 


SP Yordano Ventura ($8,500), Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, the Kansas City Royals have transposed their weekend rotation plans:

While the batted-ball gods have recently turned a cold shoulder to Johnny Cueto after years of friendship, Yordano Ventura has flourished. Even including his recent roadblock against the Minnesota Twins, the 24-year-old righty has allowed eight runs over his past six starts while significantly upping his strikeout game.


Despite his ERA increasing from 3.20 to 4.34, his expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP) has fallen from 3.74 to 3.67 due to a rise in strikeouts and ground balls. A day earlier than scheduled, the streaking hurler gets the struggling Baltimore Orioles, who rank No. 24 in weighted on-base average (wOBA) and No. 27 in strikeout percentage after the All-Star break.

Cheaper than Rick Porcello, Anthony DeSclafani and Ian Kennedy, Ventura is a strong value on Saturday.


SP Roenis Elias ($6,300), Seattle Mariners vs. Colorado Rockies

Joe Nicholson/Associated Press

Roenis Elias isn’t very good. Saddled with a 4.30 ERA and 4.38 xFIP, there’s a reason the Seattle Mariners southpaw only costs $6,300.

The matchup, however, keeps him in consideration as a dirt-cheap hurler, best utilized as a contrarian tournament play. Scary on paper, the Colorado Rockies shrink into an exploitable offense when facing a lefty on the road. This weakness is reflected by their MLB-worst weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against lefties, a measure of offensive efficiency that takes ballparks into consideration:

MLB’s Worst wRC+ vs. LHP
Rank Team wRC+
32 Colorado Rockies 66
31 Chicago White Sox 75
30 Atlanta Braves 76
29 Milwaukee Brewers 81
28 St. Louis Cardinals 83

FanGraphs.com; 100 wRC+ is considered average

Elias faced a similar situation on Monday, when Seattle hosted the Texas Rangers away from their hitter-friendly stadium. He allowed two runs and recorded six strikeouts during 5.1 solid innings, earning him 15.2 DraftKings points. Players will take that result on Saturday, and he’s in better shape to earn a victory with Yohan Flande pitching for Colorado.


C Miguel Montero ($3,400) and 2B/OF Chris Coghlan ($3,300), Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies 

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

One of several Philadelphia Phillies hurlers getting demolished, Jerad Eickhoff has yielded a 47.3 fly-ball percentage and 40.3 hard-hit percentage through four starts. Starting with the pricier corner-infield tandem of Anthony Rizzo ($5,300) and Kris Bryant ($4,900), the Chicago Cubs will make a popular stack.

Going the cheaper route, Miguel Montero is slugging .520 since the All-Star break and boasts a career .793 OPS against righties. Chris Coghlan holds an .822 OPS with all of his 15 homers and 11 steals versus righties, numbers that look much better with second-base eligibility.

Take a look at Chicago’s lineup card before locking into anybody. Javier Baez’s presence and Starlin Castro’s existence crowd the middle infield, but Coghlan hasn’t yet lost any playing time on his strong end of the platoon. 


OF Josh Reddick ($3,400), Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers

Chris Carlson/Associated Press

The bad news about Josh Reddick taking hacks in Texas? He won’t have “Careless Whisper” as his walk-up music. After returning to the ’80s ballad on Wednesday, the slumping outfielder snapped an 0-for-10 skid with a two-run homer. The Oakland Athletics’ Twitter page captured the triumphant return (of the song, not the homer):

He’ll sacrifice the smooth sax for a much better offensive park. He’s slugging .476 on the road, and Globe Life Park in Arlington rates No. 5 on ESPN’s Park Factors in terms of runs produced. More importantly, he holds an .823 OPS against righties compared to a .644 clip against lefties. 

Yovani Gallardo’s 3.16 ERA looks great. His 4.35 xFIP and career-low 15.0 strikeout percentage? Not so much. Look for Reddick to produce sweet music in the batter’s box.


OF Ryan Raburn ($2,500), Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers

Mark Duncan/Associated Press

Are the Cleveland Indians facing a lefty? Check. Are they facing a bad lefty? Sees Randy Wolf’s 6.55 ERA through four starts and 1.006 OPS against righties last year. Check.

A must-start in this situation, Ryan Raburn is hitting .314/.395/.584 against southpaws. He homered twice off Chris Sale on Monday, and Wolf is no Chris Sale. Lock Raburn in at a criminally cheap $2,500. 


Note: All advanced stats, updated as of Friday night, courtesy of FanGraphs. Pricing and scoring info via DraftKings.com.

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