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The Deep Dive: MLB DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Thursday, 8/26

Adam Scherer



The MLB DFS Deep Dive is back! This article is intended to give you an in depth look into the top MLB DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel on the day’s fantasy baseball slate. It is recommended that you use this article in conjunction with Awesemo’s MLB projections, ownership projections and the Top Stack tool.

MLB DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Aug. 26

Top Pitchers

Max Scherzer ($10,400 DraftKings/$10,500 FanDuel) headlines the slate in a relatively difficult matchup against the Padres. Similarly to last night, none of the top tier pitchers have an “easy” matchup, so there will be some risk in rostering any of them. Scherzer’s 34.4% strikeout rate leads the slate, and he projects as the top option.

Chris Sale ($10,200 DraftKings/$10,700 FanDuel) has posted strong numbers through his first two starts of the season after missing most of the year recovering from surgery. He has worked five innings in each start, throwing 89 pitches in his first start and 71 pitches in his second. The quick hook in his last start is somewhat concerning since he was pulled after five innings regardless of his pitch count. His velocity was also down about 1 mph from his first start, so that is concerning as well. It is probably not a big deal, but decreasing velocity is not something that you want to see as soon as someone returns from an arm injury. Still, the most likely outcome is that Sale is healthy and will have success tonight against Minnesota. The quick hook and decrease in velocity are enough to move him behind Scherzer for me, however.

Yu Darvish ($9,900 DraftKings/$9,900 FanDuel) returns from a brief stint on the injured list to face the Dodgers. Darvish has struck out 29.9% of hitters and has a 3.66 xFIP this season. The Dodgers’ active roster has a 110 wRC+ and only a 22.2% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching this season, and Mookie Betts is expected to return to their lineup tonight as well. Of the three pitchers mentioned, Darvish’s situation is the worst, but the upside is still clearly there if he ends up projected for considerably less ownership than the other two. One other factor working against Darvish tonight is that he has been below average at controlling the running game throughout his career. The Dodgers have plenty of speed in addition to power in their lineup and they have stolen the fifth most bases this season. Even if Darvish can keep the ball in the park, he runs the risk of giving up more runs than he normally would if the Dodgers’ hitters manage to reach base since a single or a walk will turn into a double or triple for many of them.

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Alex Wood ($8,700 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) is in the midst of a solid season for the Giants, and he has a decent matchup tonight against the Mets. Wood has struck out 25.4% of hitters and has a 3.57 xFIP this season. New York’s active roster has a 99 wRC+ and 24% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season. The main concern for Wood is that he typically struggles the second and third time through the order and that affects how deep the Giants let him go into games. Wood rarely throws 100-plus pitches and has only averaged about 5.5 innings per start this season. He has held opponents to a .200 wOBA and a 35.4% strikeout rate the first time through the order this season. The second time through the order, hitters have a .364 wOBA and have struck out 15.2% of the time. The third time through the order they have a .380 wOBA and have struck out 24.8% of the time. Wood is a good pitcher overall, but his inability to have success in the middle innings lowers the chances of a monster game.

Patrick Corbin ($8,200 DraftKings/$7,200 FanDuel) has struggled mightily this season, particularly against right-handed hitters. He has an excellent matchup tonight against the Marlins in Miami, but they also are likely to have a lineup full of righties. Corbin has only struck out 17.4% of right-handed hitters this season while allowing a .374 xwOBA and .234 xISO. Any major league pitcher can have success against the Marlins, but Corbin is priced up for the matchup and projected to pick up ownership. There are plenty of pivots in his price range that are likely to be lower owned and offer similar upside if you need an ownership discount in GPPs.

Elieser Hernandez ($7,600 DraftKings/$7,600 FanDuel) is making his third start since returning from the injured list. Hernandez threw 82 pitches in his first start back and then 68 pitches in his second start, but he allowed four earned runs in 4.1 innings in that start. If he is pitching well tonight, Hernandez should be able to throw 85 to 90 pitches against Washington. Hernandez has struck out 26.4% of hitters in his four starts this season and he struck out 32.1% of hitters in six starts last season. For his career, Hernandez has a 25.1% strikeout rate and 4.70 xFIP in 31 total starts.

Yusei Kikuchi ($7,300 DraftKings/$7,700 FanDuel) projects as the best SP2 option tonight as his salary has fallen after a string of very difficult matchup. Over his last 10 starts, Kikuchi has faced Houston twice, Toronto twice, the Yankees twice, Tampa Bay, Oakland, the Angels and the White Sox. Every single one of those teams has at least a 104 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season and the average wRC+ is 112.7. Tonight, he faces a Kansas City team that has a 95 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season. They have only struck out 20.2% of the time, but that is less of a concern since Kikuchi’s price has decreased. Overall this season, Kikuchi has struck out 25.6% of hitters and has a 3.65 xFIP.

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Top Hitters

Salvador Perez ($5,500 DraftKings/$3,400 FanDuel) is the best hitter on the Royals and he is also one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. Kansas City has a difficult matchup against Yusei Kikuchi tonight, but Kikuchi has had some issues with right-handed power this season. He has allowed a .348 xwOBA and .202 xISO to right-handed hitters. There is not much power in the Royals’ lineup, but Perez is an exception as he has posted a .384 xwOBA and .306 xISO in 176 plate appearances against left-handed pitching since the start of the 2019 season.

Brandon Belt ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,200 FanDuel) will be going on the bereavement list for the death of his grandmother soon. Assuming that he is in the lineup tonight, he projects as one of the best first base options. He will be facing Carlos Carrasco, who has had mixed results since returning from injury. Through his first five starts, Carrasco has held lefties to a .298 xwOBA but he has also allowed a .244 xISO. Since the start of 2019, left-handed hitters have a .335 xwOBA and .226 xISO against Carrasco. Belt is one of the most underrated hitters in baseball and has a .364 xwOBA and .253 xISO against right-handed pitching since the start of 2019.

Trea Turner ($5,400 DraftKings/$4,400 FanDuel) has a tough matchup against Yu Darvish but there is also a ton of upside. Darvish has allowed 1.44 home runs per nine innings this season and Turner has a .346 xwOBA and .163 xISO against right-handed pitching this season. More importantly, Darvish has been below average at preventing stolen bases every season of his career except last season when he was average. He has allowed 13 stolen bases this season and Turner has swiped 25 bags.

Kyle Seager ($4,100 DraftKings/$3,500 FanDuel) faces Brad Keller tonight in Seattle. Keller has allowed a .364 xwOBA and .189 xISO to left-handed hitters this season. Seager has had an excellent season at the plate, producing a .353 xwOBA and .258 xISO against right-handed pitching.

Amed Rosario ($4,200 DraftKings/$3,300 FanDuel) is not a great hitter, but he is relatively inexpensive and likely to be hitting second on a team with one of the highest implied run totals on the slate. Rosario only has a .299 xwOBA and .088 xISO against right-handed pitching this season, but Jordan Lyles has allowed a .355 xwOBA and .211 xISO to right-handed hitters. Rosario is likely to be over-owned in tournaments because of his median projection, but he makes the short list of options at shortstop in cash games.

Kyle Schwarber ($4,800 DraftKings/$3,400 FanDuel) hit his first home run with Boston last night and he gets another favorable matchup tonight against John Gant and a relatively weak Minnesota bullpen. Gant has allowed a .363 xwOBA and .160 xISO to left-handed hitters this season while striking out only 18.5%. Schwarber has had an excellent season at the plate, posting a .426 xwOBA and .361 xISO in 229 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.

Adolis Garcia ($3,100 DraftKings/$3,600 FanDuel) is inexpensive and has a favorable matchup against Sam Hentges. He has allowed a .388 xwOBA and .229 xISO to right-handed hitters so far this season while Garcia has posted a .320 xwOBA and .227 xISO in 177 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers.

Mitch Haniger ($4,400 DraftKings/$3,900 FanDuel) has produced a .334 xwOBA and .196 xISO in 364 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers this season. Brad Keller has only struck out 16.4% of right-handed hitters this season while allowing a .385 xwOBA and .224 xISO. He is likely to allow Haniger to pull the ball in play and Haniger can do plenty of damage against him.

Top Stacks

Note: Be sure to check out the Top Stacks Tool to compare a team’s chances of success to their aggregate ownership.

  1. Boston Red Sox
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Cleveland Indians

Top Under-owned Stacks: San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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