Thursday, Aug. 19, brings split-slate action, with a six-game afternoon grouping followed by a four-game main slate. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Thursday, Aug. 19
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. RHP Taijuan Walker — 5.0 implied runs
Thursday’s main slate is only four games, which makes for a shallow player pool. The Yahoo salary algorithm has provided supreme discounts with the Yankees, which will draw the masses as well. While the Dodgers will be popular, they will be the second or third choice for most DFS gamers. Taijuan Walker survived his last start against this same squad on Saturday in New York, allowing just one run on a solo shot in the seventh inning. Prior to that Walker was in quite a tailspin, having allowed four straight multi-homer games.
Walker has always tantalized with glimpses of talent, but he has never been able to harness things for any sustained period. He has typically suffered an injury or he lost focus. The Dodgers are a top-three offense by nearly every metric and not a team that allows many mistakes to go unpunished. During his recent run of poor performances, Walker has allowed power to hitters from both sides of the plate.
Trea Turner ($20), Max Muncy ($21), Justin Turner ($17) and Corey Seager ($16) provide a gauntlet, with their mix of right and left-handed power and contact. Then three of Chris Taylor ($17), A.J. Pollock ($18), Cody Bellinger ($13), Matt Beaty ($7) or Billy McKinney ($7) should be in the bottom half of the order to provide some differentiation.
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Houston Astros at LHP Mike Minor — 5.3 implied runs
It is going to be warm and muggy in Kauffman Stadium, with game-time temperatures in the mid-80s with 60 to 70% humidity. On the mound will be Mike Minor, who has allowed a pair of longballs in each of his last three starts. Minor is still a solid innings eater with above-average strikeouts. However, he allows too much power to opposite-handed hitters, and Houston leads MLB with a 119 wRC+.
Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman (hamstring) are both out of the lineup, but the Astros still bring plenty of options. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are the core plays from the right side, while Yordan Alvarez has been great in same-handed matchups throughout his career. Jake Meyers and Chas McCormick are discount dandies at the bottom of the order, and Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz provide flexibility as infield options.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Brandon Woodruff at St. Louis Cardinals — 3.4 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $10,700 | DraftKings $9,200
Brandon Woodruff had an abbreviated three-inning start in his last start. It seems to be a combination of the heat, taking a glancing blow from a comebacker off his thigh and the Brewers rolling the Cubs. Woodruff has a 2.18 ERA and 0.90 WHIP this season, which are both top-three marks among all starters. He is also just outside the top 10 in strikeouts per nine, with 10.5. The Cardinals run a righty-heavy lineup, which makes them an above-average team against southpaws but 10% worse than league average against righties.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Luis Castillo vs. Miami Marlins — 3.4 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $8,500
Luis Castillo has had some uneven performances this season, but a matchup against the Marlins is always one to consider. While this game is in the Great American Ballpark, the depleted Miami offense still is well below a four-run implied total. Castillo is still striking out a batter per inning, and the Marlins are in the bottom third in most offensive metrics.
Early MLB DFS Picks Target: LHP Shane McClanahan vs. Baltimore Orioles — 3.4 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $39 | FanDuel $9,800 | DraftKings $10,100
This has been a breakout season for Shane McClanahan, who has not allowed more than three runs only twice, and those were both four-run games. Baltimore sets up well against southpaws, but the back half of their lineup drops off quickly. Additionally, this game is in Tropicana Field, which is a major boost for pitchers.
Final Thoughts for the Thursday, Aug. 19 MLB DFS Picks Slate
Thursday brings another imbalanced slate with just four games on the evening docket. This means there will be a fair amount of overlap in the large-field tournaments. MLB DFS is a unique game where gamers can and should embrace the variance inherent in baseball and not be afraid to go against the field. While this sometimes means looking at sub-optimal choices, the rewards can be dramatic on the smaller slates.
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