Saturday's main slate includes just four games, leaving a huge void of options when one is hoping to differentiate on the mound. The trendy play here is likely to go with a safe, cash game lineup but the limited slate also offers a great opportunity to gamble in tournament formats and see what happens.
For those interested, we’ve started an MLB DFS Slack channel for paid RotoWire subscribers. (There is a season-long one as well.) To join those channels, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlie Morton, HOU at TEX ($10,000): The chalkiest of the chalk, there's no reason to stray from Morton in cash formats. Texas checks in with just a .302 wOBA, 84 wRC+ and 26 percent strikeout rate against righties, and Morton’s career-best 31.2 percent fan rate gives him tournament upside as well, albeit with a near certain huge ownership tally.
GPP Fade: Alex Wood, LAD vs. ATL ($7,800): Wood is the second highest-priced pitcher on Saturday’s slate, showing just how far of a fall there is from Morton. He’s not in good form, having allowed 11 runs over his last two starts, a span of just 7.1 innings. Atlanta also hits lefties well, ranking third with a .340 wOBA, adding a 114 wRC+ and a league-low 18.1 percent strikeout rate. On the surface, there’s next to no upside to Wood, and it appears you’re better off paying up for Morton or saving the cash and hoping you can suck 25 to 35 points out of one of the cheaper arms available.
Cheap GPP Consideration: Anibal Sanchez, ATL at LAD ($6,200): I’m questioning my sanity and/or sobriety penning Sanchez in here. But with only eight pitchers from which to choose, two already featured, two throwing in Coors’ field, one lefty (Steven Matz) facing a league-leading offense against southpaws, the remaining choices are awfully slim. I expect the Yanks’ Domingo German to be a popular tournament option, leaving Sanchez as a default contrarian play for those willing to roll the dice. He’s topped 40 points in two of his last three starts despite striking out just 13 in 17.0 innings, so the scoring potential rests squarely in his ability to limit the Dodgers offense while working efficiently through six-plus innings. The Dodgers’ .323 wOBA is only marginally better than the Mets (.316) and a wRC+ of 106 compared to 102 is equally comparable. And maybe if we’re buying that Alex Wood is likely to struggle, Sanchez should have run support behind him.
Gary Sanchez, NYY at NYM ($3,400): It’s hard to find a player at this price with more power upside, making Sanchez a great GPP gamble. Despite his season-long contact struggles, he’s bringing a .426 wOBA, 173 wRC+ and .310 ISO against lefties to the table. It seems unlikely he’ll go two for four with a double and an RBI or two, so Sanchez remains a feast or famine play, but one that looks poised for success in this spot and an affordable buy into a top offense.
Daniel Descalso, ARI at COL ($3,800): Descalso crosses off a lot of items here; he boasts a team-high .398 wOBA against righties while likely hitting out of top-four lineup spot, he’s playing in a favorable park in Coors Field, and he comes as the “cheapest” reliable option at the keystone. The next priced option is Pat Valaika at $800 less, so for better or worse you’re going to have to pay up at this position.
Miguel Andujar, NYY at NYM ($3,500): The four-game slate simply forces you to find cheaper buy-ins to the top offenses, with the hope they also have favorable matchups. Andujar presents just that, raking lefties for a .400 wOBA and .252 ISO. That Mets’ starter Steven Matz is allowing a .393 wOBA to righties at home only adds to the appeal.
Marwin Gonzalez, HOU at TEX ($2,600): This looks like an opportunity to take advantage of Gonzalez’ position eligibility, with the hope he’s in the lineup elsewhere should Carlos Correa return to action. He’s collected multiple hits in three of his last four outings, and while his early season struggles aren’t offset by a .327 wOBA and .182 ISO against lefties since the start of 2017, you’ll be hard pressed to find similar numbers at this price.
David Peralta, ARI at COL ($3,500): Stacking will be inevitable Saturday night, and with Chad Bettis’ 7.24 home ERA, he makes for a prime candidate to target bats against. Peralta ranks third on the D’Backs with a .357 wOBA and .228 ISO, suggesting there’s some power upside. He also comes in swinging well, having hit safely in six of his last eight, including three multi-hit games and three homers in that span.
Brandon Nimmo, NYM vs. NYY ($3,100): Nimmo’s stats flirt with must-play territory against righties, but they’re amplified by Saturday evening’s schedule. His .451 wOBA, 194 wRC+ and .323 ISO clearly aren’t sustainable, but in a matchup against the aforementioned German and his 5.19 road ERA, he brings the upside you want while providing ample savings.
Joc Pederson, LAD vs. ATL ($2,700): The price is going to make Pederson very popular, and it’s impossible to predict the Dodgers lineup from night to night. With all that said, the price is too low to fade, and that he’s producing a .389 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and .266 ISO against righties clearly shows he’s underpriced, even more so when considering his below league average 15.1 strikeout rate.
Tyler Flowers, ATL at LAD ($2,900): The price, and stats, seem to make Flowers a near must-play, especially if you’re hoping to pay for Charlie Morton, or D’Backs/Rockies bats. Flowers boasts an incredible .531 wOBA, 244 wRC+ and .250 ISO against lefties. Wood is allowing a .340 wOBA to righties at home, playing right into Flowers potential.