Monday night starts another big week in the MLB season as teams look to get into position for the final playoff push. There are 10 series getting underway on Monday night, making up the main DraftKings slate, which is scheduled to get underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Seven of the 10 matchups are divisional contests, so teams can continue to gain and lose ground very quickly early this week.
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Julio Urías, Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers ($9,600) – The Dodgers’ 12-game winning streak came to a halt on Sunday, but Urías will try to get them back on track Monday night as they open their series in Milwaukee. Urías has been one of the most consistent SP across the Majors this season, posting over 21 DKFP in five straight starts while going 5-0 with a 1.09 ERA, 1.81 FIP and 8.45 K/9. On the year, he’s 12-6 with a 2.49 ERA, 3.48 FIP and 8.58 K/9. He has actually been better in his road starts, and the Brewers are a good matchup ranking in the bottom six in the MLB vs. left-handed pitchers in batting average, wOBA and wRC+. It looks like a good spot to count on Urías to come through again.
Other Options – Shohei Ohtani ($10,300), Luis Castillo ($9,200)
James Kaprielian, Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers ($6,500) – After a rough start which still impacts his overall numbers, Kaprielian has settled into a nice groove. He has allowed one or zero runs in five of his past seven starts, going 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 3.98 FIP. He doesn’t typically stack up a ton of strikeouts but does have over 16 DKFP in four of those outings, which would be a strong enough return to make him a good value at this salary. He faced the Rangers twice during that span, putting up 16.3 and 10.3 DKFP. While he doesn’t have the super-high ceiling of the elite pitchers, he is the best value play since all the other options come with major red flags or risk factors.
Other Options – Joe Ryan ($7,300), Kris Bubic ($6,700)
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox ($4,900) – Bregman connected on his 16th home run of the season on Sunday, giving him three homers in his past four games. He has been steadily heating up since the All-Star break and has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games. Since the break, he has gone 28-for-84 (.333) with seven doubles, five home runs, a .426 wOBA and 187 wRC+. He has actually struggled against lefties more than righties like Johnny Cueto ($8,400), who Bregman will face in the series opener for Chicago (more on the matchup below in stacks).
Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants vs. Arizona Diamondbacks ($4,300) – Madison Bumgarner ($6,900) returns to San Francisco in one of the late games, but he better be careful with Estrada, who can be a great midrange value with top-tier upside at either middle infield spot. Estrada has proven to be a dual threat with 16 stolen bases and 11 home runs, and he had both a stolen base and a walk-off home run on Sunday to finish with 24 DKFP. Estrada has hit lefties well all season with a .284 average, .362 wOBA and over half of his home runs. Since returning from a quick trip to the IL, he has gone 9-for-27 (.333) with two homers, six RBI and an average of 9.4 DKFP per contest.
Other Options – Corey Seager ($5,100), Matt Olson ($4,800)
Emmanuel Rivera, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants ($2,300) – Rivera was traded from the Royals to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Luke Weaver just before the trade deadline, and since arriving in Arizona, Rivera has made a nice impact. The 26-year-old righty has gone 10-for-28 (.357) in his eight games with Arizona with a .541 wOBA, smashing four home runs after hitting just six homers in 63 games with Kansas City. He has moved up to the second spot in the order for his three most recent games and is a great value if he stays in that spot against Alex Cobb ($7,000) on Monday.
Vaughn Grissom, Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets ($2,000) – Grissom was called up straight from Double-A like fellow rookie Michael Harris II ($4,300), but both young players seem to have settled in quickly at the MLB level. Grissom has gone 7-for-18 (.389) in his five games with two homers, a stolen base and a .516 wOBA. The 21-year-old moved up to second in the batting order on Sunday, which would elevate his value even more, but wherever he hits in the lineup against Carlos Carrasco ($8,600), he’s a great option at the minimum salary.
Other Options – Jorge Mateo ($3,600), Seth Brown ($3,300), Ji-Man Choi ($3,100)
Aaron Judge, New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays ($6,500) – Even though he went 0-for-8 over the weekend, Judge is still my top pay-up option for Monday, when he and the Yankees return to Yankee Stadium to open their series against the Rays. He’s still hitting .372 with a .583 wOBA and 296 wRC+ to go with his 13 home runs since the All-Star break. He also has been better at home, where 25 of his 46 home runs have come and he has a .455 wOBA on the year.
Anthony Santander, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays, ($4,900) – Santander and the Orioles head to Toronto to open the week against lefty Yusei Kikuchi ($5,800), who they tagged with a loss last Monday when they faced him. Santander is hitting .293 this year against southpaws with eight of his 20 homers and a .388 wOBA. He has five home runs to go with an impressive .345 average, .250 ISO, .423 wOBA and 180 wRC+ since the All-Star break.
Other Options – Byron Buxton ($5,600), Julio Rodríguez ($5,200), Randy Arozarena ($4,900)
AJ Pollock, Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros ($3,900) – Without Tim Anderson (hand), Pollock has stepped up as the leadoff hitter for the White Sox, starting each of his six most recent games in that spot in the order and going 9-for-24 (.375) with three walks, four doubles, two home runs and a .496 wOBA. He homered in each of his past two games and will look to keep the White Sox rolling as they come home for a tough series against the Astros.
Joey Meneses, Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs ($3,100) – Meneses has been one of the few bright spots in the Nationals’ lineup since their trade deadline fire sale. The 30-year-old rookie has gone 14-for-35 (.400) with five home runs and a .536 wOBA. He moved up to the second spot in the order on Sunday and picked up two more hits, giving him multiple hits in five straight games coming into what should be a good matchup against Marcus Stroman ($7,200). Meneses did smash 20 homers at Triple-A, so the power potential is no fluke even though he’s bound to cool off a little bit eventually.
Other Options – Jake McCarthy ($3,500), Jo Adell ($2,200), Nick Pratto ($2,000)
TEAMS TO STACK
Houston Astros at Chicago White Sox – The Astros have the fourth-highest team wOBA since the All-Star and have hit the fourth-most home runs during that span with a 117 wRC+. They’ve won four straight after sweeping the A’s by scoring 21 runs in their three-game series this past weekend and will look to keep rolling as they head to Chicago. Johnny Cueto ($8,400) has turned in eight straight quality starts but has been living dangerously, allowing at least nine base-runners in four of his past five outings but working around most of the trouble. His luck could run out, though, against Houston, which has a solid lineup with improved depth since the trading deadline. In addition to Alex Bregman (highlighted above), it makes sense to consider Jose Altuve ($5,500), Yuli Gurriel ($3,300), Yordan Alvarez ($6,100), Kyle Tucker ($4,700), Trey Mancini ($4,300) and Aledmys Díaz ($3,600). You can even get a punt play with whoever starts in CF in the platoon between Jake Meyers ($2,000) and Chas McCormick ($2,600) if you need a punt play.
Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays – The Orioles have been a top-10 offense so far in August in almost every category and have a .341 wOBA and 122 wRC+ which is the fifth-best mark in the Majors in August. They struggled Sunday almost falling victim to a perfect game but are in a good spot to bounce back against Yusei Kikuchi ($5,800). Kikuchi has served up 11 homers in his past eight starts, allowing 25 runs on 31 hits and 18 walks over 32 1⁄3 innings with a 6.12 ERA and 7.54 FIP. He has made two starts against the Orioles and allowed nine runs in nine innings, including five home runs and a .505 wOBA. Anthony Santander (discussed above), Ryan Mountcastle ($3,500; hand), Austin Hays ($3,300) and Ramón Urías ($3,000) have all homered off of Kikuchi in the past, and Cedric Mullins ($5,000) and Adley Rutschman ($4,700) have served as excellent table-setters lately. Jorge Mateo ($3,600) is another option that has been regularly returning solid value.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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