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MLB DFS: Pitchers, Stacks, and Value Plays for Sunday, August 22

Tommy Edman is too cheap!

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays were fun yesterday, but a bagel from Randy Arozarena was unfortunate. I still topped out at 142.05, good enough to double my small entry fees. It was nice to get back in the proverbial saddle after a bit of time away to study up for fantasy football.

Yesterday, Gerrit Cole was ace-like against the Twins, and Ryu predictably beat up on the Tigers. Alas, paying up for the Rays meant I didn’t have any Jose Ramirez, who slugged a homer and stole a base while amassing 32.00 DK points. Kris Bubic’s 30.45 effort against the Cubs was a low-owned play that paid off for others, too.

Today, I’m going to keep it simple and rely on year-long stats, as well as who is hot or cold over the last two weeks.

Pitching: Adam Wainwright vs. PIT, Steven Matz vs. DET

If we jam in what worked yesterday, the lefty Steven Matz is in consideration against the Tigers (who succumbed to the lefty Ryu yesterday). Matz is $200 more expensive than Ryu was yesterday, for general knowledge.

Other epic matchups include Adam Wainwright at home against the Pirates and Nathan Eovaldi at home against the Rangers. There’s a TON of wind in Boston though, so be sure to check it out prior to lock:

Add it all up, and right now I’m looking into Framber Valdez and Adam Wainwright at the top. Valdez gets the benefit of the smoking hot Astros offense, plus the Mariners have managed only three and one runs respectively over the last two days (against McCullers Jr. and Odorizzi). Against southpaws on the year, Seattle carries a middling .165 ISO (17th) but an attack-worthy 26.0% strikeout rate (5th-worst). And because he already got a mention, Steven Matz has to be in consideration. Of the worst five teams in K-rate against lefties, three face a right-hander today (MIA, TBR, CHC). The Tigers present and even better matchup (per season-long stats) than the Mariners, though. They have a 26.1% K-rate (2nd-worst) and a .155 ISO (24th). Of course, Matz isn’t quite the pitcher that Valdez is, but the matchup is enticing. Matz has limited free passes this year (6.9% walk rate) but the K-rate is decidedly average (23.3%). As for Valdez, he’s been a bit off his game in 2021, carrying a 21.9% K-rate and 10.5% walk rate. That’s still a smaller sample (only 91 innings), but overall I think I’m liking Matz a bit more in an easier matchup and with more strikeout upside. The past two weeks also point towards attacking Detroit (.154 ISO, 27.4% K-rate) instead of Seattle (.162 ISO, 23.8% K-rate). I guess I’m on the Matz train today in lieu of paying up for Framber.

Which means...let’s check out Adam Wainwright! The Pirates (.121 ISO, 26.3% K-rate) are ice cold over the last two weeks, despite eeking out a 5-4 win last night. They scraped two runs off of the embattled lefty J.A. Happ, who walked a single batter against eight strikeouts. After the strong effort, Happ’s ERA drops to 5.88 on the year, while his strikeout rate sits at a lowly 18.0%. Just yikes.

Waino is a different animal for Pittsburgh. He’s sitting on a 3.26 ERA, limiting walks on the year (6.2%), and his 22.5% K-rate is his best mark since 2013. Not much needs to be said about how awful the Pirates are. If you want to be contrarian with a two-man stack of Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds, I won’t argue. But there’s no one else on that squad you can talk me into, and even Hayes is ice cold over the last 14 (32.7% K-rate, .089 ISO, .244 BA). Give me all the Waino.

Hitting: Houston Astros vs. LHP Tyler Anderson

The Astros punish lefties, and I have some value plays in mind to make it work. Just don’t leave off Michael Brantley, as he hits lefties and righties equally and is sneaky in the LvL split. The same goes for Yordan Alvarez. If I’m stacking up Houston, I’m getting the lefties in there. Houston has managed 12 and 15 runs respectively over the last two days, including seven runs off of stout lefty Yusei Kikuchi two days ago. Tyler Anderson has been pretty good overall this year (4.10 ERA, 1.17 WHIP), but this is a nightmare matchup.

Value Plays: Tommy Edman, Anthony Santander, Kyle Seager

Edman is just too cheap batting leadoff against Brault of the Pirates, as he’s got four double-digit DK point efforts over the last week, and another day with two of the other days were 8.0 and 9.0 points. Over that stretch, his salary has crept up from $3,000 to just $3,500. He’ll help you squeeze in those pricey Houston bats.

Anthony Santander gets the nod for me over the red-hot Tyler Naquin. Naquin should bat leadoff again and is a worthy play at only $2,900, but he runs into what could be a buzzsaw in the form of a smoking hot Sandy Alcantara. Meanwhile, Santander slugged a pair of home runs yesterday, bringing his season total up to 12. In early August he had a three-day barrage with four homers in three games. If history repeats—or if he raps out a double or two and gets into the scoring column—he should pay dividends. I also like his matchup against the mercurial Touki Toussaint much better. If you can’t get either into your lineup, work down to Lewis Brinson for only $2,700 on the road in Cinci. Brinson has been better against lefties, but the RHP Vladimir Gutierrez isn’t a guy that we fear.

As for catcher...Tres Barrera was dialed in yesterday, with a pair of hits and a walk. But he may not start on Sunday. Robinson Chirinos would be in his best split against a right-handed pitcher and is also only $2,600, like Barrera (again, if he starts). If neither of those guys goes, Reese McGuire against the right-hander Hutchison, in Toronto, should be a nice punt.

Lastly, one YOLO play to make it all work is Kyle Seager. Given that Framber Valdez should be popular, I can’t imagine many people paying down for Seager. Seager quietly has 28 dingers on the year, and has long been a stick to insert in the sneaky LvL split. He’s got three double-digit efforts (and two homers) over his last four games, but his salary plummeted to only $3,800 given his matchup against Valdez today. He’s got a higher batting average against lefties (.233 to .211) and a higher ISO (.245 against .225). Valdez hasn’t allowed a homer to a lefty, but lefties are batting .256 with a .315 wOBA against him, compared to a .227 BA and .294 wOBA by right-handers. It’s an absurdly small sample with lefty bats, though, only 11.0 total IP, compared to 80.0 versus righties. I’ll take a shot on Seager if he gets the nod for Seattle.