MLB lineups: Start Kris Bryant, Jose Abreu for DraftKings, Fanduel
Every weekday during the MLB season, we’ll provide you with our ultimate DFS cash game lineup. Please note that the column is written in the morning, and you should check all lineups to make sure the players we’ve recommended are starting that day. Get all of Michael Beller’s columns as soon as they’re published. Download the new Sports Illustrated app (iOS or Android) and personalize your experience by following your favorite teams and SI writers.
Starting pitcher: Jon Lester ($12,200) vs. San Diego and Juan Nicasio ($6,300) @ Cincinnati
The Cubs and Padres were rained out Monday, pushing Lester’s start back a day. He’s just as strong a play on Tuesday, even though his price jumped up $400. Lester has been superb this year, totaling a 1.58 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 38 strikeouts in 40 innings. He has an excellent matchup with a San Diego team that is among the league trailers in every meaningful offensive statistic, and with the Cubs offense at his back, he’s the best bet of any pitcher to pick up a win on Tuesday. Lester is well worth the price you have to pay to secure his services, especially with the bargain pitcher we found to be his partner.
Nicasio’s first five weeks in the Pittsburgh rotation has been a bit uneven, but the results have been mostly good. He has a 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings, and has been a DFS negative in only two of his six starts. Moreover, his best outing of the year came against Cincinnati when he held the Reds scoreless and fanned eight batters in seven innings. The price tag puts him over the top on Tuesday. Identifiable upside for $6,300 isn’t something you find regularly, and is especially important when you’ve spent $12,200 on your other pitcher.
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto ($3,100) vs. Milwaukee, Zach Davies
Realmuto, with some help from Marcell Ozuna, turned a home run into an RBI single on Monday when he passed Ozuna on the bases, a baseball oddity that cost his DFS owners big points. Still, he did hit the home run, and that’s more important going forward. Davies has been terrible this season, allowing 15 earned runs and 28 hits in 19 1/3 innings. Whether or not you stack Marlins players, Realmuto is a great dollar-for-dollar play.
First base: Jose Abreu ($4,800) @ Texas, Derek Holland
Yes, Abreu went 0-for-5 in the White Sox 12-inning win over the Rangers on Monday, dropping his slash line to .242/.327/.414. But in the 12 games before Monday, he was 18-for-49 with two homers, three doubles and 12 RBI. Take that, and the platoon advantage against Holland, and make what could be a bit of a differential play on Abreu.
Second base: Derek Dietrich ($3,300) vs. Milwaukee, Zach Davies
On Monday, we put Dietrich in our ultimate lineup and told you to get used to seeing his name. He went 3-for-5 with a triple, RBI and run scored, so it was pretty easy to find our second baseman for Tuesday. Dietrich will be right back in there with the righty Davies starting for Milwaukee. Again, think about a sneaky Miami stack, which doesn’t even need the expensive Giancarlo Stanton to pay off.
Third base: Kris Bryant ($4,700) vs. San Diego, Cesar Vargas
Bryant has at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games, going 21-for-57 (.368) with three homers, six doubles, 13 RBI and eight walks in that span. Vargas has been a pleasant surprise in the early going for the Padres, but he hasn’t exactly seen an offense like the one he’ll face at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. Monitor the rain in Chicago, but roll out Bryant with confidence if they’re able to play.
Shortstop: Jonathan Villar ($3,100) @ Miami, Adam Conley
Villar collected two more hits on Monday, running his slash line to .264/.366/.377, and stole his league-leading ninth base. Villar is providing fantasy owners with a ton of speed while hitting at the top of the Milwaukee order, and that’s enough to make a player attractive when you need to save a little money at his position. After all we’ve invested elsewhere, shortstop needs to be cheap. Villar achieves that objective while also providing real upside.
Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez ($4,700) vs. Arizona, Rubby De La Rosa; Christian Yelich ($4,300) vs. Milwaukee, Zach Davies; Odubel Herrera ($3,500) @ Atlanta, Matt Wisler
The Diamondbacks and Rockies combined for 15 runs on Monday. For his part, Gonzalez went 2-for-5 with a run scored. You have to find some investment in the offense in that game, and Gonzalez provides us with one of its bigger bats. The Yelich breakout is upon us, with the 24-year-old hitting .333/.447/.519 through 132 plate appearances. He snapped his modest six-game hitting streak Monday, but he was still on base twice thanks to a pair of walks. Yelich completes our Marlins stack against Davies. Finally, Herrera is riding a seven-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 11-for-28 with a homer, two walks and five runs scored. His on-base ability—Herrera ahs a .445 OBP this season—makes him a great value at $3,500.