MLB DFS Plays: Sunday 8/22

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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

The nine-game main slate doesn’t include Coors Field. Some platforms allow it. Obviously, consider using players at Coors Field if they’re available. The Twins-Yankees and Rangers-Red Sox games are already postponed. Braves-Orioles carried moderate risk.

PITCHER

Top Play: Sandy Alcantara – Marlins (at Reds)

This isn’t an inspiring collection of pitchers. Visiting Great American Ballpark is usually cause to avoid a pitcher. However, Alcantara is a low-key ace with a hefty ground ball rate and only 0.89 HR/9. He’s our best shot at a seven- or eight-inning appearance and double-digit strikeouts – not that any of the day’s pitchers have much chance at more than eight strikeouts. In fact, nobody else, including Alcantara, projects for more than seven strikeouts.

Pivot: Steven Matz – Blue Jays (vs Tigers)

The Tigers have hammered southpaws in recent weeks. It’s important not to overreact. The foundation of their offense includes five replacement level players, Miguel Cabrera’s zombie, and three league average players. They remain strikeout prone too. Matz can be expected to be one of the best arms in this slate, and he should receive copious run support for the win bonus too. He’s the only pitcher available who projects to deliver more than a strikeout per inning.

Also Consider: Framber Valdez, Adam Wainwright, John Means, Touki Toussaint, Vladimir Gutierrez

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CATCHER

Top Play: Alejandro Kirk – Blue Jays (vs Drew Hutchison)

Between various weather threats and a 15-mph gust blowing in from center at Wrigley Field, there really aren’t any traditional top plays at catcher. We know Kirk puts the ball in play with a high quality of contact. Power isn’t his signature, but we can’t rule it out either. Facing an Indy League caliber pitcher like Hutchison should lead to a spicy performance from the Jays stack as a whole. Kirk hits near the bottom of the lineup which cuts into his value. He’s reasonably priced but not a bargain.

Pivot: Jorge Alfaro – Marlins (at Gutierrez)

Alfaro has two glaring flaws preventing his from becoming a useful DFS player. While he makes plenty of hard contact, it’s nearly all on the ground. That’s why he’s hit only three home runs in 256 plate appearances this season. He also has a ludicrously aggressive approach matched with a 33 percent strikeout rate. Gutierrez skews to fly ball contact and doesn’t induce many strikeouts. Alfaro might have a chance to lift the ball today.

Also Consider: Salvador Perez, Pedro Severino, Dustin Garneau

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Blue Jays (vs Hutchison)

In his 2021 debut, Hutchison was eviscerated across just 1.2 innings. He performed too poorly to really get a sense of his current identity as a pitcher. He might have been trying to work up in the zone which feeds into Guerrero’s strength. No matter how you slice it, this is either a very good or incredibly good matchup for Vladito.

Pivot: Jesus Aguilar – Marlins (at Gutierrez)

Aguilar hold much more tangible potential than his teammate Alfaro. The slugging right-hander is a fly ball hitter with close to a one-in-three shot at a home run today. The matchup with Gutierrez is slightly favorable since he doesn’t have an extreme fly ball rate. Great American Ballpark is quite forgiving to anything hit in the air with some thump. Aguilar could be in line for multiple home runs.

Also Consider: Freddie Freeman, Jose Abreu, Joey Gallo, Yuli Gurriel, Ryan Mountcastle, Jonathan Schoop, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew Vaughn, Rowdy Tellez

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Marcus Semien – Blue Jays (vs Hutchison)

We have no reason to pull our punches with the Jays stack today. They’re all going to be high value and high ceiling. The only drawback is the chalkiness of the stack. Even eight runs would feel like a failure and might not be enough to carry the day.

Pivot: Whit Merrifield – Royals (at Alec Mills)

Conditions should keep folks away from the Cubs and Royals offenses. However, Merrifield works by spraying liners and grounders. He’s a multi-hit target whose contact won’t interact much with the wind. It’s not the sexiest play, and it’s only par value. However, Merrifield should go relatively unclaimed.

Also Consider: Jazz Chisholm, Jonathan Schoop, Brandon Lowe, Jose Altuve, Ozzie Albies, Enrique Hernandez, Abraham Toro

THIRD BASE

Top Play: BrIan Anderson – Marlins (at Gutierrez)

Third base is a tough nut to crack this afternoon. It might be the key to the slate. The options are largely overpriced with Anderson representing one of the lone cost-effective plays. His somewhat fringy hitting profile matches well against Gutierrez, especially at Great American Ballpark. Personally, I’m inclined to punt the position, although our best choices to do so is…

Pivot: Carter Kieboom – Nationals (at Houser)

Kieboom is a roughly league average hitter. He keeps the ball on the ground and uses all fields. Facing Houser eats into his already minimal value. The Brewers right-hander has a 60.5 percent ground ball rate. On the plus side, he likes to work low-and-away, and we know Kieboom can serve singles to the opposite field.

Also Consider: Austin Riley, Nolan Arenado, Yoan Moncada, Eduardo Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Ke’Bryan Hayes

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Bo Bichette – Blue Jays (vs Hutchison)

As much as I’d love to write about another team, Bichette is the correct top play. Technically, Semien is a slightly better option if you aren’t using him at second base. The Jays leadoff man makes copious hard, low-angle contact. He might not be as likely to homer as most of his teammates, but he’ll probably be involved in the fireworks.

Pivot: Dylan Moore – Mariners (at Valdez)

This is a high risk, high reward play. Moore has struggled to recover his 2020 success. The power and speed remain apparent, but there’s just so much swing-and-miss to his game. Too much fly ball contact has crushed his BABIP too. Fortunately, facing a left-handed ground ball pitcher is one of the best times to use Moore. It maximizes his power potential. Less fortunately, Valdez is a stout opponent with strikeout stuff and one of the tiniest fly ball rates in the league.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Jazz Chisholm, Willy Adames, Tim Anderson, Dansby Swanson, Wander Franco, Carlos Correa

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Teoscar Hernandez – Blue Jays (vs Hutchison)
Avisail Garcia – Brewers (vs Sean Nolin)

Lest you wonder about other Blue Jays, allow me to be clear: use any and all Toronto hitters. Hernandez just happens to be the likeliest to homer among their four regulars. It’s a nitro matchup for everybody involved. Garcia is also in an excellent situation opposite a soft-tossing southpaw. Nolin has a long history of allowing fly ball contact. Garcia likes the ball up-and-away – that’s his personal nitro zone.

Pivots: Lewis Brinson – Marlins (at Gutierrez)
Harrison Bader – Cardinals (vs Steven Brault)
Jesus Sanchez – Marlins (at Gutierrez)

Sanchez and Brinson will bat cleanup and fifth. The former matches particularly well against Gutierrez due to his aggressive approach and frequent hard, low-angle contact. He’s had some trouble adapting to the Major League game. Speaking of difficulty adapting, Brinson is FINALLY showing life in his fifth season. Since his latest recall on July 19, he’s batting .287/.350/.543 with five home runs and nine doubles in 103 plate appearances. His approach is a little less tailored to Gutierrez in particular. It’s still a fine matchup bolstered by GABP.

The Cardinals refuse to promote Bader to a merited role. He’s an above average hitter set to face a crafty southpaw who is missing his best velocity. He has a solid mix of multi-hit and power potential despite a bargain basement price tag.

Also Consider: Randal Grichuk, Corey Dickerson, Lourdes Gurriel, Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, Juan Soto, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Christian Yelich, Nick Castellanos, Tyler O’Neill, Bryan Reynolds, Ben Gamel