This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We're closing in on the end of the regular season, which makes both DFS and season-long fantasy baseball tricky to play. Starters are regularly getting pulled prior to a full workload and regulars in lineups are getting extra rest both for teams locked into the postseason and eliminated from contention. Even more than usual, it will be important to make sure to follow news and check lineups prior to lock.
Brandon Woodruff ($10,600) has a lot going in his favor. The Brewers are in a must-win situation to keep their playoff hopes alive, so we can be confident that he'll get work as deep into the game as possible. Given the stage of the season we are currently in, that's not something that is guaranteed for many of the pitchers in the pool. The reasons to play him go well beyond that, however. He is the only pitcher to have a strikeout rate of more than 30 percent, and the Diamondbacks have a .287 wOBA across the last 30 days as a team – the fourth-lowest in the league.
George Kirby ($9,000) could face some limitation in length as the Mariners try to preserve his innings for the postseason. Watch for any news regarding his workload prior to rostering him. If there's some assurance he'll work at least five innings – barring poor performance – he's in a good position to close his season on a strong note against a Detroit lineup that has consistently ranked in the bottom-third of the league in wOBA this season. Kirby has third-lowest SIERA on the slate behind only Aaron Nola and Woodruff.
We can dip into the middle and lower tiers of the pitcher pool from there. Patrick Sandoval ($7,700) and Bailey Ober ($6,900) are both nice options for those looking to pay down a bit. Sandoval draws a matchup against the Athletics for the second straight start. He managed only 9.2 DK points in the first outing, but I'd be willing to give him another shot. Ober also has a repeat in opponent, as he is set to face the White Sox. He is coming off an excellent outing, and given his price is likely to be extremely popular as a result.
The Mets are slipping down the standings, but that isn't because of Pete Alonso ($5,400). He has a .658 slugging percentage across his last 10 games and now draws a matchup against Cory Abbott – who has allowed 2.3 HR/9 across 44 innings this season.
Taylor Ward ($4,500) remains a nice play for a few reasons. He's gotten hot again at the plate (12.1 DK points across his last 10 games), he follows Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout in the Angels' lineup and he and the Angels take on Adrian Martinez. Martinez has a solid 13.0 K-BB% this season, but he's also served up 2.2 HR/9.
It's difficult to project who might remain in the Dodgers' lineup as they have nothing to play for at this point in the regular season. However, Freddie Freeman ($5,600) has continued to occupy first base and should have enough talent around him to still do damage. He and the Dodgers will take on Jose Urena, who has only a 3.9 K-BB% for the season.
Mike Brosseau ($2,300) consistently hits in the middle of the Milwaukee lineup when the Brewers take on a lefty. He's posted a .351 wOBA with the handedness advantage this season, and Tommy Henry has allowed 17 earned runs across his last 13 frames.
It's possible we're finally seeing the breakout for Jarred Kelenic ($2,300), as he has six extra-base hits across his last 36 at-bats. He's hitting in the middle of the Mariners lineup, yet his price has not risen significantly.
Stacks to Consider
Mets at Nationals (Cory Abbott): Francisco Lindor ($5,000), Pete Alonso ($5,400), Jeff McNeil ($4,200)
The Mets have everything to play for with the NL East still up for grabs. Cory Abbott's struggles have already been covered, but he checks many of the boxes we look for when targeting a pitcher to stack against including a high walk rate (10.8 BB%) and high home run rate (2.3 HR/9). The Mets are both expensive and likely to be popular, but they are in a good position to put up runs.
Brewers vs. Diamondbacks (Tommy Henry): Andrew McCutchen ($3,900), Hunter Renfroe ($4,700), Mike Brosseau ($2,300)
Henry has had some growing pains at the big-league level and will now face a team desperate to keep their season alive. There's some nice correlation between rostering Woodruff as an ace and backing him with the Brewers lineup. Fortunately, rostering some of the team's top hitters against lefties isn't cost-prohibitive.
Mariners vs. Tigers (Bryan Garcia): Eugenio Suarez ($4,500), Mitch Haniger ($4,600), Jarred Kelenic ($2,300)
Garcia has a very small sample in the majors this season, but he's allowed five earned runs and three home runs across 13.1 innings. He's also posted only an 11:8 K:BB in that span. This trio may not ultimately be the middle of the Seattle lineup Monday, but the Mariners lineup will be one I plan to build around.