This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.
We have an untraditional Monday schedule due to the holiday, leaving the main slate for a start time of 1:05 pm ET. We have six games to work with, and there are no true aces set to take the mound. That leaves the pitching prices inflated, which will be a key to navigating contests tomorrow afternoon. There are no obvious positive hitting environments, leaving matchups as the primary way to build the hitting portions of the lineup.
From a results perspective, Nathan Eovaldi ($10,500) is the closest thing we have to an ace. However, he has a strikeout rate of only 25 percent. The case for him is a matchup against the Tigers, who have a disastrous 85 wRC+ and .292 wOBA against right-handed pitching on the season. He's overpriced, but for those that want to pay up, Eovaldi is the best option.
Two names in the second tier of pricing have to be mentioned. Taj Bradley ($9,600) has the best skills of any pitcher available, highlighted by an impressive 29.7 K-BB%. However, his results haven't been strong since his return to majors as he's managed performances of only 12.3 and 9.6 DK points. A matchup against the Cubs is league-average by most measures. Tyler Wells ($9,000) is another interesting case. He takes on the Guardians, the worst-hitting team in the league as measured by wOBA. On the other hand, they strike out at the second-lowest rate in the league. Between this duo, Bradley profiles as the tournament play and Wells as the cash option.
It's a tricky day to pay down at pitcher, as the slate lacks both high-end talent and depth. J.P. France ($7,000) is a decent option based on skills and matchup. He has shown decent command (5.6 percent walk rate) and his 4.25 SIERA compares relatively favorably to Wells. A matchup against the Twins isn't ideal, though they do strike out at a 25.7 percent clip. The other cheap option worth considering is Adam Wainwright ($6,100). The logic to roster him is the opposite of France, as his skills are lacking but a matchup against the Royals is not at all daunting.
Karl Kauffmann has been a disaster for the Rockies and he enters Monday's game with the second-lowest strikeout rate and highest walk rate of any traditional starter available. That gives the Diamondbacks a good matchup to work with, and Corbin Carroll ($5,100) has been particularly hot of late (.967 OPS across the last 10 games).
The tricky thing about the short slate and lack of quality pitching options is that some of the top hitting options are facing off against value pitchers. That leads us to France, who has allowed 2.1 HR/9. Byron Buxton ($5,800) is the best hitting option in Minnesota and is a strong player to build around Monday.
The same goes for value bats, as Wainwright goes head-to-head with Kauffmann for the least impressive skills among pitchers set to take the mound. Nick Pratto ($3,200) has taken over the primary leadoff duties for Kansas City against right-handed pitching and should benefit from what could be a good offensive day for the Royals.
Many in the season-long fantasy community were ready to give up on Brendan Donovan ($3,000), but he had a big week and has claimed a fairly regular role in the crowded Cardinals' lineup. The Royals are set to throw a bullpen game, so the matchup shouldn't be daunting.
Stacks to Consider
The Diamondbacks are a fairly obvious stack Monday. Kauffmann has dreadful skills that have resulted in a 5.79 SIERA. The Diamondbacks are a team capable of taking advantage, as they have a 106 wRC+ and .331 wOBA against right-handed pitching on the season. There are a few other ways to build this stack. Pavin Smith ($3,000) has been poor after a hot start but could still lead off, while the recently recalled Jake McCarthy ($3,000) also offers a way to make the stack cheaper.
The Cardinals have struggled this season but that has been due to their pitching. Their lineup is among the deepest and highest quality in the National League, and they'll draw a matchup against the Royals' bullpen Monday. Even in a pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium, they should be able to take advantage. Watch for the official lineup, because the team can rotate through a number of options atop the order. That could present some value in an otherwise expensive lineup.