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8/22 DFS Hitting Picks and Stacks

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Nine of Thursday’s games will be under the lights, so pay no mind to the happenings at Wrigley between the Giants and Cubs or the conclusion of the Royals at Red Sox matchup that was suspended on August 7. If you want to make the long green, the 8/22 DFS Hitting Picks and Stacks is all about getting dirty after dark.

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8/22 DFS Hitting Catcher

Will Smith, C, LAD vs. TOR

DK ($4,600), FD ($3,800)

Normally, I’d suggest a bargain play behind the plate, but Smith has homered in each of the first two games of the series against the Blue Jays and comes into Thursday with six games of double-digit FanDuel points in his last seven starts. Smith has a 1.219 OPS while racking up 20 extra base hits among his first 28 professional hits. He’s also sporting a 10.2% walk rate and is making the most of his 51.6% hard contact rate by putting the ball in the air 54.8% of the time.

As vicious as Smith’s .314 BABIP feels, take a gander at his .488 Isolated Power. That’s some Ivan Drago with a bat and plate discipline stuff there. The way Smith has been swinging it almost feels like what Drago’s handler said in the early part of Rocky IV: Whatever he hits, he destroys. So trust that Smith will do so as your 8/22 DFS Hitting Picks and Stacks backstop.

8/22 DFS Hitting First Baseman

Jose Abreu, CWS vs. TEX

DK ($4,600), FD ($4,000)

Wednesday’s three-hit effort gave Abreu a third straight game of at least 20 FanDuel points, continuing an August assault on American League hurlers that’s resulted in six homers and 20 RBI and a .995 OPS. Looking more like his rookie season in 2014, Abreu has elevated his HR/FB% to 23% despite a fly ball rate that has dipped to 31.7%. He’s maintained a solid line drive rate (21.6%) and Isolated Power (.223) despite a dip in walk rate to a career-low 4.9%.

Expect the heat from his August bat to continue at the expense of Rangers starter Ariel Jurado, who has allowed righties to tag him at a .324 clip in his last seven starts. You’ll love Abreu if he gets the opportunity to hit up Jurado with runners on base; Jurado has allowed a .317 batting average with runners in scoring position.

8/22 DFS Hitting Second Baseman

Jonathan Villar, BAL vs. TB

DK ($4,900), FD ($3,800)

Improved plate discipline is behind Villar’s second half tear that continued on Wednesday with his fifth two-hit game in the last week. After a tepid .326 OBP in the first half, Villar has raised it to .391 after the All-Star Break along with a 151-point jump in OPS from .747 to .898. He also smacked his 17th homer in Wednesday’s victory, putting his .171 Isolated Power on par with his career-best power season in 2016 with the Brewers, where he hit 19 homers. Villar isn’t smacking the ball hard (27.3% hard contact rate), but is making the most of a 50.4% medium contact rate, which will work more favorably against Rays ace Ryan Yarborough.

Why suggest Villar against a lights out pitcher like Yarborough has been in the second half? Because you take caution in the wind and take the hitter with the 1.039 OPS over the month of August. Thank me later if you take Villar.

8/22 DFS Hitting Shortstop

Amed Rosario, NYM vs. CLE

DK ($4,100), FD ($3,100)

He’s found the pay station in three straight games and comes into Thursday with a blistering .571/.613/.750 slash over the past week and a .952 OPS post All-Star Break. Rosario is thriving behind a .348 BABIP with a wRC+ of 106. His speed rate has dipped a bit to 6.3 but he’s made up for that with more pop, evidenced by his .171 Isolated Power, a 34-point jump from last season. That extra kick is also shown in his hard contact rate, which now stands at 35.4% while his soft contact rate has fallen to 12.8.

The 8/22 DFS Hitting Picks does offer its share of solid shortstops to choose from, but Rosario is the only hitting like it’s a video game.

8/22 DFS Hitting Third Baseman

Asdrubal Cabrera, WAS at PIT

DK ($3,600), FD ($2,800)

When he’s good, he’s good, having delivered eight RBI split up between two games over the past week. Cabrera has put together two exceptional scoring outbursts for his users coming into the finale of the four-game set against the Pirates and has been in a two-week stretch that has seen him produce a 1.044 OPS in that span.

His recent tear has boosted his line drive rate to 23.6% along with a hard contact rate that has eclipsed 40% for the first time in his career. He’s more of a power threat against lefties, something to keep in mind as the Pirates wheel out southpaw Steven Brault to the mound.

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8/22 DFS Hitting Outfielder

Hunter Pence, TEX at CWS

DK ($5,500), FD($4,000)

The seemingly ageless Pence has gone .351/.467/.541 (1.008 OPS) over the past two weeks and hits the road for a weekend set at the hitter’s haven known as Guaranteed Rate Field. Pence is more productive outside Arlington, where he’s posted a 1.014 OPS and swatted 11 of his 18 homers. Add the fact that Pale Hose starter Ross Detwiler brings it from the left side, and Pence — who hits lefties to the tune of .333/.385/.648 and a 1.048 OPS — becomes more solid when it comes to grabbing an outfielder who can be a major contributor to any 8/22 DFS Hitting Picks lineup.

8/22 DFS Hitting Outfielder

Charlie Blackmon, COL at STL

DK ($5,400), FD ($4,600)

Blackmon heads into St. Louis having recorded seven multi-hit games in his last nine starts during an August that has seen him nearly double (1.164) his July OPS (.664). Even despite a noticeable dip in walk rate (5.6%), Blackmon is having another outstanding season that has been bolstered by a career-high .280 Isolated Power and .358 BABIP.

This is also a good time to run with Blackmon, whose post All-Star Break has taken a bit of a drop to “just” .930 and is likely to see more time off as the Rockies’ Wild Card hopes dip with each passing day.

8/22 DFS Hitting Outfielder

Yordan Alvarez, HOU vs. DET

DK (5,800), FD ($4,200)

To throw another Rocky IV quote, Alvarez has shown “he’s a man,” having hit just .227 over the past week. Then again, that .227 has come with a pair of homers, a .379 OBP and .970 OPS. Perhaps we could be wrong. He’s been quiet, which is why I think that silence comes to an end at the expense of an improved yet still hitter’s chum in Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, who has been mauled by lefties (.322/.391/.526) the way Jaws found Quint to be a tasty mid-morning snack.

I don’t think he’ll eclipse the 76.30 FanDuel points he racked up on August 10, but I get the feeling Alvarez has a 30-40 FD point night waiting in his bat.

8/22 DFS Hitting Stacks

8/22 Stack of the Night: Houston Astros: I’m going all-in with the Astros’ left-handed hitters, beginning with Alvarez and including Michael Brantley, who goes in at a reasonable $4,000 at FanDuel. This would be a good night to throw a low-risk, high-reward dart in Josh Reddick’s direction ($2,400 FanDuel). Of course, there’s the usual faces to consider in Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve, and while you can’t all of them, I’d make sure the lefties are in.

8/22 Stack Runner-Up: Atlanta Braves: Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara — who I think will be an All-Star hurler down the road — struggles with control away from home, so I’d look at going big with Freddie Freeman, who has four homers over the past week despite a .217 batting average, and Ronald Acuna, Jr., who has also kept up his pop despite hitting just .238 in the last week. Josh Donaldson has hit well of late, putting together a .458 OBP and 1.358 OPS in the last week, so he’s a strong play as well.

8/22 Stack to Consider: Chicago White Sox: As mentioned in the Abreu profile, the White Sox are facing a starter that has been shelled over the past month. Abreu is a good foundation for a stack along with Eloy Jimenez, who has a pair of homers in the past week. Tim Anderson is hitting .433 over the past week, and I’d look at James McCann as another right-handed bat to throw into what should be a fun party off of Ariel Jurado.

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Brandon C. Williams has covered Fantasy Sports since 2013 when he was selected as a finalist for the FSWA Newcomer of the Year. He is an award-winning writer/editor who has been in sports media for 30 years, having worked with likes of the Houston Chronicle, Fox Sports Net, CBSSports.com, Rivals.com and RotoExperts.com. Brandon is a Fantasy Content writer for the Canadian Football League and will begin his second season as a Fantasy Football Columnist for the Associated Press.

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