This article is part of our DFS NPB series.
The NPB kicks off a new week with an interesting mix of solid and questionable arms on the hill, making it a potentially explosive night for offense in certain spots. Pricing is reasonable by and large, including for some big names that have seen slight drops due to a recent string of quiet performances. The one major concern on paper heading into the slate is that one of the more potentially fertile environments for offense on the schedule, the Lions-Golden Eagles matchup, could be rained out. Therefore, that will be one to keep an eye on as lineup lock approaches.
As usual, I'll look to suggest pitchers and hitters and three fairly different price points across the price scale, along with some alternative considerations. I'll also break down two stacks that could pay off, and with the aforementioned potential weather issues between Seibu and Rakuten, you'll likely want to pay close attention to the alternate stack.
Tomoyuki Sugano ($13,200) continues my recent trend of suggesting the highest-priced arm on the slate for those choosing to pay up, but as has been the case on more than one of those occasions, Sugano could be worth the hefty investment. The right-hander has started the season with a 2-0 mark, 2.91 ERA and minuscule 0.83 WHIP, averaging 27.5 DK points per contest on the strength of particularly spectacular performances versus the Tigers and Marines. The latter outing, a one-hit gem at the expense of the Dragons, netted an eye-popping 48.5 DK points. Sugano doesn't necessarily have to achieve that level of output to justify his price, but even a tally in the mid-to-upper 20s would certainly justify his salary.
Naoyuki Uwasawa ($11,400) didn't display anywhere near the strikeout upside of Ugano in his one start thus far, but the veteran right-hander is no slouch in that department, either. Uwasawa notched a modest four whiffs versus the Hawks, but he still notched a solid 14.3 DK points in the five-inning outing. He also has 441 strikeouts across 544 career appearances, and he'd encouragingly lowered his ERA over that of the previous year in three straight seasons heading into 2020. The opposing Marines are not a plum matchup, per se, but it's worth noting they carry an anemic .234 team batting average into Tuesday's game.
Kodai Senga ($9,300) carries some risk, but even in a so-so 2020 debut against a potent Golden Eagles lineup, he managed 16.5 DK points on the strength of six strikeouts over five innings. That fantasy haul represents a strong return on his current salary, and it's worth noting Senga has an ample body of work to back up his candidacy at such an affordable price. The right-hander checked into 2020 with four consecutive double-digit win seasons, three of which have included sub-3.00 ERAs. The opposing Buffaloes have improved their offense since their early-season struggles, but they're still not a prohibitive matchup by any stretch and also come in with a .246 team batting average that qualifies as just middle of the pack in the 12-team NPB.
Dayan Viciedo ($8,100) has been quiet by his standards over the last two games, tallying just 2.0 and 7.0 DK points in his weekend matchups against the Carp. However, the slugger is still sporting a .313 average and an outstanding .962 OPS, leading to an average of 10.0 DK points. Viciedo could be set for a resurgent night considering he'll face Shiniki Ohnuki, who has allowed 91 hits – including nine homers – and has posted a 5.27 ERA over his first 71.2 career innings. That makes the potential for a Viciedo long ball quite favorable, as he is averaging a homer every three games.
Sho Nakata ($7,300), who compiled double-digit fantasy points on three occasions over the last seven games, stands out due to both matchup and price Tuesday. An especially intriguing aspect of Nakata's candidacy is the looming encounter between his prolific bat and an opposing pitcher in Manabu Mima that has struggled to keep the ball in the park during his lengthy career. Mima came into 2020 having allowed double-digit home runs in four straight campaigns, and he's already allowed 23 hits and seven walks over his first 17.2 innings of the current season.
Takayuki Kajitani ($5,500) is a pivot from teammate Tyler Austin, who was originally slated for this spot but will not play Tuesday due to swelling in his right index finger. As I'd initially made note of for Austin's would-be entry, the matchup versus the Dragons' Takumi Yamamoto is an appealing one, as he's generated a 6.43 ERA over his first 14 innings of the season. Meanwhile, Kajitani has opened the season swinging one of the hottest bats of his career, as he's slashing .333/.444/.507 over his first 91 plate appearances of 2020. Kajitani has traditionally brought a bit of everything to the table, and even though he hasn't played much the last two seasons (82 combined games), he's healthy again and appears refreshed thus far in 2020.
Eigoro Mogi ($4,900) makes for a potentially strong per-dollar play out of his leadoff spot in a matchup versus the Lions' Kona Takahashi, who's known for yielding plenty of contact, including the occasional homer. The right-hander has surrendered 382 hits over 362.1 career innings, and he also has about average swing-and-miss stuff with a career 6.5 K/9. Mogi returned from a brief benching with hits in three straight games, and the fact he's at the top of a potent lineup certainly doesn't hurt his chances of crossing the plate on multiple occasions in a favorable matchup.
Takumi Kuriyama ($4,100) paid off handsomely as an "also consider" value suggestion Sunday at just $100 cheaper, so he's in play again on the other side of the Lions-Golden Eagles battle despite the same-handed matchup against Hayato Yuge. The southpaw tends to pitch to a good amount of contact himself despite doing a solid job overall of keeping the ball in the park, as he's given up 57 hits, including eight home runs, across his first 62 NPB frames over the last year-plus. Kuriyama has posted 22 and 31 DK points in two of his last three games, a pair of outings in which he slugged two home runs and drove in seven runs versus the Marines. While Kuriyama may be hitting a bit above his head right now – his current .317/.434/.524 line is significantly better than his career .283/.372/.394 slash – his price and current body of work make him worthy of a punt play if you need to save some cash in one spot.
Stacks to Consider
ALSO CONSIDER: Hiroaki Shimauchi ($7,500)
Takahashi's weaknesses were already detailed in Mogi's entry, and the veteran righty's propensity for allowing contact could particularly get him into trouble versus some of the powerful bats in the Golden Eagles lineup.
The reasoning behind Mori's selection has already been discussed, while Suzuki makes for an excellent way to continue gaining Golden Eagles exposure as the next man in the order. The veteran infielder is enjoying a career year at the plate with a .345/.391/.393 slash, and he could be due to make some noise after lacing just two extra-base hits (one double, one home run) in his first 96 plate appearances. Suzuki has been a much more impactful hitter over his career (196 doubles, 40 triples, 55 home runs over eight seasons coming into 2020), and he should have a bit of extra incentive going up against his old Lions teammates Tuesday.
Asamura is always worthy of consideration due to his excellent all-around hitting, which thus far this season has led to a career-best .329/.430/.747 line across 93 plate appearances. The slugger already has nine homers over that span, and he's seen a considerable price drop over the last couple of games due to three straight fairly quiet performances. Given his 189 career round-trippers, Asamura is certainly one of the aforementioned big bats that could damage in this matchup.
The same applies to Romero, who makes for another high-upside player that could be had at a reasonable cost due to some recent modest performances. Despite going a serviceable but unspectacular 4-for-15 over his last four games, Romero still boasts a stellar .347/.427/.639 slash across his first 20 contests, and just over half (13) of his 25 hits have gone for extra bases in the form of nine doubles and four home runs.
The Swallows are in a favorable position as well and make for a solid pivot off the Golden Eagles, especially in the event of weather issues in that contest. Yakult bats will get a shot at a pitcher in Akiyama that has a long history of giving up contact and runs, even as he's been fairly effective at keeping the ball down. The veteran righty has finished with an ERA over 4.00 in four of the last six seasons, and he's already pitched to a 4.35 figure this season across his first 10.1 innings.
Sakaguchi makes for a very cost-effective way to kick off the stack, as the leadoff man checks in with an average of 8.1 DK points and a .296/.432/.366 slash. The 18-year veteran is a throwback top-of-the-order option in the sense that he has minimal power but a very good eye at the plate, as his elite OBP implies. His salary is also a highly appealing factor, as it won't take much for him to make it worthwhile.
Yamada is a classic case of a player that's due to ascend to his career marks in the near future. The power-hitting veteran is averaging an impressive 11.0 DK points per contest, but he's still significantly underperforming relative to his career marks with a .219/.345/.438 line and a modest seven extra-base hits (two doubles, one triple, four home runs) over 87 plate appearances. For perspective, consider Yamada been a 30-double, 30-homer player for much of the last five seasons, and that even with his significant struggles early, he's still sporting a .295/.400/.531 career slash. With a vulnerable pitcher like Akiyama on the mound and three straight double-digit fantasy-point tallies coming in, I like his chances of staying hot Tuesday.
Aoki and Murakami are also nicely priced for their respective upside and make for a great way to round out this onslaught.
Aoki brings a long track record of success at the plate, one that includes a career .325 average and .401 OBP. The veteran offers the desirable double whammy of a good eye at the plate and respectable power, the latter evidenced by his 114 career homers, including four this year. Aoki is fresh off racking up 25.0 and 18.0 DK points against the Giants over the weekend and could be in for another big night given the matchup.
Finally, Murakami is enjoying an excellent year thus far, jumping out to a .357/.458/.600 slash across his first 83 plate appearances. He's taken an exponential leap after producing a .231/.332/.481 line in 143 games last season, and although the small sample size in 2020 could certainly have something to do with his boost in production, he's running red hot at the moment with three straight double-digit fantasy-point tallies on the strength of a 6-for-13 stretch that includes three doubles and six RBI.