This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The dawn of a new week of KBO action sees the league still divided into roughly the same tiers as it's been divided into for a while. The Wiz, who've scored the most runs per game this season while allowing the second-fewest, hold a comfortable 5.5-game lead over the rest of the pack, while the Lions and Twins are locked into a tight battle for second place and are both safely playoff teams by at least five games. Then comes the Dinos, Bears and Heroes all fighting for the final two spots and all separated by just half a game, with the Heroes stumbling after going winless in seven straight games. The Landers continue to slide, as they're now nearly as close to the eighth-place Giants (two games) as they are to a playoff spot (1.5 games), though the Giants' 11-7 run thus far in September means they're not completely out of it. The Tigers and Eagles, meanwhile, have been all but mathematically eliminated for quite some time and remain that way.
Tuesday's slate is another early one, kicking off at 1:00 a.m. ET. Keep an eye on the weather in Busan, as the Lions-Giants game appears to be at significant risk of a rainout.
Casey Kelly ($9,300) is the clear top starter on Tuesday's slate, even as the most expensive arm available. That high price couldn't be more deserved, as he's having yet another strong season, cruising to a 3.01 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 22 starts. He's been particularly good since the Olympic break, posting a 1.97 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in seven trips to the mound while also increasing his K/9 to 9.5, a huge jump from his 6.1 K/9 in the first half. He now owns a 19.5 percent strikeout rate on the season to go along with his 7.9 percent walk rate. To top it all off, he'll get one of the easiest matchups possible here, as he'll face the ninth-ranked Eagles lineup.
While Kelly is the pitcher most likely to produce a big point total, Won Joon Choi ($7,700) looks like the best value option. Choi began last season in the bullpen but emerged as a stabilizing force in the rotation down the stretch, posting a 3.29 ERA in 18 starts. He's been even better this season, recording a 3.07 mark in 21 trips to the mound. His modest 17.0 percent strikeout rate caps his upside, but it's been more than enough when combined with his 5.9 percent walk rate. His matchup against the second-ranked Dinos lineup isn't as tough as it may appear, as the defending champions lost four starters to suspensions over the break after they violated health protocols.
Sam Gaviglio ($7,700) isn't as reliable as the aforementioned options, but he has the potential to post a big point total on any given night. His first four KBO starts were quite poor, as he struggled to a 10.31 ERA and 1.91 WHIP, but he recovered nicely over his next three, posting a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. His last start, which came against the lowly Eagles, wasn't a good one, as he allowed five runs in five innings of work, though he did at least strike out seven batters. His 6.53 ERA on the year remains quite poor, but his combination of a 22.3 percent strikeout rate and 8.7 percent walk rate seemingly bodes well for the future. That makes him a very playable option at this mid-tier price against a mid-tier Heroes lineup.
I'm mostly trying to avoid players from the Lions-Giants game due to the threat of rain, but I have to mention Jae Il Oh ($4,500) just in case the game does go forward. He's priced like a second-tier option at first base, but he's been performing as a clear top-tier option lately. The veteran closed last week with three straight multi-hit games, homering three times and driving in six runs over that stretch. His hot streak stretches back over his last 12 games, a run in which he's homered six times while slashing .333/.380/.800. He'll get the platoon advantage Tuesday against Giants righty Enderson Franco, who owns a 4.81 ERA.
Hyun Soo Kim ($4,300) hasn't been in his best form lately, though he hasn't been anything close to poor hitting .300/.378/.425 with five walks against just three strikeouts over his last 11 games. That line alone is enough to justify his surprisingly affordable price, but he's capable of much more. While he has a merely good .840 OPS this season, he recorded a .927 mark last year, the sixth time he'd crossed .900 in that category. He's an excellent mid-tier outfielder Tuesday, as he'll get the platoon advantage against Eagles righty Min Woo Kim, who owns a 4.80 ERA and 1.63 WHIP since the Olympic break.
Hyoung Woo Choi ($3,600) continues to stick around in a very inexpensive tier for someone who won a batting title and produced a 1.028 OPS last season. His price tag seems accurate for someone with the .768 OPS he currently owns, but his season-long numbers are still suppressed by an awful stretch early in the season when he was dealing with an eye issue. In 38 games since his return from the injured list at the start of July, he's slashing .287/.395/.471 with more walks (25) than strikeouts (24). That's still a far cry from what we saw him do last year, but it's a far better performance than you'll typically find in this tier. He's an excellent budget option against Wiz righty William Cuevas, who looked like he was turning things around after a poor start before allowing 10 runs on 15 hits in 9.1 innings over his last two trips to the mound.
It doesn't take much at all for a minimum-priced player to justify a spot in your lineup. Sometimes all it takes is a player having a key spot in the order for a decent offense. That's the justification for recommending Jeong Beom Lee ($2,000), who's bat second for the fifth-ranked Landers lineup in five straight games. The 23-year-old outfielder has a tiny track record, appearing in just seven games, but he's certainly done nothing wrong in those contests, hitting .273 with a pair of homers. That's more than enough to justify a minimal investment here as long as he keeps his spot in the order.
Stacks to Consider
This one should need little explanation, as we have the league's top lineup going against easily the slate's worst pitcher. Hyeon Su Kim features in this spot in basically all of his starts, and it's nearly always been a good idea. In four of his last five starts, he's allowed four or more runs while failing to complete five innings. His 7.33 ERA on the season looks very deserved, as it comes with a 1.93 WHIP, a 12.8 percent strikeout rate and a 15.2 percent walk rate. The stack featured here bets on a bounceback from the excellent Kang, who has just one hit in his last three games. We'll pair him here with the two batters who have been hitting right in front of him in recent games, with Min Hyuck Kim's near-minimum price helping us fit in two expensive bats.
There isn't another pitcher nearly as poor as Hyeon Su Kim on the slate, but Shin still stands out as one of the more exploitable options. His 4.76 ERA and 1.46 WHIP on the season wouldn't put him at the bottom of most slates, though they certainly don't paint a picture of a pitcher you should be scared of. Shin did throw six innings without allowing an earned run in his previous start, but that followed an extended run of poor form which dated back to before the Olympic break. Over his previous six outings, he'd struggled to an 8.01 ERA and 1.81 WHIP. The third-ranked Bears lineup should have him looking like that guy again Tuesday. The trio listed above contains the top three left-handed batters in the Bears' lineup recently. Jung isn't anything special at the plate but is an interesting option to keep this stack cheap as long as he continues to occupy a premium lineup position.