DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 21 Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks. Check out where his mind is at today when it comes to roster construction at FantasyDraft – where they put players first – Daily fantasy baseball on a level playing field. Check them out tonight. Now, on to the the picks for tonight’s action.
Where to Focus?
It’s not often that the Chicago Cubs are the most valuable team on the slate, but tonight it is the case. The Cubs draw a home matchup with right-hander Robert Stephenson who is backed up by the worst bullpen in the league. Stephenson has only made five starts this season, but he’s been absolutely pummeled in all five, pitching to a 5.32 xFIP while allowing 2.13 HR/9 and a 22.6% difference in hard and soft contact. Anthony Rizzo ($10,400) is priced fully, but NL MVP candidate Kris Bryant ($8,700) is way too cheap. Bryant has posted a .382 wOBA and a .231 ISO against right-handed pitching since 2015 and should headline cash game lineups tonight at his price. Bryzzo shouldn’t be the only two Cubs starters that you’re honed in on though as plenty of value can be found with Cubs youngsters Addison Russell ($7,600), Javier Baez ($6,400) and Willson Contreras ($7,200). Regardless of what Joe Maddon does with the lineup, you’ll be able to grab plenty of Cubs value.
Aside from the Cubs, you should turn your focus to the Texas Rangers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Rangers remain far too valuable given their park and matchup and should rival the Cubs as cash game components tonight. They get a strong matchup right-hander Jered Weaver, who yes, somehow is still pitching for a major league team. Weaver has been horrendous this season, posting a 5.73 xFIP while allowing 1.94 HR/9 and creating a career high in hard contact allowed and career low strikeout rate. Jonathan Lucroy ($9,900) remains too pricey relative to his peers, but the rest of the Rangers offense come at extremely accessible price tags which will be necessary tonight given the top starting pitching available. Carlos Beltran ($8,100) and Ian Desmond ($8,000) are once again my favorites, but the rest of the top five hitters should be on your radar.
The Pirates aren’t as enticing as the Boston Red Sox or Baltimore Orioles tonight (both deserve heavy cash game consideration) but they are the cheapest way to get exposure to a good run scoring environment and premier lineup spots. Josh Bell ($5,700) has still not received a price bump despite hitting from the two spot against right-handed pitching and posting a .390 wOBA and .169 ISO in his short time with the big club. While Bell represents a free space, Adam Frazier ($6,800) would represent another solid value should he be atop the lineup once again. In just 124 plate appearances this season, Frazier has shown adaptable skills, posting a .386 wOBA and just a 15.3% strikeout rate. If these two go 1-2 in the Pirates lineup they’ll help you pay up at pitcher.
On the Bump..
A star-studded pitching slate tonight is dominated by Chris Sale ($27,300) and Max Scherzer ($25,600) at the top of the salary spectrum. Sale has had an odd season by fantasy standards, but he’s still been quite solid and even better recently as he’s revamped his strikeout ability. Despite a three season low of just 9.19 K/9, both ZiPS and Steamer project for positive regression the rest of the season. His matchup with the Phillies certainly stands out as he’ll be taking on a league shift in his favor as the Phillies will be without the DH. Of course, with all of top offenses on the slate, it won’t be easy to pay for Sale but if you can make it work you won’t be disappointed. Scherzer’s matchup is a little bit less enticing, but he brings the best strikeout potential on the slate. The Marlins this season have been a tough team to pick on as they combine a bunch of pesky hitters towards the top of the order and getting through them with strikeouts doesn’t happen often. Much like Sale, I’m opting to lean away from Scherzer, mainly because of the price but he makes for a solid tournament option.
Instead of using the top two guys, I’m looking to exploit the middle tier of starting pitchers. My initial leans are towards John Lackey ($17,200) and Zack Grienke ($16,200) who both draw favorable matchups and hold accessible price tags. Lackey has been the picture of consistency for the Cubs this year, working deep into games and posting a respectable 3.76 with an increased 8.83 K/9. The Reds have posted just the 23rd best wRC+ against right-handers this season and Lackey is a huge (-235) favorite getting the Reds on a big negative park shift.
Grienke’s matchup isn’t quite as favorable, but he presents a similar alternative to Lackey in his tilt with the San Diego Padres. Grienke will be taking advantage of the park shift that his offense is will have to fight through, pitching on the road at Petco Park. The Padres have posted the league’s worst wRC+ and the second highest strikeout rate against right-handers (24.9%). While Grienke has had a down year, his price tag allows you the flexibility to open the floodgates on offense.
If you’re trying to stray away from Grienke or Lackey, both Masahiro Tanaka ($21,600) and Matt Moore ($15,200) should be tournament considerations. Tanaka gets a solid park shift moving to Tropicana Field and his matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays provides considerable strikeout upside. Moore will have a more difficult matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Dodgers have been horrible against left-handed pitching this season. His price tag is just as accessible as Grienke or Lackey but he’ll provide you with a much lower ownership tag tonight, making him a perfect pivot in tournaments.