DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 27 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?
The Texas Rangers always let me down. Seriously, every single time they have a cake matchup, great ball park and absurdly manageable price tags, they let me down. It happened last night, it happened last week and it happened the week before that. NOT TONIGHT. The Rangers are once again going to be my headline team and if they fail to exploit a matchup with right-hander Jimmy Nelson, well, I don’t know. Nelson has taken a big step back this season, posting a 4.82 xFIP, walking 4.24 hitters per nine innings while allowing a career high in HR/9 and hard contact allowed. Despite a notable implied run total, the main draw to the Rangers is once again their price tags. On a night where you’ll be fighting to fit one of Max Scherzer or Chris Sale, embracing value in premier lineup spots is a necessity. Carlos Gomez ($7,600), Ian Desmond ($7,200) and Carlos Beltran ($7,800) will occupy the first three spots of the Rangers order and at least one of them should occupy a spot on your cash game team. If you’re looking to expand your Ranger ownership, you’ll be able to find Rougned Odor ($7,600) and Adrian Beltre ($8,400) at reasonable price tags as well. I’m particularly fond of Odor who has posted a .229 ISO and .339 wOBA against right-handers since 2015.
Go ahead and put the St. Louis Cardinals in that group of teams that has recently disappointed me when I’ve looked to them in cash games. Last night they were a complete bust against Tim Adleman and the Reds bullpen, but they have a chance to redeem themselves against Robert Stephenson and that same horrible bullpen. Stephenson projects no better than Adleman, posting a 2.17 HR/9, 5.56 xFIP and a 23% difference in hard and soft contact this season. Matheny left Matt Carpenter ($7,600) out of the lineup last night, but should he be in there he’s an excellent way to start your cash games tonight. Furthermore, the vast power potential of Brandon Moss ($7,800) against right-handed pitchers (.246 ISO against righties since 2015) and all around utility of Stephen Piscotty ($6,800) make for solid cash game additions. I particularly like the Piscotty/Carpenter duo as they provide an elite sense of value in a solid matchup.
If you decide that value isn’t your thing, you can certainly pay up for either the Boston Red Sox or the Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox draw a matchup with right-hander Luis Cessa as they look to exploit a park shift largely in favor of Big Papi and left-handed hitters. The Red Sox remain the league’s top team in terms of wRC+ against right-handers and Cessa shouldn’t be a bother having posted a 4.69 xFIP while allowing 2.30 HR/9 and showing an inability to send hitters back to the dugout empty handed. To get your last chances at Big Papi ($10,800) in MLB DFS, you’ll need to pay but the matchup can’t get any better given his elite skills against right-handed pitching and the incredible park shift in his favor.
The Cubs draw a big negative park shift playing in PNC Park, but that didn’t stop them from putting up a dozen runs on the Buccos. Much like the Red Sox, in order to get exposure to the top bats (Rizzo and Bryant) you’ll be reaching deep into your pockets, but the matchup with Ryan Vogelsong is worth it. Vogelsong is a flyball oriented arm that has struggled with command and allowed a lot of hard contact. What is not to like?
On the Bump…
Mad Max Scherzer ($27,600) and Chris Sale ($27,300) headline the starting pitching tonight and their matchups with the Diamondbacks and Rays respectively is inducing a Pavlovian-esque drool response from me. Scherzer gets the D’Backs on a huge negative park shift away from Chase Field and he’ll be taking advantage of a team that has struggled against right-handers (26th in wRC+ against right-handers) and strikes out at a 22.6% rate against them. Furthermore, Scherzer will be able to assert his dominance against a heavily right-handed team as he’s posted a 36.4% strikeout rate and allowed a .217 wOBA to right-handed hitters since 2015. If you’re paying for one of the two in cash games, Scherzer is your guy.
Sale doesn’t fall far behind though, especially given we’ve seen an increase in his strikeout rate since the beginning of August (10.35 K/9 in 10 starts). Sale will face a Rays team that has posted the 11th best wRC+ against left-handers and is getting a solid positive park shift in their favor, but they also strikeout the most in the league against southpaws. The heavy strikeout nature of this offense provides a ton of upside for Sale but the opposing implied run total of 3.4 runs pales in comparison to the 2.7 that Scherzer is responsible for. I think most will side with Scherzer on all accounts today, but if you’re looking to make the pivot in tournaments, Sale is a more than worthy alternative.
While David Price ($21,600), Noah Syndergaard ($20,700) and Julio Teheran ($18,400) all deserve consideration in their own right, assuming that you’ll be paying up for Scherzer (preferred cash game build) you won’t be able to reasonably fit them and a semblance of offensive prowess tonight.
Therefore I’m turning my attention to the middle-lower tier to try and find a pair of suitable companions for Scherzer. The first name that stood out was Jose De Leon ($15,600) who will draw a matchup with the San Diego Padres in Petco Park. De Leon hasn’t exactly succeeded in terms of run prevention in his first few big league starts, but he’s shown an ability to miss bats. He posted an absurd 11.57 K/9 in AAA this season through three starts has been able to sit down 8.59 hitters per nine innings. He’s actually outperformed his ERA (4.40 xFIP) and the matchup with the Padres pits him against the league’s worst team in terms of wRC+ against right-handed starters. Furthermore, the upside will be present given the Padres 25% strikeout rate against righties. The Padres hold an implied run total just 3.5 runs, settling any doubts you might have had about the potential for disaster tonight. Even if De Leon allows three or four earned runs, he’ll be able to mitigate it with strikeouts and that coupled with the fact you’ll have Max Scherzer in pocket as well is worth it.
It makes me cringe to even recommend him again, but Matt Moore ($14,400) could also be a worthy candidate for pairing. Moore draws a home matchup with the Colorado Rockies who will be taking on the largest negative park shift that is even possible. The move to San Francisco has dropped their implied run total all the way down to just 3.3 runs and as a team they’ve posted the 25th best wRC+ in the league against southpaws. Moore is obviously a volatile arm, struggling with command on occasion, but this matchup also provides a chance of reward with his undoubted risk. Aside from being among the worst in the league against lefties, the Rockies have also posted the ninth highest strikeout rate against them this season. Moore doesn’t belong in elite company in terms of strikeout potential, but this season he’s posted his highest strikeout since 2013.
I’d lean to Jose De Leon, but if you have to take a chance you could do worse than Matt Moore.