DailyRoto’s MLB Solo Shot Host, Logan Hitchcock, gets you headed in the right direction with his September 29 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?
Two days. That’s how much MLB DFS content production I have left for this season. I’ve been writing these pieces since the beginning of April and it feels like in the blink of an eye we’ve wound up here. If you read one, fourteen, or every single day, thanks for your eyes and ears.
As for tonight, I’m locking my eyes on a pair of familiar offenses. The Toronto Blue Jays and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Blue Jays have a home matchup with wild right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and they carry the largest implied run total on the slate. Ubaldo has been a fairly easy target this season, posting a 4.68xFIP, 4.58 BB/9 and a career high in hard contact allowed. The Blue Jays hold one of the league’s deepest and most powerful lineups and they are holding insanely valuable price tags tonight. Ezequiel Carrera ($6,400) should continue to lead off in Devon Travis’ absence and he’s been fantastic in that role the past few nights. While Carrera opens as an excellent cash play, don’t overlook the “Great Northern Triumvirate” as I’ve begun calling them. Josh Donaldson ($10,000), Edwin Encarnacion ($9,000) and Jose Bautista ($8,800) all possess plus skills against right-handed pitchers and given their insane power potential they make for a solid trio in tournaments or cash games.
The Cardinals draw a matchup with the not-so horrible Dan Straily, but he’s backed up by a horrifyingly horrible bullpen (worst in the league). Straily has outperformed this season, posting a 3.74 ERA but a much higher 5.02 xFIP. He’s not gotten out completely unscathed though as his extreme flyball ways have granted opponents 1.41 HR/9 this season. Unfortunately he’s getting a park shift in his favor tonight, but it’s not enough that I’ll completely abandon picking on him. Matt Carpenter ($8,100) remains way too cheap given his skills against right-handed pitchers (.391 wOBA, .257 ISO since 2015 ) and Stephen Piscotty ($7,200) is another excellent cash game option. Mike Matheny has been playing games with his lineup, sliding Brandon Moss ($6,600) down to the sixth spot or putting him on the bench, but if he’s in there tonight he warrants heavy consideration for cash games and tournaments given his power upside against right-handers.
A pair of other teams I’m looking to get exposure to are the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs. The Mariners have quietly been bullies against right-handed pitching this year (tied for 3rd in wRC+ against right-handers) and tonight they draw a matchup with Kendall Graveman. Graveman is in an unfortunate mold of pitcher that isn’t super easy to stack against, but facing a team like the Mariners could be his kryptonite. He induces a lot of contact (5.09 K/9) and although he excels at getting ground balls (52.2%) he’s been burned for over a home run per nine innings in each of the last two seasons. Last time out against the Mariners he struggled mightily, lasting only five innings and allowing eight earned runs. Of course, that resulted in zero home runs for the Mariners, which is a buzzkill for tournaments, but the upside is still there. Robinson Cano ($10,800) and Nelson Cruz ($9,600) take the cake, but don’t forget about Kyle Seager ($8,100) and the rest of the cheap left-handed bats in this lineup.
The Cubs are experiencing a big negative park shift at PNC Park and the matchup with Ivan Nova doesn’t incite a ton of excitement but I’m going to be at this game and the Cubs are always in play for tournaments. I spent all season not letting my Cubs-bias shine through, but tonight I’m letting it out. The Cubs are one of the deepest and most powerful teams in the league and they received a discount on their salaries heading into tonight’s tilt with the Pirates. Watch for the lineup though as Joe Maddon is likely to continue to treat these last few games in a Spring Training-esque manner.
On the Bump…
There are a few intriguing options tonight, particularly at the top of the pricing spectrum but my focus is elsewhere. Johnny Cueto ($21,600) is scheduled to start despite leaving last time out with an injury. The Giants are still fighting to make sure they get in the playoffs so you know all hands will be on deck here. Cueto has an accessible price tag against a Colorado Rockies team that is taking on the biggest park shift in all of baseball. Facing an opposing implied run total of just 2.8 runs, Cueto makes for a solid lineup foundation in cash games tonight, but if you’re selling your soul to the GPP Gods, I’m going to hope for strikeouts in a different matchup.
One of those places might be in Chicago where Chris Archer ($17,700) takes on the Chicago White Sox. Since the All-Star break, Archer has found his stride, posting a 10.03 K/9 while eliminating most of the control problems that plagued him in the early season. Furthermore, the White Sox aren’t a team to be particularly worried about as they’ve posted the 22nd best wRC+ in the league against right-handers and strike out 20.6% of the time. The park shift against him has boosted the White Sox implied run total, so if it’s run prevention you seek perhaps you’ll look to Cueto, but the strikeout upside is present here. The other side of this game is also intriguing from a DFS perspective as Jose Quintana ($18,900) will have a matchup with a heavy strikeout team in the Rays. I’d rank him behind Archer, but not out of the conversation for GPPs.
Whether you’re looking to use Archer in cash games (where I think he’s viable) or save him for GPPs, you’ll need someone to pair with him from the lower price points. Luckily, there are two viable options in Julio Urias ($16,800) and Alex Reyes ($14,800). Urias draws the matchup I’ve been salivating over for the past few nights, except this time I’m hoping it works out. The Padres have been much better against left-handed pitchers, but their strikeout woes don’t leave them against southpaws. They strikeout the second most in the league (25.2%) and fortunately for us, strikeouts are a big part of the young left-handers game (9.61 K/9). I’d rate Urias as much safer than Jose de Leon was last night and I feel he should be a staple of your cash games on FantasyDraft.
Alex Reyes comes equipped with electric stuff, but his situation is a bit unique. The Cardinals are in “need to win” mode so any sign of trouble could pull him off the mound earlier than anticipated. With that being said, his matchup does provide plenty of upside and a hairball of safety as well. The Reds rank just 21st in wRC+ against right-handers and they hold a strikeout rate of 20.5%. Reyes has certainly outperformed (1.58 ERA v. 4.13 xFIP) but in that time he’s posted great strikeout numbers (10.35 K/9) despite battling a bout with command issues (4.73 BB/9). If the command issue scares you, maybe you can take solace in the fact that the Reds are 24th in the league in walk rate, but still know that the risk exists. If you’re pairing one of the two bottom guys with Cueto, I’d lean to Urias but both present a lot of upside.