Welcome to September 10 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 10 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!
00:41 Starting Pitcher
08:31 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
- In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
September 10 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Walker Buehler (LAD) owns the top projection at the starting pitcher position despite dealing with both a negative league and park shift on Tuesday. Buehler and the Dodgers will head to Camden Yards to take on a 46-97 Orioles team. On paper, the Orioles rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and BB rate and they have only hit the ball hard at a 32.5-percent rate in the split (which is the second lowest rate in the league behind only the Mariners). Buehler’s 8.1 K projection tops all pitchers on the slate and yet Buehler is not popping into any standard optimals across the industry. This is due to his expensive price point ($12,300 on DraftKings, $11,600 on FanDuel) on a slate that includes a game in Coors Field and other expensive bats worth rostering. In tournaments, Buehler is a strong play is the masses decide to live in a mid tier, and if comfortable stacking cheaper offenses (or only having small pieces of Coors Field).
Trevor Bauer (CIN) and Zack Wheeler (NYM) are both at least $2,900 cheaper than Buehler on FanDuel and $2,300 cheaper on DraftKings which goes a long way on this slate. On DraftKings, Bauer is priced at just $9,100 despite playing against a Mariners team whose active hitters have struck out at a 25.2-percent rate versus RHP. Early season star Dan Vogelbach has struggled in the second half, Domingo Santana is hurt and only two players in the lineup feature ISO baselines over .159 in the split. Bauer has not lasted any longer than five innings in any of his last three starts and he has only topped that plateau in one of his last five starts. If believing this is an anomaly, fantasy owners can feel free to move his baseline back up to around 19 outs. If believing our toned-down duration baselines on him are correct, hen he is a tournament-only option on both sites.
As for Wheeler, he will benefit from a positive umpire boost with Doug Eddings behind the plate. He will be pitching in the friendly confines of home versus a Diamondbacks team that Vegas is only implying to score 3.8-runs. Wheeler is even cheaper than Bauer on FanDuel and out-projects him by over four fantasy points. On DraftKings, Wheeler is not quite cheap enough to sweep our top 20 optimals, but he is still featured in 95-percent of them. On FanDuel, where he is much cheaper, he dominates optimals and pops into every single one (of the top 20) as he offers enough salary relief that plenty of bats can still be rostered alongside him.
Chase Anderson (MIL) is our model’s cheap pitcher of choice on DraftKings as he is the lucky one facing the Marlins and doing so in Marlins Park. The team opened as whopping -175 favorites and a 3.9 implied run total against is minuscule for a pitcher priced at just $6,000. Even with an unfavorable umpire set to call balls and strikes, Anderson is projecting for 5.5 Ks, or not even a strikeout less than Wheeler (6.3). Anderson does not typically pitch deep into games, and he owns reverse-splits versus a righty-heavy Marlins team, but his price point more than accounts for the potential downside. He can be found in 100-percent of our vanilla optos on DraftKings.
Ivan Nova (CHW) and Elieser Hernandez (MIA) are two potential Anderson pivots in tournaments or Anderson complements in all formats if going extremely offense-heavy. Nova, while he does not possess dominant stuff, has consistently pitched deep into games this year (averaged 17.3 outs per start). The Royals rank in the bottom 10 of ISO and BB rate against RHP and have posted the 11th lowest wOBA of any team as well. Although they do not strike out at a high rate (21.2-percent), Nova is not a pitcher who often racks up the strikeouts. With just a 4.2 K projection, Nova offers a necessary source of salary relief while projecting for nearly 12 fantasy points. If using him, it is a commitment to offense carrying a lineup, and just hoping for him to come close to his projection.
Hernandez’s game includes a significantly higher strikeout ceiling but he is a big home underdog against a lefty-loaded Brewers team. In 32.1 innings versus LHHs this year, they have roasted Hernandez to the tune of a .404 wOBA, 3.06 HR/9 rate and 46.5-percent hard hit rate. Marlins Park does help depreciate power and the favorable umpire is boosting Hernandez to a 5.2 K projection. His $6,400 price tag is substantially more than Nova’s but he is a more talented pitcher in a National League park.
Ronald Bolanos (SD) posted a 27.0-percent K rate in 15 Triple-A appearances (13 starts) prior to his call-up after striking out 24.7-percent of the batters he faced in 10 Double-A starts. His Achilles heel has always appeared to be his shaky control and that transferred over the big league level in his first start (8.0-percent BB rate was actually lower than any rate he has posted at any minor league level in his career). He will be taking on a Cubs team that has recently been decimated with injuries; Javier Baez is set to miss the rest of the season and Kris Bryant says he “hopes to return” on Tuesday after receiving a cortisone shot in his knee. This significantly waters down the Cubs lineup and is a huge contributing factor to why our model views him as appropriately-priced as opposed to a huge negative value. Especially if Bryant is out, his outlook will improve even further.
Jakob Junis (KC) is the only other pitcher with a positive value projection on DraftKings as he will be pitching in Guaranteed Rate Field. Unfortunately, the wind is expected to be blowing out on a relatively warm day in Chicago (85-degrees at the time of first pitch). Thus far, the White Sox’ active hitters have struck out at a 25.8-percent rate versus RHP and rank in the bottom 10 of ISO. For Junis, this is a solid correlation because he possesses decent strikeout stuff and, when he goes bad, it is normally via power. Starting a road underdog in a game with a 10.0-run total is a tournament-only strategy but is unlikely he garners heavy ownership given the context.
In tournaments, Lance Lynn (TEX), Mitch Keller (PIT) and Ryan Yarbrourgh (TB) are three names that we would consider adding to the MME mix due to their strikeout potential (and in Yarbrough’s case due to his matchup).
1) St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals easily top the stack rankings tonight as they will be the road team in Coors Field against Chi Chi Gonzalez and his career 5.98 SIERA. In 2019, his SIERA has actually been worse (6.45) and the story is similar for his atrocious 6.76 FIP, 6.06 xFIP this year. Despite posting an above-average GB rate, hitters have still managed a 1.93 HR/9 rate against him, and he has walked more hitters (12.9-percent) than he has struck out (11.9-percent). The Cardinals’ projected lineup includes five righties and Gonzalez has at least pitched slightly better in that split but still owns a 5.72 FIP and 42.7-percent hard hit rate allowed to the handedness. Other than that, downside is tough to identify for this team in this matchup, other than garnering the likely highest ownership of any stack by a decent margin. Target this stack even in cash games but chalk faders will want to look elsewhere in tournaments.
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Boston Red Sox
4) Atlanta Braves
The Rockies are expected to be the lower-owned team in Coors Field and Michael Wacha is a reverse-splits pitcher both this year and for his career. Charlie Blackmon projects as the top per-dollar value on the team because of his skills in the split versus RHP and the fact that he leads off but Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are not far behind. This stack is expensive on both sites with the three top members of the stack priced significantly more expensive than the Cardinals. For that reason alone, we expect the ownership to condense on Cardinals top of lineup hitters, making this team an intriguing pivot.
The Red Sox and Braves round out the second tier with each team listed as exactly -155 favorites. Probable starter T.J. Zeuch is viewed by projection systems as a mid-5.00s FIP sort of pitcher who rarely misses bats and walks hitters at about a double-digit rate. Rogers Centre is a favorable hitting environment and the Red Sox will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs) as the road team. As per usual, their bats towards the top are pricey, and in direct competition with players in Coors (outfield, third base, etc.). Beyond Zeuch, the Blue Jays’ active bullpen members cumulatively rank in the bottom eight of FIP, xFIP as well, so the matchups should remain favorable throughout (especially in a positive game script).
The Braves will face a pitcher that has been tough to figure out this year: Jason Vargas. Over the course of his last nine outings, he has allowed more than three earned runs (ERs) just thrice but two of those three have come in his last three games. His 4.68 FIP, 5.43 xFIP are not pretty, and he is heavily-reliant on fly balls, and yet he has done a decent job limiting homers against him this year (1.22 HR/9 rate) and has allowed a line drive rate below his career-average. Still, he sports a 5.28 SIERA and has allowed a career-high hard hit rate, so eventually things are going to fall apart for him. Only six teams’ active hitters have cumulatively compiled a higher ISO versus LHP than the Braves and some of their assets are extremely cheap (especially on FanDuel). In tournaments on FanDuel, expensive Cardinals and cheap Braves is expected to be a popular construction.
5) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are noticeably absent from optimals despite being implied to score 6.4-runs in power-friendly Camden Yards against Ty Blach. If “gas can” were in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Ty Blach to help define the word, because he has been absolutely brutal this season: 10.95 ERA, 6.94 FIP, 6.69 xFIP, 6.30 SIERA, 49.4-percent hard hit rate, 23.6-percent line drive rate and 40.4-percent fly ball rate. In a small sample, lefties have hit him even harder than righties, as he has hardly been able to get anyone out. The Dodgers are a better hitting team versus RHP but the bullpen behind Blach is terrible and it is well within the range of possibilities for Blach to get pulled early. If this team is going to get overlooked, they are worth targeting in all GPP formats.
6) Minnesota Twins
7) Kansas City Royals
8) Houston Astros
The Twins and Royals headline the final stacks tier with both facing contact-oriented RHPs. In the Twins’ case, Anibal Sanchez has held both sides of the plate to a .321 wOBA to less this year, with righties only managing a 29.2-percent hard hit rate (second lowest in the split of any pitcher on the slate behind only Wheeler). Luckily for the Twins, their projected lineup features six starters who will hit from the left side against Sanchez, making this a much more difficult for him than normal.
The Royals match up against Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde Ivan Nova who pitches to contact and does his damndest to induce ground balls (46.3-percent rate). He allows a lot of hits but ground balls also help him get out of innings habitually as well. The Royals rank just outside the bottom 10 of wOBA against RHP but their power is condensed in the middle of the lineup. Nova has allowed a 1.30-plus HR/9 rate to both sides of the plate and has only struck out 14.0-percent of the RHHs he has faced. This could lead to an implosion on any given night so the Royals are a viable game theory stack.
Lastly, the Astros exploded last night against a reverse-splits righty, but tonight they draw a matchup versus a RHP with completely different splits. Probable starter Tanner Roark has held RHHs to a .278 wOBA this year while surrendering a .369 wOBA, 27.9-percent line drive rate to LHHs. Most of the Astros’ top bats are of the right-handed variety but Michael Brantley/Yordan Alvarez are the clear correlation plays. The short porch in left field often leads to fly balls leaving the yard, which is nice for the prospects of a mostly overlooked Astros team, but there could be some carryover ownership from last night.
Yadier Molina (STL) and Will Smith (LAD) are the top options at the catcher position. We’ve given Smith a big baseline boost as he’s destroyed our expectations this year. You could even go further with his baselines if you discount some of the minor league production at the lower levels. Smith gets a big park upgrade into Baltimore and faces a contact oriented lefty in Ty Blach who has allowed a .340 wOBA and .162 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Most of those numbers were compiled in far friendlier pitching conditions (in NL, in San Francisco), so he profiles worse. Smith is really affordable on FanDuel and a strong play in all formats.
Molina is the better value on DraftKings where he’s nearly a thousand dollars cheaper. The Cardinals have a 7.3 implied total going into Coors Field against Chi Chi Gonzalez. Molina has had a strong 32 percent hard hit rate over the last 15 days. Molina and Smith are site-specific cash game targets and clearly the best options on the slate.
The second tier of catching options is deep. Yasmani Grandal (MIL), J.T. Realmuto (PHI), Christian Vazquez (BOS), Willson Contreras (CHC), Travis d’Arnaud (TB), and Tyler Flowers (ATL) are all strong power oriented options in largely favorable matchups. Realmuto and d’Arnaud are the two with difficult matchups that are likely to come with really low ownership but Contreras and Flowers likely won’t see big ownership either.
We expect Smith, Molina, Grandal, and Vazquez will all approach double digit ownership, representing the chalk on the slate.
Tony Wolters (COL) is another secondary option that is an affordable way to get access to Coors Field and should command some ownership from Rockies stacks.
If you need the full punt, Max Stassi (LAA) is available as a pure punt.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL) dominates the projections at first base and makes it into 100 percent of the top 50 vanilla optimals on DraftKings. The park shift is monstrous as is the implied total approaching 7.5. Chi Chi Gonzalez has walked more batters than he’s struck out and allowed a .200+ ISO to RHBs this season. From a cash game perspective, Goldschmidt is a building block on DraftKings and on FanDuel he’s a very strong target alongside Will Smith at C/1B.
Freddie Freeman (ATL), Cody Bellinger (LAD), and Daniel Murphy (COL) are the next in line options at first base. Murphy is slightly cheaper than the rest and his performance has picked back up early in September after a down August but we’d still prefer exposure in tournaments as a part of Rockies stacks instead of as a cash game option. Bellinger in Freeman are better one-off targets with higher power baselines, even in left on left matchups. Bellinger’s ownership, in particular, will be interesting to monitor as the Dodgers are a primary stack target.
First base is a deep position with a lot of potential tournament targets but cash games are really honed in on Goldschmidt.
Justin Smoak (TOR), Eric Thames (MIL), and Jose Abreu (CHW) are big power upside one-off targets that should come with modest ownership. Thames is the most likely to garner some carryover ownership from Brewers stacks.
Carlos Santana (CLE), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Ji-Man Choi (TB), and Mitch Moreland (BOS) are first base options as a part of team stacks that may come with more modest ownership.
Kolten Wong (STL) tops the second base projections as another Cardinals option towards the top of the lineup. Wong has shifted into the second spot over the last week and it’s a big bump in expectation for his DFS value. Chi Chi Gonzalez has done a decent job limiting power to LHBs in his brief career (.118 ISO allowed) but the peripherals are dreadful (10 percent K Rate, 14 percent BB Rate, only 17 percent soft contact) and he generally puts hitters in favorable counts. Wong is priced up a bit from earlier in the year but not quite enough for this context. We view him as the primary target at second base on both sites.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Whit Merrifield (KC) are the next highest projected options at the position. They should come at about half the ownership of Wong, making them a fine target as pivots in tournaments. Albies has a bit more stack upside on the road in Philadelphia with the Braves strong 5.5 implied total.
Jose Altuve (HOU), Tommy Edman (STL), and Ryan McMahon (COL) are the next tier of second base plays. They’re similar to Merrifield/Albies as pivots but projecting as tertiary options.
In terms of value, Chad Pinder (OAK) and Garrett Hampson (COL) are punt types with 2B eligibility on DraftKings. Pinder is the more intriguing one-off option while Hampson is mostly useful in Rockies stacks.
On both sites, Gavin Lux (LAD) is a name to watch when the lineup comes out. If his lineup spot improves substantially, he’ll represent one of the strongest values at the position.
Nolan Arenado (COL), Josh Donaldson (ATL), and Rafael Devers (BOS) all project very closely atop the third base rankings. Justin Turner (LAD) isn’t too far behind and may represent the most likely stack candidate given the platoon edge in Camden Yards.
Donaldson is the most affordable of the group on FanDuel and draws an ideal matchup against Jason Vargas. Donaldson has compiled a .400 wOBA and .301 ISO against LHP since 2017 while Vargas has surrendered a .193 ISO to RHBs during that span. The park is an upgrade for power which is Donaldson’s biggest strength and the Braves have a solid 5.5 implied total. On FanDuel, Donaldson is a primary target for cash games.
On DraftKings, the position is one to potentially get salary relief at. Travis Shaw (MIL) has had an awful season but his price tag is down to just $2,300. With Mike Moustakas battling a hand injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the last week we’ve seen more of Shaw. By using Shaw for salary relief, it’s relatively easy to get exposure to the top offenses and pitching on the slate.
Matt Chapman (OAK), Eugenio Suarez (CIN), Yoan Moncada (CHW), and Miguel Sano (MIN) are intriguing one-off power upside bats for tournaments.
The two shortstops in Coors Field are the top options at the position. Paul DeJong (STL) has the better context but Trevor Story (COL) is a far more skilled hitter and thus the higher projected option. DeJong is the cheaper option of the two and thus will find his way into more optimals.
The high-end shortstops don’t stop there. Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Adalberto Mondesi (KC), Francisco Lindor (CLE), and Alex Bregman (HOU) are all projecting as viable pivots from the likely Coors Field chalk. Bogaerts is the most stack-able option of the group as the Red Sox are one of the top offenses on the slate but Lindor isn’t far behind. We’d expect the lighter ownership to come in on Mondesi-Bregman.
In terms of value, Dansby Swanson (ATL) is probably the best mid-tier option at the position. The matchup with Jason Vargas is one that brings a lot of power upside and Citizens Bank Ballpark further enhances the profile.
If you need a pure punt on DraftKings, Cubs prospect Nico Hoerner (CHC) is just $2,100. He doesn’t project as quite ready for the big leagues (.342 wOBA, .116 ISO in AA) but the price tag is compelling and the offense around him should help support some Fantasy value.
Marcell Ozuna (STL) is a surprise name atop the projections but such is the power of Coors Field and an implied total one or two runs ahead of everyone else on the slate. Ronald Acuna (ATL), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Dexter Fowler (STL), Mookie Betts (BOS), JD Martinez (BOS), and Mike Trout (LAA) are all within a point of each other.
Dexter Fowler, in particular, is cheaper than all the rest of these top options. Fowler projects as the road leadoff hitter for a 7.3 implied total which makes him a good bet for six plate appearances. Fowler is a cash game building block both sites.
AJ Pollock (LAD) is a strong secondary target as the road leadoff hitter for the Dodgers. It’s not quite the same context as Coors Field but into Camden Yards with the Orioles pitching staff is quite good.
On FanDuel, you’ll need some salary relief options to make things work. Adam Duvall (ATL), Austin Riley (ATL), and Chris Taylor (LAD) are affordable parts of top tier offenses with the platoon edge in parks that inflate power
On DraftKings, Nick Senzel (CIN) is uniquely cheap ($3,500) given the platoon edge as a road leadoff hitter. Senzel has compiled a .374 wOBA and .211 ISO against LHP this season.
Trent Grisham (MIL) and Yasiel Puig (CLE) remain consistently underpriced on both sites and are fine targets as well. Grisham, in particular, is a great source of salary relief on DraftKings.