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September 11 MLB DFS: Baseball is Still Werth It on Sundays
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September 10 MLB DFS Show Outline: 

01:29 Starting Pitchers
6:58 Catchers
8:29 First Base
10:52 Second Base
12:59  Shortstops
15:21  Third Base
16:42 Outfield
21:26  Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks


September 11 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

Tier Two

2) Chris Sale (CHW)

3) Luke Weaver (STL)

4) Justin Verlander (DET)

Tier Three

5) Gio Gonzalez (WSH)

6) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

Tier Four

7) Ian Kennedy (KC)

8) Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

9) Brandon Finnegan (CIN)

10) Ryan Vogelsong (PIT)

We have direct routes in cash games and tournaments at the starting pitcher position this afternoon. Corey Kluber (CLE) will be our cash game anchor. He checks all the boxes for us from Vegas’ perspective – lowest IRTA (implied run total) set at 3.5 runs and he’s the second highest favorite in this slate (-230). The Twins offense is just average vs. RHP and they’re striking out 22 percent of the time vs. RHP, so the matchup certainly doesn’t scare us. He’s over $13,000 on DraftKings, but nice hitting values and a great salary relief target at SP2 makes it easy to fit Kluber in any format. Chris Sale (CHW) and Luke Weaver (STL) are essentially tied in our model for that second spot in our rankings, but the disparity in their price tags on DraftKings is enormous. Sale is over $13,000 on that site and Weaver remains below $5,000, so this isn’t a difficult choice for us from a cash game perspective. Weaver has generated a 3.96 ERA/2.92 xFIP along with a 29 percent strikeout rate in five starts at the major league level, and he draws a matchup against the Brewers (ranked 23rd in wRC and are striking out a whooping 25.3 percent of the time vs. RHP, the worst mark in MLB) today. We say all of that to reinforce that we’re not really sure why he has a punt price tag on DraftKings. He’s your best complement to Corey Kluber on that site, and while it’s not as necessary to pursue him in cash games on FanDuel, he represents the best alternative to Kluber.

You can find the alternatives to Kluber and Weaver in cash games in our third tier. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) (massive favorite at -260 and IRTA is just 3.5 runs) and Kenta Maeda (LAD) (IRTA is also 3.5 runs and gets to pitch in great environment) represent those alternatives, and while they’re simply alternatives in cash games, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger in tournaments as each pitcher owns some K upside (Maeda is striking out over a batter per inning and Gonzalez isn’t far behind). In tournaments, we want to focus on Justin Verlander (DET). The matchup on paper isn’t any good (Orioles are ranked third in wRC+ vs. RHP), but there’s certainly upside here since the Orioles are prone to swinging and missing (eight highest K rate vs. RHP) and Verlander owns a 27 percent strikeout rate this season. Brandon Finnegan (CIN) has a similarly terrible matchup (Pirates are ranked third in wRC+ vs. LHP this season), but he’s been on fire lately generating the following strikeout rates over his last four starts: 27.3, 36, 52.2 and 33.3. He’s certainly not as skilled as Verlander but we’re willing to use him in tournaments relative to the skills he’s shown lately (both from a strikeout perspective and the hard hit rate allowed, which has come down significantly in that stretch).

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

4) Wilson Ramos (WSH)

Victor Martinez (DET) is our top ranked catcher and a viable cash game spend on FanDuel. Unfortunately, he’s priced correctly and the same can be said for any of our ranked catchers. As a result we’re looking for some salary relief on both sites. If Dioner Navarro (TOR) gets a start behind the plate for the Blue Jays he’d likely be our favorite source of salary at the position (especially on FanDuel where he’s minimum priced) though Francisco Cervelli (PIT) is certainly viable on DraftKings. We don’t love his matchup against Brandon Finnegan but Vegas likes the Pirates (4.8 implied runs) today and most importantly Cervelli is cheap.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Joey Votto (CIN)

3) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

4) Chris Davis (BAL)

5) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

6) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

7) Carlos Santana (CLE)

8) Logan Morrison (TB)

David Ortiz (BOS) is ranked inside our top five hitters this afternoon as he gets a big favorable park shift hitting in Rogers Centre. While Ortiz is certainly in play in all formats, we’re looking to save some resources at this position with Freddie Freeman (ATL) being so cheap on FanDuel (just $3,300 on that site – Freeman has generated a .399 wOBA and .260 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) and Chris Davis (BAL) on DraftKings. Davis draws a more difficult matchup (Justin Verlander), but that $3,100 DraftKings price tag is simply too cheap relative to his massive power (.307 ISO, 7.4 HR rate vs. RHP since 2015). If you’re searching for alternatives, Logan Morrison (TB) is below $3,000 on FanDuel and has the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium while Victor Martinez (DET) and the St. Louis Cardinals 1b (Matt Adams and Brandon Moss) are below $3,500 on DraftKings.

Second Base Rankings                  

1) Trea Turner (WSH) – where eligible

2) Matt Carpenter (STL)

3) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

4) Daniel Murphy (WSH)

5) Ian Kinsler (DET)

Our model underrated Trea Turner (WSH) as he began his major league career in the middle of this season, but that’s no longer the case. After posting a 37.9 hard hit rate, eight home runs and 21 stolen bases in his first 233 PAs, we’re big fans of Turner and so is our model as he sits atop our second base rankings. We’re still willing to use Turner in all formats despite a full price tag, but we must admit that Matt Carpenter (STL) is a better point per dollar value, particularly on DraftKings. Carpenter is $1,100 cheaper than Turner on that site and he’ll lead off in a matchup against Zach Davies (.314 wOBA, .152 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015). It’s difficult to reach Carpenter on FanDuel (more efficient site in terms of pricing), so our sights there are on Dee Gordon (MIA) (near minimum priced and there’s speed upside here). Carpenter’s teammate, Kolten Wong (STL), would represent a cheaper alternative should you need it on DraftKings if he hit second again.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Brad Miller (TB)

4) Corey Seager (LAD)

We’ve only ranked four shortstops this afternoon, as the position simply lacks values. Manny Machado (BAL) has that difficult matchup against Justin Verlander, but he’s just $3,400 on DraftKings and that’s simply not a correct price tag relative to Machado’s own skill set vs. RHP (.388 wOBA, .249 ISO vs. RHP since 2015). If you feel uncomfortable using multiple Orioles in you cash game lineup, you can a) fade Chris Davis and use one of the alternatives we’ve listed or b) fade Manny Machado in favor of Brad Miller (TB). We don’t mention Miller much due to his difficult home park in Tampa, but he’s been awesome vs. RHP since the start of 2015 (.357 wOBA, .230 ISO vs. RHP while hitting in difficult home environments) and now he gets to hit in Yankee Stadium (best environment for pull power for LHBs) against Luis Cessa (both ZiPS and Steamer believes that his long ball issues are here to stay at the major league level). Machado doesn’t carry shortstop eligibility on FanDuel, which makes it an easier decision to simply play Miller in cash games on that site. Didi Gregorius (NYY) is a viable alternative at the position on both sites.

Third Base Rankings

1a) Matt Carpenter (STL)

1b) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Manny Machado (BAL)

4) Justin Turner (LAD)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Matt Carpenter (STL) and Josh Donaldson (TOR) are tier in our model and both are phenomenal values on DraftKings (both are priced below $4,500 on that site). Like Carpenter at second base, Donaldson is a viable cash game spend on FanDuel as he’s a pretty good value in a vacuum. However, it’s difficult to fit in multiple expensive hitters along with an ace on that site, so you’re likely deciding between Donaldson and other hitters that rate better in our model. As a result, we’re opting for cheaper options at the position on that site and thankfully we have a couple that make sense. Jose Reyes (NYM) is a road leadoff hitter at good price point ($2,900) and despite Brandon Finnegan‘s success lately, Vegas has pegged the Pirates with a team total of 4.8 runs so David Freese (PIT) is also in play at cheap price (will hold the platoon edge and usually hits in favorable lineup spot vs. LHP).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Bryce Harper (WSH)

3) Jayson Werth (WSH)

4) Trea Turner (WSH)

5) Jose Bautista (TOR)

6) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

7) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

8) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

9) Ian Desmond (TEX)

10) Starling Marte (PIT)

11) Jay Bruce (NYM)

12) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

Mike Trout (LAA) is the top hitter in our model today, as he faces Colby Lewis (making his first start since June and allowed 10 ER in three rehab starts). It’s not difficult to fit Trout in cash games, and his skills vs. RHP (.418 wOBA, .239 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) gets us excited to use him in a favorable matchup. The alternative to Trout is Bryce Harper (WSH). While our model loves Harper, our lean is to use Trout in cash games (Harper has been a little cold lately and we’re wondering if he’s playing through an injury) and play Harper in tournaments (L/L matchup could create lower ownership). Even if you use Trout in cash, that won’t limit your ability to play a mid-tier outfielder and Jayson Werth (WSH) is our favorite in that price range. Werth (.410 wOBA, .296 ISO vs. LHP since 2015) gets the platoon edge against Adam Morgan (5.90 ERA/5.20 FIP/37 percent hard hit rate allowed) and he gives you access to a Nationals offense that has a team total of 5.5 implied runs (highest in this slate). If Carlos Gomez (TEX) could leadoff once again, he’d become our favorite salary relief target at the position. We want some exposure against Jered Weaver (5.37 ERA/5.79 xFIP/1.92 HR/9 allowed this season and he doesn’t miss bats) in cash games, and it doesn’t get better than doing it with a cheap, road leadoff hitter. On DraftKings, Andrew McCutchen (PIT) and Kole Calhoun (LAA) are good values at $3,400 and $3,500 respectively. On FanDuel, you have Michael Conforto (NYM) at a near minimum price (he hasn’t been starting lately but we’ll take him if he’s in a top 6 spot) and Brett Gardner (NYY) below $3,000 (difficult to find viable OF targets at that price tag on that site).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Washington Nationals

2) Toronto Blue Jays

3) Cleveland Indians

Tier Two

4) Texas Rangers

5) New York Yankees

6) New York Mets

7) St. Louis Cardinals

8) Pittsburgh Pirates

You want cash game exposure to the Washington Nationals (highest team total in this slate) as they take on Adam Morgan at home, but keep in mind that there are three teams in our first tier. We haven’t really mentioned the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians today and these two teams have team totals over five implied runs. Most of the Blue Jays have good price points on DraftKings (good stack on that site), but the Indians are priced correctly everywhere. You could see lower ownership in tournaments due to their pricing, so we’re pursuing them in that format. In general, don’t be afraid to pick apart value from any of the eight teams we’ve listed above.

In our second tier, you’ll find one of our favorite tournament stacks. Much like the Indians, the Texas Rangers are priced accurately on both sites but their matchup against Jered Weaver can’t be ignored. Weaver doesn’t miss any bats (12.2 percent strikeout rate) and he’s beyond home run prone (almost allowing two home runs per nine innings), which makes him a great target to pick on for DFS purposes.

Contrarian Tournament Stack

– Tamba Bay Rays (Massive park shift for both RHBs and LHBs here and this offense is facing Luis Cessa, who’s allowed a 2.14 HR/9 in his short time at the major league level)

MLB Daily Analysis

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