Welcome to September 12 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 12 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!
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01:05 Starting Pitcher
- 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.
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September 12 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Aaron Nola (PHI) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position on Wednesday night. Nola carries a 20.9 DK projection and a 38 FD projection. These are fine projections but we wouldn’t call them great at his price tags. What’s behind the projection is a 3.3 IRTA and a 6.4 K projection (third highest in this slate). Nola is having an excellent season once again, posting a 26.6% K rate, 50.2% GB rate and just three percent hard minus soft hit rate. The Nationals are ranked 12th in wRC+ and are striking out just 20.2% of the time. It’s not a great matchup for Ks and Nola’s K rate is a bit muted when compared to other aces around baseball. He’s viable in all formats, particularly on DK where his $11,200 price tag is reachable.
The next highest projected scorers at the position are Stephen Strasburg (WSH) and Luis Severino (NYY). You’re getting price tags in the $9k range for these two on DK. These two allow more hard contact than Nola but they’re able to match him in Ks. Severino has posted a 28.5% K rate this season and Strasburg, in a “down” season, has generated a 27.8% K rate. Their K projections are in the 6s. Nola is the most stable target at the position and we have him pegged with a higher OUTS and TBF baseline than any other pitcher in this slate, but the cheaper tags makes Severino and Strasburg more compelling cash game values in our eyes. We’d love to find a way to fit both in cash games on DK and Strasburg having the cheaper tag on FD makes him the preferred play in our optimals.
Patrick Corbin (ARI) is also in this slate and has a very similar projection to Strasburg and Severino tonight. If Corbin wasn’t pitching in Coors, he’d likely be the highest projected scorer at the position tonight. Unfortunately he has to deal with the Coors Field bump for hitters, but Corbin has the highest K projection in this slate (7.3). That’s because Corbin has posted a massive 31.3% K rate this season, which is his baseline in our projections. It’s hard to make this play in cash games because Coors Field adds a different layer of downside to pitchers than the other environments, but Corbin is a strong tournament target.
David Price (BOS) is a “safer” target than Corbin as he doesn’t have to pitch in Coors Field and has a 3.6 IRTA. However, Price trails Corbin in projection by ~1.5 Fantasy Points (K projection of 4.9 is the difference here) and has a more expensive price tag. Price is a breakeven play.
In cash games, you’ll probably have to dip down to one of Kyle Hendricks (CHC) or Jon Gray (COL) at the SP2 position on DK. Hendricks is at home where temperatures are average (~70 degrees) and the wind is blowing in. His K projection is sitting at 5.4, but a lot of that has to do with the Brewers striking out so much against RHP (24.7% K rate this season). Hendricks has a 20.1% K rate on the season. If he’s having success, it’s mostly grinding out innings and missing barrels.
Gray has to deal with Coors Field and that’s why his IRTA (4.9) is so high tonight. The Diamondbacks are not a good offense against RHP though (ranked 29th in wRC+) and they’re striking out 23.4% of the time against RHP. It’s a good matchup and Gray has posted a 25% K rate this season. He can miss bats more frequently than Hendricks. He’s also $1,300 cheaper than Hendricks on DK, which will likely make a world of difference for roster construction.
Punt options are extremely thin at the position tonight. If you’re mass multi entering a tournament, you could have some exposure to Jake Odorizzi (MIN) because he’s $5,500 and misses bats (23% K rate this season), but his downside is clear as well (facing the Yankees; 5.1 IRTA).
Gary Sanchez (NYY) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position and it’s not close. Sanchez is the option you want to target in cash games. Sanchez’s ISO baseline is what separates him from the field as we have him pegged for a .234 ISO vs. RHP (his actual ISO is .237 vs. RHP since 2017). He’s also facing Jake Odorizzi, who’s extremely fly ball prone (27.9% GB rate this season) and has allowed a 1.28 HR/9 throughout his career.
The other thing to note about Sanchez is that he’s priced mostly on the appropriate side ($4,200), but that’s the case for every other catcher in this slate. The pivot that makes sense if you can’t fit Sanchez is Welington Castillo (CHW). Castillo has posted a .363 wOBA and .194 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season and he’s projected to hit sixth on the road. He’s $3,500 on DK.
In tournaments, power upside is what you’re looking for out of your catcher. Salvador Perez (KC) is always a standout in that category. Even against RHP we have him slotted for a .211 ISO baseline, which is the second highest ISO baseline in this slate. Willson Contreras (CHC) and Chris Iannetta (COL) are other catchers that can be considered in that format and have power upside.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is our highest projected player at the first base position on Wednesday but fitting him alongside pricey pitching is difficult. Consequently, he does not really fit the slate for cash game purposes, despite the fact he will be playing in Coors Field. For what it is worth, Jon Gray has held righties to a .305 wOBA, 0.92 HR/9 rate, 19.5-percent line drive rate, 31.9-percent hard hit rate and 26.8-percent fly ball rate this season.
Depending on site, Jose Miguel Fernandez (LAA) and Mitch Moreland (BOS) are the first basemen featured in our optimals and are the players to target in cash games for their per-dollar value. Fernandez is lucky enough to draw the individual matchup against Yovani Gallardo and his 5.75 FIP, 5.54 xFIP in the second half of the season. Gallardo owns an identical K rate and BB rate (both 13.0-percent) since the All-Star Break and righties have hit him drastically hard (.412 wOBA) than lefties (.318 wOBA) in 2018. Fernandez was a heavily sought after Cuban prospect, and while his talent has not translated to the big leagues so far, he slashed .338/.403/.583 against RHP with 16 homers in 278 at-bats (ABs) in Triple-A this year. Oh, by the way, Fernandez is only $3,000 on DK. On the other hand, Moreland only costs $3,000 on FD and Aaron Sanchez has been burned to the tune of a .391 wOBA and 35.6-percent hard hit rate by left-handed hitters (LHHs) in 41.1 innings. Neither player is difficult to fit on rosters and they open up salary to be spent on other positions as well.
Jose Abreu (CHW) and Matt Olson (OAK) are an elite tournament pivots as both are reasonably priced across the industry but still expensive enough that they do not easily complement the aces. Our model only has Skoglund projected for slightly over 20 batters faced and 13.5 outs but he has yielded a slate-worst 45.2-percent hard hit rate to right-handed hitters (RHHs) this season. Additionally, the Royals bullpen is the worst in the league so the matchup will remain favorable for Abreu even after Skoglund exits the contest. Olson is an all-or-nothing type power threat and Andrew Cashner pitches to contact. Furthermore, Cashner is one of just five pitchers on the slate who has been burned for a FIP over 5.00 against LHHs.
Daniel Murphy (CHC) and Cesar Hernandez (PHI) are included in our optimal lineups on DK and FD respectively although neither is our top value on their respective site nor the highest projected.
On DK, Rougned Odor (TEX) represents the top value in our model and Whit Merrifield (KC) owns that honor on FD. Odor will be dealing with a negative park shift but lefties have slashed .287/.358/.452 against Felix Pena to go along with a .350 wOBA, 24.5-percent line drive rate and 39.1-percent hard hit rate. Regardless of game location, Odor is in a position to smash when facing a righty with those kind of numbers who has only whiffed lefties at a measly 17.2-percent rate. Merrifield draws the platoon advantage against a very lucky Carlos Rodon to this point (4.96 SIERA) and his .379 xwOBA against LHP ranks second on the team.
Javier Baez (CHC) and Gleyber Torres (NYY) are the next tier at the position and in similar matchups against power-prone pitchers. Probable starter Chase Anderson has yielded a 2.08 HR/9 rate to RHHs (worst on the slate) and Odorizzi’s 46.5-percent fly ball rate against RHHs is also worst on the slate. Basically, both of these players are on red-alert to go deep, and Target Field enhances right-hander power for Torres’ sake.
As per usual, Nolan Arenado (COL) highlights the third base position as he is matched up against a lefty in the friendly confines of home. At home against southpaws, Arenado has slashed .402/.469/.854 this year with a .533 wOBA, .451 ISO, 226 wRC+ and 52.2-percent hard hit rate. Patrick Corbin is by no means a gas can but the talent is too substantial to overlook.
Beyond Arenado, Matt Chapman (OAK) has found his way into some of our optimals on DK and Eduardo Nunez (BOS) is our primary focus at the position on FD. Nunez is simply one of those players whose price point has not fluctuated much in the second half on FD and he is egregiously priced at $2,300. According to FanGraphs’ rSB metric, Sanchez has been below average for his career at limiting the running game against him and opponents have successfully swiped eight bases against him this year in just 94.0 innings. Chapman’s team is being implied to score 5.3 runs which is highest on the slate even including the tilt in Coors Field. Amongst hitters with at least 60 ABs in the split this year, Chapman leads all Athletics in wOBA against RHP.
If looking to differentiate, Kris Bryant (CHC), Eduardo Escobar (ARI) and Miguel Andujar (NYY) are all interesting game theory plays. Bryant is on the wrong side of his splits but Anderson has given up so much power that there is still some validity to rolling him out there. Escobar is not exactly matched up against a gas can in Coors Field but gray has still allowed a .332 wOBA, 25.8-percent line drive rate and 38.3-percent hard hit rate to LHHs thus far. Andujar is the most intriguing play of the tier as Odorizzi’s career suggests he is a reverse-splits right-hander and Andujar ranks second on the team in ISO against RHP (behind only Didi Gregorius).
Tim Anderson (CHW) is way too cheap for his individual matchup against Skoglund. Not only will Anderson hit leadoff in this spot but he has also posted a .326 wOBA, .188 ISO and 107 wRC+ against LHP this year while hitting six bombs in 144 ABs (compared to 12 HRs in 370 ABs versus RHP) and stealing two bases as well. Since we only have Skoglund projected for less than 15 outs, he is unlikely to pitch deep into the game. Well, the Royals bullpen is the worst in the league according to SIERA and Anderson has stolen a whopping 24 bases against RHP.
Trevor Story (COL) is the other incredibly talented Rockies RHH who always needs to be considered against LHP. Our baselines give him credit for a .393 wOBA and .289 ISO against LHP and Story leads the team in wOBA (.469) and wRC+ (184) over the course of the last two weeks. During that span, he has hit six homers, driven in 14 runs, stolen five bases and slashed .333/.373/.771.
In tournaments, the aforementioned Didi Gregorius (NYY) is an intriguing pivot because Anderson and Story should garner most of the ownership and Gregorius leads the team in ISO against RHP. Odorizzi relies heavily on fly ball outs (50.8-percent to LHHs) and he has only struck them out at a 20.9-percent rate. If looking for a direct pivot to Anderson, Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) is the same price against Strasburg at home and he has fared significantly better in the split versus RHP in his career. He is nothing more than a large field tournament shot.
Mike Trout (LAA) and the slumping Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) are popping as both the top outfield values and the top overall outfield plays on the slate. Stanton has struck out more than any hitter in the league against RHP, including more than Yoan Moncada and Joey Gallo, but power is always within the range of outcomes for hitters against Odorizzi. Trout will do battle with arguably the worst pitcher on the slate so what else needs to be said?
David Peralta (ARI), Andrew McCutchen (NYY) and Mookie Betts (BOS) represent the second tier and it is clear outfield is worth spending on if at all possible. Peralta draws the platoon advantage against Gray and Peralta has posted a .376 xBA, .492 xSLG and .379 xwOBA against Gray over the course of his career. McCutchen will likely lead off for a Yankees team being implied to score 5.0 runs on the road. Betts could potentially be one of the x-factors against a subpar pitcher at holding runners and Sanchez has walked 8.7-percent of RHHs (fifth highest rate on the slate). Betts can always flash the power but that is a difficult proposition against Sanchez and his 28.6-percent fly ball rate.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA) is another talented hitter matched up against Gallardo and his teammate Kole Calhoun (LAA) is absurdly cheap. In 40.0 innings against LHHs this season, Gallardo has walked 12.7-percent of them while striking out only 15.1-percent and his 5.11 FIP in the split is third worst amongst those with at least 10 innings against the handedness.
Otherwise, Christian Yelich (MIL) and Avisail Garcia (CHW) both should go overlooked although their matchups do not warrant low ownerships. Kyle Hendricks relies heavily on his changeup versus both sides of the plate (29-percent to lefties) and Yelich’s .351 xwOBA against the pitch ranks second on the team (min. 20 plate appearances) behind only Eric Thames. Garcia, the league’s leading hitter against LHP last year, has posted a team-best 57.4-percent hard hit rate versus southpaws. For the matchup, he is not properly priced, especially on FD ($2,500).
1) New York Yankees
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
The Yankees are the top ranked stack in this slate. They have the third highest IRT (5.1) and are facing a pitcher in Jake Odorizzi that’s very fly ball prone. They also get that coveted ninth inning playing on the road and are playing in high 70s degree weather. With Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez back, it’s a stack that has more depth to it as well. It’s also a big park shift downgrade though going into Target Field.
The Diamondbacks would be our top ranked stack if they had a softer matchup than Jon Gray in Coors Field. They’ll have to deal with the latter, but the Coors Field bump is awesome, especially for upside purposes. Also, we have the best hitting weather in Colorado tonight, with temperatures reaching as high as 90 degrees during the first hour of this game. If they carry similar ownership to the Yankees in GPPs, it makes more sense to side with the team in Coors Field.
3) Boston Red Sox
4) Los Angeles Angels
The Red Sox have the highest IRT (5.4) in this slate as they take on Aaron Sanchez (5.17 ERA/5.04 SIERA) and one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball in Fenway Park. You’re unlikely to get a discount in ownership here but they’re once again a strong stack in tournaments.
The Angels will should have different ownership than the stacks above as most of the hitters you’d want here are pricey outfielders. Yovani Gallardo is terrible though (6.22 ERA/5.61 SIERA, 13.6% K rate) and behind Gallardo is the worst bullpen in all of baseball now as we have this pen pegged with a .327 wOBA and .163 ISO baselines. We view the Angels as an awesome leverage stack in GPPs.
5) Colorado Rockies
6) Oakland Athletics
7) Chicago Cubs
8) Chicago White Sox
It’s surprising to find the Rockies in tier three given that they’re in Coors Field and this is just an eight game slate, but that’s because they have to deal with Patrick Corbin. We’d still stack the RHBs like LeMahieu-Arenado-Story in GPPs though as they should have a bit more muted ownership tonight given the tough matchup.
The Athletics are the other team that should provide strong leverage in GPPs. Andrew Cashner is one of the worst pitchers in this slate (1.43 HR/9 allowed this season) and the A’s are getting a massive park shift going into Camden Yards. They have a 5.3 IRT, which is similar to the Yankees and Red Sox.
The White Sox aren’t a good offense but Eric Skoglund isn’t a good pitcher either and the Royals bullpen is awful. They have some very compelling price tags on FD, which will likely give them some ownership. If you wanted to be different, play them on DK instead.