Daily Fantasy Rundown – September 13 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Sunday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: We’ll send along the game by game forecasts in the first alert this morning.
Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) – On sites where Schwarber still carries catcher eligibility, he represents the top option at the position. It’s probably a bit early to say this, but Schwarber is the best hitting catcher in baseball as of right now. In 199 PAs, Schwarber has slashed a .267/.362/.570 triple slash line. His ability to generate loft (47 percent FB rate) and hit the ball hard (40 percent hard hit rate) makes him a very powerful hitter. He’s going to K (30 percent K rate) over the course of his career but today is all that matters in DFS and today he has a matchup against Aaron Harang. Harang doesn’t miss bats (15 percent K rate vs. RHBs) and he’s a pretty bad pitcher vs. lefties (.342 wOBA/1.10 HR per 9 allowed to LHBs since 2013). The Cubs have one of the highest implied run totals on this slate (hovering around five runs) and Schwarber hits second vs. RHP. After Schwarber (fifth ranked hitter), no other catcher ranks inside the top 40. This gap in expected production makes Schwarber a phenomenal option across all formats.
Yan Gomes (CLE) – Gomes is the next ranked catcher in our model (40th ranked hitter). The matchup (Matt Boyd has surrendered a .396 wOBA/1.99 HR per 9 to 137 RHBs at the major league level) should bring out Gomes’ best skill as a hitter, power (.181 ISO vs. LHP). Gomes is minimum priced on FanDuel, a site where Kyle Schwarber doesn’t carry catcher eligibility. He’s our main target at the catcher position on that site and any site that 1) Schwarber isn’t eligible at the catcher position and 2) has priced him well below the type of hitter that he is vs. LHP.
Additional catcher notes: Wilin Rosario (COL) is $2,300 on DraftKings (very close to the minimum price) and he should hit no worse than fifth vs. a LHP. We realize that James Paxton doesn’t allow much power but if there’s a skill that Rosario has as a baseball player, it’s hitting vs. southpaws. Rosario has accumulated a .404 wOBA/.281 ISO in 434 PAs vs. LHP. Those hitting skills are somewhat inflated thanks to Coors Field but it’s evident that Rosario is an above average hitter against lefties. He’s nowhere near priced like an above average hitter on DraftKings. He’s a great punt play on sites that have priced him like this (DraftKings, DraftDay and Yahoo). Rosario Brian McCann (NYY) is a fine secondary option on sites that have priced him like an average hitter. The Yankees haven’t hit the knuckle baller R.A Dickey well, especially McCann. In a small sample (35 PAs), McCann has only been able to generate six hits vs. Dickey. The short porch at Yankee Stadium is appealing and McCann can hit for power vs. RHP, so we still consider him a fine value. He’s priced out of commission on FanDuel ($4,200), where he only deserves consideration on multi-entry tournaments. Miguel Montero (CHC) is an average hitter vs. RHP but he does have some pop and Aaron Harang is home run prone. Montero gives you exposure to a Cubs offense with a high implied total (almost five runs) for a reasonable cost. He’s a fine cash game pivot from the recommendations above.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC)/Miguel Cabrera (DET) – Rizzo (first ranked hitter) and Cabrera (second ranked hitter) are ranked next to each other in our model. Rizzo (.376 wOBA/.232 ISO) and Cabrera (.418 wOBA/.252 ISO) are elite hitters vs. RHP but their contextual factors are a bit different today. Let’s start with the matchups. Rizzo faces the underwhelming Aaron Harang (.242 wOBA/1.10 HR per 9 allowed to LHBs) and Cabrera draws Trevor Bauer (.321 wOBA/1.00 HR per 9 allowed to RHBs). Rizzo has the advantage in matchup while Cabrera has the edge in overall hitting skills. The final tiebreaker that we’re going to use is the expected success of their respective teams. Rizzo has the advantage here, as the Cubs have an implied team total hovering around five runs. The Tigers’ implied team total is four runs. It’s very close between these two, so it’s not a bad idea to let price points dictate your decisions. Cabrera is too cheap on DraftKings, where he represents the slightly better option. On sites where both are priced similarly, we’re giving the edge to Rizzo due to 1) a better overall matchup and 2) his team has a higher expected total.
Mike Napoli (TEX) – If you need salary relief at first base, Napoli gives you power upside for a cheap asking price. He’s no longer the same above average hitter he once was (124 wRC+ over the course of his career; 92 wRC+ this season) and that’s because 1) his hard hit rate is down from 35 percent to 30 percent and 2) his luck has changed (.262 BABIP this season/.306 BABIP over the course of his career). The latter isn’t very surprising, as Napoli is aging (almost 34 years old) and he has struggled with injuries over the last few seasons. What Napoli is still able to do is hit for power (.180 ISO), particularly vs. LHP (.270 ISO in 144 PAs vs. lefties this season). The environment (Texas; warm weather helps balls carry out of the ball park) and matchup (Felix Doubront has surrendered a .343 wOBA/1.04 HR per 9 to RHBs since 2013) form a favorable set of contextual factors for Napoli. He’s particularly intriguing on sites where he’s minimum priced.
Additional first base notes: Carlos Santana (CLE) has a great matchup vs. Matt Boyd (prone to a high amount of power) and he’s an above average hitter vs. LHP (127 wRC+ vs. LHP since 2013). Santana is a good pivot in cash games on sites where Mike Napoli isn’t minimum priced or they’re priced similarly (Yahoo). Chris Davis (BAL) is a fun tournament option today. Johnny Cueto is a good pitcher but his current form is a bit broken (21 earned runs/four home runs in his last four starts). We’re willing to target Davis’ swing for the fences approach on sites that have discounted his asking price. Jose Abreu (CWS) has a matchup against a pitcher that doesn’t miss bats at U.S. Cellular Field. Target him in tournaments.
Jose Altuve (HOU) – Altuve is priced close to the average asking price of a hitter and he’s historically performed at a much higher level when he has the platoon edge. Altuve has accumulated a .386 wOBA vs. LHP since 2012, which is a very high mark for a second baseman. Not only is he a great hitter vs lefties, but Altuve also has plenty of speed upside (45-50 SB upside over a full season). Opposing pitcher Andrew Heaney has surrendered a .338 wOBA vs. RHBs in the last couple of seasons and most importantly, he’s just average in terms of controlling the running game (0 rSB). Altuve (ranked inside our top 15 hitters) is in play across all formats this afternoon.
Next in line:
Robinson Cano (SEA) – To evaluate Cano fairly, we have to look at recent data (from 2014-2015) because his previous environment (Yankee Stadium) enhaces left-handed power at a very high rate. As a Mariner, Cano has generated an above average wOBA (.364) and ISO (.167) relative to his position (second base). He’s priced below the average asking price of a hitter around the industry and data shows that he’s more than just an average hitter. He also has a very friendly matchup. Kyle Kendrick has surrendered a .352 wOBA/1.25 HR per 9 to LHBs in the last three seasons. If you can’t afford Altuve, Cano is an excellent pivot in cash games.
Additional second base notes: Anthony Rendon (WSH) is an above average hitter vs. LHP and Brad Hand doesn’t miss bats. Altuve and Cano are ranked a bit higher in our model (top 20 hitters compared to 45th ranked hitter) but Rendon our next ranked option at second base. He’s a secondary cash game target. Brian Dozier (MIN) is an above average hitter vs. LHP relative to his position (.361 wOBA) but his main hitting tool is power (.224 ISO). Since 2013, Dozier has the highest ISO (.189) out of any second baseman that has accumulated more than 1,000 PAs. His matchup today is as bad as it gets (Chris Sale) but he’s had success against this pitcher in the past. It’s a pretty small sample relative to three year data but in 36 career ABs vs. Sale, Dozier has slugged three home runs and four doubles and he’s priced ahead of this matchup. We’re willing to take a shot at Dozier’s power stroke in multi-entry tournaments. Logan Forsythe (TB) has above average skills (particularly power) vs. LHP and Rich Hill hasn’t started a major league game since 2009. Forsythe is the highest priced second baseman today but he’s worthy of tournament consideration.
Carlos Correa (HOU) – Correa has destroyed LHP in his first major league stint. In 104 PAs vs. LHP, Correa owns a .408 wOBA/.304 ISO. For some reason, Correa isn’t fully priced on FanDuel ($3,600). It’s too easy to fit him on that site and he along with our main value play (Ian Desmond) are the only shortstops ranked inside our top 20 hitters. His matchup offers upside (Andrew Heaney has a 0.85 HR per 9 this season but his hard hit rate is close to 35 percent), which gives Correa more appeal across all formats.
Ian Desmond (WSH) – Ian Desmond isn’t a good hitter. This season, he has struggled more (.292 wOBA/84 wRC+). The positive for Desmond is that he can hit for power (.156 ISO this season) at a defensive position. The other positive here is that Desmond’s matchup should help his power stroke. Opposing pitcher Brad Hand has given up a .348 wOBA/1.04 HR per 9 to RHBs (13 percent K rate against righties). On sites where Correa is a bit out of reach, Desmond is a fine pivot for cash games.
Additional shortstop notes: Asdrubal Cabrera (TB) has an awesome matchup (Rich Hill hasn’t made a start at this level in years) and he usually hits fifth vs. LHP. Our model doesn’t like him quite as much as our recommendations above (80th ranked hitter), so we’re only branding him as a secondary target. Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) is a fine punt option on sites where he’s priced like one. He has been an above average hitter vs. LHP this season (.358 wOBA) and if he obtains a top six lineup spot in the Astros offense, he deserves some cash game consideration at his current price point around the industry.
Kris Bryant (CHC) (ranked behind teammate Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Cabrera in our model; his ability to generate a FB rate close to 50 percent gives him plenty of power upside and a matchup against Aaron Harang only improves his power potential; target him across all formats)
Next in line:
Evan Longoria (TB) – It’s 2015 and Rich Hill is starting a major league baseball game. Think about it. The last time Rich Hill made an appearance at this level was in 2013 and his last start was six years ago. This is a very appealing matchup for Longoria, who owns a .393 wOBA/.239 ISO vs. LHP since 2012. Longoria a strong cash game option on sites that have priced him close to the average asking price of a hitter.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) – Beltre is simply underpriced around the industry. Look, we realize that Beltre hasn’t quite been the same hitter this season (.305 wOBA/.143 ISO) but he has performed much better in the past month. In the month of August, Beltre generated a .371 wOBA/.215 ISO. Those hitting skills are much closer to what we’ve come to expect from Beltre, but he might not be able to do it on a consistent basis due to his age (36 years old). His context this afternoon should help him, too. Felix Doubront is a below average southpaw and Texas’ weather is favorable, particularly in the afternoon (temperatures close to 90 degrees). It might be difficult to reach for Bryant/Longoria on tight pricing sites, where Beltre plays a key role in cash game rosters.
Additional third base notes: Nolan Arenado (COL) and Kyle Seager (SEA) are two tournament options that have upside today. Arenado is an awesome hitter vs. southpaws and he’s priced favorably relative to his skills on most sites. Seager has been performing very well lately, especially from a power perspective (.325 ISO in his last 49 PAs). Seager also draws a favorable matchup (Kyle Kendrick), which makes him a nice option on sites where he’s cheaper than Arenado.
Mike Trout (LAA) – Trout has been picking it up as of late, hitting for a .362 wOBA/.212 ISO in his last 43 PAs. He’s priced very closely to an average hitter on DraftKings, where it’s difficult to fade him in cash games. Trout has a matchup against a pitcher who misses bats but tends to get hit hard (Mike Fiers is striking out around a batter per inning but owns a 35 percent hard hit rate this season).
Jayson Werth (WSH) – Werth has historically crushed LHP. Since 2012, Werth owns a .413 wOBA and .243 ISO vs. lefties. Opposing pitcher Brad Hand is highly susceptible to RHBs (.348 wOBA/1.04 HR per 9) and he doesn’t miss any bats (13 percent K rate vs. righties). Werth is priced as an average hitter around the industry, which isn’t an accurate representation of 1) the type of hitter that he is vs. LHP and 2) his context (awesome matchup against a pitcher that doesn’t miss bats and the Nationals have a solid implied total of 4.3 runs). We’re willing to use Werth in just about any format this afternoon.
Dexter Fowler/Chris Coghlan (CHC) – Fowler (.343 wOBA/.162 ISO) and Coghlan (.331 wOBA/.164 ISO) are average hitters vs. RHP but they do have some power upside. We’ve highlighted their matchup as a great one (Aaron Harang is home run prone and he’s particularly bad vs. LHBs). The Cubs have one of the highest implied run totals (hovering around five runs) and these two hitters obtain elite lineup spots (Fowler leads off and Coghlan hits third). We like Fowler a bit better since he doesn’t carry pinch hit risk later in the game and he has speed upside. They represent some of the best values for cash games at the position.
Brandon Guyer (TB)/Ryan Raburn (CLE) – Guyer (.352 wOBA/.141 ISO) and Raburn (.341 wOBA/.207 ISO) rate as above average hitters vs. LHP. Their matchups today are about as good as they can get. Guyer faces Rich Hill (making his first start in six years) and Raburn draws the heavy home run prone Matt Boyd. Since the starting pitcher position isn’t littered with values, we’re going to have to pair tier one/two pitchers with one another (on multiple starting pitcher sites). Raburn and Guyer facilitates that process thanks to their cheap price points on DraftKings. They’re pinch hit risks later in the game but we don’t mind taking a shot with one of them in cash games in hopes that they do enough damage in their respective matchups.
Additional outfield notes: J.D. Martinez (DET) is priced a bit too low relative to his skills on FanDuel Martinez is a powerful hitter vs. RHP (.200 ISO) and Trevor Bauer is home run prone. He’s a fine option for cash games and the only reason he rates below the hitters above is the expected success of his team (Tigers’ team total isn’t very appealing for cash games). Delino DeShields (TEX) ranks just behind Werth/Fowler in our model. He’s not a great hitter in general but he’s better vs. lefties and he has speed upside (40 SB upside over a full season worth of ABs). Target him in cash games on sites that have priced him below the average asking price of a hitter. Keep in mind that Texas has an implied team total of 5.3 runs, so it’s certainly not a bad idea to have exposure to that offense (DeShields is their leadoff hitter). Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) has emerged in MVP conversations in the National League. He was traded to the Mets just a little over a month ago. In that timespan, Cespedes has homered 16 times and has generated 10 doubles. It would be wise to have some level of exposure to Cespedes in tournaments, particularly in a matchup against a pitcher like Ryan Weber (4.30 Ks per 9 at the minor league level this season). Consider teammate Curtis Granderson for tournaments as well. Lorenzo Cain (KC) has the platoon edge against a home run prone pitcher at Camden Yards (much better hitting venue than Kauffman Stadium). Target Cain’s full price tag in tournaments. Jose Bautista (TOR) is simply underpriced relative to his skills on DraftKings. Masahiro Tanaka is a good pitcher, but he is home run prone (1.46 HR per 9 this season). We like Bautista in tournaments on DraftKings. George Springer and Carlos Gomez (HOU) are tournament worthy options against Andrew Heaney. Both hit LHP well and have that speed/power upside combo that we love in DFS. We prefer these two on sites where they’re discounted relative to the recommendations above.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Chris Sale (CWS)
2) Zack Greinke (LAD)
3) Max Scherzer (WSH)
4) Francisco Liriano (PIT)
5) Mike Fiers (HOU)
6) Michael Wacha (STL)
7) Drew Smyly (TB)
8) Patrick Corbin (ARI)
9) Raisel Iglesias (CIN)
10) Taylor Jungmann (MIL)
11) Mike Leake (SFG)
Chris Sale (CWS)/Zack Greinke (LAD) – While Sale is the top overall pitcher on this slate, he’s usually on a tier of his own. His ability to miss bats (33 percent K rate/15 percent SwStr rate) gives him an advantage over every single starting pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw. However, this matchup against the Twins has been problematic for Sale. In five starts against the Twins this season, Sale has averaged 17.4 DraftKings points (42 Ks/8.26 ERA in 30 IP). U.S. Cellular Field is a great environment for hitters and the Twins are slightly above average vs. LHP (13th in wRC+ vs. LHP). Sale still holds an advantage in Ks over the rest of the starting pitchers on this slate but we remain skeptical about his ability to prevent runs in this matchup/environment.
Greinke is right behind Sale in our model and what he lacks in Ks (24 percent K rate/12 percent K rate), he makes it up in run prevention (1.68 ERA/six percent hard minus soft hit rate). Greinke has better matchup (Diamondbacks are ranked 19th in wRC+ and are striking out 20 percent of the time vs. RHP) and his price is a bit friendlier than Sale’s around the industry. The gap between these two pitchers isn’t very severe but keep in mind that Sale’s expected K rate is higher. On sites where these two are priced similarly, we’ll take a shot at Sale’s higher K rate in hopes that the Ks make up for any run prevention issues. On a site like DraftKings where Greinke is significantly discounted to Sale, we’ll side with his run prevention prowess and above average K’s in a favorable matchup.
Next in line:
Max Scherzer (WSH)/Francisco Liriano (PIT) – This is a similar situation to Sale/Greinke. Ironically enough, after dominating the first half of the season, Scherzer and Liriano have struggled in the second half. Scherzer’s run prevention has taken a step back (5.12 ERA in the second half) but his 25 K-BB percentage offers hope. His main issue has been hard hit balls (2.17 HR per 9/15 percent hard minus soft hit rate). Liriano has struggled in different ways. His run prevention is okay (3.96 ERA) and he’s not getting hit hard (0.54 HR per 9/three percent hard minus soft hit rate) but he’s not neutralizing hitters (13 percent K-BB%) as well as Scherzer.
Their matchups/environments should help them get on track. Scherzer faces a Marlins offense that’s ranked dead last in wRC+ vs. RHP and Marlins Park suppresses home runs by around 12 percent below the league average. Scherzer’s home venue is average in terms of allowing home runs. Liriano is at PNC Park (one of the best pitcher’s park in baseball) and facing a Brewers offense that’s ranked 27th in wRC+ and are striking out 21 percent of the time vs. LHP. Liriano is a bigger favorite (-200) than Scherzer (-180), which gives him a higher probability of obtaining a W. I’m leaving price points dictate decisions. On sites where Liriano is significantly discounted to Scherzer, he represents a slightly better option in cash games. However, Scherzer is the superior value on sites where they’re priced similarly.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Mike Fiers (HOU) is an appealing tournament target thanks to his ability to miss bats (24 percent K rate/9.3 SwStr rate). The Angels offense is just an average offense vs. RHP, which could help Fiers’ run prevention. Fiers isn’t the same caliber of pitcher as the recommendations above because he gets hit harder (15 percent hard minus soft hit rate). Use his K upside in tournaments. Michael Wacha (STL) is in a bad environment (Great American Ball Park) but his matchup is favorable (Reds are ranked 24th in wRC+ vs. RHP). Wacha is coming off a difficult start (six earned runs). His price tag is a bit depressed around the industry but the expected run prevention (Reds have an implied team total of 3.6 runs) makes us wonder if he will be able to overcome his last start. His price makes him a fine secondary option for cash games but admittedly, his best use is in tournaments today. James Paxton (SEA) doesn’t miss bats but he keeps the ball on the ground (53 percent GB rate over the course of his career). In this matchup (Rockies are ranked dead last in wRC+ vs. LHP), Paxton deserves tournament consideration.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Chicago Cubs
2) Texas Rangers
These two offenses have implied run totals over five runs. Matchups against below average pitchers in good hitting venues gives them plenty of appeal across all formats. I’m looking to mini-stack the following hitters in cash games/tournaments (in no particular order): Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Delino DeShields, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli.
3) Cleveland Indians
4) Tampa Bay Rays
There’s pinch hit risk for some of these hitters, which is the main reason why they’re not a primary offense in our rankings. We’re still willing to take the risk given the matchup (Rich Hill). We mentioned a few times in our analysis today that Hill hasn’t made a start at the major league level in six years. We should add that he’s home run prone (1.11 HR per 9 over the course of his career).
5) Washington Nationals
One name; Brad Hand. He doesn’t miss bats and is susceptible to RHBs. The Nationals have a few (Jayson Werth/Anthony Rendon/Ian Desmond) that could hurt him. The hitting environment isn’t any good but the matchup against a bad southpaw is too good to pass up.
6) New York Mets
Ryan Weber couldn’t get Ks at the minor league level (4.30 Ks per 9 at the triple A level). That’s not a good recipe for success at the major league level, and the Mets have a couple hitters (Yoenis Cespedes/Curtis Granderson) that we like quite a bit for tournaments. We don’t mind throwing Travis d’Arnaud as part of Mets stacks in tournaments.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
We’ll send along the game by game forecasts in the first alert this morning.