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September 15 MLB DFS: Seager Is A Core(y) Play
DAILY FANTASY RUNDOWN
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September 15 MLB DFS Show Outline: 

00:52 Starting Pitchers
06:16 Catchers
07:50 First Base
10:15 Second Base
12:20 Shortstops
13:47  Third Base
14:55 Outfield
18:34 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks

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September 15 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1a) Rich Hill (LAD)

1b) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Two

3) JA Happ (TOR)

4) Blake Snell (TB)

Tier Three

5) Jerad Eickhoff (PHI)

6) Adam Wainwright (STL)

7) Mike Montgomery (CHC)

8) Edinson Volquez (KC)

On FanDuel you’re sticking with the tier one starting pitchers as the risk levels increase exponentially after the top three starting pitchers. Pricing is loose enough that it shouldn’t be a problem to afford either Rich Hill (LAD) or Johnny Cueto (SF). If you’re looking for upside, Hill is the guy to take. Hill, coming off a perfect 7 IP last outing, has struck out 29.3 percent of batters faced and now takes on a swing and miss Diamondbacks team (23.5 K percentage against LHP). Hill also carries some of the highest win probability of the slate, pegged as a -200 favorite.

Of course, if you’re more interested in a high floor in your SP1, Cueto is the better option. Hill’s matchup is in a tough park for pitchers against the top team in all of baseball in wRC+ against LHP. Meanwhile Cueto has the lowest IRTA (3.4) and is pitching in the best pitcher’s park in all of baseball (San Francisco). It’s still a tough matchup (Cardinals are fifth in wRC+ against RHP), but this is as safe as it’s going to get on this slate.

The second tier is similar to the first in the sense that we have one relatively safe option in JA Happ (TOR) (good pitcher’s park in Los Angeles, one of the better run prevention skill sets on this slate) and one high upside option in Blake Snell (TB) (high K upside amplified by facing Baltimore but tons of run prevention risk). On DraftKings, you’ll likely have to choose between one of these two options as a complementary play unless enough offensive punts arise to allow you to play Hill and Cueto together.

Ironically, the upside versus safety debate continues to pop its head in the third tier where the two best priced options are Mike Montgomery (CHC) and Edinson Volquez (KC). Montgomery is the heaviest favorite on the slate and faces a Brewers team that swings and misses quite a bit but is more potent overall against LHP. Montgomery is difficult to evaluate as he’s flashed some nice K-GB combination skills but has worked mostly as a reliever, having some issues with control and HR/FB rate. Volquez on the other hand doesn’t carry much K upside but is a cheap target for run prevention given the state of the Athletics offense over the second half of the season (down to 24th in wRC+ against RHP).

Catcher Rankings

1) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

4) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

5) Welington Castillo (ARI)

Gary Sanchez (NYY) has cooled off (negative delta in our well-hit tool past two weeks), but he’s far and away the highest upside option at C on this slate, facing LHP Eduardo Rodriguez in Fenway (great for RHBs). At first glance Rodriguez has handled RHBs well (.300 wOBA over his career), but a 5.07 xFIP and 5.24 FIP indicate some regression coming there. We’d like to fit his upside in wherever possible on the shortened slate, but Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is also on a good spot (facing the horrible Diamondbacks pitching staff and defense in Arizona).

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) David Ortiz (BOS)

4) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)

5) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

For a short slate, we have a slew of options at first base from all price rangers. Up top is Anthony Rizzo (CHC), who faces Jimmy Nelson (5.03 FIP this season; career .355 wOBA and .191 ISO allowed to LHBs). He’s extremely affordable on FanDuel and our top target over there. If you have the cap room on DraftKings, he’s a fine spend, but you may want to drop down to Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), who is too cheap for a home matchup against a LHP, even a good one like Rich Hill. For cap relief purposes, Josh Bell (PIT) is practically at a punt price and gets a positive park shift facing Jerad Eickhoff (very wide splits). Those are our main targets, but there are other secondary cash plays: the cheap Yankees RHBs (Rob Refsnyder/Mark Teixeira) and Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) are most notable among them.

Second Base Rankings

1) Steve Pearce (BAL)

2) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

3) Chase Utley (LAD)

4) Adam Frazier (PIT)

5) Logan Forsythe (TB)

Industry wide Chase Utley (LAD) is the most appealing option. He’ll lead off in hitter friendly Chase Field against Archie Bradley (.364 wOBA, .178 ISO allowed to LHBs) and a horrendous Diamondbacks bullpen. On FanDuel, Ben Zobrist (CHC) is equally viable, and on DraftKings, Adam Frazier (PIT) and Joey Wendle (OAK) provide cheaper options. Steve Pearce (BAL) is the highest upside play at the position given Snell’s volatility and Pearce’s skills against LHP (.428 wOBA, .305 ISO this season, resembling his awesome 2014).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Corey Seager (LAD)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Brad Miller (TB)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Corey Seager (LAD) has some of the highest upside on the slate, owning a career .414 wOBA and .233 ISO against RHP, remarkable numbers for a shortstop. The context doesn’t get much better than facing a volatile Archie Bradley on the road in Arizona, with a horrible defense and bullpen to back him up. We’d like to get up to him where possible. On FanDuel, though, you may need to cut out one of the top plays between C-1B-SS. On DraftKings, Brad Miller (TB) (larger positive park shift and facing the disaster that is Yovani Gallardo) and Manny Machado (BAL) (elite individual skills, platoon edge against a LHP with great raw talent but unpolished) allow you upside at the position while saving $1,000.

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Justin Turner (LAD)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Evan Longoria (TB)

Machado, as mentioned above, has plenty of upside against a fly ball oriented LHP who is wild. The price tag on DraftKings at third base is great, while Justin Turner (LAD) (superb numbers against same handed pitching include a .390 wOBA and escalating ISO the past three season) is the best value on FanDuel. Maikel Franco (PHI) is a viable cap relief option on each site if you can’t afford Machado/Turner.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Ryan Braun (MIL)

3) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

4) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

5) Kevin Kiermaier (TB)

6) Kris Bryant (CHC)

7) Steve Pearce (BAL)

8) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

9) Jose Bautista (TOR)

10) Mookie Betts (BOS)

11) Jarrod Dyson (KC)

12) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

13) Adam Jones (BAL)

The outfield is a really good spot to focus on mid-tier values as you can get access to top five options without paying high price tags, most notably with Gregory Polanco (PIT) and Mark Trumbo (BAL). Focusing on values like that allows you to pay up at several infield positions without sacrificing your outfielders. If you do end up being able to make a significant spend in the outfield, Mike Trout (LAA) is our preferred play in cash games and Ryan Braun (MIL) in tournaments. The complementary options really vary site to site. Our model probably overrates Jarrod Dyson (KC), but his speed upside does put him square in the value play conversation as a sub-$3k leadoff hitter there. Dyson has 27 steals in just 292 PAs. On DraftKings, Josh Bell (PIT) as mentioned at the first base position is very cheap, but he’s also outfield eligible. We either like dipping down to him or taking talented hitters like Adam Jones (BAL) or Jose Bautista (TOR), even if their per dollar value isn’t as strong as a Bell (cap relief may not be necessary) or Polanco/Trumbo (may be in lineup already or may want to limit hitters against your pitcher if using Snell).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

Following the Dodgers and to a lesser extent the Cubs, our stack rankings are pretty crowded, with a few teams in good spots and holding similar IRTs. In cash games, we’d really like to get in a couple of Dodgers, which may impact your decision making when breaking ties (Do I pay up for Seager or a different infield position? Do I eschew the top option at first base and go with the mid-tier value that Adrian Gonzalez possesses?). It shouldn’t be too difficult a reasonable Dodger option at each infield position.

Tournament Stacks

-Arizona Diamondbacks (should be low owned since Rich Hill is one of two top pitchers on the slate, but they are the best team against LHP and at home in a favorable park; Owings/Segura/Tomas/Drury/Lamb all have positive deltas in our well-hit tool)

-Toronto Blue Jays (may go underowned due to park, but Daniel Wright is a bad pitcher – Steamer projects a 4.45 ERA and 1.32 HR/9 – and the Jays are tied for the second highest IRT on the slate at 5)

-Baltimore Orioles (a situation you can play both sides on in tournaments, but obviously not together; Orioles have plenty of powerful RHBs and Snell’s low GB rate combined with high BB rate can lead to a disaster start with either some bad luck or if he’s simply not missing as many bats as usual)

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