Welcome to September 17 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 17 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!
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS | HITTER SPLITS | PITCHER SPLITS | SORTABLE STATS | PITCHER TRENDS | LINEUPS | LEADERS
01:10 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 17 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Patrick Corbin (ARI) leads all starters in projections as he gets a matchup against the ice cold Cubs who have scored 15 runs in their last seven games. Over the course of the season the Cubs rank 13th in wRC+ against LHP with a league average K Rate and have a few hitters who profile well against LHP but all of them are slumping. Over the last 14 days, the Cubs rank 27th in wOBA and have the third highest K Rate. Corbin is a modest home favorite (-135) and comes with one of the lowest implied run total of the slate (3.5). The only consideration with Corbin is price tag. On DraftKings, the nearly $12,000 tag is a strong ask with few hitter values. On FanDuel, he’s only $10,000 and there are plenty of strong hitter values available. Our lean is for Corbin in cash on FanDuel and passed over on DraftKings.
Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) is the next-in-line option against a RH heavy Cardinals’ lineup. Foltynewicz has held RHBs to a .259 wOBA and .098 ISO while striking out 27.8 percent of them this season. Vegas is still hesitant on Foltynewicz listing him as a slight favorite but a 4.0 implied total against with temperatures in the high 80s in Atlanta. The price tag pushes him out of cash game conversation but his strikeout rate is fine in tournaments.
Joe Musgrove (PIT) and Zack Wheeler (NYM) are the next highest projected starters. Musgrove gets a soft matchup with the Royals who lose the DH and don’t have much LH power to really attack PNC Park’s dimensions. Musgrove is one of the larger favorites on the slate (-170) and has a 3.5 implied total against. The price tag on Musgrove isn’t quite as challenging as Corbin on DraftKings which earns him consideration in cash games. On FanDuel, the price tag is too close to Corbin with so much value to make Musgrove a priority. Wheeler has been pitching quite well and gets a strikeout prone Phillies’ offense (24.9 K Rate against RHP) but he’s priced aggressively and looks like a pure fade for us.
Tyler Glasnow (TB), Hyun Jin Ryu (LAD), and Jon Gray (COL) makeup the next tier of starters. Glasnow has the highest per dollar upside and makes great sense in tournaments but we’ve seen the shaky floor given his command issues and he’s pitching in one of the better hitting environments on the slate. Gray regained his swinging strike rate last start which was encouraging but draws a tough matchup with the Dodgers who rank second in wRC+ against RHP this season. Ryu is just priced poorly. Since he rarely works deep it’s difficult to justify the higher tag in pursuit of upside so he’s a likely fade. Of this tier, Glasnow is clearly the most intriguing while Gray is an adequate tournament play.
Jake Arrieta (PHI), Kyle Hendricks (CHC), and Andrew Suarez (SF) form the final tier of playable targets. Arrieta has one of the lower implied totals on the slate in a good pitching environment against a watered down Mets’ lineup but his lack of strikeouts limits the projection. He’s more viable on a two SP site like DraftKings in tournaments. Hendricks has found his form of late with five consecutive starts allowing two earned runs or less. The challenge with Hendricks is he hasn’t worked deep into games and comes with an elevated implied total against for his modest strikeout ways. Like Arrieta, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of upside here. Suarez is the most intriguing because he’s noticeably cheaper than the other two on DraftKings ($6,400) which makes him a fine cash game target. Suarez will face a Padres’ offense that ranks 22nd in wRC+ against LHP this season with a K Rate approaching 24 percent. Suarez has wide platoon splits and the Padres’ offense is fairly RH heavy so it’s not a perfect matchup but for $6,400 he fits the slate well. He’ll likely command heavier ownership than he should in tournaments because of the higher price tags on other starters which makes him a viable GPP fade or underweight.
Evan Gattis (HOU) is clearly the cream of the crop at the catcher position on Monday evening as he is the only player with a nearly neutral value rating in our DK model. Opposing starter Wade LeBlanc is a poor fit for Minute Maid Park because he pitches to contact (18.3-percent K rate) and relies so heavily on fly ball outs (42.3-percent fly ball rate) in the split against right-handed hitters (RHHs). Whereas Gattis has struck out at a 26.5-percent rate against RHP, that number only sits at 15.3-percent against LHP. Furthermore, this is the strong side of Gattis’ platoon split, as evident by his .343 wOBA and 122 wRC+ this year (versus .299 wOBA and 91 wRC+ versus LHP). In cash games, there is no doubt Gattis is the building block.
If looking to differentiate, Tucker Barnhart (CIN) has preferred the split against LHP, other than his tendency to strike out (26.4-percent K rate), and Wade Miley‘s underlying numbers suggest regression is on the horizon. Despite a 4.68 SIERA, his ERA sits at 2.23 overall for the season and both his K rate (15.8-percent) and BB rate (8.8-percent) leave much to be desired. Miller Park is only a slight park downgrade from Great American Ballpark and the 3.9 implied team total is likely keeping his projection down.
Otherwise, James McCann (DET) and Mitch Garver (MIN) represent the tournament tier only because the opposing pitchers they will be facing rarely miss bats and are susceptible to power. Garver’s .314 wOBA and .151 ISO in our baselines show he is the slightly superior talent of the two but McCann is $700 cheaper. They rate as identical values in our model and, while catcher is not a priority on this slate, either of these players is a great fill-in for a final roster spot if looking for lightning in a bottle.
On both sites, Ji-Man Choi (TB) represents our top value and he is also the highest projected player at the position. Since the All-Star Break, Choi has slashed .283/.380/.543 with a .391 wOBA, 153 wRC+, 24.0-percent line drive rate and a 45.4-percent hard hit rate. According to FanGraphs’ projection models, Adrian Sampson projects as around a pitcher with a 5.30 FIP, low K rate and high HR/9 rate (around 1.70). Add in the favorable hitting environment and Choi simply reigns supreme. Jake Bauers (TB) is a cheaper alternative who is a viable play in tournaments for virtually all the same reasons. Bauers also is on the favorable side of his platoon split but his second half has not been nearly as productive (assuming he is in the lineup).
The next tier at the position consists of Justin Smoak (TOR) and Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) on FD. At the time of writing this article, the Orioles had not released a starter yet, but the team is expected to resort to a bullpen day. Thus far, the Orioles’ active bullpen pitchers cumulatively own the worst team SIERA of any bullpen in the league. Additionally, the team’s bullpen ranks dead last in FIp and dead last in xFIP so Smoak should draw favorable matchups throughout the entire game. Goldschmidt is on the wrong end of the platoon split versus Kyle Hendricks and his minuscule 17.2-percent K rate against RHP this season. Hendricks induces a solid amount of ground balls but he has been burned by the line drive (24.2-percent) in the split.
Freddie Freeman (ATL), Matt Carpenter (STL) and Brandon Belt (SF) are all talented hitters in less than ideal matchups who make for interesting tournament investments. Amongst pitchers on the slate, Miles Mikolas‘ 25.7-percent line drive rate allowed to left-handed hitters (LHHs) ranks sixth worst amongst pitchers on the slate. Oh, by the way, Freeman’s 27.7-percent career line drive rate against RHP ranks second most of any active hitter with at least 200 at-bats (ABs) against the handedness. Carpenter will do battle with an improved Mike Foltynewicz but the Cardinals’ corner infielder’s .427 xwOBA against RHP ranks sixth in baseball (of those with at least 200 ABs). Belt will be playing in pitcher-friendly Petco Park but Bryan Mitchell has been burned for a .362 wOBA, 6.44 FIP, 6.52 xFIP and 41.1-percent hard hit rate by LHHs. None of these players should garner much ownership despite their skill sets.
Rougned Odor (TEX) versus Tyler Glasnow is an intriguing individual matchup because both possess the ability to exploit the other’s weakness. Odor’s 10.6-percent swinging strike rate ranks 56th worst in the MLB and his 24.0-percent K rate ranks 31st worst. Meanwhile, Glasnow has struck out 29.1-percent of opposing hitters and his 11.2-percent swinging strike rate is a drastic improvement over last season’s 8.2-percent. However, Glasnow’s kryptonite has been his inability to hold runners and Odor has stolen 11 bases this season. Unsurprisingly, Glasnow has also preferred pitching at home, and this is a significant park downgrade. Odor is not the top projected player at the position but he is our top value at second base on both DK and FD.
Travis Shaw (MIL) earns the slightly higher projection for this slate but he will cost a king’s ransom throughout the industry. After a string of four consecutive starts with a sub-4.20 xFIP or lower, Anthony DeSclafani has come back down to Earth; he has topped a 4.30 FIP in each of his last three starts including nine earned runs (ERs) in his last 8.2 innings. Our benchmarks give Shaw credit for a .352 wOBA and .232 ISO against RHP in a park that enhances left-handed power so he is worth his price point if salary is available.
Jonathan Villar (BAL), Brandon Lowe (TB) and Logan Forsythe (MIN) warrant consideration for a variety of reasons in their respective matchups. Jonathan Villar prefers the platoon split against LHP as he is more powerful in the split (.181 ISO versus .113 against RHP this year) and he has hit 30 percentage points higher. Villar is not a great player in real life but his fantasy prospects are a different story because he both hits for power and habitually swipes bases. Ryan Borucki‘s recent sample size (back-to-back quality starts) has hidden his 4.90 SIERA for the season. For what it is worth, Borucki’s 37.3-percent fly ball rate against RHHs ranks sixth highest on the slate, and yet he has done a great job limiting homers. FanGraphs’ projection models suggest this trend is not sustainable and his home run rate should increase over time. Lowe is another cheap lefty against Sampson and the Rays are one of the hottest teams in the league over the course of the last few weeks (.355 wOBA) and last month (.348 wOBA). Forsythe is nothing more than a punt option on a team with a measly 3.9 implied run total.
Mike Moustakas (MIL) is a powerful lefty amidst the middle of the Milwaukee lineup against DeSclafani at home and that bodes well for him. DeSclafani has allowed at least one bomb in four of his last five games including five homers allowed during that span. Of all the Brewers lefties, Moustakas’ .254 ISO in our baselines is the highest, meaning he projects as the likeliest of the bunch to take DeSclafani deep.
Matt Duffy (TB) is nothing more than a contact-oriented hitter but he is only $3,000 on FD and his team is being implied for one of the highest run totals on the slate. In Triple-A this year, RHHs hit .321 against him with eight homers in 67.1 innings, and he has fared as a reverse splits pitcher in his limited time in the majors as well. For cash games, fantasy owners could do worse than Duffy especially if he is hitting towards the top of the lineup.
Alex Bregman (HOU) and Wil Myers (SD) are the X-factors at the position as they are tempting pivots from Moustakas at their respective price points. Bregman’s $5,500 price point is difficult to fit on the slate but the favorability of the matchup versus LeBlanc is unmistakable. Other than Tyler White (HOU), Bregman leads the team with a .412 wOBA against LHP (in a much larger sample size), and he has only struck out at a 10.0-percent rate. LeBlanc rarely misses bats and Bregman barely whiffs so contact is a likely outcome each and every AB in a park with a short porch in left field. Myers faces a pitcher in Andrew Suarez who has yielded 22 homers and 21 of them have come off the bats of RHHs.
Carlos Correa (HOU) continues the string of powerful Astros popping in the projections but Trea Turner (WSH) rates similarly in terms of value. Since the All-Star Break, Correa has only produced a 25.0-percent hard hit rate and his infield fly ball rate has basically doubled (7.4-percent to 14.7-percent) from the first half of the season. After a 19.1-percent HR/FB rate pre-All-Star break, that number has depreciated all the way to 2.9-percent in the second half. Still, if there were ever a get-right matchup, this would be the one. If his recent numbers scare you, feel free to roster Turner instead against Trevor Richards and his .368 wOBA allowed to RHHs. J.T. Realmuto owns the quickest pop time of any qualified catcher so he at least will limit the running potential.
Jorge Polanco (MIN) is the cheaper alternative at the position and he is a vastly superior career hitter against RHP (.329 wOBA versus .290 wOBA against LHP). The implied team total is low but Jordan Zimmermann has allowed 27 homers to lefties since the beginning of 2017. During that span, lefties have produced a .290/.337/.516 slash line versus Zimmermann to go along with a .358 wOBA. There is nothing wrong with Polanco if needing salary relief.
If looking to complete stacks, Elvis Andrus (TEX) is a speedy hitter and Glasnow’s splits have been of the reverse variety in 2018. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (TOR) is a piece of the Blue Jays stack to add especially if he is leading off.
Mallex Smith (TB) rates as our top outfield value on both sites even though he is significantly cheaper on FD compared to DK. If leading off against arguably the worst pitcher on the slate, Smith is an easy sell in cash games by default. Nevertheless, Robinson Chirinos has allowed the third most steals of any qualified catcher and he has only caught six runners stealing. Tucker Barnhart has allowed an identical number of steals (50) and he has caught 17 runners stealing. In fact, Chirinos owns the worst caught stealing percentage of any qualified catcher. If Smith gets on, he almost assuredly will be running.
Christian Yelich (MIL) is the combination of a speedster and a powerful hitter in the strong side of the platoon split against DeSclafani. As noted in the previous tidbit, Barnhart has been run on quite a bit this year (third most steals of any qualified catcher), and Yelich’s .469 wOBA is the second highest of any qualified hitter in the second half (behind only Justin Turner). He is our preferred spend on FD.
Joc Pederson (LAD) always rates favorably in our model despite the pinch hit risks but he is a powerful hitter in the leadoff spot against Jon Gray and his .338 wOBA versus LHHs. Rostering him depends on risk tolerance.
Tommy Pham (TB) is another right-hander against Sampson and he may be the single-best investment on the Rays. Sampson is reverse splits and Chirinos is the worst throwing catcher in the league and Pham is both right-handed and speedy. It is tough to make a strong case against Pham in any format.
George Springer (HOU), Cedric Mullins (BAL) and Curtis Granderson (MIL) all are projected to lead off in lineups with 4.8 implied run totals or higher. Springer offers the most upside of any player in the tier as he is both a power and speed threat against a pitcher relying on fly ball outs. Mullins is only being given credit for a .305 wOBA baseline but he is also the cheapest in the tier. Granderson is a powerful lefty with an uppercut swing but he is one of the Brewers with implied pinch hit risk. If a lefty reliever comes in after DeSclafani, that will likely be the end of Granderson’s game.
1) Tampa Bay Rays
2) Milwaukee Brewers
Tampa Bay and Milwaukee should represent the chalk on this slate. They are the two teams with an implied total over five and both teams have been in decent form of late. The Rays are a bit cheaper and thus form our initial preference as they get the benefit of nine guaranteed innings and a big park upgrade. Their lineup also isn’t as vulnerable to PH roles.
3) Houston Astros
4) Texas Rangers
Houston’s offense has underperformed a bit of late with many of their studs struggling but the matchup with fly ball prone Wade LeBlanc brings some homer upside in their smaller park. Their ownership should come in considerably lower than Tampa and Milwaukee.
The Rays are a tough opposing staff to attack with their bullpen depth but Tyler Glasnow‘s struggles at limiting opposing base-runners always make him a reasonable target to stack against. If you’re deploying this contrarian strategy we’d do it through base-stealers like Odor-Andrus.
5) Washington Nationals
6) Detroit Tigers
7) Los Angeles Dodgers
This tier should be contrarian with the Nationals as one of our favorite targets. Their offense has quietly rebounded a bit of late (fourth in wOBA over the last 14 days) and they’re facing a Marlins’ pitching staff that is filled with minor league caliber arms. The park is awful for offense but the Nationals lineup is still solid 1-5 and worthy of stack consideration.
The Tigers are here largely on the basis of the Twins horrific pitching staff. They’ll open with Gabriel Moya and we believe will be followed by Kohl Stewart. The Tigers’ offense doesn’t have a ton of depth but they are cheap.
The Dodgers are second in MLB in wRC+ over the last 14 days with Yasiel Puig‘s bat among the hottest. Jon Gray has had some small velocity dips and swinging strike rate issues of late but he rebounded his last start. They rarely seem to reward our faith at home but the Dodgers should come with low ownership for an offense that is swinging it well of late.