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September 19 MLB DFS: A Syn to Fade Kershaw?
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September 19 MLB DFS Late Slate Show Outline: 


1:06 Starting Pitchers
12:52 Catchers
14:27 First Base
16:36 Second Base
19:42 Shortstops
22:48  Third Base
24:34 Outfield
28:40 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks


September 19 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

2) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

3) Madison Bumgarner (SF)

Tier Two

4) Jason Hammel (CHC)

5) Jharel Cotton (OAK)

Tier Three

6) Dylan Bundy (BAL)

7) Taijuan Walker (SEA)

8) Dan Straily (CIN)

9) Rick Porcello (BOS)

10) Marco Estrada (TOR)

Monday’s slate features three prototypical aces in Clayton Kershaw (LAD), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), and Madison Bumgarner (SF) and then a rather large drop-off before our second tier. Kershaw is our most skilled pitcher per plate appearance and ranks as the top option but there are some concerns over pitch count and how deep he can go. Kershaw has thrown just 64 and 66 pitches in his two starts since returning from the DL. The last start had a rain delay that he came out after, so it’s difficult to gauge where his pitch count will settle. Our instincts are in the 90s, which at a slightly reduced price tag on Kershaw keeps him in the conversation. Vegas certainly thinks we’re seeing Kershaw for a majority of the game as the Giants opened with a 2.6 implied run total against. Kershaw is pitching against Madison Bumgarner who has struggled of late (allowing at least three earned runs in five of his last six starts) and Vegas has given the Dodgers a 3.4 implied team total and made Bumgarner a +156 underdog. With Bumgarner priced similarly to Kershaw and Syndergaard, it’s difficult to prioritize him above those two options. Syndergaard faces a Braves’ offense that has crept up to 25th in wRC+ against RHP with a strong second half. They are a bit more strikeout prone down the stretch and they don’t have a ton of speed to challenge Syndergaard’s biggest weakness. Syndergaard has been rolling of late, limiting opponents to two earned runs or less in six straight starts. If you’re paying up at starting pitcher, the decision is ultimately between Kershaw and Syndergaard. Syndergaard is the heavier favorite (-275 vs. -170) and the two have similar implied team totals (2.6 each). Syndergaard’s workload is a little more secure but Kershaw’s skill-set is historically stronger. Kershaw grades as the stronger option in our model with a six inning expectation.

On a slate with Coors Field and plenty of high-end hitting environments, it’s difficult to consider pairing two stud starters on DraftKings. With Jason Hammel (CHC) and Jharel Cotton (OAK) our two second tier options priced well down, they make the most sense as a potential second starter. Hammel faces a Reds’ offense getting a park downgrade that is also very right handed. Hammel’s been a pretty wide splits guy (.301 wOBA vs RHBs, .330 wOBA vs LHBs since 2015) but he gives up power to both sides. Hammel’s a big favorite (-235) and we’re expecting the implied run total should settle in around 3.5 runs. Hammel’s a volatile asset but he has the longer track record and thus feels like the safer option. Cotton flashed big strikeout potential in the minors (10.3 K/9 in AAA this season) but has struggled to generate strikeouts in his first two starts. Granted it was against the Angels and Royals, two of the best contact teams in the league. The Astros are a good offense but they’re getting a big park downgrade and a bit banged up with Bregman and Altuve missing time of late. Cotton’s discounted tag from Hammel makes him a viable complementary option.

Catcher Rankings

1) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

2) Yadier Molina (STL)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

4) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

5) Evan Gattis (HOU)

The catcher position doesn’t present many strong values on either site. In general, we’re trying to get out of the position with as much salary relief as possible. On DraftKings, Yadier Molina (STL) is cheap ($3,200) and has the platoon advantage in Coors Field against Tyler Anderson. Anderson is a pitcher that is difficult to pick on because his strong GB Rate and command, but at softer price tags we’re comfortable taking chances. Molina’s been crushing in the second half (.379 wOBA, .165 ISO) and typically hits fifth against LHP. On FanDuel, Molina is priced up and we’re more focused on pure punt options. At first glance, Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) or Carlos Perez (LAA) could represent those punt plays facing weaker opposing starters.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Albert Pujols (LAA)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is our top first base option against fly ball prone Dan Straily, but he’s priced appropriately on both sites. As a result, we’re looking towards a bit more value that can help facilitate spending up at SP and get some exposure to elite bats at other weaker positions. On DraftKings, Chris Davis (BAL) fits the bill at just $3,800 at home against a RHP. Rick Porcello has been incredible against LHBs of late (.271 wOBA, .122 ISO over last 500 batters faced), but the success is a little confusing. This season he’s allowed a 33.4 hard hit rate to LHBs and generated just a 42 percent GB Rate. His xFIP against LHBs this season is still 3.90. Davis has been red hot (5.1 well hit over last 14 days) and the price tag doesn’t reflect his skill set against RHP. You also have Albert Pujols (LAA) and C.J. Cron (LAA) with relatively affordable price tags against Martin Perez (.341 wOBA, .132 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). Cron is also cheap on FanDuel ($2,700) and presents your best pure source of salary relief as all the other first base options are priced at $3,400 or above.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jedd Gyorko (STL) – where eligible

2) Matt Carpenter (STL)

3) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

4) Jose Altuve (HOU)

5) Robinson Cano (SEA)

6) Dee Gordon (MIA)

At second base, the Cardinals huge park shift to Coors Field starts to flood some of their more talented second base eligible options. Jedd Gyorko (STL) tops the rankings and while there’s an argument that Trea Turner‘s (WAS) incredible combination of speed and hard hit rate deserves to rank ahead of Gyorko, the difference in salary on DraftKings ($3,600 vs. $5,500) makes it difficult to justify. As long as Gyorko gets a good lineup spot against Tyler Anderson, he’ll represent a relatively cheap way to get exposure to the best offensive environment in baseball. On FanDuel, with neither Gyorko nor Turner eligible and Carpenter priced way up, we’re looking for salary relief from Dee Gordon (MIA) or Robinson Cano (SEA) as the best option in cash games. Neither have particularly great matchups but the price tags are compelling.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Jose Reyes (NYM) – where eligible

5) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

Aledmys Diaz (STL) is another Cardinals infielder at the top of our rankings. Diaz has actually been better against RHP (.390 wOBA, .229 ISO) than LHP this season (.322 wOBA, .156 ISO) but it’s a monstrous park shift and Diaz typically hits second. Diaz is fully priced on both site but the lack of strong alternatives makes him a viable target. On DraftKings, Manny Machado (BAL) is priced down for the matchup with Rick Porcello and thus poses a threat to Diaz. Both are facing above average starters with solid GB Rates in elite offensive environments. On DraftKings, we view the decision as largely between those two players. There isn’t a cheap alternative that can truly give you salary relief and both those options are affordable enough. On FanDuel, you have a fair tag on Diaz ($3,800), so we’re looking towards some salary relief. Addison Russell (CHC) has been hitting fifth a bunch of late and is just $2,500. He’s hit well in the second half (.332 wOBA, .205 ISO) but has been cold of late (3.3 well hit, -0.6). If you’d like to avoid the cold streak for Russell, you can either go slightly up ($3,000) to Jhonny Peralta with the platoon advantage in Coors Field or down to Andrelton Simmons ($2,300) as a pure punt play getting a big park shift in Arlington.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Jedd Gyorko (STL) – where eligible

3) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Nolan Arenado (COL)

6) Jake Lamb (ARZ)

7) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

8) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Kris Bryant (CHC) ranks ahead of our Coors Field options at third base as his power profile against a fly ball prone starter in Wrigley profiles well. He’s priced appropriately and is a viable target if paying up at the position. Third base is really deep so there are plenty of alternatives here. Matt Carpenter (STL) and Jedd Gyorko (STL) have eligibility here on DraftKings and Gyorko carries it on FanDuel as well. Our model loves the park shift for the Cardinals who have the highest implied run total on the slate (5.8 runs). Gyorko profiles as strong target but it’s a position you can also dip down on FanDuel to Adrian Beltre (TEX) against a weak opposing starter and a very bad bullpen. The Rangers have a 5.6 implied team total and Beltre is priced down at $3,100 on FanDuel. Nolan Arenado (COL) ranks a bit lower due to Carlos Martinez‘s dominance against RHBs (.264 wOBA, .069 ISO) but remains a fine tournament target given his contact skills and the environment.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

3) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

6) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

7) Jayson Werth (WAS)

8) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

9) Mookie Betts (BOS)

10) George Springer (HOU)

11) Bryce Harper (WAS)

12) Ian Desmond (TEX)

13) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

14) Carlos Gomez (HOU)

15) Carlos Beltran (TEX)

Mike Trout (LAA) is our top overall ranked hitter on this slate and someone we’d love to stretch for if we could in cash games. Trout has posted a Top 10 slugging percentage in MLB this season despite playing the majority of his games in poor offensive environments. This is the only divisional opponent he gets to face that is truly in a plus hitting environment and he’s facing a below average lefty in Martin Perez. Trout is affordable on both sites (even with elite starting pitching) and is a fine spend in all formats. Stephen Piscotty (STL) and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) are your primary alternatives and both comes with solid price tags. Gonzalez gets the benefit of facing Martinez’s wider splits (.332 wOBA, .146 ISO) and it’s a huge downgrade for Martinez in terms of pitching environment. Piscotty has crushed LHP (.410 wOBA, .249 ISO in his career) and gets that huge park shift. As has been the case earlier in the season some of these top options are actually projecting as our best values which makes spending in the outfield a difficult priority to manage. We’d like to spend for at least one and ideally two of these top options and then finish off our outfield slot with some salary relief. On DraftKings, Hyun-Soo Kim (BAL) is our top target at just $2,800 hitting second in Camden Yards. On FanDuel, there are a slew of guys at $2,000 or $2,100 that we don’t know if they’re going to be in the lineup, but if they are we’re interested. Jurickson Profar (TEX) and Michael Conforto (NYM) are skilled hitters with the platoon edge against weak opposing RHPs but they’re rarely in the lineup and when they are they usually hit low. On this slate, we’re willing to accept that risk in order to generate some salary relief and go a bit more stars and scrubs. The last potential option is Enrique Hernandez (LAD) who has remarkably racked up seven extra base hits in 19 career plate appearances against Madison Bumgarner. He often leads off when he is in the lineup and even without the individual success a min-priced leadoff hitter would hold value on this slate.


Tier One

1) St. Louis Cardinals

2) Colorado Rockies

3) Texas Rangers

Tier Two

4) Los Angeles Angels

5) Washington Nationals

6) Boston Red Sox

Coors Field and the Rangers will represent the chalk on this slate. Those two offensive environments are largely where we’re looking for cash game exposure but it’s difficult to build mini-stacks on FanDuel where we’re in search of value. On DraftKings, a natural Cardinals’ mini-stack starts to form with Molina and Gyorko really cheap. It’s a little unnerving given Tyler Anderson‘s success at home (3.04 ERA, .310 wOBA allowed), but the Cardinals have the highest implied team total on the slate.

Contrarian Targets:

New York Mets – Aaron Blair has really struggled at the big league level and the Mets are loaded with hot hitters in our well hit tool.