Welcome to September 19 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 19 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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00:50 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 19 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) grabs our top overall SP spot, mostly separating himself from Walker Buehler (LAD) due to longevity. Carrasco has faced 29-plus batters in four consecutive starts, racking up a total of 39 strikeouts over that span. Overall on the season, he has a 3.00 FIP and 28.8 K%. He’s a massive -300 home favorite over a White Sox team that is 20th in wRC+ against RHP and has one of the highest K rates in that split.
From a per batter standpoint, Buehler will content with Carrasco. He’s also a large home favorite (-205) and shares a slate low IRT with both Carrasco and Chris Archer (PIT) (more on him below). While we’re always worried about quick hooks for Dodgers pitchers, Buehler’s dominance has mostly left him unscathed there (lasted just four innings four starts ago, but at least 24 batters faced in 7 of 8 starts). Buehler and his 27.9 K% will take on a Rockies team receiving a severe negative park shift. The Rockies are also much worse against RHP (dead last in wRC+) than against LHP (11th).
Most of our optimals favor a spend, although not all of the Top 30 or so. Like last night with Kluber and Kershaw, you can make an argument to simply play price by using Carrasco on DK and Buehler on FD.
If you’re bypassing an expensive spend on this slate, it’s in order to use the volatile Chris Archer (PIT), who is in one of the best spots he will be all season. Archer has similar Vegas odds to Buehler (-200, 3.1 IRTA) as a home favorite against a woeful Royals team that is undergoing a negative league and park shift. The Royals are 23rd in wRC+ on the season and more recent versions of this lineup have been more strikeout prone. Archer has struggled to put together clean, deep outings with Pittsburgh, but he does continue to miss bats – striking out 23.8%, 23.8%, 24.0%, and 34.8% of batters faced over his last four starts.
Caught between the high end spends and Archer in the mid-tier is Robbie Ray (ARI). With a higher IRTA and short recent outings, we view Ray more as a tournament option. However, a favorable umpire combined with a 30.9 K% that has mostly stuck with him all season gives him meaningful tournament upside.
On DK, it’s definitely viable to punt in the second SP spot like we suggested with Josh James last night. Tonight’s target is Robbie Erlin (SD). He doesn’t share James’ K skills, but he is in a really comfortable home matchup against a woeful Giants team. If things go poorly, Erlin is at risk of a short outing. However, the matchup, park, and how Erlin has pitched (.305 xwOBA) should prevent that from happening and allow him to hit value at his cheap tag.
A potential tournament pivot off of Erlin is Marco Estrada (TOR). This is simply a play against Baltimore, as Estrada has allowed multiple runs in six straight starts.
Fring tournament plays include Luis Severino (NYY) and David Price (BOS) (velocity up recently) on FD, where they are priced cheaper and could overcome a bad matchup (a very favorable umpire helps with that). On DK, you can look to that mid-low tier where Gio Gonzalez (MIL) has a favorable matchup and good recent strikeout numbers, and Dallas Keuchel (HOU) has the ability to limit quality contact, allowing for some deep and efficient outings when the BABIP gods are on his side.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. He will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium but the matchup against David Price will likely keep the total in check. Sanchez is viable in all formats (.355 wOBA, .253 ISO baselines vs. LHP) but the appropriate price tag might force you to look elsewhere in cash games.
Tucker Barnhart (CIN) is an inferior hitter but he typically hits second. He’s $3,400 on DK and the context is favorable (at Miller Park). He’s the most common pick in our optimals thus far but we wouldn’t call him a must.
The challenge at the position is finding alternatives you like in cash games. Caleb Joseph (BAL) and Jonathan Lucroy (OAK) are sub $3k options that can be considered but they’re awful hitters that typically hit ninth. Francisco Cervelli (PIT) is in a terrible environment (PNC Park) but gets to face a well below average pitching staff. He’s fine in tournaments. Evan Gattis (HOU) has the power upside you want to pursue in tournaments but at this point his pitching matchups are unknown. There’s a chance that the Mariners simply go with a bullpen game.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) carries the top projection at first base, followed by Edwin Encarnacion (CLE). They’re priced very efficiently on both sites, which will keep them off our optimal lineups. Goldy hsa the more difficult matchup against Cole Hamels but the latter is a LHP, and Goldy crushes southpaws (.410 wOBA, .277 ISO since 2017). These two are viable tournament plays.
The same thing could be said about Justin Smoak (TOR), who’s priced more affordably than Goldy and Encarnacion around the industry. Unfortunately, Smoak has been ice cold of late (5% HHR over the L15 days) and the price tag is appropriate enough where he’s not entering optimals. His context is arguably better than the options above though so he remains a fine play in GPPs. Teammate Kendrys Morales (TOR) also earns tournament consideration in this context.
Unless another cheap option emerges, we might have to bite the bullet with Chris Davis (BAL) in cash games on both sites. Davis is $3k on DK and $2,100 on FD and he’ll have the platoon edge against Marco Estrada, who’s allowed a ridiculous .386 wOBA and .239 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season. Davis is having an awful season but these punt price tags makes him an appealing target. The other cheap target you can consider on FD is Mitch Moreland (BOS), who’s $2,700 and will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. The matchup is a difficult one (Luis Severino and the Yankees bullpen), which is a big reason why his projection is held in check.
We’d prefer to get up to Yonder Alonso (CLE) on DK but he’s $1,200 more expensive than Davis. Alonso has a strong matchup against Dylan Covey though and he’s been a good hitter vs. RHP (.356 wOBA, .217 ISO since 2017).
It’s Jose Ramirez (CLE) and then everyone else from a projection standpoint at second base tonight. Ramirez gets an excellent matchup against Dylan Covey, who’s allowed a .363 wOBA and .202 ISO to LHBs since 2017. Covey doesn’t miss bats (career 15% K rate), and that tends to get you into big trouble at the major league level. We’d love to get up to Ramirez in cash games.
If you don’t have the funds to get up to Ramirez, Travis Shaw (MIL) becomes the next best alternative. Shaw will have the platoon edge against Matt Harvey (.377 wOBA and .239 ISO allowed to LHBs since the start of last season) and he’s in Miller Park. Shaw has been a very powerful hitter vs. RHP, posting an impressive .267 ISO since 2017. Shaw is particularly an attractive alternative on DK where he’s $1,500 cheaper than Ramirez.
Brian Dozier (LAD) has decent price tags if he were to leadoff vs. a southpaw, but that doesn’t seem like a guarantee given the way he’s been swinging the bat. We prefer him in tournaments.
Jonathan Villar (BAL) and Jose Altuve (HOU) are viable targets in tournaments given their event upside. Both have positive deltas in their 15 day HHRs and in Villar’s case he gets a perfect matchup for power (Marco Estrada) in a ballpark (Camden Yards) that typically gets fly ball prone pitchers in trouble.
Josh Donaldson and Jose Ramirez (CLE) represent the top projected scorers in the hot corner. Donaldson won’t have the platoon edge tonight but he continues to have an appealing FD price tag ($3,500) and he hits in the middle of the lineup for an offense with the highest IRT (5.4) in this slate. Ramirez has the best hitting projection in this slate and is worth his expensive salary on both sites.
The next highest projected scorers at the position are Travis Shaw (MIL) on DK, Mike Moustakas (MIL) and Eugenio Suarez (CIN) on FD. These options have mid-tier price tags and are in favorable contexts for power upside. Suarez in particular is an attractive GPP option. Suarez has posted a .417 wOBA and .261 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season and he’s facing a southpaw in Gio Gonzalez that’s having a down season. The late innings PAs might be very challenging if Cincinnati is playing from behind, as they’re likely going to face Josh Hader. If Suarez delivers it would likely be early in the game. Shaw is cash viable on DK where his price tag is a bit softer ($4,300) than usual vs. a RHP.
Kris Bryant (CHC) has a .402 wOBA and .264 ISO baselines vs. LHP and he’s on the road facing Robbie Ray. It’s a boom or bust matchup for Bryant as Ray misses plenty of bats but when he’s not on he’s allowing home runs. That profile makes Bryant a worthy GPP candidate but we’re passing in cash games.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) has the second highest projection on the hitting side in this slate. Lindor is a leadoff hitter with plenty of event upside (35 HRs/23 SBs) in a good matchup (Dylan Covey). He’s in every single one of our optimals on both sites.
Lindor will likely have really high ownership in GPPs. It’s deserved and we’re finding it difficult to find pivots we love in tournaments. Manny Machado (LAD) is likely our favorite pivot. He’s in a difficult hitting environment but he has the best baselines of any shortstop in this slate (.369 wOBA, .234 ISO vs. LHP) and he’ll be significantly less owned than Lindor. Machado gets a matchup against Tyler Anderson, who’s allowed a .208 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Alex Bregman (HOU) is pricier than Machado on DK and he might end up facing a bullpen game from the Mariners. We prefer Machado tonight. Even Javier Baez (CHC) might be in a better spot for power upside (platoon edge against Robbie Ray) but Ray also introduces downside due to his ability to miss bats.
Lourdes Gurriel (TOR) is probably the only appealing option with a cheap price tag at the position. He’s projected to hit second in Camden Yards and gets to face below average pitching.
Christian Yelich (MIL) and Mike Trout (LAA) represent the top projected scorers in the outfield. These two are likely outside of the cash game discussion in this slate but they’re appealing tournament targets. Yelich, who was once labeled as a good hitter without much event upside, is now up to 31 HRs/20 SBs this season and he’s likely the frontrunner to become the NL MVP. We love his context tonight as well (in Miller Park facing Matt Harvey).
Trout is in Oakland, which isn’t great, but he’s posted a 38.5% HHR over the L15 days and will likely get little ownership tonight. That ownership point is appealing given that we’re talking about the best hitter in all of baseball.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) is the most common pick in our optimals on DK. He’s $4,800 and will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. While Stanton has been very human vs. RHP this season, he continues to smash LHP (.434 wOBA, .331 ISO). The matchup against David Price isn’t great but that won’t stop us from pursuing a discounted Stanton on DK. If you punt the SP2 spot on DK, you might even be able to double down with expensive OF spends and pursue Michael Brantley (CLE). Brantley isn’t as high of a priority as Lindor or Ramirez, but it’s worth noting that he carries the third best OF projection.
On FD, you want to save money in the OF to make expensive pitching work alongside the expensive Indians infield. Cedric Mullins (BAL) (leadoff hitter in Camden Yards), Curtis Granderson (MIL), Trey Mancini (BAL) and Steven Souza (ARI) (price tag is down to $2,300) represent the best values after the expensive options. Andrew McCutchen (NYY) doesn’t carry the PH risk that Granderson carries He’s a viable mid-tier target in cash games if you can afford to get to that price range. McCutchen has posted an impressive 33.3% HHR over the L15 days.
1) Cleveland Indians
Cleveland is the clear top stack on the night, facing Dylan Covey and his career 6.48 ERA and 1.61 HR/9. Aside from the plus matchup, this team is littered with event upside. Five hitters have an ISO split baseline greater than 200 and Lindor, Brantley, and Ramirez all carry stolen base upside as well.
2) Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers face Matt Harvey, who has been a bit of an enigma recently, allowing 2 ERs or less in 5 of 7 starts. Ultimately, though, Harvey has a .337 xwOBA and .208 xISO on the season and is pitching on the road in a tough pitching environment against a deep, event-oriented Brewers team.
3) New York Yankees
We’re a bit torn here. On one hand, the Yankees have a modest IRT against a pitcher with improving velocity who will benefit from a pitcher’s umpire. On the other hand, it’s a chance to grab a slew of Yankee lefty mashers, especially with Aaron Judge back, against a power prone LHP at low ownership.
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) Toronto Blue Jays
6) Houston Astros
From a pure point per dollar perspective, the Orioles are one of the better stacks on the night. Despite all their issues, this team has a little bit of pop in the 3-7 (Mancini, Jones, Davis, Nunez, Beckham) part of the lineup and then some plus speed upside in the 1-2 spots (Mullins, Villar). Estrada has been beat to hell by everyone this season, no surprise given the .357 xwOBA and .249 xISO.
On the other side of the diamond, the Blue Jays are tough to project in a likely bullpen game for the Orioles. However, it looks like Luis Ortiz may open for the Orioles. Unlike most openers, Ortiz is a really hittable pitcher, entering today with a ZiPS projected 5.26 ERA and 1.47 HR/9.
7) Arizona Diamondbacks
8) Pittsburgh Pirates
9) Oakland Athletics
10) Los Angeles Dodgers
11) Boston Red Sox