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September 20 MLB DFS: Houston, We Have Upside
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Welcome to September 20 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for September 20 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our 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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September 20 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:52 Starting Pitcher
09:07 Catcher
11:36 First Base
14:43 Second Base
17:26 Third Base
19:28 Shortstop
22:43 Outfield
25:44 Stacks

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CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS WITH VALUE RATINGS CLICK HERE

  • 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.

September 20 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections

It’s a good slate to pay up for a top SP as both Chris Sale (BOS) and Robbie Ray (ARI) hold gaudy K projections. Sale has a slightly higher K projection at 9.8 (to Ray’s 8.7), which along with a large sized gap in win probability gives him the edge. We do prefer Sale to Ray, but the gap is probably a little bit closer than our projections have it. Sale’s K rate has dipped a touch recently. Meanwhile, Ray has seen a 0.5 mph increase in his average fastball velocity over his last three starts. That’s led to an absurd 47.4 K%, and a large reduction in Hard%, which is generally Ray’s issue. Throw in a nice park shift and elite matchup against Padres, and it’s tough to go wrong with either Sale or Ray.

Drop down another tier, and Brad Peacock (HOU) continues the trend of a heavy favorite pitcher (-285), with a low IRTA (3.6), and a strong K projection (7). He’s somewhat interesting in cash games because the discount to him from Sale/Ray is meaningful. Peacock has impressively struck out 30.4% of batters faced this season, and his ability to strike out 35% or more of batters faced in a given outing gives him a great ceiling for tournament, if you ultimately align with us and buck up for Sale/Ray in cash games.

It would be nice to pair Peacock with Sale/Ray on DK, but ultimately the happy medium with some high upside bats is to go cheaper than the $9k options. There are two main routes to go here. One is to chase Ks in a great park, but with some volatility – Dinelson Lamet (SD). Lamet has a 29.2 K% that has held steady through 19 starts. While it’s a small sample size, the biggest concern with Lamet are extreme splits, meaning the opposing lineup will be important. We’re hopeful to not see more than 3-4 LHBs in it. The other issue with Lamet is a high BB rate. It’s fine in a vacuum, but does present some floor issues.

If you view Lamet as risky, one line of thought is to simply take that risk as cheaply as possible. Enter Aaron Wilkerson (MIL) making his MLB debut. Wilkerson is in a strong pitching environment at PNC Park and does project to miss bats. He struck out 25.4% of batters faced at AA, and both ZiPS and Steamer are expecting a K/9 mark in the mid 8’s. There’s uncertainty here in terms of run prevention, but a $4,000 tag mitigates some of that. This is probably a better option for tournaments given the opportunity cost at pitcher tonight, but the price is right to take a chance here.

On such a deep pitching slate, we haven’t even gotten to three secondary plays in all formats in the mid-high priced range: Jon Lester (CHC), Alex Wood (LAD), and Gio Gonzalez (WAS). All are heavy favorites with IRTAs of 4 or lower and K projections of 6 or higher. On DK if you wanted to go more expensive in the SP2 spot but couldn’t quite afford the upgrade from Lamet to Peacock, it’s acceptable to use one of Lester/Wood.

On such a deep slate for pitching, you don’t need to get too creative in tournaments. Most players outside of the above mentioned names are simply negative expected value plays, but Luke Weaver (STL) is interesting. Weaver is a good prospect who is throwing with more velocity than last year and now has posted xFIPs of 1.75, 1.00, 2.72, 0.79, and 3.20 over his last five starts to go with a 33.7 K% over that span.

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is the top value at the catcher position around the industry. He’s really cheap for a road matchup in Philly and gets a really soft matchup as Jake Thompson isn’t any good and projects to be worse (4.46 ERA/5.57 xFIP).

The clear alternative at the position is Brian McCann (HOU), who gets James Shields as a matchup. Grandal and McCann won’t get good lineup spots, but you shouldn’t be looking elsewhere in cash games.

Willson Contreras (CHC), Yadier Molina (STL) and Salvador Perez (KC) are more expensive but are playable in tournaments. These are catchers that come with better lineup spots than Grandal/McCann and in Contreras’ and Perez’s case, they carry power upside.

First Base

Cody Bellinger (LAD) is far and away the top projected scorer at first base in a context we love to attack (upgrade in hitting environment, Jake Thompson as a matchup). We’d love to get to Bellinger as one of our big spends and on FD it’s very possible to do so. If Bellinger doesn’t fit your cash game plans, make sure to have at least some exposure in tournaments.

We don’t have anyone that projects as an obvious cash game lock at the position on DK, but on FD we still get Justin Smoak (TOR) and Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) at low $3,000 price tags. The challenge on that site it’s that we get the nice cheap values but Bellinger is still attainable at $4,200 thanks to softer pricing elsewhere.

Things are a bit more challenging at the position on DK, where Wil Myers (SD) might be a necessary evil. The matchup against a hot Robbie Ray isn’t great, but he’s $3,100 and he’s been swinging the bat well of late (37% L15 HHR). Myers can also run (sneaky 20 SBs this season).

In tournaments, you can expand the position to include upside options that are expensive like Joey Votto (CIN) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE).

Second Base

Jose Altuve (HOU) is facing James Shields and he’s the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of position. On FD you might be able to pull off an Altuve-Bellinger combo with an elite SP in cash games if we get the right punts.

On DK, you’re able to save some salary with Chris Taylor (LAD) and Whit Merrifield (KC). These are leadoff hitters for offenses that are getting major hitting environment upgrades and both are in strong matchups as well. There’s no glaring cheap value on FD at the position, but if Daniel Murphy (WSH) gets the green light (battling a hammy issue) he projects strongly at $3,500.

Robinson Cano (SEA) is an option we like in tournaments against Andrew Cashner, who carries wide splits (.360 wOBA, .195 ISO surrendered to LHBs since 2015).

Third Base

Justin Turner (LAD) is the top projected scorer at third base and his price tag is reasonable, but we’re looking to save some resources in cash games at this position. Turner is a good tournament target in this slate as part of a Dodgers stack.

It’s not difficult to find options you like for cheap at the position. Yea, Jake Lamb (ARI) is in a bad hitting environment but he’ll have the platoon edge for a bargain price tag on FD ($3,000). On DK, Alex Bregman (HOU) is $3,900. We have him projected to hit sixth at home, but this is a hitter with some event upside (16 HRs, 16 SBs) facing a pitcher that gives up events (James Shields – 2.24 HR/9 allowed this season). That’s not a restrictive price tag by any means on Bregman, but if you needed to save money it’s possible to use Matt Chapman (OAK). He hits towards the bottom of the lineup, but the matchup inspires upside (Anibal Sanchez).

Josh Donaldson (TOR) and Kris Bryant (CHC) are other high upside targets that project well but are a bit out of reach in cash games given their price tags. Like Justin Turner, these pricey third basemen are better reaches in tournaments.

Shortstop

The shortstop position has two obvious targets that we love in this slate. Carlos Correa (HOU) and Corey Seager (LAD) are in perfect matchups and strong hitting environments and they’re key cogs to the offenses we like most in this slate. It’s pretty easy to diversify this decision. Where priced closely (on DK), Correa is our lean as the second highest projected scorer at the position. On FD, Seager is still $2,900. You know what to do next – we have a .366 wOBA, .202 ISO baseline in this split for this stud.

Behind Correa and Seager are also strong targets. Trea Turner (WSH) carries the top projection at the position and he projects as a good value as well, but he’s priced more aggressively than the options above. It’s probably best to have exposure to Turner in tournaments given the price discrepancy. The same can be said for Marcus Semien (OAK), who has an awesome matchup for power upside (Anibal Sanchez) but carries a similar price tag to the shortstops we like most.

Paul DeJong (STL) is a great alternative in tournaments on FD where he carries the same price tag as Seager. DeJong and the Cardinals offense get a massive park shift in their favor as tonight they’ll get the benefit of hitting in one of the best home run parks in the league.

Outfield

Mike Trout (LAA) is the top projected scorer in the OF and second overall regardless of position. We prefer him in tournament tonight. We prefer George Springer (HOU) if you decide to spend up in the OF in cash games. Springer has a light price tag on FD ($3,700) and a sub $5,000 price tag on DK despite a matchup that suggest that all the Astros should be priced appropriately or even overpriced.

There are simply too many strong values at the OF position to consider a pricey Trout in cash games. If Rajai Davis (BOS) is in the lineup and specifically in the leadoff spot vs. a subpar LHP in Wade Miley, he represents an obvious value choice around the industry. On FD he projects as a lock at a minimum price tag. Carlos Beltran (HOU) gives you access to the Astros vs. James Shields at a minimum price tag on FD. Jose Martinez (STL) is also free on FD ($2,500) and he’s been hitting cleanup for the Cardinals. Josh Reddick (HOU) is just $4,200 on DK. The Dodgers (Chris Taylor and Curtis Granderson) are sub $4,000 on DK. Lorenzo Cain (KC) is just $3,400 on the road (Rogers Centre) in a matchup vs. Brett Anderson, who’s gotten rocked for an 18% hard minus soft hit rate this season.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

2) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Astros and Dodgers are on a tier well above everyone else on this slate. The Astros face James Shields, who has allowed 2.24 HR/9, and a White Sox bullpen that has by far the worst xFIP over the second half of the season.

The Dodgers face Mike Leone’s nemesis in Jake Thompson. Thompson shut out the Marlins over 5.1 IP last time out, but he continues to post well below average marks in each major skill area: K rate, BB rate, GB rate, Hard%.

Tier Two

3) St. Louis Cardinals

4) Washington Nationals

Tier Three

5) Boston Red Sox

The tier two and three stacks are the natural follow ups, with all three teams holding IRTs of 5 or greater, closing out such teams on the slate. The Cardinals and Nationals get the edge over the Red Sox as road teams getting positive park shifts.

Tier Five

6) Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are the best contrarian stack on the day. They’re particularly a nice leverage stack on DK where people may land on Lamet as an SP2, but in general their low 4 IRT should keep ownership in check. As mentioned above, Lamet in a short sample has had major issues with LHBs (.354 wOBA, .209 ISO), which combined with a high overall BB rate gives him more disaster start potential than a pitcher with his fantasy projection would normally carry.