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September 20 MLB DFS: Snack on some Piscotty
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September 20 MLB DFS Late Slate Show Outline: 


0:40 Starting Pitchers
6:59 Catchers
9:22 First Base
12:12 Second Base
15:25 Shortstops
17:15  Third Base
19:55 Outfield
22:21 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks


September 20 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

2) Michael Pineda (NYY)

3) Rich Hill (LAD)

4) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Three

5) Drew Smyly (TB)

6) Johnny Cueto (SF)

7) Joe Musgrove (HOU)

8) Sean Manaea (OAK)

9) J.A. Happ (TOR)

10) Archie Bradley (ARZ)

Jose Fernandez (MIA) is a very clear cut top starting pitcher on this slate. Fernandez faces the Nationals who rank 18th in wRC+ against RHP with a below average K Rate (24th highest at 19.6 percent). Although Fernandez projects for the highest K Rate on the slate, the expensive price tag associated with Fernandez makes him a tough spend on a slate with Coors Field and Arlington at or above 10.5. As a result, we’re focused on the value route at starting pitcher. Michael Pineda (NYY) headlines our second tier with a nice park shift and a friendly matchup for strikeouts against the Rays (24 percent K Rate against RHP is third highest in the league). Pineda projects for the second highest K Rate on the slate and his implied team total against is just 3.8 runs. Rich Hill (LAD) and Jon Lester (CHC) project for better run prevention but strikeouts are harder to project against the Giants and Reds. Throw in expensive price tags and both starters are better parts of contrarian tournament lineups.

If you’re uncomfortable with Pineda’s inconsistency, there are two cheaper options we view as cash game alternatives in our third tier thanks to favorable matchups and intriguing price tags. Drew Smyly (TB) and Joe Musgrove (HOU) are fly ball oriented starters pitching in parks that really suppress opposing power. Smyly will face a Yankees’ offense that has found a way to get a bit more right-handed against LHP of late through the acquisition of Billy Butler but still routinely rolls out three left-handed bats. The Yankees rank 23rd in WRC+ against LHP and are getting a significant park downgrade. Musgrove faces this watered down Athletics’ offense we’ve been picking on for a weeks. The offense they ran out on Monday night was also predominantly right handed (five RHBs) and Musgrove demonstrated wide splits in the minors which have held so far at the major league level. Between Pineda, Smyly, and Musgrove you can find one or two starters that leave ample salary relief to attack the elite hitting environments.

The contrarian tournament strategy for this slate is likely paying up for the elite starting pitching in the second tier or going really cheap with a wildcard like Archie Bradley (ARZ) who is getting a big park shift in his favor and facing a strikeout friendly Padres’ offense.

Catcher Rankings

1) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

3) Yadier Molina (STL)

4) Buster Posey (SF)

With resources available from cheaper starting pitching selections, the catcher position is one that’s not particularly difficult to fill on Tuesday. Gary Sanchez (NYY) is our top overall option but a big park downgrade makes his hefty price tag a bit less compelling. As a result, we’re looking towards our second ranked option on each site for a little extra salary relief. On FanDuel, Victor Martinez (DET) carries catcher eligibility and is just $3,200 with a matchup against Hector Santiago (.332 wOBA, .207 ISO against RHBs since 2015). The Tigers implied team total is approaching five runs and they get the benefit of nine offensive innings on the road with a bad Twins’ bullpen behind Santiago. On DraftKings, Yadier Molina (STL) is just $3,700 and has the platoon advantage against Jorge de la Rosa. Molina’s put together a big second half (.380 wOBA, .162 ISO) and his current price tag is very cheap for a fifth place hitter with the platoon advantage in Coors.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) David Ortiz (BOS)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

4) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

5) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is our top first base option and priced appropriately so on both sites. The discrepancy between Rizzo and the other elite first basemen is a bit wider on DraftKings which makes him a better target on FanDuel. Josh Smith has been an ineffective reliever at the big league level (5.72 ERA with an 11.5 BB Rate and 1.62 HR/9). He projects as one of the weakest starters on the slate and his conversion as a reliever should prevent him from pitching deep into the game which opens up many innings against a weak Reds bullpen. If you’re not paying up for Rizzo, Miguel Cabrera (DET) looks like the best drop-down against fly-ball and homer-prone Hector Santiago pitching in a good park for right handed power. Cabrera gets a boost against LHP thanks to how much stronger the rest of the Tigers’ lineup is against lefties.

Second Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL)

2) Jedd Gyorko (STL) – where eligible

3) Jose Altuve (HOU)

4) Ian Kinsler (DET)

5) Brian Dozier (MIN)

Projecting the Cardinals lineup is tricky but Matt Carpenter (STL) and Jedd Gyorko (STL) profile well against LHP. The Cardinals have the heftiest implied run total on the slate (6.3 runs) and Gyorko maintains a really reasonable price tag on DraftKings ($3,900). Carpenter is priced up on both sites and more of a secondary target with solid price tags on guys like Jose Altuve (HOU), Ben Zobrist (CHC) – on FanDuel, and Adam Frazier (PIT) on DraftKings. Ian Kinsler (DET) and Brian Dozier (MIN) are excellent tournament plays on a slate where their ownership might be down due to spending on Coors Field. Both face fly ball oriented LHPs in a friendly park for RH power.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Jonathan Villar (MIL) – where eligible

Aledmys Diaz (STL) tops our shortstop rankings hitting second in Coors Field with a great chance at five plate appearances. The price tag is hefty on both sites and there are cheap alternatives. Adam Frazier (PIT) remains near min-priced on FanDuel and is facing Matt Garza (.371 wOBA, .191 ISO to LHBs since 2015) in Milwaukee. The pure punt price tag for a road leadoff hitter is really compelling. On DraftKings, Carlos Correa (HOU) is price down ($3,800) for a matchup with a lefty; although Sean Manaea has been pitching pretty darn well down the stretch. With salary relief not as much of a necessity on DraftKings (unless spending up on Jose), we’d opt to pay the hefty tag with Aledmys Diaz. Jose Peraza (CIN) is also super cheap and his speed profiles well against Jon Lester‘s issues controlling the running game if he were able to get on base. He’s an interesting one-off tournament target on sites where the price is down.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

3) Jedd Gyorko (STL) – where eligible

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Nolan Arenado (COL)

Third base is loaded with elite options. The Top Five third base eligible options are all inside our Top 15 overall hitters. Kris Bryant (CHC) tops the list and is inside our Top 10 overall. We covered Josh Smith‘s exceptionally weak profile and the shaky bullpen behind him. Bryant is in a bit of a slump (-0.5 well hit rate over last 14 days) so you don’t have to pay up here. Matt Carpenter (STL) and Jedd Gyorko (STL) are strong options though Carpenter is appropriately priced on DraftKings and Gyorko is susceptible to a bad lineup spot. Gyorko is the one who would draw our interest if his strong night on Monday earned him a better lineup spot on Tuesday. He comes with a very affordable price tag on both sites. Manny Machado (BAL) and Nolan Arenado (COL) are fine pivots at the top of the pricing spectrum. Arenado gets pushed down in the rankings due to Wainwright’s propensity to limit power via his big GB Rate while Machado faces a fly ball prone lefty in Eduardo Rodriguez who has been wildly inconsistent in the second half.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

3) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

4) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

6) Ryan Braun (MIL)

7) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

8) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

9) Mookie Betts (BOS)

10) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

11) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

12) Bryce Harper (WAS)

13) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

14) Ian Desmond (TEX)

15) Adam Eaton (CHW)

Once again, Mike Trout (LAA), Stephen Piscotty (STL), and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) represent very strong spends on this slate. Trout and Piscotty represent our top two overall hitters thanks to huge park shifts in their favor and facing mediocre starters. Piscotty’s history against LHP (.412 wOBA, .247 ISO since 2015) plus the big park shift makes him a viable competitor for Trout for the top overall spot. Trout gets a fly ball oriented right-hander in a park that helps accentuate his power. After those three, the outfield rankings get flooded with options in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun (MIL), Gregory Polanco (PIT), and Andrew McCutchen (PIT) are all in a favorable offensive environment against below average pitching. Braun gets a matchup with Steven Brault (.359 wOBA, .186 ISO to RHBs) and Braun has crushed LHP (.421 wOBA, .256 ISO since 2015). Polanco and McCutchen are getting massive park upgrades with the only concern that Garza has actually pitched pretty well of late. Where the prices are down, most notably on FanDuel, they’re viable alternatives to the super expensive studs. Roman Quinn (PHI) is a viable source of pure salary relief on both sites.


Tier One

1) St. Louis Cardinals

Tier Two

2) Texas Rangers

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Colorado Rockies

Tier Three

5) Detroit Tigers

6) Baltimore Orioles

7) Pittsburgh PIrates

If you go the mid-tier pricing route with starting pitching, it’s not difficult to get exposure to the top offenses in cash games. There are, however, enough strong offensive environments that ownership shouldn’t get overloaded. The Cardinals profile strongest and will likely carry the heftiest ownership but the Rangers, Rockies, and Tigers are all in good spots as well. The Tigers are probably the team that gets overlooked the most making for a nice contrarian target.

Contrarian Targets:

Philadelphia Phillies – One way to be contrarian on this slate is to find a cheap stack and pair with an expensive starting pitcher. The Phillies fit this potential criteria and face homer-prone James Shields.

Milawukee-Pittsburgh – One of the better hitting environments on the slate and two weak starting pitchers back up by weak bullpens. The Brewers make for an interesting mini-stack with the power-speed upside of Villar-Braun-Carter. They also make for excellent one-off plays as their price tags will force ownership away from them and towards the Coors Field options at each position.

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