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September 21 MLB DFS: From one Zack to Another

September 21 MLB DFS: From one Zack to Another
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Welcome to September 21 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 21 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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Time Stamps
00:45 Starting Pitcher
08:07 Catcher
10:52 First Base
13:30 Second Base
16:03 Third Base
18:16 Shortstop
20:17 Outfield
23:54 Stacks

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  • 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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Range of Outcome Projections

September 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Jacob deGrom (NYM) and Gerrit Cole (HOU) are the aces on this slate and both are priced like it. Neither has a particularly strong matchup as deGrom faces a talented Nationals’ lineup outside of the comforts of his spacious home park. Cole faces an Angels’ lineup devoid of LHBs which he dominates. Additionally, Cole’s innings look like they’re being managed of late as he hasn’t cleared six innings since August 10th. With some strong cheap options on the slate at pitcher and plenty of compelling expensive bats, neither deGrom nor Cole are primary targets in cash games.

Rich Hill (LAD), German Marquez (COL), and Zack Godley (ARI) project as the next tier of starting pitcher options and this is where we get some value.

Hill is affordable on both sites and pitching for a red-hot Dodgers team that is working on closing out the NL West. He faces a Padres’ offense at home that ranks 22nd in wRC+ against LHP with the third highest K Rate. Hill is a monstrous -250 favorite with a 2.9 implied total against. He doesn’t pitch deep into games which is the one knock on Hill but he’s generated at least seven strikeouts in six straight starts. Hill seems like the easy cash game SP1 on DraftKings at $9,200 and in play on FanDuel at the same price.

Godley is REALLY cheap and has just a 3.6 implied total against with a depleted Rockies’ offense out of Coors Field and without Trevor Story. The Rockies rank 30th in wRC+ against RHP this season with an elevated 23.7 strikeout rate and Story has been one of their few above average hitters against RHP this season (.345 wOBA, .221 ISO, 101 wRC+).  At just $7,100 on FanDuel and $7,200 on DraftKings, Godley allows you to build through an elite offense and still have one of the five best implied totals against on the slate. Godley and Hill are the primary cash game targets on each site. UPDATE: Zack Godley was pushed back to Sunday with Zack Greinke taking his place. Greinke is far more expensive so the offensive builds change a bit but Greinke has all the same factors working in his favor against a watered down Rockies lineup. Greinke jumps into a tier above the Marquez-Hill group and between deGrom/Cole. 

Marquez has been exceptional down the stretch but is priced as such. The Diamondbacks have run some weaker lineups out there of late and he’s not quite as expensive as the deGrom/Cole tier, so we’re comfortable with him in tournaments.

The two other cheap starters that are compelling in tournaments are CC Sabathia (NYY) and Sean Reid-Foley (TOR). Neither project to work deep but strikeouts are available in the matchups. Sabathia faces an Orioles’ lineup that ranks dead last in wRC+ against LHP while Reid-Foley faces a Rays’ lineup that is conducive to strikeouts. He also has the benefit of a favorable home plate umpire. Neither deserve cash game consideration but are viable in tournaments. Joe Ross (WSH) is also very cheap and could be included in MME pools. John Gant (STL) is also affordable but we don’t project him to work very deep and his low implied total against probably brings inflated ownerships in GPP.

Luis Castillo (CIN) also has big strikeout potential against a watered down Marlins lineup in a perfect park for his home run problems. The only challenge with Castillo is he’s wildly overpriced. If it keeps ownership down, he’s fine in tournaments.

Catcher

Following a productive day from the Royals offense on Thursday, Salvador Perez (KC) earns the honors of being the highest projected catcher on Friday. Opposing starter Francisco Liriano‘s 5.46 FIP against right-handed hitters (RHHs) this year ranks second worst amongst pitchers on the slate and Perez’s .347 xwOBA is 45 percentage points higher than his actual wOBA against LHP. In other words, he is due for some positive regression, and he has hit the ball hard 44.8-percent of the time in the split. On yet another slate that is lacking in catcher value, Perez is the clear-cut cash game play.

If needing a slight amount of salary relief from Perez, Evan Gattis (HOU) is $200 cheaper on DK in a matchup at home versus Andrew Heaney. All Heaney has done this year is allow hard contact to RHHs (40.0-percent) and it has led to a 1.57 HR/9 rate and .322 wOBA in the split. Gattis will likely hit in the bottom third of the lineup but his .281 ISO signifies just how much potential upside he has here.

Otherwise, Gary Sanchez (NYY), J.T. Realmuto (MIA) and even Yadier Molina (STL) have a place on this slate in tournaments as pivots off the likely chalk duo. Sanchez is amidst a poor season but both his career numbers and our baselines should prompt optimism for brighter days ahead. Yefry Ramirez has done a fine job limiting hard contact from RHHs (27.8-percent and 12.5-percent line drive rate) and yet he still sports a 4.36 FIP due to a mediocre K rate and inflated HR/9 rate (1.52). Oh, by the way, the Yankees are listed as whopping -300 favorites. Realmuto is on what has been the strong side of his platoon split in 2018 but not the ideal side of Luis Castillo‘s. The park depreciates power and the team total is low but his .380 wOBA and .223 ISO against RHP this season are tough to overlook. Molina is facing a greatly depreciated Madison Bumgarner and he ranks third on the team in xwOBA against LHP behind only Jedd Gyorko and Marcell Ozuna.

First Base

On FD, Carlos Santana (PHI) represents our top value at the first base position in a tilt against Julio Teheran in SunTrust Park. Although the park is not exactly a hitters’ paradise, Teheran can help make up for the environment. Teheran’s 5.68 FIP is the worst amongst pitchers on the slate with at least 30 innings in the split and his .235 BABIP is destined to regress. Hell, Teheran has allowed a 40.2-percent hard hit rate to lefties and he has nearly walked them at as high of a rate as he has struck them out. Santana, who ranks just two percentage points behind team-leader Rhys Hoskins in xwOBA against RHP, is on the positive side of both his and the pitchers’ platoon splits. His $3,100 price point is about $500 too cheap.

On DK, Hunter Dozier (KC) and Victor Martinez (DET) are both dirt cheap coming off a shootout between their teams yesterday. Dozier’s 31-percent K rate is not ideal but Liriano has only induced a 10.0-percent swinging strike rate this year (compared to 12.6-percent for his career). Martinez is a flat-out punt against a power-prone pitcher but he has not displayed enough power (0.084 ISO) to warrant a lot of confidence in him outside of cash games.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) makes sense in GPPs as per usual but Nick Pivetta is a prime pitcher for the Braves’ first baseman to feast on. Whereas Pivetta has held RHHs to a .306 wOBA and 28.5-percent K rate, left-handed hitters (LHHs) have roasted him to the tune of a .340 wOBA, 1.49 HR/9 rate and 35.2-percent hard hit rate (while only striking out at a 26.8-percent rate). Whenever Freeman will go under-owned against a pitcher who is susceptible to power from the left side, there is obvious merit to rostering him.

Joey Gallo (TEX) is overpriced on DK but loaded with upside and, as is the case with all the other players in this game, it is weather-permitting.

Second Base

Rougned Odor (TEX) owns our top projection at second base position playing at home against Erasmo Ramirez. The only downside to the matchup is the weather as it is expected to thunderstorm all night in Texas. If the weather holds, Ramirez has been atrocious versus LHHs this year, yielding a .399 wOBA and 3.20 HR/9 rate in a limited sample size (19.2 IP).

Assuming the weather affects the Rangers game, Whit Merrifield (KC) is an excellent alternative and he also projects as our top overall value at the position on DK. Strangely, the team is only being implied to score 4.3 runs against Liriano on the road, but Merrifield can contribute in a multitude of ways. He leads active members of the team in both steals (14) and xwOBA against LHP and Liriano habitually allows free passes (13.0-percent). With both power and steal potential, there are multiple paths for Merrifield to reach value.

Brian Dozier (LAD) has not hit the ball hard lately (17.6-percent over the course of the last 15 days) but he does face a subpar lefty in the friendly confines of home. Lauer’s 31.7-percent line drive rate allowed to RHHs is easily the highest on the slate and his 41.6-percent hard hit rate allowed is not too shabby either. Despite the struggles, Dozier still features a .337 wOBA and .206 ISO in our baselines.

Jose Altuve (HOU) owns a career .382 wOBA and .338/.394/.493 slash line against lefties for his career and his price is significantly easier to fit on DK than FD (especially if spending up on an ace).

On a smaller slate, Travis Shaw (MIL) would stand out in projections but there are so many reasonably priced options at the position that he does not pop even in a matchup versus Ivan Nova. The negative park shift will not help the cause but Nova’s 12.3-percent K rate against LHHs is absurdly poor as is his .346 wOBA, 1.46 HR/9 rate and 27.9-percent line drive rate allowed. Beyond shaw, Neil Walker (NYY) is reasonably-priced on the correct side of the platoon versus Ramirez and the Yankees’ 5.7 implied run total is highest of the night.

Third Base

Regardless of site, Alex Bregman (HOU) reigns supreme in terms of value at third base and it is not like he is cheap. On DK, Bregman is priced at $5,000 and he costs $4,300 on FD, but that short porch in left field has a chance to be visited by Bregman against a fly-balling lefty. Other than Tyler White‘s insane numbers against LHP in a small sample, Bregman leads the team in wOBA, OBP and SLG in the split, and he ranks second in ISO behind Gattis. Maybe most importantly, Bregman is one of just two Astros with more than 60 at-bats (ABs) against LHP to produce a fly ball rate over 44-percent. Heaney relies on fly ball outs and the Bregman/Gattis duo normally do not get cheated when they hit the ball in the air. Bregman is on red-alert to go deep.

Jeimer Candelario (DET) is battling through a back injury but any left-hander with power is viable against Kennedy. If in the lineup, he would likely leadoff, so there is serious merit to just locking him into cash games for $1,200 cheaper than Bregman (on DK).

On FD, Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI), Yangervis Solarte (TOR) and Jurickson Profar (TEX) all rate similarly in terms of value. Solarte has been in and out of the lineup lately as the younger players rotate in and he has only managed a .204 wOBA in the second half. If he plays, Cabrera gets the nod at the same price point against Teheran. Of the 24 bombs Teheran has allowed this year, 10 have come off the bats of LHHs, and Cabrera’s wOBA against RHP is 71 percentage points higher than against LHP. Profar is enticing for the same reasons as Odor but he may be relegated to GPPs only (or he may become a fade) if the poor weather continues.

Eugenio Suarez (CIN) and Justin Turner (LAD) are the last names of note and both are elite tournament investments due to low ownership combined with their skill sets. Amongst qualified hitters, Suarez and Turner rank sixth and fifth respectively in wRC+ against LHP this year and sixth and seventh in terms of wOBA. Neither ballpark is ideal for power but Lauer and Wei-Yin Chen both have yielded a wOBA over .340 to go along with a FIP over 4.25 against RHHs. Multiple base hits is well within the range of potential outcomes for either of these players as well as the ability to flash their otherworldly power.

Shortstop

Didi Gregorius (NYY) is one of the must-plays on the highly-projected Yankees team in cash games as lefties have been Ramirez’s kryptonite. In 26.0 innings against LHHs, Ramirez has been burned for a .363 wOBA, 19.7-percent BB rate, 30.9-percent line drive rate, 4.96 FIP and 41.2-percent fly ball rate. Meanwhile, Gregorius owns a .362 wOBA and .256 ISO against RHP so the correlation is unmistakable.

Carlos Correa (HOU) has been brutal since the All-Star Break but his long term baselines still lead to him popping in the projections. Jean Segura (SEA) costs the exact same amount on FD and he will square off against opener Connor Sadzeck and then Ariel Jurado. Only one pitcher on the slate (Rich Hill) has allowed a higher hard hit rate to RHHs this season than Jurado and Chirinos owns the worst caught stealing percentage of any catcher in the league. If Segura gets on, he will be running.

Adalberto Mondesi (KC) has displayed more power in the platoon split against LHP and he also is one of the fastest players in the league. If Liriano does not last long into the game, Mondesi’s speed matchup will improve later on against right-handed relievers.

Manny Machado (LAD) is oozing with potential upside versus Lauer and the floor against a pitcher walking righties at a 9.5-percent rate should be there as well. If additional funds are available from Gregorius, Machado is one of the few alternatives with a double dong ceiling, and that sort of upside is difficult to come by at this position.

Outfield

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), Aaron Judge (NYY) and Andrew McCutchen (NYY) own our three highest projections in the outfield on a 14-game slate which just shows how much of an outlier their 5.7 run implied team total is on Friday. Of the two, Stanton is the lowest priority, as he has struggled mightily with strikeouts against RHP and he has produced just a .328 wOBA in the second half. McCutchen and Judge will hit first and second respectively in this lineup and they are the two team leaders in hard hit rate against RHP. Additionally, the Orioles’ active bullpen members cumulatively rank 29th in SIERA (4.41) and dead last in xFIP (4.72). Any more questions?

George Springer (HOU) will likely lead off for the Astros and he is one of four Astros who has hit at least seven bombs off LHP thus far. His fly ball correlation is not as strong as the likes of Bregman or Gattis but his lineup spot is more favorable.

Mitch Haniger (SEA) and Nelson Cruz (SEA) are lucky enough to face Jurado as the innings eater for the Rangers as he is arguably the worst starting pitcher on the slate. Heading into tonight, Jurado’s skill set has left much to be desired: 5.48 SIERA, 3.9-percent swinging strike rate, 5.62 FIP and 5.24 xFIP overall. In fact, he has walked hitters at the exact same rate as he has struck them out (8.5-percent). If the weather holds, both of these players could make some noise in tournaments.

Christin Stewart (DET) is only $300 more expensive than yesterday on FD when he double donged against Pablo Lopez. Dating back to 2017, only 15 pitchers have allowed more homers to LHHs than Kennedy, so an encore performance is not out of the question.

Jay Bruce (NYM), coming off a game where he homered off Max Scherzer, draws a much easier matchup against Joe Ross and his price point increased exactly $0 on FD. At $2,500 and hitting cleanup, Bruce is worth a shot with the positive park shift and with the platoon advantage versus a pitcher with a career .364 wOBA allowed to LHHs.

Stacks

Tier One

1) New York Yankees

2) Texas Rangers

The Yankees have a slate high 5.7 implied total with a home matchup against Yefry Ramirez and a bad Orioles bullpen behind him. The Yankees are fully healthy again and they should represent the chalk on this slate.

The Rangers rank ahead of the Mariners for us despite being an underdog and not guaranteed nine innings of plate appearances. The reason is the ridiculous amount of power Erasmo Ramirez has allowed to both RHBs (.516 slugging percentage this year) and to LHBs (.642 slugging percentage) this season. The Mariners pen has been good all year but as they’ve fallen out of the playoff race they’ve given more opportunities to younger players and weaker parts of the pen.

Tier Two

3) Seattle Mariners

4) Houston Astros

The Mariners will likely come in just behind the Yankees in ownership as they get a big park boost in Texas and get a Rangers bullpen game. The Rangers have the worst bullpen baselines in our database, providing a friendly matchup.

The Astros get another fly ball oriented lefty at home backed up by a horrendous bullpen that allowed 21 runs yesterday. They represent an interesting contrarian pivot if the TEX-SEA game goes and ownership condenses there and with the NYY.

Tier Three

5) Detroit Tigers

 

6) Los Angeles Dodgers

7) Milwaukee Brewers

8) Philadelphia Phillies

9) Atlanta Braves

The third tier is a big step down in overall stack score but there are still intriguing spots to attack. The Brewers and Dodgers are still fighting for playoff spots and face below average pitchers vulnerable to power against their platoon split. Dodgers righties and Brewers lefties remain intriguing. The Tigers are also a nice source of cheap power that can be paired with some of the elite starters on the slate that should come with lower ownership.