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September 21 MLB DFS: John Lacks Nothing
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September 21 MLB DFS  Show Outline: 

0:40 Starting Pitchers
6:59 Catchers
8:30 First Base
11:03 Second Base
13:22 Shortstops
15:25  Third Base
17:16 Outfield
22:21 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks


September 21 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1a) Chris Sale (CHW)

1b) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Two

3) Corey Kluber (CLE)

4) Zack Greinke (ARI)

5) John Lackey (CHC)

Tier Three

6) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

Tier Four

7) Alex Cobb (TB)

8) Jerad Eickhoff (PHI)

There is a lot of compelling top tier pitching on this slate as our top five ranked starting pitchers all find themselves in matchups/environments that boost their expected value beyond where it sits in a neutral setting. Given our confidence in all five and a slate with lots of bats we like to pay up for (Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox all in very good spots), we’ll look to price as a deciding factor at the pitcher position on this slate.

With price in mind our attention first goes the way of John Lackey (CHC), the largest favorite (-250) and cheapest priced of the top two tier pitching options on FanDuel. We don’t yet have a total in this game (in Wrigley), but suspect it winds up somewhere around 3.5 against a Reds offense that is 23rd in wRC+ against RHP and have been rolling some pretty bad lineups against RHP. Lackey lacks the dominating skills of the other pitchers in this tier, but averages over 6.5 IP per outing with nearly a K per inning.

The next value pitcher from these tiers is Zack Greinke (ARI). It’s a context that can’t get much better (facing the Padres in San Diego). The only issue is Greinke himself, who has been below average in more starts than not since returning from the DL over the season’s second half. The schedule hasn’t helped recently, though, and the ridiculously low price tag on DraftKings (Kluber, Sale, and Scherzer are all at least $3,600 more expensive) makes him worth the risk.

If paying up at the position, quite frankly all of the tier one options are worth using in tournaments/cash games if fitting in offense isn’t a problem. We’re a little partial to Chris Sale (CHW) in tournaments given how ridiculously well he’s pitched recently, lasting at least eight full innings in six straight starts, averaging 9.67 Ks over that span. He’ll face a bad NL team (Phillies) in an NL park.

Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) is a nice tournament pivot off of Lackey on FanDuel where the ownership disparity in that format will likely be too wide. The Rays have a hefty 24.0 K percentage as a team against RHP.

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

2) Sandy Leon (BOS) (if hitting sixth)

3) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

4) Willson Contreras (CHC)

5) Buster Posey (SF)

If Sandy Leon (BOS) grabs a top six lineup spot, he pops as the best value at the position. Even if he’s lower in the order, he might be worth punting with on FanDuel to simultaneously give you cap relief at a position lacking upside and get you exposure to a Boston offense with a high team total on the road against Ubaldo Jimenez (4.75 xFIP, 13.2 hard minus soft hit rate). With no one in that good of a spot, we’d avoid paying up here on either site in cash games.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3a) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3b) Carlos Santana (CLE)

3c) Chris Davis (BAL)

There’s a ton of firepower at the first base position leaving us likely to pay up for one of our ranked options. Ideally the guy we pay up for is David Ortiz (BOS) (.424 wOBA, .331 ISO against RHP since 2015). Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is a fine pivot in all formats (Robert Stephenson has a ZiPS projected 5.45 ERA and 1.78 HR/9; horrendous Reds bullpen). If you want upside with some more savings, Chris Davis (BAL) is our preferred play given the elite power and just how bad Clay Buchholz has been (5.20 ERA/5.31 FIP/5.41 xFIP), but both Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) and Carlos Santana (CLE) rank similarly in our model. You likely won’t need cap relief here, but if you do Josh Bell (PIT) is still cheap (particularly on DraftKings) and gets a large positive park shift facing Jimmy Nelson and his horrid splits versus LHBs (.362 wOBA, .182 ISO since 2015). Albert Pujols (LAA) just misses our top five rankings but is a superb tournament play given a massive park shift playing in Texas and holding the platoon edge against Derek Holland (.356 wOBA, .210 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

2) Brian Dozier (MIN)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Rougned Odor (TEX)

5) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Simply due to roster construction, we’ll try to save some money here, and it’s viable with Adam Frazier (PIT) (if leading off) on DraftKings and Howie Kendrick (LAD) (should have a good lineup spot with the platoon edge against a LHP) on FanDuel. However, if you have the cap room it’s important to note that both Jason Kipnis (CLE) (Ian Kennedy has allowed a .327 wOBA and .216 ISO to LHBs since 2015) and Ben Zobrist (CHC) (expecting a team total over 5 for the Cubs) are similarly strong values in a vacuum. Rougned Odor (TEX) is a phenomenal tournament play as his power meets the fly ball oriented Jered Weaver in Texas, where the Rangers hold a team total approaching 6.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

Francisco Lindor (CLE) provides the best spot in cash games for you to get access to the Cleveland offense that possesses a ton of power upside against Ian Kennedy as his price tag is pretty reasonable everywhere, and the opportunity cost is pretty low. On FanDuel, Adam Frazier (PIT) is way too cheap at $2,200 with shortstop eligibility if leading off. It’s a good position to ignore value in tournaments, as options like Manny Machado (BAL), Xander Bogaerts (BOS), and Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) all has SS1 upside but come at price tags that will prevent them from “popping” in any models from a value standpoint.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

4) Jake Lamb (ARI)

5) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

On both sites, third base is pretty binary. If you’re spending up, it’s for Kris Bryant‘s (CHC) elite power (45.2 FB rate, 41.1 hard hit rate). If you’re spending down, there are options on both sites. Maikel Franco (PHI) is someone we’d like to avoid against Chris Sale, but he’s at a pure punt price on DraftKings, making him worth taking a chance on at home with some power upside. On FanDuel, Adrian Beltre (TEX) is an excellent way to get exposure to the Rangers offense. Jose Reyes (NYM) is also cheap, and the Mets offense quietly has a team total of 5 going up against Atlanta and Ryan Weber (4.53 ZiPS projected ERA, 1.30 HR/9).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Bryce Harper (WAS)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

5) Mookie Betts (BOS)

6) Ian Desmond (TEX)

7) Carlos Gomez (TEX)

8) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

9) Carlos Beltran (TEX)

10) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

11) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

12) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

13) Jay Bruce (NYM)

14) Josh Bell (PIT)

15) Hyun Soo Kim (BAL)

We’d love to get up to Mike Trout (LAA) in the outfield if at all possible, as he’s by far our highest rated hitter on the evening. There are some nice mid-tier and below average cost options that can make this strategy work. The Pittsburgh outfielders carry value in different places with Josh Bell (PIT) at near punt pricing on DraftKings and Gregory Polanco (PIT) an elite mid-tier value on FanDuel. If Matt Joyce (PIT) is in the lineup, he’s immediately a superb punt option on FanDuel. Hyun Soo Kim (BAL) is a solid source of cap relief on both sites. The matchup against Buchholz is obviously a plus one, and Kim has had a nice debut (.350 wOBA) with projection systems still calling for a bit more power (lack of events does diminish upside). The Rangers outfielders, most notably Carlos Beltran/Carlos Gomez (TEX), all find themselves in a good spot at home. They represent the highest expected scoring team on the slate facing Jered Weaver (5.17 ERA/5.75 FIP/5.73 xFIP) who is a homer prone pitcher in a small ballpark (1.94 HR/9). Also note that the Angels have one of the worst bullpens in the league.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

2) Texas Rangers

3) Chicago Cubs

Tier Two

4) Baltimore Orioles

5) New York Mets

6) Pittsburgh Pirates

7) Minnesota Twins

The tier three options are a clear cut above the other stacks, and we’d try to ensure you have multiple players in cash games coming from one of these three teams, even if you can’t cover someone from each team individually.

In tournaments, the Orioles and Mets represent our favorite options. We expect reduced ownership on all of the tier two stacks given the high team totals on the tier one stacks. The Mets actually have a comparable team total, and both them and the Orioles possess plenty of event upside. The Mets rank fifth in HRs against RHP, and the Orioles lead all of MLB by a wide margin.

MLB Daily Analysis

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