Welcome to September 22 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 22 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!
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS | HITTER SPLITS | PITCHER SPLITS | SORTABLE STATS | PITCHER TRENDS | LINEUPS | LEADERS
00:49 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 22 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Justin Verlander (HOU) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position. Verlander is at home and has the lowest IRTA (2.9) in this slate but the matchup isn’t a great one (Angels are ranked fourth in wRC+, striking out just 21% of the time vs. RHP). There’s no question that Verlander is the best pitcher in this slate, but we have Patrick Corbin (ARI) not far behind in projection and he’s much cheaper. Verlander is too pricey for cash games but he’ll likely be lower owned than Corbin in tournaments and that’s where he’s viable.
Speaking of Corbin, he’s second only to Verlander in this slate in individual K rate (31%) this season and he’s at home facing a Rockies offense that’s missing Trevor Story in the middle of their lineup. They’re also traveling to Chase Field, and every time they go on the road they have to face a steep negative park shift. Corbin has a 3.3 IRTA (third lowest) and he carries the highest K projection (7.7) in this slate. He’s significantly cheaper than Verlander on both sites and is featured prominently in our optimals. We view Corbin as a cash game anchor around the industry.
The last strong pitching play in this slate is Rich Hill (LAD). Hill typically doesn’t see more than 5-6 innings of work, but he’s posted a 27.3% this season and the matchup is full of Ks. The Padres are are striking out 23.7% of the time vs. LHP (fifth highest mark in the league) and are ranked 21st in wRC+. Hill is the largest favorite (-280) in this slate and he carries the second lowest IRTA (3). Corbin-Hill will likely be the chalk pairing on DK.
There’s a big drop off in projection after the group of pitchers above. Next up in projection is Jon Lester (CHC) and Mike Clevinger (CLE). They’re both priced very correctly and in Clevinger’s case, unless he gets a very watered down lineup, it’s difficult to consider him in a matchup against a Red Sox offense that’s ranked 1st in wRC+ vs. RHP. Lester is our favorite pivot off a chalkier Hill in tournaments on DK. Lester’s matchup against the White Sox is as good as it gets for Ks as they’re striking out a league high 27.6% of the time vs. LHP. Hill should outpace Lester in ownership.
Anthony DeSclafani (CIN) is an intriguing tournament target on both sites. DeSclafani is getting a massive park shift in his favor pitching in controlled conditions (Marlins Park). The Marlins lineup typically has 3-4 LHBs in it, which is a big plus for a wide splits pitcher. DeSclafani has allowed a .359 wOBA to LHBs but just a .288 wOBA to RHBs throughout his career. He’s our favorite cheap play at the position.
Lucas Giolito (CHW) has a punt price tag on DK ($4,700). He’s a viable MME option since there’s not a lot of exciting plays after the top three at the position but keep in mind that he carries significant downside (facing the Cubs at home).
Mike Zunino (SEA) reigns supreme at the catcher position in terms of value as he is only priced at $3,300 despite a high team total and juicy matchup against Mike Minor in Texas. Yet again, it is supposed to rain throughout the course of the night in Arlington, so there is a chance this game does not play. Assuming the weather clears, Zunino owns a .161 ISO against LHP this season and Minor relies heavily on fly ball outs (47.5-percent fly ball rate) to right-handed hitters (RHHs) in a park that enhances power. On a per-dollar basis, Zunino is the cream of the crop if the weather holds.
If, by chance, the Texas game has weather issues, Jonathan Lucroy (OAK), Brian McCann (HOU) and Welington Castillo (CHW) are the other main catchers scattered throughout our DK optimal lineups. Lucroy is simply a punt option at the position against a pitcher who has yielded a .395 wOBA against RHHs this year in a small sample. The implied team total is impressive (5.1) and Lucroy is even $400 cheaper than Zunino. McCann is facing a pitcher who has dominated lefties over a 62 inning sample this year (.278 wOBA, 3.65 FIP) but McCann’s baselines are still respectable in our model (.317 wOBA, .181 ISO). Castillo is on the proper side of the platoon split against a pitcher who has flirted with the bottom 10 of SIERA all year long and his .326 wOBA baseline is the best of the bunch.
In tournaments, Robinson Chirinos (TEX) is a nice pivot from Zunino because he is more expensive and facing the more talented pitcher in Globe Life Park in Arlington. Chirinos is an all-or-nothing type option and hits low in the lineup (projected seventh) but he is the most powerful option outside of Zunino.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) represents our top value at the position across the industry versus a pitcher whose overall sample size versus lefties looks ugly: .359 wOBA, 11.7-percent BB rate, 1.41 HR/9 rate and 5.73 FIP this season. However, all of those numbers are drastically improved from a month ago, and Giolito has held opposing hitters to a .322 wOBA, .241/.317/.431 slash line and 4.15 FIP since the All-Star Break. Amongst active Cubs hitters, Rizzo leads them all in wOBA (.376) and xwOBA (.404) against RHP this year. Although the hitting conditions in Guaranteed Rate Field are not ideal (wind blowing in 6mph, only around 60 degrees), the talent disparity between Rizzo and Giolito is too drastic to ignore. Add in the fact Giolito has allowed the most steals of any pitcher and Rizzo has a bit of speed and it is easy to see why he is the cash game lock.
Jose Abreu (CHW) and Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) make up the next tier at first base as Abreu will be battling those same elements and Goldschmidt will be on the unfavorable side of his platoon split. Lester has been fraudulent all year long and his 26.1-percent line drive rate allowed to righties suggests his .307 wOBA allowed to RHHs is fraudulent as well. In the split versus righties, Lester’s walk rate is ugly (7.9-percent), his K rate is low (19.4-percent) and his fly ball rate (37.3-percent) is enough to get excited about if targeting opposing power hitters against him. Meanwhile, Goldschmidt will square off against Antonio Senzatela and his .341 wOBA, 39.3-percent hard hit rate and middling 18.1-percent K rate versus righties.
Matt Olson (OAK) and Ryon Healy (SEA) are hitters to invest in for their raw power potential on teams with high implied team totals. Game opener De Jong has only struck out lefties at a 17.7-percent rate and Olson is always on red-alert to go deep if/when RHPs do not miss his bat. Healy is a talented hitter against LHP (.333 career wOBA, .194 ISO) and the huge positive park shift cannot be overstated.
Another Cubs lefty headlines second base: Daniel Murphy (CHC). Again, Giolito has pitched better in the second half, but he has regressed a bit again in September specifically. Thus far, Giolito has allowed a .393 wOBA in two September starts, and his K rate is back down (10.5-percent) comparatively to the second half sample (20.5-percent). If this is the Giolito who shows up on Saturday, our model may not even be as high as it should be on Murphy.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) will try to add to his 32 homers this season against RHP this year with Rick Porcello on the mound for the Red Sox. Ramirez is one of the most difficult hitters to strike out in the league which is Porcello’s strength (26.2-percent K rate) in the split against left-handed hitters (LHHs). When he fails to miss left-handed bats, bad things tend to happen for him: 23.5-percent line drive rate, 39.5-percent hard hit rate and a 1.56 HR/9 rate. If the salary is available for Ramirez, he naturally is a strong option.
Rougned Odor (TEX), Javier Baez (CHC) and Jose Altuve (HOU) are all hitters on the weaker side of their platoon splits but still viable options. For Odor, the allure of the matchup is the fact Gonzales has not pitched into the sixth inning in any start since Jul. 3. Also, the Mariners are resting their top bullpen arms down the stretch, so he is unlikely to see guys like Diaz for more than an inning and only if the situation calls for it. Baez leads the Cubs in ISO against RHP and Giolito is struggling to miss bats which is essentially Baez’s kryptonite. Lastly, Altuve faces the pitcher on the slate with the worst FIP (5.53) and wOBA (.359) against RHHs, plus there is also the speed aspect for him if he gets on base (especially versus a right-hander).
Alex Bregman (HOU) and Kris Bryant (CHC) are similarly projected and similarly priced throughout the industry so choosing between them is a difficult decision. Bryant’s team is being implied to score a slate-high 5.2 runs but he is dealing with a season-long power outage against RHP (.143 ISO, .401 SLG). Bregman is the slightly safer investment as evident by his .396 wOBA, .249 ISO, 37.4-percent hard hit rate and 42.9-percent fly ball rate versus RHP. Again, the Astros draw the dream matchup against Barria, who is likely the worst pitcher on the slate in the split versus righties. Barria relies heavily on sliders, especially against RHHs, and Bregman is one of just three above-average hitters against the pitch in terms of xwOBA against the pitcher (Altuve and Kyle Tucker also).
Matt Chapman (OAK)‘s baselines are not far off from the elites and the Athletics will get a likely bullpen day from the Twins. Active members of the Twins’ bullpen cumulatively rank as slightly below league average in terms of SIERA (3.86) but also second to last in terms of FIP (4.54). Regardless of the handedness of pitcher he faces, Chapman should be able to hold his own.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) and Rafael Devers (BOS) are a few of the next best values in our models on both sites but both are impossible to trust in cash games. These are GPP options only as neither hitter has lived up to their baselines in our model this year and both opposing pitchers are far from gas cans.
On this slate, shortstop is a weird position because a lot of the top values have already been covered at other positions. On FD, Baez is our top value at the position and Bregman owns that honor on DK.
If looking for viable alternatives, Francisco Lindor (CLE) is obviously in play on FD against Porcello for many of the same reasons as Ramirez. For what it is worth, opposing base stealers have successfully swiped 21 bags against Porcello since the beginning of 2017 versus only five caught stealing.
Carlos Correa (HOU) is ice cold but viable because of the matchup. Tim Anderson (CHW) is an elite tournament play against Lester. Since the beginning of 2014, no pitcher has allowed more steals than Lester, and Anderson handily leads the White Sox in steals (26). Oh, by the way, Anderson also prefers the platoon split against LHP: .329 wOBA, 109 wRC+, .182 ISO and 34.2-percent hard hit rate. He is always underpriced against lefties so his price is even more egregious against a lefty who cannot hold runners.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) owns the second highest projection of any hitter on the slate (behind only Rizzo) as he is in a top tier hitting environment against a fly balling lefty. Even at age 38, Cruz has managed a .383 wOBA, .297 ISO and 149 wRC+ against LHP. Mitch Haniger (SEA) is viable in his own right and an ideal pairing with Cruz as a mini-stack or in the full stack. Minor’s .303 wOBA allowed to RHHs is solid but he has allowed at least one bomb in eight of his last 10 starts.
Joc Pederson (LAD) is jumping off the page in a matchup versus Jacob Nix at home and why not? In his last start against a RHP (Jon Gray), Pederson went 3-4 with two homers, three RBI and three runs. His baselines always far exceed his price point on FD but there is some implied pinch hit risk for him.
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) and Ian Happ (CHC) are contrarian members of the Cubs offense against a beatable Giolito. Happ is both powerful and speedy whereas Schwarber’s value is fully reliant upon his power prowess. Giolito is susceptible to both so feel free to roll these guys out in GPPs. George Springer (HOU) is another powerful member of the Astros’ righty stack but his data against sliders is not as impressive as some of the others in the lineup. Rafael Ortega (MIA) is almost free in cash games on FD and a solid source of salary relief if rostering an ace.
1) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are the outlier stack in this slate. They have a 5.2 IRT and they’re on the road facing a bad pitching staff. Lucas Giolito in particular has been very susceptible to LHBs. He’s allowed a .359 wOBA and 1.41 HR/9 to LHBs this season. The Cubs have the LH talent to get Giolito in trouble. This isn’t an expensive stack either so we’re expecting them to be popular around the industry.
2) Cleveland Indians
3) Houston Astros
4) Seattle Mariners
The Astros have a great matchup for power upside. Jamie Barria has allowed a 1.72 HR/9 to RHBs this season, and the Astros’ lineup is full or RHBs. They’re an intriguing tournament stack that won’t carry more than modest ownership.
The Indians have the least appealing matchup of this group (Rick Porcello) but they allow you to build a bit differently in this slate with Lindor and Ramirez being so pricey in the middle infield. It’s worth noting that Porcello has been more susceptible to LHBs, allowing a .312 wOBA and 1.56 HR/9 to them but just a .295 wOBA and 1.10 HR/9 to RHBs this season. Last season, Porcello allowed a .360 wOBA and a massive 1.97 HR/9 to LHBs.
The Mariners get a huge park shift in their favor going into Arlington. They’ll have some weather risk but if that brings on lower ownership as well then this stack is very appealing in tournaments.
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Oakland Athletics
6) Texas Rangers
The Dodgers remain an intriguing stack in tournaments. They’re at home and they usually carry a good amount of PH risk, but they should be low owned in this slate and have a matchup against a very bad pitcher. Jacob Nix has posted a 12% K rate this season to go along with a 5.35 SIERA.
Temperatures will be in the 70s in Texas tonight and there’s rain in the forecast. Additionally, the Rangers aren’t facing a gas can (Marco Gonzales). All of this should add up to very low ownership, and that makes this stack appealing in MME.
7) Boston Red Sox
8) Arizona Diamondbacks
The Red Sox have a tough matchup against Mike Clevinger, but it should also be a slate that puts their stud RHBs in the single digit ownership range. That alone makes them appealing GPP targets but we’re more likely to mini-stack than full stack. The same could be said about the Diamondbacks, but they could end up being sneakier since they’re in the NL. Temperatures will be in the high 90s in Arizona tonight and we’re expecting an open roof. High 90s temperatures are an outlier in this slate as most environments have temperatures in the 60s.