Welcome to September 23 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 23 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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- 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 23 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
J.A. Happ (NYY) and Blake Snell (TB) carry the top projections at the starting pitcher position on Sunday. Snell is the most skilled pitcher in this slate and quite frankly we don’t think it’s particularly close. Snell should win the AL Cy Young this season. He’s posted a career high 30.6% K rate this season along with a ridiculous 1.97 ERA. His FIP (3.07) and xFIP (3.37) have been calling for regression for essentially the entire season, but even if he regresses we’re still talking about a well above league average pitcher. He’ll have to deal with the Rogers Centre today and he’s facing a Blue Jays lineup that doesn’t K much (21.9% K rate vs. LHP). Snell is also priced like the top pitcher on both sites. It’s not unfathomable to play him in cash games, but we do prefer him in tournaments.
There’s more leverage in using Snell in tournaments as Happ will likely be the chalk pitcher in this slate and the former has more upside. Happ is certainly not as dominant as Snell, but he’s pitching in cooler conditions (temperatures in the 60s) in Yankee Stadium and he’s facing a dreadful Orioles lineup that’s ranked dead last in wRC+. Happ has a slightly stronger projection than Snell as he has the lowest IRTA (3.2) and the highest K projection (6.8) in this slate. Happ is also significantly cheaper than Snell on both sites. He’s your cash game anchor at the position.
Next up in projection are Kyle Hendricks (CHC), Charlie Morton (HOU) and Aaron Nola (PHI). Morton and Nola are good pitchers and we usually find them in this range of projections, but Hendricks doesn’t typically project this strongly as he doesn’t miss as many bats (20.5% K rate this season). Hendricks is projecting this way because he has a matchup against a White Sox offense that’s ranked 21st in wRC+ and most importantly are striking out 25.5% of the time vs. RHP (second highest mark in the league). Hendricks has also been pitching very well of late, posting xFIPs under 3.40 and generating K rates of 25.8%, 23.8% and 28.6% over his last three starts. He’s the lone option from this group that’s a viable pairing with Happ on DK as his price tag is a bit cheaper.
Nola is too expensive and has a matchup against a Braves team that have a number of LH threats that typically don’t offer much K upside. There’s a place for Nola in this slate but it’s probably MME only.
Morton is just $8k on FD, which puts him squarely in the conversation across all formats. Morton is a -210 favorite (second highest in this slate) and carries a 5.7 K projection against the Angels. It’s not a perfect matchup by any means as the Angels are ranked fifth in wRC+ vs. RHP, but Morton is simply underpriced on FD. Morton has posted the second highest individual K rate (28.6%) of all the pitchers in this slate. He’s priced accurately on DK ($10k), which makes him a fringe cash game option and a fine tournament target on that site.
The next tier of pitchers that are important on DK are the cheapies. We have Daniel Norris (DET), Trevor Richards (MIA) and Erick Fedde (WSH) with projections in the 12-13 range, which is a similar projection to some of the other overpriced mid-tier arms in this slate. Instead of going into that mid-tier, we’d rather spend in this cheap range. Of this group, Richards is probably the “safest” route for cash games. He pitches in controlled conditions in one of the better pitching parks in baseball (Marlins Park) and he’s posted a 22.5% K rate this season (backed up by a 10% SwStr rate and a 31% chase rate). Norris is in Comerica Park, where temperatures will be in the 60s, and he gets a matchup against a Royals offense that’s ranked 29th in wRC+ and are more prone to swinging and missing vs. LHP (23.6% K rate). Norris has the strongest projection of this group. If you want to be able to spend on some bats, you’ll have to drop down from Hendricks and spend in this tier.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Sanchez is pricey though relative to where he hits in the lineup (seventh) and a R/R matchup. WIth that being said, we still have him for a healthy .334 wOBA and .234 ISO baselines vs. RHP. His upside is awesome but we’re going in a different direction in cash games.
Salvador Perez (KC) is our favorite cash game option in the $3k range at the position. Perez will have the platoon edge against Daniel Norris, and he’s posted a .310 wOBA and .208 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. We have him projected to hit third on the road and he typically doesn’t hit worse than cleanup against LHP. Perez is even featured in some of our optimals on FD.
Robinson Chirinos (TEX) is an acceptable alternative off Perez in all formats on DK. He carries a similar projection and nearly the same price tag as Perez and he’ll have the platoon edge in Arlington. Chirinos has generated a gaudy .385 wOBA and .209 ISO vs. LHP since 2017.
If you can’t reach Perez or Chirinos on DK, Mike Zunino (SEA) is a viable alternative. Zunino swings and misses a bunch but he also carries huge power upside (.225 ISO vs. LHP since 2017). He’s on the road in Arlington and has a matchup against a contact oriented southpaw (Martin Perez).
Evan Gattis (HOU), Yadier Molina (STL) and Willson Contreras (CHC) are options that will have the platoon ege but are priced very appropriately. This group deserves tournament consideration.
The first base position is a wasteland in this slate. Joey Gallo (TEX) (on DK), Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) carry the top projections but they don’t crack 9 DK points or 11 FD points in projection. Gallo and Rizzo have L/L matchups and both are priced appropriately for their contexts. Given how weak the position is, Rizzo is still projecting as the best per dollar value at the position on DK where he’s $4,100. Gallo should only be considered in tournaments.
Zimmerman is the lone option from this group that will have the platoon edge, but it’s not against a gas can (Steven Matz). Zimmerman has posted a .437 wOBA and a ridiculous .309 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season, which stands out at the position today. He’s viable in cash games on both sites.
Given how weak this position is today, we don’t mind using a catcher on FD. Salvador Perez (KC), Evan Gattis (HOU), Yadier Molina (STL) and Willson Contreras (CHC) are sub $3k targets that are featured in our top optimals. Of this group, we prefer Perez followed by Molina in cash games.
Ryon Healy (SEA) will have the platoon edge in Arlington, which represents a favorable park shift for this Mariners offense despite the temperatures being on the cooler side. Healy is $3,700 on DK. It’s not a great price tag but it’s good enough for a hitter in this context. After all, Healy does have some power upside (.181 ISO vs. LHP since 2017).
C.J. Cron (TB) is one of the lone options we really like at the position in tournaments. Cron will have the platoon edge against Ryan Borucki in Rogers Centre, and he’s posted a .367 wOBA and .252 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season.
Whit Merrifield (KC) carries the top projection at second base on FD, while Javier Baez (CHC) and Adalberto Mondesi (KC) join him in this tier on DK where they’re 2b eligible. Baez will have the platoon edge against Carlos Rodon on the road. It’s a very strong context but the price tag on DK ($5,600) is restrictive in cash games. He’s a strong tournament target.
Merrifield and Mondesi are hitting leadoff and second respectively against Daniel Norris, who’s allowed a .339 wOBA and .163 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Norris isn’t a terrible pitcher but we have Merrifield pegged for a .348 wOBA baseline vs. LHP and Mondesi has posted a 40% HHR over the L15 days. Additionally, both of these hitters have strong stolen base upside, particularly when the game flips over to RH options in the bullpen. We’d prefer to reach this tier in cash games, but if you pair Happ with Hendricks on DK you’ll likely be forced into a cheaper option.
Jose Altuve (HOU) isn’t very far behind in projection, but he’ll have to face a good pitcher (Tyler Skaggs) for a couple of ABs before the game turns to the bullpen. Altuve is also a home hitter while the options above are on the road. We prefer him in tournaments.
The salary relief options at the position aren’t in great contexts. Cesar Hernandez (PHI) is on the road and he’s a leadoff hitter, but the matchup against Anibal Sanchez isn’t great. Hernandez is $2,600 on FD though, which is a bit too cheap. We’re projecting Rougned Odor (TEX) to leadoff even in a L/L matchup, which puts his projection at a reasonable level on DK. We typically don’t like to pick on L/L matchups in cash games, but if Odor gets a strong lineup spot he’ll need to be considered given the lack of options behind him. Odor is just $4k on DK and he gets to hit in Arlington.
If you’re trying to full punt the position on DK, you’re out of luck unless you want to pick on Blake Snell with Yangervis Solarte (TOR) ($2,700).
Kris Bryant (CHC) represents the top projected scorer in the hot corner. KB will have the platoon edge on the road. He’s posted a .417 wOBA and .264 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. His price tags are too affordable given the context and he’s the strongest cash game route at the position. We’re pursuing him across all formats.
The only other option we’d seriously consider in cash games at the position is Alex Bregman (HOU) on DK. Bregman is just $100 more expensive than KB and he’s been another impressive hitter vs. LHP (.398 wOBA, .237 ISO vs. LHP since 2017).
Adrian Beltre (TEX) is a secondary target on DK. Beltre has posted a 32.4% HHR over the L15 days, but he’s a little bit overpriced ($4,300) relative to his baselines against LHP (.350 wOBA, .167 ISO).
Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) is just $2,600 on FD. He’s the lone salary relief option at the position that is a positive value. Cabrera isn’t a pushover from the left side of the plate (.333 wOBA, .200 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) and he’ll be hitting in the hottest temperatures in this slate (mid 80s in Atlanta). He’s a fine option in all formats but we’d like to get up to KB in cash games. The same applies to DK where Yangervis Solarte (TOR) is really cheap ($2,700) but a matchup against Blake Snell takes away a lot of appeal.
Anthony Rendon (WSH) dominates LHP (.415 wOBA, .306 ISO since 2017). He’s pricey on both sites but he should be rostered in tournaments.
Trea Turner (WSH) is the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Turner is featured heavily in our optimals today. We have Turner pegged for a .342 wOBA and .145 ISO vs. LHP as we’re expecting him to be much better moving forward than he has been at this point vs. southpaws. While Steven Matz has been pitching better over the second half of the season, he’s allowed a .340 wOBA and .221 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season. Turner will also run against anyone (40 SBs in 701 PAs this season) and he typically doesn’t hit worse than second vs. LHP. All things considered, Turner is simply too cheap on both sites. He’s a very strong target in all formats.
If Turner’s performance against LHP scares you away (it shouldn’t), Javier Baez (CHC) and Adalberto Mondesi (KC) are hovering around his price point on FD. They’re both strong alternatives that carry event upside, which makes Turner less of a cash game necessity on that site. Baez in particular is a touch too cheap given the type of season he’s enjoying (33 HRs/21 SBs with a .292/.327/.565 triple slash line).
Elvis Andrus (TEX) is really cheap on DK ($3,500) for his context (platoon edge in Arlington). We’d rather get up to Turner in cash games but Andrus is a fine alternative in all formats.
Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Jean Segura (SEA) (on DK) are additional targets with decent event upside that are viable in tournaments.
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge (NYY) are the top projected scorers in this slate regardless of hitting position. Judge has the upper hand in performance against RHP this season (.393 wOBA, .252 ISO). He just came back from the DL though, and they’re both priced appropriately particularly on DK. We’d prefer having tournament exposure to this tier on DK but if choosing one of these options in cash games on FD, we’re siding with the cheaper option and that’s surprisingly Judge ($4,100).
Nelson Cruz (SEA) joins the options above in projection on DK. Cruz is way too cheap ($4,600). He’s in Arlington and will have the platoon edge. He’s generated a .362 wOBA and .249 ISO vs. LHP since 2017 while Martin Perez has allowed a .383 wOBA and .182 ISO to RHBs. Cruz should anchor your OF in cash games on DK.
Andrew McCutchen (NYY) is $3,600 on FD and $4,300 on DK. Those price tags are simply too cheap for a leadoff hitter wearing pinstripes (5.3 IRT). He’ll be a bigger part of our optimals than Stanton and Judge because of the way he’s priced.
Victor Robles (WSH) is projecting as a free square on FD. We don’t throw that word around often but he’s $2,300 and he’ll be leading off with the platoon edge. Our baselines aren’t horrible for him in this split (.329 wOBA, .146 ISO vs. LHP) either. Don’t pass on him in cash games. To provide some perspective, it’s worth noting that Robles is also projecting well on DK (second best per dollar value) where he’s $4,100. In GPPs, Robles will be very chalky and that’s where you might want to think about leverage targets in the same price range on FD like Tyler O’Neill (STL) or even Nick Williams (PHI) .
Tommy Pham (TB) will likely go overlooked in this slate but we love him in tournaments on both sites. Pham has posted a slate high 45.7% HHR over the L15 days and he’ll have the platoon edge in Rogers Centre. He’s one if not the strongest leverag play on the board at the position.
1) New York Yankees
The Yankees are once again in a spot where they should be chalky – at home with an IRT above five runs and facing a pitcher that doesn’t miss bats (Alex Cobb – 15.4% K rate this season). Cobb isn’t an awful pitcher though and the Yankees are priced appropriately for the most part on DK. It’s fine to take an underweight position here if you think this stack ends up very chalky. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees just clinched a wild card berth yesterday, so you might see some of the regulars get some rest today.
2) Seattle Mariners
3) Washington Nationals
If the Yankees end up chalkier than the Mariners, you simply want more exposure to the Mariners on DK. They’re getting nine guaranteed innings on the road and are facing an awful pitching staff. The RHBs in particular all get a boost not just from a big park shift, but facing southpaw Martin Perez and a predominantly LH bullpen. The Mariners have a 5.6 IRT, which is the highest in this slate. Our current belief is that ownership will end up at a similar level between the Mariners’ studs and the Yankees’ studs, but the stack should be lower owned once you start to include LHBs like Robinson Cano.
The Nationals will be much lower owned than the Yankees and Mariners. Steven Matz has generated good results of late, and the fact that he’s a LHP takes away the platoon edge from Harper and Soto. They’re one of the strongest leverage stacks available in tournaments given their expected ownership vs. their current standing in our stack section.
4) Texas Rangers
5) Houston Astros
6) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs will likely end up as the chalkiest stack of this group, particularly their RHBs. We’re expecting Carlos Rodon to regress, but you’ll have to include LHBs against him to lower the ownership of the stack.
The Rangers are an intriguing stack from an ownership angle because their best hitters are all LH and they’re facing a LHP today. We prefer using them in MME but keep in mind that Vegas is high on them once again, pegging them with a 5.1 IRT.
7) Tampa Bay Rays
8) Milwaukee Brewers
9) Philadelphia Phillies
The Rays’ RHBs are very appealing in GPPs as they take on Ryan Borucki, a pitcher that we’re expecting to regress (.330 xwOBA, .305 actual wOBA allowed; 3.86 ERA/4.57 xFIP). Additionally, this entire offense is getting a significant park shift in their favor going into Rogers Centre. They’re our favorite stack from this tier by a decent margin.