Welcome to September 24 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 24 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
00:57 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 24 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Corey Kluber (CLE) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position. Kluber is the option we’d like to get up to in cash games, though it doesn’t look as necessary in this slate because we also have Clayton Kershaw and James Paxton to consider. Kluber 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). He has a 3.5 IRTA to go along with the highest K projection (7.6) in this slate. Kluber will easily carry double digit ownership in this slate but it’s deserved. The DK price tag ($10,900) is softer than it should be given the context.
Next up in projection are Clayton Kershaw (LAD) and James Paxton (SEA). Kershaw is a fine alternative off Kluber in all formats though if possible we’d like to get up to the latter in cash games. He’s cheaper than Kluber and carries the lowest IRTA (3) in this slate. Kershaw’s run prevention remains elite (2.45) even though there’s some expected regression (3.21 FIP). The one knock on Kershaw now is that his K rate is no longer elite (24% K rate this season). He gets a middle of the pack matchup against a Diamondbacks offense that’s ranked 18th in wRC+ and are striking out 22.7% of the time vs. LHP.
Paxton has an unbelievable price tag on both sites – $9,400 on DK and $9,200 on FD. Those are simply incorrect prices for a pitcher with a whooping 32.6% K rate and a 3.03 SIERA. However, there are longevity concerns here. Paxton is once again coming off the DL, though this time around it had nothing to do with an arm injury. He has been throwing some bullpen sessions but at this point he’s thrown a career high 150 IP and the Mariners don’t have a reason to push him as they’ve fallen off the Wild Card race. We’ve reduced his Outs baseline to 15.5. IF he can meet that baseline then he’s a very strong cash game play on both sites. We haven’t seen any confirmation that Paxton will have any kind of limitations, but we’d say it’s very likely that he won’t be given a full workload. With that in mind, he’s a difficult option to love in tournaments.
We’re not done with elite pitching in this slate. We also have Luis Severino (NYY) and Stephen Strasburg (WSH) to consider but they’re priced too closely to Kluber to seriously consider them in cash games. We view Strasburg as one of the better tournament options in this slate. Strasburg has been on fire of late, posting a 42.3% and 33.3% K rate in each of his last two starts, and tonight he gets a very soft matchup against a Marlins offense that continues to throw very weak lineups on a nightly basis. We’re less enthused about Severino given the way he’s pitched in the second half (5.74 ERA; .496 SLG allowed) and a price tag that’s full everywhere. It’s worth noting that he’ll pitch in controlled conditions (Tropicana Field) and he’ll likely be the lowest owned stud at the position in GPPs, which puts him in our MME radar.
There are also some appealing targets with mid-tier price tags, particularly on DK. Jack Flaherty (STL), Cole Hamels (CHC) and Derek Holland (SF) represent that group. Holland has the best context of this trio as he’s at home (AT&T Park) facing a Padres offense that’s striking out 23.7% of the time vs. LHP. He’s also the least talented pitcher of this group though, which keeps his projection behind Flaherty (impressive 30% K rate in 143 IP this season) and Hamels. These are better options for tournaments than cash games. Robbie Ray (ARI) also belongs in this group given his ability to miss bats (31% K rate this season). The matchup against a talented Dodgers offense introduces run prevention risk beyond his IRTA (4) but it should also keep his ownership at a very low level.
The other important pitcher we have to discuss on DK is Felix Pena (LAA). Pena is $6,100 and has a 14.3 DK projection. He’s at home facing a Rangers offense that’s ranked 22nd in wRC+ and are striking out 24.3% of the time vs. RHP (fifth highest mark in the league). Pena will have to face a decent amount of LHBs, which isn’t great given his splits (.338 wOBA, 15.8% K rate baselines vs. LHBs), but he’s a -168 favorite with an IRTA of 4. He’s the lone cheap option we view as cash and tournament viable on DK, and you’ll likely have to consider him given the strong amount of offense we have in this slate.
Wilson Ramos (PHI) rates as above and beyond our top projection at the catcher position on Monday as he is in the strong side of his platoon split and playing in Coors Field. In 133.1 innings versus right-handed hitters (RHHs), Anderson has yielded a .319 wOBA, 1.55 HR/9 rate, 24.3-percent line drive rate and 39.4-percent fly ball rate en route to a mediocre 4.58 FIP. Of the 23 homers Anderson has allowed to righties, 12 of them have come at home, and righties have slashed .260/.326/.461 against him in Coors Field. Catcher is a wasteland as per usual so Ramos is the play by default but he is not cheap by any means. If funds are available, we believe Ramos is worth his $4,800 price point.
Behind Ramos, Evan Gattis (HOU) and Brian McCann (HOU) are the next best options in a matchup against fly-baller Marco Estrada. Amongst pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, Estrada has thrown his changeup at the highest rate (36.8-percent), and Estrada has proven to be a reverse splits pitcher both this season and for his career. Judging by their pitch data, Gattis has posted superior numbers against right-handed changeups (.327 xwOBA) this year and he is the righty of the two. Consequently, he is projected to be the superior value of the two in our DK model.
Francisco Cervelli, (PIT) is the clear tournament pivot as Cole Hamels has been susceptible to power and Cervelli’s wOBA in the split ranks third on the team (behind only other team catcher Elias Diaz and Josh Bell). The team total is low, and the Chicago weather is not going to be incredibly conducive to hitting (sub-70-degrees and rainy with wind blowing in), so the Pirates catcher will undoubtedly go overlooked.
Mitch Moreland (BOS) headlines the first base position on both sites and why not against Dylan Bundy? No pitcher has allowed more homers than Bundy this season (38) and he is actually the only pitcher to have allowed more than 33 bombs (James Shields has allowed that many) in 2018. Whereas righties have posted the slightly higher HR/9 rate against him, his 2.00 HR/9 rate allowed to lefties is still noteworthy. Despite the bombs, Bundy owns a 3.30 xFIP against RHP, but he has simply not been a good pitcher against LH: 5.45 xFIP, 17.8-percent K rate, 8.2-percent BB rate and 35.7-percent hard hit rate. The projected lineup spot for Moreland is favorable, and his team is being implied to score the second most runs on the slate (5.7), so it is weird that his price is so affordable on all sites.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) and Carlos Santana (PHI) are the direct pivots off Moreland, or even complements on FD, if looking to roster multiple players at the position. Dylan Covey is a career reverse-splits pitcher but this season that has changed and Covey has pitched incredibly well at home (.303 wOBA allowed) so this is not a cannot-miss matchup by any means. Santana’s matchup on paper is slightly more favorable as his team is being implied to score over 5.0 runs in Coors Field against a power-prone pitcher.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is our only only positive value at the position on DK despite a tough opposing pitcher: Jameson Taillon. Since Taillon started throwing his slider at a higher rate, it essentially turned his season around, but he has still yielded an above average wOBA (.323) to left-handed hitters (LHHs). For what it is worth, Rizzo has posted the highest xwOBA against right-handed sliders of any hitter on the Cubs (.368) this season.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) is on what has become the positive side of the platoon split against Dylan Covey and what is definitely the strong side of Ramirez’s platoon split. Against RHP this year, Ramirez has launched a whopping 32 bombs, and he is slashing .288/.398/.600 in the split with a .312 ISO, .416 wOBA and 162 wRC+. However, due to his hefty price tag (and our model’s preference to spend up at the starting pitcher position), he is not present in many of our optimal lineups across the industry.
Jose Altuve (HOU), Daniel Murphy (CHC) and Ian Kinsler (BOS) are some of the most common names found in our optimal lineups for a variety of reasons. Altuve leads the team in AVG and OBP against RHP and Estrada has been a disaster in the split versus RHHs: .388 wOBA, 2.13 HR/9 rate, .296/.358/.565 slash line, 56.1-percent fly ball rate and a slate-worst (min. 35 IP) 5.90 FIP. Murphy’s projection is due to his impressive baselines (.365 wOBA, .197 ISO) and affordable price point ($3,800 on DK). Kinsler is at least $600 cheaper than any other projected positive value on FD and the power potential here is unmistakable.
Cesar Hernandez (PHI) and D.J. LeMahieu (COL) lack power and are on the weak side of their platoon splits but they are playing in Coors Field so they rate well in our models. They will likely be chalky if needing the salary relief down to them on fD for cash games.
Alex Bregman (HOU) reigns supreme at third base on both FD and DK and it makes sense for so many reasons. First off, Bregman leads the team in wOBA against RHP and his 42.9-percent fly ball rate is third on the team behind only Gattis and Josh Reddick. Secondly, Bregman leads the Astros in xwOBA against right-handed changeups (.429) and he is facing the guy who throws changeups more than anyone in the league. Add in Estrada’s struggles in the split and Bregman proves to be underpriced at $4,500 on DK.
Rafael Devers (BOS) had homered in two straight games heading into Sunday and he drove in another run in that game so maybe he is starting to find his groove. As long as he is not completely lost at the plate (like he was earlier in the year), Devers is severely underpriced for a member of the Red Sox, especially one of the lefties. Over the course of the last 15 days, Devers’ hard hit rate is higher than any of the other top six values at the position on FD. He is both in a groove and in one of the best possible matchups for power.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is at home and our baselines give him credit for a .361 wOBA and .243 ISO against RHP. Thus far, Eflin has held righties to a .283 wOBA and 27.4-percent hard hit rate, but the Rockies own the highest implied total of any team on the slate and he is talented enough to overcome the mediocre matchup. Justin Turner (LAD) owns a hefty .439 wOBA, 183 wRC+ and .226 ISO against LHP since the beginning of 2017 and Ray has allowed a slate-worst 46.0-percent hard hit rate to RHHs. Since Ray is talented, Turner will slip below the cracks, and in tournaments that may be a mistake.
On FD, Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the highest projected player at the shortstop position, but Carlos Correa (HOU) is not far behind and he rates as the top value on DK. The story remains the same for Correa as he has fallen off a cliff in the second half: .218 wOBA, .050 ISO, 36 wRC+ and a measly 24.0-percent hard hit rate. For those reasons, he is tough to trust, whereas Lindor is not. Assuming Omar Narvaez is catching, our baselines have him enhancing the run game significantly, as he owns a career -2 rating in FanGraphs’ rSB statistic.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Trevor Story (COL) and Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) are all worthy of consideration as direct alternatives to the top tier. Bundy’s strikeout rate against RHHs is nearly 14 percentage points higher (31.1) than against LHHs (17.8) and Bogaerts is one of the toughest guys to K on the Red Sox (16.9-percent K rate versus RHP). Story, like Arenado, is on the wrong side of the platoon split but his power baseline is still substantial enough to boost Story to the third best value on FD. Cabrera normally is a superior start against RHP but the positive park shift is enough for him to still maintain viability despite a price spike.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) owns the highest projection in our model of any hitter on the entire slate and the matchup against Eflin suits him better than the righties. In 54.2 innings against LHHs, Eflin has been roasted to the tune of a .352 wOBA, 1.48 HR/9 rate, 21.3-percent line drive rate, 40.9-percent fly ball rate and a 4.38 FIP. Although he has struggled through a down year for his standards, Blackmon still owns a .375 wOBA and .230 ISO baseline in our model, which sounds reasonable especially in this matchup at home.
Andrew Benintendi (BOS) is another tough to strikeout member of the Red Sox and he is on the strong side of his platoon split. The split is not as strong from Mookie Betts (BOS) or J.D. Martinez (BOS) but they are two of the very best hitters in the league against one of the most power-susceptible starters. Benintendi rates as the top value of the three but all are viable plays in both cash games in tournaments.
Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Kole Calhoun (LAA) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS) are scattered throughout our DK optimals and Gonzalez is lucky enough to enjoy the platoon advantage versus Eflin like Blackmon. Calhoun is slated to lead off against Adrian Sampson and he is only $3,400 on DK. It remains to be seen who the innings eater will be for the Rangers but their active bullpen members cumulatively rank ninth worst in terms of SIERA. The only issue is many of their long relievers are left-handed which would help Mike Trout (LAA) a lot more than it would help Calhoun.
George Springer (HOU) pops in both our models as well as he will lead off for an Astros team oozing with power potential against Estrada.
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Cleveland Indians
The Red Sox and Rockies are essentially tied in our stack score and both project very strongly in this slate as they’re at home in elite hitting environments facing power prone pitchers. We have lots of high end pitching in this slate, which could keep the ownership at reasonable levels.
The Indians are the lone road team in this tier and they’re facing a pitcher in Dylan Covey that dominated them in his last start but he struggles to miss bats (16.5% K rate this season). They’re likely the contrarian team in this tier, which makes them very intriguing in tournaments.
4) Houston Astros
5) Philadelphia Phillies
The Astros are a phenomenal leverage stack in this slate. They’re a road team in Rogers Centre with a 5.2 IRT and a matchup against Marco Estrada, a pitcher that has major issues with the long ball (1.75 HR/9 this season). They’ve let us down plenty of times this season but we’re willing to bite once again in GPPs.
The Phillies are the road team in Coors Field. They’re also the weakest offense we’ve mentioned thus far, but there’s bits and pieces (like Ramos and Hoskins) of that offense that project very well. We’d rather mini-stack them but since they’re clearly in the best hitting environment in all of baseball, it’s not the worst idea to use more than a couple of options from this offense.
6) Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have an IRT of 5 at home. That’s unusual but they’re facing a really weak pitching staff and Adrian Sampson is starting this game for the Rangers. We view them as a strong leverage stack in MME.
7) Washington Nationals
8) Los Angeles Dodgers
9) Chicago Cubs
This is a MME only tier. The Nationals are the one stack that interests us the most from this group since they’re facing AAA pitching at home. Sandy Alcantara will start things off for the Marlins, and he’s posted a 5.61 xFIP through four starts this season.