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!
01:01 Starting Pitcher
10:40 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- 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.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
September 24 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Gerrit Cole (HOU) and Max Scherzer (WSH) top the projections on Tuesday and yet neither is popping into standard optimals across the industry. Their 19 out duration baselines rank as tops on the slate and Cole opened as a massive -450 favorite (which is now up to -473). The issue with these pitchers is they are one of just four pitchers projecting for 8.0-plus strikeouts and they are both priced like pure aces on both sites. Cole’s 2.8 implied run total against is best on the slate but only barely.
Scherzer looked like he was back to pitching deep into games his last time out as he threw 109 pitches, struck out 11 and lasted 6.2 innings versus the Cardinals. The Nationals have not clinched the playoffs just yet even though only the Cubs are within four games of either wildcard spot. Since the Nationals still have something to play for, we are assuming the team will push him to pitch deep into the game once again. Obviously, both Cole and Scherzer possess the necessary upside for tournaments, but there are cheaper pitchers on this slate who project nearly as well per-dollar, which is the reason our model is not jamming them in standard models.
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) is priced $4,000 cheaper than Cole on DraftKings and yet his implied run total against is only 0.2 runs higher. Syndergaard opened as a -245 home favorite (up to -267) in what is a must-win game for a Mets team that is five games out of the Wildcard. If they lose this game, they are very likely eliminated, and he is facing a team that ranks dead last in both wOBA and ISO against RHP. Furthermore, Syndergaard has allowed the most steals against of any pitcher in the league, and the Marlins have stolen the fifth fewest bases versus RHP. On FanDuel, Syndergaard is priced at just $8,200, and is projecting for 0.6 less strikeouts than the slate-leader Cole (who costs $12,300 on that site). Since he is projecting for less than a fantasy point fewer than the slate-leader, he clearly constitutes the superior value, and rostering him allows fantasy owners to jam in more expensive bats. For those reasons, Syndergaard is viewed as a cash game building block on both sites.
Madison Bumgarner (SF) is priced even cheaper than Syndergaard on DraftKings and he is in a great spot pitching in the friendly confines of Oracle Park tonight. Despite playing half their games in hitter-friendly Coors Field, the Rockies actually rank in the bottom 10 of both wRC+ and BB rate against LHP and they have struck out at a healthy 23.4-percent rate in the split as well. Both this year and for his career, Bumgarner has struck out over 29-percent of the LHHs he has faced and our projected Rockies lineup includes four left-handers. The more left-handed the lineup, the more favorable the matchup becomes, but Bumgarner is a strong value no matter what. Since Syndergaard is popping as the SP1 on DraftKings, there is no need to punt the SP2 spot, and the Syndergaard/Bumgarner pairing is dominating optimals.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) and Jack Flaherty (STL) are two other high-upside pitchers slated to toe the mound on this slate who would project as the top pitchers on many other slates. However, with all the other aces slated for action, they are falling a bit under the wayside. Clevinger is facing a White Sox team that has struck out at a 25.9-percent rate versus RHP this year (third highest rate in the league). Furthermore, the White Sox rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, ISO and BB rate against the handedness and Clevinger is a heavier favorite than even Scherzer. His 8.6 projected Ks are tied for most on the slate with Cole but his duration baselines are much lower and he is not much cheaper than Cole on either site.
As for Flaherty, he will face a Diamondbacks team missing Ketel Marte for the remainder of the season, and now their active hitters rank just 25th in wOBA versus RHP. Flaherty’s 32-percent K rate baseline versus RHHs is second on the slate behind only Scherzer and that is an impressive feat on this slate especially. The 3.5 implied run total against is the same as the number against both Clevinger and Scherzer and we expect Flaherty to be the lowest-owned of the three.
Dillon Peters (LAA) and Jeff Hoffman (COL) are the two sub-$5,000 pitchers who can be deployed if needing the salary relief on DraftKings but the opportunity cost is huge on a slate filled with elite pitching. Hoffman will be enjoying the most drastic positive park shift in all of baseball heading to Oracle Park but Peters is $600 cheaper. Also, Peters’ duration projection is a full out higher, so despite the higher implied total against, our model slightly prefers the per-dollar value of Peters. If preferring to roster the pitcher in San Francisco, simply up the duration baseline for Hoffman with the expectation he may pitch deeper into a game outside of Coors Field. That adjustment would move him above Peters.
On FanDuel, Mitch Keller (PIT) is the one priced like a true punt and he has struck out over 28-percent of hitters on both sides of the plate so it is possible our K rate baselines are still too low on him. If raising his K rates to his seasonal numbers, he would project as a top six value on the slate, and rostering him would be the easiest path to stacking two expensive offenses.
Homer Bailey (OAK), Julio Teheran (ATL) and Aaron Nola (PHI) are pitchers worthy of a sprinkle in MME runs but rate outside of consideration in single-entry and three-max tournaments.
1) Houston Astros
2) Boston Red Sox
The Astros top the stack rankings as they are the heaviest favorites on the slate by far (-473) and facing a starter pitcher that has walked eight hitters in just 2.2 innings at the MLB level. The team will be dealing with a negative park shift and they are just one of two offenses being implied to score 6.0-plus runs. Although Seattle is a poor hitting environment overall, it plays as a league-average power park to RHHs, and four right-handers in the Astros’ projected lineup feature ISO baselines over .200. It is unclear whether the masses will gravitate towards the offense in this spot which could consequently make this an excellent GPP team to ride.
The Red Sox find themselves in an incredibly favorable spot in their own right versus opener Edinson Volquez and long man Ariel Jurado. After a stretch where Jurado’s average fastball velocity was down below 93 mph in seven consecutive starts, the velocity has since rebounded. He has averaged over 93 mph on his fastball in five straight starts and yet the results have not improved much. Since the All-Star Break, Jurado has yielded a .388 wOBA overall, and he is a proven reverse-splits pitcher at the big league level. Three of the four top hitters on the Red Sox are of the right-handed variety and this team will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs) in Globe Life Park in Arlington. We expect this will be the most popular offense of the night.
3) Oakland Athletics
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Athletics are loaded with right-handed power which means most of the lineup owns the platoon edge versus Dillon Peters and his .387 wOBA allowed to RHHs this season. Thus far, righties have posted a 2.23 HR/9 rate, 24.5-percent line drive rate, 41.0-percent hard hit rate and .298/.358/.591 slash against Peters. Most of the lineup is cheap on FanDuel and an offense that can be easily rostered alongside some of the top aces on the slate. Peters has been susceptible to the long ball and seven of the nine hitters in the lineup own ISO baselines of at least .180 in the split. This is clear an offense that comes equipped with multiple home run (HR) upside.
The Dodgers are expected to roll out five left-handers versus virtual unknown Ronald Bolaños. The sample size is limited on him but projection systems view Bolaños to be a mid-5.00s FIP sort of pitcher for the remainder of the season. In a tiny sample, Bolños has posted typical splits for a RHP which does not bode well versus a team full of powerful lefties. The issue here is the Dodgers have nothing left to play for since they have already clinched the division.
5) Atlanta Braves
6) Cleveland Indians
7) Baltimore Orioles
8) Toronto Blue Jays
The Braves have also clinched their division but they will head to Kauffman Stadium where they will roll out a designated hitter instead of a pitcher. Their lineup only becomes deeper with the additional hitter and some hitters towards the bottom of this lineup are priced like punts on FanDuel. Righties are the preferable options versus opposing starter Danny Duffy who has been heavily-reliant on fly ball outs in the split. Unsurprisingly, the fly ball reliance has led to balls leaving the yard (1.48 HR/9 rate) and that is the allure of the Braves as a tier three offense.
The Indians rank in the top 10 of wOBA and wRC+ against LHP and have only struck out at a 21.1-percent rate in the split. Meanwhile, probable starter Hector Santiago has allowed exactly a .328 wOBA to both sides of the plate over the course of his career. His numbers against RHHs specifically have depreciated over the past few seasons and he is incredibly reliant on fly ball contact (47.5-percent fly ball rate). In fact, his fly ball rate allowed to RHHs is by far the highest of any starting pitcher on the slate (min. 10 innings the split) and the wind is expected to be blowing out to left tonight. This is a highly motivated team, as they sit 0.5 games out of the second Wildcard spot, and a very strong single-entry and three-max team.
The Orioles and Blue Jays combined to score 21 runs in their game yesterday and both teams are tossing mediocre starting pitchers again today. Bundy has always been susceptible to the long ball and Anthony Kay is a pitcher projection systems have around a 5.00 FIP. Rogers Centre is a power-friendly park, especially to RHHs, and many of the Orioles’ RHHs are legitimate threats against LHP: Trey Mancini, Hanser Alberto, Renato Nunez, etc. For his career, Bundy has allowed exactly a 1.51 HR/9 rate to both sides of the plate, so all hitters are in play for the Jays. Either team is viable as a MME team and the full game stack is not out of the question for the second straight day.
Christian Vazquez (BOS) and Robinson Chirinos (HOU) are the top catcher options. Houston and Boston have slate leading implied totals with both clearing six projected runs. Both teams are on the road and guaranteed all nine innings but Vazquez gets the better park environment in Texas. Where priced similarly, we prefer Vazquez but the appropriate price tags on both of them make them better tournament targets than cash game options.
Optimals on DraftKings prefer emphasizing salary relief at the position so we can spend elsewhere. While mid-tier options like Buster Posey (SF), Tyler Flowers (ATL), Wilson Ramos (NYM), and Pedro Severino (BAL) are better pure values, the optimals prefer the pure punt route with Melbrys Viloria (KC) who is just $2,200. Viloria is one of the weaker hitters at the position with a .279 wOBA and .111 ISO platoon split baseline but his purpose is to setup the rest of your lineup. Similarly, Austin Hedges (SD) who does have decent power skills (.179 ISO baseline vs. LHP) is just $2,500.
In general, the position isn’t in play much on FanDuel with superior values at first base.
Trey Mancini (BAL) is a surprising name atop the first base projections on Tuesday. He draws the platoon edge in a favorable hitting environment against a pitcher we project as incredibly vulnerable to RH power. Anthony Kay owns a .257 ISO split against RHBs as all the projection systems view him as a very homer prone starter.
Paul Goldschmidt (STL) projects just behind Mancini as the Cardinals draw another favorable matchup against Mike Leake. Goldschmidt is priced appropriately and along with similarly priced options like Matt Olson (OAK), Carlos Santana (CLE), Peter Alonso (NYM), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) are all tournament pivots.
On DraftKings, a trio of Dodgers first base eligible options all outpace Mancini but none of them carry 1B eligibility on FanDuel. Cody Bellinger (LAD), Max Muncy (LAD), and Joc Pederson (LAD) are the three. While Bellinger is the best option of the group, the value lies in Joc who is priced at just $4,100 for a matchup with a RHP.
On both sites, salary relief is emphasized a bit more in optimals. On FanDuel, Rowdy Tellez (TOR) and Justin Smoak (TOR) are intriguing targets for the Jays. Dylan Bundy has been very vulnerable to LH power in his career allowing a .368 wOBA and .211 ISO to LHBs. Both Jays bats have hit RHP well. Since 2017, Tellez owns a .335 wOBA and .241 ISO while Smoak has compiled a .365 wOBA and .258 ISO. Throw a bad Orioles bullpen in behind Bundy and it’s a perfect recipe for Fantasy production. We’ll see how the Jays lineup looks, but either one of these options is likely a good value to target.
On DraftKings, another 1B value from that game in Renato Nunez (BAL) shows some in some optimals. Nunez has a strong power baseline (.216 ISO) against LHP and as we noted above, the baselines on Anthony Kay make him very vulnerable to RH power. For $3,800, Nunez is a fine target with 1B/3B eligibility. His teammate, Mark Trumbo (BAL), would represent another salary relief value if he’s in the lineup.
Jose Altuve (HOU) carries a dominant projection at second base. Justin Dunn is an intriguing prospect but he’s struggled mightily with command at the big league level, walking 50 percent of the first 16 batters faced, and he doesn’t work very deep allowing plenty of matchups with a vulnerable Mariners bullpen. On DraftKings, the $4,700 price tag on Altuve makes him a primary target as the clear cut value at the position. On FanDuel, the $4,200 price tag still makes him a dominant value but roster construction may emphasize some more salary relief.
Max Muncy (LAD) is the next-in-line option at second base. The Dodgers offense projects well on the road against RHP as their 5.3 implied total is one of the higher one’s on the slate. Muncy is generally priced appropriately so he’s a better tournament pivot.
On FanDuel, Ben Zobrist (CHC) is the cheapest of the compelling options as a road leadoff hitter for a solid Cubs offense. The concern for Zobrist is he’s pretty team dependent for value as he doesn’t generate much power or speed and the Cubs may roll out some weaker lineups after getting swept by the Cardinals. As a result, you may try to find the $200 to get up to Kolten Wong (STL) who has a similar baseline skill set and in an offense that might be in better shape.
On both sites, Hanser Alberto (BAL) is a secondary value with an affordable price tag and a road leadoff spot with the platoon edge. Alberto doesn’t project as a great hitter (.298 wOBA, .111 ISO baseline with the platoon edge) but he’s affordable and in a solid context.
Alex Bregman (HOU) and Rafael Devers (BOS) are the top options at third base and by a decent margin. The Red Sox and Astros are the premium offenses on the slate and the primary differentiator between the two is simply price tag. On FanDuel, Devers is substantially cheaper and the primary target while Bregman fills that role on DraftKings. The secondary group of third base options is a bit cheaper relative to the studs on DraftKings than on FanDuel so the player pool widens a bit for optimals.
On DraftKings, you’ll see a lot of Matt Chapman (OAK) get into the optimals at $4,200 with the platoon edge against Dillon Peters. Similarly, Josh Donaldson (ATL) has always been dominant against LHP and has the same price tag for a road matchup against Danny Duffy and a weak Royals pen.
Renato Nunez (BAL) is another cheaper alternative at 3B, we covered his skillset and matchup at first base. His opponent, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) is still one of those mid-priced upside options that can be included in Jays stacks in GPPs.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) dominates the shortstop projections on FanDuel where Alex Bregman (HOU) isn’t eligible. On DraftKings, Bregman projects slightly better than Bogaerts as he holds he better baseline skills. He also happens to be more affordable which makes him the primary target for most of the optimals. On FanDuel, Bogaerts floods the optimals as our projections view it as important to pay for one of the top options at shortstop.
Shortstop is usually flush with viable high priced pivots. Francisco Lindor (CLE). Marcus Semien (OAK), and Carlos Correa (HOU) are the most reasonable alternatives. Correa comes with that same matchup as Bregman and a worse lineup spot but a slightly cheaper price tag that should come with a touch less ownership. Lindor looks like the most compelling pivot given his matchup with Hector Santiago who hasn’t posted a single season FIP or xFIP below 5.3 in each of the last four seasons AND is vulnerable to the running game. There are plenty of ways Lindor can make good on this matchup and Cleveland’s implied total isn’t far behind the BOS-HOU tier.
As far as affordable options go or salary relief savers there aren’t many compelling options at shortstop. This is the primary reason our optimals prefer to pay up. The best of the bunch is likely Elvis Andrus (TEX) but the matchup with Eduardo Rodriguez isn’t an enticing one to attack.
The Red Sox and Astros outfield options really dominant the projections in the outfield. Mookie Betts (BOS), JD Martinez (BOS), and George Springer (HOU) are the top options. Martinez is the cheapest of the bunch on DraftKings and thus the primary target but when all three are priced similarly our projections prefer Betts. The Red Sox options get the edge here with the better park environment and Ariel Jurado’s second half has been extremely Fantasy friendly allowing opposing batters to hit .327/.369/.581 against him. We’d love to have at least one of the two Red Sox premier outfield options in cash game lineups.
Yordan Alvarez (HOU), Michael Brantley (HOU), Ronald Acuna (ATL), and Cody Bellinger (LAD) represent the next tier of options. Brantley is notably cheaper than the other alternatives in this tier and thus becomes a cash game priority on both sites. He’s one of the better overall values on the slate.
In terms of salary relief options, Khris Davis (OAK), Billy McKinney (TOR), Dexter Fowler (STL), and Randal Grichuk (TOR) are popular targets for optimals. McKinney and Grichuk get a plus matchup for power upside against Bundy and the Orioles pen. We’re assuming McKinney continues to lead off in the absence of Bo Bichette and as long as that’s the case he’s severely underpriced for the opportunity.
Yasiel Puig (CLE) has been a favored target of ours for the last month and while we project him for a slightly reverse splits baseline, he’s still a great target against Hector Santiago for a Cleveland offense that has an implied total approaching six.
On FanDuel, Mark Trumbo (BAL) is another potential min-priced punt option if he finds his way into the lineup.