Welcome to September 25 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 25 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
01:47 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
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Max Scherzer (WAS) is the top overall projected pitcher as an overwhelming -325 favorite with a tiny 2.7 IRTA at home against the Marlins. The Marlins are 25th in wRC+ against RHP this season, but we do have their current lineup as somewhat contact oriented, which keeps his projection somewhat tame. On a slate with a lot of offense in play, Scherzer is more of a luxury spend than a necessity.
Part of the reason we’re able to drop off of Scherzer is because an affordable David Price (BOS) leads our second tier of pitchers. Price is the next highest favorite (-295) with the next lowest IRTA (3.0) in a matchup against an Orioles team that is dead last in wRC+ against LHP. While Price struggled in a tough matchup against the Yankees last time out, his velocity has been up a little and more consistent recently. Price’s K rate by month has been its highest this month and last month.
In the second tier with Price are Walker Buehler (LAD) and Luis Severino (NYY). Buehler has been great this year, with a 3.00 FIP and 28.9 K%, but he’s priced appropriately. Severino may actually be the most interesting pivot in tournaments. He has the worst Vegas odds of the bunch, which could keep ownership down, but he also has our highest K projection on the slate.
If you wanted to go cheap on FD, both Josh James (HOU) and Touki Toussaint (ATL) offer meaningful K upside. It’s difficult to set a baseline on James, and there’s a chance we’re being too conservative here. James struck out 35.2% of batters faced in 17 AAA starts and 37.5% of batters through 16 MLB innings thus far. Toussaint has struggled with his control, but is striking out a batter an inning and limiting power.
James and Toussaint are both viable SP2s in DK GPPs as well, but the tags are more aggressive relatively, which may leave you simply going cheaper in order to fit in more bats. Chris Stratton (SF) has had a rough season overall (.373 xwOBA), mostly due to allowing hard contact. His xFIP has been under 4 over the season’s second half, and he has a stellar home matchup against the Padres, leaving him as a small favorite with a small IRTA (3.6).
The full punt is on the other side of that game in Robbie Erlin (SD). Erlin’s issue is always duration, but he does at least consistently face 20-plus batters. Overall, he has a 3.26 FIP and really good .305 xwOBA. The Giants are dead last in wRC+ over the last 30 days.
Wilson Ramos (PHI) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Ramos is in Coors Field and gets to face Chad Bettis, a reverse splits pitcher that’s allowed a .365 wOBA and .193 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Ramos is priced outside of cash game consideration but he’s a worthwhile option in tournaments.
In cash games, we’re siding with Brian McCann (HOU). McCann is $3,200 on DK and he’s getting a favorable park shift going into Rogers Centre. He’ll have the platoon edge and hit sixth. All things considered, he’s the most desirable option.
Willson Contreras (CHC) has posted an impressive 25% HHR over the L15 days and the weather in Wrigley Field tonight is a bit more friendly towards hitters (low 70s with ~10 MPH wind blowing out to CF). Contreras is a fine alternative to McCann in tournaments and he would enter the cash game conversation IF he were to hit no lower than sixth.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) (terrible park shift but price tag is down to $3,800 on DK) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) (facing a terrible pitcher and the roof will likely be open in Arizona) are additional targets with power upside that deserve tournament consideration. Evan Gattis (HOU) is also part of the tournament conversation despite being overpriced.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Carlos Santana (PHI) carry the top projection at first base. Both have reachable price tags around the industry and their contexts are favorable. Rizzo will have the platon edge against Chris Archer with the wind blowing out in Wrigley Field. Archer has been more vulnerable against LHBs, allowing a .345 wOBA and .187 ISO since the start of last season. Santana is in Coors Field and he’s posted a solid .192 ISO vs. RHP since 2017. Santana’s price tag on FD ($3,400) makes him the stronger value and hence the better cash game play, but on DK it’s more of a toss up as both are priced nearly the same.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) is right behind in projection from the options above. Encarnacion is a road hitter and he’s facing James Shields. He’s posted a 38% HHR over the L15 days. We like him in tournaments.
The cheap target that we like most at the position is Jose Fernandez (LAA) once again. Fernandez usually hits in the top six and he’ll have the platoon edge against Yovani Gallardo, who’s a terrible pitcher (14% K rate, 5.51 SIERA). Fernandez is just $3,100 on DK and $2,400 on FD. He’s viable across all formats.
Cody Bellinger (LAD) and Matt Olson (OAK) are intriguing tournament targets out West. Bellinger in particular is a tournament favorite of ours given his power upside (.253 ISO baseline vs. RHP) in a matchup against Matt Koch (.200 ISO allowed to LHBs). Yuli Gurriel (HOU) is a viable option in tournaments as well though we prefer him as part of Astros stacks.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) is the top projected scorer at second base. Ramirez’s event upside is noteworthy (38 HRs/33 SBs) and he’s facing James Shields (.214 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017). Ramirez is too pricey to consider in cash games, particularly on FD, but he’s a strong tournament target.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is behind Ramirez in projection but his price tag is favorable on DK ($4,600) where he’s featured prominently in optimals. Altuve has turned it up of late, posting a 23% HHR over the L15 days. He’ll face Sam Gaviglio in Rogers Centre, one of the better hitting environments in all of baseball. Gaviglio has been tagged by RHBs, allowing a .351 wOBA and .208 ISO since 2017.
Altuve is $4,300 on FD, which is a price tag that will be difficult to get up to in cash games. On that site, Daniel Murphy (CHC) ($3,300), Cesar Hernandez (PHI) ($3,400) are our preferred cash game plays in the mid-tier. You’re not getting a discounted price tag on either hitter but they provide you some savings from the high end tier. If you need cheap targets, Ian Kinsler (BOS) and Logan Forsythe (MIN) are acceptable with $2,400 price tags. Forsythe routinely gets top four lineup spots while Kinsler is part of the better offense with a higher IRT (somewhere in the 5s). Forsythe is also cash game viable on DK where he’s $2,800. If you play him over Altuve at the position and punt SP2, you’ll be able to afford expensive options at third base, shortstop and two studs in the outfield.
Alex Bregman (HOU) tops our projections in the hot corner. Bregman’s price tag is correct around the industry but if you punt SP2 on DK it won’t be difficult to reach him in cash games. Bregman isn’t as great of a hitter vs. RHP (.365 wOBA, .207 ISO since 2017) but he’s still well above average and the context is phenomenal. Jose Ramirez (CLE) is 3B eligible on DK but he’s a more difficult fit than Bregman in cash games because he’s more expensive. Ramirez remains an intriguing tournament target.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is another high cost, high upside option at the position that we’re targeting in tournaments. Arenado has a R/R matchup against Vince Velasquez, a pitcher that’s much better against RHBs. Still, when Velasquez goes wrong, he’s allowing home runs, and Arenado is in Coors Field.
On FD, Josh Donaldson (CLE) has the mid-tier price tag ($3,500) that fits with those David Price builds. Donaldson has posted a .369 wOBA and .236 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and he’s on the road facing James Shields (.202 ISO allowed to RHBs since the start of last season). Donaldson is our preferred choice in cash games on FD. Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) is a fine alternative at a similar price tag but that’s mostly because he’s in Coors Field and we’re projecting him to hit third. Cabrera has generated a .200 ISO since 2017.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) represents the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Lindor’s event upside (up to 36 HRs/23 SBs) and being a switch hitter gives him a unique edge over the field at the position. Lindor is pricey but he’s our favorite option in cash games if you can make it work. Alex Bregman (HOU) is a fine fit as well if you don’t play him at third base on DK.
Carlos Correa (HOU) is a part of some optimals on both sites given his reduced price tag but we’re no longer considering him in cash games. Correa’s HHR has been around 3-4% for the better part of a month now.
If you need to save salary at the position, we’d rather go the Andrelton Simmons (LAA) route on FD and Elvis Andrus (TEX) on DK. Both hitters are playing out in LA, a difficult environment for hitters, but they’re cheap on the aforementioned sites. If you could get up to Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) on DK that would be a more comfortable route since he’s in Coors Field but he’s priced up ($4,500).
Trevor Story (COL) and Jorge Polanco (MIN) are additional tournament plays that we’d consider in this slate but both are priced out of the cash game conversation. Story isn’t a great hitter in this split against RHP (.320 wOBA since 2017) but he still holds power upside (.196 ISO), particularly in Coors Field.
Mike Trout (LAA) is far and away the top projected scorer on the hitting side in this slate, and he’s in LA. Trout smashes RHP (.435 wOBA, .345 ISO since 2017) and Yovani Gallardo is a horrible pitcher, allowing a massive .383 wOBA and .224 ISO while generating just a 14.4% K rate since the start of last season. Trout is an easy fit on DK despite his high price tag, but you’ll have to punt SP2 in order to afford him. He’s viable across all formats tonight.
We also have Charlie Blackmon (COL) in Coors Field with the platoon edge, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez (BOS) in Fenway Park facing a terrible pitching staff and Rhys Hoskins (PHI) facing a reverse splits pitcher in Coors. Betts and Martinez are too pricey for cash games but Blackmon is right in the mix on DK where he’s $5,400. Blackmon has posted a .400 wOBA and .261 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and Vince Velasquez is particularly vulnerable to LHBs, allowing a massive .376 wOBA and .224 ISO. Betts, Martinez and Hoskins are strong tournament alternatives.
To make everything you want in cash games work, you’ll have to use at least one inexpensive outfielder. Kole Calhoun (LAA) is our go to cheapie on both sites. Calhoun is $3,400 on DK and $2,900 on FD and he’ll have the platoon edge against Yovani Gallardo out of the leadoff spot. Nick Williams (PHI) has appeared in a bunch of our FD optimals as well because he’s $3k and we’re projecting him to hit second in Coors Field. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is surprisingly inexpensive on FD ($3,300) despite having the platoon edge at home. CarGo hasn’t done much of late from a results standpoint but that’s too cheap of a price tag given the context.
The tournament conversation extends to Shohei Ohtani (LAA), Bryce Harper (WSH) and George Springer (HOU). Ohtani and Harper are facing below average pitchers and they’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups while Springer is a road leadoff hitter in Rogers Centre. David Dahl (COL) is part of this tournament group as well despite being priced up. Our preferred choices in a Rockies uniform tonight are the LHBs given that Velasquez has been way more susceptible to allowing power in that split.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies have a slate high 5.8 IRT at home. They’ll face Vince Velasquez, who is a bit volatile (high walks, low GB rate) and won’t pitch deep into the game.
2) Cleveland Indians
3) Philadelphia Phillies
Cleveland gets a positive park shift hitting in Chicago against James Shields, owner of a .363 xwOBA and .226 xISO. Shields has given up multiple HRs in three straight starts.
The Phillies are the road team in Coors, facing Chad Bettis, owner of a 5.05 career ERA and a ZiPS projected 1.34 HR/9. Bettis will likely be on a pitch count, which means a lot of these innings will be picked up by the bullpen, adding to the volatility of this situation (which is a good thing for upside).
4) Houston Astros
5) Los Angeles Dodgers
6) Los Angeles Angels
The third tier is an indication of how deep the offense is on this slate. The event-oriented Astros get a positive park shift in Toronto and face Sam Gaviglio, who has allowed 1.73 HR/9 over his career.
The Dodgers face Matt Koch, who isn’t expected to pitch deep, which actually deflates some of the upside of this stack. Koch ranks 489th out of 501 pitchers in xwOBA with a minimum of 100 batters faced.
Yovani Gallardo tries to match Koch’s ineptitude, ranking 469th (.385 xwOBA). Gallardo has a career worst 14% K rate, and the Angels rank fifth in wRC+ as a team against RHP. Despite Mike Trout‘s expensive price tag, this is one of the best per dollar stacks on the slate. Both Trout and Ohtani have excellent 15-day Hard% (Inside Edge data).
7) Washington Nationals
8) Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox will likely move up our stack rankings when we get an announced starter for the orioles.
9) New York Yankees
10) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are an interesting contrarian mini stack. We’ll see where the team total comes in at, but a volatile Chris Archer with struggles against LHBs and the wind blowing out in Wrigley give Rizzo/Murphy/Schwarber tournament appeal.