Daily Fantasy Rundown – September 26 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Saturday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: Not expecting any weather related problems though 4 separate locations are close calls.
Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
Slate Note: Today’s content covers just the evening slate. We’ll have an extensive afternoon guide breaking down the early slate along with alerts all day
Yasmani Grandal (LAD)/Wilin Rosario (COL) – Grandal’s season has fallen apart in the second half as he’s played through injuries. He’s hit just .189/.294/.254 in the second half and his hard hit rate has fallen from 34.6 percent in the first half to 23.5 percent in the second half. Still on this short slate, he’s the most talented hitting catcher option. The exception is on sites where Wilin Rosario (COL) comes with catcher eligibility. Rosario’s skill set is a bit more stable (he’s not playing through an injury) and he’s compiled a career .402 wOBA and .281 ISO against LHP. Brett Anderson has allowed a .324 wOBA to RHBs since 2013 and his arsenal relies heavily on a sinker and curveball which both rely on vertical movement, something that altitude hurts most.
Welington Castillo (ARZ) – If you’re not paying for the options in Coors Field, Welington Castillo is your best alternative. Castillo owns a .370 wOBA and .192 ISO against LHP as a big leaguer. He’ll face Robbie Erlin who has allowed a .325 wOBA and 32 percent hard hit rate to RHBs as a big leaguer. Erlin allows a lot of fly balls (37.7 percent) which is a good recipe in PETCO but against a power laden right hand heavy offense could get him into trouble.
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – Gonzalez is the top overall hitter in our model. He’s getting the big park shift we always crave from road hitters in Coors Field and the Dodgers are facing one of the weaker starters on the slate. Kyle Kendrick has allowed a .353 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013. The Dodgers lineup shifts around often but Gonzalez is always a staple in the middle of the lineup. He’s by far the best combination of skill, scoring environment, and matchup on the slate. Lock him in.
Next in line: Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) is a fine pivot in tournaments. We touched on Robbie Erlin‘s struggles with RHBs and fly balls which makes him vulnerable to RH power. Goldschmidt has crazy splits against LHP (.445 wOBA, .279 ISO) and he could easily out-pace Gonzalez whose ownership will likely double Goldschmidt’s in tournaments.
Additional first base notes: Wilin Rosario (COL) is a very good hitter against LHP, but we’re really committed to Adrian Gonzalez at first base in cash games. Justin Bour (MIA) is another “cheap” alternative with a favorable matchup against Julio Teheran, but we see no reason to stray from Gonzalez. Bour is a fine tournament target.
Chase Utley/Howie Kendrick (LAD) – Utley and Kendrick rank a few spots apart in our model. Utley gets the platoon edge and the plate appearance advantage that pushes him ahead of Kendrick. Throw in a cheaper price point and he’s your top target at the position. Kendrick is clearly the better hitter of the two but if Utley’s leading off, he’ll hold the advantage in our rankings. Both are Top 15 hitters in our model.
Aaron Hill (ARZ) – Hill is really cheap and often garners a favorable lineup spot against LHP. Of late, he’s hit second against lefties and throughout the season he hit fifth. We prefer second as it gives him a likely third plate appearance against lefty Robbie Erlin but his price point is fine for fifth as well. Hill owns a .331 wOBA and .168 ISO against LHP since 2012. He’s actually a more skilled hitter against LHP than either Dodger is against RHP but the park effects and scoring environment push him way down compared to them. He’s a viable alternative as a source of salary relief.
Additional second base notes: Jason Kipnis (CLE) and Brian Dozier (MIN) are both cheap on FanDuel and viable secondary targets if not spending up on Dodgers, or restricted by the max four players from one team restriction. We like Dozier a bit more than Kipnis despite the lack of platoon advantage. Alfredo Simon is a weaker pitcher and the Tigers bullpen behind him is far inferior to the Royals bullpen backing up Medlen. Dee Gordon (MIA) doesn’t have the power profile to take advantage of Teheran’s biggest weakness but the Braves struggle to control the running game and have a horrific bullpen. He’s a fine tournament target.
Corey Seager (LAD) – Seager’s following in the footsteps of Carlos Correa. Upon promotion he’s already hit like a star and he’s outpacing all the projection systems expectation. The Dodgers aren’t consistent with his playing time or his lineup spot but he’s far and away the most talented option at the position and if he’s in the lineup, we’d like to target him as a priority in cash games.
Shortstop notes: If Seager isn’t in the lineup, Jimmy Rollins (LAD) once again becomes the default target if he’s hitting in a good lineup spot. The Dodgers have an implied run total approaching 6.5 runs which is nearly two runs higher than most other offenses. After Rollins, Jose Reyes (COL) ranks best at the position but he’s priced up and has sat a bunch recently. Christian Adames (COL) has gotten starts and hit second of late which would make him a fine punt play. If Reyes is in, Seager is out, and Rollins is hitting low in the lineup, I think Jhonny Peralta (STL) is a fine “value” alternative. His price is down around the industry and the Cardinals have one of the higher secondary implied run totals (4.7 runs).
Nolan Arenado (COL) – Finally! We’re deviating from a Dodger as the Top Play at a position. Arenado rates as our top third base option and a Top 10 hitter overall. Brett Anderson is difficult to pick on because he generates so many ground balls but his pitch mix should make it more challenging for him to work the bottom of the zone. On sites that limit the number of Dodgers you can fire into your lineups, Arenado is an easy way to bypass a position without forcing another Dodger in. Arenado has been more effective this season against RHP but a career .359 wOBA, .205 ISO and 31.9 percent hard hit rate against LHP makes him a strong play.
Additional third base notes: Justin Turner (LAD) ranks as the next best option at third base. If he’s not in the lineup, we’d shift our attention to Matt Carpenter (STL) and Miguel Sano (MIN) as the next best options. Carpenter is the safer option for production. He’s facing a rookie RHP that ZiPS and Steamer projection systems aren’t particularly high on. Sano brings a bit more power upside against Alfredo Simon and a weak pen behind him, but has a wider range of outcomes to his performance.
Core Value Plays:
Carl Crawford/Andre Ethier (LAD) – We have the same thoughts around Crawford and Ethier as we did last night. Even though they garnered weaker lineup spots than we hoped (fifth and sixth), their uniquely cheap prices allow you Coors Field exposure without sacrificing much in the way of opportunity cost. The Rockies left handed power bats aren’t as attractive against a LHP, so we’re locking in Crawford and Ethier wherever we can. We’d prefer Crawford leadoff and Ethier hit fifth, but even at fifth and sixth they’re fine cash game options at their current price points. Crawford and Ethier both rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) – It’s hard to weight the power of Coors Field with left on left hitters compared to someone like Cruz that historically dominates LHP with power. Cruz owns a .418 wOBA and .260 ISO against LHP since 2012 and Heaney has allowed a 33.7 percent hard hit rate to RHBs as a big leaguer. Cruz’s price point is fair around the industry and while it’s not Coors Field, his power against LHP plays like it’s in Coors Field no matter the setting.
Jason Heyward (STL) – Heyward is a good hitter against RHP (.365 wOBA, .182 ISO against RHP) and gets an elite lineup spot (third or fourth) against a rookie RHP. The Cardinals have an implied run total of 4.7 runs and Heyward is priced around the cost of an average outfielder on both FanDuel and DraftKings. If you’re shifting away from Coors Field, the Cardinals offense is one of the next best places to target. Heyward is a Top 15 hitter in our model.
Additional outfield notes: For cash games, this slate has tunnel vision. Get as many Dodgers as you can into your lineups. When you’re out of Dodgers transition to a Rockie or two and then work your way to a value play from St. Louis or Arizona. On a short slate where the Dodgers have an implied run total almost two runs ahead of everyone else, this is the highest probability way to play it. In tournaments, there are a number of individual outfielders that earn consideration. A.J. Pollock (ARZ) has always crushed LHP and is part of a Diamondbacks offense that projects well against below average LHP. J.D. Martinez (DET) has tournament winning power and will come with almost no ownership given Tyler Duffey‘s strong transition to MLB.
Starting pitcher rankings (salary not taken into account)
1) Jaime Garcia (STL)
2) Felix Hernandez (SEA)
3) Julio Teheran (ATL)
4) Jeremy Hellickson (ARZ)
5) Andrew Heaney (LAA)
Jaime Garcia (STL) – Garcia is the safest starter on this slate and we recommend using him as a staple in your cash game lineups. Without Ryan Braun and Jonthan Lucroy, the Brewers offense possesses one above average hitter against LHP (Khris Davis). Their best overall hitter (Adam Lind) can’t hit LHP and many of their reserves are weak left handed bats. Garcia has the second lowest implied run total (2.9 runs) in all of Saturday’s action and he’s one of the largest favorites of the day (-250). Lock him into cash game lineups on Saturday night.
Next in line:
Felix Hernandez (SEA) – Hernandez was pushed back a few days after leaving his last start with elbow tightness. He’s clearly the most skilled starter on the slate but with a high price tag and questions over his health; I think he’s a rather easy fade. The Angels are a neutral matchup and Vegas has them for an implied run total of 3.8 runs. The implied run total is a good hint that Vegas isn’t sure Felix is totally healthy either. He’s probably a better risk in tournaments than cash games, where Coors Field remains our top priority.
Jeremy Hellickson (ARZ) – After struggling early in the season, Hellickson’s performance has stabilized some in the second half. He has a league average K Rate (19.2 percent) but struggles with the long ball (1.33 HR/9) and lefties have given him all sorts of trouble (.341 wOBA). The Padres offense is primarily right handed and PETCO Park suppresses power compared to the rest of the league, especially his home park in Arizona. On the whole the Padres rank 22nd in wRC+ against RHP and strike out at an above average rate (21.5 percent against righties). Hellickson is very cheap around the industry and with the second tier very close in projection, we’ll lean on price to help make our decisions on multiple starting pitcher sites. I find myself filling out my roster with Coors bats, Garcia, and then seeing how much I have left over for that second starter slot.
Andrew Heaney (LAA) – Heaney’s strong early start has predictably regressed but his price around the industry is fair for his skill set. The Mariners rank sixth in wRC+ against LHP, but Heaney gets them in a big ballpark and he’s a modest favorite over Felix Hernandez. Again price point is key here as Heaney’s expected value isn’t much different from Hellickson or Teheran in that second tier and Heaney is your next cheapest option.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Julio Teheran (ATL) is a fine alternative to Hellickson and Heaney and the preferred alternative if you have enough salary relief. Teheran is pretty vulnerable to LHBs (.385 wOBA allowed) and the Marlins lineup can get far more LH at this point in the season, so while his name value is significantly more impactful than Hellickson or Heaney, he doesn’t grade out that way in our model.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
By now you know the drill. An implied run total over six runs is rare. Kyle Kendrick is a poor major league pitcher and the Dodgers offense is good against RHP and getting a huge park shift in their favor. Attack.
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Arizona Diamondbacks
4) St. Louis Cardinals
5) Minnesota Twins
The Rockies are more of a contrarian stack despite playing at home. Their offense isn’t geared to take advantage against LHP. Corey Dickerson and Carlos Gonzalez both are neutralized by LHP and the rest of the lineup lacks depth. Anderson doesn’t have wide splits and the extreme value of the Dodgers outfielders should artificially deflate ownership on the Rockies which makes them a fine tournament target.
The Diamondbacks are super cheap around the industry and Goldschmidt represents an elite tournament pivot over Adrian Gonzalez. A mini-stack combination of Diamondbacks and Dodgers is my favorite way to attack in tournaments.
The Cardinals are a better full stack than a mini-stack as they get by mostly on depth as they have few players with big power so their big nights offensively are usually stringing doubles together instead of one guy going deep twice. They have the third highest implied run total on the slate against rookie RHP Tyler Wagner.
The Twins have big pop at the top of the lineup (Dozier, Sano, and Plouffe) and Hicks has a good combination of power and speed as well. They lack depth on the back-end of the lineup but the Tigers bullpen is so bad, I think a full stack is a fine play.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.
MIN at DET 7:08: Dry. Temps in the upper 60s falling into the low 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind east-southeast 6-12 mph which blows in from left. The wind is a 4.
CLE at KC 7:10: A 10% coverage of a thunderstorm across the region. Temps near 70 falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east 6-12 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
ATL at MIA 7:10: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
MIL at STL 7:15: A 10% coverage of a thunderstorm across the region. Temps near 70 falling into the mid 60s. Air density is a 6. Wind east 6-12 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
LAD at COL 8:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 10. Wind southeast 10-20 mph which blows out to left. The wind is an 8 or a 9.
AZ at SD 8:40: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the mid 70s. Air density is a 7, almost an 8 in the beginning of the game. Wind west-southwest 6-12 mph which blows from left to right or out to right at times. The wind is a 5 or a 6.
SEA at LAA 9:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph lessening to 6-12 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.