Daily Fantasy Rundown – September 27 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Sunday’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: I am not anticipating any weather-related problems.
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
Catcher is actually really deep with top plays but on Sunday we’re always leery of catcher’s resting. Buster Posey (SF) has a DH spot to lean on in American League Park, so he seems pretty safe. A favorable matchup with a below average lefty makes Posey one of the stronger targets at the position. Posey and Brian McCann (NYY) are the two options outside of Coors Field to consider. McCann will face Erik Johnson who has allowed a .432 wOBA to LHBs at the big league level including 2.14 HR/9. Posey is safer given his overall skill set to produce points, but McCann is a better bet for a home run. In a sport with a lot of variance already built in, I usually lean for the home run upside which resides with McCann and Yankee Stadium’s short porch. Yasmani Grandal (LAD) and Wilin Rosario (COL), where catcher eligible, are additional top plays at the position. The lofty expected total in Coors Field pushes them way up in our model (ahead of McCann and Posey) but I want them in prominent lineup spots if I’m going to invest at similar price points. Rosario is a particularly nice value on DraftKings.
Additional catcher notes: In general, I want to stay within those four options in cash games. Russell Martin (TOR), Travis d’Arnaud (NYM), and Matt Wieters (BAL) are my favored tournament plays. Martin and d’Arnaud as a part of team stacks and Wieters as a solo salary relief option. Both Martin and d’Arnaud face below average starters and their lineups are deep enough to support full stacking. Wieters historically has hit for power against LHP and faces Henry Owens in Fenway, a park that helps RH power. Victor Martinez (DET) is one of the few value plays on sites he has catcher eligibility. Ervin Santana is a good matchup and Martinez has looked a bit more like his old self from the left side in recent weeks.
As is typically the case, a number of elite first baseman rate highly in our model. Miguel Cabrera (DET), Lucas Duda (NYM), (BOS), and Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) all rank inside our Top 15 overall hitters. Duda and Cabrera come with the most reasonable price points and are thus the desired targets in cash games, if paying up. I’m a little concerned about the lineup the Mets run out the day after celebrating a divisional title, so Cabrera is the safer option of the two. Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) is expected to miss the rest of the weekend, leaving us with just one Coors Field option at the position. We like Wilin Rosario’s (COL) skills quite a bit against LHP but aren’t willing to pay the same price tag as the elite options above. Rosario carries immense pinch hit risk in the middle of the game, so you want a discounted price point or a scarce positional eligibility. On DraftKings, he has both.
Justin Smoak (TOR) – Smoak typically hits fifth against RHP and Matt Andriesse has allowed a .347 wOBA and 1.57 HR/9 to LHBs at the big league level. The power he’s allowed is important because most of Smoak’s value is driven by his power. He’s a below average hitter against RHP (.315 wOBA) but owns a .185 ISO since 2012. He’s more of a secondary target, in my opinion, but he’s the one first base option that is consistently cheap around the industry and has multiple contextual factors on his side.
Howie Kendrick (LAD) – Kendrick ranks as the top second baseman in our model. He’s an above average hitter against LHP (.351 wOBA, .148 ISO since 2012) and faces who has allowed a .371 wOBA, 1.29 HR/9, and 32.9 percent hard hit rate to RHBS since 2013. Kendrick also typically gets an elite lineup spot in a Dodgers offense that has carried an implied team total over six runs each of the past two days. He’s a Top Five hitter in our model with all these contextual factors working in his favor.
Next in line:
Jose Altuve (HOU)/Brian Dozier (MIN) – Both are above average hitters against LHP, facing weak LHPs in plus hitting environments. Altuve ranks a bit higher in our model (Top 25) but Dozier has a price point on FanDuel ($2,900) that is really attractive. I actually think Dozier has more upside in the matchup as Randy Wolf (.415 wOBA, 38.5 percent hard hit rate allowed vs. RHBs) looks more vulnerable than Martin Perez (.331 wOBA, 27.5 percent hard hit rate allowed vs. RHBs). Given the price gap on most sites, I’d rather invest in Dozier before Altuve but both rate well in our model.
Additional second base notes: Second base is surprisingly deep on Sunday. In addition to the three above, Daniel Murphy (NYM) has an exceptionally favorable matchup against Keyvius Sampson (.431 wOBA allowed to LHBs) and Anthony Rendon (WAS) is a part of a team we’re intrigued by in tournaments. It’s not really a position to save money, given all the top end options. As a result, it’s more about finding the best value among the expensive options on the site you’re playing on.
Corey Seager (LAD)/Carlos Correa (HOU) – It’s rather fitting to group these two together. They’ve both wildly outperformed projection systems expectations for them at the big league level. Seager has the more favorable overall environment but gets a left on left matchup. The good news is he crushed LHP in the minors (.982 OPS this season). Correa gets the platoon advantage against an average lefty in a favorable hitting environment as well. We like Seager a pinch more, but his price point is generally elevated above Correa, making Correa a fine alternative with a little extra salary relief.
Shortstop notes: Erick Aybar (LAA) is the most consistent “value” around the industry. He’s not priced for the leadoff spot which he’s earned over the last week. The matchup with Iwakuma isn’t particularly enticing so he’s less of a target and more of a punt. If Christian Adames (COL) hits second, as he has earlier this week against LHP, he’d represent a stronger punt play with Coors Field boosting his profile. If Jimmy Rollins (LAD) draws the start over Seager, he’s a more reasonably priced shortstop option but a far worse hitter. He’d be an adequate alternative but in general we’d rather just pivot towards Correa in that situation.
Nolan Arenado (COL)/Josh Donaldson (TOR) – For most of the year these two have sat atop our rankings when their respective teams are at home. Arenado has the platoon advantage on Sunday and the cheaper price tag, so he’s a more viable target in cash games. Donaldson is an elite tournament play as part of a Blue Jays stack that should go under-owned given their price tags and Coors Field in action.
Justin Turner (LAD) – Turner actually rates alongside those two hitters, inside our Top 15 overall, but comes at a much cheaper price tag. Turner owns a .322 wOBA and .141 ISO against LHP since 2012. He generally gets an elite lineup spot and Chris Rusin‘s struggles against RHBs really push him up in our model. He’s most likely your primary target at third base. The lone exception is if he has second base eligibility and you’d like to use him at second base to get other elite options at third base.
Chase Headley/Alex Rodriguez (NYY) – The Yankees trail only the Jays in terms of implied run total from outside of Coors Field. Headley has been hitting second some of late which would make him an exceptional value if he holds that lineup spot. We’ve touched on Erik Johnson‘s struggles against LHBs at the big league level and Headley owns an adequate .335 wOBA and .147 ISO against RHP since 2012. Rodriguez is the more skilled hitter and as such priced up a bit more around the industry. I found his price relative to expectations a bit discounted. The challenge is the strength of the position as a whole. Both Rodriguez and Headley rate more as secondary value targets. They each crack our Top 35 hitters overall.
Additional third base notes: Miguel Sano (MIN) isn’t far behind that top tier of Arenado/Donaldson/Turner as he gets a favorable matchup with Randy Wolf. Sano has incredible power against LHP (.221 ISO, .378 wOBA) and Wolf is backed up by one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Sano is viable in cash games but we really love him in tournaments. Generally his production comes via the long ball so when he does hit, it’s big. Teammate Trevor Plouffe (MIN) is a cheaper alternative with the same general idea. David Wright (NYM) is part of an offense we love against Keyvius Sampson in Great American Ballpark but we expect the Mets may rest some starters the first day after clinching. Manny Machado (BAL) and (TB) are other solid RHBs with the platoon advantage in favorable offensive environments. The price tag on Longoria makes him a plus tournament play on a few sites.
Core Value Plays:
Justin Ruggiano/Scott Van Slyke (LAD) – The Dodgers have two lefty mashers that some sites price down because they’re platoon players. Since 2012, Ruggiano (.398 wOBA, .278 ISO) and Van Slyke (.377 wOBA, .228 ISO) have just destroyed LHP. They’re getting a huge park shift in their favor and facing one of the weaker lefties in a rotation in Chris Rusin. It’s a great matchup that pushes them into the Top 10 hitters in our model and on most sites they’re simply not priced that way. Take advantage and get one, or two (if prices are right), into your lineup.
Jacoby Ellsbury/Brett Gardner (NYY) – We’ve touched on Erik Johnson‘s struggles against LHBs and the Yankees have loads of them to throw at him. Both Ellsbury and Gardner are severely underpriced around the industry and the Yankees have one of the highest implied team totals outside of Coors Field. With very few elite outfielders in plus matchups, I’m generally loading my outfield with Dodgers and Yankees and allowing myself the ability to spend up at infield positions.
Secondary Value Plays:
Curtis Granderson (NYM) – We like Granderson the most of this group, but we have some concerns about the lineup the Mets put out on Sunday. If the regulars are in there, Granderson has a great matchup in a plus park for power against a RHP who can’t get lefties out. Granderson is a Top 20 hitter in our model.
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. This is a similar matchup to Saturday when Heyward cracked our Top 15 hitters. The slate is a bit deeper on Sunday so he’s more like a Top 35 option but still a solid play.
Aaron Hicks (MIN) – Hicks shifted down in the lineup on Saturday but we expect he’ll be back at the top against a LHP on Sunday. Hicks has been impressive against LHP (.354 wOBA, .180 ISO) in his brief major league experience and Randy Wolf is a really weak LHP. The Twins have a solid 4.8 implied run total and Hicks is priced fairly around the industry.
Additional outfield notes: Outfield is really deep with values so it seems unnecessary to spend up at the position. Jose Bautista (TOR), Bryce Harper (WAS), and Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) all have plus matchups. George Springer (HOU), Kyle Schwarber (CHC), and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) are all secondary top play targets if choosing to spend. Nolan Reimold (BAL) and Steve Pearce (BAL) are secondary salary relief options. We like their skills against LHP and Henry Owens is a below average lefty, but the Orioles just got shutdown by Craig Breslow in a spot start, so I’d rather invest elsewhere in cash games.
Starting pitcher rankings (salary not taken into account)
1) Jake Arrieta (CHC)
2) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
3) Jacob deGrom (NYM)
4) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)
5) John Lackey (STL)
6) James Shields (SD)
7) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)
8) A.J. Burnett (PIT)
9) Danny Salazar (CLE)
10) Luis Severino (NYY)
11) Zachary Godley (ARZ)
Jake Arrieta (CHC) – Arrieta doesn’t have the elite strikeout rates of Chris Sale or Clayton Kershaw but he’s arguably the most consistent starter in all of baseball. He’s allowed zero or one earned run in seven straight starts and in 19 of his 31 starts (61 percent) this season. He’ll face a Pirates offense that ranks eighth in wRC+ against RHP this season and is getting a nice park shift from PNC Park. It’s not the best matchup but it is one Arrieta has already had four times this season. In those four starts, he’s allowed three earned runs in 29 innings (0.93 ERA) while striking out 24. Arrieta’s very expensive around the industry and there are some premier values but on sites where pricing is softer, I think he’s a great target in cash games. The security of his production is a really nice building block in cash games.
Gio Gonzalez (WAS) – Gio is quietly closing strong here in September (2.74 ERA, 32 strikeouts in 23 innings). He’ll face the Phillies at home, where he’s pitched to a 3.33 ERA this season. The Phillies rank 24th in wRC+ against LHP this season with an above average 22.2 percent K Rate. As of this writing, we don’t have a line on the game and an implied run total but we’re expecting it to come in around 3.2 runs. Given the price gap between Gio and the other options in tier two, he’s a foundational target in cash games on multiple starting pitcher sites.
Luis Severino (NYY) – Severino’s biggest issues at the big league level revolve largely around command. He’s compiled an impressive 23.1 percent K Rate, a solid 47 percent GB Rate, but he’s walking 10.1 percent of batters. The good news is Sunday he faces a White Sox offense that ranks 24th in wRC+ against RHP and 25th in BB Rate. Severino is a huge favorite (-190) and the strikeout rate has a good chance to expand against an impatient White Sox offense. We strongly prefer Gonzalez over Severino but the price tag on Severino is nicely discounted after two of his last three starts have come against the Blue Jays.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Zach Godley (ARZ) looks like a really solid tournament play. He has strikeout ability and the Padres very right handed offense struggles to score runs at home against RHP. James Shields (SD) and A.J. Burnett (PIT) are other potential secondary value plays. They both have strikeout potential and are facing opposing offenses that strike out quite a bit. Shields rates better in our model but Burnett’s ownership will be lower on the road in the Sunday Night game (which often deflates ownership).
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
2) Colorado Rockies
3) New York Yankees
4) Minnesota Twins
These are my four favorite offenses to attack in cash games. It’s our last Coors Field Day of the season and unsurprisingly it takes precedent over the secondary offensive environments. The Yankees and Twins are facing the two pitchers we view as the weakest on the slate and each team has some price points you can attack in cash games.
1) Toronto Blue Jays
2) Houston Astros
3) Washington Nationals
The Blue Jays have the highest implied run total of any non-Coors team but price points will make them difficult to stack up and thus likely lower owned in tournaments. There are enough value starters to get it done and with a likely low ownership number, we think they’re a strong target.
The Astros and Nationals are likely a bit more popular than the Jays just because they’re more affordable. At home, we like both more as mini-stacks than full stacks.
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.
CHW at NYY 1:05: Dry. Temps near 70. Air density is a 6. Wind east 6-12 mph which blows in from right-center. The wind is a 4.
TB at TOR 1:07: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 5. Wind east-southeast 7-14 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
MIN at DET 1:08: A few sprinkles. Temps near 70. Air density is a 6. Wind southeast 8-16 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 3.
NYM at CIN 1:10: A few sprinkles or showers. Temps in the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.
ATL at MIA: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
BLT at BOS 1:35: Dry. Temps in the mid-60s. Air density is a 5. Wind southeast 7-14 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
PHL at WSH 1:35: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind east-northeast 7-14 mph which blows
in from right. The wind is a 4.
TEX at HOU 2:10: A 20% coverage of thunderstorms across the region. The roof will likely be closed because of this threat.
CLE at KC 2:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind south-southeast 6-12 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.
MIL at STL 2:15: A 10-20% coverage of showers. Temps in the mid to upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 6-12 mph which blows from right to left. The wind is a 5.
SEA at LAA 3:35: Dry. Temps in the upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows
out to right. The wind is a 7.
SF at OAK 4:05: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 6. Wind northwest 7-14 mph which blows
from left to right. The wind is a 5.
AZ at SD 4:10: Dry. Temps near 80. Air density is a 7. Wind west-southwest 7-14 mph which blows from left to right or out to right at times. The wind is a 5 or a 6.
LAD at COL 4:10: Dry. Temps in the low 80s falling into the low to mid 70s. Air density is a 10. Wind northeast 7-14 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.