Welcome to September 27 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 27 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!
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00:53 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 27 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
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Gerrit Cole (HOU) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position and the gap between him and the field is huge. The one thing that Cole can do way better than any other pitcher in this slate is strike batters out. Cole has posted a massive 35% K rate this season and it’s backed up by a 14% SwStr rate and a 32% chase rate. On top of that, his run prevention is elite (2.92 ERA/2.98 xFIP) and he has a matchup against the hapless Orioles. He’ll be pitching in Camden Yards, where temperatures will be in the mid to low 60s. There’s also some rain in the forecast, which could throw a wrench into things. However, we’re looking at the forecast the night before, so there’s certainly plenty of time for things to clear up. As long as the weather risk isn’t too severe, Cole is your anchor at the position.
We don’t have another ace in this slate. We do have fine pitchers in Julio Teheran (ATL) and Jon Lester (CHC) toeing the rubber and they’re the next in line options at the position. Lester is too expensive to seriously consider around the industry in a matchup against a Pirates offense that’s only striking out 21% of the time vs. LHP. There’s a place for him in this slate but it’s likely MME only. Teheran has a matchup against a Mets offense that’s ranked middle of the pack in wRC+ and are striking out 21.9% of the time vs. LHP. Teheran does have wide splits and the Mets will throw out at least four LHBs against them. It’s not a great spot but the $8,500 price tag on DK puts him in the conversation in all formats. He’s also the strongest alternative available on FD if you’re looking to get away from Cole in some tournament lineups.
After the pitchers above, things get dicey in a hurry. We’d rather get away from the overpriced mid-tier options like Trevor Williams (PIT) and Marco Gonzales (SEA) and go after a cheap option like Jason Vargas (NYM). Vargas has a similar projection to those mid-tier targets and he’s just $5,400 on DK. Vargas isn’t a good pitcher, but it’s worth noting that he’s posted K rates of 34.8% K rate and 29.2% over his last two starts. Vargas has posted a solid 20.5% K rate this season. The matchup against Atlanta is far from perfect – they’re ranked third in wRC+ and are only striking out 19.9% of the time vs. LHP, but Vargas will have to be considered regardless given the price tag.
Evan Gattis (HOU) and Brian McCann (HOU) stand out as our top catcher values on FD and they represent two of our top three catcher values on DK. Opposing starter David Hess is heavily reliant on his fastball (58.9-percent according to FanGraphs) and both Gattis and McCann have posted xwOBAs greater than .340 against the pitch since the beginning of last season (for what it is worth). Hess has allowed a .355-plus wOBA to both sides of the plate and he has not struck out either side of the plate at a rate greater than 18.3-percent. Hell, he owns an xFIP of 5.49 against righties and 5.51 against lefties. He is quite simply a poor pitcher and this duo of catchers are both reasonably priced for this superb matchup.
The cheap alternative is Mike Zunino who is $200 cheaper than McCann on DK and $700 cheaper than Gattis. Probable starter Ariel Jurado has only struck out right-handed hitters (RHHs) at a measly 7.4-percent rate and he owns a 4.59 FIP, 5.06 xFIP in the split. Zunino is dangerous when he is able to make contact and facing a pitcher sporting a 3.6-percent swinging strike rate may be his best chance.
Tyler Flowers (ATL) costs just $2,100 on FD despite the fact he leads the Braves with a .490 wOBA, 212 wRC+, .262 ISO and a 51.2-percent hard hit rate against LHP. His opponent? None other than Jason Vargas and his .376 wOBA allowed to RHHs. Avoiding him would be foolish at his price point especially if he is hitting towards the middle of the lineup.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) represents our top value at the first base position on DK but cheaper options are preferable on this slate in order to make Cole fit in lineups. Encarnacion will do battle with Glenn Sparkman and the awful Royals bullpen whose active bullpen members cumulatively rank dead last in SIERA. If looking for a less pricey option, Tyler Austin (MIN) and Jay Bruce (NYM) are both priced rather affordably on DK. Austin will enjoy the platoon split against left-handed Francisco Liriano and his brutal 5.54 FIP against RHHs. In 105.1 innings versus the handedness, Liriano has been burned for a .358 wOBA, 1.45 HR/9 rate, 35.1-percent hard hit rate and 22.4-percent line drive rate while nearly walking hitters at as high of a rate (12.8-percent) as he has struck them out (17.6-percent). Bruce’s matchup against Teheran is arguably as favorable considering the 5.75 FIP and 5.93 xFIP produced against the RHP by lefties. Either one of Austin or Bruce fit rather comfortably into cash game lineups.
In tournaments, Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Anthony Rizzo (CHC) make a ton of sense for different reasons. Vargas has quietly been terrible against left-handed hitters (LHHs) and Freeman has strangely produced a superior wOBA against LHP this year (.390) compared to RHP (.371). All of Rizzo’s team games are must win down the stretch and Williams is a RHP that struggles to miss left-handed bats. The Cubs’ leader in xwOBA in the split is in a prime spot to rake.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) reigns supreme at the second base position, at least in terms of value, across the industry on Thursday. Of the 18 bombs Vargas has allowed this season, 15 have come off the bats of righties, and Vargas is notoriously easy to run on as well. For his career, over 75-percent of base stealers have successfully stolen against him so the speed aspect is there for Albies as well.
Jose Altuve (HOU), whose team already clinched the playoffs, and Logan Forsythe (MIN), whose team has nothing to play for, are the logical pivots off Albies on FD and both are scattered across optimals on the site. The Astros are being implied to score 5.0 runs and our baselines give him credit for a .360 wOBA and .157 ISO against RHP even though this is not the strong side of his platoon split. Camden Yards enhances power for all sides of the plate, but especially RHHs, and Hess has yielded a .359 wOBA to righties. Meanwhile, Forsythe will likely hit in the middle of the lineup against one of the worst few starting pitchers on the slate. For his career, Forsythe has preferred the split against LHP, and we have him projected to hit cleanup at just $2,900.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) is fully-priced, and the Indians have nothing to play for, but the power potential is evident against the league’s worst bullpen and a subpar starting pitcher (Sparkman).
Josh Donaldson (CLE) is the main focus of our DK optimals and it is because of the slate-high 5.2 run implied total and excellent matchup throughout for the Indians hitters. Unfortunately, Donaldson has only managed a .298 wOBA, 86 wRC+, .169 ISO and .212/.309/.381 slash line against RHP this year so he is tough to trust even against a pitcher like Sparkman. Ramirez is the superior alternative if funds are available to afford him on sites where he qualifies at third.
Otherwise, the DK optimals are littered with guys like Alex Bregman (HOU), Kyle Seager (SEA) and even Hunter Dozier (KC). Bregman leads all Astros’ qualified hitters in wOBA against RHP and his 156 wRC+ and .247 ISO are not too shabby either. Seager has awoken again in the month of September (100 wRC+) after failing to reach a triple-digit wRC+ in back-to-back months prior. Okay, so he only owns a .311 wOBA this month, but it is his second highest wOBA in any single month this season. Dozier is not amongst the most talented hitters on the slate but Tomlin’s SIERA heading into this start sits at 4.91. Furthermore, Dozier is reliant upon his power, and Tomlin is one of the most power-prone pitchers in the league (3.29 HR/9 rate) plus he rarely misses bats (13.6-percent K rate).
On DK, Bregman qualifies at shortstop, and he pops in our projections compared to all others at the position. On the other hand, Francisco Lindor (CLE) is popping on the FD optimal as $4,400 is too cheap for a spot with him leading off against a gas can. Thus far, Sparkman has struck out just 16.0-percent of opposing hitters his 4.67 SIERA leaves much to be desired. Lindor can steal against any RHP but he is also a pinch hit threat in a game that means nothing to the team.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) is about $1,000 cheaper than the Jean Segura (SEA)/Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) tier and all have a place on this slate. Andrus helps make expensive starting pitchers worth and we believe Cole is a building block. Andrus’ .333 wOBA and .149 ISO in our baselines are a bit aggressive on him comparatively to his season numbers and Safeco Field is the opposite of a hitters’ haven. He is a price play only. Segura/Gonzalez are both reasonably priced against a pair of the worst starters on the slate and Segura has the added benefit of the steal potential. Robinson Chirinos has thrown out runners at the lowest rate of any catcher this year so if Segura gets on he will almost assuredly be running.
Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL) and George Springer (HOU) are not only the highest projected outfielders tonight but they own two of the four highest hitter projections on the entire slate. As solid as Acuna Jr. has been against RHP, his numbers against LHP are better: .291/.392/.591 slash line, .411 wOBA, .300 ISO, 159 wRC+ and a 41.5-percent hard hit rate. Springer is yet another powerful bat squaring off against Hess and his 46.0-percent fly ball rate. Leading off for a team with a high implied total will naturally lead to him rating well in the projections.
Mitch Haniger (SEA) and Nelson Cruz (SEA) will hit towards the top of a Mariners lineup being implied to score over 5.0 runs in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. Jurado has fared much better in the split against RHHs but both their baselines include an ISO of .200 or greater against RHP and Jurado is legitimately the worst strikeout pitcher in the league.
Starling Marte (PIT) owns the platoon split against Jon Lester and his career-worst 4.51 SIERA and Marte is one of the few Pirates with the ability to take advantage of the speed aspect to the matchup. Since the beginning of 2014, no pitcher has allowed more steals than Lester, and Marte is just $3,200 on FD.
Michael Brantley (CLE), Josh Reddick (HOU) and Denard Span (SEA) are the lesser-owned members of already mentioned teams and they are worth extended looks in tournaments due to their depreciated ownerships compared to the others in the same lineups.
1) Houston Astros
2) Cleveland Indians
The Astros are our favorite stack in this slate. They’re getting guaranteed nine innings on the road and are facing David Hess. The latter is a horrific pitcher that doesn’t miss bats (16.4% K rate) and allows tons of power (1.96 HR/9).
The Indians are a road team as well and are facing a terrible pitching staff. We prefer the Astros but the Indians are by far the second best stack available in this slate.
3) Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are a home team facing Ariel Jurado. Let’s try to put things into perspective here. In a slate with tons of ugly pitching, Jurado is the worst pitcher… and it’s not particularly close. Jurado has posted a 8.6% K rate this season and he’s allowed a ridiculous 31% hard minus soft hit rate. The Mariners don’t have the benefit of hitting in a good environment, but we could argue that every team in this slate has to deal with the same situation. They’ll check in with lower ownership than our tier one stacks, which makes them appealing alternatives in this slate given their plus context.
4) Atlanta Braves
5) Chicago Cubs
The Braves are facing Jason Vargas tonight, who we like at the starting pitcher position on DK because there’s very little else to consider and he’s cheap. However, Vargas is exceptionally power prone (1.91 HR/9 allowed this season). The Braves’ IRT will be different than the stacks above. We don’t expect them to be popular, which makes them an intriguing leverage stack in large field GPPs.
The Cubs are at home with slightly below average temperatures but the wind will be blowing out to LF at ~10 MPH. They’re viable in MME.