Welcome to September 28 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 28 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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02:16 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 28 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
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Gerrit Cole (HOU) projects as the top starter just a day after our second coverboy rainout of the week (#ThanksPacheco). Here is what we wrote about Cole yesterday as the analysis remains the same.
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.
Patrick Corbin (ARI) is the next highest projected starter as he gets a strong matchup for strikeouts in San Diego with the second lowest implied total against on the slate (3.2 runs). Corbin continues generating strikeouts at a strong clip even in the starts he struggles. He’s a free agent at the end of the year so we’re not too concerned about the Diamondbacks managing his innings in his final start of the season with nothing to play for. The price tag is a favorable one on DraftKings which might make him a more palatable target in cash games than Cole. On FanDuel, the pricing gap isn’t as wide making Cole a stronger target.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) and Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) are the next highest projected starters as both players close out the season with favorable matchups on the road against below average offenses. Clevinger gets the Royals while Foltynewicz will face a Phillies’ offense that was shut down in Colorado. Foltynewicz is the cheaper of the two and his team has more to play for with the Braves still trying to secure home field for their first round playoff series. Thus, he’s our preference on DraftKings where the price gap is more meaningful.
Tyler Glasnow (TB) is the next highest projected starter and is really cheap on FanDuel (sub-$7,000) where he earns cash game consideration on builds that emphasize offense. Glasnow is at home with a 3.4 implied total against facing off with the Blue Jays getting a big park downgrade. Glasnow has pitched well of late and has no innings management concerns making him one of the stronger tournament targets on this slate on both sites.
On DraftKings. Zach Davies (MIL) serves as a viable punt play against the Tigers’ offense that loses the DH moving to the National League. The Tigers rank 29th in wRC+ against RHP and have struck out a decent bit of late. The concern with Davies is he doesn’t work deep into games and he’ll likely have a short hook with the Brewers fighting for the division. If you want to load up on offense, he’s a bit of a necessity but a Foltynewicz/Glasnow pairing brings far more pitching upside – either route is viable in cash games.
Thomas Pannone (TOR), Wade LeBlanc (SEA), and Corey Oswalt (NYM) are all secondary salary relief targets on DraftKings where you need to utilize two starters.
Although not a single player rates as a positive value at the catcher position on DK, Chris Iannetta (COL) and Gary Sanchez (NYY) are the closest things (with Sanchez rating as a positive value on FD). Heading into Friday, the Rockies are leading the National League (NL) West Division by one game (as of Thursday night) so they are one of the more motivated teams on the slate. Opposing starter Joe Ross has held his own against right-handed hitters (RHHs) throughout the course of his career (.271 wOBA) and this year has been no different in an extremely small sample (2.30 FIP). Meanwhile, Sanchez will enjoy the platoon advantage (career. 358 wOBA against LHP and .354 wOBA against RHP) versus Brian Johnson and his 4.90 FIP against right-handed hitters (RHHs) this year. Sanchez has struck out at a 23.2-percent rate versus LHP this season but Johnson has only struck out righties at an 18.7-percent rate and has yielded a .348 wOBA to the handedness.
If needing the salary relief, Manny Pina (MIL) and Jonathan Lucroy (OAK) are both priced cheaper than Iannetta on teams with sizable team totals (5.1 and 4.9 runs respectively). Zimmermann pounds the strike zone against RHHs (3.2-percent BB rate) and has been burned by the long ball so there is some sneaky upside potential for Pina. Lucroy is not a power threat but Barria’s struggles against righties are tough to overlook: .364 wOBA, 1.65 HR/9 rate, 35.8-percent hard hit rate and 46.2-percent fly ball rate en route to a brutal 5.56 FIP.
Otherwise, Mike Zunino (SEA) makes sense as a player whose ceiling game is worth chasing against an opposing starter who rarely misses bats: Martin Perez and his career 7.8-percent swinging strike rate. While his .305 wOBA baseline is not great, his .221 ISO baseline is tough to overlook, especially at a $2,400 price point on FD.
Although the Diamondbacks have nothing left to play for, Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is still above and beyond the top play at the first base position. Amongst active players, Goldschmidt’s career .428 wOBA against LHP reigns supreme and he owns a career .268 ISO, 48.0-percent hard hit rate as well. On the other hand, Eric Lauer has yielded a slate-worst 31.1-percent line drive rate to RHHs. The negative park shift will not help but the park plays more power-friendly to righties than lefties and Goldschmidt is more than talented enough to overcome.
Carlos Santana (PHI), Steve Pearce (BOS) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) constitute the next tier at the first base position for a variety of reasons. Mike Foltynewicz is by no means one of the least talented pitchers on the slate but he has struggled against lefties throughout the course of his career and Santana has displayed significantly more power in the split versus RHP for his career (.208 ISO versus .168 against LHP). Pearce will draw the platoon split versus J.A. Happ in a game that means nothing for the Red Sox. Consequently, Pearce’s pinch hit risk is not as concerning as per usual and the Red Sox will likely sit the starters they simply want to give a day off. Encarnacion’s power potential cannot be overstated versus Ian Kennedy and his 1.97 HR/9 rate allowed to RHHs this season.
If diving deeper, Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) and Freddie Freeman (ATL) are two players with the platoon advantage who will likely not garner a ton of ownership. Sure, Zimmermann will be playing in Coors Field, but Freeland is one of the few Rockies pitchers who has held his own this season. Hell, he has allowed a below average .305 wOBA to righties despite playing half his games in the hitters’ haven of Denver. Lastly, Freeman will do battle with a pitcher sporting a career 4.95 FIP against left-handed hitters (LHHs). Oh, by the way, Freeman’s career .388 wOBA against RHP ranks seventh highest amongst active hitters with at least 400 at-bats (ABs) in the split.
If funds are available, Travis Shaw (MIL) is popping as our number one value at second base against Jordan Zimmermann. Not only is the team total of 5.1 runs noteworthy but the Brewers need to keep winning as they are neck-and-neck with the Cubs for the lead in the division. In 68.1 innings versus LHHs this year, Zimmermann has allowed a .335 wOBA, 1.84 HR/9 rate, 35.9-percent hard hit rate and 39.7-percent fly ball rate. All the Brewers lefties are playable but shaw’s .290 ISO jumps off the page.
Logan Forsythe (MIN) is the punt option for cash games only as Lucas Giolito‘s strong stretch is officially over. After holding opponents to a 3.61 FIP and 3.46 xFIP in the month of August, Giolito has depreciated to a 5.92 FIP and 5.02 xFIP allowed in the month of September. Lefties have enjoyed more success against Giolito but the Twins are being implied to score 4.8 runs and Forsythe is insanely cheap for his role amidst the middle of the lineup.
Jose Ramirez (CLE), D.J. LeMahieu (COL) and Brian Dozier (LAD) are useful options at varying price points. Unfortunately for Ramirez, the Indians do not have anything left to play for, but the power potential against Kennedy is unmistakable. LeMahieu will hit towards the top of a motivated Rockies lineup that has scored double-digit runs in three of their last four games and 39 runs overall during that stretch. Dozier owns the platoon split against Madison Bumgarner in one of the worst hitting environments in the league but his 30.8-percent hard hit rate over the last 15 days is higher than any other player mentioned at the second base position in this article.
With the Rockies in a must-win game at home, was there any question Nolan Arenado (COL) would end up as the top value at third base? Again, targeting lefties against Ross is the preferable play, but Arenado’s baselines in our model sit at a .361 wOBA and .243 ISO against RHP.
On DK, Shaw qualifies at third base and he headlines a secondary tier that features him, Ramirez, Mike Moustakas (MIL) and Matt Chapman (OAK). As noted in the Shaw tidbit, Zimmermann has been susceptible to the long ball in the split against lefties, and the Brewers are loaded with powerful left-handers. Moustakas has been hitting lower in the lineup than Shaw (projected sixth) but his .355 wOBA and .254 ISO baselines are difficult to ignore. Chapman ranks fourth on the team in xwOBA against RHP (.377) but he is not far behind either Chad Pinder or Matt Olson. Assuming the Athletics roll out a usual lineup, he will hit second in a lineup with a 4.9 implied run total and the wind is blowing straight out in this game. Why is this noteworthy? Well, Barria’s 1.83 HR/9 rate allowed to RHHs is sixth worst on the slate, behind only Corey Oswalt, Thomas Pannone, Kennedy, Perez and Zimmermann.
On FD, the price is right for Josh Donaldson (CLE) even though he is amidst a poor season in the split versus RHP: .306 wOBA, 91 wRC+ and .169 ISO. Both his career numbers (.363 wOBA, 132 wRC+) and his baselines in our model expect better days ahead for Donaldson and Kennedy certainly falls victim to power from time to time. In tournaments, Donaldson certainly possesses the necessary ceiling that some of the cheaper options do not.
Trea Turner (WSH), Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Trevor Story (COL) are by no means cheap and yet they are still popping as the top values on DK. Turner has not fared incredibly well in his young career against LHP but our baselines are a little more bullish on him (.342 wOBA, 145 wRC+). Freeland is a groundballer but Turner can steal on anyone if/when he gets on and Iannetta significantly enhances the running game according to FanGraphs’ rSB metric (-3). The catcher attempting to throw out Lindor, Salvador Perez, is a lot more competent but Lindor is also approaching 40 homers and matched up against a pitcher that has allowed 24 homers to LHHs since the beginning of 2017. Story is yet another motivated Rockies hitter on the wrong side of the platoon split but powerful enough to hit a ball out of the yard. For what it is worth, the elements are not ideal for Coors Field (cool and wind blowing in), so the park is not going to be playing at its peak favorability.
Jorge Polanco (MIN) and Adalberto Mondesi (KC) are the cheaper pivots on FD and salary relief is eventually necessary if looking to fit one of the aces on the slate. Polanco has preferred the split against RHP for his career and he is one of the few speed threats on the Twins. Luckily for him, Giolito has allowed the most steals of any starting pitcher (25), and Omar Narvaez is a poor throwing catcher as well. Mondesi faces a tough Mike Clevinger but if the Indians’ right-hander has one kryptonite it is against left-handers. He has allowed a wOBA slightly above the league average (.321) and his K rate is also much lower against the handedness.
Naturally, Charlie Blackmon (COL) is the top target in the outfield with the platoon edge against a normal splits RHP. Ross has not looked like the same pitcher since returning (6.15 SIERA) but even the vintage version of himself struggled against LHHs: .362 wOBA, .298/.367/.478 slash line, 1.56 HR/9 rate, 27.2-percent line drive rate, 35.2-percent hard hit rate and a 36.0-percent fly ball rate. Both Blackmon and David Dahl (COL), who has homered in three straight games, are enticing plays in all formats against a guy who has looked like a shell of his former self in other parks (so one can only imagine how he will fare in Coors Field).
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) and Andrew McCutchen (NYY) will hit towards the top of a Yankees lineup being implied to score 4.8 runs against a middling lefty. Stanton has struck out a ton this year but a majority of his struggles have come against RHP and both Stanton/McCutchen have produced wOBAs of .359 or higher against LHP in 2018. Stanton especially can be rostered in both cash games and tournaments. Aaron Judge (NYY) is even an extremely positive value but he is easier to fit in tournaments if rolling out a few cheaper pitchers.
Curtis Granderson (MIL) and Christian Yelich (MIL) are priced differently but viable because of the matchup versus Zimmermann and the motivation. Yelich has been incredible in the second half and there is no risk of him being pinch hit for like there is for Granderson.
Mike Trout (LAA) and Kole Calhoun (LAA) play on a team only being implied for 4.1 runs but Calhoun is only $3,300 and Trout is a threat for both power and speed here. Lucroy has allowed 69 steals against him this year which is 15 more than any other catcher and Fiers is a reverse-splits right-hander for his career (.326 wOBA allowed to RHHs this season). Naturally, Trout has one of the highest ceilings of any player on the slate, and he may not warrant the appropriate ownership for such a favorable spot.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies offense gets another home matchup against a below average righty from a non-contending team. The Rockies are fighting for the division and a playoff spot so you don’t have to worry about bad lineups or odd substitutions. They’re expensive and deservedly so as the strongest cumulative stack score on the slate.
2) Milwaukee Brewers
3)New York Yankees
The Brewers are another contending team with a soft home matchup against a pitch-to-contact RHP in Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann has allowed tons of power (.212 ISO to RHBs, .221 ISO to LHBs) since the start of last season and he’s backed up by a rather weak pen. The Brewers are loaded with power bats that can take advantage.
The Yankees get a road game in Fenway for their RH power to feast on Brian Johnson and the Red Sox pen. With all the strong OF options from the two stacks above this seems like a spot where the Yankees overall ownership might come in lower than it should.
4) Cleveland Indians
5) Washington Nationals
6) Houston Astros
7) Oakland Athletics
8) Boston Red Sox
There is a decent sized drop-off to the third tier where we have talented offenses on the road but without much to play for. Cleveland faces the Royals weak pitching staff while the Astros get the Orioles in Camden Yards. Both staffs are very homer prone and backed up by weak bullpens so those two teams make for strong pivots off the likely higher end chalk up top.
The Nationals should go un-owned given Kyle Freeland‘s strong record at home this year but the Nationals offense is well positioned against LHP and getting a huge park upgrade. Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, and Victor Robles all have the platoon edge and are in good form of late. The Nationals make a lot of sense in MME.