Welcome to September 29 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 29 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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01:28 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 29 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
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Corey Kluber (CLE) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position. The main concern with Kluber isn’t matchup (Kansas City Royals) or environment (cooler conditions in Kauffman Stadium) – it’s workload. That’s the challenge for most pitchers at this point of the season, but in particular the aces that still have the postseason in sight. Kluber does have a slate low 3.2 IRTA with a 6.4 K projection. He’s still very much in the cash game conversation IF the limitations don’t get below our current baselines of ~5.1 innings.
James Paxton (SEA) is also in this slate but we’re being very cautious with his baselines. He just came off the DL and tossed four innings. He’s already exceeded his career high in innings this season and the Mariners don’t have anything to play for. We’re thinking it’s very unlikely that Paxton throws more than five innings, which makes a challenge to love him at his price tags.
We also have Aaron Nola (PHI) and Stephen Strasburg (WSH) toeing the rubber tonight though neither is projecting strongly. Strasburg is in Coors Field, which gives him plenty of run prevention risk (IRTA of 5). Nola has a matchup against a Braves offense that’s striking out just 20.6% of the time vs. RHP. Despite being priced appropriately, we view Nola as the more enticing tournament target of the two.
The better values at the position come with cheaper price tags. Kyle Gibson (MIN) in particular stands out. Gibson has a mid-tier price tag on both sites and he has a matchup against a White Sox offense that’s ranked 22nd in wRC+ and are striking out a whooping 25.7% of the time vs. RHP (second highest in the league). Gibson has posted a career high 21.5% K rate this season and his run prevention has been above league average (3.68 ERA/3.92 xFIP). He carries the second highest K projection (6.5) in this slate and is currently too cheap on both sites.
Zack Godley (ARI) has a matchup against a Padres offense that’s ranked 28th in wRC+ and are striking out a league high 25.8% of the time vs. RHP. Godley is wild (10.3% BB rate) but he also has a very strong K rate (26.3% this season) relative to price tag ($6,200 on DK, $7,200 on FD). He’ll be a part of every DK optimal in this slate.
We also have Steven Matz (MIA) and Wade Miley (MIL) with really cheap price tags and strong projections. Matz is facing a Marlins offense that’s ranked 27th in wRC+. Miley takes on a Tigers offense that’s ranked 16th in wRC+ and are striking out just 20.2% of the time vs. LHP, but he’s a massive -260 favorite with a 3.3 IRTA. They’re certainly in play on DK but project as better alternatives in tournaments off what’s likely going to be a chalkier Godley. Trevor Cahill (OAK) is exceptionally cheap on FD ($5,900). He just came back from the DL though and in his last start he only pitched 3.1 innings. He’s a decent tournament target but keep in mind that the ceiling is very limited since he’ll likely have some limitations.
Erik Kratz (MIL) rates as our top value at the catcher position across the industry as his team is playing to win and are being implied to score a slate-high 5.2 runs. Most importantly, Kratz is insanely cheap throughout the industry: $2,000 on FD and $3,100 on DK. He owns the platoon advantage against Daniel Norris and his .337 wOBA allowed to right-handed hitters (RHHs) this season. Of the seven homers he has allowed, six have come off the bats of righties.
Chris Iannetta (COL) or whomever ends up catching for the Rockies is the cash game alternative as they are one of the other few teams on the slate with something to play for. Stephen Strasburg is not exactly a gas can but he has yielded a 36.8-percent hard hit rate, 17.6-percent HR/FB rate and 22.1-percent line drive rate to righties. The Rockies’ 5.0 implied run total is lower than their average game at home but the squad is highly motivated.
J.T. Realmuto (MIA) is the clear upside play at the position if funds are available against Steven Matz. Thus far, Realmuto is just one of two qualified Marlins sporting a xwOBA greater than .370 against LHP (along with Brian Anderson). It should be noted Matz is one of the easiest lefties to run on in all of baseball and Realmuto has stolen 23 bases since the beginning of the 2016 season. If he ever were going to run, this would be the spot.
Wilson Ramos (PHI), Mike Zunino (SEA) and Willians Astudillo (MIN) all rate as decent values comparatively to others at the position on FD but Astudillo is the one who makes most sense. Rodon has sported ugly peripheral numbers all year long and he relies heavily on fly ball outs. Since Astudillo rarely ever swings-and-misses, putting the ball in play versus Rodon should lead to positive outcomes.
Regardless of site, Carlos Santana (PHI) is popping as our top value at the first base position as our baselines for Anibal Sanchez are significantly worse than his season numbers. In 2018, Sanchez has held lefties to a .261 wOBA to go along with a 3.35 FIP and 3.58 FIP. However, our baselines list him with a .312 wOBA allowed to lefties and a .170 ISO allowed. The Phillies are only being implied to score 4.1 runs but Santana’s price point is way too cheap for his projected lineup spot (4.1) and the favorable park.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) and Jesus Aguilar (MIL) are significantly more expensive but the matchups are superior as well. Aguilar earns the platoon split against the aforementioned Norris but there is some implied level of pinch hit risk with all the lefties off the bench. Goldschmidt is on the wrong side of his career split but Jacob Nix has been blasted to the tune of a .355 wOBA, 44.4-percent hard hit rate and a 4.96 FIP while striking them out at a measly 9.1-percent rate. Good luck to any pitcher who fails to miss the barrel of Goldschmidt’s bat.
Tyler Austin (MIN), Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) and Jay Bruce (NYM) are the logical alternatives on DK and are all right up there in projected value on FD as well (although Bruce does not qualify as a first baseman). Whereas Rodon has limited RHHs to a .283 wOBA, they have posted a .319 xwOBA against him, so some regression should be right around the corner for him. Obviously, that is positive news for Austin and his .364 wOBA against LHP. Encarnacion will have a date with power-prone Jakob Junis and the league’s worst bullpen behind him so the matchup will remain favorable throughout the game. Bruce owns the platoon advantage against Trevor Richards although Citi Field is not an ideal hitting environment. He is the game theory pivot off Santana in GPPs.
Spending down at the second base position is looking like the optimal play on DK because Hernan Perez (MIL) and Logan Forsythe (MIN) headline the position. In the Twins’ last game against LHP, Forsythe hit third, and that sort of favorable lineup spot is unheard of for a player priced at $3,100. For that reason alone, he needs to be considered in cash games. Perez is a pinch-hit risk but Norris has been susceptible to speed (18 steals allowed since the beginning of 2017). Also, Perez has produced a .330 wOBA, .207 ISO, 105 wRC+ and 39.8-percent hard hit rate in the split. At just $3,500, the value is too good to pass.
Jonathan Schoop (MIL) is also viable for similar reasons to Perez except he will hit a spot lower in the lineup and there is very little speed potential in his skill set. Jose Ramirez (CLE) is the expensive option at the position who stands out and he has posted a respectable .327 xwOBA against right-handed sliders this year. Junis has thrown his slider at a hefty 30-percent rate to lefties so the data is extremely relevant to the matchup. Robinson Cano (SEA) is one of the top values specifically on FD in a matchup against Adrian Sampson. While the matchup will be played at home in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, Sampson’s career 4.81 SIERA cannot be overlooked.
Despite a poor season against RHP, Josh Donaldson (CLE) looks like the clear top play at the third base position on FD. Lately, Donaldson looks healthy and passes the eye test, but he has posted just a .316 wOBA, .164 ISO and 98 wRC+ against RHP to this point. The only negative to this matchup is the negative park shift (Kauffman Stadium).
Oh, by the way, Perez (MIL) qualifies at third on DK as well and he is the top value there if looking to build a roster around a different second baseman.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is at home in a must-win game for his team so naturally he is a viable option in all formats. It is supposed to be around 80-degrees and partially cloudy in Coors Field with the wind blowing slightly in but those are still amongst the most favorable hitting conditions on the slate (when taking into consideration the altitude and park). Arenado is good enough to overcome the tough matchup.
Matt Chapman (OAK), Kyle Seager (SEA) and Anthony Rendon (WSH) are intriguing secondary options if attempting to be different. Rendon too will be playing in the friendly confines of Coors Field and he has posted a ridiculous .470 wOBA in the month of September. Seager, like Donaldson, is suffering through a poor season but both Sampson and the Rangers bullpen are subpar. Chapman will hit second against Tyler Skaggs and his team will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats. His .349 wOBA and .222 ISO baselines puts his skill set into perspective and he has posted a 27.5-percent hard hit rate over the course of the last 15 days.
On FD, Perez (MIL) qualifies at shortstop and he is basically free so he naturally is a solid source of salary relief. His teammate, Orlando Arcia (MIL) will hit low in the lineup and he also is rating as a top three value at the position on DK.
Otherwise, Trea Turner (WSH) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) represent the top values at the position for those with the proper funds available to afford them. Gray is amongst the toughest of the Rockies’ starting pitchers, and he has done a great job limiting power even at home. Gray has also done a decent job limiting the run game (only 12 steals allowed this year) but Turner possesses the speed to run on any right-hander. Basically, the Coors boost and lineup spots are the selling points for him. On the other hand, Lindor, another solid slider hitter (.335 xwOBA), will presumably lead off against Junis and the pathetic Royals bullpen (4.42 SIERA). The team has nothing to play for so there is a risk he does not play all nine innings but his talent level is unmistakable.
Amed Rosario (NYM)‘s baselines leave much to be desired against RHP but Richards has been burned for a .357 wOBA by RHHs. Realmuto does limit the running game but Rosario will at least tie for the team lead in plate appearances against this right-hander sporting a 4.85 FIP against righties.
Leadoff Lorenzo Cain (MIL), Mike Trout (LAA) at home and Bryce Harper (WSH) in Coors Field are the three highest projected players of the entire slate. All of them are extremely viable but Cain projects as our top value in the leadoff spot against Norris. Cain both owns the platoon advantage and is one of the top threats on the team to steal so he is essentially a rich man’s Perez (who is popping all over the infield). The Angels are only being implied to score 3.9 runs but Trout versus the catcher who has allowed the most steals this year by 15 cannot be ignored. Also, Harper in the top hitting environment is always interesting even if the opposing pitcher is solid (like Gray is).
Charlie Blackmon (COL), Christian Yelich (MIL), Ryan Braun (MIL) and Mitch Haniger (SEA) are the next tier of outfielders and they round out the cash game tier. Blackmon leading off against a RHP at home is always viable especially when they are one of the highest implied totals on the slate. Yelich is arguably the hottest hitter in baseball and Norris’ splits are almost exactly even this year in terms of wOBA allowed to each side of the plate: .337 to RHHs and .331 to LHHs. Braun is one of the best hitters in the league against LHP so hitting in the middle of the highest projected offense naturally makes him a top tier play. Haniger is on the positive side of Sampson’s splits and only the ballpark is holding him back from being one of the top few values at the position.
David Dahl (COL) and Rhys Hoskins (PHI) are worth mentioning as well as Dahl had homered in three straight heading into Friday and Hoskins is on the positive side of Sanchez’s career reverse-splits. If our projections like Santana then they naturally have to like Hoskins quite a bit as well against a pitcher with a career .324 wOBA and 1.25 HR/9 rate allowed to RHHs.
1) Milwaukee Brewers
In a slate with good pitching in Coors Field, it’s the Brewers that top our stack rankings. They’ll likely get to hit with the roof closed given the cold temperatures. Miller Park is a strong hitting environment and Daniel Norris is susceptible to power (1.59 HR/9 allowed this season; 1.27 throughout his career). They’ll likely be chalky but appropriate price tags will likely keep the stack from being extremely chalky.
2) Washington Nationals
3) Colorado Rockies
The Nationals and Rockies are in Coors Field tonight but both offenses will have to deal with good opposing pitchers (Jon Gray and Stephen Strasburg). Given that it’s still Coors and we don’t expect either stack to be chalky, we think they’re very intriguing stacks in tournaments.
4) Seattle Mariners
5) Cleveland Indians
The Mariners are taking on another weak pitcher (Adrian Sampson – 4.94 ERA/4.96 xFIP and a 17.3% K rate in four appearances this season) but it’s at home in a difficult environment for hitters. We still think they make a lot of sense as a late hammer leverage stack.
The Indians get to hit in cooler conditions in Kauffman stadium but as a road team they get the benefit of a guaranteed ninth innings. They’re particularly attractive as a stack in tournaments if the team is at full strength, which is our current assumption.
6) Philadelphia Phillies
7) Arizona Diamondbacks
MME only tier. The Diamondbacks have an awesome matchup against Jacob Nix (34% hard minus soft hit rate allowed and a 12.3% K rate… through eight starts) but they’re in Petco Park.