Daily Fantasy Rundown – September 6 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: Small to moderate delay chance in KC after 3 PM eastern, lesser chance of a delay in COL. Really favorable winds for hitters in BOS, COL, KC and CHC.
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.
Buster Posey (SF) – Nothing new here. Posey is consistently a top play option when he’s facing a LHP and when he’s outside the putrid home scoring environment he often plays in. On Sunday he’ll face Yohan Flande (.350 wOBA, 1.56 HR/9 allowed since 2013) in the best hitting environment in baseball. The Giants have the highest implied run total, approaching six runs, and all of these factors push Posey into our Top Five hitters overall.
John Jaso (TB) – If you’re not paying all the way up for Posey, Jaso is your best bet. He brings a near minimum salary point to a favorable matchup with Ivan Nova (.324 wOBA, 34.3 percent hard hit rate allowed to LHBs since 2013). Jaso is a skilled hitter against RHP (.367 wOBA, .169 ISO) and he gets the benefit of taking shots at Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right field.
Additional Catcher Notes: Victor Martinez (DET) is minimum priced on FanDuel and has a favorable matchup against Cody Anderson. His struggles from the left side this season introduce some risk but he ranks higher than Jaso in our model and the Tigers have a substantial advantage in implied runs (4.7 vs. 4.0 runs). I lean slightly towards Martinez, though our model views the differences as more substantial. The other secondary value plays around the industry include: Welington Castillo (ARZ), Miguel Montero (CHC), and Russell Martin (TOR). Wilson Ramos (WAS) and Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) are strong tournament plays as part of respective team stacks.
Once again we have a handful of first baseman in our Top 15 hitters overall. David Ortiz (BOS) tops our list and represents the top target as his price point is slightly below the others. Ortiz faces rookie Jerad Eickhoff who has struggled with LHBs in a very small major league sample and projection systems along with scouts expect that to be the case at the big league level. Ortiz owns a .411 wOBA and .289 ISO against RHP since 2012 and has shown no signs of slowing down this season. After Ortiz, the options are a bit more bunched. Miguel Cabrera (DET), Joey Votto (CIN), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), and Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) all rank within our Top 15. They each represent fine targets as a part of tournament stacks.
Additional first base notes: First base is a difficult position to get away from spending. There simply aren’t clear cut values around the industry so its site specific bargain hunting. Victor Martinez (DET) is generally cheap around the industry but his position varies. We like him as a value play regardless of position as Cody Anderson doesn’t miss bats (10.5 K Rate against LHBs) and has allowed a 32.2 percent hard hit rate. C.J. Cron (LAA) has gotten a big boost in lineup positioning of late and Colby Lewis is vulnerable to power (1.60 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013). Cron is generally affordable around the industry and hitting behind Calhoun and Trout should deliver RBI opportunities. The skill gap between the top plays and the value plays is most significant at this position. As a result, most of the top plays rank as our best per dollar values. On most sites, we’re targeting Ortiz in cash games.
Anthony Rendon (WAS) – I’m cheating slightly here as Rendon doesn’t rank as the top play at the position in our model (Jose Altuve does) but he’s the more expensive target I’m most willing to invest in and there is a distinction between skill between him and the next tier that I wanted to highlight because on some sites they’re priced similarly. Rendon owns a solid .355 wOBA and .148 ISO against LHP as a big leaguer. He’ll face Manny Banuelos who has allowed a .323 wOBA and 32.8 percent hard hit rate to RHBs in the big leagues. The matchup with Banuelos is nice but the Braves bullpen behind him is horrific. Banuelos is unable to work deep into games (averaging 4.6 innings per start) and thus the Nationals should see plenty of innings against a very weak bullpen. They have a healthy implied run total approaching five runs and Rendon typically hits second. He’s our top target at second base, but we have two other value plays that are solid alternatives.
Scooter Gennett (MIL) – Michael Lorenzen has really struggled at the big league level. He has a very straight fastball and his secondary stuff isn’t very developed so he can’t miss bats against lefties (16.4 percent K Rate) and he’s very homer prone (1.91 HR/9 to LHBs). He’s allowed a .433 wOBA and 33.3 percent hard hit rate to LHBs in the big leagues and Gennett should lead off. Gennett’s skills against RHP have been strong since his promotion last season (.351 wOBA, .160 ISO) but a below average 29.1 percent hard hit rate and lofty .344 BABIP make us question the performance a bit. Our baseline expectations have him a bit lower than his current performance, but this matchup should help elevate those baselines. Throw in a near minimum salary around the industry and Gennett is a fine alternative to Rendon.
Chris Coghlan (CHC) – Coghlan has compiled a .331 wOBA and .166 ISO against RHP since 2012 and generally hits third against RHP for the Cubs. Rubby de la Rosa has really struggled against LHBs (.383 wOBA, 1.47 HR/9) and Sunday’s weather conditions look ripe for power at Wrigley. We like Coghlan’s skills more than Gennett, but his price isn’t as consistently cheap as Gennett around the industry. If priced the same, we’d opt for Coghlan.
Additional second base notes: Jose Altuve (HOU) is our top play at the position but best used in tournaments. There isn’t much separation between Altuve and Rendon so why pay a premium? His ownership should come down to the plethora of value plays, so we don’t mind attacking him in tournaments. Ian Kinsler (DET) is overpriced but acceptable in tournaments as part of a Tigers stack. Ryan Goins (TOR) is an interesting part of a contrarian Blue Jays stack. Including him means you’re leaving out one of the big bats but also gives you some differentiation as bottom of the order hitters are rarely utilized in stacks. Add in a cheap tag and a middle infield position with limited opportunity cost and I think he’s compelling.
Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) – Our model views Tulowitzki’s skills at the position as superior to any other shortstop in the game. As a result, it takes a unique situation to bump him from his perch. On Sunday, the only other challenger is Carlos Correa (HOU) and Tulowitzki generally comes at a cheaper price point. Chris Tillman is vulnerable to RH power. He’s allowed 1.39 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013 along with a 30.5 percent hard hit rate. The Blue Jays are largely right handed and power heavy so this is a challenging matchup for Tillman. Tulowitzki owns a .375 wOBA and .199 ISO against RHP since 2012. He’s a very skilled hitter and the Jays have an implied run total over five runs. He’s a Top 15 hitter in our model and the top target if spending up at the position.
Ian Desmond (WAS) – Desmond possesses above average skills against LHP (.334 wOBA, .172 ISO) and we’ve mentioned the expected bump all the Nationals hitters get due to the Braves porous bullpen. With Yunel Escobar back, Desmond has slid back to sixth in the lineup. At home, this effects his expected plate appearances along with the quality of those plate appearances. Despite ranking inside our Top 30 hitters overall, we’d prefer our exposure come in tournaments.
Shortstop notes: Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Brandon Crawford (SF) are skilled hitters on teams with high implied run totals but neither has the platoon advantage and they’re each a bit overpriced. They’re strong tournament targets around the industry. Alcides Escobar (KC) remains a nice punt option on FanDuel where he seems perpetually priced at the minimum. Opposing starter Erik Johnson isn’t a major league pitcher, the Royals have a good offense against LHP, and Escobar is a cheap way to get exposure. On DraftKings, Corey Seager (LAD) is the cheapest option I’d feel comfortable with in cash games.
Josh Donaldson (TOR)/Nolan Arenado (COL) – For much of the week these two have been the co-top plays and price points have made it difficult to attack them in cash games. Nothing is different on Sunday. Arenado is slightly more affordable but has a tougher matchup against Madison Bumgarner. For both players, I’m most likely to attack this situation in tournaments.
Travis Shaw/Pablo Sandoval (BOS) – Sandoval is battling some back issues, so it’s not clear if he’ll be in the lineup but one of the cheap Red Sox third base eligible options will fit as a value play on Sunday. We touched on Eickhoff’s expected struggles with LHBs and he’s backed up by a very weak and right handed (just one lefty) bullpen. Sandoval is our favorite. He’s historically the best hitter against RHP (.344 wOBA, .164 ISO since 2012) and he typically hits second which is better than fifth for expected plate appearances. Shaw is a fine alternative and if Sandoval is out, we could even throw Brock Holt into the mix. They all come with nice price tags that allow you to spend up at other key positions like first base.
Matt Duffy (SF) – We’ve touched on Duffy a lot this weekend because of the giant (pun always intended) park shift in his favor and his premier batting spot in San Francisco’s lineup. He’s outperformed expectations this season and he’s been way better against RHP than LHP. In this matchup against Yohan Flande (.350 wOBA, 1.56 HR/9 since 2013), we’ll deal with Duffy’s unusual splits as long as the price tag is affordable. We want him priced below the average cost of a hitter.
Additional third base notes: Manny Machado (BAL) and Kris Bryant (CHC) are solid tournament plays in strong park environments for power. We like them both more as a part of team stacks than individual plays. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) has seen his price tag rise aggressively after an extended hot streak but he is a very viable tournament play on sites he has third base eligibility.
Unlike the last few days where Carlos Gonzalez has been slightly ahead of the pack, we have a bunched group of top plays on Sunday. Mike Trout (LAA), Marlon Byrd (SF), Jose Bautista (TOR), Ryan Braun (MIL) and Mookie Betts (BOS) all rank (in that order) within our Top 15 hitters overall. Trout’s price tag is down but with his recent struggles and difficult hitting environment, I’d prioritize Marlon Byrd over him. Bautista and Braun are better targets in tournaments as a part of stacks or mini-stacks.
Angel Pagan (SF) – Pagan’s skills have eroded. He’s no longer running, the plate discipline is getting worse and the hard minus soft hit rate is pretty anemic. Yet, Coors Field cures all ills. Pagan is a very affordable leadoff hitter on the highest expected scoring team this evening. In this situation, context trumps skills, but given the skills, don’t fret about fading Pagan in tournaments. Pagan cracks our Top 25 hitters overall.
Jayson Werth (WAS) – Werth is our next favorite value target around the industry. We’ve covered the reason for our Nationals love this afternoon and Werth is the best of the bunch against LHP (.409 wOBA, .234 ISO since 2012). He leads off which gives him a nice high expected plate appearance projection and he’s pretty affordable around the industry. Werth is also a Top 25 overall hitter in our model.
Kole Calhoun (LAA) – Calhoun ranks a little behind Werth and Pagan, but is also a strong value play. Colby Lewis has allowed a .351 wOBA and 35.7 percent hard hit rate against LHBs since 2013. Calhoun owns a .343 wOBA and .183 ISO against RHP since 2012 and gets a great lineup spot. The Angels lineup is a little watered down without Albert Pujols which pushes their implied run total down (4.2 implied runs), but Calhoun’s individual matchup is strong. He’s a Top 35 hitter in our model.
Additional outfield notes: Dexter Fowler‘s (CHC) price tag is all over the place around the industry. His skills rank a bit below Kole Calhoun but the scoring environment is stronger and could trump that (we’re still waiting on a total). On sites, they’re priced similarly, we’d lean Fowler if the Cubs have an implied run total above 4.8 runs. David Peralta (ARZ), Khris Davis (MIL), and Ben Revere (TOR) are all solid secondary values. Daniel Nava (TB) and Grady Sizemore (TB) are acceptable pure punts given a friendly matchup against a below average RHP in Yankee Stadium.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Chris Archer (TB)
2) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)
3) Gerrit Cole (PIT)
4) Steve Matz (NYM)
5) Joe Ross (WAS)
6) Madison Bumgarner (SF)
7) Johnny Cueto (KC)
8) Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA)
9) Brett Anderson (LAD)
10) John Lackey (STL)
11) Andrew Cashner (SD)
12) Justin Verlander (DET)
13) Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS)
14) Hector Santiago (LAA)
Chris Archer (TB) – Archer earns the top spot in our rankings due to his significant strikeout advantage on the rest of the starters in action. He’s getting a big park shift against him and facing an above average offense against RHP. As a result, we’re unlikely to pay full price for Archer in cash games. He is an exceptional tournament play as one of the few starters on the slate with double digit strikeout upside routinely within reach.
Next in line:
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) – The Twins are generally overrated by the DFS community in terms of their effectiveness against LHP. While thought of as a Top 10 offense against lefties, they actually rank 16th in wRC+ against LHP this season. They do have a number of dangerous hitters against LHP, led by Brian Dozier, Miguel Sano, and Trevor Plouffe, but the bottom half of the lineup is generally pretty weak against lefties. As a result, they’re often very “hit-or-miss”. If you can control the top guys, the lineup sort of rolls over for you. Keuchel matches up pretty well with the Twins. They rely mostly on power against LHP and Keuchel’s extreme ground ball tendencies help limit power. Vegas certainly agree, enlisting Keuchel as a heavy favorite (-245) in a game with just a 7.5 total. If paying up for a starter in cash games, I’d prioritize Keuchel slightly ahead of Archer, despite Archer ranking slightly ahead in our model. Keuchel’s consistency wins out in a cash game decision.
Steven Matz (NYM) – Matz breezed through his rehab starts, allowing just two earned runs in four starts and finishing it off with 11 shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out 10 in his final two starts. The Marlins rank seventh in wRC+ against LHP this season but without Giancarlo Stanton they have very few players that grade out above average against lefties. Matz strikeout potential (26.2 percent in AAA, 26.9 percent in majors) is elite and although Vegas hasn’t released a line or a total, I expect he’ll be a heavy favorite in a game with a modest total. Matz threw 78 pitches in his last rehab outing, so I imagine he’ll have a 90-95 pitch count in place. The Marlins aren’t a particularly selective team (26th in BB Rate against LHP) so he should still work into the sixth inning. With an assumption of 5 2/3 innings pitched, he still ranks as our fourth best starter. His price point doesn’t fit that ranking on any site.
Joe Ross (WAS) – Ross faces a Braves offense that ranks 29th in wRC+ against RHP. They’re a tricky offense to attack because they make a lot of contact and they’re very left handed. Ross has pretty wide platoon splits (.340 wOBA allowed vs. LHBs, .214 wOBA allowed vs. RHBs) so we like to deploy him against heavier right handed lineups to maximize his upside. In this case, the price point is very favorable and the slate encourages at least one “value” pitcher as many of the studs face challenging matchups. Like Keuchel, Ross is a heavy favorite (-250) but his game has a total of eight.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Gerrit Cole (PIT) is the other elite starter I’d consider in cash games after Keuchel, but only if the prices were wildly different. The Cardinals offense is above average against RHP (eighth in wRC+) and they don’t strike out a ton. Johnny Cueto (KC) looks like he has a great matchup on paper (the White Sox rank 23rd in wRC+) but his strikeout rate has plummeted with the move to the AL and he’s had a string of three very poor outings in a row. I view him as a better tournament option than cash game play. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) and Brett Anderson (LAD) are more affordable alternatives to Cueto in tournaments. We view the strikeout upside in both matchups as relatively low, which forces the emphasis on run prevention. In great environments that can carry the day and pay off in tournaments, but we like the lower price tags and higher expected strikeout rates from Matz and Ross in cash games. Justin Verlander (DET) is another viable tournament option. He’s priced as the ace he’s been pitching like the last few times out and the Indians are a neutral matchup. While I’m more likely to buy the recent performance, I’m less likely to pay full price for it. Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) is one of my favorite tournament targets. He faces a Phillies offense that is competent against LHP but still far below the usual talent he faces in the AL East. His performance profile has been very volatile which has kept the price affordable. He has a large range of outcomes but I think more of those outcomes are favorable in this matchup and he’s very affordable.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) San Francisco Giants
2) Boston Red Sox
3) Washington Nationals
These three offenses are covered extensively in our content and hold the key to most cash game lineups. All three teams have an implied run total above five and have enough value plays to make mini-stacks work.
1) Toronto Blue Jays
2) Chicago Cubs
3) Milwaukee Brewers
4) Detroit Tigers
The Blue Jays are the other offense with an implied run total above five and they have a great matchup for their skill set. As is typically the case, price is the only issue here. They’re facing a fly ball dependent RHP that struggles with RH power. Bautista, Tulowitzki, Encarnacion, and Donaldson all rank within our Top 15 overall hitters.
We expect the Cubs implied run total will approach five as well given the favorable hitting conditions. The Diamondbacks bullpen is a bit better than the others we’re targeting here but the environment allows for big home run potential. Unfortunately, the offense is a bit thinner against RHP with Kyle Schwarber sidelined. Rizzo, Coghlan, and Fowler are our primary targets and you can add Montero or Bryant onto a stack.
The Brewers face one of the weakest pitchers in a great hitting environment. The Reds bullpen behind him isn’t very good either. The only knock on the Brewers is their lineup is very thin and if Lucroy sits on Sunday, we’re down to Gennett-Lind-Braun as a mini-stack with maybe Domingo Santana as an add on, but not much else.
Cody Anderson can’t miss bats and the Indians bullpen behind him is bottom half in terms of talent. The Tigers offense is a bit thinner without Cespedes, but Martinez-Martinez-Cabrera is a nice power foundation in the middle and you can add Gose, Davis or Kinsler on top of it.
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.
TB at NYY 1:05: Dry. Temps near 80. Air density is a 7. Wind south at less than 5 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 5 or a 6.
BLT at TOR 1:07: Retractable roof. A 10% coverage of showers. Temps near 80. Air density is a 7. Wind south 6-12 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6.
CLE at DET 1:08: Dry. Temps in the mid-80s. Air density is an 8. Wind south-southwest 5-10 mph which blows in from right. The wind is a 4.
MIL at CIN 1:10: Dry. Temps near 90. Air density is an 8. Wind southeast less than 5 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4 or a 5.
NYM at MIA: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
PHL at BOS 1:35: Dry. Temps near 80. Air density is a 7. Wind south-southeast 9-18 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7 or an 8.
ATL at WSH 1:35: Dry. Temps in the low to mid 80s. Air density is a 7. Wind southeast 5-10 mph which blows
from right to left or out to left at times. The wind is a 5 or a 6.
CHW at KC 2:10: The chance of thunderstorms across the region increase to 30% after 3 PM eastern. They start the game dry. Temps in the upper 80s to lower 90s. Air density is a 9. Wind south-southeast 12-25 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 9 or a 10.
MIN at HOU 2:10: Retractable roof. A 20% coverage of thunderstorms across the region. Temps in the low 90s. Air density is a 9. Wind south 4-8 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 6 though you would have to think that the roof is probably going to be closed. It was in similar weather yesterday.
AZ at CHC 2:20: Dry. Temps in the upper 80s. Air density is a 9. Wind south-southwest 9-18 mph which blows out to left-center. The wind is a 7 or an 8.
TEX at LAA 3:35: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s. Air density is a 7. Wind west 9-18 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7 or an 8.
SEA at OAK 4:05: Dry. Temps near 80. Air density is a 6 or a 7. Wind west-northwest 7-14 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 6.
LAD at SD 4:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind west-northwest 7-14 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
SF at COL 4:10: A 20% chance of a delay due to a thunderstorm. As been the case much of the baseball season, thunderstorms will form in the mountains and try to drift into the city. We have seen these thunderstorms weaken dramatically most of the time and the game goes on with not even any delays so that is what I am thinking will happen this afternoon. Temps in the low 80s. Air density is a 10. Wind southeast 9-18 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7 or an 8.
PIT at STL 8:00: Dry. Temps near 90 falling into the low to mid 80s. Air density is a 9 becoming an 8. Wind south-southeast 7-14 mph which blows out to left or from right to left at times. The wind is a 6 or a 7.