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September 8 MLB DFS: Harp on This
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September 8 MLB DFS Show Outline: 

01:06  Starting Pitchers
06:27  Catchers
11:53 First Base
13:02 Second Base
13:59  Shortstops
15:57  Third Base
17:40 Outfield
20:16  Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks

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September 8 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jaime Garcia (STL)

2) A.J. Cole (WAS)

Tier Two

3) Ivan Nova (PIT)

4) Alex Cobb (TB)

5) Jeff Hoffman (COL)

6) CC Sabathia (NYY)

7) Taijuan Walker (SEA)

8) Junior Guerra (MIL)

Thursday’s short slate has a mix of mid-rotation starters with matchups propelling two options to the top. Jaime Garcia (STL) faces a strikeout prone Brewers’ lineup that is more potent against LHP (16th in wRC+) but strikes out 24.8 percent of the time. The Brewers get a negative park shift and have just a 3.6 implied run total with Garcia as a strong favorite (-155). In addition, Garcia’s strength is limiting power via his extreme ground ball rate which really plays well against the Brewers. Garcia is one of the two primary targets we have in cash games on Thursday. A.J. Cole (WAS) is the other primary target as a soft matchup with the Phillies at home leaves Cole with the lowest implied total against on the slate (3.5 runs). He’s also the heaviest favorite (-200) and comes with a friendly price tag on both sites. Cole has a decent K Rate at the big league level (22.4 percent) but he’s likely pitched a bit ahead of his skill level. He posted just a 20.5 percent K Rate at AAA and his FIP is sitting at an ugly 5.40. The hefty fly ball rate (68.6 percent) along with a 9.2 percent BB Rate makes Cole vulnerable to a blow-up start, but the Phillies’ offense doesn’t have much in the way of plate patience or power (19th in ISO, 28th in BB Rate against RHP). Garcia and Cole represent our favored cash game combination on DraftKings. On FanDuel, Cole’s significantly cheaper price tag really allows you to load up on hitting, which looks like the preferred route.

In tournaments, the starters we see viable upside in for tournaments is relatively small. Ivan Nova (PIT) has been pitching great with the Pirates and is home against a weak Reds’ offense against RHP. The tag on DraftKings is a mild nuisance but he’s relatively cheap on FanDuel. Jeff Hoffman (COL) is our favorite tournament target. He’s struggled mightily at the big league level but is a top prospect with a strong 24.2 K Rate in AAA. All three of his starts have been exceptionally difficult matchups (Dodgers/Cubs at home, at Nationals) and now he gets a softer matchup against the strikeout prone Padres’ offense.

Catcher Rankings

1) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

2) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) Nick Hundley (COL)

5) Chris Iannetta/Mike Zunino (SEA)

The catcher position is pretty thin on this short slate. Gary Sanchez (NYY) is the most skilled hitter in a good offensive environment at Yankee Stadium but he’s priced appropriately on both sites and isn’t one of the top overall hitters. When right, Alex Cobb is very tough on RHBs (career .282 wOBA, 57.3 GB Rate) and he’s not someone we want to pick on. He wasn’t right in all of his DL rehab stints and then pitched phenomenally well in his debut against the Blue Jays. On DraftKings, it’s easier to punt the catcher position and look for bigger spends at other spots, but on FanDuel should you choose Cole as your starter you’ll have plenty of room to afford Sanchez. Where the spend isn’t an impediment to your roster, we’re fine with Sanchez in cash games, otherwise we’re looking to get salary relief from the position. On FanDuel, Yadier Molina (STL) represents a fine cheap option with a relatively hot bat and on DraftKings one of the Mariners’ catchers should emerge as a viable punt-ish play with the platoon advantage against Derek Holland.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Brandon Moss (STL)

3) Wil Myers (SD)

4) Chris Carter (MIL)

5) John Jaso (PIT)

Joey Votto (CIN) leads off our first base rankings but a park downgrade and Ivan Nova‘s recent form certainly don’t make Votto a huge priority on a Reds offense with just a 3.7 implied run total. Brandon Moss (STL) is priced down on DraftKings and a cost friendly alternative to spending up on Votto. On FanDuel, the two are priced so similarly it’s more of a toss-up. John Jaso (PIT) and Matt Adams (STL) are the potential salary relief targets on this slate if you’re uncomfortable paying up at first base.

Second Base Rankings

1) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

2) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

3) Matt Carpenter (STL)

4) Logan Forsythe (TB)

5) Josh Harrison (PIT)

Daniel Murphy (WAS) leads the way at our second base rankings and he represents one of two priority left-handed Nationals’ bats for us in cash games. The Nationals have a hefty implied run total of five which is a half run higher than anyone on the slate. Alec Asher is being recalled to give the Phillies a spot start and he has an underwhelming minor league track record as someone that can’t miss bats at a high level and has been homer prone at a few stops. Murphy is expensive on both sites, but he represents a fine spend. On DraftKings, Matt Carpenter (STL) is significantly cheaper and our model prefers dropping down to Carpenter. He also comes with third base eligibility as well and can be used over there if you’d prefer to prioritize Murphy. Josh Harrison (PIT) is also pretty cheap on DraftKings ($3,600) for a leadoff hitter. While he grades out as a strong value, the positional depth makes him a less attractive target.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Jonathan Villar (MIL) – where eligible

2) Didi Gregorius (NYY)

3) Brad Miller (TB)

4) Zack Cozart (CIN)

Shortstop is largely an unappealing position on Thursday’s slate. Very few players even sniff a positive value in our model. Ultimately, it’s a position we’d like to get out with as much salary relief as viable. On DraftKings, Zack Cozart (CIN) may fill that void at just $3,100. Shawn O’Malley (SEA) could also fill the void if he’s leading off for the Mariners. On FanDuel, Jose Peraza (CIN) and Didi Gregorius (NYY) look like the best options. In tournaments, we’re very fond of Brad Miller‘s (TB) power upside in Yankee Stadium and Danny Espinosa (WAS) has power as a lower order hitter on our favorite offense. Both are strong tournament targets but price tag on Miller and lineup spot on Espinosa make them difficult cash game sells.

Third Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

2) Nolan Arenado (COL)

3) Evan Longoria (TB)

4) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

5) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

Matt Carpenter (STL) leads the way with our third base rankings and he’s priced affordably on DraftKings ($4,400). He’s a very strong cash game target there. Of course, Evan Longoria (TB) is slightly cheaper, getting a huge park shift, and has a long history of success against CC Sabathia (and LHP in general). If you’re tight on funds, dropping down to Longoria is an acceptable pivot. On FanDuel, Nolan Arenado (COL) and Evan Longoria are priced similarly. Arenado is the more skilled hitter against LHP and facing the weaker opposing starter, but the park shift is significant. Our model’s lean is Arenado but both are viable in cash games and you’re likely choosing between those two options. Anthony Rendon (WAS) is a nice tournament target as part of a Washington stack.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Trea Turner (WAS)

3) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

4) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

5) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

6) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

7) Jayson Werth (WAS)

8) Ryan Braun (MIL)

9) Franklin Gutierrez (SEA)

10) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

11) Brett Gardner (NYY)

12) Travis Jankowski (SD)

13) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

14) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

15) Ian Desmond (TEX)

Bryce Harper (WAS) is a favored target on this slate. We’d like to have at least one of Harper or Daniel Murphy in cash games if not both. Exposure to the Nationals’ offense takes priority for us in cash games, which makes Jayson Werth (WAS) another viable value target. The price tag is softer on DraftKings ($4,300) than on FanDuel ($3,800). Beyond emphasizing the Nationals as outfield spends, we’re looking at site specific values and with so many mid-tier outfielders bunched together it’s most likely coming from salary relief options that land in good lineup spots. The Mariners’ leadoff situation whether it be Guillermo Heredia (SEA) or Shawn O’Malley (SEA) can serve as viable options. On DraftKings, Franklin Gutierrez (SEA) is affordable for an elite hitter against LHP (.407 wOBA, .273 ISO since 2015). On FanDuel, if Starling Marte (PIT) remains out, Matt Joyce (PIT) would represent a fine punt target at the pure minimum ($2,000).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Washington Nationals

Tier Two

2) St. Louis Cardinals

3) New York Yankees

4) Seattle Mariners

5) Tampa Bay Rays

In cash games, our focus is mini-stacking Nationals to get exposure to the heftiest team total on the slate against the weakest opposing starter. They should command heavy ownership in tournaments which makes them a viable fade or underweight position for those multi-entering. Our second tier of stacks represents the best way to get contrarian.

Contrarian Tournament Stacks

Tampa Bay Rays – It’s unclear how contrarian the Rays will be but with Forsythe and Longoria priced up and two lefties often in the top four, there are different ways to get exposure to this stack. Miller and Kiermaier should come with low ownership and Forsythe’s tag may be enough to force it. You could also dip down in the lineup to Steven Souza (.161 ISO against LHP since 2015) who has shown decent power against lefties and is an event player. All the power bats are getting a big park shift upwards and when the Rays are right it’s largely via the long ball.

MLB Daily Analysis

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