Welcome to September 8 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 8 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!
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS | HITTER SPLITS | PITCHER SPLITS | SORTABLE STATS | PITCHER TRENDS | LINEUPS | LEADERS
02:21 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 8 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
To the surprise of no one, Max Scherzer (WSH) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position. The matchup isn’t exciting. The Cubs are ranked ninth in wRC+ vs. RHP and are only striking out 21.4% of the time vs. RHP. We’re projecting four LHBs against Scherzer- two at the top of the lineup. With all of that said, Scherzer has the second lowest IRTA in the entire slate (3.5) and most importantly, he’s projected to K the most batters (9). That last point is key to his projection – Scherzer has posted a gaudy 34.6% K rate this season. Any time he toes the rubber he has a shot at reaching double digit Ks. He’s a fantastic cash game target on both sites. We don’t view him as a must in tournaments, though.
We also have a clear #2 from a projection standpoint at the position tonight and that’s Jose Berrios (MIN). Berrios doesn’t have great recent form. He’s posted xFIPs above 4.80 in four of his last five starts and he didn’t get out of the fifth inning in any of those starts. However, the matchup against the Royals profiles as an elite one for run prevention. The Royals are ranked 23rd in wRC+ vs. RHP on the season. To their credit, they don’t K much vs. RHP (20.6% K rate) but it’s an offense that doesn’t have a single hitter with an above average wOBA vs. RHP. Their closest to that mark is Alex Gordon, who has a .321 wOBA vs. RHP. Berrios has posted a 24.6% K rate this season, which is backed up by a 11% SwStr rate and a 33.4% chase rate. He has the second highest K projection (7) and is a -200 favorite. He profiles as a strong play and his price tag is reduced on both sites. It’s difficult to make a Berrios-Scherzer pairing work on DK, but it’s not impossible. We think it’s a viable cash game route and on FD you could consider Berrios in cash games as well.
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) is coming off his best start of his career, throwing a complete game shutout and tallying up 11 Ks against the Giants. Syndergaard is behind Scherzer and Berrios in projection but a matchup against a Phillies offense that’s striking out 25% of the time vs. RHP brings forth plenty of upside. Syndergaard represents a strong leverage play in GPPs but keep in mind that he’s priced fully on both sites.
There’s a sizeable gap in projection after Syndergaard in this slate. Walker Buehler (LAD) is having an impressive rookie season, showing plenty of ability in missing bats (27.5% K rate), but he’s in the worst pitching environment in all of baseball. You’re not using him on FD but he can be included in your MME pool on DK where he’s $7,800.
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) and Cole Hamels (CHC) project similarly to Buehler. Shoemaker has some risk to him. He only threw 62 pitches in his first start of the season after coming back from an extended DL trip. We’re expecting him to have a little bit of a bigger leash here and it’s a matchup packed with Ks as the White Sox are striking out 25.5% of the time vs. RHP (second worst mark in the league). We don’t love this route in cash games but we do think it’s viable. Hamels is a bit pricier for a road start @ Washington but he still has a place in this slate, which is probably GPPs.
The other cheap route to consider is Gio Gonzalez (MIL) on DK. Gonzalez is $6,700 and has a matchup against a hapless Giants offense that’s so bad (ranked 23rd in wRC+ vs. LHP) that they have an IRT of 3.7 even though they’re getting a massive park shift in their favor. There’s a bit more upside to Gio if things are going right as he doesn’t face the pitch limits that Shoemaker does. Gio is a -170 favorite. He’s a fine option in all formats but if he becomes chalk we’d rather look elsewhere.
Zach Eflin (PHI) and Lance Lynn (NYY) are unlikely to pick up the same level of ownership as Gio on DK. While their projections are a little bit tamer and we will certainly have to watch for lineups to see if they end up facing too many LHBs, there’s leverage opportunity here in GPPs.
On Saturday, catcher is a wasteland, with exactly zero players rating as positive values on either site. Gary Sanchez (NYY) is our top rated value on both sites despite a significant negative park shift (to Safeco Field) and the fact he is amidst an incredibly disappointing season versus RHP (.280 wOBA, 73 wRC+, .212 ISO and 13.2-percent line drive rate). However, the matchup against Felix Hernandez is favorable as righties have hit 10 bombs off him and Hernandez has only struck out 17.7-percent of the right-handed hitters (RHHs) he has faced.
Beyond Sanchez, Mitch Garver (MIN), Yasmani Grandal/Austin Barnes (LAD) and Salvador Perez (KC) are the next best values at the position but the guys in Coors Field are obviously the enticing for cash game purposes. Barnes may draw the start against a lefty and he is the bare minimum price for players playing in Coors Field on FD ($3,000). Garver is on the wrong side of his platoon split against Jorge Lopez (who has allowed a career .337 wOBA to RHHs) and Perez is as well against an upper-echelon starting pitcher (Jose Berrios). We recommend filling this position in last as no one at the position is popping in our projections. If needing to punt a position, this would be the one.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is our highest projected player at the first base position but Miguel Sano (MIN) pops as the top value at the position on DK. Neither player is on the favorable side of their platoon split but Sano will only cost $3,900 against Lopez and his team is being implied to score a slate-high 5.2-runs. Sano has struck out at a 36.8-percent rate against RHP in his career and Lopez has only induced a 9.8-percent swinging strike rate for his career. Goldschmidt, meanwhile, will square off against a pitcher who has been notoriously susceptible to left-handed hitters (LHHs) but Teheran has been beaten by the long ball from both sides of the plate this year (14 HRs by RHHs).
On FD, Joe Mauer (MIN), Greg Bird (NYY) and Jose Fernandez (LAA) are all near minimum price and yet all of their teams feature a 4.4-plus implied run total. Mauer lacks general upside, and our model only projects him for a .120 ISO in the split, but the team is a large favorite at home against a team with one of the worst bullpens in the league as well. The game environment should be favorable to him throughout so multiple hits is not out of the question. Bird is more reliant on power, and the ballpark is not conducive to power, but Hernandez’s 4.58 SIERA so far is just a tick below his career-worst (4.63 SIERA in 2016). Fernandez was a highly sought after international prospect who slashed .333/.396/.535 in Triple-A with 17 homers in 357 at-bats (ABs) in Triple-A. Since James Shields has used his changeup more often this year, he has evened out his splits, and he no longer just struggles against lefties.
Brian Dozier (LAD) mashes lefties in general so add in the favorable hitting environment of Coors Field and he is a no-brainer worth considering in cash games. The one issue here is Kyle Freeland is no average lefty; thus far, he has held righties to a .311 wOBA including a below-average .317 wOBA at home. Since the All-Star Break, Freeland’s 3.11 FIP is easily the best of any starting pitcher on the Rockies and so is his 0.33 HR/9 rate allowed.
For those reasons, Travis Shaw (MIL) is a reasonable alternative in all formats versus Chris Stratton. Despite playing half his games in hitter-friendly AT&T Park, Stratton has been burned for a .348 wOBA, 1.21 HR/9 rate, 25.6-percent line drive rate, 37.3-percent hard hit rate and 4.84 FIP by LHHs in 67.0 innings. On the road, his wOBA allowed to LHHs: .375. As evident by his 4.64 SIERA and 8.4-percent swinging strike rate, he has pitched poorly this year regardless of what park he has pitched in. Now, in a park that enhances left-handed power, Stratton is in trouble and Shaw is one of the likeliest candidates to take advantage.
In tournaments, Robinson Cano (SEA) and Yoan Moncada (CHW) are power threats on teams with reasonably low implied totals (4.1 and 4.4 respectively). In 2017, Shoemaker allowed a HR/9 rate over 1.50 to both sides of the plate and Moncada’s ISO against RHP this year is over 90-percentage points higher than versus LHP (.194 versus .102). Lance Lynn will be tasked with shutting down Cano and that is no easy task for him. According to Brooks Baseball, Lynn has thrown his four-seam fastball and sinker a combined 76-percent of the time to LHHs this season, and Cano has produced a .462 xwOBA against those two pitches combined from right-handers since the beginning of 2017. Good luck.
Mike Moustakas (MIL) is another LHH on the correct side of the platoon split versus Stratton in the friendly confines of Miller Park. Of the lefties on this team, Moustakas ranks fourth in wOBA and fourth in ISO but there is not much else to choose from on FD.
The only other positive values at the position are Sano and Justin Turner (LAD) in Coors Field. Turner has hit the ball in the air at a 47.2-percent rate against LHP this season which ranks third highest on the Dodgers behind only Max Muncy and Matt Kemp. Facing a ground-baller like Freeland, it is important to target hitters with the ability to get lift under the ball, otherwise Freeland will force them to roll over on a ball and ground out multiple times. The team’s implied total of 5.0 is low for a team in the hitters’ haven of Denver but Turner is arguably the top asset on the team to target.
David Freese (LAD) qualifies at third base, even though he will probably start at first base, and he too is on the correct side of the platoon split against LHP. If at all possible, Turner is the preferable option in cash games, as Freese may be pinch hit for by someone like Cody Bellinger later on in the game. Anthony Rendon (WSH) may go overlooked against Cole Hamels because the Cubs lefty has looked rejuvenated since the team acquired him. Still, Hamels has allowed 38 homers to RHHs since the start of the 2017 season and Rendon’s .417 wOBA against LHP during that span ranks 14th best amongst players with at least 100 plate appearances in the split.
The other enticing part of the matchup versus Hamels is the fact Hamels has allowed 20-plus steals against him in two of his last three seasons (and he has already been stolen on successfully 18 times this year). Trea Turner (WSH) has posted reverse splits in his young career but he has shown the ability to run on pitchers of either handedness. He represents the top value at the position on both sites and he is featured on both optimals. We love his five-tool upside and potentially high floor for cash games.
Jorge Polanco (MIN) and Manny Machado (LAD) come in rating close in terms of their value despite the fact they are priced nearly $2,000 apart on DK. Machado is one of the best hitters in the game and facing a lefty with a career 8.1-percent swinging strike rate in Coors Field so the matchup basically speaks for itself. Polanco owns a .373 wOBA and 136 wRC+ in the split against RHP this season compared to just a .226 wOBA and 35 wRC+ versus LHP. Opposing starter Lopez owns just a 4.80 SIERA and his 12.0-percent BB rate, 18.9-percent K rates leave much to be desired. Polanco is a solid investment in all formats.
Andrelton Simmons (LAA) homered yesterday and will benefit from facing a contact pitcher tonight. Didi Gregorius (NYY) is powerful and, again, Hernandez is amidst one of the worst seasons of his career. The last option worth noting is Eduardo Escobar (ARI) hitting from the left side of the plate against Teheran. Although the humidor has toned down the offensive potential in Chase Field, Teheran’s 5.71 FIP and 5.84 xFIP against LHHs is impossible to ignore.
Mike Trout (LAA) versus Shields is a talent mismatch of epic proportions and Shields has also been a player who has struggled to contain the running game. What else needs to be said here? Trout is projected for nearly a full point and a half above the next guy (Christian Yelich) so go ahead and fit him if you can. The big problem here is wind gusts projected to be as high as 20mph blowing in for center. If the wind holds, Trout would be fadeable in tournaments.
Complementing trout with cheaper options is the only way to make him work and Max Kepler (MIN), Robbie Grossman (MIN) and Kole Calhoun (LAA) fit the bill depending on site. Calhoun, like Trout, will have to battle the weather elements but wind direction could always switch before the slate begins. If it does not, consider lefties like Kepler and Grossman near the middle of the Twins order (the team with the highest implied total). The real allure of facing the Royals is the matchup against their bullpen as the team’s relievers have cumulatively managed a 4.89 FIP…which is by far the worst in the league.
David Peralta (ARI), A.J. Pollock (ARI), Andrew McCutchen (NYY) and Christian Yelich (MIL) are all full-priced but in potential smash spots for reasonably low ownership. Peralta will likely be the highest owned of the bunch as he leads the Diamondbacks in wOBA against RHP and Teheran has been atrocious against LHP. If Trout is too expensive, pivoting to Peralta makes a ton of sense. Yelich is the pitch data play of the night as Stratton has thrown his fastball 59-percent of the time to LHHs this season and Yelich leads the Brewers with a .453 xwOBA against the pitch and he has been red-hot as of late. McCutchen is mostly a game theory option but he hits in a favorable lineup spot and Hernandez has allowed nearly as many bombs at home (10) as on the road.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Milwaukee Brewers
Not only do the Dodgers get to hit in the best hitting environment in all of baseball – they’re also hitting in by far the best weather. It’s not that Coors needs this bump, but forecasts are calling for low 80s degree weather in Colorado tonight. Kyle Freeland has been a surprising revelation for the Rockies, but make no mistake about it – we’re expecting him to regress. Freeland has posted a 2.96 ERA but it’s backed up by a 4.24 xFIP. He’s made some nice progress in the K department, but his 20.4% K rate this season is still below league average. There’s not many stacks we love in this slate, but the Dodgers are certainly one of them.
Chris Stratton has posted a 17.6% K rate and a 4.90 ERA/4.35 xFIP. He’s a below league average starter and he’s having to pitch in MIller Park, which is a difficult park shift. The Dodgers are the clear #1 stack in this slate, but the Brewers are also the clear #2.
3) Los Angeles Angels
Justin Upton and Mike Trout are back in the lineup for the Angels. Shohei Ohtani has been red hot of late. James Shields has been more lucky (5.03 xFIP, .261 BABIP allowed, 11.3% HR/FB rate) than good. There’s a chance the Angels go overlooked a bit given their high cost and Shields’ recent performance. We think they’re very much in play as a stack in GPPs in this slate but we’re paying attention to the big winds that have the potential to keep balls in the park and limit the upside.
4) Arizona Diamondbacks
5) New York Yankees
6) Colorado Rockies
7) Minnesota Twins
Things get dicier in this tier. All of these teams are facing starters with wide splits, so they work best as mini stacks rather than full stacks. Of this group, we think the Rockies in Coors make the most sense if stacking beyond a couple of hitters. The Dodgers will be without Kenley Jansen in this series, which thins out the back of their bullpen. We have a 9.5 IRT here because of the above average pitchers, keep in mind that it’s still the highest total we have in this slate by far.
8) Washington Nationals
We’ll pass on a Nationals stack, but there’s some leverage opportunity with their RHBs in MME. They’ll be very low owned due to their matchup against Cole Hamels. The latter has been fantastic as a member of the Cubs, so you’re simply betting on him regressing a bit. After all, he hasn’t allowed a single HR with the Cubs but has allowed a 1.30 HR/9 mark this season.