Welcome to September 9 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for September 9 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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- 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 9 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Jacob deGrom (NYM) is far and away the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position today. deGrom has the best combination you can ask for a starting pitcher. He has the lowest IRTA (3.1) and projects to K the most batters (7.9) in this entire slate. That’s because deGrom has a pristine 1.68 ERA that’s backed up by a four percent hard minus soft hit rate and he’s posted a 31.3% K rate this season. As a caveat, deGrom gets to pitch in an awesome pitching environment, with winds blowing in at ~15-20 MPH. He gets to face a Phillies offense that’s ranked 21st in wRC+ vs. RHP and are striking out 25% of the time vs. RHP (third worst mark in the league). There’s some rain in the forecast in New York, but they should be able to play through it like they did last night. deGrom is expensive on both sites but he should be your primary cash game target at the position.
Andrew Heaney (LAA) and Mike Clevinger (CLE) represent the next in line options at the position. Of the two, Heaney is more affordable around the industry and projects ahead of Clevinger today. Heaney isn’t as talented as Clevinger, but he misses bats (22.6% K rate, 33% chase rate) and has posted a 3.86 xFIP this season. He also has a matchup against a White Sox offense that’s ranked middle of the pack in wRC+ and are striking out a league high 26.8% of the time vs. LHP. Unless more values are unlocked on the hitting side on DK, jamming deGrom and Heaney will be too difficult. Most of our optimals right now are going after Heaney around the industry in order to fit pricey bats. We’d side with deGrom in cash games but the Heaney route is a strong one for tournaments.
Clevinger is pricey but we view him as a strong leverage play in tournaments. If DFSers are spending up at the position today, it’s for deGrom but Clevinger’s recent form inspires confidence. After all, Clevinger has generated K rates of 45.5%, 34.6% and 33.3% over his last three starts.
Madison Bumgarner (SF) is next up in projection but he’s too expensive to seriously consider in any format. We’re expecting Bumgarner to regress to some extent (3.07 ERA/4.35 xFIP) and he gets a difficult park shift going into Miller Park. This matchup against the Brewers doesn’t inspire upside either – they’re only striking out 20.8% of the time vs. LHP. He’s in a weird spot in this slate. We prefer to use him in MME.
Vince Velasquez (PHI) and Zach Davies (MIL) have projections in the 13-14 range on DK and Davies is $6,900. He’s a breakeven target but has a 3.8 IRTA, which is the lowest of any starter not named Jacob deGrom. A matchup against a Giants offense that’s ranked 26th in wRC+ and are striking out 24.2% of the time vs. RHP inspires confidence and is a big reason why Davies’ IRT is sitting where it is.
Velasquez is the type of pitcher you want to target in tournaments. When he doesn’t have it in an outing, things go south in a hurry but his ability to miss bats (26.3% K rate this season) creates a strong ceiling. Velasquez is just $6,900 on FD and he’s getting a favorable park shift going into Citi Field. He’s priced more appropriately on DK ($8,300) but he’s viable in GPPs on that site as well.
The positions thins out quickly after Velasquez and Davies. Zack Littell (MIN) hasn’t been any good at the major league level but posted a decent 21.6% K rate at AAA this season. He’s $6k and has a matchup against a Royals offense that doesn’t have a single above average hitter vs. RHP. Littell is a decent option in GPPs. If you’re making a bunch of lineups in MME, Jeff Brigham (PIT) and Erick Fedde (WSH) are viable punts.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) carries the top projection at the catcher position. Grandal is simply priced out of cash game consideration in this slate. He is part of by far the best stack in this slate and even if he hits seventh we’d consider him in tournaments given the context (Coors Field and best hitting weather).
Welington Castillo and Kevan Smith (CHW) are likely primary cash game options in this slate. Castillo is the best per dollar value with a $3,600 price tag. He’s been hitting third for the White Sox vs. LHP and we have a .190 ISO baseline for him against southpaws. Smith isn’t a good hitter by any measure and he doesn’t hit for much power but he’s $3k. These two find themselves in a strong matchup against Andrew Heaney, who’s surrendered a .236 ISO to RHBs since 2017.
Yan Gomes (CLE) will have the platoon edge, and he’s posted a .376 wOBA and .245 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. Gomes has generated a 34.6% HHR over the L15 days as well. He’s an exciting tournament option and if he gets a better lineup spot than 7th he’d enter the cash game conversation. Salvador Perez (KC) is the other option at the position with legitimate power upside, even without the platoon edge (.219 ISO vs. RHP since 2017), and he’s been on a tear of late (40% HHR over the L15 days). We like him in tournaments despite the appropriate price tag.
Matt Carpenter (STL) represents the top projected scorer at first base. He’ll have the platoon edge and hit leadoff on the road, but he hasn’t been great of late (13.9% HHR over the L15 days) and the price tag is a difficult one to fit in cash games. He’s viable in tournaments though. After all, he has posted a .261 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) is underpriced, particularly on DK where he’s just $4,200. Encarnacion has generated a .333 wOBA and .178 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. Those aren’t the numbers we’ve come to expect out of Encarnacion but keep in mind he’s 35 years old and our baselines are much higher (.359 wOBA, .232 ISO). His context is incredible though. He’s facing Thomas Pannone, who got rocked in the minors (4.91 ERA, 1.96 HR/9 in 6 starts at AAA). ZIPS is projecting a 1.63 HR/9 mark ROS for Pannone. He’ll face Pannone in Rogers Centre, which is a favorable park shift for this entire Cleveland offense. We’d love to get to Encarnacion in cash games.
Our recommendation on FD is a bit different since our biggest preferences in this slate are deGrom and Trout. On that site, we don’t mind going a bit cheaper with Joe Mauer (MIN). Mauer doesn’t bring the same level of power upside, but he’s hitting leadoff against Ian Kennedy. The latter hasn’t been around in nearly two months and he’s been awful (5.13 ERA, 1.71 HR/9 this season). Mauer is just $2,700 on that site. Mauer is a bit pricier on DK ($3,700) and he isn’t as necessary over there but he’s a fine alternative. Teammate Miguel Sano (MIN) has the power upside and a $3,800 price tag on DK, but he profiles as a hit or miss play. Jose Fernandez (LAA) is $2,900 on DK. He’ll have the platoon edge on the road and has a matchup against Reynaldo Lopez, who’s allowed a .195 ISO to LHBs since 2017. That’s enough to consider him in a deGrom slate.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Ian Desmond (COL) (on DK) are options we’d consider in GPPs. Rizzo has the profile you like out of a hitter in cash games but he’s pricey around the industry. Desmond will have the platoon edge in Coors Field but the matchup against Rich Hill isn’t exciting. The price tag on DK ($4,300) is cheaper than usual.
Brian Dozier (LAD) is in Coors Field leading off. He’s been ice cold of late, but the HHR over the L15 days (18%) looks similar to where it’s been this season. Dozier has been awesome vs. LHP. He’s posted a .368 wOBA and .205 ISO vs. southpaws since the start of last season. He’ll have a matchup against Tyler Anderson, who’s given up a .205 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Dozier is a primary option in all formats.
Daniel Murphy (CHC) is the top projected scorer at the position on FD. He’s too expensive to consider in cash games but a matchup against Erick Fedde on the road brings an upside scenario. Murphy is viable in GPPs on both sites.
It’s boring and it barely has any upside but Logan Forsythe (MIN) needs to be considered in cash games. Forsythe has been hitting in favorable lineup spots of late and he’s just $2,900 on DK and $2,300 on FD. He’s also facing the worst pitching staff in all of baseball, which doesn’t hurt. We have a .318 wOBA and .127 ISO baselines for Forsythe vs. RHP. It’s not great but the price tag fits a deGrom slate.
Whit Merrifield (KC), Javier Baez (CHC) and DJ LeMahieu (COL) (on DK) are viable alternatives in GPPs that bring upside to the table. Baez in particular brings a unique blend of upside – he’s up to 30 HRs and 21 SBs this season. LeMahieu carries the least amount of event upside from this group but he’s in the best hitting environment and it’s not close.
Nolan Arenado (COL) will have the platoon edge in Coors Field. That earns him the top projection at the position on DK where this game is available. Arenado has been ridiculous against LHP – he’s posted a .517 wOBA and .401 ISO against southpaws since 2017. He’s $5,200 on DK and he should be at least $500 more expensive. If you’re not playing Trout in cash games in this slate, it’s because you’re playing Arenado. In general, it’s difficult to get up to these pricey bats on DK with deGrom priced over $13k and a lack of SP2 punts.
The next in line option at the position is Jose Ramirez (CLE). Ramirez is up to 37 HRs and 29 SBs this season. We love his context as well but he’s just $200 cheaper than Arenado on DK. We prefer the Arenado route if going after a pricey 3B in cash games but Ramirez is the strongest leverage play available to us at the position.
Matt Carpenter (STL) is 3B eligible on FD and he’s just $4k. It’s a good price tag but it’s still a difficult one to fit alongside deGrom. He’s a strong tournament target on both sites.
Miguel Sano (MIN) fits the slate from a cash game perspective but he always profiles better as a GPP target. Sano has generated a .208 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 but he’s also struck out 37.8% of the time vs. RHP. Ian Kennedy is exceptionally power prone and the bullpen behind him is the worst in the league, so Sano should benefit from favorable pitching matchups today. Sano is just $3,800 on DK and $3k on FD.
Yandy Diaz (CLE) could end up as a strong value on DK ($3,500) if he were to hit second against LHP once again.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Manny Machado (LAD) represent the top projected scorers at the shortstop position. Lindor has crushed LHP (.401 wOBA, .215 ISO since 2017) and he brings plenty of event upside to the table (33 HRs, 23 SBs). Machado has posted a .373 wOBA and .244 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season and he gets to hit in Coors Field today. These two are part of our top stacks in this slate, but you won’t be able to prioritize them in cash games since deGrom is in this slate and has a matchup against the Phillies. The one thing that could flip this equation is if deGrom runs into weather issues, which would push us towards cheaper pitching.
Trevor Story (COL) is also a part of this slate and he carries a position high 35.3% HHR over the L15 days. Story will have the platoon edge, and he’s been incredible with it (.442 wOBA, .356 ISO since 2017). He just hit three massive HRs off a LHP in Coors Field this past week. If you’re building tournament lineups in this slate, we encourage you to have exposure to these pricey shortstops as their upside is very different than any other shortstop in this slate.
Willy Adames (TB) (on DK) and Tim Anderson (CHW) (on FD) are the cheap options to pair with Jacob deGrom on the aforementioned sites. They should both be leading off for their respective teams, and both will have above average matchups. Anderson in particular is facing a pitcher that misses bats but has been very power prone particularly against RHBs (Andrew Heaney). If you have more funds but you can’t get up to the elite trio of shortstops, Trea Turner (WSH) is a viable option in the mid-tier, particularly on DK.
Mike Trout (LAA) is on the road once again and hit two HRs with 20 MPH winds blowing in last night. Not surprising given that he’s the best hitter in all of baseball. Trout is the top projected scorer on the hitting side once again, easily besting options in Coors Field which is difficult to do. Trout is pricey though and there’s other positions with higher opportunity cost, but if you can somehow fit him in cash games alongside deGrom we’d choose that route.
If you can’t reach Trout in cash games, Matt Kemp (LAD) is a viable pivot in the OF on DK. Kemp is $1,200 cheaper than Trout, which is deserved, but the former will have the platoon edge in Coors Field. We have a .223 ISO baseline for Kemp vs. LHP.
Going after the deGrom-Trout combo is more feasible on FD today. That’s because we have Max Kepler (MIN) priced like a punt ($2,200) and we could end up having a second in Robbie Grossman (MIN) if he simply cracks the lineup. We also have a punt at 2b and you could use Welington Castillo, a $2,200 catcher that hits third, to make it work. Kepler has a decent price on DK $3,700) as well. The Twins will carry an IRT close to five today as they take on Ian Kennedy and the worst bullpen in all of baseball. If the SD-CIN game plays, Travis Jankowski (SD) is $2,500 and leads off vs. RHP.
Those cheap plays are nonexistent at the position on DK. Gregor Blanco (SF) is $3,100 and he’s been leading off when in the lineup vs. RHP, but we haven’t seen him in the lineup of late. If he’s in the lineup and you’re going after deGrom you’ll have to use him unless a stronger value emerges in this price range. Kole Calhoun (LAA) has an average price tag ($4k) and a strong context (leading off with the platoon edge on the road). Calhoun has a solid .174 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last seasons. Max Kepler (MIN) has a more appropriate price tag on DK ($3,700) but he’ll have to be considered as well since we have a very limited amount of decent values with a sub $4k price tag.
We have a very ugly forecast in the SD-CIN game, but if it plays we think Scott Schebler (CIN) should be considered. Schebler has posted a .234 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season and he gets a bump for hitting leadoff in Great American Ball Park. Schebler has generated a 34.3% HHR over the L15 days. He’s a strong tournament target.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are by far the top stack in this slate with a stack score in the mid 60s. The next highest stack score is in the low 60s. The Dodgers get a guaranteed ninth inning in Coors Field, and it doesn’t hurt that they get to hit in the best weather in this entire slate. Tyler Anderson is a solid pitcher but he’s the softest SP draw for the Dodgers this weekend. They’ll have pinch hit risk, but we still think they’re worth pursuing in tournaments alongside mid-tier pitching.
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Cleveland Indians
The Rockies get the Coors Field bump and are tied for the second highest IRT in this slate. They’re difficult to stack because they’re expensive, but we still think they’re worth it in tournaments. In fact, we’re willing to get away from deGrom to stack either the Dodgers or the Rockies in that format.
The Indians are facing Thomas Pannone, a pitcher that’s extremely FB prone (29.6% GB rate in the majors; 22% in the minors), and they get the benefit of a guaranteed ninth inning in Rogers Centre. They have a higher value score than the Dodgers and Rockies since they’re a bit more affordable, but you’ll still have to fade deGrom if you want to go after Lindor and Ramirez.
4) Chicago Cubs
5) Los Angeles Angels
The Cubs might get gross weather, but if they’re able to play this game they’ll have above average pitching matchups throughout the game. First off is Erick Fedde, who’s posted a 7.08 ERA in 48 IP at the major league level. Behind Fedde is a much weaker bullpen with Doolittle and Herrera hitting the DL. They’re a worthwhile stack and offer plenty of leverage over the stacks above.
The Angels’ offense isn’t as deep as the offenses above, but Calhoun, Trout, Ohtani and Upton are worthwhile options in this context. They’re all outfielders though, so the better parts of the stack won’t allow you to be different in the middle infield unless you want to use lower upside options like Andrelton Simmons or David Fletcher.
6) Minnesota Twins
7) Cincinnati Reds
8) Pittsburgh Pirates
9) St. Louis Cardinals
10) Washington Nationals
Jorge Lopez nearly threw a perfect game against the Twins last night. They’re not a very good offense, but their cheap price tags fit this slate well. You can fade them in tournaments though as their upside is more muted than the stacks above.
The rest of this tier works better as mini-stacks or one offs in MME. The Reds are in the best environment of this group as they get to hit in Great American Ball Park, but forecast is calling for plenty of rain once again. We’ll need the forecast to improve considerably if you’re going to seriously consider this stack, but in general we think they’ll be very low owned.