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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (9/11)

Sep 11, 2020

Could Lucas Giolito emerge as the SP1 over Shane Bieber?

We’ve got plenty of good pitching options on tonight’s nine-game slate. Two AL Cy-Young candidates headline the evening, and we’ve also got what could possibly be one of the best pitching duels of the year. Behind the stud pitching, there’s some value below the five-digit mark to help fit in some Coors bats and a number of mid-range hitters in favorable matchups.


Lucas Giolito (CWS) vs DET $10,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Shane Bieber (CWS) @ MIN $11,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) @ ARI $7,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Luis Castillo (CIN) @ KC $9,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Giolito: Although Giolito isn’t having the year that Bieber is, I have him as my top pitcher on the slate. The White Sox’s ace will take the mound against a Tigers team that has dropped seven of their last 10 games. They have scored just 14 runs across those seven losses and have been shutout twice. It’s been almost a month since Giolito last faced Detroit, but he flat-out dominated that game by tossing seven strong innings, in which he allowed three hits, no runs, and struck out 13. He threw a no-hitter in his following outing. Despite the no-hitter, he hasn’t put up as many FanDuel points as Bieber, averaging a whole 14.23 points fewer than the AL Cy Young front runner, but he’s got the safest matchup on the slate and has a near-identical ceiling to Bieber’s.

Bieber: My concern with Bieber isn’t his matchup. He’s a matchup-proof ace and has a strong track record against the Twins anyway (2-0, 1.29 ERA this year). Instead, it’s the intense pitching duel that’s happening in Minnesota tonight. Going up against Kenta Maeda, who has the second-lowest SIERA on the slate trailing only Bieber, this could be the most exciting pitching matchup we’ve seen all year. This isn’t the greatest for fantasy, however, as it makes it a little tough to feel confident in Bieber’s ability to earn his eighth win, especially with the Twins owning home-field advantage. He has the highest floor on the slate, but with a similar ceiling to Giolito, it’s hard not to favor the cheaper option.

Kikuchi: Kikuchi finally bounced back his last time up, and he went for six strong innings of two-hit, one-run ball while striking out seven. It was only a matter of time, as the Japanese sophomore’s .409 BABIP given up to left-handed hitters resulted in some really unlucky outings that blew his ERA up over five. That’s despite his very good FIP against both righties and lefties (1.35 vs. LHH, 3.27 vs. RHH). Despite the BABIP, he’s managed to limit lefties to a .313 slugging percentage and a .285 wOBA. If you’re still not convinced, remember that the Diamondbacks are weak when it comes to left-handed hitters. Their main lefties, Kole Calhoun and David Peralta, own batting averages of .114 and .263 with no home runs in lefty/lefty matchups.

Castillo: Despite owning an ERA near 4, Castillo quietly owns a career-best SIERA of 3.55, which is a whole half-point better than that of his mark from his breakout 2019 campaign. He’s struggled against left-handed hitters despite a 3.99 xFIP, surrendering a .276/.360/.506 triple-slash to them to go with 14 of his 19 earned runs. Part of this can be attributed to a much higher BABIP, which is almost .100 points higher than his mark of .276 from last season. The Pirates are a great team to work through these things against, however, and Castillo showed that on his last turn. In that matchup, he struck out eight across six innings of two-run ball en route to a 46 FanDuel point night.

Catcher/First Base

Ryan O’Hearn (KC) vs. PIT $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Brandon Belt (SF) @ SD $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
James McCann (CWS) vs. DET $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

O’Hearn: While O’Hearn has struggled this year, as he owns a .204 batting average through 114 plate appearances, he’s a first baseman with pop going up against the Pirates’ Steven Brault. Brault, despite sporting a solid 4.37 ERA, is sitting on a career-worst SIERA of 5.46, which is also among the worst on the slate. Behind that SIERA are some big struggles in lefty/lefty matchups, where he’s surrendered a .300/.500/.400 slash with a 7.14 xFIP and an outright terrible 66.7 hard-hit percentage. As a bonus, while an incredibly small sample size, O’Hearn is 3-for-9 with a double and two RBI against LHP this season, and he owns a home run off of Brault.

Belt: I love the Giants tonight, and it all starts with Belt, who is hitting .356/.437/.667 against right-handed pitchers with six homers and eight doubles through 90 at-bats. He gets one tonight in Garrett Richards, who has surrendered a .309 average and .376 wOBA with a 5.66 FIP in righty/righty matchups. And like O’Hearn, Belt also owns a long ball against his opposing starter.

McCann: Unlike the other two, McCann has never faced his opposing starter, Casey Mize. I don’t need previous at-bats to like the matchup, though, as Mize has been dreadful against right-handed bats since getting the call, allowing a .357/.419/.571 slash against them with a .424 wOBA that ranks second-worst on the slate. McCann favors LHP, but he is no slouch against RHP. He owns a 120 wRC+ with a .835 OPS against them.

Second Base

Keston Hiura (MIL) vs CHC $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nick Madrigal (CWS) vs DET $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

Hiura: Keston Hiura is the most expensive second baseman on the slate at $3,700, but it’s for good reason, as he draws the Cubs’ Jon Lester, who he is 2-for-6 with a home run against. Lester has struggled this season to the tune of a 5.02 SIERA, and he has just two quality starts over his first eight starts.

Madrigal: Madrigal is going to be a cash-game favorite of mine for years and years to come. This kid can flat out hit, and I expect him to be a perennial batting title contender. That potential is already showing, as the rookie has six multi-hit games under his belt through just 13 starts. He’ll go up against Casey Mize, who, as I mentioned earlier, has gotten battered by right-handed hitting. He has surrendered a batting average of .357 against them. This bodes well for Madrigal, who has collected 16 of his 19 hits against RHP this season for a .421 batting average through 38 at-bats. He’s expected to bat ninth and has a limited ceiling, which takes him out of GPP conversation, but he’s one of the safer bets for a multi-hit game and has a great price.

Third Base

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (TEX) vs OAK $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jedd Gyorko (MIL) vs CHC $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Kiner-Falefa: Kiner-Falefa lines up against the Athletics’ Mike Fiers. Fiers’ 5.64 SIERA is his worst since his 2011 rookie season. A lot of his struggles involve right-handed hitters, as he’s allowed them to hit for a .317 batting average with a 5.93 xFIP. As for Kiner-Falefa, he’s been raking lately, as he sports a .431/.444/.510 triple-slash over the last two weeks. He favors left-handed pitching but performs well against righties, and he even hit them better in 2019.

Gyorko: While Gyrko owns a better batting average against right-handed pitchers this season, his power really stands out against lefties, where he owns an eye-popping .485 ISO against them that fuels an equally absurd 1.158 OPS. He’ll get the Cubs’ Jon Lester tonight, who has a 9.26 ERA over his last five outings and struggles against right-handed hitters.


Anderson Tejeda (TEX) vs. OAK $2,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Elvis Andrus (TEX) vs. OAK $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Marcus Semien (OAK) @ TEX $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Tejeda & Andrus: These are more right-handed bats I’m interested in against the A’s’ Mike Fiers. As mentioned, Fiers has been unable to replicate his surprising success that he was able to find in 2018 and 2019. Tejeda is my favorite of the two, as the rookie has started to find his footing — he slashed .294/.333/.647 with a home run and two stolen bases over the last week. As for Andrus, he’s struggled recently, and he’s even been riding the bench over the last few games. That said, he has a strong track record against Fiers, as he owns 10 hits and three home runs against him over 35 at-bats in his career. It’s unlikely that both of them start, but I’m on both if they do.

Semien: Semien hasn’t followed up his breakout year the way any of us had hoped, but he has shown signs of life recently. He has hit four homers over the past month with two three-hit outings despite a short four-game absence. He’s been blanked since returning to the lineup, but he’ll have a good chance to turn that around against Jordan Lyles, who will follow Luis Garica, who will open things for the Rangers. Semien has had success against Lyles, owning a .333 batting average with a double against the struggling right-hander.


Alex Dickerson (SF) @ SD $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nick Solak (TEX) vs. OAK $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Avisail Garcia (MIL) vs CHC $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Garrett Hampson (COL) vs. LAA $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ramon Laureano (OAK) @ TEX $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Dickerson: Dickerson has cooled down a bit since collecting 19 total bases in two games against the Rockies, but he is one of my favorite Giants to use against the Padres’ Garrett Richards. As mentioned while talking about Brandon Belt, Richards’ struggles against right-handed pitching have ruined his success against lefties, surrendering 14 of his 21 runs and five of his six home runs to them. As for Dickerson, most of his success has come off of right-handed pitchers, including seven of his eight home runs and 21 of his 23 RBI.

Solak: I’ve mentioned a number of Rangers’ bats that I’m interested in against Mike Fiers, but I saved my favorite for last. While Solak favors left-handed pitching, he’s the Rangers’ best right-handed bat and is a career .260 hitter in righty/righty matchups with four of his seven major league home runs coming off of them. He’s the riskiest play out of my outfield picks, but I also like his ceiling the most.

Garcia: Garcia has quietly crushed left-handed pitchers this season, and he owns a .333/.476/.576 triple-slash with a 172 wRC+ and 1.052 OPS against them. He, like Hirua and Gyorko, lines up against the Cubs’ Jon Lester, who has a rough 6.12 FIP against right-handed hitters with a .362 allowed wOBA. There’s room for him to get even worse, too, as his .281 BABIP against them sits 54 points lower than his 2019 mark.

Hampson: One of the cheaper Coors bats, Hampson gets a favorable righty vs. righty matchup against Griffin Canning, who has given up a triple-slash of .277/.354/.482 to RHH with a 5.84 xFIP. Hampson not only hits right-handed pitchers better, but he’s also more powerful, as he sports a .247 ISO that sits 131 points higher than his mark against LHP this season. Don’t forget that he can also swipe a base or too, also.

Laureano: While Laureano has cooled off lately, as he owns a .194 batting average over his last 72 at-bats, he’s got a great chance to get straightened out against Jordan Lyles, who will follow Luis Garcia and be the Rangers’ primary pitcher tonight. Lyles has been dreadful against right-handed pitching, surrendering a terrible .333/.390/.623 triple-slash to them in addition to a .421 wOBA and 7.22 FIP. Laureano hasn’t done the greatest in righty/righty matchups this year, but he did very well in them last season, as he hit 18 of his 24 home runs against them with a .285 average.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary:

5 Notable Players To Fade:

  • Eddie Rosario (OF – MIN) $3,000: While Rosario owns three long balls against Shane Bieber, all of those came before Bieber ascended to Cy Young contention. Not only does Bieber dominate left-handed hitters now to the tune of a 0.77 FIP, but Rosario is also 0-for-6 against the ace this season.
  • Franmil Reyes (OF – CLE) $2,800: While Reyes has managed to turn things around with a .333 average over the last month, he runs into Kenta Maeda, who has limited right-handed bats to a minuscule .175 wOBA.
  • Wil Myers (OF – SD) $3,400: Myers is enjoying a great bounce-back season, but he is just 3-for-23 with seven strikeouts against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto, who is having somewhat of a bounce-back season himself.
  • Paul DeJong (SS – STL) $3,000: Despite having some questionable splits, Luis Castillo’s 1.30 FIP against right-handed batters probably isn’t going to do any favors to DeJong’s .217 average against the Reds’ ace.
  • Jorge Polanco (SS – MIN) $2,900: Polanco hits significantly better from the right side and won’t get the chance to do so against Shane Bieber, who, as mentioned, is giving up nothing to lefty bats this year.

All Advanced Statistics Sourced From FanGraphs

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Caleb Baggette is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Caleb, check out his archive and follow him @CalebBg9

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