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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (9/4)

Sep 4, 2020

Robinson Cano has been rolling back the clock in a vintage season. Can he add to his success tonight?

It’s the first Friday of September, which means the end of Summer is getting closer, and playoff baseball is right around the corner. We have a relatively small nine-game slate tonight, with not much but risky boom-or-bust plays at pitching following the expensive Yu Darvish. With those boom-or-bust plays, however, we get the freedom of luxury bats and high-end stacks to fill out our rosters.

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Pitchers

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Yu Darvish (CHC) vs. STL $11,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jack Flaherty (STL) @ CHC $9,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) vs TEX $6,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Corbin Burnes (MIL) @ CLE $7,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Darvish: Darvish is by far the most expensive pitcher on this slate, coming in at $11,200. It’s for a good reason, though, as some changes in his game have resulted in the Cy-Young candidate that we remember from the early-to-mid 2010s. He’ll take the mound tonight against the Cardinals, who should be coming into the contest somewhat tired as they’ve already played four double-headers since coming back from their Covid-19 absence. The Cardinals are also a mostly right-handed lineup, which Darvish has flat out dominated this season to the tune of a 1.88 xFIP and .257 wOBA. You don’t need to be sold on this, though, as Darvish is a no-brainer who has more wins over his last six starts(6) than earned runs(4).

Flaherty: On the other side of the Cardinals/Cubs game, I also like Jack Flaherty, who is getting his pitch count back up and could earn his first quality start since July 24th. The Cubs have a reasonably balanced lineup, which could be tricky to most pitchers. Luckily for Flaherty, he isn’t like most pitchers. While a small sample size, Flaherty has performed well against both sides of the plate this season, allowing batting averages under .200 to both left and right-handed hitters as well as on-base percentages under .250 to go with his 1.93 ERA. As hinted at briefly, pitch count is a concern of mine, as the 2019 breakout star has thrown over 80 pitches just twice this year. Still, he has seen significant increases each time he’s taken the mound since the Cardinals returned, and St. Louis will need as much out of their pitchers as possible during this grueling stretch of games they’re in the midst of.

Kikuchi: While Kikuchi’s ugly 6.12 ERA is defiantly a turn-off, he’s quietly made significant improvements from his rookie season, which is backed up by his solid 4.06 SIERA and even better 2.70 FIP. Simply said, Kikuchi has been incredibly unlucky, especially against left-handed hitters, which the Texas Rangers lack following Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo. While those two can be problems, they don’t fix the fact that the Rangers are dead last in the league in Batting Average & Slugging as well as second-worst in on-base percentage and OPS. This is as good of an opportunity as any for Kikuchi to help get back on his feet.

Burnes: Burnes has had some under-the-radar success this season, pitching his way to a 3.61 SIERA while limiting both left and right-handed hitters to sub .200 batting averages. He’s gone six innings just once this season, but his significant 2.78 ERA has allowed him to maintain a solid 30.7 average FanDuel points per game. Milwaukee has started to stretch him out, as he’s pitched 80+ pitches in each of his last three games after failing to reach that mark in all four of his first four games this season, which means there is room to grow in the form of more long-lasting outings. He’ll take the mound against the Cleveland Indians, who, despite having several individual stars, rank in the bottom seven in average, slugging, OPS, and home runs.

Catcher/First Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Pete Alonso (NYM) vs. PHI $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Daulton Varsho (ARI) @ SFG $2,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Alonso: Pete has started to turn things around in the power department, hitting seven long balls over the last 30 days, two of which coming from his previous two outings. The Mets draw Jake Arrieta, who hasn’t been himself at all this season, currently sporting a career-worst 6.49 ERA with an ugly 4.88 FIP through his first six starts. He’s given up better numbers in individual sports in righty on righty matchups, surrendering a hard-hit percentage of 47.9% as well as a .339 batting average and .390 wOBA. Alonso’s triple-slash struggles that have remained limits him to a GPP play for me, though he’s a pretty good one at that.

Varsho: While Tyler Anderson has shown tremendous flashes this season, he owns a slate-worst 5.76 SIERA and has gotten straight-up abused in lefty on lefty matchups, surrendering a .423 wOBA with a 5.92 FIP. Varsho, one of the games’ most exciting catching prospects, hasn’t produced much in his brief opportunities this season, but his potential cannot be denied. Plus, Varsho has had success against left-handers in the minors, hitting .367/.441/.544 with three homers and 12 RBI against them in 2018 at the Single-A level.

Second Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Robinson Cano (NYM) vs. PHI $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jean Segura (PHI) @ NYM $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Cano: Like Alonso, Robinson goes up against Jake Arrieta, who is coming off of a -17 FanDuel point blowup his last time up and who’s 4.98 SIERA ranks second-worst on the slate. The difference between Alonso and Cano is simple: Alonso is a right-hander who has struggled this season, whereas Cano gets a good lefty vs. righty matchup and has raked against RHP to the tune of .435/.471/.726 triple-slash to go along with a 222 wRC+ thus far this season.

Segura: Segura and the Phillies go up against Rick Porcello, who has surrendered a miserable slugging-percentage of .587 with an equally ugly .424 wOBA and 5.14 xFIP in righty on righty matchups. While Segura hasn’t performed the best against RHP this season, hitting just .214 with a 67 wRC+ against them across 70 at-bats, he has performed well against Porcello, being 5-for-16 with a home run and a triple against him.

Third Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Evan Longoria (SFG) vs ARI $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Yoan Moncada (CWS) vs KCR $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Longoria: I’m mostly fading the left-handed Giants in this game as Taylor Clarke limited LHH to a triple-slash of just .108/.227/.189 and an eye-popping hard-hit percentage of 17.2%. On the flip side, I’m a fan of the right-handed Giants as Clarke has surrendered a hard-hit rate of 51.7% with a FIP of 5.10 against RHH despite an also impressive .156/.255/.356 slash. Not to mention that Longoria has been raking, hitting .400/.426/.600 with two long balls and nine RBI over the last 14 days.

Moncada: Moncada has fallen to $3,200, which makes him a near value option in a spot against Brady Singer, who owns a rough 5.65 FIP and .321 wOBA against left-handed hitters this season, where Moncada will start tonight’s game. There is concern about Moncada’s health, as he’s told reporters that his body “Hasn’t felt the same” and has dealt with fatigue since a mid-July battle with Covid-19, but Moncada wants to power through it, and he’ll get an excellent chance to get on that path tonight.

Shortstop

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Didi Gregorius (PHI) @ NYM $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Chris Taylor (LOS) vs COL $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Gregorius: While Porcello hasn’t been nearly as vulnerable against LHH, owning a solid 3.76 xFIP with a .278 wOBA against them, Gregorius is a known righty crusher, and this season is no different as he holds a .313/.389/.450 triple-slash with a .360 wOBA against RHP thus far this season. He’s no stranger to Porcello either, as he already owns two homers, six runs, and four RBI against him despite a rough .175 batting average.

Taylor: While it isn’t a guarantee that he’ll draw a start, Taylor has been hitting the ball well lately, sporting a .286/.375/.486 triple-slash over the last 14 days. If he starts, he’ll go up against Antonio Senzatela, who has outperformed his 3.32 ERA by almost a whole point and owns a 4.47 FIP against RHH this season.

Outfield

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Andrew McCutchen (PHI) @ NYM $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  Low
David Peralta (ARI) @ SFG $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Alex Dickerson (SFG) vs. ARI $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kole Calhoun (ARI) @ SFG $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
McCutchen: One last time, Rick Porcello and his .424 wOBA to RHH this season has been dreadful in righty vs. righty matchups this season. While I love the Philly stack tonight, nobody stands out more than McCutchen to me as he is the only Phillie regular who has performed better in these righty on righty matchups(.287 AVG vs. .225 against LHP), giving him one of if not the best matchups against Porcello. He also owns a home run and a stolen base against the former Cy-Young winner.

Peralta & Calhoun: As mentioned above, while talking about Daulton Varsho, the Diamondbacks go up against Tyler Anderson, who owns a hideous .351/.395/.649 triple-slash with a .423 wOBA against left-handed hitters. This benefits both Peralta and Calhoun, who are the two primary left-handed bats in Arizona. Neither of them has hit LHP particularly well this season, especially Calhoun, who has just three hits in 28 at-bats against them this season. However, this is mostly due to an unsustainable .176 BABIP that sits 100 points below his career mark. At the end of the day, Anderson’s abysmal marks against LHH are arguably the worst on the slate, so I’m having some shares in GPP play.

Dickerson: Dickerson is the only left-handed bat I’m seriously considering against Taylor Clarke, as he’s been on an absolute tear, hitting .458/.480/1.083 with four home runs over the last week, and his $2,800 price is criminally low for all the raking he’s been doing. That’s not the only reason I’m on Dickerson, as he’s managed to hit Clarke rather well, owning two long balls and five RBI against him through just four at-bats.

Five Studs Worth Their Salary:

  • Rhys Hoskins (OF – PHI) $4,000: Hoskins goes up against Rick Porcello, who’s given up a dreadful .424 wOBA to RHH this season. As a bonus, Hoskins is 4-for-11 with two homers in his career against Porcello.
  • Mookie Betts (OF – LAD) $4,400: Betts is worthy of a roster spot whenever you can afford it. He’ll go up against Antonio Senzatela, who was the starting pitcher the night of Mookie’s two-homer, 59.1 FanDuel point night not too long ago.
  • Corey Seager (SS – LAD) $3,800: Seager also homered on that night, and he gets a good lefty on righty matchup.
  • Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS – SDP) $4,700: While Jesus Luzardo has been just about light out against LHH, he’s been vulnerable to righties. Not that it matters, because this is Tatis we’re talking about here.
  • Christian Yelich (OF – MIL) $4,100: I’m expecting a lot of people to be on Carlos Carrasco, so Yelich is a bit of a contrarian play, but it’s backed up by Carrasco’s ugly 4.85 FIP and 53.3 hard-hit percentage to left-handed hitters.

Five Notable Players To Fade:

  • Mike Yastrzemski (OF – SFG) $3,900: Taylor Clarke has been lights out against left-handed hitters, giving up a .200 wOBA with an absurd 17.2 hard-hit percentage to them this season. Plus, Yas is 1-for-8 in his career against him, and I also expect him to be more owned than he should be.
  • Kris Bryant (3B – CHC) $3,100: Bryant hasn’t been able to get it going yet this season and walks into an ace in Jack Flaherty, who he’s 2-for-18 against in his career.
  • Jason Heyward (OF – CHC) $2,900: While he isn’t struggling like Bryant, he has just about the same track record against Flaherty, owning only one hit against him through 17 at-bats.
  • Matt Olson (1B – OAK) $3,100: Olson hasn’t been able to hit right-handers well this season, owning a .147 average with an 85 wRC+ despite seven homers. He’ll face a tough one in Zach Davies, who has shut down LHH to the tune of a .176 wOBA.
  • Yuli Gurriel (1B – HOU) $2,900: Like Olson, Gurriel hasn’t been able to hit RHP this season effectively and walks into one that has shut down LHH, this time with Dylan Bundy. It doesn’t help that Gurriel is 1-for-9 in his career against Bundy.

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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