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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Tuesday 9/1

Sep 1, 2020

With a flurry of trades on Monday, and new contenders reaching for the stars at the deadline, we begin to realize we’re suddenly very close to the postseason. The calendar reads “September,” and the “dog days of summer” have gone by in a blink.

The month starts off with few dependable pitching options on Tuesday’s slate, so we’ll dig into some risky matchups that just might yield a nice payday. We’ll also stack some Mets’ lefties against a right-handed pitcher in Baltimore while taking gambles on some very young players as we seek to get value out of economic options. The season’s running short, so let’s not waste any more time!

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Value Plays: Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Sonny Gray (CIN) vs. STL $9,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Ian Anderson (ATL) @ BOS $9,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Julio Urias (LAD) vs. ARI $7,300 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Sonny Gray is the second-highest priced pitcher on the docket for Tuesday, so he hardly qualifies as the “value” pick that we usually try to highlight. However, I think there’s extreme value in his price tag in Tuesday’s showdown with the Cardinals for a few good reasons. First is his history against current Cardinals’ batters. In 116 plate appearances, the St. Louis roster has an ISO of .058 against him. That’s not low, that’s microscopic, and it can be explained by the low number of extra-base hits: five. None of the five are homers. Combine the historical numbers with the Cardinals’ 2020 ISO of .133, and it seems unlikely they’ll hit Gray hard at all. And oh, by the way, Sonny Gray has an 11.88 K/9 this season and has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts this season. So yeah, a solid value play here.

Ian Anderson has started one game in the Major Leagues, and his price is already $9,000 on FanDuel. So there’s not much to go on here, but he was sharp in his debut, and he will face a Boston team who’s never seen him or his 10.76 minor-league K/9 rate.  The Red Sox offense is right about average, with a wRC of 99 and a 23.4% K-rate. If he can get through the lineup a couple of times before they start to see his pitches, we could see a 5.0 – 6.0 IP with seven strikeouts kind of night, with maybe a couple of earned runs. It’s a fun pick, but a risky one.

Of the three picks, Gray is the safest bet, Anderson is the riskiest, and Urias falls somewhere in the middle. He’s been good against current Diamondback hitters in a small sample size, limiting them to a .216 batting average and a punchless .608 OPS. Arizona’s offense is fifth-worst in wRC+ (84), sixth-worst in ISO (.136), and fourth-worst in wOBA (.294). Urias probably won’t strike out a ton of hitters (8.0 K/9), and the Diamondbacks strikeout only 20.2% of the time, which is the fourth-best in baseball. But his hard-hit percentage (27.7%) is in the 90th percentile, so the Dbacks are not likely to tee off on him. Think of Urias as a conservative option if you want to take risks elsewhere with the bats.

Catcher / First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Christian Walker (ARI) @ LAD $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Rhys Hoskins (PHI) vs. WSH $3,600 ⭐⭐ Medium
Pete Alonso (NYM) @ BAL $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

It’s never good to recommend a pitcher and then immediately turn around and recommend a hitter facing him. That said, I’ll take Christian Walker against Urias for his hot bat (three homers in his last seven games). Speaking of hot bats, Rhys Hoskins is batting .400 with four homers and only one strikeout in his last 20 at-bats. He’ll face off against Patrick Corbin, against whom he homered just last week. Alonso is the best bet to go off against Asher Wojciechowski, who gives up a lot of fly balls (49.7%), and a lot of them leave the yard (21.2%).

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Robinson Cano (NYM) @ BAL $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Donovan Solano (SF) @ COL $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jonathan Schoop (DET) @ MIL $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Robinson Cano can still hit. The 37-year-old veteran is mashing to the tune of a .375 average, and he has six home runs in 88 at-bats. He’s another Met to deploy against Wojciechowski in a juicy lefty-righty matchup favorable to Cano. Donovan Solano sees Jon Gray very well (4-for-8 with one home run and zero strikeouts) and will be playing in Colorado. Jonathan Schoop continues to produce (131wRC+, .227 ISO, .303 BA, 8 HR), and if you want to talk about “value picks,” there’s not much better out there for his 10.97 FPPG.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Rafael Devers (BOS) vs. ATL $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Alec Bohm (PHI) vs. WSH $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Devers will draw Atlanta’s tough rookie Ian Anderson, but he’s a lefty against the righty Anderson and has surrendered six hits, including two homers, in his past two games. Devers is a guy who was top 7% of the league last year in xBA and hard-hit percentage, so if he gets hot, he’ll be underpriced. Righty Alec Bohm will face off against lefty Patrick Corbin and produces 8.7 FPPG. At $2,500, that’s a perfect plug if you need a cheap, reliable piece to upgrade in other positions.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Dansby Swanson (ATL) @ BOS $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐ Low
Corey Seager (LAD) vs. ARI $3,600 ⭐⭐ Medium

Dansby Swanson is posting 12.3 FPPG — that makes him a steal at $3,400. He’s produced at least six points in 13-straight games on FanDuel. It’s amazing to me that Corey Seager is still just $3,600. He’s 97th percentile or better in all of the following: exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, and barrel percentage. For stats that score you DFS points, he’s batting .311 with nine homers, 25 RBI, and 21 runs in just 29 games.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Michael Conforto (NYM) @ BAL $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Dominic Smith (NYM) @ BAL $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jason Heyward (CHC) @ PIT $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Franmil Reyes (CLE) @ KC $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

I’m running the gauntlet on the Mets versus Wojciechowski (note to self: no more stacks against pitchers with 13 letters in their last name), and New York’s outfield boasts two left-handed bats against the Baltimore right-hander. Jason Heyward enjoys some nice success against Chad Kuhl (8-for-16 with one homer and one strikeout). Franmil Reyes will bring his powerful bat to the plate against Matt Harvey, who has an 11.12 ERA in his 5 2/3 innings pitched this year. Last year wasn’t much better at 7.09 and a 1.96 HR/9 rate. Reyes is risky because he can be all or nothing, but he could tee off on Harvey.

Five Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Anthony Rizzo (CHC) $3,900: Hot hitter (Eight-game hitting streak, 3 HR in that span) versus a pitcher he’s hit in the past (7-for-20, two home runs career vs. Kuhl). Sign me up.
  • Nelson Cruz (MIN) $4,100: Solid numbers against Dallas Keuchel (14-for-45 with five homers and a 1.063 OPS)
  • Brandon Belt (SF) $3,800: Juicy history against Jon Gray (8-for-21 with a homer and 1.147 OPS)
  • Aaron Nola (PHI) $10,200: If Nola’s 12.00 K/9 isn’t enticing, how about the fact that his SIERA (2.90) is lower than his actual ERA (3.00)?
  • Zach Plesac (CLE) $9,700: Plesac offers a slight discount to Nola, and he has a better opponent (KC). He’s turned in a quality start and at least 6 strikeouts and 34 FPPG in each of his three starts this year.

Five Notable Players to Fade

  • Ronald Acuna (ATL) $4,100: Acuna left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and did not play Monday. The issue is not believed to be worthy of the Injured List, but until we know that’s he’s starting again, it’s best to wait it out.
  • Elieser Hernandez (MIA) $7,700: I’m a huge fan of Elieser’s future, but the present day has red flags. He’s allowed two homers in both of his past starts, and the Blue Jays are seventh in the league in ISO.
  • Miguel Sano (MIN) $3,100: Sano has been hot, but Dallas Keuchel gets the better of him (3-for-14, 6 K’s, 0 HR).
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) $4,200: Bellinger’s bat has awakened in recent games, but he’ll face lefty Alex Young of the Diamondbacks. Bellinger’s ISO is just .135 against lefties.
  • Jose Abreu (CHW) $3,700: Abreu is 1-for-14 against Michael Pineda, who is making his first start since his suspension. With those numbers and the fact that no one knows what to expect from Pineda, best to pass on Abreu for today.

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Steven Boysko is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Steven, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter, @StevenBoysko.

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