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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy: Thursday (9/17)

by Jon Mathisen | @eazymath | Featured Writer
Sep 17, 2020

We have 10 games on the All Day Late Swap, which features some excellent pitching matchups. Elite guys like Shane Bieber and Aaron Nola will cost you a pretty penny, but they could well be worth the investment. There are some sneaky, albeit risky, pitchers to choose from as well. On the offensive side, we have a handful of stacks worth exploring for the Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Yankees. It’s also worth mentioning that even though Seattle is technically the home team in their matchup against the Giants, the game is actually being played at Oracle Park due to poor air quality in Seattle.

With that said, remember to always #StackTheDeck. Let’s get into it.

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Value Plays: Pitcher

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Dakota Hudson (STL)  @ PIT $8,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)  @ MIA $7,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Griffin Canning (LAA)  vs. ARI $6,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High

  • Hudson has picked up three straight wins and earned a quality start in three of four outings. He now gets to face the light-hitting Pirates in the friendly confines of PNC Park. Pittsburgh ranks bottom three in team batting average (.220), dead last in wOBA (.272), and second to last in xSLG (.403). This is simply a bad offense, and Hudson’s price seems cheap considering the roll he’s been on. He won’t strike out a ton of batters, and he tends to issue some free passes, but he’s a good bet for a QS and a win.
  • Eovaldi is an average pitcher, and Miami is an average offense. Sure, the Marlins can be pesky on the surface, but they rank toward the bottom third of the league with 4.3 runs created per game. They’re also 27th in all of baseball with a .142 ISO and a .315 xwOBA. Marlins Park is the friendliest venue in the MLB with a park factor score of 0.755 (anything below 1.000 favors pitchers). All of the above is enough for me to throw a dart at Eovaldi, who has the strikeout upside (8.9 K/9 and 6.17 K/BB) to pitch a gem.
  • Canning has been up and down this season, and his stats are nothing to write home about (0-3, 4.57 ERA, 1.368 WHIP, and a 39:16 K/BB ratio over 45 1/3 innings). But this recommendation is more about his opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have lost 10-of-14 games this month and are bottom six in runs scored per game at 4.16. They’re also ranked 28th in all of baseball in wOBA (.290) and 27th in xSLG (.412). No matter which way you slice it, this is not a good offense, and while Canning has been nothing special, he’s got a good chance to grab a win. Although this start isn’t without risk, the money you’ll save on his selection would allow you to pay up on offense.

Catcher/First Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Paul Goldschmidt (STL)  @ PIT $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Miguel Sano (MIN)  @ CWS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High
Brandon Belt (SF)  @ SEA $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

  • Goldy has been hot over his last 55 at-bats with three home runs, seven RBI, and a .804 OPS. He only has a .268 BABIP over that span, which tells us that he hasn’t just been getting lucky. The price feels right for a player who walks more than he strikes out (25: 32 K/BB ratio) and is batting .364 (4-for-11) with two home runs, five RBI, and three walks lifetime against Pirates starter Steven Brault.
  • Miguel Sano is in the midst of a 2-for-18 slump over the last week. Both of those hits happen to be home runs, and he’s facing Reynaldo Lopez, who is giving up 1.8 HR/9 this year. Sano is 2-for-8 lifetime against Lopez with a solo home run and three walks as well. There is always the risk of an 0-for-4 with a flawed hitter like Sano, but Lopez feels like the perfect pitcher to wake him up from his slumber.
  • The Giants are facing off against LHP Nick Margevicius, who they hammered for seven runs back on September 9th. The lefty/lefty matchup certainly doesn’t favor Belt, but Seattle has one of the worst bullpens in baseball with a 6.28 ERA and 1.53 WHIP across 169 innings pitched. Belt owns a .276/.400/621 batting line (29 at-bats) in games when a left-handed pitcher started as well. It’s a bit of a cherry-picked stat, but it’s one that favors Belt and can help justify putting him in your lineup.

Second Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Wilmer Flores (SF)  @ SEA $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
David Fletcher (LAA)  vs. ARI $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Donovan Solano (SF)  at SEA $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

  • If there’s one thing that Wilmer Flores has done well all year, it’s hit left-handed pitching. He’s slashing .298/.346/.681 with five home runs and 13 RBI  across 47 at-bats against lefties this year. Nick Margevicius got lit up by the Giants for seven runs when he started against them just eight days ago, and Flores smacked a double off him and scored a run before he was lifted. This start may not go as bad for Margevicius this time around, but last time I checked, Flores can still mash southpaws.
  • Fletcher, much like Flores above, has been excellent when facing lefties this season, as he has registered a .296/.367/.426 batting line over 54 AB’s. He was recently activated from the injured list after suffering a sprained ankle and is 5-for-19 since his return. Fletcher isn’t a flashy pick here, but he should get multiple cracks at D-backs starter Alex Young, who has been very average up to this point (4.42 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 32:12 K/BB ratio over 38 2/3 innings).
  • Solano feels like a steal here at this price, which is insanely cheap for a guy that’s top three in all of baseball with a .353 batting-average. He’s clocking a 1.006 OPS with three doubles, a triple, and a home run over his last 33 at-bats and is hitting .333 with a .860 OPS (48 AB’s) against southpaws this year. Hello, Nick Margevicius.

Third Base

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Bobby Dalbec (BOS)  at MIA $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT)  vs. STL $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Evan Longoria (SF)  at SEA $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

  • Bobby Dalbec is fresh off mashing six home runs in his first 10 career games, which is an MLB record. He also just had an eight-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday, so it’s safe to say that he is swinging a very hot bat. Dalbec’s power is very real with his 21.7% barrel rate and his .512 xSLG, but that’s come with a whopping 47.1% strikeout rate, so you have to take the good with the bad here. The Red Sox are facing Jose Urena, who has gotten hammered over his only two starts this year for a 7.71 ERA over 9 1/3 innings.
  • Ke’Bryan Hayes has collected hits in 9-of-12 games since his call up and has reached base safely in 11 of those contests. In his brief time in the bigs, he’s picked up 14 hits in 46 at-bats for a .304 batting average and a .925 OPS. Nearly half of those hits have been for extra bases, as he’s logged two doubles, two triples, and two home runs. Hayes certainly has a hot bat right now, and $3,200 feels cheap to get it into your lineup.
  • Of the three third baseman featured here, Longoria has the safest floor and is in a very favorable matchup against a left-hander in Nick Margevicius. Longo has consistently hit southpaws well all season with a .341/.364/.585 batting line (41 AB’s) that includes three long balls and eight RBI. He knocked an RBI single off Margevicius just eight days ago, and the Giants are geared up for another hit party as they fight to hold onto the eighth and final playoff seed in the NL.

Shortstop

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Francisco Lindor (CLE)  @ DET $3,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Paul DeJong (STL)  @ PIT $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Brandon Crawford (SF)  @ SEA $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ High

  • Lindor may seem expensive, but there are actually five other shortstops priced ahead of him, and he may have one of the best individual matchups of them all. The Indians are facing Tigers rookie Casey Mize, who has shown flashes of talent this year but has yet to make it out of the fifth inning in any of his five starts. His 5.85 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over 20 innings is nothing special, and he’s surrendering a .845 OPS to left-handed batters. The shortstop is 15-for-44 (.341 BA) with a .957 OPS over his last 12 games and is a safe bet to keep it rolling against the inconsistent rookie.
  • DeJong enters Thursday’s action slashing .333/.452/.375 over his last eight games (24 at-bats). He’s been getting on-base at a healthy clip, but, as evidenced by his low slugging%, he isn’t getting many extra-base hits. His exit velocity, launch angle, xSLG, and hard hit% are all above his career marks, so he’s due for some positive regression in the power department. Steven Brault has done a good job of keeping the ball in the yard this year, as he’s only given up two home runs in eight starts, but his 4.63 FIP and 1.613 WHIP suggest that he’s due for a reckoning one way or another.
  • Brandon Crawford has been on fire in September, as he’s gone 11-for-34 with four doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI in 10 games. The Mariners are throwing out arguably their weakest arm in Nick Margevicius and have one of the league’s worst bullpens. Crawford is a very cheap piece of an offense that is primed to let it rip against the M’s.

Outfield

NAME (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Aaron Judge (NYY)  vs. TOR $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)  vs. TOR $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Mike Yastrzemski (SF)  @ SEA $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Dominic Smith (NYM)  @ PHI $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Michael Brantley (HOU)  vs. TEX $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

  • This could be the cheapest price we’ll see Judge listed at for the rest of the season, so it’s worth taking advantage of it here. Blue Jays starter Chase Anderson is giving up 2.1 HR/9 over 26 1/3 innings (seven starts) this year, and Judge is slugging .738 with nine home runs across 65 at-bats. Get the picture?
  • Just like his bash brother mentioned above, this could be the cheapest we see Stanton priced at for as long as he is healthy. Chase Anderson is giving up home runs like nobody’s business, and Stanton is slugging .533 with three dingers in 45 at-bats this year. The Yankees are easing both Giancarlo and Judge back into action, and there’s a good chance that they won’t play together, so keep an eye on the lineup prior to making your selection. Whichever one ends up starting in real life is worth starting in your DFS lineup.
  • Yastrzemski is 12-for-42 over the last two weeks with two homers and eight RBI; one of those homers was a three-run shot off Nick Margevicius, who he faces again on Thursday. Despite the fact that Yas will face a fellow left-hander, he’s actually performed well against them this season, and he’s got a .258/.352/.613 batting line to go along with five home runs and 13 RBI.
  • Dominic Smith enters Thursday while riding a 10-game hitting streak in which he’s collected five doubles, one home run, and 12 RBI. He’s facing a familiar opponent in Aaron Nola, who has historically owned him (3-for-18 lifetime). But Smith is destroying right-handed pitching this year to the tune of a .350/.391/.670 batting line with 14 doubles, six homers, and 24 RBI. It may be the recency bias outweighing the career numbers against Nola, but I think Smith is worth the investment.
  • Brantley is batting .348 with a .993 OPS (89 at-bats) against right-handed pitchers this year while lefties are hitting .264 with a .770 OPS (87 at-bats) against Jordan Lyles. If those numbers average out, then Brantley will be well worth the price. It’s a small investment to make for the most reliable hitter in Houston’s lineup.

5 Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Shane Bieber (CLE) $11,900: Bieber’s reputation precedes him as the AL Cy Young favorite. He’s picked up a QS in all but one of his 10 starts this year and carries a 7-1 record. In his lone start against the Tigers this year, he fanned 11 over seven innings without giving up a run.
  • Aaron Nola (PHI) $10,900: Nola has fared well against the Mets this year; he’s got a 1-1 record, 2.19 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and an 18:3 K/BB ratio across 12 1/3 innings. He’s also picked up a win and a QS in three of his last four starts entering Thursday.
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) $4,000: He’s hitting .298 across 47 at-bats against southpaws this year and is 6-for-9 lifetime against Dodgers starter Julio Urias with three doubles and a triple. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, well, consider that this game is being played at Coors Field.
  • Nelson Cruz (MIN) $4,100: It’s likely to be a high-scoring affair for the Twins as they face Reynaldo Lopez, who was recently recalled after a disastrous start to the season. Nelly is 4-for-9 with one homer and four RBI lifetime against Lopez.
  • DJ LeMahieu (NYY) $4,000: LeMahieu is working on a nine-game hitting streak, and it’s a near certainty that it’ll continue against Chase Anderson, who has only pitched into the fifth inning twice in seven starts this year.

5 Notable Players to Fade

  • Kenta Maeda (MIN) $9,800: Maeda has been excellent this season, but his home/road splits don’t favor him in this matchup. He carries a 3.45 ERA (five starts) on the road versus a 1.33 ERA (four starts) at home. The White Sox are a top-four offense in runs per game, so this is just too rich for my blood.
  • J.T. Realmuto (PHI) $3,500: He’s been out since Sunday with a mild hip flexor and isn’t guaranteed to suit up on Thursday. Even if he does play, it’s still a situation worth avoiding, as there’s bound to be some rust for the backstop.
  • Pete Alonso (NYM) $3,600: Alonso has been crushing the ball lately, as he’s earned five home runs in his last 46 at-bats, but he’s batting just .239 with a .300 OBP over that span. The power is tantalizing, but he’s just as likely to go 0-for-4 against Phillies ace Aaron Nola as he is to leave the yard.
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) $4,500: Bellinger has been hitting better of late, but he’s still struggling this season with a .215 batting average and a .702 OPS. He still has pop in his bat, but he’s hitting .197 and slugging .311 against left-handed pitching this year (61 ABs).
  • Mike Trout (LAA) $4,600: I’ll never fault anyone for wanting to spend up on the best player in baseball, but Trout deserves a downgrade whenever he faces a left-hander. His slash line (.227/.346/.386 over 44 at-bats) against southpaws doesn’t justify the price tag.

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Jon Mathisen is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive and follow him @eazymath.

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