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FanDuel MLB DFS Strategy Advice: Saturday (9/5)

Sep 5, 2020

Max Fried is making a case for the NL Cy Young award.

We are officially into September, and it’s crazy to think that the regular season will be coming to an end later this month. While the 2020 season has been anything but traditional, we can be grateful that we were provided live baseball at all.

With over a month of the season under our belt, we are starting to notice trends both on the team and player levels. For the all-day Saturday slate over on FanDuel, the only games left off the slate are part of doubleheaders: Astros-Angels and Cardinals-Cubs. Throughout this piece, I will reference implied team totals and winning probabilities that are generated from our consensus odds over at

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Kenta Maeda (MIN) vs. DET $9,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Max Fried (ATL) vs. WSH $8,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Justus Sheffield (SEA) vs. TEX $8,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tony Gonsolin (LAD) vs. COL $7,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

For once, we have an abundance of pitching options on this Saturday slate. Many elite arms are taking the mound, including Gerrit Cole, Blake Snell, and Lucas Giolito. I’m choosing to highlight Kenta Maeda out of the top options. He has been fantastic in 2020 with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. In his last three outings, he has recorded strikeout totals of 8, 7, and 12. The Twins have a winning probability of 71%, and the opposing Tigers have a measly implied total of 3.34 runs. Maeda carries strikeout upside to go along with a great chance to pick up both a quality start and the win.

Though Zac Gallen has my vote to date, Max Fried is making a case for the NL Cy Young award. The southpaw has a 6-0 record, a 1.60 ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP. He is averaging just below one strikeout per inning pitched, and he has recorded at least five punchouts in each of his past five outings. Fried carries a little more risk as he takes on a Washington lineup that can score runs in bunches, but that lineup is a lot less scary if Juan Soto misses the game once again.

While neither team will be in the playoff race, the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants have been surprising in that they have been much better than expected. Sheffield’s numbers don’t look great on the surface, as he sits with a 4.75 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in just over 30 innings of work. However, what if I told you that he is 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA in his outings against all teams besides the Angels? While the Halos may have his number, Sheffield picked up a quality start, a win, and five strikeouts against these same Texas Rangers on 08/22. He is a good budget option for owners looking to save salary at the pitcher position.

We cannot fault Tony Gonsolin for his lack of a track record in 2020 so far. The Dodgers have an abundance of talent in their starting rotation as well as their bullpen, which has made it difficult for players like Gonsolin to land a permanent role. However, his numbers to this point have earned him another start at Dodger Stadium. Gonsolin enters Saturday’s action with a 17:5 K:BB ratio to go along with a 0.79 WHIP in his 17.2 innings of work. The Rockies’ bats are not nearly as intimidating away from Coors Field, and the Dodgers have a 67% chance to win this ballgame.


Joey Votto (CIN) @ PIT $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Rowdy Tellez (TOR) @ BOS $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Travis d’Arnaud (ATL) vs. WSH $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Joey Votto is expected to hit leadoff for the Reds on Saturday, who have an implied run total above five runs. The veteran lefty and the rest of the Cincinnati lineup will be up against Trevor Williams of Pittsburgh, who has a 5.50 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 2020.

Tellez was hitting from the third spot of the Blue Jays order in Game 1 of a doubleheader yesterday. The power-hitting lefty could be placed anywhere within the core of the Toronto batting order, but he should have RBI opportunities wherever he lands. Tellez has seven long balls, 20 RBIs, and 15 runs scored on the year. The Blue Jays will be up against Ryan Weber of the Red Sox, who is sporting a 5.79 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP.

Another catcher recommendation in this lineup spot! Fans are familiar with J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, but Travis d’Arnaud has been one of the best hitting catchers in baseball as well. He comes into Saturday’s action with a .326 average, five HRs, 20 RBIs, and 12 runs scored. The Braves will get set to face Erick Fedde of the Nationals, who has a 1.43 WHIP and 4.71 ERA on the year.


Mike Moustakas (CIN) @ PIT $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nick Madrigal (CWS) @ KCR $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tommy La Stella (OAK) vs. SDP $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

Sign me up for another cheap, veteran, left-handed hitter in the Cincinnati lineup. After missing the early part of the season with an injury, Moustakas has slowly been finding his form. He went three-for-four in Friday’s action with a double and a HR. Moustakas and the rest of the Reds have a solid matchup against Trevor Williams of the Pirates.

The White Sox come in with an implied run total of 5.39 against LHP Kris Bubic and the Kansas City Royals. Madrigal is one of the most affordable bats within the White Sox lineup, and he is currently riding a seven-game hitting streak. He is hitting .400 in his 11 games this season despite starting the year 0-for-8.

Acquired at the trade deadline from the Angels, Tommy La Stella will look to contribute to the Athletics’ playoff run. The 2019 All-Star has not produced the same type of numbers at the plate in 2020, but he is still averaging about 10 fantasy points per game. He will now be a part of a much stronger lineup, and Chris Paddack is not the imposing matchup he once was.


Colin Moran (PIT) vs. CIN $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Josh Donaldson (MIN) vs. DET $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Travis Shaw (TOR) @ BOS $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium

The hot corner remains one of the most stacked positions for hitters. With many elite bats at or near the $4,000 salary mark, we have to search for upside when we look at value bats. Since returning from a concussion, Moran has averaged over 10 fantasy points per game and has already hit a HR in one of those six games. The power-hitting lefty has seven long balls on the year, and he has hit two in his career against Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani.

The veteran hitter has only appeared in ten games this year, but Donaldson has been fantastic since returning from the IL on 9/2. He has gone three-for-six with a HR and a double this past week, and the righty will get to face off against southpaw Tarik Skubal. The Royals starter enters Saturday’s action with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.

Shaw didn’t mind playing two games on Friday, as he went a combined four-for-seven with a double and a HR on his way to 33.9 fantasy points. The lefty will be up against Ryan Weber of Boston, who has struggled in 2020 to date.


Dansby Swanson (ATL) vs. WSH $3,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jorge Polanco (MIN) vs. DET $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Freddy Galvis (CIN) @ PIT $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Swanson offers elite upside at a slight discount when compared to some of the other shortstops on the slate. The young star from Vanderbilt is hitting .294 on the season with six HRs, 24 RBIs, and 34 runs scored. He has also swiped four bags on the year. I expect the Braves to have success against Washington starter Erick Fedde, and Swanson should factor into the scoring.

Polanco has been one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball, as he enters Saturday’s action with a .289 batting average, 18 RBIs, and 17 runs scored. He has also gone yard four times, including one to lead off Game 1 of the doubleheader on Friday. We are picking on the young pitcher Skubal in this one, as I expect the right-handed bats of Minnesota to have success against the lefty.

Diving into the bargain bin at shortstop, we can do worse than surface with Galvis, who possesses HR upside at a reasonable salary. He gets the same favorable matchup as Votto and Moustakas as the Reds get set to face Trevor Williams of the Pirates. Six of Galvis’ twenty hits on the season have been long balls, which is a fast track for a budget option to return value immediately.


Jesse Winker (CIN) @ PIT $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Adam Duvall (ATL) vs. WSH $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Eloy Jimenez (CWS) @ KCR $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

Most outfielders who have posted a .306 batting average, ten HRs, 18 RBIs, and 19 runs scored would at least be over the $3,000 salary mark. This is not the case for Jesse Winker, who joins a laundry list of left-handed-hitting Reds who I like for Saturday’s slate. Pittsburgh starter Trevor Williams has allowed seven HRs on the year, one for each of his starts.

Duvall is another player with a sub-$3,000 salary who will be part of a lineup expected to do damage on Saturday. If building a Braves stack, I couldn’t see leaving Duvall off who offers salary relief but also carries the potential to contribute. The outfielder has eight HRs, 18 RBIs, and 19 runs scored on the year. He could join the scoring action on Saturday as well.

One of the best young hitters in baseball (along with teammate Luis Robert), Eloy Jimenez, has followed up his tremendous rookie season with a stellar 2020 as well. He enters Saturday’s action with an .896 OPS, 11 HRs, 29 RBIs, and 20 runs scored. The right-handed hitter will benefit in a matchup against southpaw Kris Bubic of the Royals.

Three Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Nelson Cruz (OF – MIN) $4,000: Cruz is in a smash-spot against a struggling southpaw. He has a 1.514 OPS against lefties in 2020. That is not a typo.
  • Tim Anderson (SS – CWS) $3,600: I’m sure Kris Bubic of the Royals is a great guy, but we are going to pick on him once again here. Tim Anderson crushes left-handed pitchers. He indeed can’t have an OPS higher than Cruz’s against southpaws in 2020, though…. 1.699 I stand corrected.
  • Gerrit Cole (P – NYY): He’s chalk, but Cole is the most expensive arm on the slate for a reason. The last time he faced a lineup on par with the Orioles, the UCLA Bruin tossed seven innings and only allowed one run on his way to eight punchouts and a win. I think he puts on a show on Saturday.

Three Notable Players to Fade

  • Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI) $4,000: Rhys Hoskins has had an incredible week (trust me, I’m playing against him in fantasy baseball), but he has struggled in his career against Seth Lugo. Following his hot week, he will likely have decent ownership on Saturday. However, his $4,000 salary is far too much, considering that he is 0 for 9 with 6 strikeouts against the Mets starter.
  • Trevor Story (SS – COL) $4,000: While the Rockies have some great hitters, these salaries are more appropriate when they are playing at home at Coors Field. I can’t see paying up for any Rockies stack when their salaries are all near the $4,000 mark. I prefer the opposing pitcher Gonsolin in this contest at Dodger Stadium.
  • Trea Turner (SS – WSH) $4,100: Turner is having a fantastic 2020 campaign, and I can’t say that I expect him to struggle on Saturday personally. However, he possesses the most upside when others in the Washington lineup can drive him in. While Turner is 3 for 9 against Fried in his career, he has not recorded any extra-base hits against the Atlanta starter. I expect the rest of the Nationals lineup (especially if Soto sits) to struggle against the NL Cy Young candidate, which caps Turner’s upside.

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Shane Bryant is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @ShaneBryant31.


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