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FanDuel MLB DFS Strategy: Friday (9/25)

Sep 25, 2020

Jose Ramirez is on a mission to secure his first MVP award and gets a great matchup at a surprising price

It’s the final Friday of the regular season, and we have a surprisingly full slate despite a somewhat-small eight games to pick through. A Cy Young hopeful and a three-time winner headline our pitching options, though there’s great potential under the $9,000 mark that allows us to load up on some surging veterans. We’ve got something for everyone, let’s wind down this unforgettable season on a high note!

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Pitchers

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) vs PIT $10,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Clayton Kershaw (LOS) vs LAA $9,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Chris Bassitt (OAK) vs SEA $8,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jose Urquidy (HOU) @ TEX $6,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
J.A. Happ (NYY) vs MIA $7,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Carrasco: Cookie has enjoyed a fantastic comeback season after missing much of 2019 with a battle against leukemia, pitching to a 2.90 ERA that’s his lowest since 2014 while striking out 10.74 batters per nine innings. He’ll get the best matchup on the slate for his last regular-season start of the year against the Pittsburgh Pirates who are dead last in OPS and rank bottom-three in Average, Runs, and Home Runs.

Kershaw: How about Kershaw powering through velocity issues to return his lowest ERA(2.15) since 2016? He’s still not all he used to be, as he’s looking at a third consecutive season with a sub-10 K/9 but his 2.94 FIP, which ranks 11th in the majors among pitchers with at least 50 innings, just proves the three-time Cy Young winner can not only hang but maintain ace status as well. He draws a tricky matchup against the Los Angeles Angels who rank inside the top 10 in Home Runs, OPS, and Runs. They’re nothing Kershaw isn’t used to, however, as he holds a 7-2 record with a 2.42 ERA through 12 career starts against them. Trout and Rendon? Don’t be too overly concerned, as they’re a combined 8-for-36 against the future Hall of Famer.

Bassitt: Chris Bassitt is successfully building on his 2019 breakout, pitching to a 5-2 record and 2.57 ERA through 10 starts. He’s turned it up a notch down the stretch, owning a 3-0 record thus far in September while allowing just one run over 19 2/3 innings. He gets a soft matchup against the Seattle Mariners, who despite technically being in the playoff race, have an uninspiring .446 win percentage on the year while striking out at a fourth-worst 24.8 rate.

Urquidy: Speaking of strikeout rates, even worse, the Rangers come in third-worst with an ugly 25.4% through 1,953 plate appearances. Urquidy has already taken advantage of this when he faced them on September 15th, striking out seven across seven innings of one-run ball en route to a season-high 49 FanDuel points. This time he’ll face them at Globe Life Field, which could actually help him out a little against RHH as the left-field fence sits 17 feet further than the famous Crawford Boxes in Minute Maid Park.

Happ: J.A. Happ has really turned his season around after a brutal start, owning a 1.99 ERA and 0.853 WHIP over his last five starts while striking out 33 and walking just three. He’ll look to continue his hot streak against the playoff-hopeful Marlins that have lost four of their last five and are hovering just above the .500 mark. I have a concern about location, as it’s always worrying to draft starters in games at Yankee Stadium, but believe it or not, Happ has performed better at home this season, owning a 2.57 ERA while allowing opponents to a .194/.275/.347 triple-slash in the Bronx.

Catcher/First Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) @ CWS $3,400 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Salvador Perez (KAN) vs DET $3,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Rizzo: I’m on just about all of the left-handed Cubs bats tonight, but Rizzo is my favorite of them all. While Dylan Cease has been very effective for the White Sox this season, he owns an ugly 5.97 SIERA that just so happens to be the worst on this slate. A large part of that ugly number is fueled by a 7.18 FIP against left-handed bats with a .381 wOBA and .500 slugging percentage to go with it. As for Rizzo, he’s starting to find his footing after a rough August & September, riding on a .277/.370/.447 triple-slash with two homers and a stolen base over the past two weeks.

Perez: After a very nice August, Perez has really stepped on the gas down the stretch, hitting a monstrous .447/.458/.957 with six homers and 17 RBI this month thanks to seven multi-hit efforts over 11 games. He doesn’t get the greatest matchup tonight, facing Spencer Turnbull, though there’s still certainly room for potential. Despite a solid 3.83 ERA, Turnbull owns a SIERA north of five and has induced a soft-hit percentage of just 5.1 to right-handed bats through 89 total batters faced.

Second Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Ozzie Albies (ATL) vs BOS $4,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Cesar Hernandez (CLE) vs PIT $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Jose Altuve (HOU) @ TEX $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Albies: Ozzie has been fantastic since returning from the injured-list, hitting a great .404/.424/.719 with five homers over 57 at-bats in September. Riding a four-game multi-hit streak, Albies draws one of the best matchups on the slate against Chris Mazza, who’s .326/.404/.500 triple-slash given up to LHH is a big factor in his ugly 5.4 ERA on the year. To make matters even better, the Red Sox bullpen’s 5.79 ERA ranks fourth-worst in the majors, and Albies’ switch-hitting ability allows him to exploit any potential relievers.

Hernandez: While Cesar Hernandez will almost never put up a slate-breaking performance, he’s a rock-solid glue piece that’s hitting right-handers for a .294 average along with a .785 OPS. He’ll get just that tonight against the Pirates’ Mitch Keller, who has struggled a good deal with left-handed hitters this season, owning an ugly 9.18 FIP against them while inducing a soft-hit percentage of just 7.7 through 34 total batters faced.

Altuve: While Altuve has had a fairly ugly season, which many people have an opinion on, he does get a solid matchup against the Rangers’ Kyle Cody, who despite having a slate-best 1.53 ERA, owns a 5.07 SIERA with a 6.01 xFIP against right-handed bats. Due to the former MVP’s struggles, however, I view him as a homer-or-bust play and a pure GPP option.

Third Base

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jose Ramirez (CLE) vs PIT $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Rafael Devers (BOS) @ ATL $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low

 
Ramirez: Thanks to a stretch surge that has Ramirez hitting a fantastic .362/.443/.855 with 10 homers, 22 RBI, and two stolen bases thus far in September, Ramirez finds himself as a possible AL MVP finalist. He’s in the exact same situation as Cesar Hernandez, who I mentioned above, only Ramirez can break slates, and he’s in a great spot to potentially do so against Mitch Keller, who’s 3.24 ERA looks an awful lot better than his hideous 6.72 FIP through his first four starts of the season. He’ll be popular, especially thanks to his surprisingly low $4,100 price tag, but he’ll be in just about every cash game lineup I run anyway.

Devers: Like Ramirez, Devers has just gotten better as the season has gone on. Through 82 at-bats thus far in September, the rising star is hitting a very good .317/.371/.598 with five home runs and 19 RBI. He lines up against the Braves’ Kyle Wright, who’s terrible 5.74 ERA is backed up by an even worse 6.57 FIP against left-handed hitters. Behind that FIP lay very favorable splits, including a .317/.434/.540 triple-slash and a slate-worst .415 wOBA. Ramirez is a priority of mine but Devers isn’t far behind. These situations are why I’m so thankful for the UTIL spot.

Shortstop

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Corey Seager (LOS) vs LAA $4,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Marcus Semien (OAK) vs SEA $3,100 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium

 
Seager: Shortstop is by far my least favorite position on this slate, with Seager being the only player I’m truly content with. Once believed to be the Dodgers’ future before the likes of Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts showed up, Seager is finally back on the track to stardom, hitting a fantastic .325/.377/.609 on the year with 14 home runs and 39 RBI this season. He’s at his best against right-handed pitching, who he owns a 171 wRC+ against with a .296 ISO that has resulted in 10 of those 14 long balls. He draws a tricky matchup against the Angels’ Andrew Heaney, who owns an undesirable 4.91 career ERA against the Dodgers and has given up a .267 average to RHH this season despite a 2.66 FIP.

Semien: Semien is just 3-for-15 against the Mariners’ Yusei Kikuchi but is still worth some consideration with Kikuchi and his brutal 5.93 ERA being blowup prone despite having very good splits. Semien should be right in the mix should Kikuchi struggle, as he’s hit no lower than third in the order this year. Let’s not forget the highs Semien achieved just last year, either.

Outfield

Name (TEAM) OPPONENT PRICE MATCHUP RISK
Jason Heyward (CHC) @ CWS $2,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) @ CWS $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Mike Tauchman (NYY) vs MIA $2,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Tyler Naquin (CLE) vs PIT $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jorge Soler (KAN) vs DET $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ High

 
Heyward & Schwarber: As mentioned with Anthony Rizzo, I think the Cubs are a sneaky team to stack against the White Sox’s Dylan Cease, who’s given up a .381 wOBA to left-handed bats despite a solid 3.52 ERA. I prefer Heyward here, who is easily the safest of the two, as he’s quietly hitting .320/.454/.544 with a .426 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. Schwarber unquestionably has the higher ceiling of the two, however, and has prior success against Cease, owning a home run and a double against him in three career at-bats.

Tauchman: While Tauchman has yet to hit a home run this season, he has hit quite well against right-handers, especially at home, where he’s 15-for-45 with two doubles and six RBI this season. It’s not a given he will start in this game, but I imagine Aaron Boone will try to cram a few extra left-handed bats into the Yankees’ stacked lineup tonight against Sandy Alcantara, who’s been fairly poor this season against LHH, giving up a .261/.354/.478 triple-slash with a 5.02 xFIP.

Naquin: My third and final Indian of this article, Naquin has performed almost exclusively against right-handed pitchers, with 19 of his 20 RBI, all four of his long balls, and all eight of his doubles coming off of righties while hitting a respectable .262 in the process. As mentioned, Cleveland goes up against the Pirates’ Mitch Keller, whose struggles against left-handed hitters have resulted in a 3.38 HR/9 surrendered to them through 34 batters this season.

Soler: Unlike most, Soler has seemed to struggle more as the season has gone on after coming out of the gate swinging. His slump has resulted in just two hits thus far this month with no homers and just one RBI through 23 at-bats. He’ll get a chance to begin turning things around tonight, however, against the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull. Through 13 career at-bats, Soler owns a team-high five hits with a home run, three doubles, three runs, and four RBI against the Tigers’ starter.

Five Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Yu Darvish (SP – CHC) $11,200: Darvish’s 2.7 FanGraphs WAR ranks second in the majors and first in the NL among qualified pitchers. The Cy Young candidate gets a tough matchup against the White Sox, but his flat-out dominance against right-handed bats this season very well may return an SP1 performance.
  • Freddie Freeman (1B – ATL) $4,400: Quite possibly the best first baseman the sport has to offer, Freeman goes up against the Red Sox’s Chris Mazza, who has surrendered a brutal .326/.404/.500 triple-slash to left-handed hitters this season.
  • Cody Bellinger (OF – LOS) $4,100: Hitting .474/.600/1.000 with two homers over the last week, Bellinger takes on Andrew Heaney, who is weaker against left-handed bats despite a solid xFIP of 3.40.
  • DJ LeMahieu (2B – NYY) $4,300: LeMahieu is hitting an absurd .429 against right-handers with eight of his 10 home runs at home this season. He draws the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, who is outperforming his 4.67 SIERA by 1.55 points.
  • Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF – ATL) $4,500: While Chris Mazza is significantly worse against LHH, his .283/.371/.340 triple-slash allowed to right-handed hitters isn’t pretty either and it just so happens Acuna has performed much better in righty/righty matchups this season, with 12 of his 13 long balls coming from them.

Five Notable Players To Fade

  • Right-Handed White Sox Bats: As mentioned in the studs, Yu Darvish is well in the running for the NL Cy Young award, helped greatly by his unthinkably incredible 0.82 FIP against right-handed hitters this season.
  • Niko Goodrum (2B – DET) $2,800: While Goodrum owns a triple against Brad Keller, it remains his only hit against the Royals’ starter through 12 career at-bats. To make matters worse, the switch-hitting Goodrum is hitting just .140 in righty/righty matchups this season with an abysmal 31 wRC+
  • Justin Upton (OF – LAA) $2,700: Upton goes up against arguably the second-best pitcher on this slate in Clayton Kershaw, who he happens to be 6-for-43 against in his career with 16 strikeouts.
  • Kyle Seager (3B – SEA) $3,000: Seager is in the midst of a bad slump that has him hitting just .183 over the past 30 days. He draws the Athletics’ Chris Bassitt, who has stepped up big down the stretch and has allowed just two hits to Seager through 15 career at-bats.
  • Joey Gallo (OF – TEX) $3,100: While Gallo is usually a homer or bust play, it feels like a stretch here against the Astros’ Jose Urquidy, who is strongest against left-handed hitters and has shot down Gallo through six career at-bats.

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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