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MLB Daily Fantasy Primer: Sunday (9/26)

Sep 26, 2021

Today marks the final regular Sunday of the season. Next Sunday marks the end of the regular season, and that slate is absolute chaos. The good news is that most teams are still alive here, and it should lead to some predictable lineups and familiar pitch counts. That’s all you can ask for at this time of the season, with numerous teams making arbitrary decisions that affect us DFS players. Hopefully, we won’t have much of that here, so let’s go ahead and start things off with the pitchers!

Check out today’s MLB Grand Slam contest at FanDuel >>

Sunday's Starting Pitcher Strategy

Lucas Giolito (CWS) at CLE
Giolito is the only ace on this slate, and it makes him an easy pick. We're talking about a 3.70 ERA and 1.12 WHIP this season, following a 3.43 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in the two previous years. That's all you can ask for from a top-line starter, especially when he faces a Cleveland team that ranks 28th in OBP and 21st in runs scored. In their last matchup, Giolito spun seven scoreless innings en route to a 49-point gem on FanDuel.

Tyler Mahle (CIN) vs. WAS
Mahle has quietly been a massive piece for the Reds, registering 18 DK points per game. Much of that damage has come recently, with Tyler tallying a 3.47 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 10.4 K/9 rate since the end of May. Washington certainly isn't scary, either, as they traded away many of their key pieces at the deadline. Mahle threw 5.1 scoreless innings in his lone start against Washington if you needed any more reason to use him.

John Means (BAL) vs. TEX
Means has struggled in the second half, but this spot is too good to fade him. The reason for that is this tasty matchup, with Texas ranked dead-last in OBP, runs scored, and wOBA. That means any pitcher against them is useful, particularly a guy who boasts a 3.17 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. He threw seven scoreless in his one matchup with them, too.

Shane Baz (TB) vs. MIA
Baz is one of the top prospects in baseball, recording a 2.06 ERA and 0.80 WHIP in nearly 80 innings at the minors this year. That earned him a spot in this rotation, and Baz responded with 30 FanDuel points in his debut. All of that makes him a tremendous value at this price, especially with Miami ranked dead-last in xwOBA and 29th in runs scored. Oh, he and the Rays also enter this matchup as a -280 favorite.

Jake Woodford (STL) at CHC
Using anyone against Chicago is a good idea. This club owns the worst K rate in baseball, and they might have the worst lineup after trading away Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant. All of that makes Woodford a fantastic option. He has a 1.47 ERA and 0.87 WHIP over his last four starts.

Cash Game Recommendations:
Giolito, Mahle and Alek Manoah

GPP Recommendations:
Means, Baz, and Woodford

Top Lineup Stacks

Tampa Bay Rays (vs. Luzardo)

Luzardo has all the promise in the world, but none of it has come to fruition in Miami. The left-hander has lollygagged his way to a 7.01 ERA and 1.67 WHIP this season. Those are some of the worst averages in baseball, and one has to believe this stacked Tampa lineup will put it to him again here.

Philadelphia Phillies (vs. Kranick)

Don't look now, but Philly is rolling. They enter this matchup after winning nine of their last 11 games and averaging 6.8 runs per game in those victories. That makes them an easy lineup to stack against Max Kranick, with the Pirates righty owning a 7.28 ERA and 1.75 WHIP.

St. Louis Cardinals (vs. Thompson)

If Philly is hot, St. Louis is scorching. They enter this matchup amid a 14-game winning streak, averaging 8.2 runs per game. Those are video game-like numbers, and we certainly don't expect Thompson's 1.49 WHIP to slow them down.

  • Harper has climbed his way to the top of the NL MVP race, and it's easy to see why. He now owns a .433 OBP, .618 SLG, and 1.051 OPS for the season, with much of that damage coming recently. Harp has a .496 OBP and 1.262 OPS over his last 59 games played.
  • You should get on board anytime Cruz gets to face a lefty. The 41-year-old has a .421 OBP and 1.094 OPS against left-handers since 2019.
  • Goldy is a significant reason why the Cards are the hottest team in baseball right now. Since June 26, Paul has provided a .340 AVG, .409 OBP, .620 SLG, and 1.029 OPS in one of the best stretches of his career.
  • Castellanos is one of the league leaders in batting average, and we want to use him against a subpar southpaw here. Since 2019, Castellanos has collected a .989 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor, and we're certainly not worried about a random pitcher like Jake Rogers. He also hit a walk-off homer on Saturday, and that should keep him motivated here.
  • Mullins just reached the coveted 30-30 mark earlier this week, and it's a wonder why he doesn't get more credit. That 30-30 season has led to his 9.3 DK points per game, and we certainly don't mind that he gets a matchup with Dane Dunning and his 4.34 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.

  • O'Neill is crushing me in a few of my season-long leagues, but this is DFS. Over his last 22 games, Tyler has recorded a .310 AVG, .372 OBP, .714 SLG, and 1.084 OPS. We can't fade that at his sub-$4K price tag on DK.
  • Garcia is not getting the credit he deserves, either. The Rangers' rookie has 30 homers, 13 steals, and a .289 BA. That's awesome since he gets to face a struggling lefty here, with Means maintaining an ERA north of 5.00 since the All-Star break.
  • Luplow is always a sneaky player to use against lefties. We say that because he owns a .393 OBP and .953 OPS against them since 2019.
  • Miller has quietly had a lovely season for the Phils. He bats in the heart of this order whenever they face a righty, and it's no surprise when you see his .873 OPS against them since 2019.
  • Dickerson is yet another guy we love to use because of his splits. For his career, Dickerson has a .844 OPS against righties, and it makes it hard to believe that he's flirting with the minimum on both sites.

Sunday's Hitter Strategy

You haven't been watching enough baseball if you aren't using the Cardinals and Phillies right now. Those clubs are in "win now" mode every day, and it has them as some of the hottest lineups in baseball. If you want to go contrarian, Baltimore is a solid pick against Texas, and it'd be easy to fill your lineup with those teams and throw in a few Tamps players here and there too.

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Whether you're new to fantasy baseball or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Baseball 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with our Sabermetrics Glossary or head to a more advanced strategy - like Maximizing Your Potential in Multi-Lineup Contests - to learn more.

Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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