Welcome into the Monday edition of the DFS MLB Game by Game Breakdown! There’s a medium-sized eight game slate tonight so let’s get moving!
I’m hoping some readers reaped the benefits of playing Curtis Granderson yesterday. Perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of DFS MLB is identifying a really great play and knowing he’s going to be popular in cash games….and not playing him. Now, it’s an extreme outcome because usually a chalk player like Granderson doesn’t go crazy for 50+ FanDuel points. But it was a prime example of why it’s ok to eat chalk in cash games. We’ve talked about why I don’t mind eating chalk with the pitching options. Sometimes it’s best to apply that same logic to hitters as well. It’s time to move onto to tonight’s slate and we’ll see if we can find the next version of Granderson.
DFS MLB – Red Sox at Orioles
Red Sox Probable Starter – Steven Wright, RHP
1.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 22.7 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .000 average, .137 wOBA, 40.0 fly ball rate and 20.0 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .186 average, .266 wOBA, 33.3 fly ball rate and 17.8 hard contact rate
When Steven Wright pitches, the game is easy to breakdown is one ways and very difficult in others. He’s really the last true knuckleballer in baseball so he’s a difficult matchup for hitters. They’re used to seeing 93-96 MPH from just about every pitcher in baseball. Going from that to this knuckle ball is borderline unfair.
Wright pitched very well against the Tigers last time and they talked about how jarring it was to face a knuckle ball. The flip side is if the knuckle ball isn’t moving, Wright is going to get blitzed. Orioles hitters are GPP only because there’s no way to tell what will happen until the game starts. Wright himself is very much in play, especially at just $6,200 on FanDuel.
Orioles Hitters to Target
Elite Options – None
Orioles Probable Starter – Dylan Bundy, RHP
4.04 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 27.5 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .299 average, .370 wOBA, 46.8 fly ball rate and 35.5 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – 1.93 average, .296 wOBA, 49.5 fly ball rate and 35.4 hard contact rate
What’s interesting about Bundy is he cannot keep the ball in the yard this year. He’s surrendered 16 home runs already and that could be an issue facing the Red Sox. If I’m spending on a Red Sox hitter, it’s likely going to be Andrew Benintendi since he’s a lefty. You can also look at Mitch Moreland for the same reasons and even my buddy Brock Holt(who has ridiculous BvP data in his favor). Bundy strikes out righties at a 33.7 clip so it’s a bit riskier to play right-handed hitters tonight. About the only one I would play is J.D. Martinez and that would be part of a Boston stack, not as a one-off. I very rarely pitch anyone against the Red Sox and tonight will be no different, even though Bundy hasn’t been terrible against Boston in their two encounters so far.
Red Sox Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Andrew Benintendi, Brock Holt
Secondary Options – Mitch Moreland, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts
Home Run Pick – J.D. Martinez
DFS MLB – Blue Jays at Rays
Blue Jays Probable Starter – Sam Gaviglio, RHP
2.51 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 22.8 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .234 average, .273 wOBA, 35.0 fly ball rate and 32.5 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .170 average, .264 wOBA, 30.8 fly ball rate and 25.0 hard contact rate
I’m certainly guilty of this but when we have a no-name pitcher take a rotation spot and he doesn’t have a major pedigree, we run to target him with hitters. So far, that probably hasn’t payed big dividends because Gaviglio has been pretty decent so far. All theses metrics come with starts against Oakland, Boston and the Yankees so it’s not like he’s had a cupcake schedule. Tampa isn’t the best matchup either because they can hit for a high average but they don’t hit for a ton of power. The only real issue with Gaviglio is there’s likely not much of a ceiling he can hit. The rays aren’t a team that I use very often unless it’s a matchup you can’t pass on but I’m not sure Gaviglio is it.
Rays Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Mallex Smith(cheap with stolen base upside)
Rays Probable Starter – Ryan Yarbrough, LHP
3.68 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 22.1 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .224 average, .328 wOBA, 37.5 fly ball rate and 32.5 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .237 average, .280 wOBA, 40.2 fly ball rate and 29.6 hard contact rate
The Rays will actually start Yarbrough tonight instead of bringing him in after the first or second inning tonight. He gets an intriguing matchup on paper as the Jays as a team aren’t that great against lefty pitching but can connect for power. They went nuts on the Orioles yesterday and posted double-digit runs but it could be a different story in Tampa tonight. The Jays are about average in strikeout rate and Yarbrough should be a lock for at least five innings tonight.
On FanDuel, I would probably lean towards Wright from Boston for my pitcher. I also don’t have a strong desire to really chase the Jays hitters tonight. I really only want hitters that have power to take Yarbrough out and that leans me towards Teoscar Hernandez and Justin Smoak. Randall Grichuk continued his tear on Sunday and his price is still super low. If you need additional savings, you can look towards Kendrys Morales or Devon Travis as well. I’m kind of lukewarm on this game in general with the exception of Grichuk.
Blue Jays Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Teoscar Hernandez, Randall Grichuk
Secondary Options – Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, Devon Travis
Home Run Pick – Devon Travis
Giants at Marlins
Giants Probable Starter – Madison Bumgarner, LHP
3.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 12.0 strikeout rate (1 start)
Vs LHH – .200 average, .220 wOBA, 0.0 fly ball rate and 66.7 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .350 average, .363 wOBA, 15.8 fly ball rate and 47.4 hard contact rate
I’ve had virtually no success targeting the Marlins this season and I’m going to be tempted to do it again tonight. Bumgarner made his return to the team a few days ago and he was fine if unspectacular. Miami as good enough to be annoying and they’re actually hitting fairly well the past two weeks. They also don’t strikeout as much as the perception is. Bumgarner is just at such a low price point on FanDuel it’s hard not to consider him pretty heavily. If we knew MadBum was at the height of his powers, he would be in five figures in this spot. He’s just $8,800 tonight. Regardless of whether you want to play him, using hitters against him seems unnecessary on this slate.
Marlins Hitters to Target
Elite Options – None
Marlins Probable Starter – Wei-Yen Chen, LHP
5.86 ERA, 1.56 WHIP and 16.3 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .235 average, .297 wOBA, 39.1 fly ball rate and 39.1 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .271 average, .392 wOBA, 50.0 fly ball rate and 33.7 hard contact rate
It might not be in the best ball park around but I have some interest in some Giant bats tonight. Chen has had one start so far that he hasn’t been a dumpster fire and I have exactly no interest in him tonight. Andrew McCutchen is heating up as he is wont to do in the summer and he’s super affordable on FanDuel. If Nick Hundley is in the lineup, he’s a great salary saver. Mac Williamson is also cheap and his wOBA against lefties is a hefty .462 in 20 at-bats. Weighing the park factor here is going to be important.The matchup screams to stack Giants. They’re cheap and their best hitters beat up on lefties. It’s just going to be a better of how heavy we want to go in a pitcher’s park.
Giants Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Andrew McCutchen, Mac Williamson
Home Run Pick – Andrew McCutchen
DFS MLB – Indians at White Sox
Indians Probable Starter – Carlos Carrasco, RHP
4.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 24.4 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .234 average, .285 wOBA, 35.8 fly ball rate and 34.4 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .260 average, .312 wOBA, 35.5 fly ball rate and 38.9 hard contact rate
It’s a weird spot for Carrasco tonight. He’s been steady for most of the season with a couple of really great starts and a couple of duds. He’s always been better on the road and that remains the case this season. I’m just not sure if I’m willing to pay top dollar for him on this slate. There are a few other pitchers that are a little cheaper and I like a little more. We’re also going to want every dollar for the other offense in this game. The White Sox do carry a top 10 strikeout rate in baseball against righty pitching so there is potential there. I don’t think Carrasco gets lit up in this spot but I think I’m mostly avoiding this side of the game. If you want to play the White Sox hitters, I’d be sticking with their best ones in Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada.
White Sox Hitters to Target
Elite Options – None
Secondary Options – Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada
White Sox Probable Starter – Lucas Giolito, RHP
7.08 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and 11.0 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .292 average, .409 wOBA, 44.3 fly ball rate and 33.0 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .237 average, .327 wOBA, 38.5 fly ball rate and 30.9 hard contact rate
Giolito had a lot of hype surrounding him before he got to the majors and he’s yet to justify it. He’s without a doubt the worst pitcher on the slate and I’m making every effort to jam in at least two Indians in my lineup. The decision is likely between the big three in my eyes. Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley are all lefty hitters and very expensive. Brantley and Ramirez hit a home run when Giolito pitched back on May 29.
They can also put up a big score in other ways than just a home run, which really can’t be said for Edwin Encarnacion. If you’re asking me to spend over $4,000 on FanDuel, it’s typically not for a one-dimensional player. From a salary standpoint, Lindor and Brantley would be the cheapest combo. It’s also hard to leave out Ramirez, who’s one of the best hitters in baseball in a great spot. Bombs away with the Indians tonight.
Indians Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Michael Brantley, Yonder Alonso
Home Run Pick – Francisco Lindor
DFS MLB – Cubs at Brewers
Cubs Probable Starter – Jose Quintana, LHP
4.20 ERA, 1.37 WHIP and 24.2 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .203 average, .262 wOBA, 25.0 fly ball rate and 25.0 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .242 average, .334 wOBA, 37.3 fly ball rate and 40.7 hard contact rate
Other than a hiccup against the Giants, Quintana has been pitching well lately. He’s also already faced the Brewers twice and eclipsed 40 FanDuel points both times. It’s a little odd that he’s seen success against Milwaukee as they have a lot of lefty mashers through the lineup. What’s even weirder is the Brewers rank near the bottom of the league in average, ISO, OPS and wOBA against lefties. There’s no reason for them to be so poor against southpaws given the talent they have available, but here we are. Quintana is an excellent tournament option but so is a full Brewers stack. One off hitters could include Lorenzo Cain at the high-end and Jesus Aguilar in the middle ground. They both have a wOBA over .450 against lefties the season. Ryan Braun will likely be popular as well with his history against the handedness.
Brewers Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Lorenzo Cain, Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun
Brewers Probable Starter – Junior Guerra, RHP
2.83 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 22.7 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .227 average, .308 wOBA, 37.9 fly ball rate and 39.8 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .202 average, .259 wOBA, 44.0 fly ball rate and 43.6 hard contact rate
I’m not going to blame you if you don’t want to trust Guerra this evening, but I think you actually could. He’s already faced the Cubs in Wrigley Field and posted a 37 point effort on FanDuel. Is he going to score 50 points? No, probably not but his price doesn’t require him to. He’s flat-out been a good pitcher this year and he’s hit the quality start mark in four of his last five games.
I don’t think I’m going to chase any Cubs hitters tonight. Even at Miller Park, there are just worse pitchers on the slate that we can attack. If you’re feeling the need to try your luck in this spot, I would go with Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber or Ben Zobrist. I want the lefties here because Guerra has been so good against righties so far this season. It is Miller Park so the score can get out of hand quickly but I’m not betting on that scenario.
Cubs Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Anthony Rizzo
Secondary Options – Kyle Schwarber, Ben Zobrist
Home Run Pick – Jesus Aguilar
DFS MLB – Padres at Cardinals
Padres Probable Starter – Jordan Lyles, RHP
4.70 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 21.2 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .211 average, .295 wOBA, 42.1 fly ball rate and 35.1 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .274 average, .340 wOBA, 34.1 fly ball rate and 38.6 hard contact rate
Lyles has been starkly different against righty hitters than lefties and that could be a bit of an issue. The Cardinals have a lot of righties in their lineup and two of them in the middle of everything are white-hot. Jose Martinez has been crushing and his price reflects that. Marcell Ozuna has finally come to life for the Cardinals and his price is way more reasonable. I’d even be fine playing Yadier Molina if you have to play a catcher. I don’t have a ton of interest in Lyles as he hasn’t been trustworthy at all. The Cardinals righties might fly way under the radar this evening.
Cardinals Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Jose Martinez, Marcell Ozuna, Yadier Molina
Cardinals Probable Starter – Jack Flaherty, RHP
3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 26.1 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .279 average, .328 wOBA, 37.7 fly ball rate and 43.4 hard contact ratet
Vs RHH – .210 average, .271 wOBA, 39.6 fly ball rate and 38.9 hard contact rate
Flaherty is in the discussion to be a cash pitcher since the Padres are on the road and have a the third highest strikeout rate in baseball. His metrics look pretty good and he’s pitching better than his game logs would indicate. You can go with the lefties in the Padres lineup, which aren’t very many. Realistically the only lefty is Eric Hosmer. You can hope for a homer out of him and I would usually look towards Travis Jankowski. However, Yadier Molina is catching and that means the opposing run game is likely on ice. If I don’t feel confident in that aspect of his game, I’m not playing him. This is not one of the better games on the slate in my eyes and I won’t be too involved in it. Ozuna seems to be the best play on either side.
Padres Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Eric Hosmer
Secondary Options – None
Home Run Pick – Yadier Molina
DFS MLB – Pirates at Diamondbacks
Pirates Probable Starter – Joe Musgrove, RHP
1.89 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 21.8 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .231 average, .292 wOBA, 45.0 fly ball rate and 40.0 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .255 average, .282 wOBA, 52.8 fly ball rate and 22.2 hard contact rate
Don’t look know but Paul Goldschmidt is the hottest hitter in baseball and it’s not just because he’s coming off a series in Coors Field. It had started even before that and he’s far and away the best play on this team right now. The funny part is I still have interest in Musgrove tonight and am just hoping Goldy doesn’t ruin him too badly. Arizona heads back home, which has turned into more of a pitcher’s park. They also rank no higher than 23rd in average, ISO, OPS and wOBA so far this season while carrying a top five strikeout rate in baseball. Musgrove is in a very solid spot and his price tag is still highly affordable. He’s especially attractive as a number two option on two pitcher sites this evening.
Diamondback Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Paul Goldschmidt
Secondary Options – None
Diamondbacks Probable Starter – Patrick Corbin, LHP
2.87 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 32.4 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .203 average, .301 wOBA, 27.0 fly ball rate and 36.8 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .181 average, .241 wOBA, 32.9 fly ball rate and 41.8 hard contact rate
This spot is one of the tougher ones to make a call on. Corbin’s velocity continues to be down but he’s also continuing to make it work at a pretty high level. The Pirates don’t have too many players that rate highly against the slider and Arizona is much more pitcher friendly than in past years. However, Pittsburgh also ranks highly against southpaws as a team. They’re no worse than 13th in average, ISO, OPS or wOBA and have the sixth lowest strikeout rate in baseball against the handedness. If this all sounds contradictory, that’s because it is. With there being multiple factors pulling in every direction, it gets murky at best to figure out the right way to go. I think Corbin is a slightly worse play than Carrasco, but it’s not by much. The Pirates offense hasn’t been doing a lot lately and Corbin should have the upper hand.
Pirates Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Starling Marte
Home Run Pick – Starling Marte
ANAHEIM, CA – SEPTEMBER 29: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners is showered with sunflower seeds as he celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of the MLB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
DFS MLB – Angels at Mariners
Angels Probable Starter – Andrew Heaney, LHP
3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 23.6 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .200 average, .214 wOBA, 15.6 fly ball rate and 20.6 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – 2.19 average, .294 wOBA, 39.8 fly ball rate and 38.2 hard contact rate
I’m not going to pick on Heaney to any major extent tonight. He’s been too good lately to try to chase a blow up. Other than a start against the Detroit Tigers(who smashed lefty pitching routinely), Heaney has a quality start in six of his last seven starts. That’s not by accident. The only hitter that I really want to play from this side is Nelson Cruz. He’s got a wOBA over .400 against lefty pitching and he’s even better at home. Denard Span hits lefties well but his price is getting high for someone with little homer upside. Jean Segura is typically in the running against a lefty but his price is through the roof on FanDuel. If you’re making a tournament lineup centered on Mariners, be sure to include Mitch hanger. He’s not a cash option tonight because I have respect for Heaney. It would surprise me if he adds another quality start tonight.
Mariners Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Nelson Cruz
Secondary Options – Mitch Hangier, Jean Segura
Mariners Probable Starter – Wade LeBlanc, LHP
2.94 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 18.7 strikeout rate
Vs LHH – .304 average, .364 wOBA, 45.9 fly ball rate and 29.0 hard contact rate
Vs RHH – .236 average, .283 wOBA, 45.6 fly ball rate and 27.2 hard contact rate
LeBlanc is almost a carbon copy of Heaney in that he’s a lefty that I didn’t expect to have to mostly avoid in DFS until we hit that juncture. It’s not that I’m that interested in playing LeBlanc because he rarely pitches six innings and his past couple starts haven’t been quite as good as the start of the season. The angels also don’t strike out all that much, further narrowing the positive outcome for LeBlanc. I think the only Angels hitters in the running tonight are Mike Trout and Ian Kinsler. I’ not shoehorning either player in tonight. This is the last game of the evening and I wouldn’t be surprised if it carries very low ownership. Unless you’re playing a tournament, that’s probably the best idea.
Angels Hitters to Target
Elite Options – Mike Trout
Secondary Options – Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton
Home Run Pick – Nelson Cruz
DFS MLB FanDuel Sample Lineup
P – Carlos Carrasco
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C/1B – Nick Hundley
2B – Ian Kinsler
3B – Evan Longoria
SS – Francisco Lindor
OF – Randall Grichuk, Andrew McCutchen, Michael Brantley
Utility – Jesus Aguilar
At least for the sample lineup, I’m going to lock in Carrasco. I have the feeling that he will be chalk in cash games and even tho I’m not thrilled paying full price for him, the matchup is tasty. The cheap Giants bats really help offset the cost on Carrasco. Even in a bad park, they feel so affordable it’s almost had not to lock some of that value in. I hope Hundley is starting even though I know his ownership will be spiked due to his price tag. We do stick with the pair of Indians bats that are the “cheapest” but I’m still tempted to come off of Brantley and upgrade Aguilar. We’ll see how the day and the lineup cards shake out but this looks pretty solid the evening before lock.
The Core – Andrew McCutchen, Nick Hundley(if active), Francisco Lindor
Stacks to Consider – Indians(at Chicago White Sox), Giants(at Miami) and Brewers(vs Chicago Cubs)
As always, may fortune be on your side and make sure to follow me on Twitter @bucn4life as MLB allows late swap. If there’s a late scratch and/or lineup cards aren’t put in for the late games, this article will always be updated on Twitter ASAP.