Featuring in-depth analysis of the starting pitchers (SPs) on Saturday, September 23, 2017 (9/23) MLB DFS slate for cash game and GPP tournament FanDuel & DraftKings daily fantasy baseball contests.
Building winning MLB DFS lineups on FanDuel and DraftKings starts with making the right pitcher selections.
Let’s have a look at the day’s MLB DFS SP options to consider across the board. As always, I will walk through the top and secondary plays that you’ll want on your short list as you make decisions on who to ultimately trot out there in your cash and GPP lineups.
We have a full day of action on Saturday, with a few different slates to play.
It looks like we are going to have a steady, clear day of baseball ahead!
Very Early Slate – 1:05pm EST Start
Charlie Morton and Kyle Hendricks are the 2 chalk plays here, and fully playable on both FanDuel and DraftKings when you break down the pricing structure. They each have solid win probability and decent team totals in the low 4s for their opponents, with Morton holding the strongest K skill over the last month with a 12.4 K/9 mark vs Hendricks’ 7.2. I absolutely love the advanced stats for Morton, especially when you note the 2.92 SIERA and 15% hard hit rate in that time, so he gets the edge as far as GPP ceiling goes. Hendricks’ is slightly lower, but he’s had a very solid second half for the Cubs and pitched well against the Brewers when they last met.
Brent Suter and Bud Norris are your contrarian plays here, and if you decide to play one of them, make it Suter. Norris won’t be going deep into games as he makes his transition out of the bullpen. I’m not crazy about either Suter or Norris here, and feel you can even go 100% Morton in tournaments if you play this 2 game slate.
Early Slate – 4:07pm EST Start
Carlos Carrasco is sitting pretty on this slate, thanks to slate-best numbers like ERA, SIERA, swinging strike rate, chase rate, hard hit rate and walk rate over his last month of work. Not only that, but his K rate hasn’t been anything to scoff at with a 9.8 K/9 mark, and faces the Mariners who do have a league average K rate for their split. He threw well against them earlier this year across 8 innings, and I think it’s safe to play him in a heavy percentage of GPP lineups once again today. He’s a -188 favorite which is tops on the slate, too.
Eduardo Rodriguez is an intriguing GPP pivot thanks to a 10.7 K/9 and 3.68 SIERA over his last month of work – especially when you add in that the Red Sox get to hit off of Robert Stephenson who is likely to struggle against an elite offense like Boston. This is the slightly better split to get the Reds (a bit softer vs LHP), and with the NL park rules, there is potential for a high K game as well. One concern is the other side of the coin, since a close game can sometimes take the SP out of the lineup earlier than normal in the AL, so keep him for GPPs exclusively. The truth is that Stephenson has attractive K skills in his own right at a decent price, but I worry that the floor is just too low in an intimidating match-up.
I’d prefer you avoid Ervin Santana on this slate, and if you want a pitcher from the MIN/DET game, look at Matt Boyd who is going to be pitching with a lot of confidence after a CG 1 hitter. That said, he did have quite a bit of fortune in that game considering he’s not a high K guy – but the price on this slate makes him playable regardless of if he stumbles a little bit. He’s been in solid form of late with a 4.24 SIERA and modest whiff/chase rates, so value-wise he’s still strong.
Sonny Gray is a nice GPP pivot off of Carrasco and even E-Rod considering he’s more expensive than the Red Sox lefty – but faces the Jays who are hot and cold, with a very solid level of baseline skill considering the 51% ground ball rate, 10.2 K/9 over the last month and 3.44 SIERA as well. There is a lot to like here with Gray as a road favorite, and he makes for an excellent option in tournaments if you fade Carrasco in particular. Joe Biagini is cheap and has thrown well against New York this year at times, but has a very high beta (much like Stephenson).
Overall, I would focus on Carrasco and Gray in tournaments today. They are your safest bets, and are also reasonably priced for their skill level. E-Rod would be the third-best play on the board for the dollar.
Main Slate – 7:05pm EST Start
Stephen Strasburg – It seems pretty clear to me that Strasburg sits on his own as a top play on this slate. He is throwing the ball at an elite level right now, with a 10.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and 2.72 SIERA over his last month of work, averaging 7 IP per start in that span and winning 4 of his 5 outings. He is also the slate’s heaviest favorite at -205 with a slate-low 3.6 run total for the Mets – and they will deploy a combo of Noah Syndergaard/Matt Harvey tonight who are both not expected to have long outings (albeit for different reasons). The Mets are exploitable right now and one of the league’s softest offenses – so fire up Stras in all formats as long as you can make the salary work. You may wish to have exposure to other SPs than him in GPPs simply due to price.
Gerrit Cole – I have Cole as the #2 skill play on the board tonight, even though he gets a tough match-up with the Cardinals. His 10.1 K/9 and 3.85 SIERA over the last month of work are both very solid baselines to work with, and STL has been a tad softer vs RHP than LHP this year. As long as Cole can keep their LHB at bay, he should be fine tonight as he traditionally does an excellent job limiting production to RHB (particularly with a low HH%).
Danny Duffy – I expect Duffy to be fairly popular against the White Sox tonight, as the Royals continue to do their best to stay alive in the playoff race – and Matt Boyd was able to nearly no-hit the same club not too long ago. Duffy has been solid but unspectacular this year, and is also getting back to full health after making it through 5 IP in his last start where he looked excellent against the Indians. He has an elite K ceiling and should be decently popular as a mid-range play with upside on this slate. He is quite easily my favorite GPP play once you get past Strasburg, considering the better match-up and price than Cole.
Madison Bumgarner – MadBum hasn’t had a typical year whatsoever, but he’s starting to show a little more life these days despite not winning a game in his last month of work. I don’t mind him as a GPP play tonight simply due to the raw skills (i.e. whiff rate) that is among the best on the slate, but he’s having trouble with the long ball and faces a tough Dodgers offense that has mashed LHP for the most part this year. It’s not a must to play him, but there is some upside considering he will have low ownership today and appears to be getting a bit stronger as September rolls on.
Taijuan Walker – Walker is only someone that I will give consideration to when the price is right in tournaments, and his outlook is decent tonight against the Marlins. The Diamondbacks face Dillon Peters in what should be a match-up that they can exploit, and he is a -171 favorite with a decent 4.2 run total. There’s K upside, but also a fairly low floor.
Julio Teheran – The up and down season continues for Teheran, and his splits have been all over the place in 2017. I’m a big fan of his feel for the game, and the last time he faced the Phillies he was highly productive with 8 Ks over 6.2 IP. The price is great on DK in particular, and I have no issue with some GPP exposure.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Some projection systems have him higher-rated than I would have him today, as his skills are not very strong right now and MadBum going against him is the kind of talent that could neutralize an attractive “game” situation. He has the highest BB/9 on the slate over the last month as well as the highest HH% and SIERA – so fading him isn’t a bad idea at all.
The Daily Dice Roll:
Jhoulys Chacin – Chad Bettis has had a rough go of late, and even though he gets to face the Padres tonight, I still prefer the San Diego arm. He continues to have respectable numbers to his name, and the main reason he is in this spot tonight is simply thanks to an elite value at $5,800 (FD) and $5,900 (DK). He does a pretty good job limiting hard contact (26% in his last 4 starts) and an 8.4 K/9 is perfect passable for a guy with his price point. The 3.9 run total for COL suggests that Vegas also believes this will be a low-scoring game, so if that is in fact the case, Chacin could easily be looking at a high ROI night where he at the very least is able to stabilize your SP2 slot on DK for GPPs (with Strasburg, for example).
Whoever you play today, best of luck in your contests!