This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
Braves vs Chris Mazza – That Mazza is one of the better pitchers available to the Red Sox is quite damning. The righty is prone to allowing line drive contact. Curiously, he’s avoided “barrels” – at least Statcast’s narrow classification of barrel. The Braves have an elite lineup, but they’ve also clinched the NL East. We might see key hitters on the bench.
Astros at Kyle Cody – Cody is coming off a solid five-inning outing – the longest start of his brief career. Like the guy listed below, Cody has managed to record tolerable results (1.53 ERA!) without the underlying skills to back it up (8.66 K/9, 5.09 BB/9). Although he’ll flash a changeup, his fastball-sinker-slider repertoire is destined for the bullpen. Expect a short outing at which point the Astros can nosh on the Rangers soft bullpen.
The Rangers have incentive to lose this game. They’re only one game “behind” the Pirates for the first overall draft pick.
Cubs at Dylan Cease – There’s a contrarian tinge to this recommendation. A few other stacks are technically superior, but they’ll be more popular. Cease has managed to skate by this season (3.52 ERA) despite terrible peripherals (6.54 K/9, 5.37 BB/9, 1.51 HR/9, 5.92 FIP). Despite his good fortune, he’s especially struggled to retire left-handed hitters. The Cubs are expected to start six lefty swingers (two are switch-hitters).
The hardest time to pick pitchers is at the end of the season. It is my belief (completely unsubstantiated) that Kershaw will be sent forth for six innings or 90 pitches - whichever comes first. He almost always completes six frames within 90 pitches. The other aces – Yu Darvish, Carlos Carrasco, and Dinelson Lamet – strike me as more likely to make token appearances. I do think, when the dust clears, they’ll probably get their 90+ tosses too.
Kershaw is also attractive for more mundane reasons. He consistently records a strikeout per inning while limiting hits or free passes. His lone weakness is an elevated home run rate.
Cheap catchers with home run potential are a mainstay of GPP lineups. Haase can bring the thunder with a fly ball heavy approach. He launched 28 home runs in 401 Triple-A plate appearances last season – part of a three-year streak of 20 or more home runs. He matches up relatively well against a ground ball pitcher like Keller.
He’s not certain to start tonight – boring ol’ Austin Romine still draws starts for the Tigers.
Rizzo’s emphasis on taking free passes can sometimes play down in DFS, especially when he’s struggled to reach base (.216 BABIP). That BABIP isn’t entirely fluky – Rizzo hits a lot of grounders into the shift. Cease is best described as effectively wild, a profile that probably walks Rizzo more often than not. However, there’s also plenty of potential for power in this matchup. Visiting a homer friendly venue doesn’t hurt matters.
Pending unexpected bargains, second base is a bit of a wasteland tonight. Albies isn’t efficiently priced, but he is one of the top players at the position. Although his season stats might appear worrisome, he’s mashing as expected since returning from injury - .383/.413/.683 with five home runs in his last 63 plate appearances. The Braves are one of the few teams facing an obviously exploitable pitcher.
Albies hasn’t rested since 9/17 so keep an eye out for a basement-priced Adeiny Hechavarria.
Unlike some of the other positions above, there are many directions to take third base. One of those is an unreasonably cheap Suarez. Obviously, facing Berrios at Target Field is an unfavorable matchup. He still projects to deliver around one-fifth of a home run in addition to other potentially positive outcomes. Suarez is cheap because his output has been lumpy. On the one hand, 15 home runs in 217 plate appearances is great. A .205/.318/.486 batting line means he’s been rather all-or-nothing.
Bogaerts has emerged as one of my favorite shortstop plays. He usually projects as comparable to the best at the position at a slight discount. Best of all, disdain for Red Sox stacks keeps his rostership low in GPPs. Tonight he’ll face Wright, a pitcher who has shown some signs of matriculating from auto-stack target to somebody who might be able to hold his own. He recently silenced a tough Mets offense. Most encouragingly, he’s only issued five walks in his last 14.1 innings. He walked 16 batters in the previous 15 innings.
Even if Wright has improved, this is still a solid matchup for Bogaerts. The righty is batting .291/.352/.485 with 10 home runs in 216 plate appearances. The top of the Boston lineup can occasionally take off around him. There also exists the chance that Wright completely fails out of this start.
While a Yankees stack is obscenely expensive – and probably isn’t advisable against Alcantara – it makes sense to take a one-off stab at Stanton. Only Mookie Betts and Mike Trout have comparable odds for a home run at a little worse than a one-in-three chance. Stanton has struggled to make contact since returning from the injured list which cuts both ways. It should limit his rostership in GPPs, but it could also signal a lingering injury or timing issue. If New York happens to shove Alcantara aside early in this matchup, the Marlins bullpen is exploitable.
I usually try to downplay handedness platoons since so many advice columns focus upon them. Too much emphasis is a way to back up into chalky plays. I think Schwarber will work out today partly because he’s very cold. He hasn’t homered since September 1. In fact, he’s just .111/.253/.143 over his last 75 plate appearances. Schwarber’s always had this streakiness in him, and quite a few of these matchups weren’t ideal. Cease offers a great situation for the Cubs cleanup hitter to bust out of his slump just in time for the postseason. He projects for one-fifth of a home run. Consider him all-or-nothing.
Also Consider: Mookie Betts, Ronaldo Acuna, George Springer, Michael Brantley, Kyle Tucker, Max Kepler, Alex Verdugo, Byron Buxton, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, Nick Senzel (value), Franchy Cordero (value), Edward Olivares (value)