FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 15, 2020

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That was a fun night.

Our lineup was one of, if not the best of the year and Dinelson Lamet dominated the Dodgers in the process.

Lamet hurled seven innings of one-run ball to go along with 11 strikeouts while earning the win in an eventual 7-2 win for the Padres. It’s the second straight game he’s gone at least seven innings while striking out 11 hitters as he continues to mould himself into one of the better pitchers in baseball.

Our Twins four-man stack was cut to a three-man stack as Miguel Sano unfortunately was scratched from the starting lineup with a stiff neck. That said, our Twins stack actually held our lineup back some as they scored just one run in  a 3-1 loss to Dylan Cease and the White Sox. Keep an eye on Cease, though, as he remains a premium regression candidate with peripheral numbers that are far worse than his ERA will tell you.

It was the Orioles who raked. Jose Iglesias led the way with a homer as part of a 4 for 4 night while DJ Stewart also homered while knocking in four runs. Cedric Mullins capped a dominant three-man stack by going 2 for 5 with a walk but also three runs scored and a stolen base to boot. Loved the speed upside there.

I ended up subbing in Yasmani Grandal in the C/1B spot, but all he could do for us was get hit by a pitch, which was disappointing.

Still, that lineup came just a few points shy of taking down some of the lower-cost GPPs and was easily a top-20 lineup in the larger tournaments, so well done!

Let’s keep it going on a much bigger 12-game main slate tonight!

FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 15, 2020

P – Jack Flaherty (STL) – $9,800 vs. MIL

Yu Darvish is the only pitcher on the slate that comes in with a higher price tag than Flaherty, and while I’ve long been bullish on Darvish, it’s exceedingly difficult not to like the matchup Flaherty finds himself in tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers most recently made headlines for the wrong reasons when they were no-hit by Cubs right-hander Alec Mills on Sunday, and while those types of outings are obviously rare, the Brewers have stunk the joint out against right-handed pitching all season.

Milwaukee enters this one not only ranked 28th with a .289 wOBA on the season off of righties, but also sit 29th with a huge 26.8% K-rate against right-handed pitching. They lost Mike Moustakas and Eric Thames – two players who kill righties – in free agency this offseason and it’s hurt them dearly.

For his part, Flaherty is dealing this season to the tune of a 3.08 ERA/3.89 FIP/3.59 xFIP to go along with an attractive 9.23 K/9 and a solid 2.73 BB/9 as well. He hasn’t had the best of luck with a career 4.68 ERA at Miller Park, but those results are against a far better Brewers’ offense while Flaherty is now one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.

Add it up and there’s not much to dislike about Flaherty’s matchup in Milwaukee tonight.

C/1B – Salvador Perez (KC) – $2,900 vs. DET

Rarely do I actually use this spot on a catcher, but it’s warranted in this situation as the Royals head into Detroit to take on struggling left-hander Matthew Boyd tonight.

Boyd appeared to be turning a corner after several rough outings to start his season, but was rocked for seven earned runs in just three innings against the Brewers his last time out. Among pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings this season, only Jordan Lyles owns a worse ERA than Boyd’s 7.63 mark while he’s also been wildly susceptible to the long ball in the form of a 2.68 HR/9 that is the worst in baseball among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched.

Additionally, he’s allowed a .336 average, 1.087 OPS and .447 wOBA to right-handed hitters, so let’s unleash a four-man right-handed stack against the struggling southpaw tonight, beginning here with Perez.

Perez hasn’t done much against lefties in a tiny 18 plate-appearance sample this season, but he’s ever-so-slightly been a traditional splits hitter with a good track record against lefties. That said, he’s enjoyed his time against Boyd as he’s hit .290 with two homers in 32 plate appearances against the lefties while posting a career .838 OPS versus the Tigers and an .808 mark at Comerica Park in Detroit.

He’s got plenty of power in that bat and I expect him to flex it in this one tonight.

2B – Robinson Cano (NYM) – $3,200 vs. PHI

The Mets have clobbered right-handed pitching this season and they’ve also raked on the road as they take on Phillies righty Jake Arrieta tonight in Philadelphia.

The Mets enter this one ranked third with a .358 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching while they’ve been the best road offense in baseball by way of their .354 wOBA outside of Citi Field this season.

For his part, Arrieta hasn’t had much success in posting a 5.54 ERA on the season while his 6.46 K/9 on the year is the worst mark of his career since the 2010 season – his rookie year. His 4.97 SIERA confirms he’s not had a great year.

Additionally, this guy is a major liability in the stolen base department. While he might have figured it out this season with zero steals allowed in 39 innings, that’s probably more to do with J.T. Realmuto behind the plate, but Realmuto is injured right now and didn’t play last night. From 2014-2019, only Jon Lester allowed more steals than the 120 Arrieta surrendered in that time. With Andrew Knapp expected to catch tonight, I think there’s excellent stolen base potential in this one for the Mets.

Cano isn’t the best player to take advantage of the stolen base upside, but he’s crushed righties to the tune of a .341 average, .212 ISO, .926 OPS, .388 wOBA and 148 wRC+ on the season. He also owns a .369 ISO, 1.285 OPS, .522 wOBA and 237 wRC+ against righties on the road this season.

In a resurgent season, let’s get the 37-year-old vet in this Mets stack this evening.

3B – Maikel Franco (KC) – $2,900 vs. DET

Next man up in our Royals stack is Franco who is enjoying a solid 2020 season – his first with the Royals after being cut loose by the Phillies.

Franco has homered seven times and stolen a base this season as part of an attractive .197 ISO, .340 wOBA and 112 wRC+. His 15 doubles on the season are second in the AL to Cesar Hernandez’s 16.

Much of his power this season has come against right-handers, but he’s also hitting .379 with a .902 OPS, .393 wOBA and 148 wRC+ on the season against left-handers. Franco’s splits in terms of power are dead even for his career as he owns a nice .182 ISO against both lefties and righties, so expect some more power versus southpaws for him moving forward.

He’s also enjoyed success against Boyd, albeit in a small sample. He’s gone 3 for 5 with two doubles and a walk in his career against his new division rival, so let’s see what he can do out of the projected cleanup spot tonight.

SS – Adalberto Mondesi (KC) – $2,800 vs. DET

Man has Mondesi done some serious damage the last two times I have used him.

In those two games he had just two hits, but both went for homers while he went 2 for 6 with two homers, five runs, four RBI, three stolen bases and three walks to boot. His season on the whole has been disappointing at the plate, but the guy has already stolen a MLB-high 16 bases on the season and eight of those have come over his last 10 games.

Now, Boyd hasn’t allowed a steal this season and allowed just four in 185.1 innings last season, but this guy is just running like a mad man at the moment and he’s hit lefties for power this season.

Mondesi has posted a big-time .286 ISO to go along with an .821 OPS, .339 wOBA and a 111 wRC+ versus lefties this season. His numbers are dragged down by a minuscule 2.8% walk rate versus lefties, but if he gets on base tonight, I’m extremely confident he will at least attempt a steal and maybe more.

He is hitting just .182 in his career against Boyd, but he does have a homer, a double and a triple off of him, good for a big .273 ISO off the lefty. While he’s hot both at the plate and on the basepaths, it’s a good idea to get him into this stack out of the projected two-hole tonight.

OF – Whit Merrifield (KC) – $3,300 vs. DET

There’s just an abundance of reasons as to why Merrifield should be in your lineup tonight.

The first is the power and speed combination. Merrifield has homered nine times and stolen seven bases this season and he’s an extremely tough out by way of his 10.9% K-rate on the season, the sixth-best mark in the majors this season among qualified hitters.

Secondly, he’s enjoyed a quality season versus left-handed pitching in the form of a .182 ISO, .806 OPS, .349 wOBA and 118 wRC+.

Third, he’s an absolutely Tiger killer. In his career against Detroit, Merrifield is hitting .352 with a .988 OPs across a lengthy 313 plate-appearance sample size. At Comerica Park, all Merrifield has done is hit .342 with a 1.017 OPS and 26 extra-base hits in 37 games and 167 trips to the plate

Finally, Matt Boyd just cannot get this guy out. In his career against Boyd, Merrifield has gone 22 for 42 (.524 !!!) with eight doubles and a triple, but also a whopping five stolen bases. Believe me, Boyd just struggles mightily against this guy.

Add in the fact he’s going to hit in the leadoff spot and Merrifield is my favorite player on this slate tonight.

*Note: Keep in mind the Tigers’ bullpen now ranks 26th with a 5.38 ERA on the season and 28th with an 8.02 ERA over the last two weeks, so I expect the Royals to far exceed their 4.3 projected runs tonight.

OF – Brandon Nimmo (NYM) – $2,900 vs. PHI

Leading off this Mets stack tonight should be Nimmo, a player with elite on-base skills versus right-handed pitching.

Nimmo has reached base at a .422 clip on the season against righties, but he’a also hit them for power in the form of a strong .211 ISO off of them. He’s also the proud owner of a .922 OPS, .400 wOBA and 156 wRC+ off of right-handers this season.

It’s really nothing new. For his career, Nimmo owns a .196 ISO, .852 OPS, .371 wOBA and a 136 wRC+ off of right-handed pitching while boasting a career 16.5% walk rate against them, a number that’s helped him reach base at a .397 clip for his career off of right-handers.

He doesn’t have a ton of speed on the bases, but he does have a steal this season and stole 12 bases over 209 games between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and against Arrieta, the stolen base potential always exists. For his career, Knapp owns a small 22.4% caught-stealing rate, so I expect Arrieta’s goose egg in the stolen bases against department to be broken tonight, with authority.

Nimmo is a fantastic play atop the Mets’ lineup tonight.

OF – Michael Conforto (NYM) – $3,500 vs. PHI

Conforto has been so good this season his name is popping up on the edges of the NL MVP discussion.

Entering this one tonight, Conforto is hitting .343 with nine homers, three stolen bases, a .223 ISO, .425 wOBA and 173 wRC+. Yup, that’s certainly good enough to get your name into the discussion.

The good news for me is that he’s raking both lefties and righties. It’s awesome that he’s hit right-handers for a .222 ISO, 1.040 OPS, .443 wOBA and 185 wRC+ on the season, but if the Phils try to hit him with a lefty out of the bullpen, Conforto brings a .224 ISO, .920 OPS, .396 wOBA and 154 wRC+ to the table against southpaws on the season. Of his nine homers, five have come against a righty and four against a lefty. I’ll take it.

Of course, the stolen base upside is superior versus a righty, and again, especially against Arrieta.

The cross-category potential here is elite as it has been all season long. Don’t leave this guy out of any Mets exposure tonight.

UTIL – Dominic Smith (NYM) – $3,400 vs. PHI

Completing this four-man Mets stack is Smith, a player that has just clobbered right-handed pitching this season.

Smith came on strong last season, but he’s taken his bat to a whole new level this season while stealing the cleanup spot from 2019 home run king Pete Alonso.

Smith will bring a .354 average, .333 ISO, 1.084 OPS, .445 wOBA and 186 wRC+ against right-handed pitching into action tonight. That said, like Conforto, Smith is also raking lefties as he sports a .231 ISO, .909 OPS, .387 wOBA and 148 wRC+ versus lefties this season. These guys are just matchup proof. For what it’s worth, Nimmo is also faring well against lefties, so three of our four Mets have enjoyed notable success against both lefties and righties this season.

Like Cano, I wouldn’t expect much from Smith in the stolen base department tonight as he’s without a steal in 39 games this season and has just one in 89 games last season. He never had more than five in any minor-league stop, either.

Finally, like with the Royals, the Mets will take on a brutal bullpen, the worst in baseball, in fact. The Phillies’ bullpen ranks dead last with a 7.18 ERA on the season and their attempt at upgrades has not panned out as they own a 7.38 ERA over the last two weeks.

Add it up and I think this lineup is in for some serious production against a couple of struggling pitching staffs this evening.

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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.