Welcome to the final week of the Major League Baseball regular season.
We knew a 60-game season was likely to fly by, and it has. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs throughout the season with these FanDuel MLB DFS Picks, but finishing strong would be clutch heading into some smaller postseason slates.
That said, we have a smaller six-game main slate to tackle to open up the week, so let’s dive into the picks and see where the money is going to be made!
FanDuel MLB DFS Picks – September 21, 2020
P – Jacob deGrom (NYM) – $11,500 vs. TB
We rostered deGrom last week, and naturally he endured his worst start of the season and left the game early with a hamstring issue. That said, given the thin nature of pitching options on this slate, I’m going to take deGrom again tonight as he takes on the playoff-clinched Rays.
The Rays can, of course, hit righties well, however they’ve also displayed strikeout issues as well. While their .322 wOBA off righties this season ranks a solid 14th, their 25.5% K-rate versus righties is tied with the White Sox for the fourth-highest mark in the majors. Additionally, they are without righty-mashing Austin Meadows atop their lineup, so this Rays group is not at full strength at the moment.
At the end of the day, this is still top-peak deGrom. The one issue is the fact he hasn’t consistently been going, say, seven innings every time out, but it’s a guy that brings a 2.09 ERA/2.00 FIP into action to go along with a monster 12.86 K/9 clip. Last week’s start in Philly was the only time he’s allowed more than two earned runs in a start across his 10 starts this season.
He threw problem-free side sessions since the hamstring bit him his last time out, and with the Rays projected to score a slate-low three runs tonight, it makes plenty of sense to roster the NL Cy Young candidate tonight.
C/1B – Josh Bell (PIT) – $2,900 vs. CHC
Despite using deGrom at the top, I’m very much aiming for a GPP lineup here as the Pirates take on left-hander Jon Lester and the Cubs in this one.
Lester has been excellent in allowing just two earned runs over his last two starts spanning 11 innings, however he also enters this one sporting a 4.91 ERA/5.17 FIP on the season with a big 1.75 HR/9 and an iffy 4.86 SIERA as well. He’s also allowed an .810 OPS and 2.00 HR/9 to right-handed bats this season and a 5.69 FIP to boot, so I think these Pirates can get to him tonight.
While they are the worst offense in baseball versus right-handed pitching, they actually move right into the middle of the pack at 15th with a solid .325 wOBA on the season against lefties, so there’s something to work with here.
Now, Bell has scuffled in 2020 against lefties, and while the switch-hitter has been better against righties in his career, he still owns a solid .174 ISO for his career against southpaws.
More than anything, I like his history against Lester as he’s homered, doubled and stolen a base against him as part of his seven hits in 29 at-bats. He’s also walked five times against the southpaw in 34 trips to the plate
None of these are eye-popping figures, but with how this lineup shook out I needed a first baseman so I’ll give Bell an opportunity in this lineup.
2B – Dylan Moore (SEA) – $3,300 vs. HOU
Honestly, the Mariners are worth a look for a GPP stack tonight as they take on Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. in this one.
McCullers’ peripherals all point to some positive regression from his 4.87 ERA on the season, but it’s his home/road splits I’m targeting here. In 31.2 innings at home this season, McCullers has dazzled to the tune of a 1.42 ERA. In 12.2 road innings, however, he owns a ghastly 13.50 ERA while his 8.00 FIP, 7.20 xFIP, 4.97 K/9 and 6.39 BB/9 all suggest he’s indeed been terrible away from home.
While we’re working with small samples in 2020, this has been a career theme for the righty. In his career at home, McCullers owns a 2.51 ERA, but has worked to a big 5.22 mark on the road. For whatever reason, he’s just far worse on the road.
Enter Moore who has quietly raked right-handed pitching for a .253 ISO, .923 OPS, .397 wOBA and 159 wRC+ on the season. He brings a power/stolen base combination to the table with eight homers and nine doubles on the season to go along with 12 stolen bases to rank among the league’s best in that department.
He’s also 1 for 1 with a double and two walks in three plate appearances against McCullers, so let’s see if he can deliver on that attractive power/speed combination in this one tonight.
3B – Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT) – $3,300 vs. CHC
Hayes has come to the big leagues here in 2020 and made some noise.
The Pirates’ top prospect enters this one tonight sporting a .310 average, .293 ISO, .409 wOBA and 159 wRC+ for the season across 17 games and 65 trips to the plate. In that time, he’s hit three home runs and stolen a base as well.
The good news is most of the damage has come against left-handed pitching, which is to be expected for the righty-swinging 23-year-old.
Against lefties so far this season, Hayes has gone 6 for 13 (.467) with three doubles, a homer and that steal also came off a lefty. I suppose the bad news would be that he posted reverse-splits in each of his last two minor league seasons, but he’s clearly seeing the ball well so far in the big leagues and this Pirates stack is incomplete without him present as he’s projected to hit in the valuable two-hole in this one.
He’s 1 for 3 with a double in his small sample so far off Lester, but he’s feeling it against any southpaw at the moment so make sure he’s part of your Pirates exposure tonight.
SS – Erik Gonzalez (PIT) – $2,600 vs. CHC
Completing this three-man Pirates stack is Gonzalez, formerly a light-hitting, glove-first infielder. That said, he’s broken out at the plate here in 2020, at least against left-handed pitching.
A career .258 hitter with a .284 wOBA, Gonzalez’s surface numbers aren’t a whole lot better with a .252 average and .289 wOBA at the plate here in 2020.
However, he also owns a .325 average, .275 ISO, .957 OPS, .400 wOBA and 153 wRC+ on the season against left-handed pitching. He hasn’t hit for a ton of home run power with three on the season, but two of those are off a lefty while he’s racked up 12 doubles on the season as well to go along with two stolen bases.
Lester hasn’t allowed nearly as many stolen bases this season as we’ve seen in the past. He’s allowed just two in his 51.1 innings this season after years of issues holding runners on first base. Nonetheless, I won’t rule out some attempts tonight.
Additionally, Gonzalez has gone 4 for 9 (.444) with a double and a walk in 10 plate appearances off the veteran, so this would appear to be a fine matchup at the moment for lefty-mashing Gonzalez tonight.
OF – Corey Dickerson (MIA) – $2,800 vs. ATL
Sure, the Marlins have largely stunk against right-handed pitching this season, but I see an opportunity for success against Braves righty Huascar Ynoa tonight.
He was good his last time out against the Orioles with four shutout innings and five strikeouts, but this is also a guy that sports a 5.30 ERA/5.11 FIP/5.47 xFIP with a 5.39 SIERA that all but confirms he just hasn’t been very good in his 18.2 innings this season between the rotation and bullpen. Add in his huge 5.79 BB/9 on the year and the Marlins could be in business tonight.
As a result, I’m unleashing a four-man Marlins stack despite a tough Braves bullpen on the other side. I’m also going to go about this by way of their projected batting order for this one, with Dickerson at the top of that order in all likelihood.
He’s not having his best season against righties with a .274 average, .137 ISO, .754 OPS and .327 wOBA, but a nice 9.5% walk rate and a tiny 13.1% K-rate against them helps form a quality 108 wRC+ against righties this season. That said, keep in mind this is a guy sporting a .237 ISO, .860 OPS, .361 wOBA and 124 wRC+ against righties for his career as he’s made a living clobbering opposite-handed pitching in the big leagues.
Additionally, Ynoa has allowed two steals in his 18.2 innings this season. While that number may not seem like much, that’s 20 stolen bases allowed in a normal 180-inning starter’s workload – which is a lot.
I am digging the power/stolen base potential out of the leadoff spot tonight.
OF – Starling Marte (MIA) – $3,200 vs. ATL
If you want some serious power and stolen base potential, you’ve come to the right place.
Marte has had his way with right-handed pitching this season between the D-backs and Marlins as he’s posted a .179 ISO, .820 OPS, .353 wOBA and a 121 wRC+ on the season versus right-handed pitching. All five of his homers and 10 of his 14 doubles on the season have come at the expense of a right-handed pitcher.
While the power is attractive, there’s also a wealth of stolen base potential here. He’s stolen nine bases on the season, seven of which have come against a right-handed pitching. He’s also enjoyed an 81.8% success rate to boot.
Few players have stolen more bases than Marte over the last handful of seasons, and if he gets on first base tonight, I would be surprised if there’s not at least a stolen base attempt.
Add in the power component and Marte looks like an excellent play against a struggling pitcher out of the projected two-hole tonight.
OF – Matt Joyce (MIA) – $2,400 vs. ATL
Joyce is a lot like Dickerson in this lineup, minus the stolen base potential. It’s more to do with a guy that’s made a career off hitting right-handed pitching for big numbers that hasn’t fared quite as well this season.
Entering this one tonight, Joyce has posted a .103 ISO, .726 OPS and .327 wOBA on the season against righties. Like Dickerson an attractive walk rate of 14.8% against righties helps him reach a solid 107 wRC+ against them this season. For what it’s worth, he’s fared far better outside the pitcher-friendly Marlins Park as he’s turned in an .851 OPS, .372 wOBA and 137 wRC+ on the road against righties this season. Additionally, SunTrust Park in Atlanta lends itself well to left-handed power hitters.
At 36, perhaps the decline is starting to creep in, but here’s a guy with a .196 ISO, .803 OPS, .348 wOBA and 121 wRC+ for his career against righties with a 13.3% walk rate to boot.
He does have one steal on the season, but I’m more so looking for some pop and thus value potential with the veteran outfielder in this one.
UTIL – Brian Anderson (MIA) – $3,000 vs. ATL
Completing this four-man Marlins stack is Anderson who has been one of the team’s top bats against right-handed pitching this season despite hitting from the right side of the plate.
The bulk of his numbers against righties greatly outweigh his marks against lefties, although he owns a quality 110 wRC+ versus southpaws this season.
Anderson sports a .246 ISO, .856 OPS, .367 wOBA and 134 wRC+ on the season against right-handed pitching – all of which are superior to his mark against lefties. Anderson has homered nine times on the year, eight of which have come against a right-handed pitcher.
The key thing with this stack is walks. While there’s power here as well, all of these Marlins sport quality walk rates versus righties. That’s important because of Ynoa’s 5.79 BB/9 on the season while the Marlins own a walk rate north of 10% versus righties. With stacks, the key is to either have all four hit for power – which these guys can – but to also get guys on base ahead of a home run from someone in your stack, which to me is quite realistic in this matchup.
Finally, while the Marlins rank 24th with a .302 wOBA at home, they shoot all the way up to 12th with a .321 mark on the road. Their last trip to Atlanta included allowing 29 runs in a game, however they also scored nine in that same game.
Add it up and I think we have the power and speed combination working here against a struggling pitcher while it’s nice to see these guys at their best away from home.