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The Deep Dive: MLB DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel | Friday, 10/1

Adam Scherer



MLB DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel fantasy baseball rankings free expert deep dive advice strategy yahoo espn cbs Top stacks optimal lineup optimizer Lance Lynn

The MLB DFS Deep Dive is back! This article is intended to give you an in-depth look at the top MLB DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel on the day’s fantasy baseball slate. It is recommended that you use this article in conjunction with Awesemo’s MLB projections, ownership projections and the Top Stack tool.

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MLB DFS Deep Dive: DraftKings + FanDuel Picks | Oct. 1

Top Pitchers

Sandy Alcantara ($10,200 DraftKings/$9,300 FanDuel) is the most expensive pitcher on DraftKings and the fifth-most expensive pitcher on FanDuel. He has had a strong season, striking out 24% of hitters and posting a 3.42 xFIP, but he is usually at the top of the pricing spectrum. While the salary is unappealing, and he is facing a Phillies team that is difficult to strike out (depending on their lineup), this is a strange slate since it is the end of the season. There are many pitchers that do not go deep into games as they normally would. While the Marlins have nothing to play for, there is no indication that they plan to limit Alcantara in his final start of the season. He has thrown at least six innings in nine straight starts and is one of only four pitchers in baseball this season with more than 200 innings. He is not a priority on this slate because of his price and the difficult strikeout matchup, but he is not projected to be popular, so he is an appealing GPP option where affordable.

Update: The Phillies are resting a couple of players tonight. Ronald Torreyes is hitting second in place of Jean Segura; Travis Jankowski is in the lineup in place of Andrew McCutchen and Andrew Knapp is catching in place of J.T. Realmuto. This makes the matchup much more favorable for Alcantara. The average wOBA against right-handed pitching over the last three seasons for the Segura, McCutchen, Realmuto trio is .319 compared to .273 for their replacements. The average strikeout rate for Segura, McCutchen and Realmuto over that time is 19.9% compared to 20.6% for their replacements.

Clayton Kershaw ($10,000 DraftKings/$10,400 FanDuel) does not seem to be worth his salary at first glance, but there is reason for some optimism. While he has only thrown 50, 74 and 73 pitches in his three starts since returning from injury, he was removed mid-inning in his most recent start. In that game Kershaw started the fifth inning trailing 3-0. He proceeded to allow an infield single to Zac Gallen and a single to Ketel Marte. He then got a groundout from Henry Ramos before Daulton Varsho drove in Marte with an RBI single. Kershaw was then removed from the game. However, Kershaw does not seem to be on a strict 75-pitch count; he was taken out of the game because he was not pitching well. Kershaw has struck out 29.9% of hitters this season and has a 2.86 xFIP, and the Brewers’ 3.2 implied run total is tied with Detroit for the lowest on the slate.

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Lance Lynn ($9,500 DraftKings/$10,000 FanDuel) has an excellent matchup against the Tigers, who have struck out 25.6% of the time and have a 91 wRC+ against right-handed pitching this season. Lynn has struck out 27.6% of hitters and has a 3.78 xFIP. There is a wide range of outcomes for how many pitches Lynn will throw tonight. In his last three starts he has thrown 70, 83 and 105 pitches. Since he threw 105 pitches in his most recent start, it is reasonable to think that he could do so again tonight. At the same time, the White Sox have nothing to play for, so it would not be particularly surprising if that were a final tune-up for Lynn and he has a much shorter leash in this game. He is projected to be the highest-owned pitcher on DraftKings and the second-highest pitcher on FanDuel, so it is at least worth considering that he may have a shorter leash tonight than most people are anticipating. Kershaw’s median pitch count is likely being underestimated, while Lynn’s is likely being overestimated.

Ranger Suarez ($8,800 DraftKings/$9,000 FanDuel) has posted strong numbers as a starting pitcher this season. He has a 24% strikeout rate and 3.46 xFIP since Philadelphia moved him into the starting rotation. He has faced a string of easy opponents, so he may not actually be as good as those numbers suggest, but he has another favorable matchup tonight against the Marlins in Miami. The Marlins’ active roster has struck out 26.6% of the time this season with an 80 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Suarez is expected to be extremely popular, and there are plenty of alternatives if you need to save ownership in your lineup because you are rostering popular hitters, but he also projects as the best option at his price point.

Steven Matz ($8,700 DraftKings/$8,000 FanDuel) has a decent matchup against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles’ active roster has a 103 wRC+ and 23.7% strikeout rate against left-handed pitching this season, but they also have just a 3.3 implied run total. Baltimore’s lineup is top heavy as they have plenty of power in the first five hitters, but the bottom of the lineup is very weak. One concern for Matz is that the Orioles lineup will most likely have eight right-handed hitters and the only lefty, Cedric Mullins, is the best hitter on the team. Matz has only struck out 20.2% of right-handed hitters this season compared to 29.6% of lefties.

Eduardo Rodriguez ($8,500 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) has a tough strikeout matchup against the Washington Nationals, who are tied with Houston for the third lowest strikeout rate since the trade deadline. They also have a 105 wRC+ over that time, though that is skewed by Juan Soto’s 195 wRC+ over that stretch. While it is not a great matchup for Rodriguez’s strikeout upside, it is interesting that he is projected for similar ownership as pitchers like Matz and Marco Gonzales who are much worse strikeout pitchers. Rodriguez’s 27.4% strikeout rate is two-tenths of a point lower than Lance Lynn’s and he has a better 3.42 xFIP. One point working against Rodriguez is that the Red Sox have been very quick to pull their starters at the first sign of trouble once they are in their third trip through the lineup. This means that Rodriguez could leave the game in the fifth or sixth inning once a hitter or two reach base, even if he has been pitching relatively well.

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Marco Gonzales ($8,400 DraftKings/$8,100 FanDuel) has only struck out 18.3% of hitters this season. He deserves consideration tonight, however. The Mariners are battling for the American League Wild Card, and Gonzales has thrown at least 90 pitches in nine of his last 10 starts (86 pitches in the one where he did not reach 90) and at least 100 pitches in four of those starts, including two of his last four. He also has a favorable matchup against the Angels, who have a 24% strikeout rate and 81 wRC+ since the trade deadline.

Jon Gray ($7,700 DraftKings/$8,300 FanDuel) is not projected for much ownership tonight against the Diamondbacks, which makes him an appealing GPP option. Overall this season, Gray has struck out 24% of hitters and has a 4.08 xFIP. Given the relatively weak pitching options on this slate, there is not much to dislike in those numbers at Gray’s salary. He also has an excellent matchup against the Diamondbacks, who have an 82 wRC+ and 24% strikeout rate since the trade deadline. One negative for Gray is that Arizona only has two right-handed hitters in their lineup- including the pitcher. Gray has struck out 28.8% of right-handed hitters this season compared to just 20.5% of left-handed hitters. Still, Gray is good as long as his ownership projection remains low.

Top Hitters

Willson Contreras ($3,500 DraftKings/$3,100 FanDuel)

Bobby Dalbec ($3,700 DraftKings/$3,000 FanDuel)

Marcus Semien ($5,400 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel)

Josh Donaldson ($4,400 DraftKings/$3,200 FanDuel)

Bo Bichette ($5,500 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel)

George Springer ($4,900 DraftKings/$3,800 FanDuel)

Byron Buxton ($4,700 DraftKings/$4,000 FanDuel)

Corey Dickerson ($2,800 DraftKings/$2,300 FanDuel)

Top Stacks

Note: Be sure to check out the Top Stacks Tool to compare a team’s chances of success to their aggregate ownership.

  1. Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Minnesota Twins

Top Under-owned Stacks: Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays

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Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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