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MLB DFS Quick Hits: HRs, Stacks and Ownership Plays DraftKings + FanDuel | September 1

Terry McBride

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FanDuel MLB DFS cheatsheet for 9/4/20, picks like George Springer based on projections and ownership from the world's No. 1 DFS player.

Monday MLB DFS action hopefully reaped some rewards for readers with a few of our favorite spots going off in big ways. If you were tuned into Live Before Lock, you hopefully caught me and Loughy discussing the Phillies game in terms of weather and stayed on it for some of the big run totals there. The Padres and White Sox also delivered mostly to expectation on the night as well. We even got some help on this one from inexpensive Brad Keller in a tough spot against the Indians. With a lot of the chalk pitching also delivering, that became an important number on the night for some lineup constructions.

Tomorrow’s big slate has a bunch of good looking spots with several inflammable starters going against high-end power hitting offenses, plus yet another Coors game. I think we’ve got a high scoring day ahead of us tomorrow. Getting to the right pitching is going to be interesting with the slate’s only two true aces pitching against one another in not the best spots. The rest of the pitching slate is a mixed bag that isn’t easy to trust, bats could easily win the day with just mediocre pitching scores on this one.


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MLB DFS Quick Hits: Top HR Options, Stacks and Pitchers

Home Run Ratings

Home runs are our holy grail when making MLB DFS picks. Finding the right combination of sluggers who will knock one, or better two, out of the park to drive in the teammates you stack with them is critical to winning GPPs. Identifying the likely home run hitters is trickier than just looking at the big names. Using a model of my own design, based on a blend of several predictive statistics for the batter-pitcher matchup, I’m going to give one of the top choices from each team.

Scale: 5-10 Average; 10-20 Good; 20-25 Very Good; 25+ Great

Arizona Diamondbacks: Christian Walker – 5.65

Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna – 13.84

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander – 6.11

Boston Red Sox: Rafael Devers – 11.73

Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber – 16.53

Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu – 10.67

Cincinnati Reds: n/a

Cleveland Indians: Francisco Lindor – 19.59

Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado – 11.97

Detroit Tigers: Jonathan Schoop – 10.99

Houston Astros: Kyle Tucker – 7.79

Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler – 6.70

Los Angeles Angels: Anthony Rendon – 7.65

Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger – 22.23

Miami Marlins: Corey Dickerson – 2.91

Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich – 19.78

Minnesota Twins: Nelson Cruz – 8.62

New York Mets: Michael Conforto – 16.96

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez – 10.43

Oakland Athletics: n/a

Philadelphia Phillies: J.T. Realmuto – 7.83

Pittsburgh Pirates: Josh Bell – 10.70

San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. – 7.46

San Francisco Giants: Evan Longoria – 4.82

Seattle Mariners: Kyle Seager – 9.68

St. Louis Cardinals: n/a

Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe – 7.18

Texas Rangers: Joey Gallo – 4.27

Toronto Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk – 20.49

Washington Nationals: Juan Soto – 12.37

MLB DFS Stacks & Ownership Plays

(Quick note: if it says 1-5 it means hitters 1-2-3-4-5, otherwise I’ll specify spots)

We’re picking a few standout MLB DFS spots and teams to look at for potential plays here. Make sure to check out the ownership projections for critical updates and monitor the top stacks tool throughout the day for changes.

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates – Cubs – 1-2-3-4-6 – Bryant – Rizzo – Baez – Schwarber – Happ

The Cubs are in the Steel City to take on the Pirates and their mediocre starter Chad Kuhl. Kuhl has a 1.52 career HR/9 against left-handed hitters, which seems like a number we can target with some of the Cubs best bats for MLB DFS purposes. It’s not necessarily the best home run spot on the board with gas cans going against the Mets, Braves, Brewers and Indians, but it has some strong upside. Kuhl offers the additional benefit of a high walk rate and around a league-average strikeout rate. The Cubs have a good amount of quality from top to bottom to throw at this pitcher, and they have broad appeal as a stack.

Off the top, the Cubs could benefit from the return of Kris Bryant to this lineup. The third baseman is expected back, and I wouldn’t worry about the .177/.271/.323 slash or lack of run production to date this year. We know the hitter we’re getting in Bryant. Let the career .282/.382/.512 slash, .230 ISO and WRC+ 37% above average do the talking. At just $3,000 on FanDuel and $4,600 on DraftKings, pricing people seem to have forgotten just who Bryant is. Hope the public does as well.

Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Jason Heyward will all offer power from the left side of the plate in this matchup. The quartet of hitters has an average ISO of .278 so far this season. Rizzo and Schwarber are the obvious choices for power here. The pair have hit a combined 17 home runs coming into action on Monday and are both mashing their way through 2020.

The public ownership on Happ will be one to watch. He is hitting on the side of the plate where he finds most of his power, with a .269 ISO as a lefty hitting against a right-handed pitcher. The outfielder was once sneaky and is now just underpriced at $4,100 on DraftKings and $3,100 on FanDuel. Happ is carrying a .294/.417/.624 slash with a .330 ISO in his 133 plate appearances in 2020.

The veteran outfielder after him in the lineup is interesting here as well. Jason Heyward never reached the expected superstardom that was awaiting him, but he’s had a nice career and is having an excellent 2020. The lefty was at .286/.402/.560 coming into Monday and has been showing some long-lost power with an excellent .274 ISO over his first 102 plate appearances.

Javier Baez hits third and fills out shortstop as one of the best options on any slate. The power-hitting star is scuffling through 2020 and is all the way down to just $3,200 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings. The entire lineup on FanDuel is under $4,000, but the DraftKings numbers are a bit surprising to see with just catcher Willson Contreras and Rizzo over $5,000. Baez at a discount is someone I will always be happy to roster. Just last year Baez 29 home runs in his 561 plate appearances. He’s a no-brainer at these prices.

Contreras is an ownership-dictated play here. At that price, if he’s extremely popular on the slate, I can find reasons to look elsewhere for a catcher. His .196/.304/.364 slash for the season has little to do with it, though. It’s simply price and popularity-based. If the stats keep the public off of him, I can find plenty of reasons to get there. Jason Kipnis at the bottom of the lineup is somewhat in play as yet another left-handed bat who can differentiate things and serve as an OK wraparound option.

The suggested stack looks ultra-pricey on the surface, but I took some time to put it together with some other high-end stacks against gas-can pitchers, and it still leaves plenty of room to work in reasonable pitching.


Related MLB DFS Content


Texas Rangers at Houston Astros – Astros – 1-5 – Springer – Altuve – Brantley – Gurriel – Tucker

The Astros are at home with their cross-Texas rivals coming to town. Pitcher Jordan Lyles is taking the mound for the Rangers, and he has got some ugly Statcast numbers that are calling out to the Astros bats saying “hit me … hit me …” or maybe just making the sound of a trash can being hit, it’s a Pavlovian thing with these guys. Regardless, the Astros lineup looks excellent here, and I feel like we haven’t touched on them in a minute. The pricing is down on these hitters on both sites, and they seem like a strong option for offense that might get overlooked.

For the season, Lyles is carrying a 6.54 xFIP and a 1.89 WHIP over his first 24 innings and five starts. He’s allowed five home runs in that 24-inning sample and sits in the eighth percentile in exit velocity, 11th in hard hit rate, 13th in xwOBA, seventh in strikeout percentage … I could go on like this, but the point is we can target this pitcher.

The Astros take it from the top with a big bat in George Springer. The outfielder, who hit 39 home runs last year and no fewer than 22 in any of the last five seasons, is struggling so far in 2020. He’s managed five homers but is at just .209/.339/.418. His ISO of .209 is well above average but is low for this hitter. The same can be said for his WRC+, which is “only” 11% above average this year. At just $3,500 on FanDuel and $4,400 on DraftKings, he’s a steal.

Jose Altuve is at just .211/.276/.316 for the year, and I’m still not worried about it. There’s simply too much in this bat for it to have all disappeared in a flash. I’ll wait it out while taking the discount on FanDuel at just $3,400, though his $5,000 on DraftKings is a bit much to swallow at second base.

Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker are a high-end pair of left-handed outfielders who are capable of hitting for significant power. The veteran Brantley has been over 600 plate appearances each of the last two seasons with Houston, after struggling through two injury-plagued years to wrap up his time with the Indians. In his 637 opportunities in 2019, he hit 22 home runs and put up a .311/.372/.503 slash and a WRC+ 33% above average, while striking out just 10.4% of the time. Tucker can’t brag the same way about his patience — the young up-and-comer strikes out in the 23-25% range — but he can put a charge into the ball when he makes contact. So far in 2020 the lefty has six home runs, 26 runs scored, 29 RBIs, four steals, a .316 ISO and a WRC+ 40% above average.

There’s a chance that I buried the lede here. Tucker’s 29 RBIs ranked him sixth in baseball in the category coming into Monday. That surprised me. I knew he’d been good but didn’t realize he’d been that good. It’s not like he’s leading the league in home runs. Everyone above him on the list has 11 or more homers, nearly double Tucker’s total. It seems like the people setting prices are also sleeping on this fact, Tucker costs just $3,600 on FanDuel and $4,500 on DraftKings.

Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa are two right-handed infield bats that I always want to get to as part of Astros stacks. I’ve focused on Correa at various opportunities when we’ve covered this team, and he’s delivered for MLB DFS purposes to varying degrees, but his power hasn’t shown up yet and he’s at just at .129 ISO on the year. Still, he has a WRC+ 16% above average and is one of the less expensive star-caliber shortstops available. Gurriel is affordable and is riding a .292/.348/.517 slash with five home runs and a WRC+ 33% above average. The underrated, underappreciated and under-owned first baseman is someone to work into stacks where you can.

Josh Reddick is a lefty bat who is always in play for me against a bad right-handed pitcher. Reddick has 106 of his 142 career home runs against right-handed pitchers and costs just $3,200 on DraftKings and $2,400 on FanDuel. His numbers so far this year alone warrant better. He’s at .280/.361/.439 with two home runs and a WRC+ 22% above average in his 123 plate appearances before Monday’s action. That’s a better hitter than his price. Get to him as a quality mix-in here.

HR Call: Michael Conforto (Mets)


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Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on Awesemo.com. A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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