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MLB

MLB DFS Quick Hits: HRs, Stacks and Ownership Plays DraftKings + FanDuel | 9/16

Terry McBride

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Our team of experts break down the MLB DFS slate and give MLB DFS picks and take you up until lock to set your daily fantasy lineups.

What a day for offense. The Yankees outscored the New York Football Giants, dropping 20 on the Blue Jays, while the Brewers popped up again with a big 18-run total. The pitching on the night was interesting, with Jack Flaherty going bust and the two big-value pitchers mostly delivering. There were a few paths to the top of GPP standings today, and I sure wasn’t on any of them. Hopefully you picked up some of the right pieces of what we discussed over the various shows and columns and made it work.

Tomorrow’s slate looks like another quality day of baseball. We have a nine-game main slate to work with, and there’s a three-game early slate on both sites if that’s your game. There are numerous pitching options to work with and a few that look completely mis-priced. EMac and I broke down the pitching slate and discussed some of those options on the Early Bird Pod, so check that out for a bit more.

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 – 5.18

Atlanta Braves: Marcell Ozuna – 19.08

Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Mountcastle – 7.76

Boston Red Sox: n/a

Chicago Cubs: Anthony Rizzo – 7.59

Chicago White Sox: Yoan Moncada – 13.41

Cincinnati Reds: n/a

Cleveland Indians: Jose Ramirez – 12.62

Colorado Rockies: Nolan Arenado – 12.56

Detroit Tigers: Jeimer Candelario – 8.99

Houston Astros: George Springer – 11.44

Kansas City Royals: Sal Perez – 18.38

Los Angeles Angels: Justin Upton – 13.63

Los Angeles Dodgers: Justin Turner – 9.88

Miami Marlins: n/a

Milwaukee Brewers: n/a

Minnesota Twins: Josh Donaldson – 5.28

New York Mets: Pete Alonso – 13.71

New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton – 19.36

Oakland Athletics: Matt Olson – 7.94

Philadelphia Phillies: Alec Bohm – 2.37

Pittsburgh Pirates: n/a

San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. – 7.00

San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt – 13.10

Seattle Mariners: Kyle Lewis – 6.44

St. Louis Cardinals: n/a

Tampa Bay Rays: Brandon Lowe – 11.13

Texas Rangers: Willie Calhoun – 5.03

Toronto Blue Jays: Randal Grichuk – 16.07

Washington Nationals: Trea Turner – 8.61

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.

Texas Rangers at Houston Astros – Astros 2-6 – Altuve – Brantley – Bregman – Tucker – Gurriel

The Astros have the slate’s highest implied team total in the first look at this slate and they’re under-priced. I expect this to be an extremely popular choice across MLB DFS tomorrow. The spot is a good one against the struggling Kyle Gibson. In 48 innings this season, Gibson has just an 18.4% strikeout rate, down from the 22-23% range the past two seasons and back at his career average. He’s carrying a 1.66 WHIP and a 4.56 xFIP so far this year, while allowing power to both hands. Of the 11 home runs that the right-handed starter has allowed, six of them were hit by lefties and five by right-handed bats.

The Astros just got Jose Altuve back in the lineup as they get back to mostly full strength. Altuve should slot into the two spot in the lineup behind star outfielder George Springer. Springer is just $4,400 on DraftKings and $3,600 on FanDuel. He has nine home runs, a .240 ISO and a WRC+ 25% above average this season. Last season he hit 39 home runs in 556 plate appearances with a .299 ISO and a WRC+ 56% above average. He’s too cheap by several hundred, so take advantage.

Altuve is even less expensive. The second baseman is priced at just $3,400 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel, which is an absolute bargain for an All-Star of this caliber. Altuve was struggling in the early weeks of the season. He returns to a .224/.284/.322 slash with three home runs and two stolen bases. His ISO is just .098 and his WRC+ is 31% below average. Can you feel me hoping that Altuve goes under-owned in this spot? Since the start of 2018, Altuve has a WRC+ 27% above average with a .301/.360/.470 slash and 33 home runs against right-handed pitching.

As EMac pointed out on the Early Bird in an interesting conversation about some high-level pitching that pairs well with this stack, Michael Brantley costs just $3,300 on this slate. The star outfielder hits from the left side of the plate and has 22 home runs over his last 550 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers. Brantley has a .327/.387/.552 slash with a .225 ISO and a WRC+ 51% above average against right-handed pitchers since the start of 2018. This is a killer spot for the outfielder who should be hitting third.

With Alex Bregman hitting cleanup for just $4,800, the team’s highest DraftKings price, this stack just rolls on with discounts. Bregman is a $5,000 player every day. In this spot he should be at least $500 more than he’s priced. For the season, Bregman has just four home runs in his 125 plate appearances, but his .204 ISO is solid and he’s creating runs 22% better than the average. If anything, we can anticipate an upward trend based on his history.

Kyle Tucker provides a big lefty bat hitting behind Bregman and in front of Yuli Gurriel. Tucker is having a big year. He’s hit a league-leading six triples, has eight home runs, a .276 ISO that sits 23rd in baseball, and a WRC+ 19% above average so far this season. Gurriel is a solid power option. He’s hit 26 home runs in his past 566 plate appearances against right-handed pitching dating to the start of 2019, and he has a WRC+ 10% above average. The first baseman costs just $3,900 on DraftKings and slots into this stack easily.

The lineup rolls on with Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick. Correa is at $4,400 on DraftKings and just $2,800 on FanDuel. Since the start of 2018, Correa has a .215 ISO and a WRC+ 8% above average against right-handed pitchers, which dramatically outweighs any struggles this season when he’s priced like this. Reddick has 11 home runs in his last 536 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers dating back to the start of 2019. The outfielder’s WRC+ is 15% below average in the sample, however. He’s a mix-and-match option here. Catcher Martin Maldonado is the same, hitting at the bottom of the lineup for just $3,500 on DraftKings. On FanDuel, Reddick’s $2,400 price would put him in play if you need the savings. The $2,500 for Maldonado is less relevant when we don’t need to play a catcher by rule.


Related MLB DFS Content


Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers – Royals

Let’s take a peek at a team we don’t look at too often. The Royals are in a decent spot on a slate with good pitching and mostly low implied team totals. They’re among the best options in what I would consider the second overall tier of stacks by talent and they offer a lot of salary savings up and down the projected lineup. I expect this team to end up popular tomorrow in their matchup against rookie Tarik Skubal.

Skubal is a good prospect but he might need more time, as is the case with a number of the young starters we’re seeing. Without a minor league system this year teams are giving innings to these kids in an effort to not delay their development. This seems to be the case with Skubal and the go-nowhere Tigers. Skubal has given up four home runs in just 17.1 innings in his brief career so far. He’s got a 5.38 xFIP to his 7.27 ERA so far, which is still not anything to brag about. Skubal induced a significant amount of swinging strikes in the low levels of the minors. In 2019 he was at 21.5% in AA but he’s managed just 11% so far in the Show.

The Royals active roster has a .164 ISO with a WRC+ 5% above average against left-handed pitching this season, though they’ve failed to generate much power. Part of that has been due to the absence of Jorge Soler and Salvador Perez over stretches of the season. Soler is expected back early next week but he won’t be there for this one but the team just got Perez back.

The star catcher is one of the better bats at his position and he costs just $4,400 on DraftKings and a silly $2,900 on FanDuel. In his 106 plate appearances, Perez has a .333/.349/.559 slash with a .226 ISO and a WRC+ 40% above average with five home runs. After missing all of last year he was off to a nice start, it will be good to see him back in the lineup producing and he should elevate his teammates.

Adalberto Mondesi‘s early struggles seem to be behind him. Over the last 14 days he’s hit four home runs and stolen eight bases with a .273/.333/.568 slash with a .296 ISO in just 50 plate appearances. The star shortstop is back hitting second in this lineup, though his struggles against lefties include just a .148 ISO and a WRC+ 28% below average over the last year-plus.

Whit Merrifield is leading off and slots in at second base or in the outfield which makes him dynamic despite the $5,400 price tag. Since the start of 2019, Merrifield has a .167 ISO and a WRC+ 10% above average with just a 15.8% strikeout rate and 13 home runs against lefties. Another right-handed hitter cleans up for this team. Maikel Franco costs just $4,300 on DraftKings and has a quality .284/.321/.481 slash with seven home runs and a .197 ISO and a WRC+ 12% above average this season.

Hunter Dozier slots in at either first base or outfield and is only $4,000. The price seems worth it at .261/.384/.461 with a .200 ISO and a WRC+ 32% above average. Dozier has 32 home runs in his 724 plate appearances since the start of 2019, eight of them against lefties in 150 of those plate appearances. Dozier is firmly in play for this stack on both sites.

Prospect outfielder Edward Olivares and post-hype prospect Bubba Starling pick up two outfield spots and two slots late in this lineup. They cost a combined $4,100 and could provide significant value here. Olivares is a decently regarded prospect with quality power and the ability to rack up stolen bases despite just average graded speed. In 551 plate appearances in AA with the Padres organization in 2019, the outfielder hit 18 home runs and stole 35 bases. Starling is now 28 and has never broken through in the Show. Once regarded for his mid-range speed and power, Starling could provide upside at minimum salary. Nicky Lopez could do the same for just $2,000 on DraftKings and $2,200 on FanDuel as a mix and match option in a same-handed matchup.

HR Call: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Braves)


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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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