We’re getting down to now-or-never time for MLB DFS in 2020. With just a handful of main slates left, including tonight’s oddly split set of contests, it’s going to be critical to land on the perfect combination at some point this week if you’re looking to vault into the top of a GPP. The night features a 6:37 start with an eight-game slate on DraftKings and a smaller six-game affair on FanDuel. Pitching is interesting with one big pay-up option, a few mispriced starters and a nice tier in the $8,000 range but very few reliable low-priced SP2 options. Salary value should play a big role in successful constructions tonight with prices up on the big bats across the field.
Team ownership will be interesting to watch as we head into lock. A few of the high-end stacks have heavy popularity, and there are several interesting opportunities that might not be drawing the shares they warrant. If things go to plan some of those teams could provide the salary savings we need to angle into the top starters and the top of tournaments.
MLB DFS Stack Slants | DraftKings + FanDuel | Sept. 21
New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays – 9-1-2-3-5 – Frazier – LeMahieu – Judge – Stanton – Torres
The Yankees are the second-ranked team on the DraftKings slate and, well, they don’t appear on the FanDuel slate. The site decided not to include the 6:30 games in their main slate in favor of creating two separate small afternoon slates because the rake is more important than the customer experience. If you’re playing on DraftKings, the Yankees are going under-owned by half, and they look great once again. The pricing is helping keep ownership away from a lot of Yankees hitters, similar to what we saw with the Braves last week.
The Blue Jays are starting what’s left of Matt Shoemaker tonight. If you thought Shoemaker had retired several years ago, you can’t be blamed. The veteran right-handed starter hasn’t thrown more than 77 innings since the 2016 season. At a point in his career, Shoemaker had some upside. That point is not now. Shoemaker has a reasonable strikeout rate and swinging strike rate, but he has struggled with leaving both his sinker and his splitter hanging, yielding seven of the eight home runs he’s allowed in just 25.2 innings on those two pitches. Against this lineup that will be his downfall.
The Yankees have a reputation for striking out, but on the season they’re at just 21.2% as a team against right-handed pitching, and they have several very discerning hitters who can work the count to hunt for that hanger to hit over the wall. With hitters like D.J. LeMahieu at the top of the lineup setting the table, when that home run happens it could come with several men on base. LeMahieu is one of the best hitters in baseball, and he gets on at a .418 clip. His 10 home runs and WRC+ 81% above average just show the overall quality of the player. At $5,600 on DraftKings he’s among the priciest plays on the slate, but well worth it. He’s even expensive on FanDuel at $4,400. I would have zero hesitation on either site. He also added third base eligibility on DraftKings, making him even more dynamic in this lineup.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton bring an unfair amount of power and home run upside to the lineup hitting behind a player who is on base that frequently. If both sluggers are in the lineup tonight, this could get ugly fast. Be sure to stay on top of things however, the Yankees are juggling some of their players in hopes of keeping everyone healthy for a few days before the playoffs. At $4,600 on DraftKings and $4,100 on FanDuel, Stanton is predictably popular but ultimately playable. Judge’s $5,700 price tag is keeping his ownership below 10% on DraftKings, making him a big target for my Yankees lineups tonight.
Gleyber Torres is inexpensive similar to Stanton, but he is drawing a third of the ownership of his teammate. This is a shortstop with legitimately similar upside on any given night. At $3,200 on FanDuel, he’s laughably underpriced. Torres is at just .252/.363/.391 on the year with a .139 ISO, but he’s still creating runs 14% better than average, and he’s still the hitter who put up 38 home runs in 604 plate appearances just last season.
Luke Voit is not someone whose home run upside needs to be sold very hard. Voit leads the league with 21 and has been a force of destruction across baseball since joining the Bronx Bombers. In 2020 Voit has a .345 ISO in his 161 plate appearances against right-handed pitching.
Aaron Hicks hits from both sides of the plate and has been deceptively effective as a lefty against right-handed pitchers this season. He’s 10th on the team with a .185 ISO, but he has a WRC+ 18% above average and a .377 on-base percentage. The deception part comes with his lowly .204 average and .386 slugging percentage in the split. Hicks does a fantastic job of working counts and getting on base despite not hitting for a high average. He’s a player with upside to take Shoemaker deep with his ability to force pitchers to throw him the pitch he’s looking for. When Hicks is right, his strength is taking that opportunity and planting it 400 or so feet from home plate.
Gio Urshela is a hitter that has been productive since joining the Yankees, and with LeMahieu’s newfound eligibility at third base, Urshela could go overlooked in lineups for MLB DFS purposes. He’s currently trending for under 1% ownership and is carrying a lofty $5,300 price tag on DraftKings. He’s an easier play for $3,400 on FanDuel given his likely spot late in this lineup. Urshela had a slow growth trajectory but his bat has taken off over the last season and a half. In 2020 he has a .252 ISO against right-handed pitching. That’s essentially double what the Yankees would have expected this hitter to produce when he was brought in last year.
Gary Sanchez has 10 home runs in his 158 plate appearances this season. He also has a .151/.253/.396 slash that is starting to make many Yankees fans at home in their living rooms mistakenly believe they might be able to do better. When Sanchez makes contact the ball still travels a great distance. We’ve covered his quality of contact numbers before in this space, at just 2.8% ownership and only $4,500 you’re either a believer in the catcher or you’re not. I’ll be on board.
Clint Frazier has seized the opportunity with the Yankees this season, in his 139 plate appearances the outfielder has a .296/.410/.574 slash with eight home runs and a WRC+ 68% above average. He’s flashed the speed upside with two stolen bases as well. If Frazier is hitting ninth as he is in the projected lineup, I love him as a wraparound play back to the top of the lineup. He’s pulling essentially zero ownership tonight and costs just $4,700, cheap for this stack and for the quality of the player.
The Yankees will be difficult to stack with the highest-end pitching on the slate, but with several good pitching options in the $8,000 tier, I think we can make it work without total punt plays at the pitching spots.
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Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves – 8-1-3-4-5 – Chisholm – Dickerson – Aguilar – Joyce – Anderson
The Marlins are drawing a solid rating on the top stacks tool today in this spot against Huascar Ynoa. I like the Braves bats on the other side of this one as well, and I could even see getting to some game stacks with the way the pricing and positional combinations of these two teams work. Ynoa could be in play for a few shares of very inexpensive pitching for me as well, though I like the Marlins upside as a stack better than his as an arm.
Ynoa is a reasonably rated prospect with a mid-20s strikeout rate in the minors and a 12% swinging strike rate. In his 18.2 innings in 2020 he’s allowed two home runs while striking out 18.6% of hitters and walking 14% in the obviously small sample. Ultimately, Ynoa is another in a line of young starters who are just booking some innings to keep their development on track, though if he can get stretched out to five innings in this one, he could crack the Braves playoff roster with their banged-up pitching staff.
Ultimately the spot looks good for the Marlins. The lineup is improved, and these aren’t the totally inept Marlins of the past, though they don’t offer a tremendous amount of power upside with just a .138 team ISO against right-handed pitching this year. Their WRC+ is just 5% below average for the season overall, and the team has added bats as the season has gone along.
Corey Dickerson should be in the leadoff spot with his lefty bat in a matchup against a right-handed starter. The outfielder costs just $3,700 on DraftKings and is the most popular Marlins player tonight. His ownership isn’t to the degree that we have to avoid him in stacks, and I like the home run upside on the player tonight. On FanDuel he’s an easy play at $2,800. Dickerson has seven home runs overall in 2020, four against right-handed pitchers. For his career, 106 of Dickerson’s 122 home runs have come on this side of the split.
Starling Marte was brought in from the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline and should be hitting second in the lineup. Marte is very pricey at $5,600, which reads like a misprint among his teammates. This is keeping the public off the outfielder as if he were mask-less in a Target. For the season, Marte has a .293/.351/.444 slash with a WRC+ 15% above average. He hasn’t shown much power upside in 2020 with just five home runs and a .151 ISO, but his nine stolen bases have some appeal with his ability to get on, and he should set the table for the hitters behind him well.
Looking to drive Marte in will be big first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who is reasonably priced and not over-owned on either site. Aguilar has a good .273/.346/.442 slash this season with a WRC+ 16% above average and six home runs, five of them against right-handed pitchers.
Matt Joyce is a very inexpensive left-handed bat at just $2,700. He’s hitting cleanup for this team in the projected lineup and is somehow drawing just a 1.7% ownership projection. This is wrong. If you’re playing Marlins, you should be playing some Joyce both for the price savings and the upside. In his 127 plate appearances in 2020, Joyce has just two home runs and a .092 ISO with a WRC+ 4% below average. Dating to the start of 2016, Joyce has 51 home runs against right-handed pitching, tied with Marte for second on this team. His total comes in 1,265 plate appearances in the split, while Marte’s was accumulated in 1,758. Leader in the category, Dickerson, needed 1,655 opportunities to amass his 71. Joyce is a sneaky-good cheap power option tonight is my point.
Brian Anderson and Garrett Cooper are both trending for under 5% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Anderson is the second highest priced hitter on this team at $5,200 on DraftKings, though his $3,000 tag on FanDuel is quite friendly. Anderson leads the Marlins with nine home runs in 2020, eight against right-handed pitchers. He wields a quality bat in same-handed matchups, with a .254/.356/.500 slash and a WRC+ 34% above average this year.
Cooper has a WRC+ 16% above average in the split to go with a .145 ISO and a .258/.361/.403 slash. The right-handed first baseman will be inexpensive and unpopular on both sites and is fine to mix and match in your Marlins stacks, though he doesn’t need to be a fixture in this matchup.
Miguel Rojas is drawing no attention at shortstop and and with a $4,400 price tag. I don’t blame the public for preferring rookie Jazz Chisholm at $3,000 and able to fill the same position. With his dual eligibility at shortstop and second base and his low price on both sites ($2,200? Come on, FanDuel), the high-upside player is firmly in play and makes a dynamic wraparound option for Marlins stacks. Rojas works well as a low-owned mix and match play if you’re feeling like it. He’s carrying a .340/.429/.563 slash in 119 plate appearances this year with four home runs and three stolen bases.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro brings up the end of this order at just $3,700 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel. His low ownership puts him in play for the power upside resident in his bat. Alfaro doesn’t connect often but he can hit the ball over the fence. In his 85 plate appearances in 2020 he has just three homers, though he went deep 18 times in 465 plate appearances last season.
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