Friday, Sept. 17, brings all 30 teams in action, with pitching talent running the gamut from batting practice to Cy Young-caliber options. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Friday, Sept. 17
Yahoo Stack of the Day: New York Yankees vs. Zach Plesac — 5.0 implied runs
Though this is not a cakewalk matchup against Zach Plesac, there are six other teams with run totals higher than that of the Yankees. Tonight every team in the league is in action, which should help disperse the popularity for the top stacks and provide plenty of discount dandies near the minimum salary to facilitate salary cap flexibility.
Giancarlo Stanton ($20) and Aaron Judge ($19) once again lead the way as core options. The bonus with the Yankees is that they have a second trio to target at a discount. D.J. LeMahieu will be in his customary leadoff spot, which should give him a crack at five plate appearances. Joey Gallo ($15) and Anthony Rizzo ($15) are bargains at their Friday salaries as part of a Yankees stack or as one-offs. Feel free to skip Gleyber Torres ($15), who has been lost at the plate and Brett Gardner ($15), who seems more suited to hit at the bottom of the order than near the top.
Seattle Mariners at RHP Jon Heasley — 4.7 implied runs
On the evening slate most gamers will be flocking to the Astros for good reason. Houston is once again leading the league against lefties and get Madison Bumgarner, who allowed five home runs and 10 earned runs in his last two starts, which spanned 12 innings. And those came against the Mariners, so think of what the Astros can do.
There was a late pitching change, with Kansas City moving Brady Singer to the injured list and calling up rookie Jon Heasley to make his debut. This season Heasley is the No. 30 to 35 Royals prospect, and his 105.1 innings at Double-A are the first at that level. While Heasley has performed reasonably well, he may just be outclassing inferior competition. In summary, with a fastball that is barely average on his best days, Heasley profiles as a nameless reliever that will float around for a couple of seasons between franchises before quietly slipping into the night. His last start was on Saturday, and he should get 75 to 80 pitches tonight. Kansas City has put a lot of mileage on their bullpen over the last three days, with the starters logging only eight innings against 21 from the relievers.
The projected run total went up a tick for the Mariners this afternoon after the pitching change was announced. Seattle’s production is mostly concentrated in Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager. They are typically in adjacent lineup slots, which improves their synergy. Rounding out a full stack is not necessary, but Jake Fraley and recent addition Abraham Toro would be the next two to target.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. LHP Cole Irvin — 5.3 implied runs
Cole Irvin has been mercurial with his results, which makes him a great target in tournaments. Including his handful of minor outings for Philadelphia this season, Irvin has thrown a career-high 162 innings. There is a good chance he has hit the wall, having allowed at least seven hits in five of his last six games. Over his last three outings he has ceded five home runs and a 7.71 ERA.
Though Shohei Ohtani may be done pitching for the season, he should continue to serve as the designated hitter in his chase for the American League MVP and the home run crown. Jared Walsh has been solid in same-handed matchups, and he is a fine differentiation option on the late slate. Phil Gosselin, Jack Mayfield and Kurt Suzuki are the other players to focus on from the Angels.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Walker Buehler at Cincinnati Reds — 3.7 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $58 | FanDuel $9,900 | DraftKings $10,200
Though this game is in hitting-friendly Great American Ballpark, Walker Buehler is still a top option on Friday. He is a strong candidate to be the National League Cy Young winner, and he is currently third among qualified pitchers with a 2.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. The one knock against him is that he is only striking out one batter per inning, but his consistency has made up for that, as he leads MLB with 25 quality starts in 29 chances. Chris Sale is waiting to clear the COVID-19 protocol, and he is the pivot tonight against Baltimore if he is available.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Zack Wheeler at New York Mets — 3.6 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $47 | FanDuel $10,700 | DraftKings $10,600
The has been an outstanding season for Zack Wheeler, posting career highs with a 2.86 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Though he struggled somewhat in August, with a 4.81 ERA and nine strikeouts per nine in six starts, he has righted the ship, allowing only a solo home run in 12.1 September innings and striking out 17. Not only is Wheeler on the short list for the National League Cy Young, he is also going against his former team, with both squads fighting for a playoff opportunity.
Wild Card MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Elieser Hernandez vs. Pittsburgh Pirates — 3.5 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $38 | FanDuel $7,500 | DraftKings $6,800
Since returning from injury in mid-August, Elieser Hernandez has seen his pitch count steadily increase all the way to 93 in his last start. There is no need for the Marlins to push him, so something in the 80- to 90-pitch range is a reasonable expectation. The matchup against Pittsburgh is a strong one, as they are a bottom-five offense against righties. Though they are around average when it comes to strikeouts, they are last from a power perspective. It would not be a surprise for Hernandez to see five or six efficient innings with a handful of strikeouts, and the quality start is definitely in play on FanDuel.
Final Thoughts for the Friday, Sept. 17 MLB DFS Picks Slate
Keep an eye on the East Coast, which has a variety of games that could see scattered showers. New York and Washington seem to be the potential culprits.
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