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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers & Top Stacks for Thursday, Sept. 23

Eric MacPherson



DraftKings MLB DFS picks daily fantasy baseball free expert cheat sheet projections ownership home run predictions Blue Jays George SPringer Vladimir Guerrero Jr Friday October 1

Thursday, Sept. 23, brings split-slate action with five afternoon matchups. Then, depending on the DFS site, either a five-gamer locking at 6:40 p.m. ET or a four-gamer with the usual 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch for the “main slate.” 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, Thursday, Sept. 23

Yahoo Stack of the Day: Toronto Blue Jays at RHP Michael Pineda — 4.4 implied runs

Though the Phillies are lined up in an excellent matchup against Connor Overton and the Pirates, that game carries a significant weather risk. In the meantime, we can focus on the Blue Jays, who also have a nice matchup against Michael Pineda. Despite his reputation, Pineda is not a strikeout pitcher, and over the last two seasons, he has been below league average. The preference is, of course, to target him with lefties, though Toronto likely only has two, and they’ll be at the back of the order — Corey Dickerson ($7) and Jake Lamb ($8). They are fine discount dandies on the shorter slate, though both are a pinch-hit risk if a southpaw comes in from the bullpen.

Pineda has been allowing a lot of hard contact to same-handed batters this season with a 49.1% rate, which is a big jump from his last two years. Toronto is projected to have at least five hitters boasting a two-year trailing .200+ ISO in righty/righty matchups. George Springer ($13) is a steal as his nagging injuries, and missed games have depressed his salary as a leadoff hitter. Marcus Semien ($20), Teoscar Hernandez ($20), and Lourdes Gurriel ($20) continue to rake, allowing us a variety of ways to differentiate our Blue Jays stacks. Finally, we have Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who leads the league with a .323 average, is tied for the league lead with 46 home runs, and tied with Rafael Devers for fifth place with 105 RBIs.

Early Slate

Los Angeles Dodgers at LHP Kyle Freeland — 6.6 implied runs

Rarely will I feature the participants in the Coors Field game because you do not need my blessing to make those batters a priority. However, sometimes it is fun to take a peek at some of the matchups, and this is a doozy with the Dodgers’ lineup, a veritable All-Star team against the recently struggling Kyle Freeland.

Freeland had a rough June with a 7.23 ERA in five starts. Then he settled down with a sub-3.00 ERA in 10 starts spanning July and August. However, September has been pretty rough, with the veteran southpaw lasting just 17.1 innings in four tilts with a 6.23 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, and five home runs allowed. Los Angeles will likely be running out a nearly full right-handed lineup, and everyone, including likely catcher Austin Barnes, is in play. Gavin Lux is an afterthought from the left side as he likely will continue filling in for Chris Taylor. However, Corey Seager does have an impressive .355 wOBA and .254 ISO in his last 219 lefty/lefty matchups, making him a top target. If we get Albert Pujols taking the field to add to his gaudy career home run total, that’s a bonus.

Main Slate

Cincinnati Reds vs. LHP Patrick Corbin — 5.1 implied runs

This game is on the all-day slates for Yahoo and FanDuel and is on the DraftKings main slate, which is locking earlier than the other two sites at 6:40 p.m. ET. This season has been abysmal for Patrick Corbin, who is sporting a career-worst 6.11 ERA, a negative 1.8 WAR accompanied by 36 home runs allowed, which is the most in any season for him by a whopping 10 and just one away from Jordan Lyles for the league lead.

Nick Castellanos, Jonathan India, and even slumping Eugenio Suarez are the trio to target. On the season, 34 of Corbin’s longballs have been hit by righties, and he has not been able to strike them out with any regularity. Kyle Farmer and Aristides Aquino are bargain options with massive power upside along with massive holes in their swings. Tyler Stephenson is a hidden gem, mainly where he is catcher eligible, and, of course, we can round things out with elder statesman Joey Votto as the lone lefty likely to be in the starting lineup. He is just fine in same-handed matchups and in the midst of a renaissance season.

Spotlight Pitchers

Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — 3.9 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $46 | FanDuel $10,200 | DraftKings $10,100

This will be the fifth time that Lance McCullers Jr. has faced the Angels. In the last three starts, he has 25.2 innings with a 2.10 ERA, .169 batting average allowed with 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. It is the same old story. As long as he can navigate Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh, he should be in line for a quality start with his unique blend of 50%+ ground balls and 27%+ strikeout rate.

Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Luis Castillo vs. Washington Nationals — 3.3 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $9,000 | DraftKings $8,900

Luis Castillo is an excellent option to pair with McCullers on DraftKings, particularly with the Philadelphia game dealing with weather, making Aaron Nola a tenuous option. Castillo is in a cherry matchup on the all-day slates for FanDuel and Yahoo and should be rostered heavily.

In his last seven starts since imploding for eight runs in Cleveland, Castillo has been lights out. In this stretch, he has tallied 45.1 innings with a 2.78 ERA, 2.63 FIP with just three home runs allowed, which have been more than offset by 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Though this is a park upgrade for the Nationals, they are not a particularly threatening offense, aside from Juan Soto and Josh Bell.

Wild Card MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Charlie Morton — 3.8 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $51 | FanDuel $8,600 | DraftKings $7,500

It would seem that only the Yahoo salary algorithm realized the Chase Field roof would be closed for this afternoon’s local start. Morton’s ability to eat innings efficiently makes him a top choice on FanDuel, where the quality start is awarded in addition to wins. Atlanta is currently two-to-one favorites to garner the win this afternoon. DraftKings fell asleep at the switch with a salary that is more appropriate for a September callup. The 37-year-old ground-baller has been sublime this season with a 3.49 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and there is a good chance he reaches the 200-strikeout milestone today for just the third time in his 14-year career.

Final Thoughts for the Thursday, Sept. 23 MLB DFS Picks Slate

Tonight, we, of course, have Thursday Night Football opening up the Week 3 NFL action. The MLB has been savvy this season, rolling out frontloaded slates with few, if any, late games against the ratings juggernaut. Be sure to sign up for contests early, as they will be filling fast for the main slate.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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