Thursday, Sept. 30, brings a nine-game main slate with some intriguing pitchers and a couple playoff spots still up for grabs. 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. 30
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Minnesota Twins vs. LHP Tarik Skubal — 4.9 implied runs
Tarik Skubal has not topped 50 pitches in his last four starts, as the Tigers are easing his load down the stretch. That means the Twins should get a crack at a dodgy Detroit bullpen, which bodes well for their offense. None of the Minnesota batsmen have a salary higher than $20, which makes this the perfect complementary stack for options up and down the lineup. Josh Donaldson ($15) has been a career lefty masher, and even when Skubal leaves the game, Donaldson is a complete hitter. Miguel Sano ($17) does not hit for a high average, but his power against pitchers of either handedness is elite.
The trio to target in a Twins stack would be the top of the order. Mitch Garver ($20) is amazing against southpaws, and gamers do not like spending up for catchers. Byron Buxton ($19) is talented, but he cannot stay healthy; that said, the power/speed combo is elite on a per-game basis. Finally, switch-hitting Jorge Polanco will hit second with plenty of lineup protection around him, meaning he should see some good pitches tonight.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. RHP Vincent Velasquez — 5.4 implied runs
San Diego is eliminated from the playoffs and are playing out the string with Vincent Velasquez, who at this point would be better served as a batting practice pitcher. Last night the Dodgers ripped the Padres’ hearts out, with four home runs in the eighth inning for a come-from-behind victory. The embarrassment of riches on offense does not end, and it is hard to go wrong with anyone who starts on Thursday night.
Because they are still battling with the Giants for the National League West title, the Dodgers’ best players should be in action. Trea Turner, Max Muncy and Corey Seager are the core plays. From there gamers can expand to leadoff man Mookie Betts or look down the lineup to catcher Will Smith and Justin Turner at third base.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: LHP Robbie Ray vs. New York Yankees — 3.9 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $53 | FanDuel $10,800 | DraftKings $10,000
Robbie Ray is battling for the American League Cy Young with Yankee Gerrit Cole. Ray has been amazing from a strikeout perspective, but now he will be facing one of the most power-laden right-handed lineups in the league. New York, Boston, Seattle and Toronto are within two games of each other, and whichever two organizations make it out of this scrum will end up with the wild card berths.
Ray has made 16 starts since July 4, allowing more than three runs only once. In this stretch he has logged a 2.04 ERA, 2.75 FIP and 11.3 strikeouts per nine in 101.1 innings. While he just as easily could be in the wild card section below, the salary reflects the tricky matchup tonight.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. vs. Tampa Bay — 3.9 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $45 | FanDuel $9,700 | DraftKings $9,600
Tampa Bay has clinched a better record than Houston and cannot catch the National League West teams for home field in a potential World Series matchup. The Astros, however, still could mathematically be caught by the Mariners, so they need this victory. Hopefully the Rays will look to rest a batter or two, which would improve the matchup for Lance McCullers Jr. The unusual combination of a 55% ground-ball rate and a 28% strikeout rate makes McCullers a solid option, even against one of the best offenses in the league.
Wild Card MLB DFS Picks Target: LHP Rich Hill vs. Miami Marlins — 3.0 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $33 | FanDuel $8,400 | DraftKings $8,400
Somehow Rich Hill has avoided his usual blister and fingernail issues and will be making his 31st start of the season. That is six more than he has managed in any year since 2007 when he took the mound 32 times for the Cubs. Most of his standard metrics are right in line with his career averages. The projected lineup today for the Marlins has a 30% strikeout rate against lefties, and that does not include their pitcher.
Final Thoughts for the Thursday, Sept. 30 MLB DFS Picks Slate
Teams are lining up their playoff rotations and randomly giving rest days to regulars. This should provide surprise value, though it also means it will be important to keep tabs on the starting lineups as they come out just in case there are any slate scratches.
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