Wednesday, Sept. 22, has a robust 10-game main slate that looks to be escaping weather issues, unlike the early games in the Midwest. 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, Wednesday, Sept. 22
Yahoo Stack of the Day: Atlanta Braves at RHP Merrill Kelly — 5.5 implied runs
In his last start after missing a month with COVID-19, Merrill Kelly proved once again that he is imminently hittable. The lack of strikeout stuff has plagued Kelly since entering the majors, as evidenced by his 9.5% swinging-strike rate. This has translated to a fair amount of hard-hit fly balls, particularly for right-handed hitters. The Chase Field roof will be open now that in-game temperatures have “cooled” into the 90s. That tends to render the humidor moot and boost the offense for both teams.
Austin Riley ($17) has tremendous power against same-handed pitchers, with a .261 ISO in 438 plate appearances this season. Adam Duvall ($20) has been even better, with a .284 ISO against righties this season. Jorge Soler ($18) should be leading off, and he has been on a tear over the last month, with a .377 wOBA and a .269 ISO against pitchers of both handedness.
Freddie Freeman ($21) and Ozzie Albies ($16) are two of the best hitters in the game, let alone for their own team. Travis d’Arnaud ($11) is fine as part of a stack or to close out the catcher requirement on Yahoo, and Dansby Swanson ($8) is a solid discount dandy at just a dollar off the Yahoo salary floor. Finally, depending on where he slots in the lineup, Eddie Rosario ($20) is in the mix for the late-slate action.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. LHP Keegan Akin — 5.2 implied runs
Keegan Akin is on the short list for worst starters in the league, though he is mostly in competition with the other members of the Baltimore rotation. In his last seven starts Akin has allowed at least one home run and multiple walks. Across three September outings, he has just eight strikeouts, three home runs, seven walks and a 7.07 ERA in 14 innings. Look to Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura, who both have proven track record against lefties. J.T. Realmuto now has catcher and first base eligibility on DraftKings, which makes it easy to get him on rosters. Finally, Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius both thrive in lefty/lefty matchups.
San Francisco Giants at RHP Vincent Velasquez — 4.8 implied runs
Vincent Velasquez was claimed off waivers by San Diego after he was released by Philadelphia. The Padres have had a slew of injuries to their starting rotation and have lost Drew Pomeranz, Mike Clevinger, Chris Paddack and now Blake Snell to injury. Jake Arrieta was claimed from the Cubs, but he was a disaster, and after suffering a groin injury he has been jettisoned. Velasquez has always allowed a lot of power, which bodes well for the Giants, who are surprisingly second in MLB in home runs and fourth in slugging percentage. Across his last 1,000 batters faced, Velasquez has allowed a .224 ISO to lefties, a .242 ISO to righties and a 44% hard-hit rate.
San Francisco does not have any particularly intimidating hitters aside from Brandon Belt and Kris Bryant, but they do not have any holes in its lineup either. Brandon Crawford continues to be pesky and has hit in every spot in the order other than leadoff. Mike Yastrzemski has been solid since finally getting his callup three seasons ago, and he has hit in every lineup slot as well. Though he is currently batting at the bottom of the order with everyone healthy, Yastrzemski has been one of the steadiest contributors for the Giants since arriving in the majors.
Buster Posey is producing at a rate similar to his 2012 MVP season, and Evan Longoria is finally healthy and proving to be a capable wingman. Though they are not household names, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Tommy La Stella have both contributed when called upon, and they are excellent differentiation plays on the late slate.
Top MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Zack Wheeler vs. Baltimore Orioles — 2.7 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $49 | FanDuel $10,700 | DraftKings $10,400
It is all hands on deck for the Phillies, who are 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. Fortunately, they have a winnable game tonight against the Orioles and are over 3-to-1 favorites to win. Zack Wheeler is in the midst of a Cy Young season, with his 2.83 ERA and 1.02 WHIP both top-five marks among qualified starters. Even better are the 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings, which make for a top-10 rate.
The Orioles are a bottom-tier team against right-handed pitchers, creating runs 10% less efficiently than league average, and they will be without the designated hitter slot in Citizens Bank Park. They also have a top-five strikeout rate against righties (25.1%), which bodes well for Wheeler.
Secondary MLB DFS Picks Target: RHP Corey Kluber vs. Texas Rangers — 3.3 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $8,000 | DraftKings $9,000
This will be the fourth start for Corey Kluber, who is working his way back to a full workload. In his last outing he held Cleveland scoreless for six innings on 95 pitches. Today he gets another matchup against Texas, which also is mostly anemic on offense. Though the Rangers are just middle of the pack with a 23% strikeout rate against righties, their 82 wRC+ is bottom five in the league.
Wild Card MLB DFS Picks Target: LHP Chris Sale vs. New York Mets — 3.8 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $49 | FanDuel $10,000 | DraftKings $9,600
Today the wild-card option is Chris Sale, who will be making just his seventh start of the season. Though the Red Sox have a 1.5-game lead in the Wild Card race, that is by no means secure since they are being chased by AL East foes Toronto and New York. Even at less than his full power, Sale is still one of the best Boston pitchers. It is a little concerning that he tallied just 10 strikeouts in his last three starts over 14.2 innings, though on the positive side, he should be able to approach 90 pitches and has closed out the fifth inning in five of his six appearances. All told, he has a 2.40 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 30 total innings.
Final Thoughts for the Wednesday, Sept. 22 MLB DFS Picks Slate
The game in Detroit has already been postponed, and Cleveland and Cincinnati both have precipitation throughout Wednesday. Fortunately, the main slate looks to be clear, so that is one fewer variable to worry about.
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