Mike Trout of the MLB Los Angeles Angels

MLB Deep Dive 9/21/16 by DraftCheat

In the MLB Deep Dive, Peter Christensen (aka DraftCheat) brings you the most hard hitting, in-depth, MLB DFS analysis available in the industry today! Be sure to check out his thoughts on the days slate before you set your lineups and remember… it’s “Analysis so good… it feels like cheating!”

Pitching

 The Aces Up Top:

Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, and Corey Kluber all take the hill tonight in solid matchups – Sale on the road in Philadelphia, Scherzer in Miami, and Kluber at home against the Royals. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these options – Sale is surging lately after having (for him at least) a slow start to the year, Max should dominate the Marlins lineup and gets to pitch in cavernous Sun Life Stadium where his occasional home run issues shouldn’t come back to bite him, and Kluber, who comes at a discount at most sites from the other two should have no trouble dispatching the Royals lineup while at home.

These three pitchers are among the biggest workhorses in all of MLB, and Sale in particular has been going especially deep into games as he’s not pitched fewer than 8 innings in any of his prior 6 starts. Incredible. Sale is my favorite of the bunch here if price is not a consideration – he’s got a very solid chance of completing this game vs. the Phillies who are not a patient team and strikeout at reasonable high rates.

Unfortunately, the game of DFS has a salary cap, and on many sites fitting Sale into your lineup is a very difficult task indeed due to his enormous salary. At a whopping $14,000 on DraftKings, I’m not sure I can get there with other reasonable pitching options, and I’ll likely take the discount to either Scherzer or Kluber in the top tier.

There is one more pitcher priced into the top tier on DK (though a bit lower on FanDuel) who may make for the best GPP option on the slate as I don’t believe many people will want to pay his price tag with the bigger names up top, and that’s Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka has quietly put together an excellent season for the Yankees, and has dominated this strikeout happy Rays team in his two of his previous six outings – pitching a combined 14.1 innings while striking out 18 hitters and walking zero. Pitching at Tropicana field tonight in a very friendly environment for strikeouts and pitchers in general, I expect Tanaka to contend for the top scoring pitcher of the night at nice discount and what I anticipate to be lower ownership than the other bigger name aces.

The Mid Tier:

It’s borderline impossible to roster two aces today and still build a reasonable lineup, so on two pitcher sites we are going to need to find a pitcher in the mid or lower tier to pair up with an ace if we choose to go that direction. Frankly, there isn’t a ton to love in this range, but there are two pitchers that stand out to me as very solid options: Zack Greinke and Matt Moore.

Overall, it’s been a very disappointing for Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks. Greinke’s overall numbers are not very impressive – but if we parse them by home and away splits, we see that it’s mostly Chase Field that has held Greinke back. The road version of Zack Greinke has still been a very effective pitcher with a 23.5% K-rate and 3.9% BB-rate, compared to 16.3% K-rate and 7.4% BB-rate at home. Tonight, he takes on a strikeout prone Padres squad at Petco Park, and we should see the good version of Greinke here, who comes at a very appetizing discount at sites around the DFS industry. Just $8,300 on DraftKings, he’s my top point-per-dollar pitcher on DraftKings and will likely make his way into all of my lineups.

Matt Moore has pitched well for the Giants since being traded mid season, and tonight gets a very nice matchup against the Dodgers who simply can’t hit left-handed pitching. Moore dominated this same Dodgers lineup five starts ago, throwing 8.2 innings while striking out 7 in what was nearly a no-hitter. If we throw out a terrible start in Coors Field, Moore has been very good over the past couple of months, and where he’s cheap (just $7,900 on DK and $8,200 on FanDuel) he makes for an excellent play.

Digging Deep:

I don’t anticipate using any pitchers at the bottom of the barrel in my lineups, but if there are enough high-end bats you’re in love with and are dead set on using cheap pitching, my two favorite options are Luis Perdomo and Chad Kuhl. Perdomo gets a home matchup against a right-handed heavy, strikeout prone Diamondbacks team in Petco Park, while Kuhl gets to take on the Brewers, who are simply always a target for opposing starting pitching given their enormous strikeout rates up and down the lineup. I’m not expecting a huge game from either pitcher, but both should give you enough fantasy production to keep your team afloat.

Hitting:

There are several fantastic places to attack with hitting tonight, and I’ll outline a few below along with my favorite plays in each situation:

Twins vs. Buck Farmer:

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that a pitcher named “Buck Farmer” is terrible. In 74 MLB innings spanning the last three seasons, Farmer has posted a 6.81 ERA backed up by a 5.93 FIP and 5.17 xFIP. He’s served up a whopping 1.82 HR/9 and walked nearly 5 batters per inning pitched. He’s performed poorly against hitters from both sides of the plate, and the entire Twins lineup is in play here, though of course Brian Dozier is the premier play from the Twins lineup. I do also like a full Twins stack to do some serious damage at home tonight against Farmer and a weak Tigers’ pen.

Angels vs. Derek Holland:

Rangers’ LHP Derek Holland continues to be a dream matchup for powerful right-handed hitters, and the Angels have two of the best in baseball in Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Holland gives up far too many home runs to right-handed hitters, and along with Trout and Pujols, we can also look to Yunel Escobar, CJ Cron, and Jefry Marte, all of whom have the upside to take advantage of Holland’s weaknesses in this matchup. Feel free to focus on Trout and Pujols, but a full Angels stack is also a very strong play.

Rangers vs. Jered Weaver:

This a tremendous spot for the Rangers bats who are heating up right now and get to take on Weaver in the Texas heat away from Angels stadium where he’s much better (but still bad) than he is on the road. Weaver doesn’t do anything well, especially while away from home, and I’ll be targeting Rangers bats up and down the lineup here. They were unlucky last night against Daniel Wright as they had a number of hard hit balls that went for outs, but I expect more hard contact tonight and a few more to find holes or go over the outfield fence, and the Rangers are my top stack of the night and a team I want as much exposure to as possible, My favorite bat here is Carlos Beltran, followed by Rougned Odor, but you really can’t go wrong with anyone from the starting lineup as they should truly have a field day against Weaver.

Tigers vs. Jose Berrios:

 The Twins top pitching prospect has failed miserably at the MLB level and seems unlikely to turn it around tonight against a hot hitting Tigers’ squad. It’s the usual suspects to target in this one, with Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez, and of course my main man Justin Upton all making for fantastic plays.

Red Sox vs. Ubaldo Jimenez:

Miraculously, Ubaldo has actually pitched pretty well over his past few starts, which I expect to come crashing down tonight in a home matchup at Camden Yards against the vaunted Red Sox offense. Ubaldo is much too wild and can’t hold runners on base, so essentially all of the Red Sox hitters at the top of the lineup are in play here, and they make for a very high upside stack given that they all have speed, power, or both. My favorite play amongst them is Mookie Betts, though of course David Ortiz continues to get it done and should do so again tonight.