MLB Around the Horn: September 26 DFS Plays with Pitcherlist

As season-long managers bemoan the cruelty of deciding a fantasy championship during the final week, DFS gamers must also circumvent hazardous landmines when submitting a lineup. Chris Sale, Ross Stripling, and Shane Bieber would all warrant a look if not for the likelihood of working a condensed start. Contestants also must rigorously check lineups to make sure stars aren’t resting for the postseason or next season. This chaos can yield buying opportunities in FantasyDraft’s 12-game evening shift for those looking in the right places.

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Top SP: Madison Bumgarner ($17,000) vs. San Diego Padres

Back in June, I went on a limb and recommended a Padres stack against a recently returned Madison Bumgarner. He submitted eight strikeouts over eight scoreless frames. Perhaps I would have considered doubling down three months later if Hunter Renfroe ($8,300) and Wil Myers ($8,500) were available for at a discount. It’s instead the San Francisco southpaw who is affordable despite his 1.34 ERA at home and his opponent’s .298 wOBA against lefties. Jacob deGrom costs too much ($25,900) in his final start against a motivated Braves squad, and facing the Padres at AT&T Park ultimately overruled any temptation to use German Marquez at Coors Field.

Honorable Mentions: Jacob deGrom ($25,900) vs. ATL; German Marquez ($19,600) vs. PHI

Value SP: Andrew Heaney ($15,300) vs. Texas Rangers

The Astros just shelled Andrew Heaney for six runs, but who would have dared to play him against the defending champions? He also surrendered 17 hits and 10 runs in two second-half starts at Texas. Let’s see if home cooking makes a major difference for Heaney, who has registered a 3.28 ERA at Angel Stadium. The Rangers rank 19th in wOBA against lefties (.310), so it’s a manageable matchup in a more favorable pitching environment. The bigger concern? He has already shattered his career high in major league innings pitched (173), so there’s no guarantee the Angels let him work six innings regardless of his performance.

Honorable Mentions: Jake Odorizzi ($14,900) vs. DET; Jose Quintana ($14,900) vs. PIT

OF David Dahl ($8,600) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Nick Pivetta)

David Dahl checks every box, so it’s surprising to see him available for the same price as teammate Gerardo Parra ($8,600). The outfielder crushes righties (.367 wOBA) and utilizes Coors Field to its fullest (.402 wOBA). Facing righties at home has naturally led him to homer in back-to-back games. He’ll go for the hat trick against Nick Pivetta, the occasionally brilliant, often maddening righty who has relinquished a .336 wOBA to opposing lefties. There’s also no risk of Colorado taking it easy as they claw for the NL West or the final wild-card spot. Another tick in Dahl’s favor? He has batted third in each of the last three games. The obvious choice should have an overwhelmingly high ownership rate in cash contests.

Honorable Mentions: Matt Carpenter ($8,900) vs. MIL (Jhoulys Chacin); Travis Shaw ($8,900) at STL (John Gant); Trevor Story ($8,800) vs. PHI (Pivetta)

IF Anthony Rizzo ($8,600) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (RHP Ivan Nova)

The Cubs can’t take their foot off the accelerator just yet. Their NL Central lead dwindled to half a game on Tuesday night, and they still haven’t clinched a playoff berth. The latter could happen on Wednesday against Ivan Nova, who will look to drag his ERA (4.01) south of 4.00 for the first time since 2013. He has limited the Cubs to five runs in three starts, but it’s still a promising matchup for Anthony Rizzo. Lefties are batting .275/.322/.493 against the veteran, and the first baseman sports a .289/.397/.500 slash line versus righties. While a power funk has depreciated his price, the three-time All-Star has deposited two doubles in his last three games.

Honorable Mentions: Kyle Schwarber ($9,100) vs. PIT (Nova); Daniel Palka ($8,300) vs. CLE (Shane Bieber); Starling Marte ($8,000) at CHC (Quintana)

Value: OF Nelson Cruz ($7,200) vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Edwin Jackson)

After averaging 41.5 homers over the last four seasons, Nelson Cruz has succumbed to Father Time in 2018. He has only hit 37 home runs. Twenty-six of them have come against fellow righties. He tallied his 15th second-half dinger–and his first since Sept. 13–on Tuesday night. Edwin Jackson has exceeded all reasonable expectations, but a 4.56 FIP lurks beneath his 3.18 ERA. It’s an oddly low price for a star slugger facing a middling starter. Might as well take it.

Honorable Mentions: Tyler Austin ($7,500) vs. DET (Matt Boyd); Yolmer Sanchez ($7,500) vs. CLE (Bieber) 

Lineup Stack: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez)

Oakland can still poach home-field advantage from the Yankees in their near-certain AL Wild Card Game matchup. That should keep an offense first in September runs scored hungry against Felix Hernandez, who brandishes a 5.46 ERA and 38.4 % hard-hit rate. Just keep an eye on the starting lineup, as Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty both received routine off days on Tuesday.

  • OF Khris Davis ($9,500): If Davis goes 0-for-4, his batting average will drop to .247. Finishing four straight seasons with the same average would be quite the feat, but look for him to jeopardize a statistical oddity by instead riding a hot hand against a vulnerable righty.
  • IF/OF Matt Olson ($8,600): He was slugging .493 against righties as of Tuesday and boasts baseball’s seventh-highest hard-hit rate (47.6%) among all qualified hitters. It’s a nice price to roll the dice on a dinger.
  • OF Stephen Piscotty ($8,200): He’s batting .329/.395/.671 with seven homers in September and flaunts a .357 wOBA against righties. He should also be well-rested after sitting last night.
  • IF Marcus Semien ($7,700): While it’s usually unwise to act on batter-vs.-pitcher data, some may want to play Semien since he has gone 14-for-41 with four homers against King Felix.
  • OF Nick Martini ($7,200): Martini offers little power or speed, but he has reached base in every September start. That has earned him a spot atop of Oakland’s potent lineup.

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