Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/30/18
We're back for the very last Sunday baseball slate of the season! It's a slate where almost anything goes. Will players sit? Will pitchers pitch their full run of innings? Honestly, who the heck knows?
This article will be a little different than usual, because of the nature of an incredibly uncertain set of games. Instead of offering positional picks, many of which will be obsolete by the time the games actually start thanks to random dudes sitting, we'll break down how we can approach a slate like this. Enjoy!
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One position we can take a fairly close look at is pitcher. If you're picking a pitcher today, the biggest thing to understand is that you are crazy to play any pitcher for a team that's already locked for the playoffs. While some teams will give a little tough talk about letting their pitchers pitch their full run of innings, only the littlest thing needs to happen for a pitcher who will pitch in the playoffs to get pulled early. Look for a lot of token starts of exactly 5 innings, 3 inning throw-day starts, etc.
The major situation to watch: I'm writing this before the end of the LA/SF game on Saturday. If LA lost, it means that both the LAD and STL games matter. If they won, neither of the games matter.
If LA wins, I like both Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler in their respective match-ups. Buehler in particular has a crazy good match-up with the Giants, who have paired the 4th worst wOBA against RHP with the 5th highest K rate. Buehler is a strike-out machine, and while going late into games isn't his specialty, going late into games ain't going to be nobody's specialty today.
As for Flaherty, he's arguably a play either way. If the Dodgers win, the Cards have nothing to play for and no reason to save him. If they lose, the Cards' whole season is on the line. Flaherty has similar K upside to Buehler (10+ K/9), and while his match-up is much worse on paper, there is no telling whether the Cubs will play anyone that matters here. Just pay close attention to the lineups they are released and go from there.
The pitchers on teams that have long since been eliminated
This is always a tricky one, because a lot of the teams that have long been eliminated from playoff contention also suck. Still, we have at least a couple of respectable options for tomorrow.
Noah Syndergaard FD 10200 DK 10400
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - NYM
FD - 39.97 DK - 22.8
Syndergaard is still flat out good, and given that he went 6 innings in his last start against Atlanta he's arguably safe to go his full run of pitches against the terrible Marlins in this one. The fish are a top 10 K% team vs. RHP, and have a bottom 3 wOBA, making this another of those dream match-ups. He's not super expensive, and pitching is really rough. There's really only one other pairing you can even consider, from where I am sitting.
Joey Lucchesi FD 7100 DK 7900
Opponent - ARI (Robbie Ray) Park - SD
FD - 32.53 DK - 17.14
Robbie Ray FD 9100 DK 9900
Opponent - SD (Joey Lucchesi) Park - SD
FD - 32.83 DK - 18.01
These two are (disappointingly) playing against one another, which makes them tough to stack for big tournaments on DraftKings, but both are very reasonable pivots on FanDuel. Lucchesi is the better pitcher, but Ray has the better match-up here. While the D-Backs are below league average against opposing lefties, the Padres are predictably terrible, pairing a top 3 K% with a sub .300 wOBA against them. With both of these teams being long eliminated, I don't think we need to be too scared about their pitchers being on pitch counts unless we get some news to that effect. The issue with Ray, of course, is that his 4.96 BB/9 chases him from games as fast as any manager could. Lucchesi, on the other hang, is just a good pitcher. He's probably running bad on HR/FB ratio this year (19.1% is ridiculous), and if that comes down you can look forward to an excellent 2019 season. He's had his own issues going deep into games recently, though, which makes you wonder if he is just tired.
One thing's for sure, though - just proceed at pitcher at your own risk!
So I'm not going to give you any specific bats to play here because there is just no way to tell who is going to play, and how long they will stay in the game, etc. But here are a few teams you can target and the respective pitchers they should destroy.
The Atlanta Braves vs. Ranger Suarez
First on our list of "guys who aren't ready for the majors" is Ranger Suarez. The guy had a sub 6 K/9 in AAA this season, and just a 4.5 K/9 through 12 IP in the majors this season. The Braves are a risky squad to target thanks to the fact that they should be trying to keep people up for the playoffs, but look for fill-in guys around the top of the order here.
The Angels vs. Daniel Mengden
It can't feel good to be Daniel Mengden, finding himself on a list with mostly late season call up fodder. Still, Mengden is about as bad as can reasonably be expected for a guy who chewed up 115 innings in the majors this year. He strikes out just 5.6 batters per 9, and while he doesn't walk anybody, this is frankly just good for our upside purposes. He gives up piles of homeruns thanks to his 39.8% ground-ball rate as well. The Angels should be fine plays in any format here.
The Chicago White Sox against Zack Littell, and the Twins against Dylan Covey
Both sides of the White Sox/Twins game is looking good to me here. Covey has been a popular target for us to stack against all season, and while his second half ERA is a full run better than his pitiful 5.6 first half ERA the peripherals are all basically the same here.
It's rare that Covey goes up against a pitcher even worse than he is, but he's managed to do that against Zack Littell here. In spite of pitching almost all of his innings out of the bullpen this season, Littell has a terrible 4.96 BB/9 with just a 5.51 K/9. He's given up home runs in bunches (1.65/9), and hasn't inspired anything other than his manager to come jogging out of the dugout. Even the White Sox should be able to cut him up here.
The Brewers against Spencer Turnbull
I like this for big tournament upside. Turnbull is a classic high upside stack target - striking out very few batters (6.5/9), walking almost no-one (1.65 BB/9), and allowing a lot of fly-balls (36.1% ground-ball rate). Turnbull hasn't given up a homerun in his 11 major league innings this year, but here's to hoping that changes today!
The Mariners against Yovani Gallardo
I've always been a Yovani Gallardo fan, thanks mostly to his birthday being just 1 day before mine and his early career K stuff. All of his early career pitching prowess is gone, unfortunately, and he's settled into being one of the very worst pitchers who gets a lot of starts in the majors. With 90 innings in the books in 2018, Gallardo has a startlingly bad 6.40 ERA and a 5.28 xFIP. His 5.5 K/9 are bad, his 4.6 BB/9 are worse, and even the Mariners should be able to dog him here.
Enjoy a crazy Sunday! Remember - if you sign up for a trial of our system you get access to both baseball picks and tools for the playoffs, and of course football picks, projections, and premium content all NFL season long. Adios!
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- Noah Syndergaard: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Noah Syndergaard) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons