Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday 9/24/20
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With almost every ace going last night combined with a few on the early and all-day slates, we are left with few options tonight. Rookie Ian Anderson has been a breath of fresh air for a Braves team that has been hammered with injruies in the rotation. He struggled with the move from AA to AAA in 2019 but the jump to the majors has been something else as he enters his final start of the season with a 2.36 ERA/3.51 xFIP and has also provided a ton of upside with a 31.5% K rate. Tonight he and the Braves are -165 home favorites against the Marlins who have lost four in a row and strike out around 24% of the time against right-handed pitching. Anderson is the top pitcher in the system and in play in all formats at these prices.
The number two option tonight is another young arm from the 2016 draft that made his way to the bigs quickly spending the entire 2019 season in the Brewers pen with a few spot starts. It took him until mid-August to get stretched out this shortened season but since then, he has been incredible posting a 1.13 ERA backed up by a 2.33 xFIP. He has gone at least five innings in those seven starts and has held opponents to one or fewer earned runs in six of those while recording a godly 37.6% K rate. He now gets a matchup against a below-average Cardinals offense that has been even worse down the stretch posting a .290 wOBA and 82 wRC+ over the last 14 days. Both Anderson and Burnes are solid options in all formats and I love pairing them together on DraftKings.
As far as catchers are concerned, this is one of the best slates of the year with four guys in great spots and in play. The system sides with Vazquez here from a DraftKings PTS/$ perspective as he is the cheapest of the four(Perez, D'Arnaud, Smith) and comes in hot with hits in six of his last seven games with two home runs and seven RBI. To cap it off, he also fits the BvP narrative with 11 hits in 16 at-bats vs. Alex Cobb. Sign me up in all formats and even as a GPP play on FanDuel.
After Freeman and Munc things really fall off at first base so if not paying up for those two I suggest going straight for low-end value. Candelario is who I am targeting tonight as he has been hitting cleanup for the Tigers since the last week in August and been terrific in the role hitting .314 with a .399 wOBA and 155 wRC+, all on one of the worst offenses in the league. He is also a switch hitter who has been much better against lefties(.488 wOBA, 216 wRC+) and while Bubic has been pretty good, the price is right to play Candelario in all formats.
Second base is pretty rough tonight considering Ozzie Albies is the most expensive option and hitting in the bottom third of the lineup most nights. If he gets back up towards the top, it may be worth paying for him with the Braves matchup but if not it will be the value route for me at the position. I am much more on the Boston side of this game but do like the game stack with the second-highest total and Alberto is back in the leadoff spot for the O's and comes in with hits in four of his last five. That is more than enough at these prices to consider him in all formats.
After Alberto, it is really going to come down to lineups tonight. As I mentioned, Ozzie Albies would be in play if he climbs back up the batting order. Keston Hiura is more of a GPP play in a bad hitters park and he has also been very underwhelming in his second season. The system loves Kolten Wong for his opportunity at the top of the order but he and the Cards draw a tough matchup against Corbin Burnes. For more value, you could turn to Niko Goodrum who despite being ice-cold, has hit at the top of the order and has crushed lefty pitching(.415 wOBA, 166 wRC+).
While the Royals are already looking towards next season, they are most definitely on my radar tonight. They are one of four teams on the main slate with an implied run line of five or more which makes sense as they face Michael Fulmer who has posted an 8.17 ERA/5.57 xFIP while giving up 45% hard contact(via statcast) and a 22% HR/FB rate. Overall, it has been a throwaway season for Mondesi who dealt with injuries but the godo news is he has been better down the stretch with hits in 13 of his last 17 games(.269 avg) with four home runs, 11 RBI, 13 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases. He should get plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points tonight and is my top shortstop on the main slate.
We have yet to talk about the Dodgers who lead all teams in implied runs today and it has to do with their prices and how tough they are to fit into cash game lineups. One player I will turn to in cash is Chris Taylor who hits down in the lineup only because of the talent ahead of him. I say that as he is having a career-year at the plate and has been scorching hot down the stretch with a .329/.405/.700 slash line in the month of September. All things considered, he is in play in all formats.
The Red Sox are going to be popular tonight in a plus matchup against Alex Cobb and they are a great team to target as they have relevant plays in all price ranges. Let's start at the top with Devers who struggled early on after a breakout season in 2019 but has come on strong in September hitting over .300 with five home runs and 19 RBI. He hits second in the lineup and is in play in all formats. The rookie Dalbec is much more of a GPP play for a couple of reasons starting with the 45% K rate and fact he hits near the bottom of the order. What I do like is that he is also finishing strong and comes into tonight with hits in 11 of his last 14 games.
Jedd Gyorko FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - STL (Kwang Hyun Kim) Park - STL
FD - 9.7 DK - 7.32
Third base is another thin position with most of the top guys in tough matchups so I will turn to some value with Jedd Gyorko. After hitting a combined .244 with a .311 wOBA in 2018 and 2019 combined, Gyorko is having a terrific bounceback season in 2020 hitting .272 with a .379 wOBA over 38 games. The matchup may not be at the top of the list but Gyorko hits lefties well and is cheap on both sites making him a top PTS/$ play for me at the positon.
I mentioned the elite matchup for the Royals earlier and if you are buying stock, Merrifield has to be at the top of the list. He hits at the top of the order and has been scorching hot down the stretch with hits in 12 of his last 14 games(.420 wOBA, 169 wRC+) including a whopping 10 multi-hit efforts. The Royals are in a great spot and Merrifield is our top outfielder in all formats with his best value coming on FanDuel in the mid $3K range.
Alex Verdugo FD - OF 3000 DK - OF 4000
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - BOS
FD - 12.54 DK - 9.67
Jackie Bradley Jr. FD - OF 2600 DK - OF 3200
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - BOS
FD - 10.72 DK - 8.07
The Red Sox are going to be popular tonight in a matchup against Alex Cobb and their outfield has multiple options in play, all at different price points. I leave J.D. Martinez off the list as I am concentration on cash games and he is not only the most expensive of the three butis also having the the worst season. That brings me to Alex Verdugo who is having a tremendous first season in Boston as he entered Wednesday hitting .330 with a .382 wOBA and 140 wRC+. He hits leadoff, gets a plus matchup, and is very affordable on both sites putting him in the conversation as a top PTS/$ overall not just in the outfield.
For value, we can also turn to JBJ tonight who has been moved up from his usual spot at the bottom of the order and has also been very consistent with hits in 19 of his last 20 games. He still comes very cheap on both sites and will likely be a 100% guy in our optimized lineups.