Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday 9/23/21
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Max Scherzer is en route to a third CY Young award but it's Charlie Morton that stands out on this early slate with his near-season-low price tag on DraftKings. He has been consistent for the Braves and for fantasy all season with a 3.49 ERA/3.39 xFIP and has also provided a ton of upside with a 28.5% K rate. He and the Braves are big -190 favorites facing a D-backs team that ranks bottom five in almost all offensive categories in the second half. I will be pairing him with Max on DraftKings and have him as my top pitcher on FanDuel in all formats.
Another smaller slate full of pitching at night and no other place to start than Aaron Nola who, like Morton, is at near season-low prices. Sure, there have been some blips on the radar but he is coming off one of his best starts of the second half striking out nine Mets, and has tallied 25 K's over his last three starts. While the Pirates don't K a ton which does lower his upside some, they have struggled to a 88 wRC+ and low .124 ISO over the last two weeks. At these prices, Nola is easily my top pitcher on the main slate.
The Dodgers face a lefty on Thursday afternoon and that means we are likely to see Pujols occupy first base and hit in the middle of the order. That is great news if you are wanting to pay up for Max and a couple of other expensive Dodgers bats as Pujols comes very cheap. At this point, he is a platoon hitter that does risk being pulled but he crushes lefties to the tune of a .404 wOBA, 157 wRC+, and .328 ISO. If starting, he will be a core play for me in all formats.
Only a little over a week left in the season so I better squeeze in as many Yuli Gurriel write-ups as possible(lol). On a serious note, it is nearly impossible to fade him at these prices on a regular slate let alone a smaller five-gamer. He comes into tonight with multiple hits in four straight and eight of his last 10 games pushing his slash line to .319/.385/.461 for the season. Until the sites price him correctly(maybe next season?) Yuli is an elite PTS/$ play in all formats.
The payups at the position would be Trea Turner or Ozzie Albies but from a PTS/$ perspective, it is hard to ignore Tommy Edman. While he lacks the upside of those other two options, he has been very consistent especially down the stretch as he comes into tonight with hits in 11 of his last 12 games. The matchup is average as Houser is very up and down but one thing that stands out is that he is much worse(1.67 WHIP, 4.94 xFIP) against left-handed batters. I will have exposure to Edman in all formats.
Andy Ibáñez FD - 2B 2800 DK - 1B/2B 4500
Opponent - BAL (Zac Lowther) Park - BAL
FD - 7.71 DK - 5.93
The projection may seem low but the system doesn't exactly adjust for small herculean sample sizes. Ibanez has been merely average over the course of the season but has been arguably the hottest hitter in baseball down the stretch. Going back to September 15, he has hits in 14 of 16 games(.467 average) with 11 multi-hit efforts(.503 wOBA). He is projected to hit in the middle of the order once again and is a core play for me in all formats.
We haven't touched on Coors yet and with shortstop being a tough spot on this early slate, no better place to start. This is a lefty/lefty matchup but Seager has been terrific in the split in 2021 hitting over .300 with a .377 wOBA and 139 wRC+. Best of all, his price has dipped below the $5K mark on DraftKings while almost all his teammates are in that range.
I am likely going with a combination of McCullers/Nola at pitcher on DraftKings tonight and that means we are going to need some value with our bats to make it happen. While Farmer doesn't consistently hit in the top half of the lineup, he has spent more time there recently and comes in hot with hits in 14 of 16 September games(.300 average). He also gets a plus matchup against Patrick Corbin and has been above average(.355 wOBA, 117 wRC+) against lefties. Even if he falls back to the six-hole, I will have exposure in all formats on this smaller slate.
The price is finally starting to go back up but still in a fantastic spot, especially considering the smaller five-game slate. He has been hot down the stretch with hits in eight straight and 11 of his last 12 games and while he is better against righties he faces a struggling MadBum who has posted a 6.30 ERA/5.73 xFIP over his last five starts. Fire up Riley in all formats.
With two smaller slates on Thursday, the theme of this article has been PTS/$ value just keep the train rolling. Donaldson's days of driving in 100 runs are in the past(great Jays memories!!) but he has still been productive for fantasy this season. He comes into tonight with 24 home runs and has been good in both splits but much better against lefties with an elite .377 wOBA, 140 wRC+, and .287 ISO. He now faces Steven Matz who has been good in the second half but has given up 14 of his 17 home runs to righties. Fire up Donaldson in all formats.
I keep coming back to the Cardinals for value on this early slate and it continues in the outfield. O'Neill is in the middle of a breakout season in his fourth year in the league setting career-highs across the board. He has arguably carried the team on his back at times and leads them with a 4.6 WAR, sits 2nd in HR(29), 3rd in RBI(70), 3rd in runs scored(80), and 1st in slugging %. The price on FanDuel makes it a more difficult decision and likely GPP only but on DraftKings where he sits in the low $4K range, he is in play in all formats.
There are a ton of outfielders to pay up for tonight but I wanted to finish things off with another DraftKings value that can help us pay up for pitching and multiple top bats. With some of the Jays bats cooling off a bit, Lourdes has picked up the slack and is having a tremendous September hitting .360 with a .483 wOBA and 209 wRC+. He hits down in this loaded lineup but is red-hot, is better against righties, and is a core value play in all formats on DK.