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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for September 1

Pearce Dietrich gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Wednesday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Wednesday features a 10-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.


PITCHER

Stud

Carlos Rodón, Chicago White Sox vs. Pittsburgh Pirates ($10,100) — The Pirates rank dead last against left-handed pitching — 80 wRC+, .289 wOBA and a .128 ISO. An average left-handed pitcher facing the Pirates should be popular, let alone an elite lefty like Rodón — 3.04 xFIP, 4.1 WAR, 15% SwStr% and a 35% K rate. For a fly ball pitcher (43%), he has done an excellent job of limiting home runs (0.9 HR/9), especially in Chicago’s hitter’s park (0.6 HR/9) — not that the Pirates could hit a home run anyway. Further to that point, at home, Rodón’s FIP is a run lower (2.11) than on the road (3.13).

Other Option: Gerrit Cole ($9,900)

Value

Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs ($5,000) — One of the joys of DFS is exploring young pitchers. A.J. Alexy did not disappoint on Monday night, and with the calendar turning over to September there will be a flood of young talent to research. Joe Ryan came to the Twins in the Nelson Cruz deal, so he’s a fairly hot commodity. His minor league profile is reminiscent of Shane Bieber — high strikeout rate due to excellent control of his fastball. Bieber had to develop secondary pitches in order to consistently retire major league hitters, and Ryan will too, but against the Cubs a well controlled fastball should be enough. Since the Cubs reverted to the lovable losers at the trade deadline, they have been one of the worst offenses against right-handed pitching — 83 wRC+, .293 wOBA, .142 ISO and a league-worst 30% K rate. The strike out rate is particularly intriguing because Ryan has a 35% K rate with only a 5% BB rate at Triple-A this season — that’s serious control.

Other Option: Steven Matz ($8,300)


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CATCHER

Stud

Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians ($6,200) — The splits are on his side today — .441 wOBA, .381 ISO, 182 wRC+ and a 43% hard contact rate — but do splits matter for a catcher with 38 home runs? Not in the home run department, he’s been equally devastating against right- and left-handed pitching. However, against right-handed pitching, he has 17 doubles to two doubles vs. lefties. Although Perez concedes some power against lefties, he is a much better hitter against them (.441 wOBA) than righties (.327 wOBA). Lastly, Logan Allen ($5,800) has struggled with right-handed batters — .374 wOBA, .279 ISO, 42% hard contact rate and 2.8 HR/9.

Other Option: Mike Zunino ($4,500)

Value

Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers ($3,700) — The A’s have a formidable backstop combo. Yan Gomes ($3,800) is a lefty specialist and against right-handed pitching, Murphy rakes — .339 wOBA, .214 ISO, 120 wRC+ and a 40% hard contact rate. On Wednesday night, the A’s draw a matchup with an old right-handed pitcher. Wily Peralta ($5,400) has not been a gas can, but he has not been good against right-handed batters — .343 wOBA, .175 ISO and 1.4 HR/9.

Other Option: Pedro Severino ($3,600)


FIRST BASE

Stud

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($6,100) — Matt Harvey ($5,600) has been a decent pitcher this season, but he is very hittable. Against right-handed batters — and Toronto has a lot of them — Harvey has allowed a .373 wOBA and a 16% K rate. He does not miss bats, but he has been able to survive due to a 48.5% ground ball rate. When right-handed batters elevate the ball against Harvey, it’s game over (14.5% HR/FB rate). Vlad does have elevation problems (8.2-degree launch angle), but even with a less than ideal swing, he has a .440 wOBA, .325 ISO, 182 wRC+ and 44% hard contact rate against right-handed pitchers.

Other Option: Matt Olson ($5,700)

Value

Miguel Sanó, Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago Cubs ($3,600) — Against left-handed pitching, Sanó has a 49% hard contact rate, but he has nothing to show for it. His high strikeout rate doesn’t help (29%), but it’s not as bad as it is against right-handed pitchers (37%). His launch angle (16.6-degrees) doesn’t explain his sub par wOBA and ISO, nor does his .313 BABIP. This is a true mystery. Hopefully the hits start coming and a matchup against Justin Steele ($6,700) — .343 wOBA, .243 ISO and 2.6 HR/9 in 17 23 innings against right-handed batters — would be as good as a time as any.

Other Option: Bobby Bradley ($3,500)


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SECOND BASE

Stud

Marcus Semien, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles ($5,500) — Stacking against Matt Harvey hasn’t exploded for points like DFS players have wanted this season, but it has been getting close. Over the last month, he has a 6.12 ERA, 2.6 HR/9 and a 17.6% HR/FB rate. It’s time to stack. Semien has a .372 wOBA, .263 ISO, 135 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching.

Other Option: Whit Merrifield ($5,000)

Value

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers ($4,200) — Wily Peralta has struggled with both sides of the plate. His right-handed splits were mentioned above, his lefty splits are just as bad — .289 wOBA, .215 ISO, 38% hard contact rate and 1.5 HR/9. The only good thing that can be said about Peralta is that he’s been lucky against lefties (.207 BABIP), but that number is unsustainable, especially with a 54% ground ball rate. Regression is coming and with it comes the meltdown of all meltdowns.

Other Option: Owen Miller ($2,500)


THIRD BASE

Stud

José Ramírez, Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals ($6,400) — Originally, Ramírez was priced for a matchup against a left-handed pitcher — .371 wOBA, .250 ISO, 135 wRC+, 35% hard contact rate and a 13% K rate. Jackson Kowar ($5,200) is a September call-up and a righty. Ramírez hasn’t been as effective against right-handed pitchers, but if Ramírez could not hit right-handed pitching then he wouldn’t be José Ramírez, and that’s against major league pitchers. He should not have any trouble with a righty that sported an 18.00 ERA in three major league appearances in June.

Other Option: Rafael Devers ($6,000)

Value

Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics ($4,300) — Check out the splits for left-handed batters against James Kaprielian ($8,500) — .367 wOBA, .231 ISO, 37% hard contact rate, 1.8 HR/9, 20% K rate, 12% BB rate and a 47 % fly ball rate. Despite his struggles, DraftKings slapped an $8,500 price tag on him because they do not respect the Tigers. They’re right, but one or two cheap left-handed Tigers could work. Candelario has a respectable .336 wOBA and a 112 wRC+ against right-handed pitching.

Other Option: Josh Donaldson ($4,000)


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox ($5,200) — On the surface, Chris Sale’s numbers look good, but the advanced metrics tell a different story. In 12 innings against right-handed batters, Sale has allowed a .353 wOBA, .229 ISO and 2.3 HR/9. His low hard contact rate (21%) and high BABIP (.385) should calm Red Sox fans, but DFS players can still target Sale because he’s allowing home runs — a problem that he had in 2019 (1.5 HR/9). Franco has a .405 wOBA, .233 ISO, 164 wRC+ and a 12% K rate against left-handed pitching.

Other Option: Bo Bichette ($5,500)

Value

Josh Harrison, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers ($3,900) — Over the last 10 games, Harrison has a .360 wOBA, .175 ISO and a 134 wRC+. He’s not the preferred Oakland bat against Wily Peralta, but he works in stacks or as a cheap one-off. Also, if the stack knocks out Peralta early, Detroit has one of the worst bullpens in baseball (4.57 xFIP).

Other Option: Ramón Urias ($3,200)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals ($6,300) — As mentioned in Monday’s article, Harper is the best hitter in baseball against right-handed pitching and that pretty much makes him the best hitter in baseball. Harper likely read the article and with the confidence gained, he proceeded to homer in his first at-bat. His return to Washington could have added extra motivation and the fact that he’s hot — .490 wOBA, .439 ISO and a 210 wRC+ since Aug. 1 — didn’t hurt either. Paolo Espino ($6,900) has been a decent pitcher, but he is allowing 39% hard contact and a 36% fly ball rate to left-handed batters.

Other Option: Starling Marte ($5,900)

Value

Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers ($3,200) — What really stands out for Wily Peralta is his 12% K rate and 12% BB rate against right-handed batters. Those numbers are begging to be stacked against. The biggest problems with Khris Davis over his nine-year career has been his high strikeout rate (26.7%), but that weakness will be moot against a pitcher that can’t fool hitters. Davis has not officially received a September call up yet, but if he can’t get one — 1.264 OPS in 15 games with Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate — then no one should get one.

Other Option: Austin Hays ($3,100)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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