Our Blog


MLB DFS Breakdown (Monday, September 14): Differentiation Is Key

mlb-dfs-september 14 2020

Monday features a seven-game main slate on DraftKings, starting at 4:10 p.m. ET, and a 3-game main slate on FanDuel starting at 7:35 p.m. ET.

Pitchers

Tonight’s slate features two pitchers over the $10,000 mark on FanDuel:

Studs

  • Clayton Kershaw (L), $10,600, LOS @ SDP
  • Dinelson Lamet (R), $10,100, SDP vs. LOS

There aren’t many positives to come out of 2020 so far, but getting to watch vintage Clayton Kershaw is one of them. A key tenet to Kershaw’s resurgence is the extra life he’s had on his on fastball this season. In 2019, his fastball was down to an average of 90.3 mph, nearly four mph less than he had back in 2015 (94.2 mph). So far in 2020, he’s been able to get that number back up to an average of 91.5 mph, which has made all the difference in the world. He’s seen his hard contact rate drop from 41.9% in 2019 to 36.9% in 2020 and his BABIP drop from .262 to .194 over that same period of time.

His opponent on Monday, however, is a less than ideal matchup at this point in the season. The San Diego Padres have been surging, winning eight of their last 10 games while averaging 5.1 runs over that span. They’ve also hit lefties relatively well, collecting a .334 wOBA and striking out just 22.1% of the time.

At $10,600, there is certainly some risk that he won’t pay off his lofty price tag in this matchup. On such a short slate, however, he’s still the top pay-up option at the position.

Dinelson Lamet has been impressive this season for the Padres. Over 52 innings, he’s pitched to a rock-solid 2.92 FIP and averaged 11.7 K/9 in that span. On Monday, he takes on a Los Angeles Dodgers team that is one of the best in baseball against righties, collectively hitting to a .357 wOBA and .243 ISO. They’re also only striking out 20.2% of the time against righties. While his overall numbers are strong, he’s been inconsistent from a DFS perspective, with scores ranging anywhere between 24 and 60 FanDuel points over his last five starts. He’s a risky cash gameplay, while the Dodgers low strikeout rate against right-handed pitching also limits his upside for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).

[Sign up now at DraftKings and get free entries to both Thursday’s $2.5M contest and Sunday’s $5M contest for Week 1!]

Values

Jose Berrios has won three of his last four outings for the Minnesota Twins, compiling a 2.78 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 16.2 innings. On Monday, he takes on a hot Chicago White Sox team that has won eight of 10 games and is averaging 6.7 runs/game over that span. They’ve also been strong against righties, collecting a .332 wOBA, which is good for eighth-best in baseball.

Berrios did pitch well against them last time out, though, allowing just one earned run over six innings while striking out eight. Despite that success, he’ll be relatively low in ownership given the matchup. As such, he warrants strong consideration in GPPs at his $9,200 price point on FanDuel.

Fastballs

Dylan Cease scored just 15 FanDuel points in each of his last two starts, each against opponents in which he should have found a good deal of success. On top of that, his 5.93 FIP — more than 2.5 runs higher than his 3.33 ERA — is an indicator that he’s been very lucky so far. Tonight, he takes on a Minnesota Twins team with a strong .332 wOBA and .213 ISO against right-handed pitching on the season so far. Even at a low $7,500 price tag, he should be avoided in all contests until further notice.

[See the best sportsbook promotions for NFL Week 1!]

Notable Stacks

With the Lineup Builder, it’s easy to incorporate stacks into DFS lineups. Today’s top five-man on DraftKings (per the Bales Model) belongs to the Atlanta Braves:
• 1. Ronald Acuna Jr (R)
• 2. Freddie Freeman (L)
• 3. Marcell Ozuna (R)
• 4. Travis d’Arnaud (R)
5. Dansby Swanson (R)

Total Salary: $26,700

On super short slates like this one, differentiation is even more vital than it is on a normal night. One sharp way to do that is through mini stacks or smaller iterations (usually two players) of the typical four or five-man stacks that are commonly used. Among other things, mini stacks allow you to get exposure to good situations that may be popular while still pivoting to other options in one or two instances to make your lineup different. Monday’s three-game slate on FanDuel is a perfect opportunity to do just that.

The Braves will be the most popular stack on Monday night. Their 5.9 implied run total is nearly a full run higher than the next closest team. That said, they are in a fantastic spot.

Ronald Acuna Jr. is the highest-rated player in the Bales Model and for good reason. He’s absolutely demolished right-handed pitching, collecting a .452 wOBA, .390 ISO and 183 wRC+ against them so far in 2020. Even at $4,900 on FanDuel, he’s a strong play in all formats. The Braves take on righty Jorge Lopez in this one.

Freddie Freeman also grades out exceptionally well. His better split is also easily against right-handed pitching in which he’s had a monstrous .489 wOBA, .357 ISO and 208 wRC+ over 160 plate appearances so far. He and Acuna Jr. make a strong mini stack pairing if going that route on Monday night.

The Minnesota Twins also rank highly as a four-man stack on FanDuel (per the Bales Model):
• 1. Max Kepler (L)
• 3. Josh Donaldson (R)
• 3. Jorge Polanco (S)
• 5. Nelson Cruz (R)

Total Salary: $13,200

The Minnesota Twins have the good fortune of taking on righty Dylan Cease, a pitcher who was highlighted above and has been getting extremely lucky so far this season. The Twins have excelled against righties this season, collectively hitting to a .332 wOBA and .213 ISO against them so far. Nelson Cruz has been the best of the bunch, collecting a .389 wOBA, 147 wRC+ and .282 ISO.

They are a nice pivot off of the Braves, who will undoubtedly be much higher owned on such a short slate. Cruz and Josh Donaldson are the preferred mini stack pairing in this one. Donaldson has struggled so far this season but has been much better against righties, racking up a .372 wOBA and .262 ISO over 50 plate appearances.

Other Batters

Cedric Mullins offers elite value at just $2,600 on FanDuel. The switch hitter is projected to bat leadoff against righty Touki Toussaint. Mullins has been very strong against right-handed pitching so far with a .343 and 115 wRC+ so far. The Baltimore Orioles are also projected with a healthy 4.7 implied run total.

Eloy Jimenez has been on a tear lately, collecting seven hits — including three extra-base hits — in his last 13 at-bats. He takes on righty Jose Berrios in this one, which plays to his strengths, as he has a .388 wOBA and .280 ISO against right-handed pitching so far this season. He’s underpriced at just $3,400 on FanDuel.