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MLB DFS Breakdown (Thursday, September 24): Burnes, Baby, Burnes!

Thursday features a 6-game main slate on DraftKings and FanDuel starting at 7:10pm ET.

Pitchers

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

Studs

  • Corbin Burnes (R), $10,600, MIL @ STL
  • Walker Buehler (R), $10,400, LAD vs. OAK

Corbin Burnes will look to put an exclamation point on what has been a spectacular season so far for the Milwaukee Brewers. Burnes currently leads the National League with a 1.77 FIP and is second to only Jacob deGrom with a 13.34 K/9 going into his last regular season start.

On Thursday, he takes on a St. Louis Cardinals team that is bottom-third against right-handed pitching with a .306 team wOBA. Their 23.7% strikeout rate against righties is around league average, but Burnes is elite in that department. In his last start against St. Louis, he lasted just 4.2 innings, but struck out ten batters while allowing just a single earned run.

At $10,600 on FanDuel, Burnes is priced down from where other similarly skilled Cy Young caliber starters would be in what is a very beatable matchup. As such, he should be a staple of cash game lineups. In guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), however, he’ll likely be very highly owned given the lack of other top options on this slate. Even so, he warrants consideration.

Walker Buehler is slated to make his first start since September 8th after dealing with a blister issue over the past two weeks. He reportedly threw a 90-pitch simulated game on Saturday, so it sounds like the Dodgers are looking to get him back up to 100 pitch mark before the playoffs.

Buehler has been subpar over his seven starts of 2020, pitching to a 4.77 FIP (nearly two runs higher than his 3.01 FIP in 2019) and a 9.9 K/9 (nearly one strikeout less than his 10.6 K/9 from a season ago). He takes on an Oakland Athletics team that has been around league average against righties, collectively hitting to a .316 wOBA and striking out 23.6% of the time in such matchups.

At just $200 more on FanDuel, paying up for Burnes in cash games is the optimal play given Buehler’s recent layoff and overall effectiveness so far in 2020. In GPPs, however, Buehler is a good lower-owned pivot in a game where pitch count should not be an issue.

Values

Christian Javier gets a fantastic matchup against a Texas Rangers team that has been awful against right-handed pitching so far this season. Their .276 team wOBA is second worst in all of baseball and their 25.1% strikeout rate against righties is also amongst the highest.

That said, Javier’s starts have been very inconsistent. He hasn’t more than three earned runs in a start since August 15th, but his starts have ranged from 2 innings to 6.2 innings pitched over the course of that time.

At $7,400 in a strong matchup, Javier is worth the risk in GPPs at what should be very low ownership. He’s the perfect tournament play if you’re looking to pay up for big bats tonight. He’s projected at just 13-16% ownership in our model.

Fastballs

Ian Anderson has impressed so far during his rookie campaign, pitching to a 2.84 FIP and 11.8 K/9 over 26.2 innings pitched for the Atlanta Braves. His matchup on Thursday against the Miami Marlins is a strong one. Collectively, their .301 wOBA is well below average against right-handed pitching and their 25.4% strikeout rate in such matchups is 7th worst in baseball. His $9,900 price tag should keep his ownership down, making him worth a look in GPPs.

Lance Lynn’s 2.53 ERA so far this season is the best of his nine-year career. His 3.81 FIP – nearly 1.5 runs higher – is an indication that he’s been very lucky so far, though. This Houston Astros is not the same team we’ve seen over the past few seasons, but they still have the big bats to take advantage of a spot like this. In fact, in his last start against them in August, he allowed six earned runs on eight hits over six innings pitched.

At $9.500, Lynn is the fourth most expensive option on the slate. He should be avoided in cash games, but he is worth a dart throw in GPPs where he’s expected at just 2-4% ownership.

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 Boston Red Sox:

1. Alex Verdugo (L)
2. Rafael Devers (L)
3. Xander Bogaerts (R)
4. JD Martinez (R)
5. Christian Vazquez (R)

Total Salary: $23,600

The Boston Red Sox take on righty Alex Cobb, a pitcher that has struggled to the tune of a 5.10 FIP so far this season and is allowing 1.6 HR/9. His 6.75 K/9 is also very low when compared against the rest of the starters in the league.

The Red Sox have excelled against righties in 2020, collectively hitting to .337 wOBA (7th best in baseball) and .191 ISO (9th best). With an implied team total of 5.2, Vegas expects that success to continue tonight.

Rafael Devers stands out with his .390 wOBA and .309 ISO against righties. Alex Verdugo (.390 wOBA) and Xander Bogaerts (.330 wOBA) have also found a great deal of success in such matchups.

The Los Angeles Dodgers also rank highly as a four-man stack on FanDuel (per the Bales Model):

1. Mookie Betts (R)
3. Justin Turner (R)
4. Max Muncy (L)
5. Cody Bellinger (L)

Total Salary: $15,100

The Los Angeles Dodgers match up well against righty Mike Fiers. Fiers has been nothing to write home about this season, pitching to a relatively high 4.85 FIP over 10 starts. The Dodgers have been very strong against righties, collectively hitting to a .356 wOBA and .241 ISO against them this season.

Mookie Betts has been elite in such matchups, hitting to a .444 wOBA and .365 ISO so far this year against them. Justin Turner has also been very strong with a .389 wOBA against right-handed pitching himself.

With a 5.4 run implied team total, the Dodgers have the highest total on the slate. As such, they will be popular in tournaments and it will be vital to differentiate elsewhere if going that route. If you’re looking to take just a piece, Betts or Turner are great one-off plays.

Other Batters

Whit Merrifield and the Kansas City Royals take on righty Michael Fulmer on Thursday. Merrifield has been his typically strong self against righties, hitting to a .330 wOBA so far on the season. He carries a 91% bargain rating in our model at just $3,600 on FanDuel.

Ronald Acuna Jr. has torched right-handed pitching to the tune of a .439 wOBA and .379 ISO this season. On Thursday, he takes on righty Pablo Lopez. Acuna Jr. registers as an 88% bargain rating at his $4,500 price tag on FanDuel.