Temperatures in the mid to upper 90s for the second straight day should make Atlanta the most positive run environment on the board again today, though these are projected to be two middle of the board offenses, each within a quarter of a run of four implied runs. Jack Flaherty finished the season with a second half as hot as the weather in Atlanta today. Over his last 16 starts, he had a 0.98 ERA with a 2.32 FIP, 3.27 xFIP and 27.2 K-BB%. His 86.1 mph aEV this season is lowest on the board. Considering that both teams emptied the bullpen last night and the Cardinals have a one game lead, St Louis may be more incentivized to push him deeper into this game. Flaherty is the second most expensive arm on FanDuel, but possibly a strong value on DraftKings for $8.2K, despite the unfriendly conditions. The Atlanta lineup has just a 19.3 combined K% vs RHP this year, according to PlateIQ with only three non-pitcher bats above a 20 K%, so it’s not going to be easy.
Mike Foltynewicz is worst on the board in terms of strikeout rate (21.4%), Z-O-Swing (44.9%), SIERA (4.71), FIP (4.97) and 95+ mph EV (39.5%), many of those stats by a wide margin. However, since returning to the majors in August, he generated a 2.65 ERA and 3.77 FIP with a 23.8 K% over his final 10 starts. He also faces the worst offense on the board (Cardinals 93 wRC+, 23.2 K%, 13.9 HR/FB vs RHP). Folty is certainly a useful secondary arm on DraftKings at the lowest price point on the board ($6.2K). This is also a spot to look at some St Louis bats as well. Dexter Fowler (109 wRC+, .183 ISO) and Marcell Ozuna (114 wRC+, .228 ISO) may have the most value. RHBs (.328 wOBA, .337 xwOBA) actually performed better against Foltynewicz than LHBs (.307 wRC+, .311 xwOBA) this year.
The game in Houston features the two highest strikeout rates of the day (Tyler Glasnow 33%, Justin Verlander 35.4%) in one of two extremely negative run environments. The issue with Glasnow is two-fold. Initially, he faces the top offense on the board (Astros 123 wRC+, 18.4 K%, 17.8 HR/FB vs RHP). Additionally, he last faced more than 15 batters or threw more than 66 pitches in an outing in May. However, both of those totals occurred in his last start, so perhaps it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he’s conditioned to reach five to six innings at around 80-85 pitches, but that’s still unlikely to created enough value for his $8.6K DraftKings price tag. While he’s the cheapest arm on FanDuel ($7K), a quality start is unlikely as well. Also worth mentioning is that this game will feature two of the top bullpens in baseball, making it more difficult to find an advantage with Houston bats, implied for a second best 4.66 runs tonight, although their lineup is stacked with quality bats against pitchers from either side.
Justin Verlander had a 30.4 K-BB% this season with a 2.58 ERA, 2.95 SIERA, 2.51 DRA, and .248 xwOBA. His 77.7 Z-Contact% is the only mark below 80% today. He basically broke the ERA estimators model with a .218 BABIP and 88.4 LOB%. An extreme fly ball pitcher (35.9 GB%), he allowed the third most HRs in baseball (36) and may be the favorite for the AL Cy Young. While Verlander shares the highest rate of Barrels/BBE on the board (7.8%) with Mike Foltynewicz, it’s still only 2.1 points above Glanow’s lowest mark. To be clear, none of these teams are easy to pitch to today. Only the Cardinals (93 wRC+ vs RHP) are below a 103 wRC+ against the handedness of the pitcher they are facing today. However, aside from the friendly run environment, the Rays are one of four teams with a strikeout split above 21% today (22.9%). Via PlateIQ, today’s specific lineup averages a 21.1 K% vs RHP this year. Verlander is the most expensive pitcher on the board (by over $1K on DraftKings), but is also the top overall arm on the board. Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe all exceed a .200 ISO vs RHP if you’re looking for some potentially low owned power, but Verlander has absolutely no overall weakness against LHBs (.239 wOBA, .229 xwOBA this year). At 2.84 implied runs the Rays have the lowest team total on the board by a full half run.
While the Nationals (100 wRC+ and a slate low 21 K% vs RHP) and Dodgers (103 wRC+ and a slate high 17.7 HR/FB vs LH) aren’t typically offenses we look to oppose in daily fantasy, this is the game to target pitching in on a two game slate. Walker Beuhler (29.2%) and Patrick Corbin (28.5%) exceed the strikeout rates of the pitchers in Atlanta by about 10 points and are pitching in a much more negative run environment. Corbin finished up September with a board high 30 K% and 16.1 SwStr%, although he did wreck his ERA by allowing three HRs to Cleveland in his last start. The elite strikeout rate did allow Corbin to skirt issues with hard contact this season. His 88.9 mph aEV and 9.4% Barrels/BBE are easily worst on the board, though his .303 xwOBA was second best. The Dodgers don’t hit LHP as well as they do RHPs, but don’t mistake that to believe they aren’t still a quality offense against southpaws. Regardless, Corbin still may be the best value on the board at $400 to $800 cheaper than Beuhler on either site.
Buehler has tremendous upside as well. He struck out 11 or more six times this year and did not struggle with contact as much as Corbin (88.6 mph aEV, 5.4% Barrels/BBE), but he was also not beyond being prone to the occasional blow up. Eight times, opponents put at least five runs on the board against him, four times since the All-Star break. The Nationals are the most contact prone offense on the board and Buehler is the highest priced. It’s really close between he and Corbin for the top overall spot on the board tonight.
Corbin’s .319 xwOBA vs RHBs is the only wOBA or xwOBA mark above .300 that either pitcher allowed to batters from either side of the plate this season. GPP players are certainly going to want to look at some bats here as well though. A.J. Pollock (134 wRC+, .212 ISO vs LHP), Justin Turner (142 wRC+, .294 ISO) and Juan Soto (157 wRC+, .305 ISO vs RHP) are best with the platoon advantage and none run a price tag any higher than Soto’s $4.1K cost on DraftKings. Cody Bellinger (150 wRC+, .319 ISO) and Anthony Rendon (154 wRC+, .273 ISO) are so good it may not matter. The run line for the Dodgers is currently on the rise this afternoon, now eclipsing four implied runs (4.28) to push them past the Cardinals (4.16) for the second spot on the board. The Nationals are well behind the pack at 3.22 implied runs.
Temperatures in Atlanta are expected to be the highest they’ve been all season (mid to upper 90s). While this was already the game to target for offense today due to inferior pitching, the weather only makes it more attractive. Dallas Keuchel (18.7%) and Miles Mikolas (18.5%) have essentially the same strikeout rate with the two west coast pitchers tonight both around 10 points higher. Keuchel (23.9%) has a HR/FB 7.8 points higher than Mikolas, the second highest rate on the board, but he also generates grounders at a 60.1% clip with the other three pitchers below 50%. This should help him better deal with conditions. Statcast numbers are basically the same for Mikolas (87.8 mph aEV, 6.3% Barrels/BBE) and Keuchel (88 mph aEV, 6.9% Barrels/BBE).
Both offenses in this game have implied run lines above four with the Braves topping the board by more than a full half run at 4.83. Both pitchers had a wOBA and xwOBA between .330 and .340 against opposite handed batters this season. While Keuchel dominates lefties (.268 wOBA, .302 xwOBA, 68.8 GB%), Mikolas has been merely average (.307 wOBA, .320 xwOBA) with the platoon advantage.
Your top overall bats today are probably the competing first basemen in this game: Freddie Freeman (158 wRC+, .285 ISO vs RHP) and Paul Goldschmidt (145 wRC+, .313 ISO). Tommy Edman was better from the RH side (155 wRC+, .272 ISO), but is the second highest priced batter in this game on DraftKings, though just $3.1K on FanDuel. Josh Donaldson (134 wRC+, .274 ISO) costs a very reasonable $4.3K on DraftKings. DraftKings makes the dynamic even more difficult, where you have to choose two pitchers and Mikolas costs just $5.5K, allowing players to focus on offense, but this remains a very dangerous spot.
Tyler Mahle has a 5.34 ERA this year, but there are a few indicators that this number is inflated. Mahle also has a solid 4.06 xFIP / 4.22 SIERA, 16.7% K-BB, 46.5% GB rate and .320 xwOBA allowed. Mahle has been much better vs. righties over in his career with a .298 wOBA allowed and 17.5% K-BB, compared to a .391 wOBA allowed and 8.6% K-BB vs. lefties. Fortunately, he is set to face just 2 lefties in the Pirates lineup this afternoon. With their 3 best hitters out of the lineup (Bell, Marte, Reynolds), the Pirates have just 1 batter in their lineup with an xwOBA vs. RHP greater than .310 on the year. Mahle is very affordable with a $7.2k price tag on Draftkings and $6.5k tag on Fanduel, and projects to see pretty low ownership on this slate despite the great matchup. Mahle also gets a park upgrade going from Great American to PNC. The Pirates currently have a 4.16 implied total vs. Mahle and the Reds this afternoon.
Though the Astros have clinched home field advantage through the World Series, they’ll still play their starters this afternoon in what looks to be a great spot. They’ll face Dillon Peters, whose 4.72 ERA looks pretty lucky when you look at his 5.40 xFIP, 43.8% hard contact rate, .349 xwOBA allowed, 8% barrel rate and 88.8 MPH aEV. The Astros have completely mashed lefties this year to the tune of a league-leading 130 wRC+ this year, and have plenty of good options in their order this afternoon. Jose Altuve (.417 xwOBA vs. LHP this year), Yordan Alvarez (.394), Martin Maldonado (.386), George Springer (.383), Alex Bregman (.379), Aledmys Diaz (.340) and Yuli Gurriel (.324) are all great options today. Bregman and Diaz have both been hot with xwOBAs over .400 over the past 2 weeks. Altuve looks like the best value in the lineup, batting 2nd at just $4.6k on DK / $4.1k on FanduelThe Astros have a healthy 6.04 implied total vs. Peters and the Angels.
Donaldson has been scratched from the Atlanta Braves original confirmed lineup and will not start in Sunday’s matchup against the New York Mets due to a presently unspecified reason. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Adeiny Hechavarria, who will now play third base and slot into the fifth spot in the order, which bumps Nick Markakis up to fifth, respectively. However, the remainder of the Braves lineup will stay intact offensively as they face off against right-hander Noah Syndergaard on the road this afternoon.
Despite having nothing to play for, the Red Sox will put all of their healthy starters in the lineup this afternoon vs. Chandler Shepherd. Shepherd posted a 10+ ERA over 30 innings in AAA for the Red Sox this year before eventually being picked up by the Orioles where he posted a 4.60 ERA / 4.52 xFIP over 72 innings in AAA. Projection systems have him pegged as a 5-6 ERA guy in the majors. Mookie Betts (.409 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), Rafael Devers (.385), JD Martinez (.368), Mitch Moreland (.363), Xander Bogaerts (.349), Jackie Bradley Jr. (.342), Christian Vazquez (.311) and Brock Holt (.338) are all in play this afternoon vs. Shepherd. Betts has been their hottest hitter over the past 2 weeks with a .421 xwOBA. On Fanduel, all Sox bats are available under $4k besides Betts and Martinez. Pricing is a bit tighter on Draftkings as all batters mentioned above are $4.6k or more besides Holt ($3.5k). The Red Sox currently have a healthy 6.43 implied total vs. Shepherd and the O’s.
Turnbull has quietly put up a serviceable season in Detroit, posting a 4.59 ERA / 4.06 FIP with a 12.8% K-BB, 1.46 WHIP, 48.1% GB rate and 10.6% SwStr. He’s arguably shown a bit of improvement over the past 30 days despite an inflated 6.85 ERA with a 2.86 FIP / 3.97 xFIP and 17.1% K-BB. Turnbull will face a White Sox lineup that has just an 88 wRC+ and a massive 26.3% K rate vs. RHP on the year, giving him some nice upside. The White Sox lineup today will have just 4 batters who have an xwOBA above .325 on the year. With a decent amount of options pitching options on this slate, Turnbull is definitely more of a GPP option than cash, and does project to see decently low ownership. He’ll have an affordable price of $7400 on Draftkings and an even cheaper $6400 price tag on Fanduel this afternoon. Turnbull will also have the benefit of a pitcher friendly umpire in Gabe Morales calling balls and strikes.
Jack Flaherty has a number of positive factors working for him today vs. the Cubs. For one, he’s been one of (if not the best) the best pitchers in baseball over the past few months: since July 7th, Flaherty has posted a ridiculous 1 ERA / 2.35 FIP, 27.5% K-BB and .191 wOBA allowed. Flaherty has also been much better in home starts over the course of his career with a 2.92 ERA / 3.62 FIP, 23.3% K-BB, 0.93 WHIP and .254 wOBA allowed compared to a 3.56 ERA / 3.90 FIP, 18.8% K-BB, 1.18 WHIP and .291 wOBA allowed. Flaherty gets a matchup with a Cubs team that is missing its four best hitters (Rizzo, Baez, Castellanos, Bryant) and has nothing to play for, while the Cardinals are trying to lock up their division. The Cubs lineup has just two batters with an xwOBA vs. RHP greater than .335 on the year. Flaherty is way too cheap at just $9.8k on Draftkings and is a nice play on Fanduel as well even with a steeper $11k tag. The Cubs currently have just a 2.97 implied total vs. Flaherty and the Cards.
Robles has been scratched from the Washington Nationals original confirmed lineup and will not start in Saturday’s matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers due to an illness. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Gerardo Parra, who will now play center field and slot directly into Robles’ vacated seventh spot in the order. However, the remainder of the Nationals lineup will stay intact offensively as they face off against right-hander Adam Plutko at home this afternoon.
Guerrero Jr. has been scratched from the Toronto Blue Jays original confirmed lineup and will not start in Saturday’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Rays due to right knee soreness. He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Brandon Drury, who will now play third base and slot directly into Guerrero’s vacated fifth spot in the order. However, the remainder of the Blue Jays lineup will stay intact offensively as they face off against left-hander Ryan Yarbrough at home this afternoon.
Richards has made two starts so far in 2019, totaling just 5 and 1/3 innings pitched between the two. He’s thrown just 144 innings since 2016 and made his debut earlier this month on the 16th after not appearing in an MLB game since July of the previous season. He’s unsurprisingly shaking off some rust and has posted a .374 xwOBA allowed so far in 27 batters faced. The D-Backs don’t have a great lineup, but they are in a good spot here and are very cheap across the industry. Alex Avila (.355 xwOBA vs. RHP this year), Kevin Cron (.346), Jake Lamb (.333), Eduardo Escobar (.323), Nick Ahmed (.317), Josh Rojas (.317), Tim Locastro (.306) and Jarrod Dyson (.273) are all options in the D-Backs’ projected order. Lamb has been on fire with a .443 xwOBA over the past 2 weeks and somehow costs just $2.8k on Draftkings. Avila is another great value option at just $3.3k on DK. Besides Escobar, all D-Backs hitters are $4k or less on Draftkings and $2.9k or less on Fanduel despite a healthy 5.24 implied total tonight vs. Richards and the Padres.
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