Jim previews today’s game action and shares his top Draft Kings plays for September 27th.
Today we have 15 games on the MLB schedule starting at 1:05 pm with the White Sox and Yankees. As always, check your lineup prior to game time for any last-minute scratches and be sure to check the weather report before game time for any potential delays and or cancellations. There is a slight chance of rain for the following: Milwaukee/St Louis, Philadelphia/Washington, New York(NL)/Cincinnati, Chicago/New York(AL), Atlanta/Miami. As of now it doesn’t appear any games will be cancelled, but delays could play havoc with starters in those games.
It’s the final week of the regular season. Teams have either clinched their division, are fighting for a playoff spot or wildcard seed or just playing out the season. So what does that mean for us in fantasy land? It means a lot of regular players will be seeing time on the bench. The Royals, Mets and Dodgers are locked in so we could see some hitters getting a breather this week. The same holds true for the Blue Jays, Rangers and Cubs in a few days along with the Cardinals and Pirates towards next weekend. Once teams have their division and playoff seed locked in, hitters will be given off randomly to rest up for the playoffs.
But it’s not just playoff teams you have to worry about. Those teams who are just playing out the season have nothing to look forward to besides next season. With the rosters expanded to 40, you’re going to see a lot of young guys getting a taste of the majors as teams want to get a look at what they may have going into next season. At least in DFS, you can easily change your roster and don’t have to worry about who to drop to fill that open slot when a player is given off, but you still have to pay close attention to each starting lineup daily. While we will be giving you our best recommendations this week (along with multiple other sites), don’t set your heart on any one player.
While hitters will be given off, pitchers are of an equal concern. We have an unknown factor at play when it comes to the arms. They will be facing hitters with very little scouting so some of the line scores could resemble those seen in April. Also innings could be limited for those on playoff teams, especially next weekend. Additionally, struggling arms could receive a quicker hook than normal. If you are going to play in this final week, make sure you are able to check your lineup prior to game-time, otherwise you are just handing your money over to someone else. I’ve said enough here; you get the point. On to today’s picks.
Studs: Jake Arrieta vs Pittsburgh ($13,600), Hisashi Iwakuma @Los Angeles ($10,600)
For the season Arrieta has an ERA under 2.0 and a WHIP under 1.0 – Impressive at 2016 innings. Over the past 30 days (42 innings) he has an ERA and WHIP of 0.43 and 0.57. In 4 starts against Pittsburgh this season (29 innings) Arrieta is 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and a .173 BAA. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs since July 25 and you’ll get no less than 5 strikeouts. Definitely worth the money.
Iwakuma has been lights out in September with a 1.75 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, .208 BAA and just over a strikeout an innings. He faced the Angels less than 2 weeks ago and held them to 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings with 9 strikeouts. The Angels are 27th in OBP and 23rd in batting average and runs scored for September. They may be fighting for a wild card spot, but with Jered Weaver on the mound today something tells me they won’t gain any ground. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun are batting .212, .167 and .222 respectively against Iwakuma over 87 at bats.
Bang for Your Buck: Ervin Santana @Detroit ($7,500), Gio Gonzalez vs Philly ($8,300)
Santana is 4-0 over his last 5 starts, and each start has gone at least 7 innings with 2 or fewer runs allowed in each contest. He held Detroit to 2 runs on 4 hits over 7 innings a few starts ago. Detroit is 25th in runs scored and 29th in home runs for September and the only thing the Tigers can celebrate is being ahead of the A’s for last place in the AL. Granted Santana is capable of getting blown out, but I’ll go with the hot pitcher over the slumping team any day.
Gio has been a mess all season, but his numbers have been respectable and Gio-like in September. He has 32 K’s this month over 23 innings; 12 of those were against Philly two starts ago – he held them to 2 runs on 5 hits over 7 innings. Here career numbers at home (2.98 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .234 BAA) are eerily similar to his career numbers vs the phillies (2.99 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .233 BAA). The Phillies are 30th in BA and OBP, 29th in runs scored and 26th in home runs for September. Talk about bang for your buck!
Hail Mary: Alex Wood @Colorado ($6,200), Chris Young vs Cleveland ($4,100)
Wood had a major hiccup at Arizona a few starts ago, but that game is sandwiched between 4 high quality starts where he went at least 6 innings allowing 2 or fewer runs in each contest. The Rockies are in the bottom third of the league for BA, OBP and runs scored versus lefties and are dead last against them for home runs. Colorado hammered Wood back in July, but he came back and 1 hit them a few starts ago over 8 innings (in L.A.). It’s always a risk picking a pitcher going at Coors field, but the price and matchup is right here – at least on paper.
If you really need to save a buck, Young could be your guy. His last start before getting moved to the pen was against the Indians and he held them to one run over 4.2 innings with 5 K’s. Granted the point total he put up on DraftKings was equivalent to those of an average hitter, but his price today is that of an average hitter so…. If you have some high-priced hitters that you feel confident in, spend those extra dollars on bats and be happy with the 10 or so points Young will deliver. Cleveland has been average at best in September so the only thing holding down today’s point total is innings pitched.
Studs: (besides the obvious picks of d’Arnaud & Posey) Brian McCann vs Chicago ($3,600)
McCann has big power vs righties (20 of 26 homers) and his average picks up at home (.274). Also he has not gone more than 9 days without hitting a home run; yesterday makes 7 days so he’s due.
Bang for your buck: A.J. Pierzynski @Miami ($3,300)
A.J. is batting .303 vs righties, .321 on the road, .333 at Marlins park and .316 over the past 7 days. He’s also 6-12 with 2 home runs against today’s starter Tom Koehler.
Hail Mary: Wilin Rosario vs Los Angeles ($2,800)
Rosario has a career .314/.350/.600 line vs lefties and is batting .325 in Colorado this year. If Rosario in the lineup today, he makes a real nice cheap option.
Studs: Paul Goldschmidt @San Diego ($4,700), Freddie Freeman @Miami ($4,600)
DK knocked Goldy’s price down to the 7th highest today because of the venue, but he ‘s batting .298 at PETCO this year and has 6 career home runs there over 33 games. He’s also 4-8 with a double and home run vs starter James Shields who is having another rough month.
Freeman is batting .297 with 5 doubles and 3 homers in September. 13 of his 18 homers have been on the road and all but one have come off righties. He’s also hitting .355 at Marlins park this year. He’s only batting .240 of starter Tom Koehler, but Koehler struggles with the long ball vs lefties and had issues with the hapless Phillies in his last start.
Bang for your buck: Victor Martinez vs Minnesota ($3,500), Justin Bour vs Atlanta ($3,500)
I’d like this one better if Martinez were facing a lefty. That said, Martinez is batting .350 with 2 home runs in limited at bats over the past 2 weeks. He’s also batting .357 (10-28) with 2 homers off Ervin Santana.
Shelby Miller has issues at times vs lefties and the wheels have come off the bus in September (6.75 ERA – 1.95 WHIP). Bour is batting .346 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs over the past 2 weeks, all of his homers (20) have come off righties and he hits for a better average at home. This also makes a nice add for the final week of the season for those in H2H leagues in need of a corner infielder…just sayin.
Hail Mary: Justin Morneau vs Los Angeles ($3,000), Clint Robinson vs Philly ($2,500)
I’m not a Morneau fan, but I am a Coors field fan. Morneau is really a bad play hitting .333 vs lefties and .368 in Coors this year. This will be the first meeting between Alex Wood and Morneau so anything can happen.
I don’t see the need to go this cheap at first, but Robinson will be facing Aaron Harang; a pitcher than can turn any lineup into murderers row. Robinson is 3-9 against Harang and is batting .283 in September.
Jose Altuve vs Texas ($5,000)
At this point you should know Altuve is ridiculous vs lefties (.376) and at home (.341). Altuve is also batting .400 (6-15) vs today’s starter Martin Perez. Perez has actually been worse away from Texas (5.59 ERA, 1.78 WHIP) and his road numbers are very similar to what he’s doing in September. The Rangers have one of the worst stolen base percentages in the league so if Altuve gets on base, expect him to run.
Bang for your buck: Robinson Cano @Los Angeles ($3,800)
Guess DraftKings didn’t get the memo that Cano is fantasy reliant again. He’s batting .326 with 4 home runs, 11 RBIs and 8 runs scored over the past 2 weeks. He’s also batting .356 (16-45) vs Jered Weaver who has been a train wreck outside of a hot May.
Hail Mary: Luis Valbuena vs Texas & Chris Coghlan vs Pittsburgh ($3,200)
Both players can be hot and cold and there is no guarantee with either, but they both have weak matchups and can produce fireworks at any given time.
Studs: Kris Bryant vs Pittsburgh ($4,800), Matt Carpenter vs Milwaukee ($5,000)
This is a bargain if I ever saw one. Bryant is batting 50 points higher against righties and at home (which is where most of his power comes against), plus he’s batting .345 with 8 doubles and 5 homers in September. He’s 5-7 with two doubles vs Burnett this year.
Carpenter has been crushing it over the past 2 weeks (.345-6 doubles-5 homers), plus he prefers righties, hitting at home, and long walks on the beach. The Brewers throw Tyler Cravy to the wolves today; I don’t think this kid would be a match for Chris Carpenter let along Matt.
I do like Josh Donaldson at home vs a mediocre reliever turned starter, but at $6,200 I think you’re better off going with one of the two options above who can give you similar production.
Bank for your buck: Danny Valencia vs San Francisco ($4,400), Anthony Rendon vs Philly ($3,800)
Starter Chris Heston hasn’t made it through 6 innings in over 2 months, has been hittable and homer prone in the second half and his walks are going the wrong way. Valencia is batting .340 with a pair of doubles and homers over the past 2 weeks. The A’s new cleanup hitter could make a sneaky play.
Rendon is batting .315 with 2 doubles and a homer over the past 2 weeks. He may be 0-10 vs Aaron Harang, but come on now….it’s Aaron Harang.
Hail Mary: Brock Holt vs Baltimore ($3,500)
I would not skimp at third today; there are too many better options and potential bargains to be had for a few dollars more. If you choose to ignore my advice, Holt is batting .379 with 3 doubles, 6 RBIs and 7 runs scored over the past few weeks. He’s 1-5 with a double and 3 walks against Ubaldo Jimenez.
Studs: Xander Bogaerts vs Baltimore ($4,700), Francisco Lindor vs Kansas City ($4,600)
Obviously the top choice is the most expensive one in Corey Seager ($6,400). It’s hard to argue with his numbers, pitching matchup and venue, but just like third base and Josh Donaldson, you can get similar production for over a grand less with Bogaerts or Lindor.
My problem is, I’m having trouble choosing between two of the hottest hitting shortstops over the past two weeks. In that span, Bogaerts is hitting .339 with 4 doubles, 2 homers, 3 steals, 9 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He draws Ubaldo Jimenez who he is 3-9 against and seems to have melted down since the all-star break. Over the same two weeks, Francisco Lindor is batting .396 with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers, 1 steal, 11 RBIs and 9 runs scored. He draws a pitcher who may not make it through 5 innings and there are a lot of innings between when that happens and Wade Davis comes in so there will be hits to be had. Both players make a good play, so if I were you I say pick your favorite; at least it will make rooting for them more fun.
Yunel Escobar ($4,100) makes a nice play versus Harang, but for a few dollars more you’ll get better production and for a few dollars less you can get similar numbers. While I like Escobar, it’s not economical to choose him today.
Bank for your buck: Starlin Castro vs Pittsburgh ($3,000)
The move to second has lit a fire under Castro; he’s batting .431 in September with 3 doubles, 4 homers and 16 RBIs. He’s also batting .444 (16-36) vs A.J. Burnett. While Castro hasn’t run much this year, the Pirates are right there with the Rangers and Cubs as the worst teams for allowing steals. Burnett had 2 goo games vs the Cubs early on, but they got to him a few weeks ago and the hits should continue today.
Hail Mary: Miguel Rojas vs Atlanta ($2,100)
You won’t get any power or speed here, but you’ll get your fair share of hits. Over the past 2 weeks, Rojas is batting .370 with 3 doubles and 6 runs scored. For September Shelby Miller has a .341 BAA and has giving up 28 hits in 20 innings. For the price, Rojas is capable of paying the bills.
Studs (other than the obvious Harper add): Jose Bautista vs Tampa Bay ($5,600), A.J. Pollock @San Diego ($4,500), Yoenis Cespedes @Cincinnati ($5,000)
Bautista draws a weak righty at home, two of his favorite things. He has 6 homers, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored over the past 2 weeks.
Pollock is underpriced today (IMO) considering he’s right up there with Mike Trout over the past 2 weeks as far as production goes. In that span he is batting .373 with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 3 steals, 12 RBIs and 11 runs scored. Pollock is 4-9 with 2 doubles and a homer vs James Shields who has been a disappointment overall for San Diego. Pollock is also 3-8 w/a homer in this series at PETCO.
Cespedes hasn’t hit a home run since Sept 14th, but that could change with Keyvius Sampson on the mound. Sampson has a 6.45 ERA, but that jumps to 8.31 at home. Cespedes is batting .323 over the past 7 days so he found his average; the power should be next.
Bang for your buck: Tommy Pham vs Milwaukee ($4,000), Melky Cabrera @New York ($4,000), Kevin Pillar vs Tampa Bay ($4,100), Torii Hunter @Detroit ($4,100)
Pham has been a top 5 outfield option in fantasy over the past two weeks batting .366 with 2 doubles, 3 triples, 4 homers, 12 RBIs and 11 runs scored. He should make gravy out of Cravy today.
Cabrera has been Pham light, hitting .351 with 3 homers and 13 RBIs over the past 2 weeks. He’s batting .289 vs righties and has a career .278 average at Yankees Stadium along with 18 doubles and 12 homers over 98 games. Luis Severino has been steady, but his numbers at home are less than desirable.
Pillar has been contributing across the board this month with 5 doubles, 3 homers, 7 steals, 7 RBIs and 9 runs scored. Tampa throws Matt Andriese on the hill today, but don’t expect much from him or for him to last more than 4 innings.
After a 3 month slump, Hunter is back hitting .311 with 3 doubles, 4 homers and 12 RBIs in September. He’s 2-5 against Tigers starter Randy Wolf, and Wolf has been as bad this year as he was in the three previous seasons.
Hail Mary: I’ll make some recommendations in the comments section below closer to game time. There are a number of players I’m targeting, but all of them have low odds of making the lineup so I’ll wait until they are in before naming them. Stay tuned.
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