Happy Monday! Today’s slate brings us a much more unusual one. For starters, it’s smaller, and only seven games are part of the main slate. Also, we are blessed with day baseball as the opening act begins at 1:05 PM EST, with the final showdown ending at 2:20 PM EST. So, give this breakdown a read, and don’t wait too long to lock your lineups. Speaking of, thanks to weather being a non-factor, you can set it and forget it. Lastly, enjoy your Labor Day!
Implied Run Totals
The Royals and Orioles have the top Implied Run Total (IRT) on the slate? I bet you didn’t expect that one; especially since they are two bottom-feeders (BAL fifth-lowest, KC seventh-lowest) in total runs scored on the season. However, it will be the warmest game on the slate inside a hitter-friendly park.
The PHI/MIL game has the lowest IRT due to the pitching duel with elite talent. Even though both offenses have some uber skills in the game, that’s a place where I am avoiding altogether.
When a slate is this small, I suggest using a less contrarian approach and trying to HR hunt. Prioritize the players with HR potential a little more over your stacks. This might be a slate with one player hitting two HRs, and it’ll be very challenging to even min-cash without them.
The GREEN tier is a pricey bunch, yet we are getting Chris Sale under $10K on DraftKings for the first time in September. Yet, on FanDuel, Sale is the top-priced arm—go figure? Either way, he is fresh off his first quality start of 2021 and just getting started. He receives a dangerous matchup against the top-scoring offense in the MLB and with a park upgrade. Planting Sale in your lineup is a risky maneuver but could pay off. I would pair him with a chalkier stack since the field will likely choose between Woody and Wheeler.
This trio is going to be the consensus top-three for nearly all DFS players, and rightfully so. But Zack Wheeler and Brandon Woodruff have been spectacular since Opening Day, and both deserve the “ace” labels. Furthermore, their opponents will be without everyday players due to injury. The Brewers will be without Willy Adames and Kolten Wong, while Philly is missing power-bat Rhys Hoskins. I am giving the smallest of edge to Wheeler over Woodruff, but it is incredibly close.
The YELLOW tier is a terrific spot to grab your SP2. Sonny Gray gets one of the better matchups on the slate. The Cubs have many whiffs in their profile and lead all teams in the MLB in Ks since the trade deadline. They’ve cobbled together a starting lineup, and I really love Gray at his salary. His $9K on DraftKings and $9200 on FanDuel is far too low for this small slate.
The other yellow mate is Hyun Jin Ryu, who draws a difficult matchup against the Yankees. Even though it’s a division matchup, Ryu last saw the pinstripers on June 15th. New York looks significantly different since then, no? They may have added worlds of thump to that lineup, but it came with massive K-rates. If the changeup is commanded well in the bottom of the zone, Ryu can toss a gem. If not, he has to rely on the rest of his arsenal; we are in for fireworks. He’s a dice roll play in a pivotal spot on the slate.
The lone ranger in RED is Tarik Skubal. First, I love Skubal’s $7600 price tag on DraftKings and $8900 on FanDuel. The Tigers are an easy favorite here, and Skubal moves from AL to NL-thus losing the DH. Either way, the Pirates are a dreadful offense spotting to the offseason. After Ke’Bryan Hayes and Bryan Reynolds, there is nothing scary in that lineup. The Pirates are primarily slap-hitters and re-treads, so Skubal can go right after all of them. He will be rostered on a ton of lineups due to the salary, so you may need to differentiate your build somewhere else.
New York Mets (at LHP Patrick Corbin)
- Stacking against Patrick Corbin is a winning strategy. He is prone to allowing too many men on base via the walk and has a terrible issue keeping the ball in the yard. Specifically, right-handed power bats have a .280 ISO against Corbin. That is where we are targeting Mets bats for the stack. Pete Alonso and Javier Báez are no-brainers since they tout ISOs over .290 and a wOBA over .390 vs. RHP. Francisco Lindor is finally heating up and top the stack off with James McCann at catcher. This way, you’ve filled SS, 2B, 1B, and catcher—all pesky positions in DFS.
Baltimore Orioles (vs. LHP Kris Bubic)
- The Orioles in Camden are a solid play for this type of slate. They aren’t a powerhouse offense but get the home-field advantage in a hitter’s park. Next, they match up against Bubic, who’s a rookie trying to figure out his way. Don’t get me wrong; I like Bubic long-term but not today. His 20.1% K-rate is sneaky, but he walks far too many batters and gives up power to both sides of the plate. This puts all the Orioles’ boppers in play. Core stack targets: Trey Mancini, Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, and toss Pedro Severino in your catcher spot. He mashes southpaws and hits much better at home.
Cincinnati Reds (at LHP Justin Steele)
- For some reason, the Reds are struggling vs. southpaws lately. Well, if you ever needed a get-right game, I would suggest playing against Justin Steele. He has quite a bit to go in his development to become an everyday starting pitcher. His surface stats are a little misleading because he worked out of the pen at first. In 12.7 innings pitched as a starter, Steele has an 18.2% K-rate and 5.19 xFIP. Even worse, those stats come with a 2.09 HR/9. Point blank, I want that top half of the Reds in as many lineups as I can build. Core target stack: Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson (at catcher), Nick Castellanos, and Joey Votto.
Here are some of the best value hitters not mentioned above. Also, the “value hitters” or “punt plays” are meant to be players under $3300 on DK and under $3100 on FD—just a step below my cash players. Due to the slate size, we are stretching the threshold slightly.
Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)