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Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Tuesday 9/14

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: September 14, 2021, 5:21 pm ET

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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

PITCHER

Top Play: Gerrit Cole – Yankees (at Orioles)

The Orioles offense isn’t the reason their team is terrible. It’s a decent unit and better than league average over the last month. Their strikeout rate is also roughly league average. Cole isn’t a runaway, must-use play this evening, but he does project to lead the slate in strikeouts by a wide margin – over a strikeout and a half better than the next guy. He’s also on the short list to throw the most innings. And more innings means more whiffs. Cole and Frankie Montas are the only pitchers with a believable shot at double-digit strikeouts. And Montas’ path is unlikely.

Pivot: Kyle Gibson – Phillies (vs Cubs)

Yes, we’re going after the Cubs and their league-worst strikeout rate. Gibson kinda sorta pitches to contact. Even opposite the Cubbies, he projects for less than a strikeout per inning. However, since he’s expected to go over six innings with six strikeouts, he comfortably lines up as the best non-Cole on the market. There are red flags which the projections might not be picking up. Rafael Ortega, Frank Schwindel, and Patrick Wisdom all match up well against Gibson.

Also Consider: Lucas Giolito, Frankie Montas, Jose Berrios, Nate Eovaldi, Touki Toussaint, Erick Fedde

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CATCHER

Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Luke Weaver)

Weaver is effectively a fastball-changeup guy these days. His other secondaries are seldom used. It’s an approach which generally doesn’t work well against same-handed hitters, although Weaver has normal platoon splits. Although he’s pitched well in two starts since returning from injury, the likeliest outcome of tonight’s game is a drubbing at the hands of the Dodgers. Even if Weaver holds his own for five innings, that still leaves four innings of baseball’s worst bullpen. Smith doesn’t have a nitro matchup – it’s merely par value from a very good player.

Pivot: Kyle Higashioka – Yankees (at Alexander Wells)

Higashioka projects to homer once every 10 batted balls. Indeed, he has 115 batted balls and 10 home runs this season – just off pace of his projection. Unfortunately, quite a few of his plate appearances end in a walk or strikeout (37.16 percent). Fortunately, Wells doesn’t induce many whiffs. The downside is he’s a fly ball pitcher which could lead to easy fly outs from Higgy. Camden Yards is power friendly so Cole’s personal catcher has a one-in-three shot to homer tonight.

Also Consider: Salvador Perez, J.T. Realmuto, Buster Posey, Daulton Varsho, Alejandro Kirk, Willson Contreras, Riley Adams

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Max Muncy – Dodgers (vs Weaver)

Despite the aforementioned changeup, Weaver has consistently struggled against left-handed hitters his entire career. Tonight is unlikely to be any different. Muncy is a discerning hitter whose launch angle mirrors that of Weaver. He has better than a one-in-three chance to homer.

Pivot: Brad Miller – Phillies (vs Adrian Sampson)

Sampson, a soft-tossing northpaw, has a terminal case of homeritis. Since 2018, no matter where he’s pitched, he’s coughed up oodles of dingers – Texas, Korea, Triple-A, and Chicago. Visiting power-haven Citizen’s Bank Park will not help matters. Miller is a typical core performer who has hit cleanup or fifth in his last three starts. He’s underpriced for that specific mid-lineup role.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Freddie Freeman, Yuli Gurriel, Matt Olson, Pete Alonso, Luke Voit, Brad Miller, Brandon Belt, Jose Abreu, Lewin Diaz

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jose Altuve – Astros (at Jordan Lyles)

There is no shortage of quality and/or affordable second basemen this evening. Trea Turner is just as tempting as Altuve, but we’ve already talked about a couple Dodgers. While not quite matching his peak performance, Altuve has a chance to set a career-high in home runs this month. Lyles is suitably homer prone and struggles to induce whiffs. It’s a lovely situation for the Astros stack.

Pivot: Tommy La Stella – Giants (vs Jake Arrieta)

The Giants are yet another stack we must acknowledge. Arrieta is on the very short list for worst regular starting pitcher in the league. He melts in the face of any resistance. He’s practically a men’s league pitcher at this stage of his career. Like many of the Giants, La Stella is clearly underpriced. With his frequency liners-in-play, he’s among the likeliest to post a multi-hit game. He’ll probably hit leadoff.

Also Consider: Trea Turner, Marcus Semien, Jean Seguar, Ozzie Albies, Brandon Lowe, Javier Baez, Jazz Chisholm, DJ LeMahieu, Enrique Hernandez

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Alex Bregman – Astros (at Lyles)

Bregman remains underpriced relative to his talent and matchup. Of the many more expensive players, most are clearly poor values. As a result, Bregman could be chalky as both part of a common Astros stack and a solid one-off value play. He should have no difficulty with Lyles and friends. The Glob could be tough on his middling power. You always get the most bang for your Bregman at MinuteMaid Park.

Pivot: Gio Urshela – Yankees (at Wells)

The Yankees freshly-minted shortstop has regressed at the plate this season and typically bats eighth in the lineup. He has some positive match qualities against Wells. His aggression and low launch angle won’t hurt him as much as normally. He has a decent chance to deliver power, multiple hits, and/or run production. He’s merely par value so he should go virtually untouched in GPPs.

Also Consider: Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Patrick Wisdom, Adalberto Mondesi, Gio Urshela, Evan Longoria, Yoan Moncada

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Corey Seager – Dodgers (vs Weaver)

While Seager has lost whatever magic turned him into Freddie Freeman last season, he’s still having a whopper of a season while mostly batting cleanup. On the year, he’s hitting .282/.374/.456. A low launch angle cuts sharply into his home run rate, but he’s priced so cheaply that we don’t need a dinger to return healthy value. Use him as part of the stack or a one-off.

Pivot: Gleyber Torres – Yankees (at Wells)

Torres is sliding to second base. He’s still a shortstop for our purposes. Despite a tepid season, his peripherals remain in line with or better than his excellent 2019 performance. We’ve seen such underperformers go on an end-of-season tirade in the past. As a bonus, he’s visiting Camden Yards. While I don’t recommend buying into the Oriole-Slayer narrative, it’s true that he’ll face a clutch of below average pitchers today at a power-friendly venue.

Also Consider: Fernando Tatis Jr., Bo Bichette, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Brandon Crawford, Carlos Correa, Adalberto Mondesi, Thairo Estrada, Didi Gregorius

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Bryce Harper – Phillies (vs Sampson)
Aaron Judge – Yankees (at Wells)
Giancarlo Stanton – Yankees (at Wells)

Regular readers of this column know the drill. When do you use Judge and Stanton? Against fly ball pitchers. Bonus if they’re left-handed. Wells checks all the boxes and the bonus. They have just shy of a 50 percent chance for a dinger. It’s probably the best matchup they’ll have all season. Joey Gallo is an option for contrarian Yankee dingers. Harper is quite pricey, and yet he’s a modest bargain this evening. That’s because he has just shy of a two-in-five chance for a homer versus Sampson.

Pivots: Michael Conforto – Mets (vs Jake Woodford)
Lane Thomas – Nationals (vs Jesus Luzardo)

The Mets offer and off-brand stacking opportunity tonight. CitiField is one of the best pitching venues in the league so DFSers should mostly avoid homer-prone Jake Woodford. A tough stadium doesn’t mean one or more Mets can’t overcome physics. Since August 4, Conforto is batting a Confortian .278/.381/.468. He back to batting third in the lineup versus right-handers.

After appearing almost irreparably broken, Luzardo has spun a trio of consecutively decent outings. The Nationals make for another good matchup, though it should shock nobody if it goes sideways. Thomas is a line drive-centric hitter who lacks particularly desirable DFS traits. Even so, he could easily outperform his price tag.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Mookie Betts, Starling Marte, Giancarlo Stanton, Joey Gallo, Kris Bryant, LaMonte Wade, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley, Jose Siri, Jake Meyers, Chas McCormick, Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Corey Dickerson, Lourdes Gurriel, Jesus Sanchez

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on NBC Sports Edge, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.