Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Wednesday 9/29

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: September 29, 2021, 12:30 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.


Top Play: Max Scherzer – Dodgers (vs Padres)

As we discussed yesterday, picking aces in games that matter can help to avoid late-season short-starts. The 101-win Dodgers are desperately scraping and clawing to surpass the Giants in the NL West. Scherzer is lined up for the Wild Card game whether he makes a full or tuneup start tonight. He held the Padres to just one hit in eight innings on September 12. While we shouldn’t expect a repeat, he does top today’s pitcher pool.

Others with meaningful games include Gerrit Cole at Jose Berrios, Aaron Nola at Max Fried, Frankie Montas at Logan Gilbert, Alex Wood vs the DBacks, and Nate Eovaldi at the Orioles.

Pivot: Taijuan Walker – Mets (vs Marlins)

Walker has pitched poorly in the second half. He was seemingly due for regression, but this is ridiculous. In 12 starts, he’s coughed up a 7.74 ERA backed by a 7.26 FIP – in other words, he doesn’t seem to have been unlucky. Much of his woes can be traced to home runs (3.16 HR/9). The funny thing is his seasonal 4.57 ERA is now in line with preseason expectations. Facing the strikeout prone Marlins could help him to provide considerable value on his bargain basement price tag.

Also Consider: Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, Frankie Montas, Jose Berrios, Max Fried, Nate Eovaldi, Alex Wood, Logan Gilbert, Michael Pineda

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Top Play: Salvador Perez – Royals (vs Zach Plesac)

Perez was knocked out of Monday’s game with an apparent injury, but that didn’t stop him from returning yesterday. He delivered another home run, putting him in sole lead of the home run and RBI crowns. Today he’ll face Plesac, a relatively homer-prone, pitch-to-contact right-hander. Plesac’s eagerness to pitch in the strike zone is a boon to Perez.

Pivot: Max Stassi – Angels (at Taylor Hearn)

Stassi has faded in the second half. He’s showing a little life of late including a couple home runs over his last three games. The important note here is that he’s an above average hitter with a bargain price at a position where most of the core performers struggle to approach a league average batting line. Hearn is exploitable and homer prone (1.55 HR/9).

Also Consider: Will Smith, Buster Posey, Mitch Garver, Carson Kelly


Top Play: Ryan Mountcastle – Orioles (vs Eovaldi)

Most of the usual suspects are fine choices, they just have challenging matchups and hefty price tags. Since this is a slate-wide problem, there’s no need to get too concerned about poor values. It’s something we’ll need to work around today. I’m inclined to go off-script with Mountcastle as a top play because he pairs well with Eovaldi. While he uses all quadrants of the zone, he does occasionally try to work the upper edges where Mountcastle thrives.

Pivot: Bobby Dalbec – Red Sox (at Zac Lowther)

As we’ve discussed a few times, Dalbec is having a wild second half. Since late-July, he’s hitting .296/.379/.690 with 14 home runs, 10 doubles, and two triples in 161 plate appearances. Effectively, he’s one of the Red Sox best hitters at the moment. Lowther is a Triple-A caliber pitcher with a 7.66 ERA in 24.2 innings. He was also dinged for a 6.53 ERA at Triple-A (30.1 IP). Even though the Sox stack failed us yesterday, it once again rates as a top target.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Matt Olson, Jose Abreu, Yuli Gurriel, Paul Goldschmidt, Luke Voit, Pete Alonso, Miguel Sano, Jared Walsh, Trey Mancini


Top Play: Brandon Lowe – Rays (at Luis Garcia)

Like many of the top plays in this slate, Lowe isn’t a sharp value. He’s here simply because he’s the likeliest second baseman to homer this evening. Garcia isn’t especially homer prone on the whole, but he does have some issues with left-handed hitters (1.44 HR/9, 1.43 WHIP). Lowe has a one-in-four chance to homer. The next best options have worse than one-in-five odds for a dinger.

Pivot: Luis Arraez – Twins (vs Casey Mize)

As is often the case, Arraez ranks among the best multi-hit targets in the slate. He matches particularly well against Mize. While we shouldn’t expect any fireworks, the Twins leadoff man rates as one of the best second base values outside of the bargain bin.

Also Consider: Trea Turner, Jose Altuve, Jorge Polanco, Ozzie Albies, Marcus Semien, Jazz Chisholm, Ketel Marte, Javier Baez, Nick Solak


Top Play: Rafael Devers – Red Sox (at Lowther)

Just like yesterday, Devers has an exploitable southpaw to prey upon. The book is to avoid Devers versus lefties, but this is an obvious exception. Lowther couldn’t even handle Triple-A hitters. The Orioles bullpen has just one southpaw (Fernando Abad). Not only should Devers see two or more plate appearances against right-handers tonight, he projects as the top third baseman even without the platoon advantage.

Pivot: Jack Mayfield – Angels (at Taylor Hearn)

Mayfield has more pop than your typical punt. He can have trouble getting to it in games as evidenced by a painfully low 28.5 percent hard contact rate. However, his rate of barreled contact is slightly better than league average, meaning he makes the most of his good contact. As a fly ball hitter with a 109.2-mph maximum exit velocity, there’s long-tail potential for a multi-homer performance. More realistically, Mayfield has about a one-in-five chance for a single dinger.

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Josh Donaldson, Adalberto Mondesi, Alex Bregman, Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Luis Arraez


Top Play: Xander Bogaerts – Red Sox (at Lowther)

Bogaerts ticks all the boxes – multi-hit, run production, and home run potential. However, he’s not tops in any of those categories – Fernando Tatis Jr. is considerably likelier to homer, Amed Rosario is a better play for two-or-more hits, and Jorge Polanco has a very narrow edge in expected run production. Still, Bogaerts offers the best blend of those stats and thus has the most paths to returning value.

Pivot: Nick Gordon – Twins (vs Mize)

If he’s in the lineup, Gordon is in a decent situation for a punt. He’s a ground ball hitter with above average exit velocities. Opposite a fly ball pitcher like Mize, he has elevated odds for multiple line drives. That’s often the first step towards multiple hits. Gordon rarely achieves the launch angles necessary for home runs.

Willy Adames is a far better pivot if his quad is recovered.

Also Consider: Fernando Tatis Jr., Jorge Polanco, Amed Rosario, Carlos Correa, Wander Franco, Tim Anderson, Jake Cronenworth, Willy Adames


Top Plays: Byron Buxton – Twins (vs Mize)
J.D. Martinez –Red Sox (at Lowther)

Buxton has emerged as one of the top hitters in the league when healthy. Of the many premium outfielders in this slate, he’s the most affordable. He also rates as one of the best plays even before considering cost. Teammate Max Kepler is also attractive in this matchup.

The Red Sox stack includes a slew of outfielders. Martinez is the one who always gets extra hype when facing a southpaw. Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe, and even Kyle Schwarber deserve attention too. They project similarly to JDM – a mix of value, ceiling, and floor.

Pivots: Brandon Marsh – Angels (at Hearn)
Willie Calhoun – Rangers (vs Janson Junk)

The leadoff men in the Angels-Rangers game are my favorite bargains/deep-punts of the slate. Marsh has impressive exit velocities. Unfortunately, he suffers from a 35 percent strikeout rate and too many ground balls. Hearn could help with both – he’s not a strikeout pitcher and he induces more flies tan grounders. We don’t have enough data to sense if Marsh has platoon splits. At this price, I’m not concerned about the lefty-on-lefty pairing. Calhoun should be more attractive since he’ll have the platoon advantage. He’s a roughly league average hitter with above average exit velocities. Unlike Marsh, he makes a ton of contact at a healthy launch angle. It’s frankly confusing why he hasn’t succeeded more than we’ve seen.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Schwarber, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Chas McCormick, Jose Siri, Jake Meyers, Nelson Cruz, Franmil Reyes, Max Kepler, Akil Baddoo, Alex Dickerson, Steven Duggar, Michael Conforto