FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball Helper: Monday 9/27/21
In what might be one of the most unusual baseball slates of the year, there are just five games in total on Monday -- three early and two late -- and it's the latter pair that comprise tonight's minuscule main slate. The slate gets going at 8:40 pm ET at Coors Field between Washington and Colorado, and then the second rolls in at 10:10 pm ET between Oakland and Seattle.
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Let's check out the top options on tonight's main slate.
Chris Flexen ($8,600) and Cole Irvin ($8,300): As low-strikeout pitchers, Flexen and Irvin aren't guys we practically ever consider in DFS, but hey, it's a two-game slate, and they aren't at Coors Field, so there's that?
Neither pitcher will blow you away with their peripheral numbers, but at least they balance out their modest punchout production by limiting free passes. Flexen comes in with a 17.0% strikeout rate and 5.5% walk rate, while Irvin has a 16.1% strikeout rate and 5.2% walk rate. In terms of workload, both hurlers are solid bets to reach roughly 90 pitches, with Flexen occasionally getting up to 100.
Ultimately, it's pretty close between these two, but I'll give the slight edge to Irvin due to his more forgiving matchup against Seattle. The Mariners' active roster owns a 93 wRC+ and 24.7% strikeout rate versus southpaws this season. But regardless of who you prefer, it's pretty clear that these hurlers are the best choices on a tough slate.
German Marquez ($9,000) and Josiah Gray ($8,000): While Marquez is the most talented pitcher on the slate -- at least on paper -- he's at Coors Field and has really struggled down the stretch. Dating back to the start of August, he's produced a 4.47 SIERA, which suggests he's been better than his 6.50 ERA over that span, but his strikeout rate has also dropped to just 19.2%. Furthermore, the Rockies have nothing left to play for, so Marquez has seen inconsistent pitch counts lately, further adding risk to this spot.
Against a middling Nationals lineup, I wouldn't completely rule out Marquez -- but it's also hard to have a ton of confidence at this juncture.
In fact, if you want to roll the dice on a boom-or-bust option, it may actually be Gray who's the preferred contrarian hurler. Don't get me wrong, with both a 10.7% walk rate and 54.0% fly-ball rate, the rookie could (should?) absolutely get lit up tonight. But he also has a 24.9% strikeout rate and has logged 100, 94, and 100 pitches over his last three outings, so if you squint hard enough, you can see a path to a ceiling.
Chances are the majority of lineups will be stacking against Gray, so rostering him is one way to go against the grain on this odd slate.
Starting with Gray, those walks and fly balls I mentioned are an issue against both sides of the plate, so you don't need to be picky here. Trevor Story ($3,800) and C.J. Cron ($3,800) are the best power bats, but there's so good value across the lineup, both up top in Raimel Tapia ($2,800) and Brendan Rodgers ($3,100) and at the bottom through Sam Hilliard ($2,700) and Elias Diaz ($3,100). Hilliard strikes out like crazy but also boasts a .238 ISO.
As for Marquez, he's been giving up home runs against both lefties and righties over this rough patch, but he's still recording a high strikeout rate in same-sided matchups. The same can't be said versus lefties. From August onward, he's put up a 4.88 xFIP, 13.5% strikeout rate, and 9.6% walk rate in the split. He's still inducing grounders half the time, but that's about the only thing working in his favor.
Juan Soto ($4,600) will almost certainly be one of the most popular plays on the board, but he's clearly the best guy to take advantage of Marquez's struggles tonight. Josh Bell ($4,000) is the other obvious choice, and then we can find value lefties/switch-hitters in Yadiel Hernandez ($2,900) and Keibert Ruiz ($3,000).
Of the righties, Lane Thomas ($3,500) is performing well out of the leadoff spot, producing a .237 ISO since joining Washington.
The left-handed Irvin is naturally worse versus right-handed batters (4.96 xFIP in the split), so Seattle righties are the primary way to go. Mitch Haniger ($3,700) is the top righty to target.
Flexen has fairly even splits, though he actually has a slightly worse xFIP (4.77) and strikeout rate (16.0%) against righties. But that shouldn't prevent you from also utilizing Matt Olson ($4,100), who obliterates right-handed pitching. Olson owns a career 139 wRC+ and .271 ISO with the platoon advantage.