Late season DFS baseball isn’t quite the “who the heck is that” insanity that late season DFS basketball is (or say, week 17 fantasy football is), but the same concepts still apply, albeit to a much lesser degree. So for those still playing cash games at this point in the season – do be weary of veterans on teams that have that have nothing to play for – both the teams that were eliminated a long time ago, and also teams that have their playoff spots locked up. In the case of teams with their playoff spots locked up (and nothing to play for except seeding) it’s doubtful they’ll pull hitters mid-game, but there’s always a chance they pull the starting pitcher early with an eye towards the playoffs. Tread carefully. And in the case of teams that have long been eliminated, there’s an increased chance in any given game that the veterans, both the starting pitcher and the hitters, are pulled mid-game. Scour social media to see if the manager or the beat reporters have said anything, and check game logs to see if the manager’s already been doing that with his eliminated team. Tread very carefully. You don’t have to go so far as to only roster Rays, Indians and Athletics, but when possible, err on the side of the teams still playing for something.

On to the picks…

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PITCHERS

Jacob deGrom, P: $11,900 – The only reason why you wouldn’t want to play deGrom is the Marlins are still a little frisky and tough to strikeout. But deGrom doesn’t care for your lack of strikeoutsm and the Marlins still can’t hit, so he’s the top option today.

Shane Bieber, P: $11,500 – Due to the matchup, this is much closer than it should be. The White Sox are awful, though not as bad as the Marlins and strike out vs righties. Plus, deGrom gets to face the pitcher while Bieber gets to face a terrible hitter. If you really need the $400, Bieber is definitely a fine cash option, but I’d try to go deGrom first.

HITTERS

Cheap Nats Players Who Are In The Lineup, Which Will Be All of Them – The Nats clinched last night, so we should be getting some rancid lineup that is still better than the Tigers or Orioles. If they view home field advantage in the Wild Card game as something worth playing for, we’ll see a relatively normal lineup.  I’d stick with the values in Howie Kendrick ($2,700, .384 wOBA and .197 ISO) and Brian Dozier ($2,400, .316 wOBA and .140 ISO).

Ben Zobrist, 2B: 2,600 – Zobrist is cheap and Dario Agrazal can’t get any swings and misses vs lefties (15% strikeouts). Zobrist (.341 wOBA and .133 ISO) is still a capable hitter and again, he’s cheap at 2B, when you need to afford some expensive bats and expensive pitchers.

Toronto Blue JaysGabriel Ynoa is a strike thrower (5.2% walks) who struggles to get strikeouts (13.4%). His skill is getting truckloads of groundballs vs righties (54.5%) while vs lefties he allows a ton of fly balls (38.3%). At the top of the lineup, Vladimir Guerrero Jr is the only player who hits a lot of ground balls (46.7%) and I’d stick to GPPs with him. For cash game players, Billy McKinney ($2,200, .317 wOBA and .205 ISO) is the obvious value play and Cavan Biggio ($3,800, .358 wOBA and .231 ISO) is cash viable, but is a touch expensive. The righties are GPP plays only and I’d stick with Randal Grichuk ($3,100, .246 ISO and 36.8% groundballs) since he can at least get the ball in the air.

Boston Red Sox – In what’s been a disappointing year for the Red Sox, but we’re still out here plugging away, playing Red Sox. In what should be the best offensive game of the day, the Red Sox righties are the top plays since it’s hot in Texas and Kolby Allard hasn’t been good so far, with an inability to get strikeouts (14.6%), and an inability to throw strikes (9.2% walks) and an average ability to get groundballs (43.5%). Mookie Betts ($4,300, .412 wOBA and .257 ISO) and J.D. Martinez ($4,300, .477 wOBA and .371 ISO) are the clear top plays. Sam Travis ($2,300, .284 wOBA and .175 ISO) is an elite value play given the offensive environment. Xander Bogaerts (.360 wOBA and .197 ISO) is a solid play, but not one that I’m rushing to stuff into lineups. Everyone else is a GPP play in an elite offensive environment.

Texas Rangers – Texas has the same environment as the Red Sox, only instead of a good offense facing a not so good pitcher, they face an average pitcher and have a way worse offense. The advantage of having a worse offense but still having good players is Texas right now is very cheap. Most of their players are $3,200 or less and it’s a good night to target the top of the lineup. Shin-Soo Choo ($2,900, .378 wOBA and .208 ISO) is a good leadoff hitter for cheap, and Porcello’s inability to get groundballs vs lefties (32.6%) is a boon to Choo’s groundball ways. Willie Calhoun ($3,000, .346 wOBA and .216 ISO) has hit everywhere he’s gone and is a nice price. Rougned Odor (.305 wOBA and .212 ISO) is a solid play at $2,900 at 2B. Ronald Guzman (.335 wOBA and .209 ISO) and Danny Santana (.344 wOBA and .236 ISO) are more GPP plays unless they hit towards the top of the lineup.

Jordan Luplow, OF: $2,700 & Jose Ramirez, 3B: $3,500 – Ross Detwiler gets a ton of groundballs (53.4%) and he does it vs righties (53.2%) and lefties (53.7%). Cleveland has a bunch of guys who hit a lot of groundballs so this screams GPP spot for the most part, since he could leave a few up and Lindor (.385 wOBA, .220 ISO and 49% groundballs) could easily hit a few out, but I wouldn’t bet on it either. Luplow (.429 wOBA, .348 ISO and 33.9% groundballs) and Ramirez (.334 wOBA, .185 ISO and 33.8% groundballs) are the only Cleveland players who get the ball in the air consistently and thus would be the priorities in cash games.

 I’m Only Happy When It Rains

The weather report is good for us and there shouldn’t be any rain.

Doing Lines In Vegas

As of this writing, the Nationals are -160 despite the fact that all the key veterans are most likely going to be too hungover to play and won’t be in the lineup. As referenced earlier, the lineup is likely to be the backups and random September call-ups. It’ll still be better than the Tigers or the Orioles, obviously, but it won’t be the type of lineup that should be -160 versus the Phillies (unless the Phillies decide to get equally drunk – even if it’s it’s a sad or angry drunk as opposed to celebratory drunk – and thus will throw out their own lineup of sadness). I think the Phillies play out the string with close to normal lineups, so grab the Phillies at +147 before the lineups are announced, because once people see the Nationals lineup the lines will likely change.