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Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Sunday 9/20

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: September 21, 2020, 10:21 am ET

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.

As is often the case on Sunday, the three platforms have different slates. Yahoo uses just about everything with 14 games available. DraftKings includes eight games starting 2:10pm ET and early. This includes the first half of the Nationals-Marlins doubleheader. FanDuel leaves out the doubleheader but adds in a couple games from the 3:00pm hour – most notably the Dodgers at Coors Field.

HITTING STACKS

Dodgers at Rockies Tony Gonsolin is visiting Antonio Senzatela, a pairing which seems capable of keeping the Coors Field partying under control. Gonsolin is in the midst of a breakout season. If there’s a drawback, it’s that he allows a lot of balls in play (7.57 K/9, 1.51 BB/9). Senzatela has the same issue, but it hasn’t stopped him from posting a career year. He’s coming off a complete game, one-run victory at home. The Dodgers account for his worst start this season.

Astros vs Madison Bumgarner – The former ace is running on fumes. He’s lost three mph on his fastball, and his formerly ground ball-oriented approach has evaporated. It’s clear he’s trying to counter the prevalence of low-pitch mashers by elevating the ball, but it’s not working. He has a luck neutral 8.53 ERA.

Braves at Mets – The Mets have the top offense in the league by batting average, on base percentage, and wRC+ (a measure of offensive quality compared to league average). They’re sixth-best in slugging percentage. All of which is to say they’ll be a challenge for Kyle Wright. Across the aisle, Rick Porcello is interesting in that he either comes out flat or else he’ll probably have a decent outing. If you stack Braves, root for an early lead.

PITCHER

Max Scherzer – Nationals (at Marlins) – Yahoo: $N/A, DK: $10700, FD: $N/A
Sandy Alcantara – Marlins (vs Nationals) – Yahoo: $N/A, DK: $7000, FD: $N/A

Although Scherzer and Alcantara are only available on DraftKings, the situation is unusual enough to discuss at length. As the first half of a seven-inning doubleheader, there’s a plausible chance both pitchers will complete their starts. Their offenses rank 16th and 17th in the league, and the Marlins have a strikeout problem. Scherzer will absolutely fill the role of chalk, but he also projects to comfortably lead the slate in production. Alcantara is a savvy pivot, one which should come with a more reasonable rostership.

The Yahoo crowd can delve into some premium alternatives (the last three listed below) while FanDuelers will have to make due with slim pickings.

Also Consider: Deivi Garcia, Brad Keller, Ryan Yarbrough, Jose Urquidy, Dinelson Lamet, Yu Darvish, Jack Flaherty

CATCHER

Salvador Perez – Royals (at Josh Lindblom) – Yahoo: $21, DK: $4900, FD: $3300

As always, this pick is about home runs. No catcher is likelier to deliver a big fly. Perez is also delivering a shocking quantity of hits. A closer examination reveals a heaping helping of good fortune (.400 BABIP, .287 career BABIP). Perez has lowered his launch angle slightly which explains a small sliver of the improved BABIP. It’s also just as likely that we’re seeing some compounding small sample effects. The bottom line is he has a roughly one-in-five chance to escape the yard. Anything else is bonus. Our Rotoworld Player Projections consider him to be the best catcher available on all three platforms (Will Smith at Coors Field is preferred by a thin margin).

Also Consider: Will Smith, Yasmani Grandal, Tyler Stephenson, Daulton Varsho

FIRST BASE

Pete Alonso – Mets (vs Kyle Wright) – Yahoo: $17, DK: $4500, FD: $3500

Most people will point to Alonso’s .210/.308/.431 batting line and declare “something is wrong!” I remain unconvinced. His most telling peripherals – batted ball profile and plate discipline – are nearly unchanged from last season. He is making less consistent hard contact. If we were to normalize his .222 BABIP, Alonso would be performing right around his preseason projection. Wright allows a lot of hard, low angle contact. That’s an ideal matchup for a guy with lift in his swing like Alonso.

Of course, if you have the cash, dropping 12 percent of your budget on Freddie Freeman is a “safer” play. You’ll just have to work out the opportunity cost.

Also Consider: Jose Abreu, Luke Voit, Freddie Freeman, Carlos Santana, Christian Walker (value), Daniel Murphy (value)

SECOND BASE

Nick Madrigal – White Sox (at Michael Lorenzen) – Yahoo: $9, DK: $3200, FD: $2500

With the possible exception of Albies (if he’s moved up to the top of the lineup), the quality second basemen today offer a poor value proposition. They’re mostly overpriced or low-ceilinged. In such an environment, I usually seek to save money for more impactful upgrades. I’d rather use Madrigal and Freeman with some money leftover than Hiura and Alonso.

Madrigal may lack actionable power, but he does end around 90 percent of his plate appearances with a ball in play. This rarely yields impressive point totals, especially since he usually bats ninth. However, there’s a good chance you’ll get something with upside for a pleasant surprise.

Also Consider: Ozzie Albies, Mike Brosseau, Jose Altuve, DJ LeMahieu, Josh Rojas (value), Gavin Lux, Garrett Hampson (value), Mike Moustakas

THIRD BASE

Alec Bohm – Phillies (vs Taijuan Walker) – Yahoo: $15, DK: $N/A, FD: $2900

Bohm is a solid value proposition at a position dominated by big names. He’s been one of my favorite DFS plays in recent weeks because he combines Rendon-like hitting ability with bargain pricing. Now that Rhys Hoskins is sidelined, he even has a valuable mid-lineup role. He figures to pile up run production against a thin Blue Jays pitching staff.

Yahoo has already swapped Bohm over to first base only.

Also Consider: Nolan Arenado, Justin Turner, Edwin Rios, Alex Bregman, Eugenio Suarez

SHORTSTOP

Gleyber Torres – Yankees (at Tanner Houck) – Yahoo: $15, DK: $4300, FD: $3200

I was looking forward to using Torres as a high-quality pivot yesterday. Alas, the Yankees gave him an off day. Since returning from injury, Torres is hitting .314/.400/.629 (only 40 plate appearances) while batting fifth for the Yankees. Unlike some Red Sox pitchers, Houck isn’t a totally lost cause. However, he should be expected to throw only around three or four innings. The Boston bullpen is eminently exploitable.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, Francisco Lindor, Tim Anderson, Adalberto Mondesi

OUTFIELD

George Springer – Astros (vs Madison Bumgarner) – Yahoo: $23, DK: $4700, FD: $3700

The Astros leadoff man is quietly having another excellent season. He’s batting .241/.337/.488 with 11 home runs in 195 plate appearances. Only a .234 BABIP is holding him back. He’s an excellent play for both power and run production against a lost opponent. Not only is Bumgarner scuffling, the Diamondbacks bullpen is aimless.

Giancarlo Stanton – Yankees (at Tanner Houck) – Yahoo: $16, DK: $4400, FD: $4100

When he’s able to take the field, Stanton is having a fantastic season. He rested yesterday. The plan is for him to play the next three games. Among outfielders only the Coors Field contingent and Springer are more likely to homer today. With Stanton, a multi-homer barrage is always on the table too.

Also Consider: Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, Charlie Blackmon, Raimel Tapia, Kevin Pillar, Nick Castellanos, Aristides Aquino (value), Aaron Hicks, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jordan Luplow (value), Nick Senzel,

Brad Johnson

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