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MLB DFS Plays: Friday 10/1

Luis Robert

Luis Robert

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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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: Ranger Suarez – Phillies (at Marlins)

Only a few pitchers are working meaningful games tonight, namely Clayton Kershaw, Nestor Cortes, Steven Matz, Eduardo Rodriguez, Anthony DeSclafani, and Marco Gonzales. My concern with each of them is that the importance of a win could lead to aggressive use of the bullpen. With the exception of Cortes, it could go either way. They’re all talented, non-elite veterans (it feels weird saying that about Kershaw in particular).

Which brings us to Suarez. After a complete game gem last week, he’s no longer bargain priced. Perhaps the only pleasant surprise of the 2021 campaign for the Phillies, Suarez has emerged as a steady pitcher. He couples a 60 percent ground ball rate with around a strikeout per inning and few walks. He’s overcome the homeritis he suffered in past season too. The rub is that he lacks a notable breaking ball. His success, in fact, can be linked to nearly dropping the slider from his repertoire. Facing the Marlins, he projects for over six innings and six strikeouts. He’s still affordably priced.

Pivot: Dakota Hudson – Cardinals (vs Cubs)

Hudson is a sort of lesser version of Suarez in cheaper packaging. He too induces a hefty ground ball rate albeit with fewer strikeouts. He lets his defense do the work. The Cardinals undoubtedly would like to know what, if any, role he should serve on the playoff roster. He’s green lit for about 70 to 80 pitches tonight in a game that otherwise only matters as a tuneup. While the Cubs are strikeout prone, they also have a couple guys who can really damage a pitcher like Hudson. A word of warning: Hudson faced the Cubs last week. Consecutive outings against the same team are associated with diminished performance.

Also Consider: Sandy Alcantara, Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn, Joe Musgrove, Steven Matz, Huascar Ynoa, Eduardo Rodriguez, Marco Gonzales, Jon Gray, Wily Peralta

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Top Play: Mitch Garver – Twins (at Jon Heasley)

Among catchers, Garver offers the best combination of projection and price. Despite a batting profile given to all-or-nothing outcomes, he’s rarely zeroed out this season – especially if you overlook his shaky April. Since a multi-homer game on April 28, he’s batting .293/.410/.593 with 11 home runs and 12 doubles in 183 plate appearances. Health has been a problem, hence the low PA total. However, when he’s on the field, he’s proven to be quite effective. He usually hits third or fourth; a bonus for catchers.

Pivot: Zack Collins – White Sox (vs Wily Peralta)

It’s possible I’ll lose this guess in which case consider trying Elias Diaz in Arizona as your pivot. The White Sox have given Yasmani Grandal a smattering of rest as the season closes out. I’m guessing the Sox opt to use Grandal as the DH tonight, start him as the catcher tomorrow, and then rest him entirely on Sunday. That would put Collins in line for a start. If he plays, he’s one of the sharpest bargains in the slate. While he only has four home runs in 229 plate appearances this season, he projects for far more consistent power output – somewhere on the order of 30 home runs per 600 plate appearances. He matches superbly against a pitch-to-contact ground ball pitcher like Peralta.

Also Consider: Daulton Varsho, Will Smith, Yasmani Grandal, Salvador Perez, Mike Zunino, Alejandro Kirk, Elias Diaz, Ryan Jeffers


Top Play: Pete Alonso – Mets (at Ynoa)

This recommendation is a day late to really have teeth. Alonso is simply one of the likeliest hitters to homer on any given day. With his price so affordable, he’s a solid value as either a one-off or part of a Mets stack. Ynoa isn’t a pushover by any means, but it’s also true that his strengths match those of Alonso. In other words, Alonso is going to see mashable pitches in his nitro zone. Ynoa has been a revelation for the Braves, but he has allowed 1.36 HR/9.

Pivot: Bobby Dalbec – Red Sox (at Josh Rogers)

We’ve seen this recommendation a few times recently. Dalbec is swinging a hot stick over the last couple months, salvaging what was shaping up to be a miserable first full season. Now he legitimately looks like a part of the Red Sox future plans. He matches well against Rogers (who doesn’t?) and counts as one of the best bargains at a loaded position.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Paul Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu, Yuli Gurriel, Ryan Mountcastle, Trey Mancini, Ty France, Miguel Sano


Top Play: Javier Baez – Mets (at Ynoa)

In a full slate like today, a top play usually has a certain feel of inevitability. Baez, alternatively, is a random number generator. I like that against Ynoa, a pitcher who aggressively attacks the zone with plus stuff and suspect command. Most days, he falls into the “effectively wild” bin. There’s something pure about matching their skill sets. While I’m not sure that means Baez is favored for quality outcomes, I am certain he’s a better dollar-for-dollar value than other top play candidates like Trea Turner and Marcus Semien.

Pivot: Luis Arraez – Twins (at Jon Heasley)

Arraez’s value proposition is one that is frequently eschewed by GPPers – namely, we’re playing for multiple hits. Heasley is somebody who can be expected to give up a multitude of hard, line drive contact. Kauffman Stadium also buffs non-home run types of hits, especially singles for left-handed hitters. As such, Arraez is on the shortlist for likeliest to deliver two-or-more hits.

Also Consider: Trea Turner, Jose Altuve, Marcus Semien, Ozzie Albies, Ketel Marte, Jorge Polanco, Abraham Toro, Whit Merrifield, Nick Solak


Top Play: Josh Donaldson – Twins (at Heasley)

Donaldson never quite ignited this season. He sizzled and sparked at times this season as evidenced by his .248/.351/.472 batting line. It’s right in line with expectations. Heasley is hit and homer prone. The Twins cleanup man is in a great spot to contribute home runs, run production, and/or multiple hits.

Pivot: Evan Longoria – Giants (vs Musgrove)

The book on Longoria is to use him against left-handed pitchers. He has wild platoon splits so why not? That doesn’t mean we have to throw him away against right-handers, even talented ones like Musgrove. Longoria has an above average batting line against northpaws backed by the best Statcast data of his career (i.e. since 2015 when it was originally collected). He typically hits between fifth and seventh versus northpaws.

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Austin Riley, Justin Turner, Alex Bregman, Josh Rojas, Luis Arraez, Yoan Moncada, Yandy Diaz


Top Play: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (at DeSclafani)

Tatis Jr. hasn’t been the same since his latest stint on the injured list, and it’s finally reflected in his price tag. Incidentally, that’s why he’s the top play. Tatis is now affordable enough to chase his glowing upside without fretting about whether or not he’s too banged up to return value. Six shortstops are more expensive and none figure to outperform him.

Pivot: Jake Cronenworth – Padres (at DeSclafani)

To be clear, I don’t think it’s particularly sensible to attack DeSclafani at Oracle Park. I figure he’ll probably pitch well, and he’s backed by reasonably decent relievers. Cronenworth comes up as the best pivot because he’s cheap, effective, and overshadowed by Tatis Jr. His rostership should be in the low-single-digits.

Also Consider: Xander Bogaerts, Bo Bichette, Wander Franco, Tim Anderson, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Jorge Polanco, Willy Adames


Top Plays: Byron Buxton – Twins (at Heasley)
Luis Robert – White Sox (vs Peralta)
J.D. Martinez – Red Sox (at Rogers)

There’s no shortage of top outfielders. We’ve recently seen this same stack of Red Sox versus an exploitable southpaw. Rogers might be the worst one yet. The Nationals bullpen is fodder. Martinez stands out as the most popular, but I go back and forth between preferring him and Hunter Renfroe. Don’t leave out Enrique Hernandez if stacking.

Buxton remains underpriced relative to his talent. There are roughly 20 more expensive outfielders today although only a handful can be argued to out-project Buxton. Personally, I’m eager to see him against a pitch-to-contact guy who doesn’t limit hard contact.

Robert is one of the only guys I’m comfortable taking over Buxton. You’ll have to pay a large premium for only a modest benefit. Peralta is another pitch-to-contact guy. Robert is a line drive machine who could seriously punish the Tigers pitching staff. He’s also locked in for what that’s worth. I’m less keen about Robert’s outfielding teammates. I’d play this as a one-off.

Pivots: Michael Conforto – Mets (at Ynoa)
Kole Calhoun – DBack (vs Gray)

Conforto is too talented for his deep bargain price tag, even in a moderately challenging matchup amid a lost season. He’s batting .243/.348/.446 against right-handers, a perfectly respectable batting line. He’s also hit decently in the second half: .247/.342/.433 overall. The Braves bullpen is loaded with left-handers so we’ll want to see Conforto strike early.

Calhoun has the launch angles and sweeping swing necessary to lift Gray’s bevy of sinkers and low curves. He has around a one-in-five shot to homer which, given his near-minimum price tag, is a pretty snazzy value. He typically bats cleanup when he starts.

Also Consider: Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, Eloy Jimenez, Nelson Cruz, Randy Arozarena, Manuel Margot, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Soto, Willie Calhoun, Kyle Isbel, Brandon Marsh