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MLB DFS Plays: Saturday 9/21

Brad Johnson

This article will outline the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We will 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.

We have a nine-game slate this evening.

PITCHER

Sean ManaeaOakland Athletics (vs Rangers)

Manaea isn’t the top-projected pitcher in the slate – that honor belongs to Walker Buehler. However, there’s modest cause to worry about the duration of Buehler’s outing. The Dodgers don’t need to wear out their ace. He also costs a boatload on DFS platforms. By comparison, Manaea is relatively inexpensive.

In three starts since returning from the injured list, he’s posted unusually high strikeout (10.50 K/9) and swinging strike (13.6% SwStr%) rates. He’s also benefited from some batted ball fortune (.139 BABIP) en route to a tiny 0.50 ERA. The biggest noticeable change is a sharp increase in slider usage at the expense of his changeup. The Rangers have the second highest strikeout rate against left-handed pitchers.

Also Consider: Walker Buehler, Jose Berrios, Max Fried, Cal Quantrill (value)

CATCHER / FIRST BASE

Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves (vs Johnny Cueto)

Cueto has pitched well since returning from the injured list, but can he tame the Atlanta offense? They will be his toughest challenge to date. Freeman is a multi-talented DFS weapon, offering a consistently high floor and contest-busting ceiling. His all-fields, line drive-oriented approach and balanced mechanics are an effective counter for Cueto’s funky deliveries.

Also Consider: J.T. Realmuto (value), Mitch Garver, Sean Murphy (value), Cody Bellinger, Jay Bruce (value), Joc Pederson (value), Rhys Hoskins

SECOND BASE

Gavin LuxLos Angeles Dodgers (vs Chi Chi Gonzalez)

A full Dodgers stack looks mighty attractive tonight opposite one of the very worst pitchers in the majors. Gonzalez is homer prone (1.73 HR/9), rarely induces strikeouts (5.54 K/9), and struggles with command (5.19 BB/9). His 6.23 ERA is earned in every sense of the word. Lux has performed merely passably through his first 54 plate appearances. However, as I noted yesterday, his batted ball profile and underlying traits suggest a big breakout is on the horizon. He projects as a top-three second baseman despite a bargain bin price tag.

Under ordinary conditions, Max Muncy would be the player listed here, but he left Friday night’s game with quad soreness. He’ll probably sit.

Also Consider: Mike Moustakas, Jose Altuve, Mauricio Dubon (value)

THIRD BASE

Matt Chapman – Oakland Athletics (vs Brock Burke)

Chapman is both the top third baseman and one of the best value plays in the slate. His role as the Athletics second or third hitter is useful, but it’s a matchup against Burke which really sets Chapman apart. The Rangers southpaw is a ground ball pitcher who lacks any sort of swing-and-miss capability (4.85 K/9). He’s also struggled with home runs in a small sample (2.08 HR/9). Chapman is a low-ball masher and should enjoy lifting bad sinking fastballs into the deepest regions of the outfield.

Also Consider: Mike Moustakas, Alex Bregman, Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager, Renato Nunez (value)

SHORTSTOP

Marcus Semien – Oakland Athletics (vs Brock Burke)

If you’re going in on Chapman, you might as well double down with Semien too. Unlike Chapman, Semien is a true platoon masher. Over his career, he’s shown significantly better plate discipline and contact skills against southpaws. There are a couple downsides to using the Athletics’ leadoff man. Unlike Chapman, he’s not deeply discounted. Additionally, he makes a lot of pulled, ground ball contact which feeds into Burke’s strengths. In all probability, Burke will be chased by the fifth inning. The Rangers bullpen is volatile.

Also Consider: Francisco Lindor, Alex Bregman, Marcus Semien, Mauricio Dubon (value), Corey Seager, Jorge Polanco

OUTFIELD

Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers (vs Chi Chi Gonzalez)

If you’re stacking Lux and the Dodgers, you ought to roster their most elite producer. Bellinger is among the likeliest to homer tonight with a better than one-in-three chance to send one (or more) over the wall. Not only is Gonzalez an exploitable opponent, the Rockies bullpen is downright hideous. Dodgers Stadium tends to be fairly homer happy at this time of year.

Josh Rojas – Arizona Diamondbacks (at Cal Quantrill)

If you want to roster multiple of the names listed above, you’ll need to slot in a few deep bargains. Rojas is one such option. He’s perhaps the best dollar-for-dollar value in the entire slate. He’s yet to hit for much power since reaching the majors despite making plenty of hard contact. Strikeouts have also been an unexpected issue in the majors. He’s posted a 26.1 percent strikeout rate in 119 plate appearances compared to a sub-15 percent rate in the minors. Quantrill is a Triple-A quality pitcher which should help Rojas to deliver punchier results.

Also Consider: Nelson Cruz, Ronald Acuna, Bryce Harper, Yordan Alvarez, Jay Bruce, Eddie Rosario, Franmil Reyes (value), Trent Grisham (value), Jaylin Davis (value)