DFS Pitching Preview: September 28, 2022

Our pitching in MLB DFS isn’t just a source of fantasy points. The price tags on pitchers make it so they dictate the freedoms and restrictions of building our lineups. Before reading this article, it’s highly suggested that you read my article, “DFS Pitching Primer,” so the concepts discussed here make more sense.

That we’re not selecting the best players. We’re constructing the lineups which carry the most leverage without sacrificing many projected fantasy points.

With the season winding down, we have to be very careful of pitch counts. Teams playing for nothing don’t have to stretch a young arm. Teams locked into the postseason need to save their horses in and out of the rotation. But we can be secure in teams trying to play for something and there is still goo value, despite low counts, on the slate.

We’re gonna have a really tight pitcher pool today with so many pitchers playing for nothing at high prices.

ACE — Nola

Gerrit Cole is coming off of a beer and champagne party after clinching he NL East last night, while Zac Gallen and Julio Urias are overpriced a bit. The Phillies have a ton for which to toplay, so Aaron Nola with the absolute nut strikeout matchup in the Cubs with the wind howling in at Wrigley is a ceiling spot. We could see a complete game that doesn’t have to be a shutout, the Phillies need this win so badly.

This is the highest ceiling pitch count on the board, according to THE BAT, in the best strikeout matchup on the board with cool, favorably windy conditions. Nola’s 2.88 SIERA, 10.20 K/9, 1.36 BB/9, and 0.84 HR/9 — oh, by the way — makes him not only a great pitcher, regardless of these variables, but also a prime Cy Young Award candidate.

Nola can bury anyone. Here, he can embarrass the Cubs, yes. He’ll be high-owned, but the data we’re seeing now says he’ll be under-owned.

PIVOTS — Verlander and Woodruff

Justin Verlander is pitching for the Cy Young in the AL. Not sure what that means to him, but you can bet your ass that he and Dusty Baker have discussed Verlander’s leash. THE BAT projects him over 100 pitches and the Diamondbacks are a favorable matchup.

The only problem with the Diamondbacks is that they’re only an average strikeout matchup and Verlander is only at 9.22 K/9 this season. But this is where that pitch count is so crucial. Verlander only has 1.49 BB/9, so those pitches should go a long way deep into the game, giving up more opportunities to compile strikeouts.

He’s really expensive, so it shouldn’t be surprising if he goes way underowned.

Brandon Woodruff has had some blowup games, but his 3.11 SIERA and 11.02 K/9 are still elite. The matchup stinks because the Cardinals are with the Astros and Guardians as one of the worst strikeout matchups in baseball; and the Cards pack some punch, while Woodruff can blow up.

But the reasons to not play Woodruff are the reasons why no one’s gonna play him and that’s reason enough to not forget that he’s not bad; he’s just polarizing. Enough so that he can mow down any lineup for clean innings and double-digit striekouts.

SP2 — Quintana and Wesneski

Jose Quintana isn’t bad anymore. His 3.03 ERA maskes his 4.02 SIERA, but 4.02 is fine against an average Brewers bunch, which strikes out a ton against left=handed pitching. The Brewers are ery dependent on power and Quintana has only allowed 0.46 HR/9. He can compile a lot of clean innings at a cheap price tag and have a ceiling strike out game around a K-per-inning.

But if I can afford it, I’m going up to Hayden Wesneski. I can neither spell nor pronounce his name, but he has decent strikeout stuff and the Phillies are a good strikeout matchup. Then, there’s that wind. Oh, that Wrigley wind. Blowing in at ten mph at first pitch. That wind should neutralize the Phillies primary way of beating just about anyone: home runs.

Alex Sonty is a professional DFS and poker player, while contributing to RotoGrinders and FanGraphs, as well as serving as a part-time political science professor in Chicago, IL. He’s been playing fantasy sports since 1996 and entered the DFS realm in 2014, currently playing high-stakes MLB and NFL cash games and GPPs. He is a Chicago Tribune and SB Nation alum, while holding a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.

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