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MLB DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Pitchers: Arenado & Cardinals in Smash Spot vs Homer-Happy Josiah Gray (September 8)

Eric MacPherson

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MLB DFS Picks, Top Stacks & Pitchers: Arenado & Cardinals in Smash Spot vs Homer-Happy Josiah Gray (September 8)

Thursday Sept. 8, is a light day with the eyes of most sports fans being drawn towards NFL Thursday Night Football. There are a pair of three-game slates with the afternoon action getting under way at 1:15 p.m. ET followed by the featured slate with a 6:45 p.m. ET first pitch. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks today for pitchers and stacks for DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.


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DraftKings & FanDuel MLB DFS Picks Today (9/8)

Main Slate: Chicago White Sox at LHP JP Sears — 4.1 implied runs

Tonight, Chicago has a couple of hitters that look promising in the Stokastic Top Batters Tool with a matchup against young lefty J.P. Sears. Sears has been a solid pitcher this season and was one of the key players acquired from the Yankees in the Frankie Montas deal. The only knock against him is that he does not get many strikeouts as evidenced by his 5.7 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate across 49.1 career frames. So while this is far from a gimme matchup, Jose Abreu, Luis Robert and A.J. Pollock do their best work when they hold the platoon advantage.

Early Slate: St. Louis Cardinals vs. RHP Josiah Gray — 5.1 implied runs

This afternoon St. Louis will be hosting Josiah Gray, who leads the league with 34 home runs allowed, which is six more than the next-closest pitcher in Jose Berrios. Gray has allowed long balls in 11 straight starts and he has nine multi-home run games this season. While his 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings is nice, it cannot cover up the 4.0 walks and 2.38 home runs per nine innings. These ratios are just a continuation of his career arc and not anything new. Sorry Nationals fans.

Over the last two seasons, Gray has allowed a .244 ISO to same-handed batsmen, while lefties have tattooed the ball with a .322 ISO. Pretty much anyone facing the 24-year-old erstwhile ace looks like Aaron Judge. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado lead the way as always, with a surging Lars Nootbar, promising rookies Nolan Gorman and Brendan Donovan, along with veteran Corey Dickerson being excellent options to mix and match in stacks. Tyler O’Neill has slid down to the bottom third of the order, though he too is a fantastic play, particularly on DraftKings where his lofty $5,800 salary should keep the field looking elsewhere, even when stacking the Redbirds.

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Main Slate Target: RHP Dylan Cease at Oakland Athletics — 3.1 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,600 | FanDuel $10,800

Dylan Cease is coming off a complete game shutout at the expense of Minnesota and in the preceding start he held Arizona to just two home runs on a pair of solo shots across eight innings. Currently, the 26-year-old ranks second with a 2.13 ERA and his 197 strikeouts are the fifth most in the league. Currently, he is a tick behind Justin Verlander in the futures market for the 2022 American League Cy Young Award.

Oakland continues to disappoint and they were limited to just three runs on Wednesday courtesy of rookie Spencer Strider and the Atlanta bullpen. Detroit is the only team to have produced less runs than the Athletics who have been a bottom-five squad against right-handed pitching this year. Even if we include yesterday’s 10-9 loss to Atlanta, the Athletics have scored more than five runs only three times in their last 20 games.

Early Slate Target: RHP Corbin Burnes vs. San Francisco Giants — 2.9 implied runs

  • DFS Salary: DraftKings $9,700 | FanDuel $9,800

This afternoon the “safest” pitching option will be Corbin Burnes taking on San Francisco. Of course it is not much of a stretch to recommend the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, though he is light years ahead of veteran Adam Wainwright who has a fine matchup himself against the visiting Nationals.

While he is not going to win back-to-back pitching awards, Burnes still has been phenomenal with his 3.02 ERA and 1.01 WHIP both being top 15 marks and he is the third pitcher this season to notch at least 200 strikeouts. The Giants lineup has been stumbling down the stretch with Brandon Belt out for the remainder of the season, Evan Longoria missing significant time due to a hamstring issue and even Brandon Crawford finally looking like a player in his mid-30s. Over the last 14 games, San Francisco is 5-9 while plating more than five runners only twice.

Burnes has struggled over his last four starts allowing a 7.29 ERA, though his 5.06 FIP indicates he has been somewhat unlucky. On a positive note, he still has almost one strikeout per inning in this stretch and two of these tilts were against the Dodgers. Look to Burnes in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader and if for some reason Milwaukee elects to go with Freddie Peralta in the early contest, he would become co-top options with Wainwright.


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Additional Opportunities

Sonny Gray has an early line of 4.5 strikeouts which seems like a very achievable target with the Stokastic projections forecasting 5.4 strikeouts to the veteran pitcher. New York will be without Anthony Rizzo and Andrew Benintendi who are both on the injured reserve as well as Josh Donaldson who is on paternity leave. Giancarlo Stanton (foot) and D.J. LeMahieu  (toe) both skipped the second leg of Wednesday’s doubleheader for injury management. While that latter duo is expected to play, that still leaves prominent roles for rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, journeyman Ronald Guzman and the dynamic defensive duo of Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks who are better with their gloves than their bats.

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Other Pitching Options

  1. RHP Adam Wainwright vs. Washington Nationals (Early)
  2. RHP Sandy Alcantara at Philadelphia Phillies (Main)
  3. RHP Sonny Gray at New York Yankees (Main)

Other Hitting Options

  1. Hunter Renfroe vs. LHP Scott Alexander (Early)
  2. Gary Sanchez at LHP Nestor Cortes (Main)
  3. Aaron Judge vs. RHP Sonny Gray (Main)

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Final MLB DFS Thoughts & MLB Weather Notes

There are no weather issues that should cause any concern for Thursday’s pair of short slates.

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Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].


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