Look for our fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings, hitter upgrades and downgrades daily to help you make smart fantasy baseball lineup decisions and for MLB betting tips. MLB game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is geared towards ESPN 10-team leagues with standard scoring.
Note: This file has been updated with any overnight pitching changes or weather-related game postponements, along with the addition of the latest MLB game odds as of the indicated time of publication.
What you need to know for Monday's MLB Games
By Todd Zola
With only seven games on the docket, over half of the league is off on Monday. Those donning the uniform will all play under the lights, with the festivities beginning at 7:05 PM in Camden Yards. A couple of months ago, this would have seemed outrageous, but the meeting between the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles begins a series with significant AL wild card implications. Yusei Kikuchi (35% rostered in ESPN leagues) gets the nod for the visitors while Jordan Lyles (8%) will answer the call for the hosts. Kikuchi's season has been uneven, though he appears to be on the upswing with 10 punchouts and only two free passes issued over his last nine innings. He's in play as a spot starter. After surrendering a league-high 38 homers in 180 frames last season, Lyles is pacing to shave 15 long balls off that total, but he's still too risky to trust against the potent Blue Jays lineup.
The slate's top streaming option is Keegan Thompson as the Chicago Cubs entertain the new look Washington Nationals. Thompson entered August with a 2.52 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 43 punchouts over his previous 39 1/3 frames but was hit hard by the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start this month. The depleted Nationals lineup is the ideal foil for Thompson to get back on track.
The other pair of streaming candidates square off in RingCentral Coliseum with Jose Suarez (2%) and the Los Angeles Angels heading north to take on Cole Irvin (38%) and the Oakland Athletics. Suarez hasn't allowed an earned run in his last two starts, spanning 10 1/3 innings. Even so, Irvin is the better option, as he draws an Angels offense that has problems handling lefthanded pitching.
Calling Justin Dunn's debut long-awaited is a stretch, but nonetheless, Dunn will start his first game for the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. The righthander was acquired from the Seattle Mariners in March but has been sidelined with a shoulder strain. His flyball tendencies could be an issue in the Great American Ballpark, but on Monday he'll be in Citi Field to challenge the New York Mets. Dunn isn't in play for fantasy, but he's worth tracking the final two months. On the other hand, two of the Mets recent acquisitions are in a good spot facing Dunn, namely Tyler Naquin (7%) and Daniel Vogelbach (5%).
Stacking is a popular DFS tactic where multiple players from the same team are in the DFS lineup. The notion is a single event can result in multiple players achieving points. It's not as prevalent in traditional fantasy but can be deployed on abbreviated slates. Ideally, the fantasy manager adds a player or two to team with someone already in their lineup. It has the best chance of working when the hitters bat close enough in the lineup so one drives in the other. An example is already rostering Willson Contreras, Ian Happ and/or Seiya Suzuki, then nabbing Rafael Ortega (2%), Nico Hoerner (33%), Patrick Wisdom (48%) or Frank Schwindel (45%) for their favorable matchup with Anibal Sanchez. Another possibility is pairing Athletics catcher Sean Murphy with the widely available Skye Bolt, Jonah Bride or Ramon Laureano who will all enjoy the platoon edge on Jose Suarez.
It's not too late to start another free fantasy baseball league. Leagues drafted this week will start scoring fresh the following Monday.
Starting pitcher rankings for Monday
Best Sub-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Best and worst hitters from the day are generated by THE BAT X, a projection system created by Derek Carty using advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors including player talent, ballparks, bullpens, weather, umpires, defense, catcher pitch-framing, and lots more.
Alek Thomas (ARI, CF -- 8%) vs. Beede
Tyler Naquin (NYM, CF -- 6%) vs. Dunn
Nico Hoerner (CHC, 2B -- 33%) vs. Sanchez
Jake McCarthy (ARI, CF -- 1%) vs. Beede
Worst Over-50% Rostered Hitters for Monday
Jurickson Profar (SD, 1B -- 91%) vs. Wood
Brandon Drury (SD, LF -- 94%) vs. Wood
Andrew Benintendi (NYY, LF -- 91%) at Gilbert
Josh Bell (SD, 1B -- 99%) vs. Wood
THE BAT X's Best Stacks for Today
Prop of the Day
Anibal Sanchez Pitching Outs: Over/Under 16.5 (-110/-120)
THE BAT sees Sanchez putting up 18.6 Pitching Outs for this matchup on average, while projecting him to exceed his player prop total 64.3% of the time. THE BAT believes there is positive value on the OVER with an expected value of $24.93.
Note: Expected Value is a measure of how good a bet is, factoring the probability that it will win versus the odds the book is providing. If you were to wager $1.00 100 times on a bet with an Expected Value of $25, you would win some and you would lose some, but in the end you would expect to come away with $25 in profit on your $100 investment.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE OVER
Wrigley Field has the 5th-deepest RF fences among all parks.
Wrigley Field has the 7th-tallest fence height (on average) in Major League Baseball.
The weather report calls for the 2nd-best pitching weather on the slate today, as it relates to temperature and humidity.
The wind projects to be blowing in from LF at 13.9-mph in this game, the best of the day for pitchers.
FACTORS THAT FAVOR THE UNDER
Wrigley Field grades out as the #5 stadium in Major League Baseball for batting average, per THE BAT projection system.
Sanchez has a large reverse platoon split and has the misfortune of facing 6 same-handed bats today.