This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.
Happy Labor Day! Due to the holiday, this is a different Monday than usual. For starters, Mondays can be light on the schedule, but this week has 12 games.
Also, a lot of the contests are in the afternoon, since people are going to be off work. If you want to play some daily fantasy baseball to take your holiday to the next level, here are my recommendations for your lineup.
You know you are in quite the rotation when you are having a season like Walker Buehler ($11,400) and are probably the third-most-notable pitcher on your team. The young Dodgers hurler has a 3.03 ERA but an even better 2.82 FIP. Plus, he has a 2.13 ERA at home. Colorado ranks eighth in runs scored, but that's the Coors Field effect. On the road, they rank 26th in runs scored.
Buehler is a fine young pitcher, but so is Atlanta's Mike Soroka ($8,400). The 22-year-old has a 2.44 ERA, but unlike Buehler, his FIP is worse than his ERA, though it's still a respectable 3.20. He's also not a strikeout guy, but that might not be an issue against the Blue Jays. Toronto has a .237 batting average as a team, the lowest in the majors.
OK, let's get to the part where I recommend the pitcher going against the Tigers, the worst offense in baseball. Monday, that honor goes to Jake Odorizzi ($9,700). The Twins pitcher has a 3.55 ERA, and he's striking out more batters than ever while allowing fewer homers. He also has a 2.65 ERA in his last six starts.
Lastly, have you heard of Cleveland starter Aaron Civale ($9,300)? He's only made six starts, but they've gone quite well. The 24-year-old has a 1.96 ERA. If you are skeptical about that given the sample size, even his 2.50 FIP is excellent. Maybe he regresses at some point, but he's at home against a White Sox team that ranks 28th in runs scored. This could be another top-notch start to begin his career.
Ketel Marte ($4,000) has brought excitement to desert baseball, basically replacing Paul Goldschmidt at the plate despite not being a big, hulking first baseman. The 25-year-old has a .381 OBP and .571 slugging percentage with 28 homers. Cal Quantrill has a 3.99 ERA despite pitching his home games at Petco Park. He's also struggled against lefties, allowing a .274 BAA in those matchups. Since Marte is a switch hitter without notable splits, he can take advantage of that.
The Indians are dealing with injuries in their lineup at the moment, but thankfully they have Carlos Santana ($3,800) having a huge season. Anytime you're getting on base over 40 percent of the time, it's going to turn heads, especially when you've also hit 31 homers. Meanwhile, Ross Detwiler has a 6.45 ERA. Somehow, his ERA on the road is a staggering 11.05. Sure, that's in only 14.2 innings, but it's still so bad as to be noteworthy.
Nick Senzel ($3,400) is still getting into the rhythm of being an MLB player, but you can see the talent that he showed that got him drafted second overall in 2016. So far, he's struggled against righties, but he's mashed lefties to the tune of a .903 OPS. Philly starter Drew Smyly is a southpaw, and he has a 4.97 ERA since joining the team. That's actually an improvement on the season he was having, as Smyly had an 8.42 ERA in Texas before swapping teams.
Kolten Wong ($3,100) has had good numbers this year, even though he's somewhat inexplicably struggled at home. He still has a .288/.371/.431 slash line with 19 stolen bases despite those odd issues. Plus, Wong has been hot recently with a 1.020 OPS since the beginning of August. Tyler Beede has struggled wherever he's started for the Giants, but he's been worse on the road (6.27 ERA).
Twins at Tigers (RHP Jordan Zimmermann)
You can't swing a dead cat, or in this case a dead Tiger, without hitting some negative thing going on with Detroit's baseball team. There aren't many silver linings here. I mean, you could say that it's a "silver lining" than Zimmermann only has a 4.55 FIP compared to his 6.24 ERA. However, Zimmermann also has a 7.38 ERA at home. The Twins have a dominating offense that is primed to set home run records. You are spoiled with choice. I went with three guys who bat lefty, since the Tigers' starter has a .320 BAA versus southpaws.
Keep an eye on Kepler, who's dealing with leg soreness, but go with him if he plays. He's one of the leaders of the pack on the power front. He's not a perfect player: He doesn't walk a ton and has a .338 OBP, but the German knows how to do damage when he does connect. Kepler has knocked 36 homers in 123 games this season.
Rosario walks even less frequently than Kepler – he walks less than almost anybody – but he still manages to do damage thanks to his ability to make contact. The outfielder has a .282 batting average, in line with his career .281 batting average. He's hit 27 homers in only 113 games, and he has 92 RBI in that time.
Arraez hasn't been as much a part of the power surge in the Twin Cities this year. He only has three homers, in 69 games, but they have all come off of righties. Arraez has more doubles power, but he also has a .399 OBP. If you get on base for the Twins, well, it's usually not long before you find yourself trotting across home plate thanks to somebody else's home run.
Cubs vs. Mariners (LHP Justus Sheffield)
Sheffield has only pitched 14 innings in the majors at this point in his career, so the sample size is small. We shouldn't overreact to his numbers, and he is considered a good prospect. That being said, he has a career ERA of 8.36. The stuff that made him a vaunted prospect hasn't showed up yet. On top of that, this will be his first-ever start on the road. He's only 23, and even at Triple-A he had a 6.97 ERA. Sheffield may not be ready for a matchup like this yet, so you should be ready to take advantage of it. Just know that he's a lefty, so guys like Kyle Schwarber aren't a great option.
Baez is an excellent hitter. If you look at the traditional numbers, for the third straight season he has over 20 homers and double-digit stolen bases. However, this matchup is right in his wheelhouse. The shortstop has a .969 OPS versus lefties and a .935 OPS at home. This couldn't line up better for him.
You didn't hear a lot of complaints about Castellanos' bat in Detroit. (His fielding was a different story, but that's not relevant in fantasy.) Since he joined the Cubs, though, Castellanos has been a man on fire. He already has 11 homers in 29 games for Chicago. That's as many as he had in 100 games with Detroit. He can't stay this hot, but he can keep it going with Sheffield on the mound.
Willson Contreras is one of the better hitting catchers in baseball, but he's currently hurt. Don't overlook his backup, though. Caratini has slashed .274/.362/.468 with nine homers. He's been so good with his bat the Cubs have even let him play some first base, a position where you need a much better bat to justify your spot in the lineup. It's helped while Anthony Rizzo has dealt with back issues. Caratini has been able to hold off Jonathan Lucroy for playing time as well. He's a nice under-the-radar pick where you can usually save some cash.