This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Baseball series.
After a summer of baseball, September always feels a bit different. The weather cools down a bit, football takes over. September callups flood rosters, and the amount of games left for the bulk of the teams in MLB are dwindling by the day. The sport just feels different, but the goal of daily fantasy baseball remains the same. You're looking for values for your lineup. Here are my recommendations for your Sunday choices. As per usual, it's a full afternoon slate of games.
Two pitchers having great seasons are facing off in Max Scherzer ($58) and Mike Soroka ($36), but that's a matchup I feel should be avoided. Both the Nationals and Braves rank in the top-10 in runs scored, and only one of these pitchers can win. Unfortunately, my avoidance also includes all the hitters on both of these teams, given the quality of hurlers on the mound. Should be a fun game to watch, but not one for DFS players.
Now, as for pitchers who I would recommend. Based on some advanced metrics, Mike Minor ($44) should win the AL Cy Young this season. That's because his overall numbers have been impacted by pitching his home games in Arlington. On the road, Minor has shined with a 2.66 ERA. He's on the road Sunday and gets to face the second-worst team in the Baltimore Orioles.
Tyler Glasnow ($31) started the year off red hot by posting a 1.86 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over eight starts. Then he got hurt, and he's been out since May. Glasnow will be making his return to the rotation Sunday. The 26-year-old will be facing the Toronto Blue Jays, who possess the league's worst collective batting average at .234. While it seems unlikely Glasnow will pitch more than five innings or so, that should be enough to get him a win.
Speaking of pitchers returning from injury, Sean Manaea ($36) just made his first start of the reason. He pitched five innings and didn't yield a run to the Yankees. That was a bit of a trial by fire, but his second game provides him with a much easier matchup as he'll be starting against the Tigers and their second-lowest league mark in terms of runs scored.
Lastly, I'm going to throw Eric Lauer's ($30) name out there. At home, thanks to the friendly confines of Petco Park, he's posted a 3.22 ERA. Funnily enough, the Padres' pitcher is facing the Colorado Rockies. While the Rockies rack up the runs at home, they rank 26th in runs scored on the road.
I like Sean Manaea on the mound, but I also like his teammate Marcus Semien ($22) at the plate. He's enjoyed a career year by producing a .275/.359/.496 slash line. The shortstop also has hit 26 home runs and 75 RBI, so he's about to set personal bests in both of those categories. Detroit is starting Daniel Norris, who enters with a 4.87 FIP. Norris has been limited to three innings in each of his last five starts, so Semien may only get two plate appearances against him. That could be enough, but I also have zero fear of the Tigers' bullpen.
Even in a down year for Paul Goldschmidt ($19), the slugger still has crushed 29 homers. His BABIP sunk considerably this season so it could have been bad luck, which would mean the old Goldschmidt is in there somewhere. And in his last 40 games, he has recorded a .288 batting average. Speaking of bad luck, Mitch Keller has an 8.18 ERA despite a 3.69 FIP. He's also a bit banged up, so he might not be at full capacity if he pitches.
While Yoan Moncada ($18) missed time with injury this year, he's taken major strides as a hitter when able to play. After posting a .235 batting average in 2018, he's registered a .298 batting average this year. Moncada's also hitting for more power, and it makes sense he's still improving at the plate as he's only 24. Jaime Barria has pulled a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde act this season. He's maintained a respectable 2.38 ERA at home, but on the road that number skyrockets to 8.31.
The name Josh VanMeter ($7) may not be familiar to you, unless you happen to be a Cincinnati Reds fan. His numbers have been fine in limited action, but the lefty has looked much better against right-handed pitchers, and also at home. VanMeter has posted a .803 OPS against righties, and a .913 OPS in the Queen City - and he's at home to face a righty on Sunday. Since joining the Diamondbacks, Mike Leake has struggled with a 6.43 ERA in six starts.
Astros vs. Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
I hate to say this about the once-and-future King Felix, but he is far from the pitcher he used to be. Hernandez is just playing out the stretch of his career, as he's followed up his 5.88 ERA in 2018 with a 6.02 ERA this season. He's also suddenly become homer prone the last few years as his fastball has lost velocity. The Astros present a tough matchup for any pitcher, but they can really pick apart a guy who isn't at the top of his game.
Altuve's .302 batting average is actually low for him, which speaks to his consistency and quality as a hitter. Of course, he's made up for that with an increase in power with 25 homers in only 106 games. On top of that, he has dominated with a .975 home OPS.
Brantley was a real case of "the rich get richer" for the Astros. After joining the squad after leaving Cleveland, the lefty has posted a .381 OBP and a .518 slugging percentage. As a southpaw, he's also traditionally much better against righties, which is a plus against a pitcher like King Felix.
Tucker is a bit of a flyer, given his limited MLB experience. He recently hit his first homer in the majors. When he got called up last year, the 22-year old really struggled, and he's not pulled a Yordan Alvarez just yet. That being said, Tucker was considered Houston's best prospect when he was called up after hitting 34 homers and stealing 30 bases in Triple-A. This is a bet on potential, and also a bet against Hernandez.
Angels vs. Dylan Cease (White Sox)
Dylan Cease has had a rookie season to forget. The 23-year old posted a 6.75 ERA in 11 starts, thanks to allowing 2.15 homers per nine innings. His numbers have also deteriorated at home with a 7.26 ERA. Cease has also given up a .291 batting average against southpaws, so I've got two lefties in my recommendations.
First, I didn't mention Trout, but that's only because I felt like that was a given. If you're willing to spend the money, he's always worth it. That's more about personal strategy. Ohtani has hit well enough this year that a lot of folks are saying he should focus on that full-time and give up pitching. You can see the skills on display, as he's hit 17 homers while also stealing 12 bases. He has also maintained a .943 OPS against righties over his career.
Calhoun doesn't make a lot of contact, but when he does the ball tends to soar. That's why he's managed a career-high .466 slugging percentage this year. Calhoun's also hit 28 homers in 133 games, which also represents a personal best. Given how many home runs Cease lets up, this matchup bodes well for Calhoun.
Fletcher is a solid utility man, thanks to his steady bat and propensity to get on base. The 25-year old has posted a .287 batting average and .346 OBP. He doesn't possess a lot of power, but he has thrown in eight stolen bases for good measure. Fletcher has also hit righties better than lefties, and has hit well at home.