Welcome to April 16 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for April 16 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!
01:51 Starting Pitcher
16:38 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
- In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
April 16 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Tyler Glasnow (TB) tops the starting pitcher projections as he comes with the lowest implied total and second highest strikeout projection on the slate. Glasnow faces an Orioles lineup that projects as well below average and currently ranks 21st in wRC+ against RHP. Glasnow is a big favorite (-245) and is a clear building block in cash games across both sites.
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) and Chris Sale (BOS) project a distinct tier below Glasnow. Sale is only available on FanDuel’s main slate and saw a big price drop which makes him an interesting low-owned GPP pivot given his early season struggles. We continue to take a cautious approach with Sale’s baselines given the small sample but they inch worse with each start accumulated. Strasburg has a favorable home start against a weak Giants’ offense that has the ninth highest strikeout rate against RHP and the second lowest wOBA against RHP. Strasburg is likely a solid pivot from Glasnow in GPPs.
Gibson is clearly the cheapest of the group and thus often funnels into the top optimals on DraftKings as the SP2. Gibson has struggled early in the season with hard contact allowed and walk rate but the swinging strikes and GB rates have been really strong. The Blue Jays primary threats are mostly from the right side which plays into Gibson’s historically wide platoon splits.
While Gibson is the primary SP2 target, Jose Quintana and Jon Gray both draw favorable matchups on the road in great pitching conditions. They’re substantially more expensive but both have lower implied totals against and are fine alternatives to Gibson in cash games should you choose a SP heavier approach.
There are some cheaper alternatives that come with wide ranges of outcomes and should be considered in GPPs. Reynaldo Lopez (CHW) faces a Royals’ offense that projects as well below average and extremely strikeout prone. Dylan Bundy (BAL) gets a big park upgrade but faces a Rays’ offense that has started the season off very strong and thus he has a huge implied total against. The fly ball oriented Bundy can post big performances when the ball isn’t leaving the yard. Nick Pivetta (PHI) has the same issues as Bundy but a tougher park environment and similar price tag. He projects well behind but has a similar profile.
Pablo Lopez (MIA) doesn’t project as well but has started off really strong this season with an improved swinging strike rate brought on by more velocity.
1) Texas Rangers
The Rangers have the highest implied total on the slate and face a worn down Angels bullpen that is light on talent from the start. Jaime Barria has historically surrendered a lot of aerial contact which is a more difficult strategy in Texas than in Anaheim.
2) Los Angeles Angels
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
4) Houston Astros
The Angels should be popular once again with Mike Trout projecting as one of the highest owned players on the entire slate. Their lineup is slightly better suited to take on RHP than LHP with Calhoun and Bour wider platoon splits guys but they maintain a strong implied total in Texas.
The Dodgers stack score would be impacted slightly by Cody Bellinger‘s availability but they have a lot of left handed power to attack Tyler Mahle (career .414 wOBA, .261 ISO allowed to LHBs). Dodgers LHBs stacked should come with lower ownership than the two Texas teams but they’ll need to do their damage early as the Reds have three LH relievers waiting in the pen.
The Astros have the second highest implied total on the slate but get a big park downgrade in Oakland against fly-ball and homer-prone Marco Estrada. There appears to be no ownership discount on the park downgrade right now.
5) Kansas City Royals
6) Chicago White Sox
The Royals-White Sox game features two below average pitchers named Lopez and some bad bullpens behind them. The positional scarcity on the Royals top two (Mondesi/Merrifield) seems to always come with ownership which makes them a difficult team to get contrarian with.
Both teams are expensive on DraftKings and thus fall down the value rankings but are a bit more viable on FanDuel. The White Sox are especially cheap on FanDuel and make for a more compelling play.
7) Tampa Bay Rays
8) Philadelphia Phillies
9) Minnesota Twins
10) Milwaukee Brewers
11) St. Louis Cardinals
The fourth tier isn’t far behind and features some power laden offenses like MIL-STL in a park that’s favorable for home runs. They’re facing two decent starters but ownership projections early on don’t seem to depress things severely. This remains a strong game-stack target in GPPs.
The Rays are an interesting stack pair with Glasnow to get some built in win correlation. The Phillies and Twins look like stacks that should fall through the cracks a bit tonight as home teams in cooler conditions.
Even with 13 games to choose from on DraftKings, not a single player pops as a positive value but Jonathan Lucroy (LAA) is the closest thing to a neutral value. His team will enjoy a positive park shift, and Globe Life Park in Arlington is expected to be around 80 degrees, but with the wind blowing it at round 16mph. Lucroy is viable because he is cheap and, as a road team, his team is guaranteed at least nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs). He is popping in 75-percent of DraftKings optimals because our models are prioritizing spends at other positions. Even in 90th percentile optimals, he rates as a top two value at the position, mostly because of how much cheaper he is than most of the other catchers.
J.T. Realmuto (PHI) and Yasmani Grandal (MIL) are both nearly $1,000 more expensive than Lucroy on DraftKings but they are the players with comparable per-dollar ceilings in upside models. Realmuto and Grandal both own the platoon advantages against the pitchers they are facing and own ISO baselines over .200 in the split. Strangely, both of their teams are being implied to score exactly 4.6-runs on this slate as well, but Realmuto slightly out-projects Grandal regardless of model. At a position lacking talent, these are two of the top tournament targets.
On FanDuel, Francisco Cervelli (PIT) is so inexpensive that optimals are choosing to use him at the 1B/C spot in some lineups at $2,300 versus Matthew Boyd. Our model may be under-accounting for Boyd’s hot start (2.61 SIERA, 40.3-percent K rate and 1.02 FIP) and there are plenty of first basemen who are only slightly more expensive. If needing the salary relief, Cervelli is a fine consolation prize.
Ji-Man Choi (TB) rates as our top value on both sites as he owns the platoon advantage against a homer-prone pitcher: Dylan Bundy. Last year, the only pitcher on the slate who yielded a higher HR/9 rate to LHHs than Bundy was Tyler Mahle, and he was also the only pitcher who allowed a higher wOBA in the split as well. Bundy’s 5.64 FIP against LHHs tells his story and he did not strike lefties out at a high rate (17.9-percent) either. Choi costs just $2,700 on FanDuel which makes him easy to fit alongside aces or expensive stacks.
Albert Pujols (LAA) is almost identically priced to Choi on both sites and he owns the platoon advantage against a fly ball pitcher as well (Mike Minor). His baselines in the split are not quite as impressive as Choi’s but his team features a slightly higher implied team total. Minor is off to a decent start this year but his 4.58 SIERA shows he has been a bit lucky. The Angels are not loaded with lefty-mashers but Pujols is one of the likeliest candidates to succeed in the split other than Mike Trout.
Jose Abreu (CHW) and Yonder Alonso (CHW) constitute the next tier at the position and the matchup is certainly favorable against a pitcher with a career 4.79 SIERA. In his young career, Lopez has posted close to even splits but lefties have been the ones who has displayed more power against him (.459 SLG, .340 wOBA). On DraftKings, the prices are close enough that the skill set of Abreu still wins out and makes him the superior play but Alonso is $600 cheaper on FanDuel (where he edges out Abreu in terms of value). Both players are viable plays in all formats on a team that should go overlooked despite 4.7 implied runs.
On DraftKings, Travis Shaw (MIL) qualifies at first base due to his dual-position eligibility but he will be covered in content at third base.
Brian Dozier (WSH) is being given credit a .198 ISO baseline against RHP in our model which propels him to the top value on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Over the course of his young career, Rodriguez has held his own in the split versus RHHs (.278 wOBA) but he has unsurprisingly been less effective overall on the road (.301 wOBA) compared to home sweet home in AT&T Park (.280 wOBA). Dozier hits toward the top of the lineup but he is one of a handful of usable options at the position.
On FanDuel, Brandon Lowe (TB) and Wilmer Flores (ARI) represent the next tier at second although they are priced very differently. Lowe will cost $3,600 hitting cleanup for the Rays whereas Flores will cost just $2,200 with the platoon advantage against young, talented starter Max Fried. The last time the Diamondbacks faced a lefty, Flores was pulled in the mid-innings on a double-switch, so pinch hit risk exists with him. As for Lowe, he is another powerful lefty with the platoon advantage against Bundy, who is clearly one of the top starting pitchers to target bats against if looking for upside (considering he allowed seven more homers than any other pitcher last season). Lowe’s ISO baseline against righties sits at .192 and he will likely hit cleanup for one of the most enticing stacks of the night.
On DraftKings, Ozzie Albies (ATL), Jose Altuve (HOU) and Robinson Cano (NYM) all project within 1.5 fantasy points of one another. In standard models, Albies slightly edges out an expensive Jose Altuve, but Altuve moves ahead in 75th and 90th percentile optimals. Albies faces an opposing pitcher, Robbie Ray, who is susceptible to hard contact, and Albies has preferred the split against LHP to this point in his career (.388 wOBA). Altuve is looking healthy this year and facing a reverse-splits righty who allowed a slate-worst .389 wOBA to RHHs a season ago while only striking them out at a 15.8-percent rate. Cano is the cheapest of the bunch and Nick Pivetta is off to a brutal start: 5.10 FIP, 2.03 HR/9 rate, 4.35 SIERA and what would be a career-worst 8.3-percent swinging strike rate (if it continued) through three starts
Zack Cozart (LAA) is being projected to leadoff in our default lineup, and if that were to occur, he would rate as our top third base model on both sites. It remains to be seen if the team still deploys him at leadoff with him being 4-41 to begin the season. We are still giving him credit for a .317 wOBA baseline and .163 ISO baseline but those may be generous for him considering how he has started the year.
If Cozart ends up towards the bottom of the lineup, or just actively looking to avoid him, Jose Ramirez (CLE) and Matt Carpenter (STL) are the logical alternatives hitting towards the top of their respective team’s orders. Ramirez was on base twice yesterday so it is possible he is starting to come around after a slow start to the season (.150 AVG). Additionally, Leake only struck out 11.6-percent of the lefties he faced, so there is event upside despite the negative park shift. Carpenter will lead off for the Cardinals in a power-friendly park (especially for lefties) against a pitcher who has been a bit unlucky to start the year (6.00 ERA but 2.55 FIP and 3.28 xFIP). Woodruff dominated lefties in a small sample a season ago but his .334 career wOBA allowed in the split tells a slightly different story. Woodruff is solid but Carpenter is talented enough to succeed in this spot.
In tournaments. Alex Bregman (HOU), Travis Shaw (MIL) and Josh Donaldson (ATL) are all intriguing propositions as parts of their respective stacks and as one-offs. Bregman faces a reverse-splits pitcher and may go a bit under-owned due to the negative park shift. Shaw owns the platoon advantage against Jack Flaherty but his .230 ISO baseline is tough to overlook. Donaldson finally hit his first homer of the season on Saturday and has now homered in back-to-back games heading into Tuesday. Probable starter Robbie Ray has struggled to limit hard contact and Donaldson is a righty who crushes the ball (career 37.6-percent hard hit rate versus southpaws).
Andrelton Simmons (LAA) is once again affordable and expected to hit towards the middle of an Angels team playing on the road in one of the best hitting environments. Simmons is a tough player to strike out and constantly puts the ball in play. Even though our baselines for him do not compare to some of the other shortstops mentioned in content, the game context is strongly in his favor, and he is $600 cheaper than either player in the next tier. Simmons is better-suited for cash games as he should be expected to be amongst the most highly-owned players at the position once again.
Corey Seager (LAD) and Adalberto Mondesi (KC) are the only other players around appropriately-priced on DraftKings and both pop as positive values on FanDuel. Mondesi features the power/speed upside against a pitcher with a career 5.01 SIERA and 6.63 SIERA so far this year. Mondesi let fantasy owners down in a great spot against Ervin Santana yesterday but this is a great bounceback spot against another subpar pitcher. Seager, meanwhile, owns the platoon advantage against Tyler Mahle. Last year, Mahle posted some ugly numbers against LHHs: .415 wOBA, 15.5-percent BB rate, 2.55 HR/9 rate, .295/.414/.576 slash line, 26.1-percent line drive rate, 44.7-percent hard hit rate and a slate-worst 7.07 FIP allowed. Playing in Dodger Stadium on a 13-15 game slate (depending on site) should keep the ownership down even in a phenomenal individual matchup.
Trevor Story (COL) is not in Kansas (Colorado) anymore but has enough power to hit the ball out of any park and his .396 wOBA, .294 ISO baselines tell the story for him. Margevicius owns a 1.69 ERA through three starts but his 97.8-percent strange rate and FIP/xFIPs around 4.00 tell a different story.
In 90th percentile models, Carlos Correa (HOU) and Elvis Andrus (TEX) slot into the top five values at the position, and both should be deployed as part of their team stacks. Correa specifically makes sense as a one-off as his game environment is likely to garner less ownership than Andrus’.
Mike Trout (LAA) returned to the Angels lineup last night and was mostly pitched around but the fact that he is playing is enough for him to headline the outfield position. As always, our baselines on him are outrageous (.441 wOBA, .295 ISO), and Minor’s numbers in the split against RHHs were a bit lucky in 2018. Although he allowed a 37.5-percent hard hit rate in the split, opposing hitters only posted a .252 BABIP against him (third lowest of any pitcher on the slate), and his FIP against righties was over one half a run higher (4.47) than his ERA (3.85). To begin the year, his luck has continued as righties have only posted a .238 BABIP against him despite a 5.27 FIP and 5.04 xFIP in the split. Factor in the park upgrade and a 5.0-run total as the road team in Texas and it is easy to see why Trout is one of the top plays of the night.
Shin-soo Choo (TEX), Joey Gallo (TEX) and Nomar Mazara (TEX) will be playing in the same excellent game environment as Trout but against a young reverse-splits RHP with a career 4.78 SIERA. In 68.0 innings against LHHs, he has held them to a .215/.273/.335 slash line to go along with a .268 wOBA, but playing in Texas against a powerful offense is no easy task. He does not miss a ton of bats which is key for power hitters such as Gallo and Mazara who can hit the ball out against anyone if the pitcher misses their spot. The 5.5 implied run total for the Rangers is the highest of any team on the slate and the splits do not match up perfect because the team is not loaded with powerful righties. Therefore, if the team is going to come anywhere close to the Vegas expectations, the lefties are going to have to be involved in the damage.
Joc Pederson (LAD) and George Springer (HOU) should leadoff for their respective teams and each is being implied to score at least 4.8-runs. All the Dodgers lefties find themselves in a plus spot against the pitcher who posted the worst numbers in the split against LHHs of any pitcher on the slate and Pederson is guaranteed to tie for the team lead in plate appearances (barring being pinch hit for). Springer is priced slightly cheaper on DraftKings but his team projects for a slightly higher total than the Dodgers and probable starter Marco Estrada yielded the worst FIP in the split against RHHs of any pitcher on the slate last season. Springer’s career wOBA against righties is over 40 percentage points lower than against righties but he is still an above-average hitter in the split (120 wRC+).
Tommy Pham (TB) and Austin Meadows (TB) are two of the best hitters on a Rays stack that finds themselves in an elite spot against one of the most power-prone pitchers in the league. As bad as Estrada was against RHHs a season ago, Bundy yielded a higher HR/9 rate (2.33) and he even allowed nearly 2.0 homers per nine to lefties as well (1.94). Meadows and Pham are both en fuego to start the year as Pham has reached base every game while Meadows’ 204 wRC+ ranks seventh amongst qualified hitters (and his 17 RBI are tied for sixth). Bundy has allowed at least three earned runs in every start and has only lasted into the fifth inning once. In fact, he has allowed six homers in the last two games and now will have to try and quiet a red-hot Rays offense. Good luck.