Welcome to August 13 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 13 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!
00:47 Starting Pitcher
13:46 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.
August 13 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Matthew Boyd (DET) leads the way in raw projection on Tuesday as his matchup could not get much better for him. No team has struck out at a higher rate than the Mariners versus LHP and Boyd whiffed 10 of them in a start about two weeks ago. Strikeouts are a huge part of pitching in daily fantasy baseball and Boyd is projecting for 7.9 strikeouts. The Mariners rely more heavily on left-handers than most teams against LHP (four projected lefties in the lineup) and Boyd has struck them out at a healthy 33.3-percent rate this year. On all sites, Boyd is a strong tournament play, especially if he is going to get overlooked because the masses will be diving into the mid-tier.
It is not easy to fit bats alongside aces on this slate so our FanDuel standard models are instead choosing to build around either $5,800 Dustin May (LAD) or $8,600 Madison Bumgarner (SF) at home. May’s start was moved up to tonight and he is priced at below $6,000 in a matchup versus a Marlins team that ranks dead last in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO versus RHP. For a pitcher this cheap, you rarely ever see them as a ridiculous -200 favorite, especially on the road, and with an implied run total of just 3.5-runs against. His 5.6 K projection is the same or better than pitchers like Jon Gray, Max Fried and Jack Flaherty who are all must more expensive. At his price point, he is playable on all sites, but especially on FanDuel where he is priced nearly $2,000 cheaper than his DraftKings price ($7,500).
In Bumgarner’s case, Oracle Park is the top pitching environment in the league and the Athletics will almost assuredly leave designated hitter Khris Davis on the bench for this one. Losing one of their top power threats obviously will not help their cause and the Athletics’ 3.9 implied run total is one of the three lowest on the slate. Despite the reasonable price point, Bumgarner is still projecting for almost 6.5 Ks and Bumgarner has lasted at least seven innings in four of his last five games. He is the number two per-dollar pitching option on FanDuel and the extra $1,800 in salary relief beyond Boyd goes a long way on this slate (if not feeling comfortable about rostering a chalky May).
On DraftKings, Thomas Pannone (TOR) is priced like a punt, which is necessary if looking to roster bats with any semblance of upside alongside Cole in cash games. The Rangers strike out at a hefty rate in the split (25.8-percent) and have posted a measly 93 wRC+ versus southpaws as well. The 5.0-run implied total against is less than ideal but the price point is the main selling point for him anyways. On FanDuel, he is extremely cheap ($5,800) as well, and projecting for over 5.0 strikeouts, so rostering him is a logical path to stacking multiple expensive stacks.
Domingo German (NYY) and Chris Sale (BOS) are other extremely talented pitchers slated to toe the mound tonight who would be popping as the top pitchers on most other slates. However, tonight the circumstances are slightly different with so many mid-tier alternatives. German will pitch against an Orioles team with the worst record in the league and a team that has posted the ninth highest O-swing rate. German’s 36.6-percent O-swing rate induced this year is a career-best and would tie Justin Verlander for the second in the league if he were to qualify. That correlation is unmistakable and is a valid reason to take a leap on him in GPPs.
Sale is, well, Sale and that is all that needs to be said most of the time. His 35.3-percent K rate is tied for second highest amongst qualified starters and the Indians’ active hitters quietly rank just 18th in wOBA against LHP. Unfortunately, they have only struck out at an 18.1-percent rate in the split, and that is the main factor that is holding Sale’s projection back. He is still good enough to strikeout double-digits on any given night and he should come in at much lower ownership than usual tonight (especially on DraftKings).
On DraftKings, Chase Anderson (MIL) is priced slightly more aggressively than Pannone but is also cheap enough to consider if worried about Pannone’s 5.1-run implied total against. Pitching in a National League park, the run total against Anderson sits at 4.5-runs versus a tough Twins team. At least they will be without their designated hitter and the Brewers did open as -145 favorites versus a struggling Martin Perez. Anderson has been a reverse-splits pitcher both for this year and for his career so the less lefties in the lineup, the better for this veteran right-hander.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) and Lance Lynn (TEX) both feature respectable K percentage baselines, especially against RHHs, but are priced like true aces in relatively difficult matchups. Lynn is still projecting for over seven strikeouts but he costs just $200 less than Sale on FanDuel and $700 more than German who both out-project him by nearly a full fantasy points. The same goes for Clevinger in a matchup against Boston but the tough matchups should lead to minimal ownership for two pitchers with over 35-percent K rates versus RHHs (and over 27-percent K rates overall).
In tournaments, Max Fried (ATL), Eric Lauer (SD) and Jon Gray (COL) constitute some cheap SP2 alternatives to Pannone if questioning his upside. Fried draws a Mets team that has won 15 of their last 17 games and ranks fifth in wOBA against LHP. They do strike out at a 23.3-percent rate in the split and Fried is priced at below $7,000 ($6,700 to be exact). Lauer faces a Rays team that strikes out quite a bit against LHP (23.9-percent) but the lefty has only struck out 18.8-percent of opponents this year. Gray is a pitcher with strikeout ability but pitching in Coors Field which is obviously a difficult setup (but one that comes with tons of potential leverage if he comes through).Stacks
1) New York Yankees
Even with a 12.0-run total in Coors Field tonight, the Yankees headline the stacks section in a matchup between John Means and the brutal Orioles bullpen. As noted in content yesterday, the Orioles’ active bullpen members rank dead last in FIP and 29th in xFIP, so all matchups are favorable once the starting pitchers leaves the game. Means has pitched as well as any pitcher on the staff but that is not saying much considering he has still posted a 4.48 FIP, 5.47 xFIP and 4.93 SIERA this year while yielding a 49.7-percent fly ball rate. Routine fly balls tend to leave the yard in Yankee Stadium, especially in right field, so being a fly-baller in this park is quite dangerous…especially when facing a red-hot Yankees team that hit seven homers in a double-header yesterday. All bats in the lineup are playable but we once again expect Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez will be amongst the heaviest owned hitters on the slate.
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Arizona Diamondbacks
Tier two is the Coors Field tier today but the pitching matchup is not as juicy from an offensive perspective as it was yesterday. The Rockies will draw Zac Gallen who has relied heavily on fly ball outs and has seemed to benefit from a low BABIP against to this point. Despite a 2.40 ERA, his FIP and xFIP sit at 3.46 and 4.34 respectively. While those numbers are not bad by any means, they just signify the fact that this is not likely a pitcher who will post a 2.40 ERA from here on out. He has shown an ability to miss bats (29.2-percent K rate) but has walked hitters at a 12.5-percent rate (although that was not a weakness of his in the minors). The Rockies’ 6.1 implied run total is the highest of any team on the slate not named the Yankees and really only Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Daniel Murphy are popping as a primary value at their positions. In other words, the overall team ownership may not get out of control.
The Diamondbacks’ projected lineup includes four lefties or switch-hitters in the top six which is a solid correlation versus Jon Gray and his .345 wOBA allowed to the handedness this year. On FanDuel, the stack is reasonably-priced, whereas most of the main options are quite expensive on DraftKings (other than Jake Lamb). We expect Lamb to be a popular option across the industry but expensive options like Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar are a lot tougher to fit. 5.8-runs as an opposing team in Coors Field is not a crazy high total but the Diamondbacks are a patient offense that does not strike out much. With a guaranteed nine innings worth of ABs in this hitters’ haven, they are certainly worthy of your attention.
4) Chicago Cubs
5) St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Vargas has been a frustrating pitcher to stack against this year as he allowed more than three earned runs (ERs) just once in his first 15 starts. In fact, he has yielded a wOBA of .310 or under in every month since April and has held opponents to a .296 wOBA in the second half so far. Having said that, this is still a pitcher with a 4.72 FIP, 5.30 xFIP and brutal baseline expectations in our model. At some point, the poop is going to hit the fan for a pitcher with a 5.17 SIERA and 37.5-percent zone rate this year. The Cubs’ offense features three main targets versus LHP (Nick Castellanos, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez) and can be complemented with lefties (which Vargas has struggled against in the past few seasons). We expect the ownership to condense in the top two tiers a bit so there is merit to dropping down into tier three and beyond in tournaments.
The Cardinals will head to Kansas City and sit as -240 favorites versus Glenn Sparkman and his career-low fastball velocity this year. Sparkman’s career SIERA sits at 5.25 and his 5.46 SIERA this year alone is obviously worse. Since Sparkman rarely misses bats (7.5-percent swinging strike rate), he has no choice to rely on the contact of opponents, and they hit him both hard (40.2-percent) and rarely on the ground (38.6-percent GB rate). Even though he has allowed a 37.0-percent fly ball rate, opponents have only posted a 3.2-percent infield fly percentage versus him. In other words, most of the fly balls against him are well-struck, and both sides of the plate have managed a .338-plus wOBA against him. Lefties have done a majority of the damage and the Cardinals’ new-look lineup opens with a pair of hitters from the left side and features four overall on most nights.
6) Washington Nationals
7) Texas Rangers
8) Los Angeles Angels
The Nationals are an intriguing bunch not only because of their skill set but also because Alex Wood has looked like a different pitcher in a small sample this year than he has for his career. For a pitcher with a career 49.2-percent GB rate, it only sits at 34.0-percent through three starts, and his 5.94 FIP, 4.67 xFIP are concerning as well. In each of his three starts, he has posted a FIP of at least 4.93, but it should be noted the bad start versus the Cubs last time out is skewing the numbers. Anthony Rendon is one of the top hitters in the league versus LHP and Trea Turner, Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki look like strong values across the industry as well. If believing in Wood, however, this team is easily fadeable.
The Rangers and Angels round out the fourth tier and the Rangers are one of the top leverage stacks specifically on DraftKings where we expect Pannone to garner significant ownership because of his price. Sure, the Rangers have struck out at a 25.8-percent rate in the split, but they are still extremely powerful (.206 ISO) and Pannone is not a huge strikeout threat (career 19.6-percent K rate). Three of the top six hitters in the projected lineup are left-handed, but if the team gets to Pannone early, the lefties would be worth adding to the stack.
The Angels are a weird, top-heavy offense who cumulatively rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO versus RHP while only striking out at a 21.2-percent rate. Trevor Williams is a strike-thrower with bad underlying numbers and a 24.7-percent line drive rate allowed. Williams’ career K rate and season K rate are perfectly aligned (18.1-percent) and there is always merit to rostering a low-owned Mike Trout and/or Shohei Ohtani. Kole Calhoun moved to the leadoff spot last game and it will be interesting to see whether that continues or not because that even further condenses the value of the offense at the top of the lineup.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) dominates the catcher projections in a way we haven’t seen in some time. Sanchez is projecting for nearly three full DraftKings points and more than four full FanDuel points more than Yasmani Grandal (MIL). Sanchez gets the platoon edge at home against John Means who has posted a 4.84 FIP and 5.81 xFIP to RHBs this season. Means doesn’t miss bats and relies heavily on fly balls. He’s relied heavily on a lower HR/FB Rate than the league average to generate a 3.36 ERA despite a 4.48 FIP and 5.47 xFIP. With Sanchez just returning from the DL, his price is down on DraftKings at $4,300. He’s a dominant play and one that should start your lineups in cash games. On FanDuel, catchers are very much in play tonight and Sanchez’s $4,000 price tag makes him a viable way to get exposure to the Yankees 6.5 implied total.
Grandal is the next highest projected catcher but comes with a similar price tag to Sanchez and an inferior projection. He’s a viable pivot in tournaments particularly as a part of Brewers stacks.
Kurt Suzuki (WSH) projects as our third highest scorer at the position and comes with a much cheaper price tag than most of the alternatives. On FanDuel, Suzuki is priced at just $2,100 and earns consideration in builds around high-end pitching. With Dustin May emerging as a salary relief priority at pitcher, these builds are less compelling for cash games. Suzuki owns a .416 wOBA and .289 ISO against LHP since the start of 2017.
With Suzuki priced more appropriately on DraftKings, the salary relief options are less compelling. Yadier Molina (STL) will return to the lineup for the Cardinals tonight after a long layoff with a thumb injury. The matchup with Glenn Sparkman and the Royals bullpen is a good one and Molina is just $3,000. If he draws a good lineup spot, he’s a secondary option as a source of salary relief.
Max Stassi (LAA) and Jeff Mathis (TEX) are pure punt options at $2,000.
The first base position projections are bunched at the top and different positional eligibility makes the conversation different on the two sites. On DraftKings, Paul Goldschmidt (STL), Daniel Murphy (COL), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Christian Walker (ARI), Joey Votto (CIN), and Danny Santana (TEX) are all projecting within a half point of one another.
Votto is the cheapest of this bunch on the road with a premium leadoff spot against a pitcher with a wide platoon split. Joe Ross has allowed a .378 wOBA and .241 ISO to LHBs since the start of 2017. With a favorable home plate umpire for hitters, Votto projects as one of the better values on the slate at a position lacking standout plays.
While Votto projects as the slightly better value, Goldschmidt and Murphy come with stronger implied totals and better scoring environments on the whole. We expect they’ll represent more popular options and they’re certainly fine alternatives in cash games.
On FanDuel, DJ LeMahieu (NYY) comes with first base eligibility and tops the projections as the leadoff hitter with the platoon edge and a 6.6 implied total. LeMahieu is pricier than Gary Sanchez who has a better baseline skill set and thus the 1B/C position on FanDuel is oddly dominated by catcher options on this slate.
Jake Lamb (ARI) comes with first base eligibility on FanDuel and a sub-$3,000 price tag for a trip to Coors Field. The tag should catch some eyes and ownership as Lamb is one of the cheaper ways to get exposure to the platoon edge in Coors. We have Lamb for a .334 wOBA and .209 ISO baseline against RHP.
First base is deep wit power upside options at intriguing price tags in tournaments. Rhys Hoskins (PHI), Justin Smoak (TOR), Jesus Aguilar (MIL), Joc Pederson (LAD), and Miguel Cabrera (DET) all fit the mold as viable power one-offs if you’re avoiding the first base position in your stacks in GPPs.
The top of the second base projections are flooded with Yankees and Diamondbacks eligible options. Gleyber Torres (NYY), DJ LeMahieu (NYY), Eduardo Escobar (ARI), and Ketel Marte (ARI) all carry second base eligibility on DraftKings and double digit projections to go with them. On FanDuel, Marte and Torres are the only available options so we’ll focus on them.
Torres is the cheapest of the group ($3,600 on FD, $4,400 on DK) and should be the most popular option at the position by a wide margin. Fresh off three homers in two games yesterday, Torres has now hit 13 homers this season against the Orioles pitching staff on his way to a .414/.485/1.138 (that’s slugging not OPS) line this season. Torres gets the platoon edge against John Means and his fly ball tendencies. It’s another great matchup for power with an unusually cheap price tag. He’s clearly your cash game target and likely one of the highest owned players on the entire slate.
In terms of tournament pivots, the Diamondbacks options should represent the next targets. On FanDuel, Brian Dozier’s (WSH) punt price tag may end up being the alternative build path with Marte more expensive than Torres. Dozier will have the platoon edge against Alex Wood and he’s posted a .365 wOBA and .207 ISO against LHP since 2017.
Max Muncy (LAD) is an interesting low-owned pivot with a similar price tag to the more compelling high priced options in Marte and Torres. Muncy has the highest ISO baseline of any player at the position.
Kris Bryant (CHC), DJ LeMahieu (NYY), Nolan Arenado (COL), Eduardo Escobar (ARI), and Anthony Rendon (WSH) project for double digit points on DraftKings.
Kris Bryant actually carries the strongest projection here. The park shift for power is a good one in PHI and Jason Vargas has allowed a .334 wOBA and .193 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Bryant has been dominant with the platoon edge in this time posting a .439 wOBA and .292 ISO against LHP. Bryant is also the cheapest and thus the preferred target among the options up top.
We expect Arenado, LeMahieu, and Escobar to carry similar or more ownership to Bryant in tournaments as they’re part of teams that are intriguing stacks. Rendon should be the low-owned option of the top third basemen.
On DraftKings, the reasonable price tag on Jake Lamb (ARI) should also bring some ownership, but we view him as more of a secondary play and one that might not be as compelling with ownership.
With plenty of spending available at third base thanks to cheaper SP options, we’d highly recommend focusing at the top of the pricing spectrum in cash games.
If you are looking for contrarian builds and value, Miguel Sano (MIN) is one of the higher upside options at a reasonable price tag on FanDuel. He isn’t priced cheaply on DraftKings so it’s a site-specific value. On DraftKings, Matt Carpenter (STL) is an intriguing target. We expect he’ll hit down in the lineup with the Cardinals having a DH. The matchup with Glenn Sparkman is favorable and the Cardinals have a healthy 5.7 implied total.
Gleyer Torres (NYY) and Trevor Story (COL) are the top projected shortstops on the slate but Javy Baez (CHC) and Trea Turner (WSH) are projecting well as secondary options. We’ve touched on Torres extensively. Story won’t have the platoon edge at home but always projects well in home matchups given his skill set and the inflated value of Coors Field.
On FanDuel, without Torres in the mix, Trea Turner becomes the most compelling option with a soft $3,500 price tag. Turner will have the platoon edge against Alex Wood who has shown an unusual deterioration in his skill set in a small sample this season. Wood has historically generated ground balls at a hefty clip but through three starts has generated just a 34 percent GB Rate. Wood has also only generated a six percent soft contact rate and 49 percent hard hit rate in the small sample. Turner is a great way to get exposure to Wood’s uneven skill set at a below average price tag. He’s our primary cash game target on FanDuel.
Elvis Andrus (TEX), Didi Gregorius (NYY), Jorge Polanco (MIN), and Paul DeJong (STL) are secondary options with power upside and mid-tier price tags that should carry more modest ownership in GPPs.
If you’re looking for pure salary on FanDuel, Amed Rosario (NYM) represents an option as long as he hits second with the platoon edge against Max Fried.
Aaron Judge (NYY) tops the outfield projections by a decent margin and comes with a cheap price tag ($4,400) on DraftKings that will certainly garner attention. Judge has been in a frustrating slump of late with his hard hit rate down and his GB Rate up over the last two months. His exit velocity data looks fine and he’s generated a hard hit ball on 65 percent of balls in play against LHP this season. There are a lot of long-term reasons to invest heavily in Judge at this price tag and we lean on those for cash game considerations, but the recent performance has been confounding.
Mike Trout (LAA) and Charlie Blackmon (COL) are the only two outfielders who project in the same hemisphere as Judge. It’s a rather pedestrian matchup for Trout against Trevor Williams so ownership should be held in check on the full slate. Blackmon will certainly draw some interest leading off in Coors Field with the platoon edge but Zac Gallen’s performance early on along with a monstrous price tag should keep things relatively in check. We think there is a strong path for monstrous Judge ownership once again.
In terms of value on the high priced guys, Kris Bryant (CHC), David Peralta (ARI), and Nicholas Castellanos (CHC) are the best options. We touched on Bryant at third base and he carries OF eligibility on DraftKings as well. Peralta should be a favored target with the big park upgrade in Coors Field and a strong lineup spot on the road. Castellanos recent hard hit data (42 percent hard hit rate over last 15 days) has supported the strong recent performance. Against Jason Vargas and his propensity for fly balls, Castellanos is a nice upside target once again.
On both sites, Joc Pederson (LAD) is underpriced for a road leadoff hitter with a monstrous ISO platoon baseline. The park shift to Miami isn’t as detrimental for Dodgers hitters and the bullpen behind Yamamoto is really thin. Pederson is a fine target in all formats. We’re usually higher on him than the industry.
If Dexter Fowler (STL) remains in the leadoff spot, he’ll garner attention atop the Cardinals 5.7 implied total. Fowler isn’t cheap but he is affordable and the production has picked up in recent months (.806 OPS in July, .820 in August).
Victor Reyes (DET) is penciled in our projected lineups as the leadoff hitter with Jacoby Jones lost for the season. Reyes is just $3,400 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel. He’s a fine source of salary relief with the platoon edge against Yusei Kikuchi who has struggled mightily in his debut season.