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April 12 MLB DFS: By The Hammer Of Thor!
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April 12 MLB DFS: By The Hammer Of Thor!


00:48 Attacking A Difficult Slate
02:54 Starting Pitchers
10:36 Catchers
12:04 First Base
15:23 Second Base
16:58 Shortstop
18:34 Third Base
21:00 Outfield
25:32 Cash Game Roster Construction
26:42 Stacks


April 12 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

2) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

3) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

Tier Two

4) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

Tier Three

5) Matt Moore (TB)

6) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

We get three stud pitchers this evening, all in favorable matchups. Up top is Corey Kluber (CLE), who gets a positive park shift. Tropicana Field often gets underrated as a pitcher’s park because it’s a dome, but FanGraphs park factors have it listed in a tie for the fifth best pitcher’s park. Kluber has struck out 28 percent of batters faced the past two seasons, leading to xFIPs of 2.57 and 3.05. He should be able to pitch deep into this game against a Rays lineup that doesn’t offer many threats against RHP outside of Corey Dickerson.

Jose Fernandez (MIA) and Noah Syndergaard (NYM) square off against each other in New York. Our model has a slight tilt towards Fernandez due to his insane K skills (10.66 per 9 for his career) and run prevention (2.50 career ERA). However, Syndergaard may be the better value, particularly on DraftKings where he is a core cash game play. Syndergaard had a phenomenal debut, striking out nearly 10 batters per 9 and posting a sub-3 xFIP. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s added a slider to mix in, which gives him additional upside. Against a heavily right handed Marlins lineup, you could make the case he’s actually the best option of the three.

Admittedly, though, this is the first slate of the year where we’re really having trouble deciding where to begin cash games. Outside of Syndergaard on DraftKings, you can go a variety of ways with your roster construction, which is often the case when you combine elite pitching in good matchups on a slate with a game in Coors Field and another team with a team total around 5.5. As a result, you may not be able to lock in the top tier pitching. On DraftKings Gio Gonzalez (WAS) is a safe option. This is a weak Atlanta team, and against LHP they’ll swing and a miss a bit more. On FanDuel, using Matt Moore (TB) at a very cheap price tag allows you to get lots of exposure to the three teams with outlier high team totals. The former top prospect finished last season strong and had an encouraging debut in a horrific matchup against the Blue Jays. He carries the same projected K percentage as Gonzalez and Masahiro Tanaka (the best group after tier one) but at a much lower cost. Pairing him with Gonzalez is a viable tournament strategy on DraftKings.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Brian McCann (NYY)

3) Nick Hundley (COL)

4) Derek Norris (SD)

5) Matt Wieters (BAL)

We’re leaning towards paying up for Buster Posey (SF) in cash games. Here’s the dynamic. The gap between Posey (eighth) and the next best catcher (McCann, 67th) in our model is massive. It’s probably worth making him your one large spend as a result. He’s hitting third (best DFS lineup spot) for a Giants team with an implied run total of just under 6, the highest on the slate. However, since there’s no opportunity cost at the position past Posey, another strategy is to fully punt the position (Cameron Rupp (PHI) is a possibility). This allows you to get exposure to an additional top five overall ranked bat in our model and to likely upgrade another bat somewhere else along the way. We’ll be scouring lineups for any minimum priced catchers in decent spots.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Brandon Belt (SF)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

We’ve recently hit David Ortiz‘s (BOS) continued prowess against RHP, and today he gets a great matchup against Mike Wright, who simply isn’t an MLB caliber starter. It was a small sample size (44.2 innings), but Wright posted a 6.04 ERA (5.70 xFIP) last season and was very home prone. Next in line is Brandon Belt (SF) who as an elite matchup holding the platoon edge against Tyler Chatwood in Coors Field. On FanDuel, using Hanley Ramirez (BOS) gives you exposure to a hot bat and high team total while saving a little bit of money.

Mark Trumbo (BAL) ranks outside our top five first baseman but is a strong value on DraftKings for just $3,600. It’s a R/R matchup, but Trumbo’s power allows you to have a ceiling similar to the ranked first baseman but allows you to save some money for a tier one pitcher. If Brett Wallace (SD) draws the start again, he’d be a solid source of cap relief as opposing pitcher Charlie Morton has serious problems against LHBs (.378 wOBA, .165 ISO allows to LHBs for his career).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Joe Panik (SF)

3) Cory Spangenberg (SD)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Dee Gordon (MIA)

6) Cesar Hernandez (PHI)

Jose Altuve (HOU) tops our second base rankings and ranks inside our Top 15 overall hitters. Joe Panik (SF) and Cory Spangenberg (SD) are Top 25 options that aren’t that far behind and are priced wildly different. Spangenberg is clearly the top value on DraftKings ($2,900) but Cesar Hernandez (PHI) is a really valuable punt play on FanDuel. With all of our top plays in the outfield and a top play at catcher ranking among our top values, second base is another spot to get some salary relief.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Trevor Story (COL)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Ketel Marte (SEA)

6) Freddy Galvis (PHI)

7) Alcides Escobar (KC)

8) Brandon Crawford (SF)

Carlos Correa (HOU) ranks inside our Top 10 and Trevor Story inside our Top 20 but we’re less likely to spend on this position. It’s a great position to get salary relief and our primary targets are Ketel Marte (SEA), Freddy Galvis (PHI), and Alcides Escobar (KC) who all hit at the top of their lineups and come as great salary relief options. They all rank similarly in our model so we’re emphasizing salary relief with them.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Maikel Franco (PHI)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

6) Danny Valencia (OAK)

Nolan Arenado (COL) and Manny Machado (BAL) each rank inside the Top 20 in our model but they’re well behind other elite hitters that are priced similarly at other positions. As a result, we’re using 3B to find a bit of salary relief and the primary target is Danny Valencia (OAK). Valencia owns a career .372 wOBA and .171 ISO against LHP and will face fly ball and homer-prone Hector Santiago (.326 wOBA, 1.52 HR/9 to RHBs in his career). The park environment isn’t ideal for home runs but Valencia is very cheap, with a good lineup spot, and he’s been allowed to start against RHP so there isn’t the normal platoon risk associated with him.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Mike Trout (LAA)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Mookie Betts (BOS)

6) Denard Span (SF)

7) Hunter Pence (SF)

8) George Springer (HOU)

9) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

10) Jose Bautista (TOR)

11) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

12) Rajai Davis (CLE)

13) Gerardo Parra (COL)

14) Lorenzo Cain (KC)

15) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

Seven of the Top 10 overall hitters in our model are outfielders. The challenge is the position also has some good values and if you’re paying up for starting pitching you’re going to find yourself pecking away at the values. Of the top plays, Bryce Harper (WAS) ranks as our top outfielder despite with merely a good (4.5) implied run total than the great ones of Boston, San Francisco, and Colorado. Jhoulys Chacin has spent most of the last two seasons in the minor leagues and when we’ve seen him up, LHBs have tormented him. Harper’s incredible ISO against RHP (.354 last season) pushes him even above the Coors Field options in our model. If playing the run totals, the outfielders we’re most frequently targeting from the highest scoring environments are Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Mookie Betts (BOS), Denard Span (SF), and Charlie Blackmon (COL). Gonzalez has the best price tag of the group on both sites, while Betts is more affordable on FanDuel and Blackmon a bit more affordable on DraftKings. The value plays also vary by site. On DraftKings, Colby Rasmus (HOU) and Jon Jay (SD) remain too cheap for their respective baselines. On FanDuel, Michael A. Taylor (WAS) remains minimum priced and other top of the order road bats like Daniel Nava (LAA) and Joey Rickard (BAL) are also hovering near the minimum.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) San Francisco Giants

Tier Two

2) Boston Red Sox

3) Colorado Rockies

The Giants get a massive park shift, going from the worst hitter’s park to the best hitter’s park. Slapped with a run total approaching 6 runs (highest of the night) and given a guaranteed nine innings’ worth of at bats on the road, they are the top stack.

Both Boston and Colorado are at home but in favorable hitting environments. Boston faces the worse pitcher in Mike Wright, but Colorado has Coors. Even though all three are the chalk stacks, they can all be used in tournament formats. We suspect with three chalk teams to pick from (all expensive) and top tier pitching in play that ownership will get spread out.

The secondary stacks are all middle, so rather than ranking the rest, here are a few contrarian stacks we like for tournaments:

-Toronto Blue Jays (rare chance to get them at a low ownership, and at least on DraftKings they are relatively affordable)

-Kansas City Royals (positive park shift and Mike Fiers allows aerial contact, so there’s a lot more power upside than usual for the KC batters)

-San Diego Padres (this is a stack we like on DraftKings as you get a road team in a positive park shift against a really bad pitching staff – more importantly, though, this stack allows you to use two tier one pitchers on DraftKings)


  1. Captain Tony

    April 12, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I subscribed to the 1 week trial yesterday and it ended today.
    One day isn\’t enough to evaluate

    • leonem

      April 12, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Captain Tony,

      We ran the free trial for the whole first week and extended an extra day but can\’t extend any longer. We did add weekly packages this year, which is a great way to continue to try the product at a very low price. Thanks for giving us a try!


  2. mrmondaynight

    April 12, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    The Podcast isn\’t showing up for me, I see the show outline but no audio link.

    • Lu

      April 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      I\’ve tried to recreate the issue on several different browsers and I see the pod on each one. Can you shoot an email to help at dailyroto dot com? I can get you squared away with the pod.

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