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April 14 MLB DFS: King of the Hill
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Welcome to April 14 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 14 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our 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!

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April 14 MLB DFS Position Timestamps

01:54 Starting Pitcher
14:39 Catcher
16:09 First Base
18:13 Second Base
20:16 Third Base
22:08 Shortstop
23:43 Outfield
28:47 Stacks

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  • 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.

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Range of Outcome Projections

April 14 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

The main slate is pretty thin on elite starting pitching with all of the aces going in the afternoon. Rich Hill (LAD) is the highest projected scoring starter on the slate and he’s reasonably affordable on both sites. Hill gets a Diamondbacks’ offense that projects for just two above average hitters against LHP with Steven Souza on the DL early in the season. As a result they have a puny 3.1 implied total as +153 underdogs on the road in a game with a total of just seven. Hill hasn’t been great in his first two starts (both against the Giants) as he’s worked behind (55.8 first pitch strike rate this year, 62.1 percent last) more frequently, had to throw his fastball more often, and batters have chased fewer pitches out of the strike zone as result. While we don’t expect Hill to work deep into the game we do expect strikeouts. Throw in the low run scoring environment and the reasonable price tag and Hill is our starting point in cash games.

Jameson Taillon (PIT) has been the stronger pitcher earlier in the season but very little in the profile explains the big jump in strikeouts early. His velocity is where we’d expect it. He’s throwing even more fastballs than before and he’s not inducing substantially more swings outside the strike zone. Basically, he’s just gotten more swinging strikes inside the strike zone as hitters are swinging through the same fastball they put in play more frequently last year. Against a poor Marlins offense, but one that doesn’t project for tons of strikeouts, we view Taillon as slightly overpriced. He is, however, the second highest projected scorer on the slate.

Garrett Richards (LAA) is our third highest projected starter and comes with a friendly price tag on DraftKings. Richards has shown the usual electric stuff through his first three starts (27.1 K Rate, 57.9 GB Rate, and 12.6 swinging strike rate) but inconsistent command (40.7 zone rate, 17.1 BB Rate) has cut short outings and driven up the WHIP. The Royals led the league last year in swing percentage and chase percentage but have been middle of the pack early this season. With a lot of roster turnover, we don’t expect them to be as free swinging as last year but this a better matchup than his first three starts of the season for a pitcher battling command issues. On the other hand, Richards has a below average home plate umpire. There isn’t a lot to pivot to on this slate that has the upside that Richards has so we’re willing to embrace the risk on this slate. The one aspect we’ll have to follow with Richards is the potential for rain/snow that could bring delay or PPD risk.

The primary pivot off Richards is Taijuan Walker (ARI) who has struggled generating swinging strikes early in the season. It’s been a strange pitch mix early as he’s thrown more fastballs despite pitching from ahead more frequently and as a result he’s not missing bats. The Dodgers aren’t a great offense to attack but it is a friendly environment. Walker also has a below average umpire for pitchers which makes it a tough pivot from Richards as the floors feel similar and Richards ceiling is an advantage.  

Chase Anderson (MIL), Matt Harvey (NYM), and Derek Holland (SF) are the next tier of starters. Holland’s struck out more batters early on in the transition to the NL but it’s difficult to see it holding. His swinging strike rate and velocity have shown no real improvements. Harvey and Anderson are in cold weather environments that should limit scoring. Neither have shown great signs of life this season. Anderson’s early season velocity and peripherals look more like the rest of his career as opposed to 2017’s step forward while Harvey’s relying heavily on his slider usage to overcome diminished fastball velocity. With Yelich on the DL, the Brewers are a bit more RH heavy again which does help Harvey.

On DraftKings, Clayton Richard (SD) is cheap enough to consider on a slate without a lot of high end pitching and on a site that requires playing two.

Catcher

Buster Posey (SF) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. He’ll have the platoon edge on the road in a matchup against Clayton Richard. The latter has posted a 13.6% K rate vs. RHBs since 2016. It’s a fine matchup but it’s not a great park to attack (Petco) with hitters. Also, Posey is priced appropriately. He’s a fine target in all formats.

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is $600 cheaper than Posey on DK with a very similar projection. Grandal has gotten off to a great strong start this season, and the results are backed up by a gaudy 40.9% HHR.

Our optimals are dominated by Posey and Grandal. Jonathan Lucroy (OAK) and Austin Hedges (SD) are viable salary relief targets but they’re outside of cash game consideration. Hedges in particular has some power upside. He’s coming off a 2017 campaign in which he launched 18 home runs.

First Base

Cody Bellinger (LAD) carries the top projection at an uneventful first base position. Taijuan Walker is certainly not a bad pitcher, but he allows power. Since 2016, Walker has allowed a .210 ISO to LHBs. Bellinger’s price tag also stands out on both sites. He’s just $4,100 on DK and $3,400 on FD, which feel like light price tags given the massive upside he carries. We like him in all formats.

There’s not much else that stands out at the position. Eric Thames (MIL) is our next projected scorer, and while we do like him, he’s more expensive than Bellinger on both sites. He has road matchup against Matt Harvey, who’s posted a sub 19% K rate over the last two seasons and last season that K rate was at 15.6%. He’s a shell of the pitcher he once was. Thames is your best alternative after Bellinger and can be used in all formats.

Justin Bour (MIA) stands out because his price tags are really cheap on both sites but the matchup isn’t any good (Jameson Taillon). We prefer Bour in tournaments. Daniel Vogelbach (SEA) is an additional salary relief target that can be used in tournaments. He’s not as good of a hitter as Bour but his matchup is much better (Kendall Graveman).

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is expensive but will have the platoon edge in his matchup. He has to be considered in tournaments given his skills at a pretty meh position.

Second Base

Robinson Cano (SEA) is the top projected scorer at second base, but there’s not much separation between him, Josh Harrison (PIT) and Ian Kinsler (LAA). Of that group, we prefer a slightly more expensive Cano in cash games on DK. Cano has a matchup against Kendall Graveman, who struggles to miss bats (sub 16% K rates over the last few seasons). Kinsler is $800 cheaper on FD and represents a viable cash game target on that site as a road leadoff hitter.

If you need a cheaper target, Jonathan Villar (MIL) is just $2,400 on FD. We have Villar projected to hit seventh, but we’ve also seen him hit leadoff and fifth this week against RHP. Nonetheless, he already rates as our best per dollar value at the position on FD where no one stands out in projection. He’s also viable on DK where he’s $3,000.  

Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) can be used as part of Mets stacks on DK where the price tag is decent ($3,400).

Third Base

Kyle Seager (SEA) carries the top projection in the hot corner. He’s a fine target on both sites as he’ll have the platoon edge against Graveman. Seager has generated a .208 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.

Seager is our best per dollar target at the position and he’s a slightly negative value on both sites. Slightly behind him in projection are Travis Shaw (MIL) and Matt Chapman (OAK). Chapman will move slightly ahead of Seager in projection if he hits second against a LHP, which he did in an NL park this week. These two will also have the platoon edge in their respective matchups and have similar power baselines to Seager’s. Without much separation in price on DK, they represent viable alternatives in all formats. On FD, we prefer slotting in the cheaper Seager.

Evan Longoria (SF) and Todd Frazier (NYM) are additional tournament plays that can be considered. Longoria in particular should be a low owned target given the slow start as a brand new member of the Giants and he’ll carry the platoon edge in his matchup.

Shortstop

Corey Seager (LAD) is the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Seager has generated a .379 wOBA and .205 ISO vs. RHP since 2016 and is regarded as one of the better hitting shortstops in the league. He’s a good option in a condensed slate.

If you’re not paying for Seager, you’re using Marcus Semien (OAK) in cash games. Semien is $1k cheaper than Seager on DK and Semien isn’t very far behind in projection. He’ll leadoff with the platoon edge, and we have a .198 ISO baseline for him in this split.

Your decision at shortstop is pretty binary tonight with Seager and Semien carrying most of the attention at an otherwise uneventful position. Jean Segura (SEA), Andrelton Simmons (LAA) and Amed Rosario (NYM) can be used as part of stacks but none of those targets should be considered in cash games.

Outfield

Mike Trout (LAA) represents the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of position. Trout is a part of all of our top optimals on both sites. Trout is the best hitter in all of baseball and he gets a matchup against Jake Junis, who posted a sub 20% K rate in 20 appearances (16 starts) last season. Junis is decent, but that’s not going to stop us from rostering Trout. Deploy him in all formats with confidence.

The next best value targets after Trout on DK are Austin Jackson (SF) and Jose Pirela (SD). Granted, those two are leadoff hitters and will have the platoon edge in their respective matchups but those are names you usually don’t see us write about in larger slates.

If you have the salary to make it work, we prefer taking the higher raw projection and upside with Michael Conforto (NYM) and Yasiel Puig (LAD). The latter is affordable on FD ($3,000) and he’s a big part of optimals on that site. Chris Taylor (LAD) is just $2,700 on FD, which is a good price tag to attack for a leadoff hitter with event upside. Andrew McCutchen (PIT) is another target with a higher projection than Jackson and Pirela that we like but will come with a higher price tag on DK as well. The latter isn’t overly difficult to fit on FD despite what feels like an appropriate price tag. Khris Davis (OAK) is hovering a similar price tag on FD and has plenty of power upside. We like him in tournaments.

Additional options to consider in tournaments are Gregory Polanco (PIT) (29% HHR to begin the season with five home runs to show for it) and Ryan Braun (MIL) (just $2,800 on FD).

Stacks

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers don’t have the highest implied total on the slate but they rank as our top stack with one of the deeper and more skilled offenses on the slate. Taijuan Walker is fly ball prone and while Dodger Stadium isn’t always conducive to power outbursts, it’s one of the better hitting conditions on a small slate with a lot of cold environments.   

Tier Two

 

2) Oakland Athletics
3) Los Angeles Angels

The Athletics profile well as a power-dependent offense against Marco Gonzales who most projection systems have around 1.40 HR/9 allowed this season. The environment isn’t great for power but on this slate with mostly great pitching environments it’s a relatively neutral or slightly above average offensive environment. The Angels have the highest implied total on the slate and by a decent margin but the weather looks awful in Kansas City with temperatures in the 30s and 40s and precipitation in the forecast. Despite the stronger implied total we have that environment suppressing power which keep the Fantasy projections in check a bit.

Tier Three

4) Pittsburgh Pirates
5) Milwaukee Brewers
6) Seattle Mariners
7) New York Mets

The Pirates look like a strong contrarian stack on this slate. They’re in the best weather with temperatures projected in the high 70s and likely the roof open. The Marlins young RHP Trevor Richards has good stuff but has allowed a 36.7 percent hard hit rate through his first few starts and the Pirates lineup sets up a bit better against RHP with Polanco/Dickerson/Bell all better against RHP.

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