FNTSY SportsGrid RotoExperts
April 17 MLB DFS: Juan In A Million
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

April 17 MLB DFS: Juan In A Million


01:07 Starting Pitchers
10:06 Catchers/Weather Note (BAL-TEX)/Being Careful With Unconfirmed Lineups On Sundays
13:40 First Base
17:30 Second Base
20:46 Shortstop
23:13 Third Base
25:34 Outfield
31:33 Cash Game Roster Construction
32:41 Stacks


April 17 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

Weather Note: A high percentage chance of rain is projected all day in Texas. It definitely looks like a threat of a postponement. As a result, we didn’t include those hitters in our pro tip analysis/cheat sheets. If the forecast clears in the AM, we’ll cover these hitters in an alert and let you know where they rank at their respective positions. The teams do have team totals around 4.5-5.0.

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jon Lester (CHC)

2) Corey Kluber (CLE)

Tier Two

3) Michael Wacha (STL)

4) Juan Nicasio (PIT)

5) Patrick Corbin (ARI)

6) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

Tier Three

7) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

8) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

9) Jose Quintana (CHW)

10) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

11) Matt Moore (TB)

Jon Lester (CHC) gets the nod over Corey Kluber (CLE) as our top starting pitcher of the day as he’s the higher favorite (-230) and gets a very favorable home plate umpire for pitchers. That breaks the tie as the two are ranked very tightly in our model. Both are safe cash game targets, but neither are must plays.

The reason we’re okay not paying up for Lester and Kluber in cash games is the presence of several mid-tier values in good spots/possessing solid skills, which has the gap between our tier one and tier two pitchers much narrower than usual. The best values of the tier two group are Michael Wacha (STL) and Juan Nicasio (PIT). Wacha is the safer of the two as there’s more of a track record of success. Additionally, Vegas is on his side (-180 total, lowest opposing implied team total on the slate). Nicasio, however, is interesting given his upside at a lower cost. He’s actually only second to Corey Kluber in projected K rate given how right handed the Brewers lineup can be (has been a little more left handed lately) and the high K rates of several regulars (Domingo Santana, Chris Carter). Nicasio’s velocity gives him upside and getting away from Coors Field and into pitcher friendly PNC Park with Ray Searage as his pitching coach puts him in a spot to make good on his raw stuff. Patrick Corbin (ARI) is not far behind. He gets a really nice park shift pitching in Petco, has a favorable umpire, and faces a bad Padres lineup that has one of the lowest implied team totals on the slate. Gio Gonzalez (WAS) has a safe matchup, but we prefer the upside of Wacha/Nicasio/Corbin at cheaper price points. We’re primarily sticking in this tier for both cash games and tournaments, but if there are a couple of cheaper hitter values you like, it’s admittedly not difficult to use Lester in cash games on DraftKings, particularly if pairing with Nicasio who is very cheap there.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

2) Welington Castillo (ARI)

3) Buster Posey (SF)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Derek Norris (SD)

Victor Martinez (DET) is catcher eligible on FanDUel, and there’s a large gap between him and his peers. At an extremely affordable tag, he’s our clear cut favorite cash game option on that site. The Tigers are in a positive offensive environment facing a fly ball oriented pitcher, leaving Martinez cleaning up for a team with a healthy implied run total approaching 4.5. The values we’re targeting outside of Martinez are Welington Castillo (ARI) (could hit cleanup against LHP but following a night game could sit this one out) and Brian McCann (NYY) (should be in the lineup today; ISOs of .219 and .285 at home versus RHP with the Yankees; Iwakuma has a career 13.5 HR/FB rate).

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) David Ortiz (BOS)

4) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

5) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

We view Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) (.438 wOBA, .261 ISO against LHP since 2013) as the top play at the position against an average at best LHP in Robbie Erlin. Even with the negative park shift, there’s a gap between him and our 2-5 hitters, who all have above average matchups for teams with implied team totals over four. There is very little separation between that grouping in our model. Given the ability to go with value at starting pitching, we’re trying to squeeze in Goldschmidt (third ranked hitter overall in our model). If you’re unable to do so, feel free to cherry pick the cheaper options of the 2-5 ranked first baseman (Rizzo, Cabrera seem like the best priced; Cabrera is a similar value to Goldschmidt on DraftKings). Or, you can go with one of Matt Adams/Brandon Moss (STL) if hitting cleanup. They both possess power upside and would have the platoon edge on Jon Moscot who Steamer projects to allow 1.26 HR/9. Moscot made three short starts last year (totaling 11.2 IP) at the MLB level. A short outing would once again be great for the Cardinals hitters. Early on the Reds bullpen is meeting our expectations of them being terrible (5.76 xFIP (worst in league) and 1.85 HR/9 (third worst in league)).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dee Gordon (MIA)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

5) Robinson Cano (SEA)

We like sticking to the top three second basemen in cash games and using price to decide who to go with where. For example, Jose Altuve (HOU) is much more expensive than Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Dee Gordon (MIA) on FanDuel. As a result, we’re looking at the latter two as the best cash game values. However, on DraftKings, Altuve is priced much closer to Zobrist and is actually cheaper than Dee Gordon. On that particular site Altuve and Zobrist are the best options. Altuve leads off for an Astros team that has one of the highest team totals on the slate (nearing five). Zobrist also gives you exposure to a high team total (expected, not released yet) out of a prime lineup spot. Gordon falls a little behind on our priority list, but there’s still significant speed upside against a below average, GB oriented RHP, especially if AJ Pierzysnski is once against behind the dish for Atlanta (really bad at throwing out runners).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Corey Seager (LAD)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

5) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

It’s amazing to see the development of the shortstop position as the top three names on this list weren’t even on MLB rosters to begin the 2015 season. Carlos Correa‘s (HOU) combination of power and speed (ZiPS projects 24-22 HR-SB in 116 games) lands him the top spot on this list. Additionally, his team total and ballpark are more favorable than Seager/Lindor. Corey Seager (LAD) is the option to drop down to if you can’t afford Correa. The SF-LAD game has warm weather (low air density is good for hitting) and an unfavorable umpire for pitchers. We could see a bit more scoring here than Vegas anticipates, and Jeff Samardzija‘s struggles seem to have carried over from last season. He’s allowed a .329 wOBA to LHBs for his career, including a .357 mar last season.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4) Nolan Arenado (COL)

5) Todd Frazier (CHW)

Playing in a park that’s great for right-handed power and hitting second for a great lineup with a high team total, Josh Donaldson (TOR) is our clear number one third base option where affordable. He’s probably too expensive on FanDuel but can be used in all formats on DraftKings. Matt Carpenter (STL) is about as safe as you can get to at least score some points for a hitter. Between a leadoff spot (increases Pas) and his on base ability (.376 for his career) we rarely get a goose egg out of him. He’s a good way to get exposure to the Cardinals offense against another rookie RHP they are throwing out. Nolan Arenado (COL) is viable on DraftKings where we like his homerun upside at a very fair price (DK is overcorrecting for a tough matchup). However, the best value across the industry if unable to pay up at the position is Alex Rodriguez (NYY), who comes in well below the average cost of a roster spot on both FanDuel and DraftKings. He’s an even splits hitter facing an even splits pitcher, so we don’t care about the lack of platoon edge in a positive run scoring environment.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Mike Trout (LAA)

3) Jose Bautista (TOR)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

5) George Springer (HOU)

6) Mookie Betts (BOS)

7) Matt Holliday (STL)

8) Jason Heyward (CHC)

9) Justin Upton (DET)

10) Miguel Sano (MIN)

11) Rajai Davis (CLE)

12) JD Martinez (DET)

13) Jeremy Hazelbaker (STL)

14) Starling Marte (PIT)

15) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

16) Christian Yelich (MIA)

17) Michael Conforto (NYM)

18) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

With the ability to save on pitching, it’s possible to fit in one of Bryce Harper (WAS) or Mike Trout (LAA) into cash game lineups. They ranks as our top two overall hitters at any position, and we suggest getting exposure to at least one of them on DraftKings. Harper is more favorably priced on DK and Trout on FD. On FanDuel we’re a bit more apt to go the value route across all three outfield positions since you there’s a ton of relatively cheap upside in the mid-$3,000s. We’re looking at several sets of teammates at similar prices/in good matchups. The Tigers RHBs don’t hold the platoon edge, but both Justin Upton (DET) and JD Martinez (DET) carry significant power upside in Houston against Mike Fiers (just a 35.1 career GB rate). He’s allowed a lot of hard hit contact early, which is similar to how he started last season. The Cardinals outfielders continue to be a strong source of value. They’re underpriced in general but these matchups against below average, inexperience Cincinnati starters backed up by a terrible bullpen really make them easy cash game complements to the stud outfielders. The third set of values we’re loking at are the Astros outfielders, particularly George Springer (really nice price on FanDuel) and Colby Rasmus (really nice price on DraftKings). Finally, both Dexter Fowler (CHC) and Jason Heyward (CHC) remain in play at the top of a Cubs lineup we once against expect to hold a high team total.


Top Stacks

1) Toronto Blue Jays

2) Boston Red Sox (better for tournaments)

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Houston Astros

5) Washington Nationals

6) St. Louis Cardinals

7) Minnesota Twins

8) Los Angeles Angels

We’re not really stacking in cash games. If going the value route at a pitcher the day sets up where it’s not too difficult to simply fit in one of our ranked options, even several of our top plays and favorite values, across your lineups. Reserve mini-stacking or full stacking for tournaments, and break ties on individual values by choosing exposure to the teams that rank higher on our stack list.

Tournament Stacks

1) Detroit Tigers (combination of hitting environment, high team total, being on the road, and powerful hitters like Upton and JD Martinez who could go underowned because they lack the platoon edge give this stack significant upside)

2) Cleveland Indians (while it’s likely just an anomaly, we never mind going back to the well against a pitcher like Steven Matz coming off an extreme disaster start, especially since he has to face an American League team in their home park)

3) New York Yankees (Iwakuma is a solid overall pitcher, but when he goes bad he generally gives up power, and the Yankees have a plethora of LHBs that can take advantage of the short porch in right)

MLB Daily Analysis

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.