Welcome to April 18 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 18 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 18 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
- 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 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Cole is priced in a different stratosphere than the others and is arguably the most difficult to project. The Astros have gotten Cole to throw more of his off-speed stuff and breaking balls and decreased his fastball dependence and the results have been astonishing (46.8 K Rate, 17.5 swinging strike rate, and 2.23 FIP through three starts). He’s also had the benefit of facing a soft opening schedule with a struggling Texas offense twice and the Padres. He faces the Mariners who rank fourth in wRC+ against RHP and had a below average K Rate (20.7 percent) against RHP last season. The hefty price tag coupled with the poor matchup make Cole a below average target unless you project a monstrous step forward in the K Rate. As an example, we’d have to bump Cole’s K Rate baselines into the low 30’s in order to compete on a per dollar basis with the plays priced below him. While it’s possible Cole has transformed himself into a Corey Kluber type, we’re not quite ready to crown him. His really strong performance early on will also likely keep his ownership up in GPPs so this is a likely strict fade spot for us on a small slate.
Ray, Carrasco, and Maeda all project similarly to Cole and come at cheaper price points. Our cash game exposure is likely kept between this group of starters. Carrasco is the most consistent option on a start-to-start basis as he doesn’t deal with command issues that plague Ray on occasion or the innings limitations that Maeda has. Carrasco also has one of the best umpires for SP on the slate with Eric Cooper behind the plate. While Carrasco has a bit safer baseline performance, both Maeda and Ray have better matchups. The Twins rank fifth in wRC+ against RHP since the start of last season with a slightly average K Rate while the Padres rank 28th in wRC+ during that span against RHP with the second highest K Rate, and the Giants rank 30th in wRC+ against LHP with a below average K Rate. DraftKings is asking a slightly higher price tag for Carrasco as a result which has our projections slightly favoring Ray-Maeda as the combination. Frankly, we’re comfortable with any combination of the three. The story is similar on FanDuel where all three are tightly bunched as values.
The slate does have some value options to consider in GPPs. Tyson Ross (SD) is back working ahead of hitters and using his slider-sinker combo to generate tons of ground balls. He’s been vulnerable to LHBs and the Dodgers best bats are left-handed but they don’t have the depth to really load up on them. Ross is just $5,000 on DraftKings. Steven Matz (NYM) has been able to generate strikeouts early in the season but the command has been erratic but he’s cheap. Brandon McCarthy (ATL) also fits this mold against a below average Phillies’ offense. We wouldn’t consider any of these options in cash games but they are viable in GPPs to load up on offense.
Avila has the better matchup and his team will carry the highest implied run total at 4.7 runs. He had a resurgent season last year (.183 ISO) but nearly all projection systems expect a move back into the .140-.150 ISO range this season. Nevertheless, Avila has been respectable against RHP (.171 ISO since 2015) and it’s his price that is most appealing. At $2,800 he gives you exposure to the Arizona offense while providing a significant amount of cap space.
Posey is a more exciting option, getting a park shift in his advantage and a meaningful platoon split. We don’t expect him to hit for a lot of power (.142 ISO last year), but he has been more powerful against LHP (.180 ISO since 2015) and perhaps more importantly comes with a better lineup spot and is guaranteed nine full innings of at-bats. He’s the highest projected scorer at the position (albeit by only half a point on DK) and at $3,700 is within reach in cash games, but not someone you have to prioritize.
Kurt Suzuki (ATL), Brian McCann (HOU), and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) make up a similarly valued trio right behind the top two options. McCann and Grandal are the superior skilled offensive candidates, but they are priced as such. McCann will get the contact heavy Mike Leake, but the park and lineup spot don’t make up for the elevated price tag relative to our other values. Grandal has inconsistently found himself in the fifth spot of the order and should be there again against a RHP. Tyson Ross has been encouraging through his first three starts, but Grandal has shown a lot of power versus RHP (.229 ISO since 2015).
A pair of stars float to the top at the first base position on Wednesday. Both Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) find themselves in the top three projected hitters on the entire slate and are viable cash game options.
Freeman will draw the better opposing arm in Vincent Velasquez, but he’s one with much volatility. It’s early but Velasquez has thrown fewer first pitch strikes, and is getting less swings outside the zone than ever before. Freeman is no stranger to hitter’s counts, and his patience has shown this year (25.7 BB% thus far). His skills against RHP speak for themselves, he’s the top value at the position.
Goldschmidt typically thrusts himself into the conversation against LHP, but it’s easy to forget just how good he is against RHP as well. He comes at a slightly discounted price over Freeman and will give you exposure to a higher implied run total as well. Opponent Chris Stratton posted an excellent 7.4% difference in Hard%-Soft% last season, but thus far this year the number is 5X as large as he’s allowed 42.6% Hard% versus just 5.6% Soft%.
Logan Morrison (MIN) compares similarly as far as value goes. He’s just $2,200 on FanDuel and $3,000 on DraftKings, representing a steep drop from the prices of Freeman and Goldy. Morrison is taking advantage of a park upgrade with a visit to Puerto Rico, but the matchup with Carlos Carrasco is anything but enticing. Carrasco’s pitched a bit more to contact thus far this season but most of that we expect to get wiped away as the sample size increases. Nevertheless, the price tag and Morrison’s .227 ISO against RHP since 2015 make him a viable tournament pivot, or necessary value compliment on FanDuel.
Carlos Santana (PHI) will get to hit from the left side versus Brandon McCarthy. He’s been much more dangerous from that side of the plate in his career. Cody Bellinger (LAD) rates a bit behind, but carries a ton of upside against Tyson Ross who struggles when he can’t keep the ball on the ground (he’s doing so decently thus far).
Ketel Marte (ARI) arrives at the top of the second base value rankings. Marte has firmly entrenched himself in the second spot of the Arizona lineup and while he doesn’t provide any flashy upside, he comes at $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,400 on DraftKings. The price tag, the lack of depth and the fact that his team has the highest implied run total position him as a firm value for all game types. His teammate Daniel Descalso (ARI) is 2B eligible on DraftKings. Descalso has hit fourth or fifth in three of the team’s last four games, and we’re expecting him to slide back into the fifth spot against Stratton. At $2,500 the lineup spot might suffice, but Descalso has been serviceable against RHP as well (.151 ISO since 2015). We prefer either he or Marte for cash games.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) is the next best value available on both sites. Kipnis will also take advantage of the park shift to Hiram Bithron in Puerto Rico, but his matchup with Jose Berrios is not appealing. Berrios has been phenomenal this season, so we’re not eager to pick on him, but Kipnis comes with a good lineup spot and decent, yet declining, event upside.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is the best projected scorer at the position, but his price makes him a difficult fit in cash games. The Astros’ have the second highest implied run total on the slate at 4.5 runs, and Altuve is the most supremely gifted player at the position.
We mentioned Daniel Descalso (ARI) at the second base position, but he’s third base eligible on both sites. On FanDuel he’s the second best value, but is the bare minimum for $2,000. Not only does he come with a good lineup spot, but he’s posted a 36% Hard% in the last fifteen days. We’re dealing with small samples, but on a short slate with not a lot of offense, these count as small tiebreakers.
Anthony Rendon (WSH) rates slightly worse than Descalso on both sites, and he’ll come with the platoon edge on Steven Matz. In a small sample this year, Matz has struck out everyone, but also allowed the long ball. Rendon has posted a .379 wOBA and .196 ISO against LHP since 2015 and for $3,600 on FanDuel he’s the third best value.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) is the top value on FanDuel but for $3,900 and a matchup with Jose Berrios, we’d prefer to use him in tournaments. You can entertain both Evan Longoria (SF) and Alex Bregman (HOU) as potential cash game targets on DraftKings. Longo will get a nice park boost and the platoon edge on Robbie Ray. For just $3,000 he’ll provide a slightly better upside than Descalso for only $500 more.
Bregman would be a nice way to get exposure to the Astros’ offense, but again he’s much more expensive than Descalso and Longo. The price tag is out of range for cash games on FanDuel, but he’s within the realm of possibilities on DraftKings.
Trea Turner (WSH) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) are the top two consistent values on both FanDuel and DraftKings. Turner is the hitter dominating early optimals as he’ll be at the top of the Nats’ order against Steven Matz. The platoon edge has not meant much to Turner in his brief career, but largely this is about our ability to get a road leadoff hitter with lots of event upside.
Lindor will provide something similar, albeit against a much more difficult pitcher in Jose Berrios. Berrios is throwing first pitch strikes more often and getting more swings outside the zone, a poor recipe for offensive success. Lindor did homer in his return to Puerto Rico last night, and comes with plenty of event upside in his own right (projects at nearly 40 HR+SB) but for nearly the same price we’ll take the easier matchup.
Ketel Marte (ARI) has dual positional eligibility on DraftKings where he’s SS eligible. Both Corey Seager (LAD) and Carlos Correa (HOU) are priced similarly to Turner and Lindor on FanDuel, and either would represent a viable cash game pivot. Seager is a bit cheaper on DraftKings, but you’ll actually need to pay up for Correa and his matchup with Mike Leake there as he’s $5,100.
It doesn’t happen every day, but there are actually better values than Mike Trout (LAA) in the outfield. Well, at least on DraftKings. Trout is the top value on FanDuel as he remains the most absurd human being (maybe he’s human?) wearing a baseball uniform. There isn’t much left to say. He’s chasing less often, and destroying anything thrown in the zone. What do you do?
David Peralta (ARI), Austin Jackson (SF), Andrew McCutchen (SF), and AJ Pollock (ARI) all find themselves just behind, or in front of Trout as the best outfield values. They’ll all be participating in the same game, that with the highest total on the slate.
In the case of Peralta and Pollock, both are sporting excellent 15-day batted ball numbers, and as mentioned above Chris Stratton has majorly overperformed while allowing a ton of hard contact. They both carry mid-$3,000 price tags on FanDuel, where they are the 2nd and 3rd best values, but only Peralta stands out on DraftKings where he’s $3,600. He’s been fantastic against RHP since 2015, posting a .370 wOBA and .193 ISO. Peralta has lead off for each of the last four DBack’s games.
As for the Giant’s bats, we’ve docked Ray some on account of lower velocity and lack of control which only helps their park shift boost coupled with the platoon edge. Neither guy projects as an insane upside play, but 1st and 3rd road hitters at $3,600 and below on both sites make for great cash game plays.
Ender Inciarte (ATL) provides a lot of upside on the basepaths, and he’ll get to hit leadoff against the volatile Vincent Velasquez. He’s a top ten value on both sites, but we prefer him as a complementary piece to Freddie Freeman as a correlation play. Michael Brantley (CLE) is very cheap on both sites, though we’ve mentioned the tough matchup with Jose Berrios.
Jarrod Dyson (ARI) has been finding starts against RHP. He won’t come with a good lineup spot, but he comes with a lot of upside on the base paths and is a part of one of our top stacks on the slate.
1) Houston Astros
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
3) Cleveland Indians
The Astros slightly outpace the Diamondbacks in our overall projected points rankings, but the Diamondbacks filter through to more optimal lineups simply due to their price tags. The roof is expected to be open in Arizona again providing a nice hitting environment against Chris Stratton who is a pitch-to-contact guy that hasn’t been able to generate ground balls in a small sample this season. Stratton’s allowed a lot of hard contact (42.6 percent) and only generated a 6.4 percent soft contact rate through three starts. We expect the Diamondbacks will be chalky with the highest implied total on the slate.
Cleveland is an interesting tournament pivot as they face an electric young starter in Jose Berrios who is a DFS darling. Berrios has shown wider platoon splits early in his career and the Cleveland lineup can get LH heavy. They should come in at much lower ownership than the Diamondbacks or Astros.
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Washington Nationals
6) Atlanta Braves
7) Philadelphia Phillies
The Nationals are one of the more interesting contrarian stacks given Steven Matz pedigree as a prospect but also his struggles with the strike zone early in the season. The Braves-Phillies game features two below average bullpens with starters who historically don’t work deep. They’ll both likely come lower owned on a slate where their environment is one of the better ones for hitters.