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April 18 MLB DFS: Hakuna Machado
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Welcome to April 18 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 17 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
00:44 Starting Pitcher
09:15  Catcher
12:24 First Base
14:31 Second Base
17:21 Third Base
23:35 Shortstop
25:04 Outfield
29:21 Stacks

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CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS WITH VALUE RATINGS CLICK HERE

  • 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.

April 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections

It’s a fun day at pitcher, but at the top we have a familiar, chalky name: Max Scherzer (WAS). Scherzer’s elite skill set, most notably his high baseline K%), vaults him to the top of our projections. We’re calling for 1.2 more strikeouts than for any other SP. He also has the lowest IRTA (3.3) and is one of the larger favorites (-163). On top of all this, Scherzer’s most valuable pitch last year was his slider (per 100 pitches), which is the pitch Atlanta struggled most against.

If you’re pivoting off of Scherzer in tournaments but still want someone who can match his upside, the obvious choice is Yu Darvish (TEX), who grabs a really nice park shift playing in Oakland and has a similar IRT against. Darvish struck out 8 or more batters in 10 of 17 starts last season.

There are a ton of interesting mid-tier SP values. In cash games on DK, Luis Severino (NYY) looks like the best pivot due to cost and K upside. The ballpark and Severino’s skill set introduces risk, but this is a really bad White Sox lineup, possibly without Todd Frazier. We haven’t adjusted many baselines yet so early in the season, but Severino has been phenomenal through two starts, posting a 35.4 K%.

A couple of names with a higher raw total projection are Zack Wheeler (NYM) and Michael Fulmer (DET). Our projections give a slight nod to Wheeler at home in a plus matchup against PHI, mostly because Vegas is kinder to him (IRTA is half a run lower, and his win probability is higher). However, Fulmer carries more upside. The Rays, as we’ve noted, are a high risk-reward offense that will K a ton. If Fulmer’s changeup is on (career 18.2 SwStr% on it), he could rack up the Ks.

A final name that is a lot of fun in tournaments is Shelby Miller (ARI). We can’t say he’s turned a corner as the batted ball issues from a year ago seem to be right there again (slightly FB oriented, huge 25.7 Hard-Soft%). However, a notable uptick in velocity gives him K rate upside in a favorable matchup against the Padres in Petco (great park shift). If the BABIP and HR/FB% gods are on his side, he could put up a big score.

On FD, Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) has a very cheap price tag. His IRT against of 3.6 and a -161 money line against a COL team getting a big negative park shift makes him an intriguing tournament option if you want to stack bats. The biggest issue here is if there’s enough K upside (projecting just 4.4) to make it worth it on this slate.

Catcher

The catcher position is straightforward in this full slate of games. Buster Posey (SF) carries the top projection at the position. He’s too expensive to consider in cash games on FD, but on DK it’s possible to fit him (assuming he returns from the concussion DL). However, if Jacob Realmuto (MIA) comes back to the second spot in the Marlins’ lineup, he’s easily the best point per dollar target at the position at $3.2k on DK. Realmuto is in play in cash games on FD (second best C value on that site), but…

On FD, Welington Castillo (BAL) is too cheap. Baltimore is losing the DH going into a NL park, but they’re facing Bronson Arroyo in a bandbox type park. Castillo doesn’t have the platoon edge, but the important thing to note is that he still carries power upside vs. RHP (.164 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) in a matchup that should yield the long ball. He’s our favorite value on FD. He’s pricey on DK but very much in play in tournaments given his plus context.

Salvador Perez (KC) (on DK), Jason Castro (MIN) (on DK – he has a matchup vs. Josh Tomlin, who’s been a disaster through two starts) and Victor Martinez (DET) (on FD) are viable site dependent alternatives in all formats.

First Base

Chris Davis (BAL) stands out to us the most on both sites from a cash game perspective. Davis strikes out a lot (33% K rate last season, 31% in 2015), which brings plenty of volatility, but the upside (.296 ISO vs. RHP since 2015) should be the focus here. Davis has a matchup vs. 40 year old Bronson Arroyo, who’s pitched 10 innings this season and has allowed four home runs. He doesn’t strike anyone out, and behind him is a subpar bullpen.

Davis is expensive enough on DK where you could convince yourself to look at alternatives. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is $300 more expensive but rates as our top hitter at first base in a matchup vs. Jimmy Nelson (.362 wOBA, .173 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015).

If looking for cheaper targets, Edwin Encarnacion (CLE), Brandon Belt (SF) and if he gets a good lineup spot, Greg Bird (NYY) are in play. These are all viable alternatives on FD as well though the cheap price tag on Davis makes him a standout on that site.

Justin Bour (MIA) (on DK) is a cheap target to consider in tournaments if you want to take a contrarian route at the position. Joey Votto (CIN) gets a matchup vs. the volatile Ubaldo Jimenez. He’s a viable pivot in tournaments as well.

Second Base

Brian Dozier (MIN) and Jonathan Villar (MIL) represent the top projected scorers at second base and viable spends on FD. Villar is $700 cheaper than Dozier on FD, making him the better point per dollar target.

On DK, we’re looking for sub $4k targets to complement expensive Orioles and Cubs at this position. Logan Forsythe (LAD) vs. an inexperienced LHP fits exactly what we’re looking for. Forsythe has generated a .366 wOBA and .244 ISO vs. LHP since 2014 (492 PAs).

Dee Gordon (MIA) is a great alternative. He’s just $100 more expensive than Forsythe on DK and carries plenty of speed upside if he gets on base. Both of these second basemen are leadoff hitters in their respective offenses.

Matt Carpenter (STL) and Ben Zobrist (CHC) are viable alternatives in cash games on FD where they’re just $3k.

Jonathan Schoop (BAL) won’t have a good lineup spot, but he carries plenty of power upside. Schoop is a good way of being contrarian in tournaments for an offense we’re high on in this slate. We prefer him on FD where he’s sub $3k.

Third Base

Manny Machado (BAL) vs. Bronson Arroyo. We could probably stop right there, but here’s a little more – Machado has generated a .379 wOBA and .239 ISO vs. RHP and Arroyo is terrible. It’s a 15 game slate, but Machado rates as a cash game lock as the top projected hitter regardless of position. This is particularly the case on FD where he’s breaking our model.

On DK, Mike Moustakas (KC) is just $3.2k. He’s a strong source of salary relief on that site. Moustakas has a matchup vs. Matt Cain, who’s allowed a massive .403 wOBA, .223 ISO to LHBs since 2015 and now faces a negative league shift going into an AL park.

Miguel Sano (MIN) has the power upside to compete with Machado at the position, but he’s probably not going to be as popular as Machado. The matchup vs. Josh Tomlin is great too, as Tomlin has allowed a .369 wOBA and .248 ISO to RHBs since 2015. Sano is viable in all formats, but we think he’s an exceptional pivot in tournaments.

Kris Bryant (CHC) is an upside threat to consider in tournaments as well. Cheaper targets to consider in tournaments include Justin Turner (LAD) and Jake Lamb (ARI).

Shortstop

Carlos Correa (HOU) carries the top projection at the shortstop position in a matchup vs. Ricky Nolasco (.181 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). Correa is a reachable target on FD where pricing is softer, but in general we’re trying to get salary relief at the position on both sites.

Brandon Crawford (SF) is cheap on both sites and will have the platoon edge in an AL park.

Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) is just $3.5k on DK and gets a matchup vs. Zach Eflin (5.02 ZiPS projected ERA).

Trevor Story (COL) and Addison Russell (CHC) are cheap on FD and carry power upside. We prefer Story in tournaments, while Russell is sub $3k on that site and is a part of the middle of the Cubs lineup. Russell is the most direct alternative to Brandon Crawford from a pricing perspective in cash games.

Outfield

The usual suspects, Bryce Harper (WSH) and Mike Trout (LAA), are the top projected outfielders in this slate. Harper’s matchup vs. Mike Foltynewicz (.361 wOBA, .220 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015) is phenomenal – he’s viable across all formats. Trout is a worthy spend in tournaments vs. Joe Musgrove, who was susceptible to power in his first stint in the league last season.

We’ll see how the outfield for the Orioles shakes out now that they’re losing the DH, but one of (or potentially both) Mark Trumbo or Seth Smith (BAL) will be in the lineup vs. Bronson Arroyo in a great hitter’s park and they’ll be in play across all formats. Adam Jones isn’t cheap anywhere but he’s a top five OF value on both sites.

Kyle Schwarber (CHC) will lead off vs. Jimmy Nelson, and weather in Chicago looks a bit more favorable for hitters (early wind forecast has the 10-11 MPH winds blowing out to LF and temperatures in the low 70s). We’re expecting the Cubs to draw a team total over five runs. Schwarber is another top outfielder that has viability in every format.

Billy Hamilton (CIN) has a strong matchup vs. Ubaldo Jimenez and carries a good price on both sites.

If looking for cheaper targets, Curtis Granderson (NYM) (sub $4k on DK), Steve Pearce (TOR), Kevin Pillar (really cheap on FD), Andrew Benintendi (BOS) (on DK), Matt Holliday (NYY) (on FD), David Peralta (ARI) (better for tournaments but cheap enough to consider on DK) and Yasiel Puig (LAD) and DK are all viable site dependent values with Pearce the exception (he’s cheap on both sites).

On such a large slate, there are some high upside, expensive OF options that are easy to overlook at first glance but merit tournament consideration. Nelson Cruz (SEA) versus a fly ball oriented LHP deserves a look in tournaments based off the HR upside, although our projection here is relatively tame simply relative to the many options in better environments on a large slate. Mookie Betts (BOS) has a R/R matchup against a quality SP in Marcus Stroman. His poor early season results involve a good deal of bad luck. While he’s hitting the ball on the ground too much, the Hard-Soft% is fine, and Betts’ impressive contact rate (no strikeouts) to go with a 12.2 BB% indicate a potentially massive season ahead.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Baltimore Orioles

An Orioles mini-stack in cash games is a great way to build. Despite losing the DH, they have immense upside in a great hitter’s park against a horrific starting pitcher in Bronson Arroyo, who is as homer prone as they come.

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

3) New York Mets

The Mets stack carries plenty of value as only Cespedes carries an even remotely high price tag. We’ve hit on their power upside against RHP multiple times thus far in the season, and now they’ll face Zach Eflin, who had a tasty combination of a super low K rate and low GB rat last season, leading to 1.71 HR/9 (Steamer projects 1.55).

Tier Three

4) Cleveland Indians

5) Houston Astros

6) Washington Nationals

The Astros are our favorite stack from this group. They’re an event oriented team facing Ricky Nolasco, who has been beat up through three starts, allowing five HRs already, thanks to a 32.7 Hard% and tiny 26.9 GB%.

Additional Tournament Stacks

-San Francisco Giants: Posey is hoping to return from the concussion DL tomorrow, bolstering the middle of this lineup that will already gain depth by using a DH in an AL park. They face a pitcher in Hammel who allows hard hit contact (31.4 Hard% thus far, consistently at 30 or above) and is backed up by a poor bullpen.

-Milwaukee Brewers: Event upside plays well in tournaments most night, and Brett Anderson can be prone to short outings, which would add to uncertainty/heighten upside.

-Toronto Blue Jays: Difficult start for them, but affordable price tags for a team better set up against LHP. Steamer projects opposing pitcher Brian Johnson for a 4.77 ERA and 1.22 HR/9. The Jays have a solid 4.6 IRT at home.