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April 22 MLB DFS: Pocket Aces
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Welcome to April 22 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 22 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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  • 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 22 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Corey Kluber (CLE) represents the top projected scorer at the starting pitcher position. Kluber has made four starts this season, and the only blemish we can point out is some reduced velocity (92.6 MPH last season, 91.3 MPH this season) that has likely dinged his K rate… nah. He’s still generated a 30.3% K rate this season, and when that velocity returns we’re talking about K rate upside in the mid 30s (34% last season). His ERA predictors are calling for a sub 3 ERA once again. This dude is an animal. On top of the elite skills, the matchup is incredible for him today. The Orioles have been awful so far this season, generating a 72 wRC+ and striking out at the highest clip vs. RHP in the league (27.7%). They’re trying to get more LH by playing Luis Sardinas and Chance Sisco. Exactly. Kluber is pricey, and deservingly so. He’s admittedly an easier fit on DK despite carrying a nearly $13k price tag.

While Kluber deserves to be in a tier all by himself today, there are some strong challengers behind him. In particular, Luis Severino (NYY) and Lance McCullers (HOU).

Severino projects a smidge lower than McCullers despite carrying largely the same IRTA, being a slightly higher favorite and in general carrying similar K skills. This can be explained by their opposing matchups. Severino gets a tougher test against a Blue Jays team that’s ranked fourth in wRC+ vs. RHP early on but are striking out nearly a quarter of their plate appearances. We think they’re less K prone than they’ve shown but also think their current lineups without Donaldson are less potent. Keep in mind we’re still talking about small samples around the league with teams playing  ~20 games so far. We think Severino is the tournament play of the group.

McCullers is just $8,800 on FD and has a matchup against the White Sox. The White Sox project to be one of the weakest offenses in the league, but so far they’re performing at a league average clip vs. RHP. We also think they’re going to strike out a bunch and so far they’re doing that, striking out ~25% of the time vs. RHP. McCullers is a -200 favorite on the road and he projects to generate the second most Ks in this slate behind Kluber with an IRTA of 3.3 runs. He’s your clear SP target in cash games on FD. He’s also your best alternative to Kluber on DK if you’d like to go a little bit heavier on the bats.

Pairing two of Kluber, McCullers and Severino on DK will leave you with an average of ~$3,300 remaining. It’s possible to go this route on that site, but you’ll have to surrender all of the big bats in this slate.

If you want to strike a balance, Jose Quintana (CHC), Miles Mikolas (STL), and Luis Castillo (CIN) have price tags in the $7ks and represent some of our next best per dollar values. One of these has a way more difficult context than the others, and that’s Quintana. The latter has also had a very difficult start to the season. His velocity is noticeably down and he’s allowing more hard contact, generating less Ks and the run prevention has deteriorated as a result. Most projection systems are still holding strong in their Quintana projections and peg him as an above average pitcher, which is probably the right thing to do since we’re still analyzing small samples (in this case, just three starts). He’s only viable in large field tournaments though.

Mikolas is perhaps the most stable option of that trio. He’s a -150 favorite at home with a 3.6 IRTA. That’s the lowest IRTA you’ll get after the studs. Mikolas’ K rate has the potential to be better in the near future, as he’s posted a 34.5% chase rate. We like him across all formats as a complement to one of the studs.

Castillo is the more electric of this group. So far this season he’s generated a 15.2% SwStr rate and a 33.8% chase rate. He’s the real deal when it comes to strike outs and he’s also generating a 50% GB rate (58.8% last season). He’s certainly closer to a four ERA pitcher and right now his ERA is near seven, in part because of a tilted 19% HR/FB rate and a strand rate hovering ~51%. The matchup against the Cardinals isn’t great but he’s pitching in a more favorable pitching environment (St. Louis) than his bandbox of a home park. He’s viable across all formats as well.

Nick Pivetta (PHI), Junior Guerra (MIL), Francisco Liriano (DET), Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), and Caleb Smith (MIA) are the last crop of pitchers that we think are viable in this slate but moreso in tournaments and mostly on DK as SP2s. Smith stands out the most because of price ($5,000) and a matchup against a Brewers’ offense that still has some swing and miss in it. Smith has generated a massive 28.2% K rate so far through three starts and it’s backed up by a a 13.2% SwStr rate. He’s also allowed 12 earned runs in 15 IP, which is good for an ERA near seven. His GB rate is at 28% and he’s allowing plenty of hard contact (39% HHR). It’ll be appealing to use Kluber, load up on offense and still roster a SP2 with legit K upside, but that’s a route we prefer in tournaments rather than cash games. After all, he has an IRTA of 5.2.

Catcher

Willson Contreras (CHC) and Gary Sanchez (NYY) represent the top projected scorers at the catcher position. Both are in upside contexts today. Contreras is on the road in the last game of a Coors Field trip for the Cubs and Sanchez will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. While we love their upside, they’re simply too difficult to fit in cash games. We prefer them in tournaments and that’s not a knock on them.

The clear cash game target at the position is Chris Iannetta (COL). Iannetta only trailes Contreras and Sanchez in projection and it’s by ~ half a Fantasy Point. He’s in Coors Field facing the struggling Jose Quintana. With the platoon edge, we’ve seen Iannetta hit second in the Rockies’ lineup for most of the season. We have a .200 ISO baseline for him vs. LHP. The difference between him and the other studs is that he’s priced differently (over $1k cheaper on DK).

Mike Zunino (SEA), James McCann (DET) and Wilson Ramos (TB) have plenty of power upside and affordable price tags on DK. We like them in tournaments and if you need a cheaper target than Iannetta in cash games these are your best targets after him.

First Base

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) carries the top projection at first base. He’s one of the better high end spends in this slate, but he’s only available on DK’s main slate.

While Rizzo is a very strong play, there’s cheaper options behind him that make him more of a luxury spend in cash games rather than feeling like you have to lock him in. On both sites, we have Carlos Santana (PHI) rating as a very strong play with low-end mid-tier prices. Santana will hit from the left side of the plate, and we have a .253 ISO baseline for him from that side. He’ll have the platoon edge vs. Trevor Williams, who’s been more susceptible vs. LHBs (.357 wOBA allowed) than RHBs (.287 wOBA allowed) since 2016.

After Santana we turn to site specific options rather quickly. On DK, Justin Bour (MIA) continues to be a good source of salary relief. He’s just $3,300 and will have the platoon edge in Miller Park. Game log watchers will probably think he’s cold of late since his production has been pretty meh over the last couple of games, but keep in mind that he’s generated a 31.7% HHR over the L15 days. We still think there’s plenty of value in his bat. Miguel Cabrera (DET) is another viable source of salary relief on DK where he’s sub $4k. He’s one of the worst pitchers in the entire slate (Eric Skoglund).

On FD, the cheap value at the position can be found in the MIN-TB game where Logan Morrison (MIN) and Brad Miller (TB) are sub $2,700. It’s not an ideal hitting environment (Tropicana Field) but they’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups against below average pitchers. Yonder Alonso (CLE) is another way of creating salary relief on that site. He’s in a better hitting environment (Camden Yards) and facing the luckiest pitcher in the history of baseball, Andrew Cashner. That was a slight exaggeration, but we continue to believe that Cashner is getting lucky with results.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) is another high end spend with the platoon edge and a strong projection. He’s viable in tournaments.

Second Base

Jose Altuve (HOU) is the top projected scorer at first base, but we think he’s a clear overspend in cash games. He’s a better tournament target on FD where we don’t have the CHC-COL and SEA-TEX in the slate. Javier Baez (CHC) is tied in projection with Altuve on DK. He’s been scorching hot of late, posting gaudy production backed up by a 40% HHR over the L15 days. You’re unlikely to get him at low ownership in Coors Field but he remains a viable tournament target.

Jurickson Profar (TEX) is an important source of salary relief on DK. He’s just $2,700 and against RHP he’s been hitting second. We’re emphasizing at least one ace SP on DK, and there are other big bats that we’d like to pursue elsewhere. It’s not that we love him as an individual player but he fits what we’re trying to do in this slate.

On FD, Jason Kipnis (CLE) is clearly the top value and it’s not particularly close. The thing we have going for us on that site is that McCullers is clearly underpriced relative to the other ace pitchers, so we can afford to spend a little more at shallow positions. Kipnis feels like one of those plays. He’s also in play on DK where he’s sub $4k and you have the ability to play Profar at SS. The other route on FD is paying a little more for Whit Merrifield (KC), but every dollar will count on that site. Merrifield should hit no worse than second with the platoon edge on the road.

Perhaps we could get some salary relief on FD if Orlando Arcia sits once again. We saw Eric Sogard (MIL) fill in last night and he’s just $2k. Sogard isn’t a good hitter and there’s not much if any upside to him but a minimum price tag is enticing if he can simply crack the lineup.

Brian Dozier (MIN) is another high end spend at the position that should be considered on FD. He’ll have an above average matchup and he’s on the road hitting leadoff.

Third Base

Kris Bryant (CHC) is clearly the top projected scorer in the hot corner. He’s in Coors Field facing German Marquez, who has reverse splits tendencies. Marquez has allowed a massive .249 ISO to RHBs since 2016. This is a great matchup for Bryant. The price tag is appropriate, but it’s still possible to fit him on DK.

There’s not much else we love at the position, so we’d like to fit Bryant in cash games on DK. Your best alternatives are an appropriately priced Jose Ramirez (CLE). If you need salary relief, Jaimer Candelario (DET) and Adrian Beltre (TEX) are adequate targets.

Speaking of Jose Ramirez (CLE), he’s the top projected scorer at the position on FD were Bryant isn’t available in the main slate. We do like the matchup against lucky Andrew Cashner, but you’re having to pay a big price tag ($4,300) for him. The next best option is Miguel Sano (MIN), who’s $3,600. That saves you $700 on that site, which is a big deal. Sano isn’t in a good hitting environment but Yonny Chirinos is at best a back of the rotation arm and the Rays’ bullpen is below average. We’ll take his power upside in cash games.

The best source of salary relief at the position on FD might be Brian Anderson (MIA), who’s in Miller Park. We’re not projecting Anderson to be very good, so this feels like a very underwhelming play.

In tournaments, we’re fond of Nolan Arenado (COL) in Coors Field. Jose Quintana will turn it around at some point, but he’s been very bad to start the season and it’s backed up by a loss in velocity, which can be very impactful in most cases.

Shortstop

Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Carlos Correa (HOU) are the high end spends at the position to pursue in tournaments on DK with by far the top projections at the position. In fact, on FD they’re squarely in play in cash games. Our next highest projected shortstop on FD is Manny Machado (BAL), who’s nearly $5k in a matchup vs. Corey Kluber and a cheap Orlando Arcia (MIL), who’s dealing with an ankle issue. The gap in projection between Lindor/Correa and the next highest projected scorers on that site is ~4 Fantasy Points.

Arcia is the best source of salary relief at the position, so if he’s in the lineup he can be considered given how barren the position is after the studs.

On DK, Jean Segura (SEA) and Jurickson Profar (TEX) are cheap and in one of the better hitting environments in this slate. We recommend playing one or both of these salary relief options in cash games on that site.

Addison Russell (CHC) is sub $4k on DK and the context alone puts him in our tournament radar.

Outfield

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) is facing a LHP in Yankee Stadium. You know where we’re going with this. Stanton is the top projected scorer on the hitting side regardless of position. The southpaw is Jaime Garcia. The latter isn’t an awful pitcher but he’s allowed a .181 ISO to RHBs since 2016. Stanton has an otherworldly .416 ISO baseline in our projections vs. LHP. We know he’s gotten off to a rocky start this season, but it’s tough not to love him in all formats in this spot. Stanton might be a more important play on FD where the slate doesn’t offer Coors, but you should be pursuing him on both sites.

The value conversation in the OF is a bit site dependent in this slate. On DK, Albert Almora Jr. (CHC) and Denard Span (TB) are important salary relief options at the position. If Almora Jr. is in the lineup vs. a RHP, we expect him to be in the leadoff spot. He’s just $3,200 on DK which continues to be way too cheap for this context. Span has the platoon edge against Phil Hughes albeit in a terrible hitting environment. Stil, he’s just $2,800 on DK and he fits the slate. Derek Dietrich (MIA), Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara (TEX) and Domingo Santana (MIL) are other cheap targets at the position that project well on DK.

On FD, Ryan Braun (MIL) is $3,200 and will have the platoon edge in Miller Park. He projects as our second best value on that site after Stanton. Derek Dietrich (MIA) is also cheap on that site and he leads off vs. RHP. Jay Bruce (NYM) is $3k and will face Mike Foltynewicz, who notoriously struggles with LHBs. It’s unlikely that you’ll have the room to spend if you’re going after Stanton, but Michael Conforto (NYM) and Lorenzo Cain (MIL) are also strong targets in the mid-tier if you’re looking for more balance. 

It’s unlikely that Aaron Judge (NYY) goes overlooked vs. a LHP in Yankee Stadium but he’s another high end spend that makes sense in tournaments. 

Stacks

Tier One

1) Chicago Cubs

The Cubs deserve to be in a tier all by themselves today. They’re a road team in Coors Field, for starters. They also have a lineup full of players that can generate events with an IRTA that’s approaching 5.5 runs. It’s also not impossible to stack them alongside one ace pitcher on DK. We’re expecting them to be popular once again.

Tier Two

2) Milwaukee Brewers

3) New York Yankees

4) Houston Astros

5) Cleveland Indians

6) Colorado Rockies

This tier is a bit farther away from the Cubs but they all project closely to one another. They’re all in strong spots. The Brewers are facing Caleb Smith and a below average pen. The Yankees’ middle of the lineup gets a LHP in Yankee Stadium. The Astros are facing a young SP backed up by one of the worst bullpens in the league. The Indians are facing Andrew Cashner. The Rockies draw the struggling Jose Quintana. Pick your poison – they’re all viable offenses to attack in tournaments and you’ll likely end up with some pieces from these teams in cash games.

Tier Three

7) Philadelphia Phillies

8) New York Mets

9) Texas Rangers

10) Seattle Mariners

Like tier two, these offenses all project closely. When that’s the case, we’ll default to price tags. Of this bunch, the Rangers and Mariners have the best price tags and will be part of a game with a total of at least 10 runs, which is by far the highest of this tier.

Additional tournament stack:

Tampa Bay Rays: Very cheap offense facing Phil Hughes. The latter has seen his last two seasons cut short by injury, but he was also awful in those seasons, posting ERAs close to six with very underwhelming K rates.

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