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April 30 MLB DFS Early Slate: Miggy & Me
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April 30 MLB DFS Early Slate: Miggy & Me

01:10 Starting Pitchers
03:57 Catchers
05:19 First Base
06:46 Second Base
08:37 Shortstop
10:21 Third Base
12:19 Outfield
15:14 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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April 30 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro-Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Chris Archer (TB)

Tier Two

2) Jacob deGrom (NYM)

3) John Lackey (CHC) – weather risk

Tier Three

4) Jaime Garcia (STL)

5) Jordan Zimmermann (DET)

6) Joe Ross (WAS)

The early slate features some pretty good starting pitching. Chris Archer (TB) sits atop our rankings despite a generally difficult matchup with the Blue Jays. Archer’s projected K Rate is really what drives the ranking. While we have a number of other starters with similar, or even better, expected run prevention; Archer’s projected K Rate is 9-10 percentage points higher than his peers. Runs allowed are approximately equal in value to strikeouts and we’re projecting Archer for almost two strikeouts more than his peers. He’ll have the platoon advantage on the bulk of the Blue Jays talented lineup and he has the benefit of pitching at home. The knock on Archer is the command has been shaky early in the season and he’ll have a very unfavorable umpire for pitchers behind home plate. If you’d prefer to eschew some of the volatility associated with Archer, there are solid secondary options. Jacob deGrom (NYM) and John Lackey (CHC) project similarly with strong expected run prevention but against contact-heavy opponents. Lackey’s the safer option of the two with a more favorable matchup, but deGrom’s skill advantage overcomes the gap in matchup. Weather may ultimately play the deciding factor as the early forecast in Chicago is dreadful.

The third tier has secondary cash game options. Jaime Garcia (STL) faces a righty-heavy Nationals lineup but a stronger projected K Rate has him ahead of Jordan Zimmermann (DET) in this tier. Zimmermann has been phenomenal early on but he’s not missing bats (15.2 K Rate, 6.8 swinging strike rate) and instead relying on tons of soft contact (22 percent hard hit rate, 18.3 percent soft hit rate). The Twins are very prone to striking out (23.3 percent K Rate against RHP), so the matchup should help Zimmermann’s K Rate bump forward. Joe Ross (WAS) is the wild card in the third tier. We noted on Thursday that the Cardinals will occasionally throw very right-handed lineups out there and a wide platoon splits guy like Rubby de la Rosa could potentially take advantage. Joe Ross is the same type of wide platoon splits guy that dominates righties but is susceptible for LHBs. If the Cardinals throw out a very right hand heavy lineup, Ross could project just as valuable as Zimmermann or Garcia and comes at a far cheaper price tag.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

3) Buster Posey (SF)

4) Jarrod Saltalamacchia (DET)

Victor Martinez (DET) is clearly your top catcher target on FanDuel. The Tigers have the highest implied run total on the slate and Martinez is a Top 10 hitter in our model for the early slate. On sites where Martinez isn’t catcher eligible, the pool is very shallow. Stephen Vogt (OAK) is the next best option. Chris Devenski is making an emergency start for the Astros and the projection systems are not kind to the minor league journeyman reliever. He’s been fine in relief in the big leagues this season but as a starter projects as below average and shouldn’t work deep into the game. Vogt isn’t a particularly great option overall (Top 40) but a more expensive Buster Posey (SF) is ranked right behind him and another catcher can’t be found for 30-40 spots.

First Base Rankings

1) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

4) Lucas Duda (NYM)

5) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

6) Steve Pearce (TB) – where eligible

Miguel Cabrera (DET) is the top overall hitter in our model for the early slate. Our model isn’t high on Tyler Duffey and the Twins bullpen behind him isn’t very good. Cabrera hits righties and lefties evenly so the platoon advantage isn’t a big deal. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) ranks right behind him in our model but is significantly more expensive on FanDuel and comes with weather risk. If the weather clears and you wanted to diversify exposure between the top two first base options, the price gap is narrower on DraftKings where Rizzo is more viable. We strongly recommend paying up at first base.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

3) Ian Kinsler (DET)

4) Logan Forsythe (TB)

5) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

6) Brian Dozier (MIN)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is atop our second base rankings but an unnecessary spend on this slate in cash games. The best cash game value is Ben Zobrist (CHC) but if weather renders him unavailable, Logan Forsythe (TB) and Ian Kinsler (DET) are fine options that are more expensive. If you need to shift down in salary, Jed Lowrie (OAK) is likely an available option. Kinsler cracks our Top 15, Forsythe our Top 25, and Lowrie our Top 35 in the overall hitter rankings.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Danny Santana (MIN) – where eligible

3) Javier Baez (CHC) – where eligible

4) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

Shortstop is a miserable position on this early slate. Carlos Correa (HOU) ranks as our top option and to his credit he’s inside our Top 10 overall hitters. The negative park shift and expensive price tag makes him someone we’d rather target in tournaments than cash games unless the Cubs game gets rained out and more value bats open up as a priority. On DraftKings, Danny Santana (MIN) remains shortstop eligible and free ($2,300). If he continues to lead off, he’s clearly the play. On FanDuel, the options are a bit tougher. Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) and Javier Baez (CHC) won’t come with appealing lineup spots but are parts of deep offenses that generate opportunities. They each have good enough skills to justify as value plays on this short slate.

Third Base Rankings

1) Evan Longoria (TB)

2) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

3) Matt Carpenter (STL)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) David Wright (NYM)

Evan Longoria (TB) is the top rated third basemen in our model and ranks inside our Top 20 hitters overall. Longoria has always been solid against LHP (.382 wOBA, .222 ISO since 2013) and he’s priced reasonably on both sites. He’s your primary target in cash games. Miguel Sano‘s (MIN) power plays well in tournaments and comes at a reasonable price tag where eligible. Matt Carpenter (STL) has a good chance at getting on base against Joe Ross but the power upside is limited against the extreme sinker-baller.

Outfield Rankings

1) J.D. Martinez (DET)

2) Bryce Harper (WAS)

3) Justin Upton (DET)

4) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

5) Michael Conforto (NYM)

6) Jason Heyward (CHC)

7) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

8) Josh Reddick (OAK)

9) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

10) George Springer (HOU)

11) Billy Burns (OAK)

12) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

13) Khris Davis (OAK) – if hitting cleanup

14) Jose Bautista (TOR)

15) Steve Pearce (TB) – where eligible

16) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

17) Brandon Guyer (TB)

18) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

19) Jeremy Hazelbaker (STL)

The outfield rankings feature a pair of Tigers at the top. J.D. Martinez (DET) is our primary target with an affordable price tag and a solid matchup against Tyler Duffey. Justin Upton (DET) ranks right behind Martinez but you could make a good case for any of the Mets outfielders as the options to pair Martinez with. Curtis Granderson (NYM), Michael Conforto (NYM), and Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) all crack our Top 20 hitters overall. With the Cubs outfielders a bit more expensive and facing weather concerns, you’ll likely focus most of your outfield exposure on the Tigers and Mets. Other spare parts that are relatively cheap and rank well in our model include: Khris Davis (OAK) and Steve Pearce (TB), but both are dependent on strong lineup spots.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Detroit Tigers

2) Chicago Cubs

3) New York Mets

Tier Two

4) Oakland Athletics

5) Tampa Bay Rays

The Tigers are clearly the top stack on this slate and we recommend stacking them in cash games. The Cubs rank next in line but have weather issues that may take them out of the picture entirely. The Mets are the next best option to supplement your Tigers with.

In tournaments, the Athletics are a really interesting contrarian stack against a reliever making an emergency start. They’re a great team to mini-stack alongside a chalkier option like the Cubs or the Tigers.