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April 8 MLB DFS: For Whom the Bell Toles
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Welcome to April 8 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for April 6 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 8 Position Timestamps
02:34 Starting Pitcher
11:43 Catcher
15:32 First Base
18:11 Second Base
22:04 Third Base
25:20 Shortstop
27:10Outfield
33:14 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.

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April 8 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

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

It’s a very interesting day at the SP position.

Up top, Madison Bumgarner (SF) is the clear number one SP in a dream matchup against SD, netting him the lowest IRT against (2.9) and highest win probability (-210). It’s an awesome combination of floor and ceiling. The only issue here is price. On FD the loose pricing makes him viable, but not a must (some expensive bats we like). On DK, we prefer him in tournaments where you can take a shot on a cheap second SP alongside him. However, there’s no one we feel comfortable enough to do that with in cash games, and there is too much of a priority on certain offense to use Bumgarner with a second expensive SP.

That brings into play Clayton Kershaw (LAD) despite the fact that he’s pitching in (gasp) Coors Field. Both sites have priced Kershaw down accordingly, and he’s actually an excellent value. His overall skills trump the environment in our eyes. In his last three starts against the Rockies in COL (2014 and 2015 seasons) Kershaw has outings of 8 IP and 8 Ks, 5.2 IP and 5 Ks, and 7 IP and 7 Ks. He’s given up a combined 7 ER over those starts. We still have a high K expectation for Kershaw and high win probability. Using him gives you similar upside as Kershaw while still allowing you to afford bats, but the floor is lower due to environment.

The third SP in this top tier is Yu Darvish (TEX). He’s also an environment risk (at home in TEX), but the high K% baselines (around 28% against both handedness of hitters) still nestles him in between the elite studs and everyone else in our rankings.

Ideally you’d use one of the above three on the looser pricing FD where you get just one SP. On DK it’s possible to pair Kershaw and Darvish, but Kyle Hendricks (CHC) offers you a bit more cap relief as a second SP. We’ll continue to pick on a Brewers team we expect to K a ton this season, and Hendricks’ ability to keep the ball on the ground an neutralize hard contact (Hard% under 26% in three straight seasons) helps to mitigate the risk of a hitter’s park.

On FD, Dallas Keuchel (HOU) is priced cheaper than Hendricks. We’re expecting a bounce back season from him (unlucky BABIP and HR/FB rate, limited hard contact in the opener). He’s viable in tournaments, and could be stretched into a cash play if you really want to load up on bats.

On DK, it’s viable to go cheap in that second SP spot in tournaments. Chad Kuhl (PIT) (meh skill set but not horrendous, great home park, low IRT against) is a very cheap option.

If you want more upside out of that second SP on DK without spending a lot, look the way of Robert Gsellman (NYM). Our baselines may be low on him due to his MiLB K rate. However, he had a 22.7 K% in the bigs last year, and wouldn’t be the first Mets pitcher to see an uptick from his minor league numbers (deGrom). It’s a fairly neutral matchup in a good park with a low team total against. If you really wanted to go ham on bats or pay up for Bumgarner in cash games, you could make a case for Gsellman there.

Catcher

We welcome the first main slate with Coors Field tonight, and at the top of the catcher rankings is Yasmani Grandal (LAD). Grandal and the Dodgers will get a massive park shift in their favor and carry an implied run total of 5.2 runs at open. Unfortunately, the matchup isn’t particularly enticing against Jon Gray, but the macro environment is too much to pass up. He’s been hitting out of the seven spot, but that comes with less of a sting in Coors Field. Since 2014, Grandal has posted a .345 wOBA and .223 ISO against right-handers.

After Grandal the situation turns to our usual suspects of potential value. JT Realmuto (MIA) will hold one of the best lineup spots for the position against right-hander Robert Gsellman. The scoring environment doesn’t favor Realmuto (Marlins implied run total of 3.6), but there is value in his lineup spot. Willson Contreras (CHC), Stephen Vogt (OAK) and Jonathan Lucroy (TEX) are all viable options in tournaments where you might be pivoting away from expected high ownership on Grandal. The trio will all be exposed to great offensive hitting environments, with Contreras and Lucroy getting the better matchups against Tommy Milone and Kendall Graveman, respectively.

First Base

A star studded position is headlined by Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Paul Goldschmidt (ARI), and Adrian Gonzalez (LAD). Rizzo will not have the platoon edge against Tommy Milone, but that shouldn’t matter. He’s posted a .394 wOBA and .195 ISO against southpaws since 2014. Goldschmidt is the second highest projected scorer, and like Rizzo will likely come with less ownership than the Coors Field dwelling Gonzalez. Gonzalez gets the same huge park boost as Grandal and has been a pest to right-handers, posting a .369 wOBa and .218 ISO against them since 2014. If paying for one of the trio, it makes sense to side with Coors in cash games, but they all hold tournament viability.

If looking for some value at the position, Eric Thames (MIL) and Brandon Belt (SFG) fit the bill. Thames will draw a matchup with Kyle Hendricks, who has been apt at inducing soft contact but a premier lineup spot and great macro environment puts Thames in the conversation. Belt doesn’t get the macro environment, but the matchup with Jhoulys Chacin is a bit more friendly. Belt excels against right-handers (.368 wOBA, .205 ISO since 2014) and should move back to the 2nd spot of the order. He’s cash viable on both sites.

Carlos Santana (CLE) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) both found their way into the lineup last night against Shelby Miller despite the erasure of the DH when moving to Chase Field. The matchup with Zack Greinke is less appealing than others at the position, but the park upgrade and expected low ownership makes them potential tournament pivots with great upside.

Second Base

The obligatory Coors Field mention points us to Logan Forsythe (LAD) as a predictably valuable second baseman on this slate. Forsythe has hit third, fifth and sixth against right-handers early this season and the park shift forces his name into the conversation as our top second base value. Though Forsythe is a top value, it doesn’t speak to the price increase that he’s received moving to Coors Field (particularly on DK). On DraftKings, we instead might be focusing our attention on some cheaper second base option with multi-positional eligibility like Wilmer Flores (NYM). Flores has found himself in the fourth spot of the order against left-handers in the past two games and we fully expect to find him there again against Adam Conley. Flores has punished lefties since 2014, posting a .366 wOBA and .253 ISO. Though the Mets implied run total is below four runs, Flores is an excellent salary relief option viable in all formats.

Ben Zobrist (CHC) will be able to flip to the right side of the plate to face Tommy Milone. His priced has dipped to $2,900 on FanDuel and he comes with a great park shift in his favor and an excellent environment overall at Miller Park. Another Cub, Addison Russell (CHC) holds multi-positional eligibility on DraftKings and will draw the platoon edge against Tommy Milone.

Rougned Odor (TEX) and Jose Altuve (HOU) are still stupid cheap on FanDuel and are reasonable alternatives in cash games there.

Third Base

No surprise here, but Justin Turner (LAD) and Kris Bryant (CHC) headline the third base position. Turner gets the difficult Jon Gray, but he’s been more than competent against right-handed pitchers since 2014, posting a .399 wOBA and .214 ISO. Unlike some of the other Dodgers, Turner has seen his price increase, potentially making the position a spot to find some cost savings. Bryant won’t provide those savings, but will provide a great lineup spot and an excellent skillset against left-handed pitchers.

On both sites, that potential value can once again come in the form of Wilmer Flores (NYM). Flores is just $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,100 on DraftKings, providing a great cost savings for cash games when looking to grab Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner.

Maikel Franco (PHI) is $2,800 on FanDuel and pops as one of our best values in a matchup with Jeremy Guthrie. He’s not a necessity in cash games with Flores popping at $300 cheaper, but he’s an alternative with multiple home run upside.

Jake Lamb (ARI), Nolan Arenado (COL) and Joey Gallo (TEX) should all be considered as potential tournament pivots at the position.

Shortstop

Corey Seager (LAD) is the top shortstop play in Coors Field. In the face of redundancy, we’ll just point out Seager’s .411 wOBA and .233 ISO against right-handers since 2014.

Trea Turner (WSH) holds similar upside to Seager despite not playing in Coors Field. In just 73 games last season, he swiped 33 bases and has already stolen two bags in the season’s first three games. Aaron Nola is not particularly kind to right-handed batters, but Turner has enjoyed much success against righties in his small sample size (.398 wOBA and .241 ISO).

The two best sources of pure value at the position come in the form of Addison Russell (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG). Russell has been hitting fifth for the Cubs and will attempt to ridicule Tommy Milone (.342 wOBA, .165 ISO allowed to righties since 2014). He’s getting better by the day and posted a .343 wOBA and .245 ISO against southpaws in the second half of 2016. Crawford doesn’t get the luxury of the macro environment, but will hold the platoon edge on Jhoulys Chacin and comes at an absurdly low price.

Carlos Correa (HOU) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) both are potential pivots in any format on FanDuel, but are tournament options at their price tags on DraftKings.

Outfield

The outfield is headlined by the Dodgers trio, Andrew Toles (LAD), Joc Pederson (LAD), and Yasiel Puig (LAD) but is flanked in value by Texas Rangers, Nomar Mazara (TEX), Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) and a handful of others.

Toles is an easy fit in cash games and actually provides some salary relief though it might be a bit harder to fit one or both of Pederson and Puig.

The Rangers hold an implied run total of 4.8 runs and get a matchup with contact oriented Kendall Graveman in one of the better offensive environments on the night. Mazara is the more valuable of the two overall but they are both value options that will fill your quota of players that aren’t in Dodger blue.

Bryce Harper (WSH) projects as one of our top scoring outfielders in his matchup with Aaron Nola. Though he won’t have the luxury of duking it out in Colorado, his .234 ISO against right-handers since 2014 firmly puts him play.

Neither AJ Pollock (ARI) or George Springer (HOU) has seen their price tag move much in either direction this week. They are tournament pivots away from Coors Field.

If looking for some cheaper options at the position, Eric Thames (MIL), Mitch Haniger (SEA), and David Peralta (ARI) are all potential options. We touched on Thames in the first base section, but he holds a ton of power upside and will hold the platoon advantage against Kyle Hendricks. Haniger hits second for the Seattle Mariners and will get the luxury of facing Ricky Nolasco. He’s not a highly skilled hitter (ZiPS projects a .306 wOBA this season) but he’s just $3,300 on DraftKings and $2,000 on FanDuel. Peralta feasts on right-handers (.377 wOBa, .209 ISO since 2014) and should slide into the second spot against Trevor Bauer.

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Kyle Schwarber (CHC) both rate as positive values on both sites but might be better reserved for tournaments if fitting in LAD. It should also be noted that Kris Bryant (CHC), like Thames, holds OF eligibility on DK.

Stacks

Tier One

1) LA Dodgers

You want a mini-stack (2-3 batters) in cash games.

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

3) Texas Rangers

The Cubs are really intriguing in tournaments after letting us down last night. Once again they are on the road in a good hitting environment, but they face a worse SP in Tommy Milone. At the very least Milone allows the Cubs more power upside (1.29 HR/9 for his career despite spending most of his time in pitcher’s parks).

The Rangers have another good matchup against a subpar Oakland RHP, but Kendall Graveman does not yield as much hard contact as Alcantara (last night’s SP).

Tier Three

4) Washington Nationals

5) Colorado Rockies

6) Cleveland Indians

7) San Francisco Giants

This is a great spot for contrarian stacks:

-The Nationals get a park shift and have a very deep lineup that has three LHBs in the top four spots against RHP providing upside (Eaton, Harper, Murphy).

-With the price down on Kershaw, he’ll still be popular in Coors. One way to get leverage on that is through a Rockies stack. Things can get crazy in Coors, and you can get bailed out with a homer or two in a mini-stack or even with success against the bullpen, even if Kershaw pitches well. This is a better strategy on FD where pricing is fairer for the Rockies.

-In a bad park for hitting, the Giants will go overlooked. However, Jhoulys Chacin is coming off a disaster start in the opener (9 ER in 3.1 IP), and the bullpen behind him is subpar. The Giants are affordable on both sites.

Additional Tournament Stacks

-Miami Marlins: With DK’s dynamic pricing it’s a bit easier to justify contrarian stacks, like the Marlins. While Robert Gsellman is a strong breakout candidate, projections systems are lukewarm on him, and he likely won’t pitch deep. They actually rank as a top five value stack on DK and provide you with cap flexibility to stack LAD alongside it or to pay up for expensive pitching.

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