Welcome to August 1 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 1 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the 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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01:01 Starting Pitcher
- 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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August 1 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Starting pitcher projections are condensed at the top of this slate and umpires are the primary reason why they’re so bunched. Rich Hill (LAD) is the most skilled DFS pitcher on the slate with a strong ability to rack up strikeouts and a favorable home park that aids run prevention. Hill faces a Brewers’ lineup that is deeper after the trade deadline but has just a 3.6 implied total in this matchup. Hill has been in great form of late with two earned runs or less in four of his last five and at least seven strikeouts in four of five as well. The one concern for Hill is he gets arguably the most difficult umpire for opposing starting pitchers in baseball with Alfonso Marquez. Given Hill’s inconsistent command and reliance on a big loopy curve ball for called strikes, Marquez is not who you want to see behind the plate. With Hill priced appropriately on both sites, we view him as a better tournament target.
Anibal Sanchez (ATL), Nick Tropeano (LAA), and Cole Hamels (CHC) all project closely to Hill. Tropeano and Hamels are getting the big umpire boost as they’ll have two of the more favorable umpires calling their games with Tropeano getting Bill Miller and Hamels getting Chris Guccione. Anibal Sanchez has pitched the best of the group this season with a solid 3.97 FIP and 23 percent K Rate. He’s historically been better against lefties but struggled with RH power which makes the matchup with the Marlins a particularly good one. The Marlins most threatening bats against RHP are power-oriented lefties and the lineup lacks RH power upside. Sanchez is priced up a bit on FanDuel but a strong SP1 on DraftKings.
Tropeano is a bit more of an unknown. He has a solid strikeout rate and we know a great umpire behind home plate but we don’t know the line, the total, or the opposing lineup as all of Tampa’s trades on deadline day have held things back. The price tag is solid on both sites which earns him consideration in all formats on a thin SP slate.
Cole Hamels (CHC) is also a bit of an unknown because he’s coming off such a dreadful series of starts with Texas (hasn’t allowed fewer than four earned runs and pitched more innings than runs allowed in a game since June 19th). The move to the NL along with simply any park shift out of Texas should help Hamels and we’ve improved his baselines as a result of the trade. PNC Park in particular is extremely tough on right handed power which is the bulk of Hamels struggles this season. The Pirates also aren’t an imposing matchup for LHP as they rank 17th in wRC+ with a league average K Rate. Like Tropeano, we know Hamels has a good umpire and we know he’s an affordable source of strikeouts, but he also brings severe blow up risk.
This is a difficult pitching slate with small projection differences. Ultimately lineups may move things further but the pitchers we feel most confident in skillswise are Anibal Sanchez and Rich Hill, but the cheap tags and solid umpires on Hamels and Tropeano make them acceptable alternatives.
Luke Weaver (STL) and Jake Junis (KC) are cheaper values on FanDuel that are viable tournament targets. They carry a lot of the same characteristics of the group above with solid strikeout rates but allow a lot of hard contact. Weaver faces a Rockies’ offense that ranks bottom five in wRC+ against RHP this season while Junis gets the White Sox who rank 16th but have the league’s third highest K Rate against RHP.
An ugly Wednesday slate leaves little to be desired at the catching position. With no strong values emerging, Salvador Perez (KC) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) are the best rated plays and top projected scorers at the position. Perez will draw right-hander Dylan Covey, in a positive park shift for the Royals moving to Guaranteed Rate Field. Covey, who has been better, but not great this season, has allowed at least 4 earned runs in six of his last seven starts. Add in the excellent batted ball data and lack of options at the position and you’ll quickly realize why Perez is in many of the early optimals.
Grandal occupies the others. He’ll get to swing from the left-side against Chase Anderson. The splits at play here neutralize each other a bit (Anderson better on lefties, Grandal better from left side), but with few options Grandal fills out lineups nicely. He’s posted a .251 ISO versus RHP since 2016, though we’ll have to see if the lineup spot holds with the addition of Brian Dozier.
Omar Narvaez (CHW) and Yadier Molina (STL) provide a bit of cap relief on DraftKings, with the former being only $3,400. You won’t need the cap relief on a slate where the top starting pitcher is priced at $9,600 – but Narvaez gives you the platoon edge and a positive batted ball delta in the last fifteen days.
If ownership consolidates on Perez and Grandal, J.T. Realmuto (MIA) would be a way to differentiate with a higher upside option in tournaments.
Lucas Duda (KC), Jose Abreu (CHW), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) are the top trio at the first base position on Wednesday. Duda and Abreu will square off in the highest total game of the day in Guaranteed Rate Field.
Duda’s provided a powerful spark versus RHP in the last three seasons (.244 ISO), but the real allure is a super cheap price tag and a positive park shift against Dylan Covey. He doesn’t find his way into many of the early optimals though, as it’s unnecessary to dip down to his tag.
Abreu and Freeman are in most of the early optimals. Abreu getting Jakob Junis, who has flashed some strikeout potential, but is allowing more than two home runs per nine and now gets a negative park shift. With an implied run total of 4.9 runs, the White Sox have the second highest team total on the slate – and Abreu will give you access for a middling price tag.
Freeman is the preferred spend, despite being slightly less valuable in our projections from a per dollar perspective. He comes with a positive hard hit delta, the platoon edge, and a team implied run total of 5.1 runs. Right-hander Pablo Lopez has not been “horrible” in five big league starts, but he’s also not an intimidating presence, as ZiPS projects rest of season around 5.5 K/9 and a 4.78 ERA. Freeman has posted a .397 wOBA and .263 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) fall next in line. Rizzo has embraced the leadoff role and will get the platoon edge on Nick Kingham. Kingham has been serviceable (4.32 xFIP), but he too has struggled with the long ball (1.95 HR/9) even while pitching half his games at PNC Park.
Max Muncy (LAD) is now 1B eligible on both sites and there isn’t much else to say about his play this season. He’ll get the platoon edge on Chase Anderson. Teammate Cody Bellinger (LAD), Jesus Aguilar (MIL), and a whole host of others rate similarly as potential tournament options as well.
Yoan Moncada (CHW) and Whit Merrifield (KC) are the top two values at second base by a landslide. The matchups have been quite intensely scrutinized, as they’ll draw Junis and Covey, respectively. Moncada offers more power upside than Merrifield (.196 ISO versus RHP since 2016), but both guys have the ability to swipe bags as well (Merrifield has 22 thus far).
Neither has inspiring batted ball data, but near identical price tags and projections make them the top two options for cash game consideration.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) falls in a similar tier of event upside, drawing an equally enticing matchup with Pablo Lopez – but he’s a bit more expensive on both sites. He’s posted a .198 ISO versus RHP in his young career. Javier Baez (CHC) provides perhaps more upside than any of those aforementioned options, but he’s priced even beyond Albies and has a bad park to deal with. Nevertheless, he’s a viable spend in tournaments on this slate.
We don’t know if Brian Dozier (LAD) will make his Dodger debut, or where he’ll hit in the lineup – but he’s potentially a worthwhile spend in a very deep Dodgers lineup. Jonathan Schoop (MIL) should get a similar treatment.
Sadly it is the case that Yolmer Sanchez (CHW) is the top value at the hot corner on Wednesday. There is nothing particularly appealing about Yolmer, but he’ll get the platoon edge and a good lineup spot against Junis and the horrible Royals pen to follow. He is popping in most of the early optimals on both sites.
On FanDuel you don’t need to make the decision to play Yolmer at third, as Manny Machado (LAD) is 3B eligible. Yet the price discrepancy, and our model’s preference for Mike Trout in optimals means that he doesn’t show up in most of the early ones. Still though, it’s a reasonable spend in tournaments as Machado draws Chase Anderson (.346 wOBA, .215 ISO allowed to RHB since 2016).
Max Muncy (LAD) has dual positional eligibility on DraftKings where he’s 3B eligible. He rates just ahead of Mike Moustakas (MIL) who unfortunately draws left on left with Rich Hill, and could potentially take a seat given the Brewers influx of starting infielders.
Nolan Arenado (COL) doesn’t draw the most compelling matchup with Luke Weaver but is arguably the best third baseman available on the slate. His skills (plus positive delta in batted ball data) even outside of Coors Field warrant some consideration for tournaments.
Adalberto Mondesi (KC) (you probably know him as Raul’s son) and Manny Machado (LAD) own the early optimals for FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively.
The former is just $2,800 on FanDuel and though he won’t come with an enticing lineup spot, the overall context (Covey, park upgrade, highest total on slate) is compelling enough. There is some small event upside present in his play, but rostering him is a function of what his price tag allows you to do at other positions
On DraftKings, you can take advantage of dual positional eligibility to roster Machado who is just $500 more than Mondesi. At just $4,800 he’s the top value at the position and projects more than 1.2 points more than any other player available at the spot. That leaves us not looking much beyond his presence.
Javier Baez (CHC), Paul DeJong (STL), and Trevor Story (COL) offer some potential high upside plays in tournaments. DeJong will be the lone member who draws the platoon advantage, and he’s hurt southpaws in his brief career (.254 ISO). The issue has always been the strikeout, which isn’t as concerning with Kyle Freeland and his 18.9% K% thus far.
Joc Pederson (LAD), Lorenzo Cain (MIL), and Avisail Garcia (CHW) make up an odd, but valuable trio on Wednesday. Cain and Pederson will square off against each other in Los Angeles, and despite facing two of the better starting pitchers on the slate their price tags and lineup spots make the some of the most appealing outfielders that consistently show up in early optimals. In the case of Pederson, he also brings strong batted ball data to the plate against Chase Anderson.
Garcia and teammate Daniel Palka (CHW) represent a few notable values. The pair draw Jakob Junis and the maligned Royals bullpen in their home park in Chicago. The pair both have middling price tags on DraftKings at $4,100 and $4,400 respectively, but we particularly like the price on Palka ($2,900 on FanDuel). He’s displayed a lot of power upside, albeit in a small sample size, against RHP since 2016 (.281 ISO). Even more from that game, Nick Delmonico (CHW) and new Royals outfielder Brett Phillips (KC) both rate well on FanDuel at $2,300 and $2,100 respectively. The pair of left-handed batters have both shown some power upside with the platoon edge.
On DraftKings, Whit Merrifield (KC) finds himself in a lot of the early optimals as dual positional eligibility allows you to roster him here, and Yoan Moncada at second base.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) is a frequent one off in early optimals as he’ll draw the platoon edge on Luke Weaver. The matchup is not super ideal, but Blackmon has good batted ball data and has punished RHP to the tune of a .406 wOBA and .276 ISO since 2016.
Of course, how could we forget Mike Trout (LAA)? Even in a move to the empty, offensive black hole of Tropicana Field – Trout rates as the top projected scorer on the slate. You won’t find him in any of the early DraftKings optimals, but our FanDuel optimals are spitting him out frequently (despite a $5,300 price tag). Ronald Acuna (ATL), Cody Bellinger (LAD), and Ryan Braun (MIL) fall just outside the other names as far as value goes, but help to round out the top ten of projected scorers at the position.
1) Chicago White Sox
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3) Kansas City Royals
4) Atlanta Braves
This is one of the least inspiring top stack sections we’ve had all season. These teams are bunched tightly and they all have stack scores that are more typical of third tier teams. The White Sox slightly edge out the rest of the group against Jake Junis and his issues limiting power. Junis is backed up by a bad bullpen and we expect the White Sox putrid offense won’t garner a ton of attention. They’re a fine target. The Royals should be in a similar spot to the White Sox though they’re an even less talented offense.
The Dodgers won’t be as popular as the Braves with the lower implied total and the Brewers strong bullpen but the Dodgers’ offense is loaded with talent to attack RHP.
The Braves are the offense we’re most confident in on this slate but we expect they’ll be the chalkiest. They’re less talented than the Dodgers but in a better offensive environment against a weaker pitching staff.
5) Milwaukee Brewers
6) Colorado Rockies
7) Chicago Cubs
The Brewers and Cubs are far more talented than the Rockies offense but the Rockies get better hitting conditions and get a weak St. Louis bullpen to attack if they can get to Weaver early. We like the Rockies as a contrarian stack on this slate.
The Cubs are also a strong contrarian stack with a deep offense and an ability to get LH heavy against Nick Kingham who has struggled mightily with LHBs this season.