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August 1 MLB DFS: Feeling Blue? Praise The Jays
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August 1 MLB DFS: Feeling Blue? Praise The Jays

01:12 Starting Pitchers
09:48 Catchers
10:50 First Base
13:03 Second Base
15:04 Shortstops
17:33 Third Base
20:00 Outfield
25:24 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 1 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Tier Two

2) Danny Salazar (CLE)

3) Danny Duffy (KC)

Tier Three

4) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

5) Chris Archer (TB) (trade risk)

Tier Four

6) Jarred Cosart (SD)

7) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)

It’s a difficult short slate because pricing is very efficient on both sides of the ball. We’ve got a lot of average to above average arms in play, and several of those that don’t qualify as such are pitching in parks that depress offense. Right off the bat the dilemma this creates is felt when making cash game roster decisions at starting pitcher.

The initial inclination is to lock in Stephen Strasburg (WAS) on a short slate and take the likely source of the most amount of points. We love Strasburg’s skills (3.12 xFIP, 30.9 K percentage, 2.9 hard minus soft hit rate) against a Diamondbacks offense that has been struggling recently (27th in wRC+ over the last 30 days with a high 23.5 K percentage). Even here there’s at least a little bit of a drawback as Strasburg is on the road in a favorable hitting environment. That’s just enough to keep him close enough to the pack where price becomes a serious consideration when setting cash game lineups.

As the clear number one, Strasburg is definitely cash viable, but as mentioned above, his high price tag keeps the tier two options equally as viable. In fact, the ability to mini-stack our clear cut top stack of the day (Blue Jays) if eschewing Strasburg, has us slightly leaning towards going a bit riskier with our SP1 in either Danny Salazar (CLE) or Danny Duffy (KC). Salazar’s 27.4 K percentage gives him upside to possibly match Strasburg, especially since the Twins are below average in wRC+ against RHP and at making contact in that split. Duffy meanwhile has a tough matchup as the Rays are third in wRC+ against LHP. The bad comes with plenty of good however as the Rays will swing and miss a bunch (23.8 K percentage against LHP) and this is a pitcher’s park. Duffy’s increased velocity this season has led to a breakout year and a high ceiling start to start thanks to a 27.2 K percentage. Win probability is the biggest tiebreaker between these two (favors Salazar).

As a complementary option to whichever top three starting pitcher you choose as your ace on DraftKings, there’s a couple of directions to look. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) is the safest and somewhat affordable (big drop off after the third tier and again after the fourth). We don’t have a total yet on this game, but Hendricks is a large favorite (-180), and the Marlins have been getting very right hand heavy recently. Hendricks has allowed just a .293 wOBA and .096 ISO to RHBs since 2014. If you’re using Strasburg and still want to mini-stack Blue Jays, Jarred Cosart (SD) at a punt price comes into play. It’s a big drop off in pitching upside, and you’re risking a guy who has walked more than he’s struck out through four starts (5.95 ERA). On the plus side, Cosart is coming off his best start, walking just one batter and boasting a gaudy 71.4 GB rate. The Brewers have been throwing out some absolutely horrific lineups recently. If that’s the case, we could see a good start from a run prevention standpoint with the Brewers swing and miss ways (26.1 K percentage against RHP is highest in league) leading to just enough Ks for Cosart to be valuable.

The three names we’re looking at most in tournaments are Chris Archer (TB) (keep an eye on trade rumors; number one overall SP upside at home against a pretty meek lineup), Jimmy Nelson (MIL) (huge positive park shift and a matchup that has somehow gotten better due to recent trades despite rating as an elite one all season long), and Jose Berrios (MIN) (don’t like the matchup but has been crushing AAA, generating 26 Ks over his last three starts).

Catcher Rankings

1) Brian McCann (NYY)

2) Willson Contreras (CHC)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) (trade risk)

4) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

5) Russell Martin (TOR)

6) Travis d’Arnaud (NYM)

Not a single catcher ranks inside our top 40 hitters overall, which, on a short game slate, tells you all you need to know about the lack of top options. Brian McCann (NYY) is the number one guy and likely best spend if you are paying up in cash games (hits for power against RHP, Verrett allows power to LHBs). Our ranked options don’t have much of a gap between them, however, and it’s best to go cheap here in cash games. Right now the obvious way to do that is with Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) given CC Sabathia‘s splits against RHBs since 2014 (.355 wOBA, .173 ISO allowed).

First Base Rankings

1) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

4) Carlos Santana (CLE)

5) Wil Myers (SD)

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is one of the best expensive hitters to spend on if current starting pitchers hold. Rookie RHP Joe Musgrove is slated to make his MLB debut against the Blue Jays, and he’s had a tough time limiting power in his first go-around at AAA this season (1.22 HR/9), leading to a 3.81 ERA and 4.01 FIP. The K/BB ratios are good, but the power weakness is not a good one to have against this Blue Jays team.

Second Base Rankings

1) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

2) Jose Altuve (TOR)

3) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

4) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

5) Ryan Schimpf (SD)

The best industry wide value is Ryan Schimpf (SD) if he has a good lineup spot. Schimpf will K quite a bit but has carried over his big power numbers from the Minors (.373 ISO at AAA) to the MLB level so far (.343 ISO). Obviously that type of production won’t last, but it doesn’t need to for him to be a good play at his current price point, especially in a matchup against Jimmy Nelson (.356 wOBA, .189 ISO allowed to LHBs). There are alternative options to Schimpf on each site. If Trea Turner (WAS) has a top of the order lineup spot, he’s got a good matchup against the wild Archie Bradley making him a fine pivot at the same price as Schimpf on DraftKings. A solid team total for the Nationals is expected, and Bradley’s wildness could put Turner on via a free pass, allowing him to utilize his speed. Over on FanDuel, the top options are underpriced in a vacuum, and Daniel Murphy (WAS) is a reasonable spend if punts emerge elsewhere or if you don’t pay all the way up for Strasburg.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

5) Jean Segura (ARI)

The top five options are all overpriced and all have at least some small drawback in their matchups. Carlos Correa (HOU) is the most cash viable of the bunch due to park/skillset, but even he is better off saved for tournaments. With a lack of mid-tier values, that leads you to simply punting the position. Alexi Amarista (SD) is a common punt on both sites, who has hit second and fifth the last two games. This is simply a play off Nelson’s splits and Amarista’s batting order/price combination, as he has a poor offensive skill set. There are alternatives on each site, with Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)/Shawn O’Malley (SEA) popping at sub-$3k on DraftKings, and Addison Russell (CHC) a much higher upside option for $600 on FanDuel.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Evan Longoria (TB)

4) Miguel Sano (MIN)

5) Jake Lamb (ARI)

Third base is a really tough position on this slate. A lack of mid-tier values on this slate forces you to choose between expensive options that are incredibly difficult to fit into cash game lineups or punt options that lack upside. This is true of several positions but magnified at third base. We’d like to pay up for Josh Donaldson (TOR) or Kris Bryant (CHC) if at all possible given their immense power upside. If you’re paying up for Strasburg though, you likely can afford just one big spend, which further complicates things. On the lower end of the price spectrum, another Padre LHB sticks out as a smart cheapie to utilize, assuming the lineup cooperates and has Brett Wallace (SD) slotted into the cleanup spot.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Jose Bautista (TOR)

3) Michael Saunders (TOR)

4) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) (where eligible)

6) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

7) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

8) Mookie Betts (BOS)

9) George Springer (HOU)

10) Franklin Gutierrez (if hitting second)

What you do in the outfield largely depends on if you pay up for Strasburg or not. Even if you do and just make one infield spend, you should be able to get exposure to a big Toronto bat in the outfield via Jose Bautista (TOR) or Michael Saunders (TOR). It might be nice to double up on them and even throw Nelson Cruz (SEA) in the mix (.437 wOBA, .306 ISO against LHP since 2014) if you’re spending a little bit less on starting pitching. As far as acceptable cap relief options, Ben Revere (WAS) is a strong candidate on both sites. Aside from just the control problems Archie Bradley has, he’s allowed a .351 overall wOBA to LHBs since 2014. Travis Jankowski (SD) is also okay at a similar price, but if you’re already using Padre cap relief options elsewhere, this is a pretty easy spot to diversify. Both sites provide a cheap Tampa Bay Ray outfielder as practically a pure punt with Steven Souza (TB) coming in at $2,700 on DraftKings and Brandon Guyer (TB) at $2,300 on FanDuel. We’ll be keeping an eye out for additional punts at the position. There are a couple of names we really like in tournaments: Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) and Miguel Sano (MIN). Both are big power bats facing pitchers who have been prone to the long ball in these specific splits.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

Tier Two

2) Washington Nationals

Tier Three

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Boston Red Sox

5) Cleveland Indians

If the projected Houston starter holds (Joe Musgrove), we really like fitting in anywhere from 2 to 4 Blue Jays into cash games given. Their power upside could have a dramatic effect on this particular slate.

Additional Stack

-San Diego Padres (they don’t crack our top five overall stacks since the ceiling here isn’t high, but when you consider the potential value out of their LHBs and how that nicely meshes with expensive starting pitching, a mini-stack here is reasonable in both tournaments and cash game formats)

MLB Daily Analysis

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