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August 12 MLB DFS: How Much Jose? Altuve
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August 12 MLB DFS: How Much Jose? Altuve

00:42 Starting Pitchers
10:59  Catchers
13:22 First Base
16:37 Second Base
18:47 Shortstops
21:17 Third Base
25:59 Outfield
30:13 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks




Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

Tier Two

2) David Price (BOS)

Tier Three

3) Yu Darvish (TEX)

4) Jonathan Gray (COL)

5) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

6) Dylan Bundy (BAL)

Tier Four

7) Chris Archer (TB)

8) Homer Bailey (CIN)

9) Tyler Skaggs (LAA)

Tier Five

10) Sean Manaea (OAK)

11) CC Sabathia (NYY)

12) Carlos Rodon (CHW)

13) Andrew Cashner (MIA)

14) Joe Musgrove (HOU)

Stephen Strasburg (WAS) is pretty clearly in a tier of his own due to a combination of skills (2.79 FIP. 30.9 K percentage), matchup (Atlanta is dead last in wRC+ against RHP), and Vegas (heaviest favorite, lowest implied run total against). As things stand now, it makes sense to anchor cash teams with Strasburg. There’s enough cap relief on each site to make it work and still have a solid lineup.

On DraftKings, that cap relief comes in the form of a second starting pitcher. We haven’t adapted as quickly as we should have to how dominant Dylan Bundy (BAL) has been as he quickly ascended from being an average reliever to a stud starting pitcher the more he got comfortable/built up his endurance. He has now posted xFIPs of 2.58, 2.50, 2.29, and 2.78 his last four starts, combining for 29 strikeouts in just 23.2 IP. Our model is still lukewarm on him since San Francisco isn’t a DFS friendly offense to pick on, but in a pitcher’s park against an NL team it makes sense to ride the hot streak, especially given how highly owned he will be at a very affordable price tag on DraftKings. If you wanted to pivot off Bundy or just go very cheap at starting pitcher on DraftKings, Carlos Carrasco (CLE) is also way too cheap at just $6,900. Carrasco has not been a stable pitcher recently but the combination of individual upside (great K and GB combination when he’s right) and a favorable Vegas line (-147, 3.7 IRT against) definitely merits a look at that price.

It’s a great slate for tournaments with a ton of high upside pitchers in play. David Price (BOS) is a great option as a cheaper pivot to Strasburg, and the higher risk/reward nature of his game is suited well for tournaments. Yu Darvish‘s (TEX) insane K rate (34.1 K percentage) gives him tournament worthy upside, and depending on line movement we could see using him in cash games on FanDuel. We always love Jonathan Gray (COL) outside of Coors Field, and especially in a plus matchup against the Phillies. Really anyone in the top four tiers has something giving them enough upside in tournaments, including Tyler Skaggs (LAA) who rounds out those tiers (bad outing last time out but was on a serious roll between Minors and first two MLB starts prior).

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

3) Yasmany Grandal (LAD)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

On FanDuel, the catcher position is a really good one to fill out last. You can find a break-even option at pretty much any price point, but no one clearly emerges from the rest of the pack. If paying up for Strasburg, you may need to full punt, in which case Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) is on our radar. If you went really cheap at pitching, you could pay up for Jonathan Lucroy (TEX) on either site, but he hits sxith at home. On DraftKings, we’d rather look to the best value at the position in Brian McCann (NYY) who is too cheap for a home matchup against a RHP, even a good one like Archer. Hitting sixth, Evan Gattis (HOU) doesn’t rate very well in our model, but in a plus hitter’s park he has number one catcher upside with the platoon edge against Francisco Liriano.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

4) David Ortiz (BOS)

5) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

While our model has some favorites at first base, we’re a little bit more torn. If paying up (seems more viable on FanDuel), Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) makes more sense at a cheaper price than Votto. It’s an odd matchup because the park effects are great and Goldschmidt crushes LHP. On the flip side he’s facing our second ranked pitcher on a large slate, who has been a bit more susceptible to RH power this season. The best alternatives (check site specific pricing) appear to be Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) (Musgrove is a good K/BB guy but will give up power), Hanley Ramirez (BOS) (good way to get access to the slate high 5.7 run total for the Red Sox), and Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) (Nova has horrific splits against LHBs, but you’re taking a step down in terms of team/park upside).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

3) Rougned Odor (TEX) (if third)

4) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

5) Logan Forsythe (TB)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is a fine cash game spend given his ludicrous splits (.438 wOBA, .185 ISO against LHP since 2014), and Liriano’s struggles this season (5.23 FIP and is now in a tougher park and tougher league). In the mid-tier, our favorite option is Rougned Odor (TEX), if he hits third as he did last game. Odor has no plate discipline but is a powerful second baseman (.218 ISO) who will run a little bit. The Rangers have the second highest team total on the slate against Anibal Sanchez (has been better recently in spurts but is still very volatile start to start). If you’re looking to save money, Chase Utley (LAD) is likely your guy. You’re certainly looking at less skills upside, but a low cost route to a leadoff hitter in a good splits matchup. Ivan Nova has allowed a .367 wOBA to LHBs since 2014 (granted Yankee Stadium is responsible for some of this). DJ LeMahieu (COL) likely goes underowned in tournaments with Colorado outside of Coors, but he’ll hit second off against Jake Thompson who was shelled in his first MLB start.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Corey Seager (LAD)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Marcus Semien (OAK)

5) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

Carlos Correa (HOU) (platoon edge against Liriano in Toronto) and Corey Seager (LAD) (big power upside against RHP, and Ivan Nova allows power to LHBs) are essentially tied in our model. Both are fine option on FanDuel, but Correa is clearly the better option (and best of anyone at the position) on DraftKings for just $3,900. Alternatives at the position, price depending, include Marcus Semien (OAK) (love the power upside against southpaws) and Orlando Arcia (MIL) (lacks skills but lineup spot, speed, and park keep him in play as a cheap option).

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Nolan Arenado (COL)

3) Evan Longoria (TB)

4) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

5) Justin Turner (LAD)

Joe Musgrove has been great in his 11.1 IP at the MLB level (one start, one long relief appearance), highlighting (to an extreme) what we saw in the Minors: great K/BB ratio but fly ball riskiness. That gives Josh Donaldson (TOR) a ton of power upside, but the potential for him going down whiffing twice is also there, so Evan Longoria (TB) (great splits matchup, good park upgrade, BvP wonder) and Adrian Beltre (TEX) are viable pivots if priced cheaper. Over on FanDuel, Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is a near core play in cash if using Strasburg. As a nod to his career HR total, he’s priced at just $696, which is huge in what it lets you do elsewhere. It’s a horrible splits matchup, but hitting cleanup at home in his final game is good enough for almost free. Alex Bregman (HOU) has found his footing a little bit and is priced reasonably, while Nolan Arenado (COL) is a great GPP play.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mookie Betts (BOS) (health risk)

2) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

3) Carlos Gonzalez (COL) (health risk)

4) Ian Desmond (TEX)

5) Mike Trout (LAA)

6) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

7) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

8) George Springer (HOI)

9) Shin-Soo Choo (TEX)

10) Josh Reddick (LAD)

11) Ryan Braun (MIL)

12) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

13) Rajai Davis (CLE)

14) Starling Marte (PIT)

15) Jay Bruce (NYM)

In the outfield, our model really likes Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) due to his absurd individual splits (.436 wOBA, .351 ISO, 7.9 HR rate against LHP since 2014). He’s certainly usable in cash games, but it’s a good day to go the mid-tier route in the outfield. On FanDuel, there are a plethora of strong values in the $3,200 – $3,800 range. You’re getting discounts on top guys (Carlos Gonzalez (COL), Mike Trout (LAA)) or access to reasonably priced mid-tier options, particularly Billy Hamilton (CIN) who is a near core play given his recent success, slow moving price tag, and plus matchup (Jimmy Nelson allows a .361 wOBA and .190 ISO to LHBs). Another guy in that range is Josh Reddick (LAD) who is an industry wide value (more picking on Nova’s splits). At a similar price point, Michael Saunders (TOR) can be used on both sites. Musgrove had difficulties with LHBs in the Minors, and Saunders could hit cleanup with Bautista back on the DL. Rather than getting a discount on CarGo/Trout on DraftKings, you’re getting it on Ian Desmond (TEX). Neither site has a core cheap outfielder, but both have very usable options if needing cap relief in that third outfield spot (see cheat sheets for the site specific cap relief plays).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Texas Rangers

2) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

3) Colorado Rockies

4) Houston Astros

5) Washington Nationals

6) Los Angeles Dodgers

7) Oakland Athletics

8) Toronto Blue Jays

9) New York Mets

Not surprisingly, the two teams with run totals above 5 (and clearly so) represent our first tier of stacks. With a big drop off after that (no one else with a run total above 4.6), things are rather muddled in the second tier. It makes a lot of sense as a result to focus on where you think ownership percentages will be, since the overall chances of team success are similar (of course pricing value and event upside need to be accounted for as well).

The Oakland Athletics may be one of the better combinations of lower ownership with event upside (mostly power). They’ve got a few lefty specialists (Semien, Smolinski, Valencia, Davis), and none of them are terribly expensive.

The Washington Nationals may also get overlooked since they don’t possess many (if any) obvious site specific values, yet Mike Foltynewicz is susceptible to get crushed by LHBs and has yielded 5-plus ER in three of his past seven starts. The bullpen behind him is not of much help (eighth highest xFIP).

Contrarian Stack

-Tampa Bay Rays (Lots of good splits guys and huge park upgrade; Yankee Bullpen has been downgraded dramatically since the trade deadline; multiple Rays rate very well in recent well-hit rating; guaranteed nine innings on the road)

MLB Daily Analysis

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