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August 16 MLB DFS: Snells Like Teen Spirit
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August 16 MLB DFS: Snells like Teen Spirit

00:43 Starting Pitchers
12:16  Catchers
15:36 First Base
19:11 Second Base
21:28 Shortstops
24:17 Third Base
26:15 Outfield
31:26 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 16 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

2) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

3) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

Tier Two

4) Blake Snell (TB)

5) Jason Hammel (CHC)

6) Justin Verlander (DET)

7) Michael Pineda (NYY)

Tier Three

8) Danny Duffy (KC)

9) Marco Estrada (TOR)

10) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

11) Jose Quintana (CHW)

12) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

13) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

Corey Kluber (CLE), Noah Syndergaard (NYM), and Kenta Maeda (LAD) lead off our first tier of rankings on a night with plenty of starting pitching options. Kluber draws the White Sox who rank 22nd in wRC+ against RHP with a league average K Rate. With cooler conditions in Cleveland (mid-70s), Vegas has instilled a 3.3 implied run total for the White Sox which is the lowest on the slate. Syndergaard faces an Arizona offense that ranks 26th in wRC+ with the fifth highest K Rate. The Diamondbacks lineups are very right-handed and exceptionally strikeout prone, providing big upside for Syndergarrd’s strikeout potential. The challenge with either Kluber or Syndergaard is their hefty price tags on a slate with a wide disparity in the hitting options and plenty of starting pitching depth. If paying all the way up, we view Kluber as a better cash game target and Syndergaard more suited for tournaments given the big park downgrade. The third member of the first tier is Kenta Maeda (LAD) who is a maddening pitcher to figure out. Maeda often breezes through the first few innings but his performance takes a huge hit the third time through the lineup. From pitches 1-25 (.548 OPS), 26-50 (.554 OPS), and 51-75 (.573 OPS), he’s dominant. Then pitches 75-100 his OPS allowed balloons to .976. The Phillies are an awesome matchup for efficiency and strikeouts as they rank 29th in wRC+ against RHP and have the 12th highest K Rate. Maeda’s ranking is on the strength of the matchup, which makes him a slightly uncomfortable play at higher price tags on a night with so much offense. He rates as a stronger cash game play for us on DraftKings than Syndergaard or Kluber due to the reduced price tag, but we admittedly wish he was a bit cheaper.

Blake Snell (TB) represents our favorite value target on both sites. We’ve attacked this Padres’ offense for the last two days with Steven Matz and Drew Smyly and we don’t intend to stop with Snell. Snell’s a similarly talented starter as those two but has struggled with command a bit this season. The strikeouts are consistently there and the Padres’ lineup projects to have very few patient bats. Snell is a big favorite (-170) with a 3.5 implied run total against (second lowest on the slate). With Snell still 20 or more innings below his 2015 workload, we’re not yet at the point where his innings are going to be managed and we project Snell for a Top Five K Rate on this slate. He’s affordable on both sites and the starter we’re most interested in building around. The concern on DraftKings is who you pair with Snell. You can go up to Maeda or Kluber, or embrace more volatility and drop down to Michael Pineda (NYY) or Jeff Samardzija (SF). Pineda faces a watered down Blue Jays offense that is still very dangerous in a small park, but very right handed and his elite K Rate (projecting nearly 30 percent) helps out-pace the implied run total against (4.5). Samardzija has a far better park environment for run prevention and it shows in the implied run total (3.6 runs) and the Pirates are a very right-handed offense (.301 wOBA, .129 ISO allowed to RHBs) which makes Samardzija a more viable play. The concern with Samardzija is the low strikeout floor brings a low overall floor. Samardzija has posted swinging strike rates of 6.1, 5.6, and 4.9 over the last three games.

There is a lot of strikeout upside to pursue on this slate in tournaments. Jason Hammel (CHC) faces a right-hand heavy Brewers’ lineup that projects for a K Rate above 26 percent as a baseline against RHP. In the second game of a double-header, it’s also entirely possible he gets a softer skilled lineup if someone like Ryan Braun sits. His price is hefty but the strikeout upside is immense and with a thinner Cubs’ bullpen, he’s likely to pitch deep into the game if he’s successful. He’s an elite tournament target on FanDuel where the win is so valuable. Justin Verlander (DET) and Danny Duffy (KC) have immense individual strikeout upside but face difficult matchups for strikeouts against contact heavy opposition. Duffy could get a significant boost if Miguel Cabrera is unable to play. On both sites, the two are priced more aggressively making them secondary cash game targets but fine tournament plays. All the incredible offense on this slate makes any cheap starter viable as a tournament play. Jose Urena (MIA) and Ariel Miranda (SEA) are the two that fit the bill. Urena doesn’t have much strikeout upside, so we prefer Miranda who at least has SOME strikeout upside albeit in a tough matchup for strikeouts against the Angels.

Catcher Rankings

1) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

2) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

4) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

5) Brian McCann (NYY)

Wilson Ramos (WAS) once again tops our catcher rankings with a favorable matchup against reverse splits prone Chad Bettis (.350 wOBA, .189 ISO since 2015 to RHBs). Ramos is appropriately expensive and he’s not the premier bat you’d want to prioritize in Coors Field so while in a vacuum he’s a fine cash game target, we’re looking for cheaper options here. Stephen Vogt (OAK) is your next drop-down with a big park shift in Texas and facing Lucas Harrell (.337 wOBA, .147 ISO allowed in career against LHBs). Vogt’s a mid-tier price tag that grades out as a good value on the road thanks to his skill-set against RHP (.347 wOBA, .187 ISO since 2015) and your best bet if looking for a mid-tier option. The other route is a pure punt, trying to maximize salary relief, in order to put your funds to better use at different positions. We’ll see where lineups shake out and cover those mostly in alerts but a few names that pop up are Salvador Perez (KC), Gary Sanchez (NYY), and Brian McCann (NYY) are cheap enough to earn that kind of consideration on both sites.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Joey Votto (CIN)

4) Miguel Cabrera (DET) – health risk

5) Brandon Belt (SF)

6) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

7) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

8) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

9) Wil Myers (SD)

10) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

First base is a difficult position to attack on this slate as most of the top first basemen are in difficult matchups, but the three at the top are in elite matchups and priced appropriately. David Ortiz (BOS), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), and Joey Votto (CIN) are all facing below average RHPs in very strong hitting environments. Ortiz is our favorite of the bunch, but all three are viable spends. The lack of depth at the position in the middle makes finding a potential punt play a viable route. On DraftKings, all the Royals are priced down against Justin Verlander, so Eric Hosmer (KC) almost fits that punt price tag. On FanDuel, if Derek Dietrich (MIA) bumps up to fifth in the lineup with Stanton out, he’d represent a strong punt. Dietrich has hit like a first basemen against RHP (.372 wOBA, .175 ISO since 2015) and DeSclafani has allowed a .351 wOBA and .195 ISO to LHBs during the same span. At just $2,400, he’d represent an elite source of salary relief and our favorite value play.

Second Base Rankings

1) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

2) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

3) Dee Gordon (MIA)

4) Jose Altuve (HOU)

5) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

Trea Turner (WAS) is once again one of our top overall hitters as the leadoff hitter in Coors Field which boosts plate appearance expectations significantly and gets a matchup with reverse splits Chad Bettis. Turner’s price tag is appropriately expensive but he’s one of the three Nationals bats we’d be prioritizing exposure to in cash games. Daniel Murphy (WAS) is also within our Top 10 overall hitters on this slate and just outside the Top Five. Spending on either Turner or Murphy would represent a great way to attack a thin position and get exposure to the top offense on the slate. If you’re not spending up, Jonathan Schoop (BAL) is your best salary relief target on DraftKings ($3,400) while Dee Gordon (MIA) fills that void on FanDuel ($3,400). Both have the platoon advantage in strong offensive environments against average or slightly below average opponents. In tournaments, fading the Washington middle infield in favor of the other expensive middle infielders like Jose Altuve (HOU) makes a lot of sense.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Corey Seager (LAD)

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

6) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

7) Addison Russell (CHC)

We covered Trea Turner (WAS) at second base but he’s in the same spot here at shortstop, where eligible, on FanDuel. Addison Russell (CHC) and Didi Gregorius (NYY) are viable drop-downs in cash games on FanDuel, but we’d prefer to get the exposure to Turner. On DraftKings, the position is pretty deep with nice price tags on Carlos Correa (HOU), Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Danny Espinosa (WAS), and Jonathan Villar (MIL). All four are priced between $3,500-$4,000 and while our model likes Correa’s overall skill-set the most you could legitimately make a case for any of the four as a cash game target. Orlando Arcia (MIL) is also very cheap on DraftKings ($2,700) and a viable source of additional cap relief, albeit in a tougher matchup for a RHB.

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Nolan Arenado (COL)

3) Manny Machado (BAL)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

Kris Bryant (CHC) actually tops Nolan Arenado (COL) in our rankings on this slate despite not having the platoon advantage or playing in Coors Field. Bryant will face reverse splits RHP Chase Anderson who has allowed a .374 wOBA and .216 ISO against RHBs since 2015. Arenado is facing a slightly tougher matchup with Gio Gonzalez (.322 wOBA, .129 ISO allowed since 2015). The two rank closely and are both viable targets, though the depth of the position makes salary relief a viable direction as well. If looking for salary relief, Jose Reyes (NYM) is very cheap on FanDuel ($2,600) as the leadoff hitter on the road in Arizona and on DraftKings Danny Valencia (OAK) is just $3,600 with a big park shift for power and the A’s have a solid 4.7 implied run total.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

3) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

4) Mike Trout (LAA)

5) Jayson Werth (WAS)

6) Mookie Betts (BOS)

7) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

8) Christian Yelich (MIA)

9) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

10) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

11) George Springer (HOU)

12) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

13) Rajai Davis (CLE)

14) Jay Bruce (NYM)

15) Ian Desmond (TEX)

Once again our outfield rankings are dominated by the Nationals’ offense with the huge park shift in Coors Field. Bryce Harper (WAS) has been dealing with nagging injuries throughout the second half that has torpedoed his performance but he’s put together two nice games in a row and gets another favorable matchup against a contact prone RHP. He rates as the top overall hitter in our model and is one of the three Nationals we’d prioritize getting exposure to one or two of (Harper, Turner, and Murphy). Mike Trout (LAA) gets the platoon advantage against Ariel Miranda and is priced down on DraftKings ($4,400) making him a very strong value. With Shin Soo Choo (TEX) getting placed on the DL last night we could see some values emerge with the Rangers lineup shake-up so keep an eye on lineup alerts there. Both sites have site specific values that are unusually cheap. On DraftKings, Lorenzo Cain (KC) and Justin Upton (DET) have near punt price tags. If Upton moved up in the lineup with Cabrera injured he’d represent a stronger option. On FanDuel, Christian Yelich (MIA) and Kevin Kiermaier (TB) remain cheap and are both facing RHPs that are vulnerable to LHBs. Kiermaier has been red hot and his willingness to run meets a favorable matchup with the Padres’ poor throwing catchers. On DraftKings, you could also get cheap exposure to Coors Field with Ryan Raburn (COL) though he comes with lots of in-game pinch-hit risk due to a primarily right-handed Nationals bullpen and David Dahl‘s emergence.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Washington Nationals

2) Texas Rangers

Tier Two

3) Colorado Rockies

4) Boston Red Sox

5) Baltimore Orioles

This is a very tricky slate for projecting ownership. Certainly the Nationals will draw a lot of attention as an elite offense with the huge park shift in Coors Field, but they’re very difficult to fit on DraftKings as a full stack without a clear punt SP to target. People will still do it, but it might not be as heavily owned. On FanDuel, it’s far easier to fit at least a three man mini-stack so expect heavy ownership. The Rangers represent our next favorite stack pivot but their lineup could inflate ownership if we get a cheap leadoff hitter that becomes a strong value play. As a result, the Orioles look like the strongest contrarian pivot of the ranked stacks. Their RH heavy lineup gets a park boost in Fenway for all the pull power and Eduardo Rodriguez has surrendered a .358 wOBA, 2.17 HR/9, and a .249 ISO to RHBs this year.

Contrarian Tournament Stacks

In general, we think the best contrarian stacks on this slate are good offenses that are secondary to Washington and Texas. The second tier of offenses meet this criteria but you could extend it to the Cubs, Dodgers and Astros. If you want to go super-contrarian for very large field tournaments, the Diamondbacks ran wild against Syndergaard last time so focusing exposure on base-stealers could bring a surprising amount of upside at a cheap tag. Additionally, the Twins face Joel de la Cruz who has allowed a 35 percent hard hit rate and only struck out 11 percent of batters faced. The Twins’ offense has enough talent at the top to support a stack against a bad starter and bad bullpen and they’ll come with no ownership on this slate. The Rays are also a really cheap contrarian target led by Kevin Kiermaier as the only popular value play.

MLB Daily Analysis

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