Welcome to August 18 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for August 18 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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August 18 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
02:21 Starting Pitcher
19:50 First Base
23:43 Second Base
26:47 Third Base
- 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.
August 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
Max Scherzer (WAS) draws one of the most favorable starts he’ll see all season against the Padres in San Diego. Not only does Scherzer get a park upgrade but he gets to face one of the weakest offenses in baseball against RHP. The price tag on Scherzer is justifiably expensive ($14,100 on DraftKings, $11,500 on FanDuel) but our lofty projections suggest he’s well worth the price tag. Scherzer even outpaces Corey Kluber (CLE), who has been on an insane strikeout run (151 K in last 102 ⅓ innings), by a meaningful margin thanks to the gap in matchup. Kluber’s matchup with Kansas City is fine (KC ranks 21st in wRC+ against RHP but with a below average K Rate – 20.3 percent) but the gap in strikeouts pushes Scherzer well ahead. Kluber is clearly a strong pivot from Scherzer in tournaments (and cheaper on DK) as the two starters are far and away our top options and even represent our top values. Pairing the two is practically impossible on DraftKings given the hefty price tags and the incredible offensive environments on this slate.
While there are a few strong mid-tier targets, the hefty price tag required for Scherzer or Kluber along with some incredible offensive environments (Texas against James Shields, Coors Field, Dodgers getting a DH and Jordan Zimmermann, etc) have us emphasizing salary relief in that second SP slot. Fortunately, the slate brings a few different options. The group ranges from “skilled but struggling” Sean Manaea (OAK) to “formerly competent” Matt Moore (SF) to “looks great at closing time” Luis Perdomo (SD). Moore has far and away the best matchup of the group against a Phillies’ offense getting a monstrous park downgrade and ranking 26th in wRC+ against LHP. Moore has flashed some competence of late (4.82 ERA but 38 K in 37 ⅓ innings over last six starts) fueled by a series of favorable home matchups (SD, OAK, CHC, CLE), mixed in with some shakier road matchups (@LAD, @WAS). Moore has the fifth lowest implied total on the slate and most importantly he’s just $5,000 on DraftKings. Manaea is undoubtedly the most skilled starter but getting a park downgrade and facing an elite offense in the Astros. Although he’s underpriced at $5,600, we prefer any exposure in tournaments. Perdomo is the most reasonable pivot from Moore ($5,300) against a Harper-less Nationals’ offense that is fairly right-handed in his absence (seem to max out at four batters). They’re still more dangerous than the Phillies and it’s reflected in the 4.1 implied total against.
If you simply cannot stomach the volatility with the super cheap starters, Zack Godley (ARI) is the most intriguing mid-tier option at $8,400. Godley has been incredible all season. Adding improved command to an arsenal that included swinging strikes and an elite GB Rate has pushed him on the brink of the top echelon of starters in the NL. The Twins are a decent offense but very dependent on power which Godley simply doesn’t allow. He’s very underpriced for his year-to-date skills and has an accessible tag to pair with Scherzer or Kluber should you forego some offense.
In tournaments, German Marquez (COL) is an intriguing cheap option against the strikeout prone Brewers’ offense. Drew Pomeranz (BOS) has some strikeout upside against the Yankees but an unappealing price tag. In the tier below Kluber and Scherzer, Dallas Keuchel (HOU) gets a strong matchup for strikeouts against the Athletics and a slightly depressed price tag after struggling in his first few starts back from the DL. Keuchel rebounded strongly in his last outing in Texas and the last two outings have shown better swinging strike rates, first strike rates, and chases outside the strike zone. It appears Keuchel is finding his form. The challenge for Keuchel is he doesn’t have nearly as many strikeouts built in, but he’s a viable cheaper pivot off the very top tier in tournaments.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) tops our projections at the catcher position. We’re projecting him to hit fifth in an AL park vs. Jordan Zimmermann. The wretched season for Zimmermann continues – he’s coming off a disaster start vs. the Twins (allowed seven ER in 3.1 IP) and he has to face the best offense in baseball tonight. Grandal is the best value around the industry as well and he’s the catcher we like the most from a cash game perspective.
Buster Posey (SF) has been cold recently (HHR is sitting at nine percent over the L15), but he’s $2,900 on FD in a matchup vs. Zach Eflin. He’s likely your safest alternative after Grandal, and he always comes with a great lineup spot. Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) is $2,400 on DK with the platoon edge. If you’re full punting the position in cash games, d’Arnaud is the cheap route on that site.
The rest of the position is better suited for tournaments with catchers that hit towards the bottom of lineups. Someone like Robinson Chirinos (TEX) immediately stands out vs. James Shields in Texas and Chirinos has been hot recently (30.4% HHR over the L15). Ignore the lineup spot and use him in tournaments. Jonathan Lucroy (COL) is viable on DK where he’s $3,700.
Eric Thames (MIL) and Freddie Freeman (ATL) represent the top projected scorers at first base and we’re pursuing them across all formats tonight. Thames is in Coors with the platoon edge and a $4,500 price tag on DK and $3,800 on FD. We have a .377 wOBA/.269 ISO for Thames in this split (vs. RHP). Freeman is priced very similarly and he’ll have the platoon edge in SunTrust Park vs. Sal Romano (4.84 FIP/4.96 xFIP through eight starts this season).
Thames and Freeman are our favorite targets at the position, but there’s plenty of depth behind these two in a full slate. Mark Reynolds (COL) gets Matt Garza in Coors with a decent price tag on both sites. Joey Gallo (TEX) and his massive home run upside gets a dream context (James Shields in Texas). Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) has a 50% HHR over the L15 and he’ll likely garner minimal attention vs. Ervin Santana in a full slate. Joey Votto (CIN) will have the platoon edge in SunTrust Park. Like Goldy, a full price tag probably keeps him ownership on the lower end tonight. Matt Carpenter (STL) is essentially free on DK ($3,300) with the platoon edge against a subpar pitcher. Albert Pujols (LAA) is also cheap on DK and he’s in Baltimore (massive park shift for the Angels offense). Hanley Ramirez (BOS) is in Fenway Park with the platoon edge. He’s just $3,100 on FD.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is the top projected scorer at second base. He’ll have the platoon edge against the struggling Sean Manaea, who’s been rocked lately (11 ER over his L2 starts). Altuve is a fine target in tournaments but a full price tag keeps him out of the cash game conversation.
Jonathan Villar (MIL) has 2B eligibility on DK and he’s projected scorer at the position on that site. Villar is a potential road leadoff hitter in Coors Field with a $4,300 price tag. It’s simply too cheap of a price tag for his context and upside.
With so many hitters at premium positions in this slate, it’s fine to take the cheap route at second base. Yoan Moncada (CWS) is a hitter we’re interested in IF he hits second. Moncada hit 12 HRs and stole 17 bases for the White Sox at AAA this season in less than 370 PAs. He hasn’t figured it all out at the plate in the majors and he’ll strike out a bunch, but he’s cheap around the industry and in a strong context (Andrew Cashner in the Texas heat). Jason Kipnis (CLE) has been generating better production of late, and he’s still carrying a cheap price tag on FD ($2,600). He’s viable in cash games on that site.
Rougned Odor (TEX) has been hitting towards the bottom of the lineup lately, but even with a projected lineup spot of seventh he’s popping as our best 2B value on FD. The lineup spot isn’t great for cash games, but James Shields and his home run issues (2.36 HR/9 this season backed up by a 19% hard minus soft hit rate and 46.8% FB rate) in Texas is boosting Odor’s projection. Jonathan Schoop (BAL) is slightly more expensive than Odor around the industry but comes with a much better lineup spot (third) and projects slightly ahead of Odor in raw projection.
Daniel Murphy (WSH) is a fine one-off piece in tournaments. His HHR has been on the rise (38.5% over the L15) and he’ll have the platoon edge. The bad hitting environment is going to depress his ownership.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is the top projected scorer at third base and second overall regardless of position. We prefer Arenado in tournaments, but it’s possible to include him in your cash game plans on DK alongside our prefer Coors target. However, Freddie Freeman (ATL) and his $4,600 price tag on that site fits better as he’s nearly $1,000 cheaper.
Justin Turner (LAD) and Jake Lamb (ARI) enter the cash game conversation on FD with sub $4,000 price tags. The position is priced so efficiently on that site that finding a salary relief target you’re comfortable with seems impossible. There’s Pablo Sandoval (SF), who’s been hitting fifth and has a phenomenal matchup against Zach Eflin. Sandoval is just $2,100 on that site, but he’s just not a good hitter anymore. Todd Frazier (NYY) is $3,300 on DK and he’ll have the platoon edge in Fenway Park. He’s your best alternative after Arenado/Freeman.
Travis Shaw (MIL) and Adrian Beltre (TEX) are unlikely to carry low ownership in this slate given their contexts, but we are expecting them to carry less ownership than Arenado and possibly Freeman. Play Joey Gallo (TEX) in tournaments.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) represents the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Andrus is up to 16 HRs and 23 SBs this season, and the event upside gets a boost vs. the traveling home run machine, James Shields. The only issue we see with Andrus is an appropriate price tag, but you can pursue him with confidence in tournaments.
IF we get Jonathan Villar (MIL) hitting leadoff in Coors Field he gives you the best bang for your buck on FD where he’s underpriced for his context ($3,500).
Tim Beckham (BAL) will have the platoon edge against Andrew Heaney, who’s making his first start of the season. The Orioles have an IRT of 5.6 runs and Beckham has a 35.6% HHR over the L15. Beckham is in play across all formats but the days of him being cheap are long gone. If you’re in need of salary relief, Brandon Crawford (SF) has punt price tags around the industry and while he’s been cold of late, we’re inclined to ignore that given the matchup. Zach Eflin doesn’t miss bats and he’s surrendered a .385 wOBA and 2.73 HR/9 to LHBs since he started pitching in the majors in 2016. Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) is another punt option on DK where he’s just $2,900 with 2B/SS eligibility and hitting second.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) headlines a loaded OF position in a 14 game slate. Blackmon is the top projected scorer regardless of position as he’s in Coors Field with the platoon edge against Matt Garza. Garza has posted the following xFIPs over his L5 starts: 7.10, 6.88, 5.62, 5.48 and 8.11. He sucks. Blackmon once again projects as a priority spend in this slate, but he’ll be a much easier fit on DK. His teammate, Carlos Gonzalez (COL), remains a viable way of grabbing Rockies exposure on DK where the price tag is usually friendly ($4,100).
It’s okay to not go after Blackmon on FD. After all, the OF has plenty of depth. Shin-Soo Choo and Delino Deshields (TEX) are $3,000 and $2,900 respectively on FD. It’s hard for their context to get any better than it is tonight. They’re not your prototypical power hitters but James Shields and his fly ball tendencies will help. A.J. Pollock (ARI) is just $3,200 on that site in an AL park. Cameron Maybin (LAA) has struggled since coming off the DL but he’s a pure punt there ($2,100) and gets a huge park shift (Camden Yards).
Nick Delmonico (CWS) is $2,700 on both sites and gets Andrew Cashner in Texas. Delmonico has been hitting cleanup for the White Sox lately. Joc Pederson (LAD) is cheap around the industry and he’ll have the platoon edge against an awful pitcher in an AL park. We’ll see where he settles in the lineup, but if he hits sixth he’ll be viable in all formats. Eric Thames (MIL) has OF eligibility on DK with an absurd price tag ($4,500) for his power upside in the best hitting environment in all of baseball. Thames is $1,000 too cheap on that site.
Ryan Braun (MIL), Mike Trout (LAA) and George Springer (HOU) are other upside names to consider in tournaments in a big slate. Jarrett Parker (SF) is another cheap route with power upside to consider on FD.
1) Colorado Rockies
2) Texas Rangers
The Rockies are once again the top projected stack but are also the most expensive stack of our first three tiers. Throw in some question marks on Arenado’s health and their place as a preferred stack is tenuous. One off plays will carry heavy ownership so it comes down to if the ownership is held in check by the price tag compared to the other tiers. If so, there is a buying opportunity. The Rangers should represent the most popular stack on the night. It’s hot in Texas and they’re facing James Shields backed up by the worst bullpen in baseball. They’re fairly affordable on both sites and the depth of the lineup allows lots of different places to attack.
3) Milwaukee Brewers
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Brewers are the team most likely to get lost in the ownership game. Eric Thames is affordable on both sites but the rest of the options are priced up for Coors Field. The Dodgers are a favorite target of ours but it appears everyone else has caught onto stacking Dodgers on Coors nights and hoping for reduced ownership. It simply hasn’t been there of late. They do have some cheap parts towards the bottom of the order on both sites but we expect Bellinger, Seager, Grandal, Joc will be a popular combination. The Dodgers also lead team composite hard hit rates by a wide margin over the last 15 days (nearly 30 percent, next highest is 26.5 percent).
5) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are a solid contrarian target with strong recent hard hit rates (26.5 composite) and facing a fly ball prone lefty making his return from an extended stay on the DL. Opposite the Orioles, the Angels are an interesting contrarian stack with a huge park upgrade and really cheap price tags on both sites. The Giants are also super cheap on FanDuel and provide a nice mini-stack to complement the chalkier expensive options.