Welcome to August 18 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 18 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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00:44 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 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Zack Godley (ARI) and Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) represent the top projected scorers at the starting pitcher position. Both are in great contexts.
Godley draws a matchup against the Padres in Petco Park. The Padres are ranked 28th in wRC+ and are striking out 25.7% of the time vs. RHP, which is the second worst mark in the league. Foltynewicz gets a home matchup against a Rockies offense that’s ranked dead last in wRC+ and are striking out 23.8% of the time vs. RHP.
Foltynewicz has been the better pitcher of the two, but it’s not by a drastic margin. His K rate (27.8) in particular stands out a bit more over Godley’s (23.7%) this season. Foltynewicz has to deal with a very difficult umpire, which is working against his projection a bit. Ultimately, pricing will dictate where we’re going here in cash games as they both project very similarly from a raw projection standpoint as well as Vegas odds. Godley ($8,700) is significantly cheaper than Foltynewicz ($11,100) on DK and that’s where Godley makes the most sense from a cash game perspective. Godley projects a bit stronger over on FD but they’re priced very similarly on that site.
The next bucket of starters are going to be relevant options in this slate. Rich Hill (LAD), David Price (BOS) and Madison Bumgarner (SF) have projections in the 17 range on DK and 32-33 range on FD. Hill has the best price tag of this group on FD where he’s $8,800. On the whole, we find his price tag a bit on the annoying side, especially when you consider that he’s going into the AL and gets to face a Mariners offense that’s middle of the pack in wRC+ but don’t K much (19.6% K rate vs. LHP; third lowest mark in the league).
Hill does get to pitch in a spacious ballpark (Safeco Field), while Bumgarner has to deal with Great American Ball Park. Bumgarner doesn’t have a disaster start this season, but he’s expected to regress. Through 13 starts, Bumgarner has a 2.71 ERA/4.35 xFIP. His K rate (19.8%) is below the league average and he’s walked a career high 9.5% of batters. We prefer him in tournaments but the upside is questionable at this point.
Price has the best Vegas odds (-210 favorite, 3.7 IRTA). He has a matchup against a Rays offense that’s ranked eight in wRC+ and are striking out 23.6% of the time vs. LHP. We expect them to be a weaker offense than this without Wilson Ramos. Price is by far the most expensive option of this group on FD, but we’d consider him in all formats on DK where the pricing gap is a little bit tighter.
Andrew Heaney (LAA) and Joe Musgrove (PIT) are next up in projection, but only one deserves to be considered in cash games. While we like Heaney’s K upside, he’s in an environment (Arlington) that will punish his FB tendencies. He doesn’t get much of a pricing discount on either site either, but he’s compelling in tournaments.
We prefer Musgrove in cash games. The matchup against the Cubs isn’t great as they’re ranked eight in wRC+ and are only striking out 20.8% of the time vs. RHP. We think Musgrove’s K rate should be better than where it currently is. He’s only posted a 18.2% K rate this season but it’s backed up by healthy K peripherals (10% SwStr rate, 68% F-Strike rate and 35.3% chase rate). Musgrove has a 3.49 ERA/3.60 FIP. He’s a good pitcher and he gets the benefit of pitching in PNC Park, which is a downgrade in environment for this Cubs offense. He’s $7,800 on DK, which is a fine price tag but probably not a great one in this matchup.
Miles Mikolas (STL) has finally taken a step back in price tag around the industry, and can be used in tournaments on either site. He’s mostly a breakeven target as the K projection (4.2) is the weakest of any of the pitchers we’ve mentioned thus far.
Brad Keller (KC), Clayton Richard (SD) and Ryan Carpenter (DET) are the cheap options to consider in this slate. We think they’re better options for tournaments than cash games. Neither is particularly enticing from an upside perspective as they have ugly K rates, but Keller and Richard project to grind out the most innings. Keller has the best matchup of the group as he takes on a White Sox offense that’s ranked 23rd in wRC+ and are striking out a league high 25.8% of the time vs. RHP. Carpenter is the least enticing option of the group as we don’t project him to go deep into the game and there’s a chance his baselines could be worse as he struggled mightily at the minor league level.
Exactly one player at the catcher position rates as a positive value on Saturday’s main slate: Buster Posey (SF). Like the rest of the Giants, Posey and the Giants will enjoy an extreme positive park shift in Great American Ballpark and Matt Harvey has been susceptible to power from both sides of the plate. Okay, so lefties have enjoyed more success against the right-hander, but he has still yielded a 34.8-percent hard hit rate and 1.26 HR/9 rate to righties, which is noteworthy in an environment conducive to power. Posey is the cash play as he is cheaper than the next tier and comes equipped with a higher projection as well.
Other than Posey, our model projects an expensive foursome of catchers reasonably similarly: Salvador Perez (KC), Yasmani Grandal (LAD), Robinson Chirinos (TEX) and J.T. Realmuto (MIA). There is certainly a case to be made for Perez over Posey in a matchup against Dylan Covey and his 12.6-percent K rate versus right-handed hitters (RHHs). Grandal and Chirinos are reasonable plays and feature identical wOBA projections in our model in their respective splits. However, Realmuto is the top tournament play of this tier against gas can Tommy Milone, who has been burned for a .429 wOBA and .370/.389/.629 slash line (for what it is worth) by righties this year. Over the course of his last 17.1 innings, Milone has allowed 10 earned runs (ERs), a 36.7-percent hard hit rate and a ridiculous 50.9-percent fly ball rate. As icing on the cake, Realmuto ranks third on the team in xwOBA against LHP, and his xwOBA is a whopping 67 percentage points higher than his actual wOBA. Essentially, positive regression should be on the horizon.
If looking for cheaper options at the position, Mitch Garver (MIN), Matt Wieters (WSH) and Sandy Leon (BOS) all rate as reasonable values. Garver and Wieters draw the superior individual matchups but Leon is the cheapest of the bunch and hitting towards the bottom of a lineup being implied to score 5.3 runs.
Although Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is the highest projected player in our models, he is fully priced across the industry, and does not fit the slate in cash games incredibly well. On DK, Brandon Belt (SF) is over $1,000 cheaper and facing Harvey in Great American Ballpark. All lefties have done against Harvey this year is crush him to the tune of a .362 wOBA, 2.01 HR/9 rate, 41.1-percent hard hit rate and 44.1-percent fly ball rate. On FD, Mitch Moreland is barely priced over $3,000, and he will hit in the middle of the Red Sox lineup being implied to score 5.3 runs. Since joining the Rays, Tyler Glasnow has posted a 47-percent K rate and 7-percent BB rate, which is half the BB rate he owned as a member of the Pirates this year. Basically, regression is likely on the horizon, but it is understandable if fantasy owners would prefer to go elsewhere in cash games than Moreland.
Some other mid-tier options include Ryan Zimmerman (WSH), Lucas Duda (KC) and Tyler Austin (MIN) in terms of FD pricing and all are viable alternatives to Moreland. In fact, Zimmerman registers as a superior value in our FD model, so it is completely acceptable to roll him instead of the Red Sox’ 1B. Probable starter Wei-Yin Chen rarely misses right-handed bats (14.3-percent K rate) and has been susceptible to the long ball all year (1.49 HR/9 rate in the split). Zimmerman hit a bomb yesterday and he leads the team in wOBA (.529), ISO (.380), hard hit rate (46.5-percent) and xwOBA against LHP. Undoubtedly, he is the cream of the crop from this group.
In tournaments, Freddie Freeman (ATL), Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Jose Abreu (CHW) are some of our other highest projected players on the slate. None of these players will face a starter who has allowed a wOBA greater than .327 in their respective splits but they are so talented that they project well regardless. If funds are available to roster Freeman, he owns both the highest wOBA of any of these players in our projections and the highest implied team total. Furthermore, Senzatela has only struck out 16.5-percent of the lefties he has faced, which should be the deciding factor.
Since our optimal lineup on FD likes building around a nearly $10,000 pitcher, Joe Panik (SF) is the second baseman featured in the optimal. On Friday evening, Panik hit seventh in the lineup but the matchup against Harvey and his 5.40 FIP is the reason to consider him. Funds are easier to come by on DK so spending up for the highest projected player at the position, Whit Merrifield (KC), fits roster construction. As noted yesterday, Omar Narvaez is a brutal throwing catcher, and opposing base stealers have successfully swiped 16 bases against Covey in his career versus just three caught stealing (84-percent success rate). Yet again, Merrifield’s matchup projects well for both his power and speed potential.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) is the sole second baseman at the next tier since he is about $800 cheaper than he should be. Senzatela has held his own against lefties this season but he has walked them at nearly as high of a rate (10.1-percent) as he has struck them out (16.5-percent) and his FIP is nearly two runs higher than his ERA. If Albies gets on, he certainly is a threat to steal a base, and the hitters around him should provide him with opportunities to both score runs and drive them in.
Otherwise, Rougned Odor (TEX) finds himself on the wrong end of the platoon splits versus a LHP, but he has held his own this year (110 wRC+) more than ever (79 wRC+). Starlin Castro and Logan Forsythe are both priced at $3,000 on FD and primed to square off subpar left-handers. For his career, Forsythe has strongly preferred the split against LHP as evident by his .345 wOBA, 121 wRC+, .178 ISO and 37.1-percent hard hit rate. There is a limited sample size on Ryan Carpenter in the big leagues but righties have posted a .395 wOBA against him so far. According to FanGraphs’ projection systems, Carpenter is a player who projects to have over a 5.00 FIP over the long run, so this is not a great pitcher. Forsythe is a fantastic value and an intriguing alternative from the more expensive options.
Lock in Anthony Rendon (WSH) as your cash game third baseman and move on. There is no case to be made for fading him at home against the aforementioned Chen. Like Zimmerman, Rendon is a true lefty masher: .397 wOBA, .249 ISO, 149 wRC+ and 45.8-percent hard hit rate for his career. Chen has held opponents to a .251 wOBA at home this year in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park but he has been burned for a .438 wOBA on the road. Chen is overmatched here and Rendon is a bargain even at $4,600 on DK and $4,000 on FD.
Miguel Sano (MIN) would be an interesting GPP option if he were not expected to be so highly owned. His price keeps creeping up on FD and Carpenter is not a pitcher who will likely pitch deep into the game. For most of the week, Sano has been close to 30-percent owned, especially in tournaments, and Carpenter’s 21.2-percent K rate in Triple-A was very average. Sano is our second highest projected player at third base but fantasy owners will want to weight the risk/reward of his probable ownership.
Some other interesting options include Eugenio Suarez (CIN) in the friendly confines of home, Eduardo Escobar (ARI) in Petco Park against Clayton Richard and Jeimer Candelario (DET) against Kohl Stewart. Richard is a pure ground-baller, and his home park will only help his cause, but Escobar is talented enough to overcome the negatives. After striking out just 17.5-percent of the hitters he faced in Triple-A, Stewart has only struck out 4.8-percent of his MLB foes. Candelario will likely lead-off, meaning he will at least tie the team lead in plate appearances. While he has not been quite the same player since his wrist injury, Candelario is still playable against a mediocre opponent.
Although Trea Turner has only produced a career .318 wOBA, 95 wRC+ and .100 ISO against lefties, he finds himself in all optimals. Our tools are high on the Nationals and their 5.2 implied run total is not too shabby either. The running potential here is poor against a lefty and the catcher with the quickest pop time so it is interesting that Turner rates so highly. He is by no means a must in cash games especially because Elvis Andrus (TEX) will face a lefty in Texas. Since Andrew Heaney is not a pushover like some of the other starts in the series so far, Vegas has cooled on the projection for the Rangers, which could mean Andrus goes overlooked. That would be a mistake as Heaney has been hammered by righties: 1.47 HR/9 rate, 42.2-percent hard hit rate and 40.0-percent fly ball rate. If nothing else, an extra-base hit is well within the realm of reasonable outcomes for Andrus who has displayed more power in his career against lefties (.108 ISO) than righties (.092).
Brandon Crawford (SF) can be added to the list of Giants lefties who profile well against Matt Harvey and the same goes for Alen Hanson (SF). Neither player is priced over $2,800 on FD and Hanson is priced at $2,300. Yesterday, Hanson garnered three times the ownership as Crawford because he hit higher in the lineup, and the same should prove to be true on Saturday.
There are no other positive values at the position on FD but Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Manny Machado (LAD) are the next highest projected players and Jose Iglesias (DET) is rather close to being a neutral value as well. Bogaerts is a tough player to strike out (17.0-percent K rate versus RHP) so the recent Glasnow K rate is not as treacherous to his matchup as it is to Moreland. Iglesias is simply hitting high in his team’s lineup and is cheap. Machado is the large field tournament play versus Erasmo Ramirez and his 4.21 career FIP against righties. He is both susceptible to the long ball (1.26 HR/9 rate) and struggles to strike out opposing righties.
With 11 games on the horizon, the outfield is loaded as expected with 11 players projecting as positive values on DK. Nicky Delmonico (CHW) was moved down the lineup but he is still virtually free across the industry. If he were to move back to the leadoff spot, he would rate a lot more favorably than in the eight thole. Mookie Betts (BOS) is a threat to run on Tyler Glasnow (PIT) who has struggled to hold runners since his days in Pittsburgh. Of all the hitters in the lineup, Betts profiles best, because he rarely strikes out and he is the best base stealer on the squad. Andrew Benintendi (BOS) is viable for all the same reasons and he is cheaper. Over the course of 67.1 career innings against lefties, Glasnow has yielded a .385 wOBA, 1.47 HR/9 rate, 16.1-percent BB rate and 1.96 WHIP. Benintendi is featured in our FD optimal for all these reasons.
Andrew McCutchen will lead off in Great American Ballpark and we do not feel he is appropriately priced up for the ballpark upgrade. Corey Dickerson (PIT) and the entire Pirates outfield will enjoy a matchup against Tyler Chatwood. Amongst all pitchers on the slate, only Erasmo Ramirez (in a small sample size) has produced an inferior wOBA than Chatwood (5.98) against lefties. Gregory Polanco (PIT) is another lefty in this very outfield and Chatwood struggles with control so Starling Marte (PIT) could factor into any team rally as well.
Joc Pederson (LAD) earns the platoon split against a righty and Ramirez has only struck out 10.1-percent of lefties for his career. The park is not favorable but Pederson can hit the ball out of any park. Charlie Blackmon (COL), A.J. Pollock (ARI), Rosell Herrera (KC), J.D. Martinez (BOS) and Kole Calhoun (LAA) round out the positive values but Pollock stands out from this group. Again, the Diamondbacks are equipped to hit right-handers, and and Pollock would probably be around 25-percent owned if this game were being played in Chase Field.
1) Boston Red Sox
Tyler Glasnow is already providing strong returns for the Rays, but this is easily his toughest context to date. He gets a date with the Red Sox offense in Fenway Park, and he has a 5.3 IRTA. We have Glasnow as a well below average pitcher in terms of controlling the running game, which bodes well for the Red Sox that run like Mookie and Benintendi. We also have Glasnow with wide platoon splits, which favors the LHBs in this lineup. However, Glasnow has been good enough that if the Red Sox end up being very chalky in this slate, it’s viable to go underweight in tournaments. Given the expensive price tags on most of their hitters, we don’t think they end up with big ownership. If that’s the case, they’re a compelling stack in tournaments.
2) Washington Nationals
3) San Francisco Giants
The Nationals’ LHBs won’t get the platoon edge tonight, but Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman will. They’re facing Wei-Yin Chen, who’s allowed a .197 ISO to RHBs since 2017. We expect them to garner some attention in tournaments but they remain playable.
The Giants are getting a gigantic park shift going into Great American Ball Park. This isn’t an offense that usually hits through power as they play half their home games in the bay area, but this context will help them immensely. On top of the context, their LHBs get a boost as they face Matt Harvey, who’s gotten smashed by LHBs once again, allowing a .362 wOBA and 2.01 HR/9 this season. They’re a very intriguing stack in tournaments.
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
6) Kansas City Royals
7) Minnesota Twins
8) Atlanta Braves
The Dodgers get the benefit of adding a DH into their lineup as they go into the AL, but they’re facing a RHP. They haven’t done much of late offensively, so we don’t expect them to carry much ownership. We like them in tournaments.
We view the 5-8 offenses as better mini-stacks than full stacks in GPPs. They’re sort of intriguing in single entry and three max type tournaments since they should be very low owned.
9) Texas Rangers
10) Chicago White Sox
11) Los Angeles Angels
The Rangers and Angels are in Arlington and this game should have a game total of 10. Andrew Heaney is a good pitcher but this park is a big threat for run prevention. If ownership is moderate to low in this game you’ll likely want a piece of it in GPPs. The White Sox are facing a pitcher that doesn’t miss bats but doesn’t allow power either as Brad Keller tends to keep the ball in the ground. They have an IRTA of 5 but we’re not interested in using them as a full stack. We prefer them as mini-stacks in this slate.