Welcome to August 21 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for August 21 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 21 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
02:01 Starting Pitcher
10:05 First Base
13:02 Second Base
14:45 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 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
It’s a brutal starting pitcher position on a shortened Monday slate. You may be tempted to jump up to Alex Wood (LAD) as a result, but we view that as a negative expected value play, especially on DK. Wood is on the road against a Pirates team that is middle of the pack against LHP and strikes out less than 20% of the time in that split. Throw in Wood’s middling K rate the last six starts, and he’s overpriced. Since we’re not confident in any top pitchers, we’d rather build bats out. Pricing is loose on FD that it, along with only starting one SP, could still land you on Wood.
Surprisingly our projections actually put Gerrit Cole (PIT) slightly ahead of Alex Wood from a raw total perspective. We’re anticipating a full strikeout more from Cole whose K rate has been much more consistent over the latter half of the season. Despite the higher projection we associate Cole with more Risk as he has a higher IRTA by nearly a run and faces a Dodgers team that is first in FanGraphs Hard% the last two weeks and third in wRC+ against RHP. However, they do strike out more than average in that split – 22.2%. On DK if you’re sort of spending we’d use Cole over Wood but on FD they’re close enough that we’d stick with Wood’s floor despite the slightly lower projection.
One option on both sites is to fill out hitters first, mixing top plays with values that are tough to avoid and see what you have left. Naturally this lends itself towards using less capital on SP. Some options to fill out teams like this are Tyler Skaggs (LAA), Carlos Rodon (CHW), Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), Wade Miley (BAL), and Chris Stratton (SF).
Skaggs and Rodon separate themselves from the pack. On DK, Rodon is not available, but on FD we’re sucked in by strong recent peripherals from a K and GB rate standpoint and increased longevity in starts (averaging over 7 IP his last four starts) despite facing a tough schedule. On both sites, Skaggs rates as our best value. He’ll face a Rangers team that gets a big negative park shift playing in Los Angeles and strikes out a ton against LHP: 25.1%. The issue here is Skaggs’ skills as he can be wild, leading to walkers and homers, but all in all he’s the best value on the slate.
The other three options – Foltynewicz, Miley, and Stratton – are candidates on DK if going double cheap, which is definitely a viable route, even in cash games. Foltynewicz has the most individual K upside, although his K rate distribution is very volatile, which may be better for tournaments. Miley is our model’s favorite. He’s a somewhat heavy home favorite (-160) against an Athletics team that is a favorable matchup from both a wRC+ and K% standpoint. Of course we also have to accept Miley’s 5.03 FIP. Stratton is the guy our model likes least due to a conservative baseline, but he is coming off a 10K performance against the Nats. The Brewers elevate strikeouts, and Stratton is in the most friendly pitching environment of this group, which actually leaves him with one of the lowest IRTA on the slate.
Taijuan Walker (ARI) is just on the outskirts of the best values on both sites so gets slightly overlooked. He’s a secondary value in all formats.
Buster Posey (SF) is typically not a source of salary relief, but on a shortened slate he’s one of our most valuable per dollar options at catcher. Posey’s price has dipped to $2,800 on FanDuel and he’s priced around all the other catchers at $3,700 on DraftKings. While the overall environment isn’t enticing, he’s the most skilled player at the position and comes with one of the best starting catcher lineup spots. Yasmani Grandal (LAD) rates similarly on DraftKings, but as we’ve noted, with the addition of Curtis Granderson his lineup spot could take a hit. He’ll get the platoon edge on Gerrit Cole and has posted a .231 ISO against RHP since 2015.
You can still take the direction of a pure punt with someone like Dustin Garneau (OAK). Garneau has moved into the full time platoon role for Oakland and despite not impressive splits, he’s $2,100 on FanDuel and will face Wade Miley. Welington Castillo (BAL) and Travis d’Arnaud (NYM) fit a similar mold, and Castillo in particular will get a great context as his team holds an implied run total of 5.8 runs against Chris Smith.
Ryon Healy (OAK), Yonder Alonso (SEA), and Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) represent three tiers of first base options on Monday. Healy is the cheapest of the three, and will face the worst of the opposing starters in Wade Miley. We’ve utilized him as somewhat of a platoon master, and Monday is no different as he’ll take his .405 wOBA and .263 ISO (albeit small sample size, 172 PA) against LHP into Baltimore. Earlier this season he was getting spots in the third or fourth spot against LHP, and despite being bumped down to five he’s still an excellent value.
Alonso will also get a park boost in his favor moving from Seattle to Atlanta, and will look to deploy his skills from the left-handed batter’s box against the wide platoon splits of Mike Foltynewicz (.364 wOBA, .212 ISO allowed to LHB since 2015). Folty has been roughed up in each of his last two starts, not lasting more than 3.1 innings and now faces a difficult Mariners team. Alonso will cost you just a bit more than Healy, but will also come with a better lineup spot. Goldy is away from his hitter friendly park, but he’s the best of the bunch (32.3% Hard% in L15). Robert Gsellman has had his struggles with the long ball (1.55 HR/9, recently allowed 4HR in a game) and Goldy is having his best power season thus far (.278 ISO). He requires a big spend, but without the necessity of paying for top arms, he’s a reasonable fit.
Trey Mancini (BAL) and Hanley Ramirez (BOS) fall just behind this trio. Mancini has been a solid fit with Baltimore since earning regular playing time, and one of his lone struggles is a 24.3% K%. Luckily, Mancini will be facing journeyman Chris Smith, who has boasted just a 13.1% K% thus far. HanRam will get the same handed, power prone, arm of Mike Clevinger and he’s just $3,000 on FanDuel. Mancini’s teammate Chris Davis (BAL) will be able to take advantage of Smith’s inability to record the strikeout as well – he’s an excellent tournament option.
Jonathan Schoop (BAL) and Robinson Cano (SEA) float to the top of the per dollar rankings on both sites. Schoop continues to rake (positive delta in Hard% over last fifteen days) and his team holds the highest implied run total on the slate. We mentioned Chris Smith‘s inability to strike hitters out, but he’s also struggled to get the ball on the ground and has in turn allowed 2.06 HR/9. A boost in Schoop’s power, and reasonable price tag ($3,300 on FD, $4,600 on DK) makes him a great cash game play. Cano will cost you $700 more on FD, where you’re likely leaning towards Schoop, but there is actually a $200 discount to use him on DraftKings. A park shift in his favor, and wide platoon splits from Folty are enough to consider him for cash games on DraftKings.
For much cheaper you can look towards Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) or Chad Pinder (OAK) on DraftKings. Cabrera seems to have cemented himself into the second spot of the order and is just $3,000 on DK. On FanDuel, the event upside of Eduardo Nunez (BOS) makes him a phenomenal per dollar play at just $3,000. As previously noted, Clevinger has allowed a .182 ISO to RHB since 2015.
Manny Machado (BAL) is our preferred option at 3B, especially on FanDuel where he’s the top per dollar play. There isn’t much left to say about the matchup Baltimore has scored, and Machado is right in the thick of it. At $5,600 on DraftKings, he might be a difficult spend, but one we’d love to get exposure to in some capacity.
DraftKings gives you the option to get exposure to Eduardo Nunez (BOS), Ryon Healy (OAK), Freddie Freeman (ATL) and a handful of others due to dual positional eligibility. If not paying for Machado, you can utilize their services for a bit cheaper. Matt Chapman (OAK) is just $2,900 on DraftKings and is the top per dollar play there. The lineup spot hasn’t been great (7 or 8), but he’ll get the platoon edge on Miley and has shown decent power in a tiny sample size against lefties. Kyle Seager (SEA) is $3,700 on DraftKings and provides a happy medium price tag on FanDuel as well.
The Orioles theme remains strong at shortstop, as Tim Beckham (BAL) is one of our top options, particularly on FanDuel. At $4,800 on DraftKings, he’s less of a priority option where we might be able to take salary relief to pay for other premium positions.
In that case, Chad Pinder (OAK) and Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) allow us to take advantage of their dual position eligibility. Asdrubal is the stronger bat, but comes with worse overall context in terms of scoring environment. However, he will bring the leg up in the lineup spot, likely hitting second against Taijuan Walker. For $3,000 he’ll allow you to spend in other spots.
If spending we’d like to get up to Beckham, but both Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Marcus Semien (OAK) are just chilling in the middle ranges on both sites. Semien’s power potential will play with a big park upgrade and the platoon edge on Wade Miley. He’s posted a .205 ISO against LHP since 2015.
Mike Trout (LAA) again leads the outfield today, followed by a smattering of other mid-tier values in AJ Pollock (ARI), Adam Jones (BAL), Khris Davis (OAK), and Rajai Davis (OAK). Anytime Trout gets the platoon edge, he becomes an even more enticing play. He’ll face Cole Hamels, perhaps a name that will keep his ownership down to make him an excellent tournament play.
Pollock brings plenty of event upside against Gsellman at $3,100 on FanDuel and $4,400 on DraftKings and is part of an intimidating top five for Arizona stacks. After, the trio of Jones, Davis and Davis (undoubtedly a law firm somewhere) will all take advantage of the excellent scoring environment in Baltimore. The Davis’ will both have the platoon edge on Miley, and despite an implied run total less than five runs, are a fun event oriented combination with both power and speed upside.
Mookie Betts (BOS) and Mark Trumbo (BAL) both fit in the top ten per dollar plays on both sites. Betts might fly a bit under the radar with the focus on the Baltimore environment, but we’ve hinted at Clevinger’s struggles with same handed power. Matt Kemp (ATL) just recently rejoined the Braves and in his aging has still been excellent against LHP (.221 ISO since 2015 vs. LHP). Andrew Albers is likely not long for the game, but at $2,600 on FanDuel and $3,700 on DraftKings, he’s a compelling value. Trey Mancini (BAL) has OF eligibility on DK. Cameron Maybin (LAA) made an appearance in yesterday’s game, and should he lead off against Hamels he’d be a great salary relief option at $3,300 on DK and $2,200 on FanDuel.
1) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are obviously the top stack given the gap in IRT between them (5.9) and the rest of the field (5.1 or lower). The issue here is ownership. If people force themselves to pay up for Wood, the Orioles make for an excellent tournament stack as ownership should be held in check. If people see what we see, that may not be the case and ownership could get out of hand.
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
3) Seattle Mariners
Tier two is where we’re living for the best combination of upside without crazy high ownership. Robert Gsellman has struggled all season long across the board – holding his high BB rate from a year ago but seeing the K rate drop precipitously and the HR rate balloon.
The Mariners lose the DH but get a large positive park shift playing in Atlanta where you can load up on their LHBs due to Foltynewicz’s splits (career .368 wOBA and .225 ISO allowed to LHBs).
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
5) Boston Red Sox
6) Oakland Athletics
7) Cleveland Indians
Oakland is a really cheap stack that has desirable power upside in Baltimore, a large positive park shift. Despite rating as strong per dollar values, they could go underowned because the cap relief simply isn’t necessary. If you want to pay up for Alex Wood, this is the stack that makes it work.