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August 21 MLB DFS: Nat Gio
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August 21 MLB DFS: Nat Gio

01:28 Starting Pitchers
11:17 Catchers
14:02 First Base
16:39 Second Base
18:29 Shortstops
20:08 Third Base
22:10 Outfield
25:24 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 21 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Corey Kluber (CLE)

2) Danny Duffy (KC)

Tier Two

3) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

4) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

5) Jose Quintana (CHW)

Tier Three

6) Justin Verlander (DET)

7) Julio Urias (LAD)

8) Marcus Stroman (TOR)

9) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

10) Mike Leake (STL)

11) Drew Smyly (TB)

12) Chad Green (NYY)

Sunday’s main slate covers 11 games and brings a deep list of pitching options. At the very top, we have Corey Kluber (CLE) and Danny Duffy (KC). Kluber has the lowest implied run total against on the slate (3.3 runs) and gets a watered-down Blue Jays lineup without Jose Bautista and likely Russell Martin on a day game after a night game. Kluber’s dominance against RHBs (.251 wOBA, .123 ISO, 28.1 K Rate since 2015) really sets up well against a Blue Jays’ offense that only has one threatening bat from the left side in Michael Saunders. Kluber is priced appropriately on both sites but without Coors Field on this main slate, it’s easier to afford him. Danny Duffy (KC) is more expensive on DraftKings and meaningfully cheaper on FanDuel. He projects similarly to Kluber as each starter projects for a 27-29 percent K Rate in their respective matchup. The Twins’ also have a 3.3 implied run total and Duffy and Kluber are both -160 favorites. We have Kluber ever so slightly ahead of Duffy but this is really a situation that can be determined by price points. We’ll emphasize salary relief when choosing between the two which makes Duffy our preference on FanDuel and Kluber our preference on DraftKings.

Gio Gonzalez (WAS) is our primary value target as our third ranked starter with a very favorable matchup against the Braves who rank 30th in wRC+ against LHP and are a bit more strikeout prone (depending on the lineup). Gonzalez is another big favorite on the slate (-160) and has a 3.8 implied run total against. Gonzalez will have the benefit of working to a favorable umpire and a Braves’ offense that has the third lowest BB Rate in the league against LHP. Gonzalez’s price is down after a series of difficult matchups and this is a good opportunity to get a slightly discounted tag in a very favorable matchup. We’re even comfortable using Gonzalez as your lone SP option on FanDuel thanks to the soft price tag. The alternatives to Gio Gonzalez in cash games are largely contained in that second tier. Jose Quintana (CHW) is probably the best alternative as the Athletics rank 23rd in wRC+ against LHP and they have the second lowest BB Rate against LHP. Quintana should work deep into the game and represents the biggest favorite on the slate at -170. The challenge with Quintana is the strikeout upside is slightly lower and the price tag is generally higher. Vincent Velasquez (PHI) remains cheap but we’d prefer to get exposure in tournaments. The K upside is immense but it’s a good Dodgers’ offense against RHP and as we wind down the season Velasquez is a good candidate to see his innings managed. Julio Urias (LAD) has been battling an innings limit all season but his impressive K Rate (24.4 percent) makes him a compelling cheap target. The salary relief seems a little unnecessary on this main slate without Coors Field in play, so while he projects as a viable cash game play we’d prefer the exposure in tournaments.

Justin Verlander (DET) has one of the more difficult matchups you can get against a good Red Sox offense that also makes a lot of contact against RHP. As a result, he rates lower in our model than you might expect. Verlander has been incredible during the second half of the season as his K Rate continues to climb, but this matchup suppresses the projected strikeouts and puts him a bit in limbo. At his best, he’s viable in GPPs if the strikeouts are there, but the price tag is a bit elevated and he’s a pretty popular target most slates. If looking for a cheap GPP flier with more upside than Urias, we’d look towards Chad Green (NYY). Green has issues with the long ball but gets a big park shift in his favor and the Angels’ lineups got a bit more strikeout friendly when Yunel Escobar hit the DL.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

4) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

5) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

The catcher position is pretty deep with the emergence of Gary Sanchez (NYY) down the stretch and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) on fire of late. Pricing on DraftKings is pretty difficult and could force you in the direction of a punt or paying full price on one of the options above. Victor Martinez (DET) slightly out-ranks the other options due to lineup spot and strength of the Tigers’ offense against LHP, but Grandal’s insane hot streak (5.70 well hit rate) makes it more of a conversation with a big park shift in his favor and a bad bullpen behind DeSclafani. Gary Sanchez has also been mashing of late (4.60 well hit and another homer last night) and faces Jhoulys Chacin (.320 wOBA, .141 ISO to RHBs) who is backed up by one of the worst bullpens in the game. Sanchez has been promoted to the third spot of late and remains exceptionally cheap on FanDuel ($2,700).

First Base Rankings

1) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

2) Daniel Murphy (WAS) – where eligible

3) David Ortiz (BOS)

4) Brandon Moss (STL)

5) Jose Abreu (CHW)

6) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

7) Carlos Santana (CLE)

The first base position is a bit tricky on Sunday. The top options are priced appropriately and you can find fault in any of their matchups. Miguel Cabrera (DET) rates as our top option but Eduardo Rodriguez has been pitching very well of late (2.52 ERA, 39 K, 12 BB in 39 1/3 IP over last seven starts) and is a former top prospect with a good arsenal. We’re comfortable picking on him where the price is down ($3,600 on DraftKings) but less excited to pay full price. David Ortiz (BOS) is dominant against RHP but facing a pretty darn good one in Justin Verlander who has held LHBs to .278 wOBA, .152 ISO since 2015. It’s not an ideal matchup to pay full price for Ortiz either. Brandon Moss (STL) has big power upside against RHP and a nice park shift but Vincent Velasquez can also miss bats. The only truly compelling matchup for an elite first base eligible player is for Daniel Murphy (WAS) and he’s priced appropriately on DraftKings where Cabrera is super cheap. On FanDuel, you’ll likely have to pay full price for someone and our lean is Miguel Cabrera since he has the weakest matchup of the group but you could also get some salary relief with Jose Abreu (CHW) at $3,200 against Jesse Hahn who is good against RHBs (.263 wOBA, .064 ISO allowed) but allows contact (just 14 percent K Rate) and is weak overall.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

3) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

4) Dee Gordon (MIA)

5) Ian Kinsler (DET)

6) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

The top of the second base position is loaded as three second base eligible players rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters. Jose Altuve (HOU) gets a nice park shift and a slightly above average matchup against Yovani Gallardo (.323 wOBA, .129 ISO to RHBs since 2015). Matt Carpenter (STL) also gets a positive park shift and a slightly above average matchup with Vincent Velasquez (.330 wOBA, .165 ISO allowed to LHBs), while Daniel Murphy (WAS) gets the best matchup of the bunch against Joel de la Cruz (.331 wOBA, .149 ISO in addition to a 39 percent hard hit rate). All three are very strong spends in all formats. On both sites, a very strong source of salary relief may emerge if Kolten Wong (STL) leads off. Wong is a decent hitter against RHP (.326 wOBA, .133 ISO since 2015) and Velasquez has had his share of issues with LHBs. With a near punt price tag, Wong would represent a strong value. On DraftKings, Ian Kinsler (DET) is a nice mid-tier value given his success against LHP (.371 wOBA, .187 ISO since 2015) and Vegas not believing the recent Rodriguez resurrection (4.8 implied runs for the Tigers). At just $4,000, Kinsler is about 10-20 percent discounted over most price tags he gets against LHP.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Corey Seager (LAD)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Carlos Correa (HOU)

4) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

5) Marcus Semien (OAK)

6) Tim Anderson (CHW)

The shortstop position is similar to second base but with slightly weaker options overall. Corey Seager (LAD), Manny Machado (BAL), and Carlos Correa (HOU) are three of our Top 15 overall options and all three are compelling spends. Marcus Semien (OAK) represents the best value alternative as a road leadoff hitter in a good park for power. Semien has compiled an impressive .392 wOBA and .234 ISO against LHP since 2015. Jose Quintana is pretty tough on RHBs (.311 wOBA, .138 ISO since 2015) but the park shift, the nearly guaranteed four plate appearances, and the modest price tag make Semien a very strong source of salary relief at the position.

Third Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Justin Turner (LAD)

4) Evan Longoria (TB)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

6) Alex Bregman (HOU)

7) Danny Valencia (OAK)

8) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

Matt Carpenter (STL) represents our top third base option on DraftKings where he carries eligibility. With Manny Machado (BAL), Justin Turner (LAD), and Evan Longoria (TB) all priced right around Carpenter, there are few compelling values. Danny Valencia (OAK) is cheaper on both sites and like Semien very skilled against LHP (.398 wOBA, .210 ISO since 2015). The question is how much Oakland exposure you want to pile into lineups as they have just a 3.7 implied run total on the slate. The only other strong alternative is Alex Bregman (HOU) who after an atrocious few weeks to start his MLB career has really turned things around. Bregman’s well hit rate is up to 4.5 over the last 14 days and he’s hit .333/.371/.544 over the last 13 games. The Astros are a great offense to target and where Bregman is meaningfully cheaper than the top options at the position, he’s a strong target.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Mke Trout (LAA)

3) Mookie Betts (BOS)

4) Starling Marte (PIT)

5) Josh Reddick (LAD)

6) George Springer (HOU)

7) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

8) J.D. Martinez (DET)

9) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

10) Brandon Moss (STL) – where eligible

11) Adam Eaton (CHW)

12) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

13) Ian Desmond (TEX)

14) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

15) Christian Yelich (MIA)

Bryce Harper (WAS) remains at the top of our rankings as the top overall hitter on this slate. His dominance against RHP, historically, is a good match for Joel de la Cruz who has allowed all sorts of hard contact to LHBs. The Braves’ catchers struggle to control the running game and Harper’s shown a willingness to run of late. His well hit rate has been hovering around 5.0 for the greater part of the last 10 days and with outfield lacking elite values, he represents one of the most direct ways to get exposure to the Nationals’ offense. He’s not a must because he’s fully priced, but he’s a very strong acash game target. After Harper, many of the other top options are priced appropriately. Josh Reddick (LAD) is the lone value on both sites with a below average price tag and a favorable matchup in Cincinnati against Anthony DeSclafani (.350 wOBA, .191 ISO allowed to LHBs). Reddick has been mired in a slump but it’s not showing up in the well hit data (posted his highest hard hit rate all year in August – 34 percent). It looks more like hitting into bad luck than actually struggling at the plate, so we’re comfortable investing at discounted price tags. Outside of Harper and Reddick, most of the other mid-tier options rate as strong values. It’s possible we also get a few punt price tags thrown into the mix with lineup alerts. Mikie Mahtook (TB) and Jeremy Hazelbaker (STL) could represent cheap OF leadoff options on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively. Make sure to check out the beta model as lineups are coming in for shifting values at all different salary levels.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

2) Pittsburgh Pirates

3) Chicago White Sox

4) Detroit Tigers

5) Washington Nationals

Tier Two

6) St. Louis Cardinals

7) Los Angeles Dodgers

The Astros and Nationals represent our favorite offenses to get exposure to in cash games. The Astros have the most depth and rank as the best stack, but the LHBs individually rate really well for the Nationals against Joel de la Cruz. These two offenses have been putting together big performances throughout the weekend so it’s likely they come with some inflated ownership due to recent success. In cash games, we’re comfortable if you naturally end up with a mini-stack, but it’s not something we’re forcing.

Additional Tournament Stacks

Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers are dangerous against RHP (sixth best wRC+ against RHP) and they’re getting a huge park shift. They’ve spent the weekend disappointing owners in two favorable matchups, so we think some fatigue may set in and lower ownership.

New York Yankees – Temperatures in the 80s along with arguably the worst bullpen in the league make the Yankees a viable contrarian stack, especially if we continue to get Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius in premier lineup spots as it gives you some positional scarcity to start your stack off with.