Welcome to August 21 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 21 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 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Blake Snell (TB) and Patrick Corbin (ARI) top our overall SP rankings on the slate. Snell is difficult to evaluate. We certainly expect him to continue his remarkable efficiency given some absurd Vegas odds (-240, 2.8 IRTA) and the skills he’s shown this season: 28.5 K%, 3.34 FIP. The home matchup against a really bad Royals lineup that has six of nine hitters with a wOBA split baseline at .290 or below should serve him well. The issue is how deep he will pitch. Snell has been efficient since returning from the DL, but they’ve yanked him after five innings in each of his past two starts, seemingly paying no attention to the low pitch counts. On a slate where Snell doesn’t come at a price discount and there’s tons of offense to pay up for, we’d want more clarity on his expected innings before deploying him in cash games.
Corbin’s velocity has started to trend towards where it was at the beginning of the season, which is a nice sign even though the dip ultimately didn’t affect his results much. Corbin has an outstanding 2.41 FIP and 30.7 K%. A more difficult matchup with a heavily right-handed Angels team prevents Corbin from outprojecting Snell, but he’s more expensive (especially on DK) and like with Snell we’d rather prioritize the expensive bats.
On FD, pricing is a bit looser and we’d be more inclined to use Snell in cash, although it’s not our optimal suggestion right now. The volatile Jose Berrios (MIN) is priced nicely on FD and has a matchup that should allow him to overcome recent struggles. The White Sox rank 20th in wRC+ against RHP with a very high 25.8 K%. The negative park shift and only okay Vegas odds, though, mostly keep Berrios as a secondary value (and probably not even that on DK).
So, if you aren’t making an expensive spend, where are you going? We’re targeting a couple of high strikeout projections despite run prevention risk. The first of these is Dylan Bundy (BAL). Bundy has had wide splits this season, striking out just 19.4% of LHBs but a whopping 29.1% of RHBs. He has a matchup against a Blue Jays team that we’re expecting to throw out six RHBs. The end result is the third highest K projection on the slate (behind Snell and Corbin, tied with Berrios) and an additional boost from a favorable umpire. Of course, Bundy has homer woes and is in a pitcher’s park, a risk that’s evident in the 4.9 IRTA.
The other option in this mold has a 6.2 strikeout projection, the fifth highest on the slate, and that is White Sox prospect Michael Kopech (CHW) making his MLB debut. Kopech was striking out 31.3% of batters faced at AAA. Projections systems aren’t expecting a good ERA (most estimates around 4.50), but they are expecting a hefty strikeout total.
On DK, Ivan Nova (PIT), Junior Guerra (MIL), and Sam Gaviglio (TOR) are three options with really shaky skill sets that crack the SP2 conversation given their cheap pricing. Nova is simply a product of his favorable home park and a friendly umpire for pitchers. Guerra has favorable Vegas odds against a bad Reds team, yielding him as a -195 favorite with a 3.8 IRTA. Gaviglio has that juicy matchup against the Orioles that we’ll continue to target rest of season. Ultimately, Guerra has had the most consistent success of the trio over the course of the season and is the on we’d be most comfortable risking in cash games.
This is the type of slate that might make you do some weird things at SP. If you wanted to pay up at SP1, one of the weird things you might do is pure punt the SP2 spot, which might lead you to Glenn Sparkman (KC).
If you end up in no man’s land, unable to afford the top tier of pitching and unwilling to risk the Nova/Guerra/Gaviglio tier, Kevin Gausman (ATL) and Tanner Roark (WAS) are “feel” plays in the $7k range that have acceptable floors, even if their mean projections indicate they aren’t among the best values on the slate.
If you wanted to get more aggressive with his baselines, Kyle Hendricks (CHC) is in a similar boat as Gausman and Roark. He’s pitched really well lately, posting xFIPs of 2.87, 3.37, 3.21, 2.29, and 1.82 over his last five starts, notching 7-plus strikeouts in four of those starts.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is the top projected scorer at the catcher position. He’s priced appropriately but he’s a strong tournament target. He’ll be hitting from the left side of the plate and since 2017, he’s posted a .353 wOBA and .243 ISO vs. RHP.
The cash game play at the position is Willson Contreras (CHC). He’s been cold recently (8.7% HHR over the L15 days), but he’s now underpriced, and that’s an unusual thing to say at a position that’s usually priced very appropriately. Contreras is just $3,600 and $2,400 on FD. He’s not needed on FD but on DK he’s the only positive value we have at the position. He’ll have a R/R matchup against Jordan Zimmermann. Since the start of last season, he’s posted a healthy .347 wOBA and .178 ISO vs. RHP.
It’s not inconceivable to consider Buster Posey (SF) as an alternative in all formats. Posey will have the platoon edge, and that’s where his upside kicks in (.371 wOBA, .166 ISO since 2017). He’s just $400 more expensive than Contreras on DK. Russell Martin (TOR) is a decent alternative in cash games but he only saves you $200 off Contreras and we have him projected to hit seventh at home.
Robinson Chirinos (TEX) and Tom Murphy (COL) are intriguing tournament targets. Both will have the platoon edge in their respective matchups and have well above average ISO baselines at the catcher position.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) carries the top projection at first base. Rizzo is somehow just $4,300 on DK. He’ll have the platoon edge against Jordan Zimmermann, who’s been better this season compared to where he’s been over the last few season but he’s still allowing plenty of power (1.62 HR/9). Since the start of last season, Rizzo has posted a .369 wOBA and .216 ISO. He also gets to hit leadoff on the road, which is very unusual for a first baseman. We view him as a core play on the hitting side.
Rizzo is projecting so strongly in this slate that even on FD where he’s priced more appropriately ($4,100) he still appears in about half of our optimals. There are other strong per dollar alternatives at the position on that site. The first one is Kendrys Morales (TOR), who’s just $2,400 and gets to hit from the left side against power prone Dylan Bundy (.204 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017). Teammate Justin Smoak (TOR), Mitch Moreland (BOS) and Ian Desmond (COL) are options in the mid to low $3k range that project strongly as they’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups. Desmond would project ahead of the pack if he received a better lineup spot than sixth. Smoak is underpriced on DK ($4k) as well and represents a strong tournament alternative off Rizzo. Moreland and Desmond also deserve tournament consideration on DK despite being priced a bit more efficiently on that site.
In tournaments, we’re fans of Eric Thames (MIL) power upside against Sal Romano. Thames has been a reliable power source, posting a .289 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. Romano has wide splits. He’s allowed a .365 wOBA and .198 ISO to LHBs since 2017. Freddie Freeman (ATL), Cody Bellinger (LAD) and Matt Olson (OAK) are additional power upside targets with the platoon edge to consider in GPPs.
Javier Baez (CHC) and DJ LeMahieu (COL) represent the top projected scorers at second base. These two are priced efficiently on DK but the mid $3k price tags on FD puts them squarely in play across all formats. Baez brings the big time event upside you rarely see in the middle infield, slugging 25 HRs and stealing 20 bases so far this season. LeMahieu will have the platoon edge and gets to hit second in Coors Field.
While the options atop our projections at the position are attractive, we also have a clear cut value on both sites that is much cheaper. Devon Travis (TOR) is just $3,400 on DK and $2,500 on FD. Travis has been hitting second of late and Dylan Bundy allows plenty of power to RHBs (.210 ISO since 2017). Travis isn’t as talented of a hitter as the options above, but that’s why he’s priced so cheaply.
Jonathan Villar (BAL) is just $400 more expensive than Travis on both sites and can also be considered in all formats. Villar has been hitting leadoff or second and he’s on the road tonight in a strong hitting environment (Rogers Centre).
Travis Shaw (MIL) is an additional option that deserves tournament consideration. Shaw has posted a .378 wOBA and .262 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and he gets a matchup against a pitcher that has wide splits (Sal Romano). Shaw is priced appropriately so he could end up being overlooked on such a big slate.
Nolan Arenado (COL) will face a LHP in Coors Field. As usual, that leaves him with by far the top projection at third base. Arenado has generated a ridiculous .541 wOBA and .424 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. Robbie Erlin is a decent pitcher, but he doesn’t pitch deep into games and this context is by far the toughest he’s faced this season. Arenado is an obvious play in all formats.
We do have a strong alternative at the position that comes with a cheaper price. That’s Mike Moustakas (MIL), who’s a little bit underpriced with a $4,400 price tag on DK and $3,700 on FD. Moustakas doesn’t K much (15.6% K rate vs. RHP) and he generates plenty of power (.242 ISO since 2017) vs. RHP. He will have a favorable matchup in Miller Park, and he’s been hitting third vs. RHP.
Arenado and Moustakas are the only options worth pursuing in cash games. In tournaments, Jose Ramirez (CLE) stands out from an ownership standpoint. We think he’ll end up with a single digit ownership number in tournaments, which is too low for a hitter with his type of event profile.
Wil Myers (SD) has 3B eligibility on FD. He’ll have the platoon edge in Coors Field. He’s priced correctly ($4,100) for his baselines but the context enhances the upside further.
On the cheap end, Adrian Beltre (TEX) and Evan Longoria (SF) stand out as they’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups. Their upside isn’t as pronounced as the options above but the price tags puts them in play.
Trevor Story (COL) carries the top projection at the shortstop position. Story has been incredible vs. LHP, posting a .424 wOBA and .322 ISO against them since the start of last season. Story is very expensive but he remains a strong tournament target. Francisco Lindor (CLE) won’t be as popular as Story in tournaments and he deserves to be considered in that format. Lindor is another option that brings elite event upside (29 HRs, 19 SBs this season) to the table.
In cash games, we’d rather save some money with Javier Baez (CHC) (on DK) and Elvis Andrus (TEX). Baez has a R/R matchup, but it’s against Jordan Zimmermann, who’s allowed a .369 wOBA and .218 ISO to RHBs since 2017. The Cubs have a 5.1 IRT on the road and Baez hit second. There’s plenty of upside here. Andrus gets a significant park downgrade going into Oakland but he’ll have the platoon edge against Brett Anderson and he has average price tags on both sites.
Carlos Correa (HOU) is just $4,200 on DK. If you can’t spend up for Baez, Correa is a very reasonable alternative. Correa has posted a .362 wOBA and .229 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season and he faces contact prone Mike Leake tonight.
Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) has a punt price tag on FD ($2,500) and gets to hit from the left side of the plate (.200 ISO vs. RHP since 2017). Cabrera has been hitting third of late vs. RHP. If you’re not going the Andrus route in cash games, Cabrera is a fine alternative. Jonathan Schoop (MIL) and Addison Russell (CHC) are other cheap plays that have appeared in some of our optimals on FD but we’re less bullish on them from a projection standpoint since they typically hit towards the bottom of their offenses.
Christian Yelich (MIL) and Charlie Blackmon (COL) project as the top options in the outfield. Yelich has posted a .361 wOBA and .176 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. Blackmon will have a L/L matchup, but the price tag is taking this into account ($5,100 on DK, $4,200 on FD). Neither is a must in cash games but it’s worth noting that they project as two of the better per dollar plays at the position as well. They’re going to crack tons of optimal lineups tonight.
The next in line options at the position are the Red Sox, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez (BOS). They have a matchup against Shane Bieber, who’s fared very well against RHBs but has struggled mightily against LHBs (.401 wOBA, .243 ISO). It’s not a perfect matchup for the Betts and Martinez but this trio has a chance to have ownership in the single digits tonight. For that reason, we think they deserve some attention in tournaments. The same thing could be said for Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) and Bryce Harper (WSH). Stanton is cash game viable on DK where he’s just $4,900.
Joc Pederson (LAD) has average price tags on both sites and he’s projecting as the strongest per dollar option in the outfield. Pederson has quietly generated a .360 wOBA and .257 ISO vs. RHP since 2017. He should certainly be more expensive than he currently is. We like him across all formats.
Andrew McCutchen (SF), Randal Grichuk (TOR) (on FD), Eric Thames (MIL) (on FD) and Manuel Margot (SD) (on DK) are other options at the position that are underpriced on the aforementioned sites. We have Thames projected to hit seventh at home, but he’s just $3,200 on FD and has the power upside that could skyrocket your team up the leaderboards. If Margot is leading off, he’d be doing so in Coors Field and he’ll have the platoon edge as well. He hasn’t been all that impressive with his bat (.317 wOBA, .159 ISO vs. LHP) but he’s just $4k on DK in this context. McCutchen is still an elite hitter vs. LHP (.406 wOBA, .225 ISO since 2017) and he’s on the road facing Steven Matz, who’s allowed a .227 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season.
There’s not much to like on the cheap end, but Nick Delmonico (CHW) and Stephen Piscotty (OAK) have emerged in some of our FD optimals. Piscotty has the best matchup of the two as he takes on Ariel Jurado, who’s allowed a .203 ISO to RHBs in his short stint in the majors and has a K rate below 10%.
1) Colorado Rockies
With temperatures back to sane levels around the country, Coors Field asserts its dominance handing a 6 IRT to the Rockies, the highest on the slate by 0.8 runs. This Rockies lineup is much better against LHP, with Blackmon holding his own and LeMahieu, Arenado, and Story holding the platoon edge.
2) Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers once again find themselves in a great spot against the Reds, this time facing Sal Romano who has a .354 xwOBA and .206 xISO.
3) Boston Red Sox
4) Chicago Cubs
The Red Sox have the best offense in all of baseball and Betts and Martinez should get some help from their LH teammates given the wide splits that Shane Bieber has displayed thus far this season (.397 wOBA to LHBs, .278 to RHBs).
The Cubs are particularly interesting, gaining the DH in a hitter friendly AL park and guaranteeing nine innings as the road team. Opposing pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has been better than expected overall on the season (4.25 xFIP), but he’s had some really poor GB and Hard rates over his last handful of starts.
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
6) Los Angeles Dodgers
7) Toronto Blue Jays
The Diamondbacks will likely go underowned on this slate, but we like their potential. Goldschmidt and Peralta have high positive 15-day Hard% deltas according to Inside Edge data, while Pollock is right in line with his seasonal mark. Opposing pitcher Felix Pena has been wild and homer prone, walking nearly 10% of batters while allowing more hard-hit aerial contact than the league average.
The Dodgers are a pretty straightforward stack – not a great park but a deep lineup against a starter with a 5.09 ZiPS projected ERA.
While we like Dylan Bundy on this slate, 2.05 HR/9 in one of the better hitting environment on the slates leaves quite a bit of upside for the opposition, even if you just want to use Toronto players as one offs or complimentary stacks. Once again the Jays are really affordable on both sites.
8) Washington Nationals
9) San Diego Padres
The Padres rate low for a team in Coors, but they rank 21st in wRC+ against LHP, have a mediocre 4.5 IRT, and face the pesky Tyler Anderson, who continually tilts us by giving up runs on the road but not at home. Of course that latter point is complete noise and subjectivity, but hey we’re human. Coors can get nutty, so the Padres belong in your MME mix, but you don’t need to feel compelled to get a taste in cash games or single entry solely because it’s Coors.