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August 22 MLB DFS: Rama Lamb-a Ding Dong
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August 22 MLB DFS: Rama Lamb-a Ding Dong

4:40 Starting Pitchers

9:05 Catchers

11:53 First Base

16:20 Second Base

19:01 Shortstops

21:46 Third Base

23:27 Outfield

28:44 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 22 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) David Price (BOS)

2) Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

3) Carlos Carrasco (CLE)

4) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Two

5) Jameson Taillon (PIT)

6) Dylan Bundy (BAL)

7) Michael Pineda (NYY)

David Price (BOS) leads off a deep first tier of starting pitcher options on this eight game slate. Price gets a huge park shift in Tampa and has the second highest projected K Rate on the slate, trailing only Stephen Strasburg (WAS). The 3.5 implied run total against is the second lowest on the slate behind Jon Lester and although the Rays profile decently against LHP, they rank just 19th in wRC+ with the league’s highest K Rate. Of the top tier starters, Price has the most accessible price tag, making him our primary target among the elite starters. Stephen Strasburg trails Price slightly in large part due to a steep park downgrade coupled with a league downgrade that has resulted in a 4.4 implied run total against. Strasburg does earn our highest projected K Rate in large part thanks to his dominance against RHBs (.302 wOBA, 29 K Rate since 2015) but the recent struggles coupled with the league shift and difficult overall environment make Strasburg a better tournament target than cash game option. Carlos Carrasco (CLE) and Jon Lester (CHC) profile similarly to Price but at more expensive tags. Carrasco gets an Athletics offense that ranks 19th in wRC+ against RHP but with a below average K Rate. Lester gets a matchup with the Padres that brings big strikeout upside against LHP and is one we’ve been targeting of late. Lester has the lowest implied run total against (3.2 runs) and represents the heaviest favorite (-220). On paper, he looks like the safest cash game target, but you’ll have to pay a premium above David Price for that security.

It’s difficult to pair two elite starters on DraftKings, so we’re once again tied to the upside of Michael Pineda (NYY) who comes with a reasonable price tag ($7,700) and a big park shift in his favor. Pineda’s matchup with the Mariners is a difficult one (fourth in wRC+, 23rd highest K Rate against RHP) but his biggest weakness (home runs allowed) should be helped by the environment. At just $7,700, you capture some of the upside of the elite first tier starters with the salary relief that is necessary to pursue high end hitting.

If looking for tournament targets, the second tier is filled with them. Jameson Taillon (PIT), Dylan Bundy (BAL), and Pineda are all impressive starters with enough strikeout upside to justify their current price tags. Taillon has the lowest K baseline of the group but the Astros can swing and miss enough to help generate an above average rate in this matchup. Bundy has the most difficult matchup of the group but has been arguably the most impressive starter in his brief time in the majors. Stephen Strasburg is another elite tournament target given the Orioles’ hefty K Rate and in general, paying the highest price tag among the tier one starters may yield the lowest ownership.

Catcher Rankings

1) Gary Sanchez (NYY)

2) Welington Castillo (ARZ)

3) Wilson Ramos (WAS)

4) Willson Contreras (CHC)

5) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

Gary Sanchez (NYY) tops our catcher rankings on Monday. He remains cheap on FanDuel ($2,900) and gets a relatively soft matchup with Cody Martin (career 6.40 ERA in 45 innings). On FanDuel, he’s our clear target with a soft price tag and fine matchup. DraftKings is a little bit more difficult to decipher as most of the catchers are priced appropriately and we wouldn’t mind some salary relief at the position. Of the potential salary relief options, Stephen Vogt (OAK) carries the most difficult matchup (Carrasco has allowed a .295 wOBA and struck out 27.3 percent of LHBs) but Carrasco has allowed power (.173 ISO) and Vogt gets a great lineup spot and carries the most skill of the cheap options.

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Daniel Murphy (WAS) – where eligible

4) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

5) Chris Carter (COL)

6) Chris Davis (BAL)

7) Carlos Santana (CLE)

8) David Ortiz (BOS)

9) Wil Myers (SD)

10) Mike Napoli (CLE)

Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) is our second ranked overall hitter against a fly ball-heavy starter at home. Mike Foltynewicz has been competent against RHBs this season (.310 wOBA, .148 ISO allowed with a 51 GB Rate and 25.2 hard hit rate) but for his career he’s struggled a bit more (.342 wOBA, .163 ISO). While Foltynewicz isn’t someone we love attacking with RHBs, Goldschmidt’s success against fastballs and the willingness to use the opposite field at home (.430 wOBA to right field) profiles as a very favorable matchup against Foltynewicz. Goldschmidt is expensive, but also one of the best ways to access the slate-leading 5.3 implied run total for the Diamonbacks. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) has a slightly softer matchup than Goldschmidt against Edwin Jackson (career .344 wOBA, .156 ISO allowed to LHBs) but it comes with a bit less power upside and the same price tag. Rizzo is a fine pivot from Goldschmidt. If you’re looking for a salary relief option from Goldschmidt or Rizzo, Chris Carter (MIL) looks like your best option. Chad Bettis has some reverse splits (.352 wOBA, .187 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015) and has a below league average K Rate against RHBs (18.1 percent). Any time we can get Carter against a more contact-oriented starter, you have a better chance of unlocking his prodigious power.

Second Base Rankings

1) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

2) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

3) Robinson Cano (SEA)

4) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

5) Jean Segura (ARZ)

6) Jose Altuve (HOU)

Daniel Murphy (WAS) is the class of a deep second base position. He’s a Top 10 hitter overall as a big park upgrade coupled with a neutral matchup with Dylan Bundy (.310 wOBA, .178 ISO to LHBs since 2015) nets out a positive grade. Murphy is a fine spend, though appropriately priced on both sites. If you’re looking to drop down from Murphy, Robinson Cano (SEA), Ben Zobrist (CHC), and Jean Segura (ARZ) are all viable alternatives on FanDuel. Cano rates the best, but a tricky matchup with Pineda (.328 wOBA, .182 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015) might make him a bit more boom-or-bust. Ben Zobrist looks like the safest of the bunch as a middle-of-the-order hitter against a weak opposing starter and bullpen. Jean Segura leads off for the team with the highest implied run total and has a chance to run wild against the Braves catchers, but he struggles with fastballs historically which makes Foltynewicz a tough individual matchup for his success. On DraftKings all those guys are priced similarly to Murphy, so if dropping down we’d go all the way down to Scooter Gennett (MIL) who gets a great lineup spot at home against Chad Bettis and is just $3,700.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Jonathan Villar (MIL) – where eligible

2) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

3) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

4) Orlando Arcia (MIL) – if second

5) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

6) Carlos Correa (HOU)

7) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Shortstop is a really tricky position that would be made easier if Orlando Arcia (MIL) was hitting second. Arcia carries a punt price tag around the industry but has hit eighth in three straight games. If Arcia isn’t second you’ll look to mid-tier values like Didi Gregorius (NYY) on FanDuel ($2,900) or potentially a pure punt on DraftKings with Alexei Ramirez (SD) leading off against LHP of late at $2,400. It’s a tricky position to attack as very few of the elite options are in plus matchups. Jonathan Villar (MIL) profiles the best, but Chad Bettis is decent against LHBs (.332 wOBA, .139 ISO since 2015) when accounting for most of his games in Coors Field and Villar is super expensive. Francisco Lindor (CLE) might serve as the best way to middle the position if not looking for salary relief options.

Third Base Rankings

1) Jake Lamb (ARZ)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL) – where eligible

5) Manny Machado (BAL)

Jake Lamb (ARZ) is a pretty clear cut target for us on this slate. Foltynewicz has been blasted by LHBs (.380 wOBA, .249 ISO allowed) and Lamb’s price tag is reasonable across the industry. Lamb owns a .367 wOBA and .222 ISO against RHP since 2015 but has posted a ridiculous .397 wOBA and .337 ISO against RHP over his last 200 plate appearances. He’s the best way to get exposure to the Diamondbacks slate-leading implied team total of 5.3 runs and he doesn’t cost a ton to get it. Target him in all formats.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Ryan Braun (MIL)

3) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

4) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

6) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

7) Mookie Betts (BOS)

8) Trea Turner (WAS) – where eligible

9) Michael Bourn (ARZ)

10) Ben Zobrist (CHC) – where eligible

11) Starling Marte (PIT)

12) Ender Inciarte (ATL)

13) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

14) David Dahl (MIL)

15) Adam Jones (BAL)

Bryce Harper (WAS) remains our top overall hitter on the slate as he gets a big park upgrade against another RHP. Dylan Bundy is very talented but has surrendered power to LHBs as a big leaguer, which makes Harper’s recent hot-streak enticing. He’s priced fully and by no means a must play, but once again the outfield values are relatively thin and Harper represents the best target. Harper’s more accessible on FanDuel ($4,000) than on DraftKings ($5,400). Once again, the mid-tier on FanDuel is where we find most of our alternative values. Carlos Gonzalez ($3,700) and Gregory Polanco ($3,200) are both underpriced against below average RHPs. Domingo Santana (MIL) returned to the Brewers’ lineup on Sunday and if he gets back in the lineup on Monday with a decent lineup spot, he carries a punt price tag that would be helpful in roster construction. Otherwise, Michael Bourn (ARZ) looks like the best source of salary relief. Bourn is a really weak hitter, but if he can get on base he can run against the Braves’ weak catchers and Foltynewicz has really struggled keeping lefties off base. On DraftKings, Jason Heyward (CHC) could represent a viable near-punt play at $2,800 if he hits sixth for the Cubs against Edwin Jackson. Seth Smith (SEA) is cheap enough at $3,000, but in general we’re left with very few value tags that might have you reaching down lineups or against matchups with stronger overall starters. Once again, lineup alerts will be key in helping identify alternative value plays and sift through the outfield options.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Arizona Diamondbacks

2) Cleveland Indians

Tier Two

3) New York Yankees

4) Milwaukee Brewers

5) Washington Nationals

6) Colorado Rockies

7) Chicago Cubs

Cleveland and Arizona rank as our top stacks. Cleveland was noticeably absent from our content in large part because most of their hitters are priced appropriately and come at deep positions. Andrew Triggs has been pretty darn good this season but struggles to work deep into the game and much of the Cleveland ranking is built off a weak A’s bullpen. We think they’re a strong tournament target but a team that doesn’t need to force exposure in cash games. Arizona is a team we’ll have some exposure to in cash games largely filtered through Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. There are complementary values that could form a mini-stack, but it’s not a must.

Additional Tournament Stacks

Camden Yards – Dylan Bundy and Stephen Strasburg are arguably the two starters with the best pure stuff on Monday’s slate, but both are facing strong offenses in arguably the best hitting environment on the slate. The Nationals and Orioles have the fourth or fifth highest implied totals of the slate and should fly under the radar a bit due to the skill of the starters. This makes for a viable game stack or picking a side on either offense and attacking in tournaments.