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August 26 MLB DFS: JV Lineup Good Enough For Cash
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August 26 MLB DFS: JV Lineup Good Enough For Cash

01:08 Starting Pitchers
09:59 Catchers
12:41 First Base
16:00 Second Base
18:45 Shortstops
22:15 Third Base
23:59 Outfield
31:27 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks




Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Justin Verlander (DET)

2) Chris Sale (CHWS)

Tier Two

3) Corey Kluber (CLE)

Tier Three

4) David Phelps (MIA)

5) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

6) Gio Gonzalez (WAS)

7) Luke Weaver (STL)

8) Mike Fiers (HOU)

9) Drew Smyly (TB)

Tier Four

10) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

11) Bartolo Colon (NYM)

12) Bud Norris (LAD)

13) Francisco Liriano (TOR)

While Justin Verlander (DET) doesn’t have the best matchup for DFS purposes (Angels are middle of the pack in wRC+ and barely strike out), his recent performances, especially in light of a lack of other top tier starting pitching, put him in our cash game crosshairs. Since the All Star Break Verlander has a 1.93 ERA in eight starts, averaging 7 IP and 9.80 K/9. Holding the largest money line (-210) and third lowest IRTA (implied run total against), Verlander is an affordable anchor in cash games.

The prices on Kluber and Sale don’t give Verlander much competition up top, so after him you’re looking for value. We’ve got 10 starting pitchers in the third and fourth tiers, so price and the things we look at during lineup alerts (umpires, line movement, weather, confirmed lineups) will play a role here. The way things stand now, we’re currently looking close at David Phelps (MIA) (doesn’t pitch real deep but huge reliever K rate has translated to starting role – 26 Ks in 20.2 IP over four starts; lowest IRTA), Luke Weaver (STL) (somewhat shaky first two starts but still like his skill set, especially on sites like DraftKings where the risk if fully priced in), and Gio Gonzalez (WAS) (Ks have been there all season long, and the velocity has been trending upwards all season).

Here’s a look at Gonzalez’s velocity chart this year on his fastball, courtesy of FanGraphs:

gio velo

He’ll face a Rockies team that has been bad against LHP this season when you account for park (24th in wRC+).

Since the third and fourth tiers are crowded with many options, feel free to get creative in tournaments. A couple guys we’re currently eyeing in that format are Felix Hernandez (SEA) (still wary over where baseline should be but recent strikeout numbers show upside) and Mike Fiers (HOU) (if he can get lucky on fly balls staying in the park, Tampa Bay will give him plenty of K potential).

Catcher Rankings

1) Russell Martin (TOR)

2) Brian McCann (NYY) (if hitting cleanup)

3) Victor Martinez (DET)

4) Welington Castillo (ARI)

5) Buster Posey (SF)

There’s a bit more upside at the C position than usual since some of the best hitters at the position have great contextual factors in their favor. It starts with Russell Martin (TOR), a top 20 overall hitting option, who will hold the platoon edge on Pat Dean (4.42 xFIP, 14.5 hard minus soft hit rate in 46 MLB innings between starting and relieving). The price on FanDuel is friendlier. Hopefully we get Brian McCann (NYY) back in the cleanup spot (has hit sixth recently) given his excellent home matchup against Yovani Gallardo (5.48 xFIP). The rest of the top five can certainly be used in tournaments or as secondary cash options given strong matchups.

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

2) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

3) David Ortiz (BOS)

4) Chris Davis (BAL)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

First base is absolutely loaded on a full slate. The three studly options we most want to get into the lineups are Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) (elite matchup against mister hard hit rate Brandon Finnegan and horrible bullpen behind him; one of the best hitters in MLB against LHP), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) (see Martin matchup above), and Chris Davis (BAL) (on the road in Yankee Stadium is a plus for his power as is facing Luis Cessa, a RHP with ZiPS projected 1.50 HR/9). The power potential for all three is massive, and you should be able to get up there on DraftKings with a cheaper second pitcher. On FanDuel pricing is a bit tougher if building around Verlander, so you may have to go the value route, and rookie Josh Bell (PIT) fits that bill (huge park shift for Pirates in Milwaukee; too cheap for platoon edge against Garza and top six lineup spot on the road). Of the group, the scorching hot Davis (plus 0.9 delta in our well-hit tool) deserves the most emphasis at his price, but the top four options all have positive deltas.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Ian Kinsler (DET)

3) Jean Segura (ARI)

4) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

5) Brian Dozier (MIN)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is simply underpriced right now, and that’s especially the case in the matchup against Drew Smyly. The southpaw (Altuve has a .440 wOBA against them since 2014) has struggled recently, posting a 4.27, 5.50, and 6.78 xFIP over his last three starts, although he has induced a lot of weak contact unlike most of the rest of the season. If that scares you off, Ian Kinsler (DET) sticks out as the best alternative.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

The best options at shortstop are two guys in matchups we’ve covered, Carlos Correa (HOU) and Troy Tulowitzki (TOR), and one we haven’t yet: Francisco Lindor (CLE). The latter plays for a Cleveland team on the road in Texas with a team total approaching five, facing Martin Perez, who has been very up and down this season, at least in terms of run prevention. It’s a good spot to take advantage of site specific pricing and simply using the cheapest of these three, particularly on DraftKings where the price tag on Carlos Correa is egregious.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Alex Bregman (HOU)

5) Miguel Sano (MIN) (where eligible)

We’d absolutely love to get up to Josh Donaldson (TOR) (cold last two weeks but homered last night; crazy .311 ISO and 6.2 HR rate against LHP since 2014), but Alex Bregman (HOU) (extremely hot following his cold start) is a fine alternative on stricter pricing sites. Manny Machado‘s (BAL) elite talent and a plus matchup makes him a great tournament play and potential cash game candidate if you wind up needing someone priced between Donaldson and Bregman, who we prefer slightly more on a per dollar basis.

Outfield Rankings

1) Bryce Harper (WAS)

2) Jose Bautista (TOR)

3) AJ Pollock (ARI)

4) Starling Marte (PIT)

5) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

6) George Springer (HOU)

7) Rajai Davis (CLE)

8) Mike Trout (LAA)

9) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

10) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

11) Mookie Betts (BOS)

12) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

13) Ryan Braun (MIL)

14) JD Martinez (DET)

15) Josh Bell (PIT)

16) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

17) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

18) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

19) Brett Gardner (NYY)

20) Miguel Sano (MIN)

With so many teams in plus parks and/or against sub-par pitchers there’s so much to choose from on the offensive side. While Bryce Harper (WAS) is a great option in a vacuum, the outfield is particularly deep and has some underpriced studs, making him a better tournament play in practice. Most notably, we have two guys back from injury in Jose Bautista (TOR) and AJ Pollock (ARI) facing bad LHPs in great hitter’s parks with high team totals. Particularly on DraftKings (Pollock not eligible on FanDuel), the value there is immense. Of course going the alternative route with the Pittsburgh Outfield isn’t a bad idea (like it in tournaments on DraftKings as pricing may deflate ownership). On FanDuel where you don’t get the ridiculous Bautista/Pollock bargains and pricing is tighter to begin with, upside options around that $3k become very valuable. There are a slew of them, with our favorites being speedsters Rajai Davis (CLE) and Billy Hamilton (CIN), both on the road in hitter’s parks. They’re priced at a level where the stolen base upside is all a bonus given the number of expected plate appearances. We encourage you to be cognizant of ownership in tournaments. A combination of pricing driving people in specific directions (particularly on DraftKings) but a wide array of usable options with upside creates situations where you can create a lot of leverage. For example, Mookie Betts (BOS) may get overshadowed up top but has one of the highest game-to-game ceilings in MLB.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

Tier Two

2) Pittsburgh Pirates

3) Cleveland Indians

4) Washington Nationals

Tier Three

5) New York Mets

6) New York Yankees

7) Baltimore Orioles

8) Cincinnati Reds

9) Boston Red Sox

10) Arizona Diamondbacks

11) Detroit Tigers

12) San Francisco Giants

The Blue Jays wipe the floor with the rest of the stacks as they are at home and absolutely lined up to crush LHP with Jose Bautista back in the lineup. Super limited sample, but Dean has allowed a .394 wOBA and .245 ISO to RHBs to go with an 18.6 hard minus soft hit rate.

There are 11 stacks between our next two tiers, which are much closer to each other than tier two is to the Blue Jays. Tournaments are a ton of fun as a result, and you may be better off trying to nail 2-3 team mini-stacks rather than full stacking a single team with so much upside to go around (don’t forget bottom of the lineup combos). Anyone on this list is acceptable, but here are some favorites:

-New York Mets (taking a stab that ownership will be lower here, but you could get a mini stack with a lot of power upside against Adam Morgan, a very good pitcher to stack against since he’s so homer prone; RHBs Justin Ruggiano, Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jose Reyes all have positive well-hit deltas while Yoenis Cespedes possesses the most individual upside)

-Baltimore Orioles (you don’t just need teams that will score runs tonight, you need DFS specific upside, which Baltimore has given homer friendly Yankee Stadium and a pitcher in Luis Cessa that both ZiPS and Steamer project to struggle with the long ball; the Orioles lead MLB with a .203 ISO against RHP)

MLB Daily Analysis

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