Welcome to August 27 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 27 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!
00:40 Starting Pitcher
07:40 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- 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.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
August 27 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Justin Verlander (HOU) and Luis Castillo (CIN) top the projections on what is a loaded pitching slate on Tuesday. Verlander out-projects Castillo by over two full FanDuel fantasy points and Castillo out-projects the next guy by about two FanDuel fantasy points as well. The issue with Verlander on this slate, who owns the most impressive duration baselines of any pitcher in the league, is simply the difficult price tag to stomach. Verlander is $1,300 more expensive than Castillo on FanDuel and a full $2,000 more expensive on DraftKings. The two project similarly and the additional salary goes a long way on a slate that includes Coors Field and a plethora of other expensive offenses in good spots.
Therefore, Castillo is the preferred cash game investment of the two on DraftKings in a matchup versus the Marlins in Marlins Park. This is one of the most significant positive park shifts a pitcher could possibly experience and the Marlins rank dead last in both wOBA and wRC+ against RHP. Furthermore, the Marlins have walked at a minuscule 6.1-percent rate in the split and have struck out at a 25.5-percent rate as well. Despite the difference in price, Castillo is only projecting for half a strikeout less than Verlander, and the 3.2-run implied total against is the lowest on the slate.
On FanDuel, Patrick Corbin (WSH) is the ace whose price is most conducive to the slate as he costs just $10,000 (or $1,000 cheaper than Castillo). Corbin’s opponent, the Orioles, rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and BB rate against LHP while having struck out at a 24.6-percent K rate. Corbin opened as a slate-best -330 favorite and the Orioles will lose the designated hitter heading to a National League park. On a two starting pitcher site like DraftKings where Castillo is $1,200 cheaper, he is best left for tournament builds, as it is near impossible to pair aces and still like the bats in a lineup.
Adrian Houser (MIL), who has struck out opposing hitters at a 24.7-percent rate, looks to be mispriced on DraftKings at just $5,000. Houser has lasted five-plus innings in five consecutive starts and yet he is priced like an absolute scrub. To this point, the Cardinals’ active hitters rank just outside the bottom 10 in wOBA and rank inside the bottom 10 of wRC+ and ISO. The Cardinals’ offense has awoken as of late and Tommy Edman has really started to flash his ability. Even so, for a pitcher with this sort of strikeout potential, he is at least $1,500 underpriced, making him the sure-thing SP2 in cash games.
Walker Buehler (LAD) and Yu Darvish (CHC) are the other two expensive pitching options on the slate who fall just short of the value of the cash game pitchers across the industry but still project quite well. Buehler is a player whose duration baselines continue to rise in our model and the Padres’ active hitters have struck out at the highest rate of any team in the split versus RHP. In other words, he is a strong tournament target regardless of site, especially if he gets overlooked due to the strong alternatives.
Darvish is projecting for the fourth most strikeouts on the slate and is priced $2,000 cheaper than Castillo. The difference in K projection between the two pitchers is just 0.2 but the context is much more difficult for Darvish pitching on the road versus a talented Mets team. The Vegas line reflects the difference in difficulty (4.3 implied runs against) but that should also lead to a substantial difference in ownership percentage as well.
Michael Pineda (MIN) and Caleb Smith (MIA) are both projecting for at least 5.9 strikeouts in strong game contexts in their own respect. Pineda will take on a White Sox team that has struck out at a 25.5-percent rate in the split and has struggled to hit RHP all year long (.311 wOBA, 93 wRC+ and .158 ISO). Also importantly, the White Sox have walked at a league-worst 5.5-percent rate in the split as well. Pineda owns a superior career FIP against LHHs than versus RHHs and that is good news in a matchup with Yoan Moncada. He is priced in a weird middle ground where fantasy owners are in a tough spot if deciding they want to use him.
The same goes for Smith at home versus a Reds team whose most powerful hitters are of the right-handed variety. The Reds have only struck out at a 20.4-percent rate in the split but they also lack power (.173 ISO) overall and will be in a park that depreciates power. He is an underdog with a 3.8 implied run total against so he certainly will not be one of the pitchers who the masses focus on rostering.
On FanDuel, Marcus Stroman (NYM), Mike Soroka (ATL) and Andrew Heaney (LAA) are all priced within $1,000 of one another. Stroman is the cheapest of the three but the implied run total against is also the highest against him. Soroka and Heaney specifically will take on teams who have struggled against their handedness and both teams have struck out at over a 25.0-percent rate in the split. These are all pitchers who should be included in MME builds if expanding the starting pitcher pool (which is a recommended strategy on this slate with a plethora of positive value starters).
In tournaments, Drew Smyly (PHI), Mike Leake (ARI) and Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) are all relatively inexpensive but are not the primary DraftKings SP2 values with Houser on the slate. Like the tier above, we view all these pitchers as viable MME sprinkles, as rostering these guys are all paths to fitting Coors bats in a contrarian way.
1) Boston Red Sox
On Tuesday, the Red Sox will head to Coors Field to take on Rico Garcia and the Rockies. Projection systems view Garcia as a mid-5.00s FIP sort of pitcher and he posted a 6.54 FIP, 6.23 xFIP through 12 starts at Triple-A Albuquerque. Garcia looked like a pitcher who was heavily-reliant on fly balls and prone to power during his time at Triple-A and he also walked hitters at a near double-digit rate. He projects as a terrible Major League pitcher so the Red Sox are unsurprisingly being implied to score a slate-high 7.1-runs. As the road team, they will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs) and their projected lineup features six hitters with ISO baselines of .195 or above in the split versus RHHs. They should be the main focus of cash games are a tough fade in tournaments as well.
2) Colorado Rockies
The other side of the Coors game is also viable with Rick Porcello slated to the mound for the Red Sox. Prior to pitching in the hitters’ haven in Denver, Porcello had already produced a career-worst 5.09 SIERA, 4.94 FIP, 5.42 xFIP, 1.62 HR/9 rate and 43.1-percent fly ball rate this year. Both sides of the plate have posted a .325-plus wOBA against Porcello this year and he owns a FIP of at least 4.73 in both splits as well. In other words, both sides of the plate are quite playable against him, so start with Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story and go from there.
3) Washington Nationals
Aaron Brooks will draw the start for the Orioles in Nationals Park and will be followed by the porous Orioles bullpen as always. During the course of his young career, Brooks has allowed a .377-plus wOBA to both sides of the plate and he has not struck out either side of the plate at higher than a 17.6-percent rate. Brooks has always been susceptible to the long ball (1.88 career HR/9 rate) and now matches up against a Nationals lineup that is both extremely talented and red-hot (league-best .407 wOBA over the course of the last two weeks). Beyond Brooks, the Orioles’ active bullpen members cumulatively rank in the bottom five of both FIP and xFIP, so the matchups stay favorable throughout. If looking to pivot off the Coors teams in tournaments, the Nationals represent the top option.
4) Atlanta Braves
5) Oakland Athletics
6) New York Yankees
7) Cleveland Indians
8) Philadelphia Phillies
The Braves and Athletics headline the fourth tier but the Blue Jays’ pitching plan (against the Braves) is still unclear at this point. The options appear to be starting Jacob Waguespack or starting with an opener and then using Zack Godley as the long man. Without a clear pitching plan for the Jays, Vegas is implying 5.2-runs for the road Braves who will benefit from a designated hitter playing in an American League park. Rogers Center is a solid hitting environment and the Blue Jays’ active bullpen members rank in the bottom seven of both FIP and xFIP as well. On DraftKings, the top of the lineup is extremely expensive, which will likely lead to modest ownership, but Ronald Acuna/Josh Donaldson are both significantly cheaper on FanDuel.
The Athletics dropped close to 20 runs on the Royals last night and southpaw Mike Montgomery is the scheduled starter this evening. Like most left-handers, a majority of Montgomery’s struggles have come in the split versus RHHs, and the Athletics’ projected lineup includes a whopping eight righties. This stack is extremely cheap on FanDuel to the point that they could easily be rostered with an ace if trying to focus on an expensive pitcher in GPPs.
The Yankees and Indians will both be playing on the road and Yusei Kikuchi posted his first true dominant start his last time out since the beginning of April. Kikuchi’s rookie season has been bumpy to say the least: 5.71 FIP, 5.06 xFIP, 5.05 SIERA, 37.1-percent hard hit rate and a 2.06 HR/9 rate allowed despite playing half his games in pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park. The Yankees’ lineup is loaded with powerful righties, even with their injuries, and Kikuchi’s average fastball velocity is down about a full mph from where it started the year (and it has been for a while). Kikuchi’s 5.72 FIP versus RHHs ranks second-worst amongst pitchers on the slate behind only Drew Smyly but this constitutes a significant park downgrade for the Yankees’ hitters.
The Indians lost Jose Ramirez presumably for the year which is a big blow to the lineup but the team’s lineup was amongst the deepest in the league prior to the injury. Spencer Turnbull’s splits are about what you would expect for a typical right-hander as lefties have hit him harder (42.5-percent hard hit rate) and posted a .349 wOBA against him. Ramirez’s absence gives the lineup one less left-hander but a positive game script would lead to the team getting to the league’s worst bullpen sooner rather than later. That game flow could potentially lead to a big performance from the offense overall which is the reason the offense is worth adding to the MME mix.
Last but not least, the Phillies will do battle with Steven Brault and his .345 wOBA allowed to RHHs this year. He has walked righties at an 11.3-percent rate and has only struck them out at a 17.7-percent rate. He has done a good job limiting power and hard contact against him but that has included a sample of playing half his games in PNC Park (which is a tough power park for RHHs). The Phillies’ 5.1-run implied total is going to get overlooked because of the concentrated ownership towards the top of stacks so feel free to include them in MME runs as well.
Gary Sanchez (NYY), Christian Vazquez (BOS), Yasmani Grandal (MIL), and J.T. Realmuto (PHI) are the top tier of catching options and all are priced in the $4,000s on DraftKings. Sanchez is the highest projected option as he draws a favorable matchup with Yusei Kikuchi who has allowed 2.06 HR/9 this season while RHBs have posted a .358 wOBA and .238 ISO against him. If you’re paying up for a catcher, Sanchez is our preferred target.
If you’re in need of salary relief at catcher, Elias Diaz (PIT) is just $3,000 with the platoon edge against Drew Smyly. The park upgrade in Philadelphia is a good one for power and Smyly surrenders tons of power. Diaz isn’t a particularly adept hitting catcher but he’s cheap.
Yan Gomes (WSH) and Tony Wolters (COL) are priced slightly above Diaz but come as a part of more explosive offenses. In Coors Field, the Rockies have an implied total around 6.5 while the red-hot Nationals offense gets a home matchup against the Orioles pitching staff which gives them an implied total around 6.0. Both are fine parts of stacks.
Max Stassi (LAA) is still priced as a pure punt ($2,000) which holds some value given the lack of strong values at the position.
Daniel Murphy (COL) and Cody Bellinger (LAD) are the top two projected options at first base. Murphy has the far better environment and the higher implied total but Bellinger is obviously the superior hitter. Murphy’s price tag is more reasonable on both sites which makes him the more viable cash game target.
Rhys Hoskins (PHI), Josh Bell (PIT), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Mitch Moreland (BOS), and Matt Adams (WSH) are a deep second tier of options with a particularly compelling price tag on Adams.
Adam is just $2,800 on FanDuel and should hit fifth for a Nationals lineup with a 6.0 implied total. Adam has a 40+ percent hard hit rate over the last 15 days and a huge .257 ISO baseline against RHP. The matchup with fly ball oriented Aaron Brooks and the Orioles pen is a particularly strong one. He’s our primary cash game target on FanDuel. On DraftKings, Adams is priced more appropriately ($4,500) and while he’s still in the mix, he’s not a primary target. For example, our projections would prefer Rhys Hoskins at the same price tag with the platoon edge at home.
Optimals will often emphasize salary relief at the position which is why Matt Adams is so integral on FanDuel. On DraftKings, Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Jake Lamb (ARI) are the cheap options to free up salary at other positions. Our projections view Lamb as the better offensive player at this point in their careers but Cabrera has a better scoring environment and lineup spot. Cabrera has also been in better form of late with a .791 OPS in August.
Ryan McMahon (COL), Max Muncy (LAD), and Gleyber Torres (NYY) are the top projected outfield options. All three are priced appropriately expensive and thus not primary cash game targets. Their offenses are ones you can invest in for tournaments and they certainly make sense as a part of stacks.
Brian Dozier (WSH), Kevin Newman (PIT), Whit Merrifield (KC), Ozzie Albies (ATL), and Brock Holt (BOS) are the next best options. Dozier is extremely cheap on FanDuel ($2,300) and like Matt Adams the price tag makes him a primary target. Dozier won’t have the platoon edge against Aaron Brooks but he still has a .200+ ISO baselines in the platoon split which is the third highest on the slate.
On DraftKings, Garrett Hampson (COL) is just $3,300 and floods the optimals as a cheap way to get exposure to Coors Field. Hampson is a below average hitter but a cheap price tag at a relatively thin position makes him a primary source of salary relief on DraftKings.
Chad Pinder (OAK) is another cheap alternative with a bit more power upside and skill set on DraftKings at $3,400. He doesn’t project as well sHamspon given the weaker environment but he’s a better individual hitter.
If you need even more salary relief, Scooter Gennett (SF) is just $2,800 on DraftKings with a home matchup against Mike Leake. It’s the worst run scoring environment on the slate but Gennett has a solid base skill set (.331 wOBA, .194 ISO baseline against RHP).
With values bunched at the position on DraftKings, a slew of multi-position eligibility guys are in the mix as well. Kevin Newman (PIT) and Whit Merrifield (KC) are affordable mid-tier targets.
Rafael Devers (BOS) earns the highest projection at the position and by a relatively wide margin. Devers and the Red Sox offense get a big park bump in Colorado. The 7.1 implied total is the highest on the slate and Devers gets a nice plate appearance advantage over most of his competitors hitting second in Coors Field. He’s expensive, but we view him as a primary target on this slate.
Nolan Arenado (COL) and Anthony Rendon (WSH) are the next highest projected third base options but neither comes close to Devers. They’re fine tournament targets as pivots or parts of stacks off the likely chalky Devers.
Matt Chapman (OAK), Josh Donaldson (ATL), Scott Kingery (PHI), and Mike Moustakas (MIL) are the third tier of options and like Rendon/Arenado are viable tournament pivots as a part of stacks.
There isn’t much value on the slate at the position. On FanDuel, Jose Osuna (PIT) is the best source of salary relief and projection. He’s $2,700 with an ISO baseline at .187 with the platoon edge against Drew Smyly.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS), Trevor Story (COL), and Trea Turner (WSH) are the top projected shortstop options. All three are on teams with implied totals above six and all three are priced aggressively on DraftKings and more affordably on FanDuel. Despite the pricing gaps between the two sites, optimals are in agreement that prioritizing a spend at shortstop makes sense. The spend is most frequently Xander Bogaerts as the Red Sox are the top offense on the slate.
If you are in need of salary relief, Jean Segura (PHI) and Kevin Newman (PIT) are the mid-tier options on DraftKings that will save you ~$1,300-$1,500 in salary that can be applied elsewhere. Both get the platoon edge in Philadelphia with a game total of 10.
Gleyber Torres (NYY), Marcus Semien (OAK), and Francisco Lindor (CLE) are higher priced alternatives that are fine pivots from the chalkier top options and are on offenses you can comfortably stack. They represent some of the better tournament pivots.
On FanDuel, Garrett Hampson (COL) is the affordable shortstop option with a $2,700 price tag that gets you access to Coors Field.
Mookie Betts (BOS) and J.D. Martinez (BOS) are the class of the outfield position. They both get big park boosts in Colorado and the matchup with Rico Garcia (7.16 ERA, 6.54 FIP in AAA) is a favorable one. Betts is slightly cheaper than Martinez and outprojects him in part due to an additional plate appearance expectation from hitting leadoff.
Charlie Blackmon (COL), Andrew Benintendi (BOS), Juan Soto (WSH), Mike Trout (LAA), Aaron Judge (NYY), and Christian Yelich (MIL) are the next tier of high-end options.
Benintendi is a bit more affordable than most of this tier on both sites and thus with the Coors FIeld bump gets into a few more optimals.
Judge remains affordable on DraftKings and appears to have found his power stroke with homers in three of his last four games. He’s not a priority target given the emphasis on the Red Sox options but he’s still a strong play in all formats.
In terms of salary relief and value, Khris Davis (OAK) remains very cheap on both sites ($2,300 on FD, $3,400 on DK) and is a cash game building block with the platoon edge in Kansas City. The Athletics have a 5.7 implied total so even though Davis hits lower in the order he’s a viable source of salary relief.
Ian Desmond (COL) is one of the cheaper ways to access Coors Field in the outfield with a $2,900 price tag on FanDuel that comes into play on occasion.
On FanDuel, Tyler Naquin (CLE) is priced at the stone minimum and Cleveland’s offense has a 5.2 implied total on the road in Detroit. We don’t expect a good lineup spot from Naquin but he has reasonable offensive baselines (.326 wOBA, .183 ISO against RHP) and the salary relief opens up a ton.