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!
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00:57 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 27 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Gerrit Cole (HOU) is the SP1 on this slate. While he was a let down last time out, he actually pitched fine (7 Ks against 2 BBs, low Hard%) but had some bad BABIP luck. Cole faces an Athletics team that has been tough this season for RHP, ranking fifth in wRC+ against RHP with a lower than league average K rate. Our baselines have that matchup a little less difficult than that. Cole is a -185 favorite and tied for the lowest IRTA at 3.4. We have him projected for 8.3 strikeouts, more than a full strikeout more than anyone on this slate. He’s underpriced on FD and our preferred cash game option there. On DK, he’s a Top 2 value. While Cole doesn’t quite sneak into optimals, you can make the case to pay up for him in cash games there as well.
Next in line is Masahiro Tanaka (NYY). Tanaka is also tied for lowest IRTA (3.4) and is the largest favorite on the slate (-220) as he faces a White Sox team that has been bad all season long (20th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 25.6 K%), is without Jose Abreu (on the DL), and has dropped a struggling Yoan Moncada down in the order. Tanaka has had issues with the long ball, posting a 20-plus HR/FB rate for the second straight year. It’s difficult to envision that getting any higher, although the Hard contact may keep it at those levels. Outside of that issue, Tanaka has been good. He has a slightly above average GB rate and a good 18.8 K-BB%. Tanaka is an excellent choice as one of your selections on DK; he’s our top rated value over there.
You could make an argument for Patrick Corbin (ARI) over Tanaka in terms of overall projection. He gets a park boost pitching in San Francisco and faces a lackluster Giants offense that is without Buster Posey. He could move up our rankings when we see an actual line and lineup for this game, but even if you drew him even or slightly ahead of Tanaka, he’s too pricey for cash games.
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) makes for a difficult decision point on DK. Against this same Philadelphia team he yielded 5 ERs and a coupe of homers in just four innings of work back from the DL. It’s difficult to mesh the K upside generated from Strasburg’s long-term skills with uncertainty around health, which can affect both duration and quality. Using Strasburg over Cole allows for a more optimal projections build, but that may be a strategy better utilized in tournaments.
The mid-low priced option we’re most interested in is Sam Gaviglio (TOR). After putting up a 5.81 FIP last year, Gaviglio’s FIP has dropped to 4.49 this year. He’s really improved in the strikeout department, something that is backed up by a combination of an increased F-Strike rate and increased SwStr rate. Projections systems are still rightfully lukewarm on the K gains, but if they’re real, it leaves Gaviglio with sneaky upside against a horrid Orioles team.
Jon Gray (COL), while in a much better pitcher’s park, is experiencing a negative league shift while facing an Angels team that has been a nightmare for opposing RHPs this season. That keeps his projection down, but Gray’s K rate upside and volatility make him an appealing tournament target at a lower overall cost than all the options mentioned above, outside of Gaviglio.
Evan Gattis (HOU) is squaring off against an opposing starter who pitches to contact in power-friendly Minute Maid Maid Park so he is our highest projected catcher across the industry. The issue with roster construction is cash games is our optimals prefer upper-echelon pitching so affording him is going to be difficult. In tournaments, he is the cream of the crop against a pitcher who has yielded a 35.7-percent hard hit rate to right-handed hitters (RHHs).
Russell Martin (TOR) is the catcher featured in our DK optimal lineup as he rates as our top value at the position mostly due to his reasonable $3,400 price point. Probable starter David Hess has thrown his four-seam fastball to RHHs at a 58-percent rate this season and Martin has posted a .404 xwOBA against right-handed fastballs since the beginning of 2017. Hess also owns the highest FIP against righties of any starter on the slate (5.54) and it is not particularly close (Tanaka is second worst with a 4.94 FIP). Factor in the 5.1 implied run total and it is easy to see why Martin is the player we recommend locking into cash games.
In tournaments, Willson Contreras (CHC), Matt Wieters (WAS) and Tomas Nido (NYM) stand out for a variety of reasons. Contreras will draw a difficult matchup versus Noah Syndergaard but the wind will be howling out of Wrigley Field. If he is able to lift the ball in the air, mother nature has the chance to guide it out of the park. Additionally, Contreras has stolen nine bases since the beginning of last season so he has the potential to steal a base against one of the worst pitchers at holding runners. Wieters will do battle with Zach Eflin who has had his fair share of struggles with lefties (.358 wOBA, 1.74 HR/9 rate). Nido is cheap ($2,900 on DK), facing a pitcher who ranks in the bottom 10 of SIERA amongst qualified starters (Jon Lester) and will benefit from the weather conditions in Wrigley as well. In large field GPPs, none of these guys should come at a heavy ownership.
Justin Smoak (TOR) represents our top value at the first base position mostly because the price on Kendrys Morales (TOR) has skyrocketed on both sites. Both players have crushed right-handed fastballs since the beginning of 2017 (.396 xwOBA for Smoak and .437 xwOBA for Morales) and Hess has thrown the pitch at even a higher rate versus lefties (62-percent). In 37.2 innings versus left-handed hitters (LHHs), Hess has been burned for a .359 wOBA, 2.39 HR/9 rate, 44.6-percent hard hit rate and a brutal 6.63 FIP (also worst on the slate in the split). Hess is the worst pitcher on the slate and the first basemen crush his heavily-used pitch so the correlation is unmistakable.
Chris Davis (BAL) costs just slightly more than minimum price on FD ($2,300) and Sam Gaviglio has been susceptible to hard contact from LHHs. In 41.0 innings against the handedness, Gaviglio has allowed a .353 wOBA, 1.54 HR/9 rate and, maybe more importantly, he has only struck them out at a 15.3-percent rate. Davis has struck out more than any hitter not named Yoan Moncada, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo but that is not much of a concern against Gaviglio and his career 8.4-percent swinging strike rate.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Wilmer Flores (NYM) both rate as about neutral values on FD and their projections are not far off despite the price discrepancy. Over the course of the last month, Rizzo’s bat has awoken: .302/.393/.583 slash line, .405 wOBA, 155 wRC+ and eight homers during that span. Syndergaard has only struck out 22.9-percent of lefties this season, which is a low number for him, and they have posted a 25.6-percent line drive rate against him. Meanwhile, Flores sports a career .334 wOBA and .214 ISO against LHP and the wind should only enhance his power potential on Monday evening. Yuli Gurriel (HOU), Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) and Matt Davidson (CHW) do not exactly pop in the projections but possess the potential to hit the ball out of the yard in their range of outcomes with their current matchup.
Jonathan Villar (BAL) finds himself in our DK optimal lineup whereas Lourdes Gurriel (TOR) is that man on FD. The case for Villar is his potential five category upside against Gaviglio who has already been stolen on successfully 10 times in his 94.2 innings (18 starts and 20 total games). On the other hand, the case for Gurriel is he has quietly posted a .368 wOBA and 133 wRC+ against RHP this year and Hess is brutal.
Neil Walker (NYY) actually catapulted into the DK optimal upon update and both him and Gleyber Torres (NYY) rate as solid values versus Carlos Rodon at home. Naturally, the ballpark is conducive to power and Rodon has been quite reliant on fly ball outs (47.1-percent fly ball rate) this season. In Yankee Stadium, that is likely to be a problem for him, especially against a right-heavy lineup.
If diving deeper at the position, Daniel Murphy (CHC), Javier Baez (CHC) and Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) are the logical alternatives to the previous tiers. Murphy and Baez will have the additional benefit of the wind blowing out and Murphy will be in the correct side of his platoon split. Cabrera’s matchup is not incredibly easy (Stephen Strasburg) but Strasburg did not go for a rehab start and looked rusty his last time out because of it. For what it is worth, Cabrera has posted a .317 xwOBA against Strasburg in 20 career at-bats (ABs) with two homers. No one is going to play him, and if Strasburg comes out looking like the 7.90 xFIP version of himself that showed up against Philly last game, then Cabrera could be a steal.
Not a single third baseman rates a positive value on DK but FD is a different story. For whatever reason, Todd Frazier‘s (NYM) price point has barely increased over the course of the last few weeks ($2,700) despite his .367 wOBA since the All-Star Break. Our algorithm identifies his price point as being way too cheap for his combination of skills and match up. Do not be fooled by Lester’s surface numbers as he owns a 4.67 FIP against RHHs to go along with a mediocre 18.3-percent K rate and 25.1-percent line drive rate. Jose Bautista (NYM) also qualifies at third base on DK and he is our optimal player at the position due to his $3,500 price point (which is $700 cheaper than Frazier).
Alex Bregman (HOU) ranks second on the Astros in wOBA against LHP behind only Tyler White and he is slashing .307/.398/.562 in the split this season. Additionally, Bregman has only struck out at a measly 9.4-percent rate while Anderson has struck out righties at the lowest rate on the slate. In a park where a fly ball of a right-handed bat could leave the yard by accident, Bregman is a high-floor, high-ceiling alternative to Frazier.
Miguel Andujar (NYY) is one of four Yankees hitters sporting a .348-plus wOBA and .234-plus ISO against LHP so he is worth a look in tournaments against a talented pitcher in GPPs. The other hitters in tough matchups worth giving a look are Evan Longoria (SF) against Patrick Corbin at home and Matt Chapman (who homered twice on Sunday) versus Gerrit Cole. They both should be sub-five-percent owned and are the next highest rated players in our DK model (on a per-dollar basis).
Although Carlos Correa (HOU) is our top value on DK at the shortstop position, he rates as a negative value. Therefore, our optimals are both choosing to go the cheap route with Amed Rosario leading off for a Mets team in a game with a huge expected total (due to the wind). Lester has allowed the most steals of any pitcher since the beginning of the 2014 season and Rosario has stolen a team-high three bases versus lefties and 15 bases overall.
Correa himself is a fine play but Anderson can be annoying at times to target against due to his 28.0-percent fly ball rate versus RHHs. Trea Turner (WSH) rates as our top value on FD but the presence of Jorge Alfaro behind the plate should limit his stolen base potential.
Aledmys Diaz (TOR) should fly under the radar in the Blue Jays stack even though he has hit seven homers and stolen two bases with a 149 wRC+ over the course of the last month. He is not a cash game play but he provides an interesting way to differentiate from the chalk four-man stack in FD GPPs.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) is facing a fly-ball prone left-hander in the friendly confines of home so he naturally ranks as our top projection in the outfield. If there is one member of this team to target, Stanton is the guy, as evident by his career .427 wOBA, .339 ISO and 46.3-percent hard hit rate against southpaws. What else needs to be said here?
Beyond Stanton, Randal Grichuk (TOR), Adam Eaton (WSH) and Bryce Harper (WSH) are popping in our projections as the next tier behind the obvious number one at the position. Grichuk is being projected to hit in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup and Grichuk is yet another member of the lineup who owns an xwOBA over .400 (.418 to be exact) versus right-handed fastballs since the beginning of last year. Eaton and Harper will enjoy the platoon advantage versus Eflin and his .370 wOBA allowed to LHHs since the beginning of 2017. Stanton should be the ultra-chalk in all formats so the pivot to Harper is at least worth considering.
Aaron Hicks (NYY), George Springer (HOU), Mike Trout (LAA) and Curtis Granderson/Billy McKinney (TOR) all are oozing with potential upside in their respective matchups according to our optimizer. While they are considered a tier below the aforementioned hitters, all of these players are viable tournament investments. Hicks is in play for all the same reasons as the other Yankees lefties. Springer would be extremely interesting if he led off because he would at least tie for the team lead in plate appearances against a lefty pitching to contact in a great power park for hitters of his handedness. Trout is just awesome but people will not think to go up to him against Gray with Stanton versus a lefty and Harper versus a middling righty. Lastly, one of Granderson or McKinney will lead off for the Blue Jays and will draw the platoon advantage. On a team possessing one of the highest totals, both of them are intriguing in all formats, especially on FD which rewards players heavily for runs scored and runs driven in.
1) Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays are tied for the highest IRT on the slate with the Yankees and Cubs (although we’ve guessed on the Cubs line). Of those three teams, the Jays are the only ones that have a guaranteed nine innings as the road team. They’ll go into favorable hitting Camden Yards to face David Hess, who has been brutal in his 72 big league innings this year. He has a 6.11 FIP, allowing 2.00 HR/9.
2) Houston Astros
3) Washington Nationals
4) New York Yankees
The Astros face Brett Anderson, who can be pesky given some games with absurdly high GB rates. Still, overall on the season Anderson has been one of the worst pitchers at missing bats (13.1 K%) and has a .346 xwOBA. The Astros offense is at full strength and heavily right-handed.
Both the Astros and Nationals may end up as good contrarian stacks. Teams going expensive with pitching will look to the Blue Jays, and teams going expensive with hitting will look to the Yankees. The Nationals are on the road receiving a positive park shift in Philadelphia. They’ll face Zach Eflin who has pitched well this season, seeing a large drop in ERA and expected ERAs. Still, his career 4.90 FIP along with recent struggles make him a fine candidate to target for upside.
Given the IRT and ability to play Stanton at home against a LHP, the Yankees will likely be the chalkiest fo the expensive stacks. They’ll face Carlos Rodon, who started the year on the DL and since returning has been unable to duplicate past K rates. The surface statistics, then, are a bit misleading. Rodon has also seen a dip in GB rate, leading to a by far career worst 4.88 xFIP. Once his .206 BABIP (.298 career) and 8.7 HR/FB rate (12.4 career) normalize, the ERA will rise quickly.
5) Chicago Cubs
6) New York Mets
7) Baltimore Orioles
8) Colorado Rockies
9) Philadelphia Phillies
While we don’t have a day game in Wrigley, we do have mid-80s temperatures and the wind blowing out at over 15 mph. This is an excellent game stack, that possibly gets overlooked, despite the scoring conditions, because of the name recognition of the SPs on the mound (Syndergaard and Lester).