Welcome to August 28 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 28 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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00:41 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 28 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Max Scherzer (WAS) is the top overall pitcher on the slate, and it’s not really close. He has the lowest IRTA on the slate and highest strikeout projection (8.9, 1.3 higher than any other pitcher). The Phillies rank 21st in wRC+ against RHP with a high 25.2 K%. Hot weather and a slew of high total games does put some emphasis on offense. It prevents Scherzer from being a lock on the slate. However, he’s still our preferred choice on FD where pricing has been loose recently, and he’s viable on DK, depending on how risky you’re willing to go at SP2.
The SP anchor pivot off of Scherzer is Charlie Morton (HOU). Just like with Cole last night, we like the strikeout upside at home for Morton who appears to be a touch underpriced on both site. And while the run prevention risk can’t be ignored with Oakland ranking fifth in wRC+ against RHP, the 3.7 IRTA is one of the lowest on the slates. On FD, Morton allows you more room for offense. On DK, the savings he offers from Scherzer makes more sense devoted to an SP2 upgrade.
That likely upgrade is Lance Lynn (NYY), who gets a phenomenal matchup against a really bad White Sox team. With the Yankees, Lynn’s equity also rises quite a bit, and he’s the second largest favorite on this slate (-230). Lynn has seen his xFIP drop from 4.36 to 3.74 over the second half of the season as his K-BB% has nearly doubled (8.6 to 16.9). The only annoyance of the White Sox lineup is 5 LHBs. While they may not be very good, Lynn historically is one of the wider splits pitchers. Lynn is in the conversation on FD, but on the periphery behind Scherzer and Morton.
If you are paying up for Scherzer on DK, a couple of the cheap complements are Felix Hernandez (SEA) and Junior Guerra (MIL). Hernandez’s career is taking a sharp downturn, but the context carries his value projection. He gets a positive league shift in a pitcher’s park, facing a Padres team that ranks 28th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 25.9 K%. Guerra has had the more stable skill set over the course of the season, but a difficult pitching environment in Cincinnati gives him more run prevention risk.
If you wanted to full on punt SP2, Francisco Liriano (DET) faces a dreadful Royals team. Unfortunately, he’s just been so terrible this year, posting a 5.62 FIP with the lowest K rate of his career (17.9%).
Hernandez is also viable as a punt tournament play on FD along with Brian Johnson (BOS), who has decent K and win upside. If you wanted a high priced tournament pivot on FD, Carlos Carrasco (CLE) comes with the best combination of upside, median projection, and projected ownership.
Over on DK, the tournament pivots likely belong to a couple of strong recent performers in Aaron Nola (PHI) up top (fine price but tough matchup against Washington) and Julio Teheran (ATL) in the mid-tier (mediocre TB lineup losing the DH, three straight quality starts for Teheran, averaging 6 strikeouts).
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Grandal and the Dodgers have an incredible context this evening as they travel to Arlington to face a pitcher with a sub 10% K rate (Ariel Jurado). Grandal is hitting from the left side of the plate (.352 wOBA, .238 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) and he’s a strong candidate to grab a top six lineup spot. The DK price tag is full ($4,600) but he’s priced at the average cost of a hitter on FD ($3,200). He’s a strong cash game candidate and a worthy tournament option on both sites.
Grandal’s price tag could end up being a cash game nuisance on DK. If you’re unable to fit him, we have Salvador Perez (KC) with a cheaper tag ($3,700). Perez will have the platoon edge against Francisco Liriano, and he’s posted a .223 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. Furthermore, Perez has generated a 30% HHR over the L15 days. That price tag will likely make Perez an easier fit for your cash game lineups. Russell Martin (TOR) is a decent alternative in the same price range.
If you need to go the punt route, Sandy Leon (BOS) is viable. He’s $2,800 and is part of a Red Sox offense that carries a big IRT (5.7) in this slate.
J.T. Realmuto (MIA) and Evan Gattis (HOU) are strong tournament targets in this slate. Realmuto in particular is exciting. He’s getting a massive park shift going into Fenway Park and he’ll have the platoon edge against a backend starter (Brian Johnson) that has flyball tendencies.
Cody Bellinger (LAD) (on DK) and Matt Carpenter (STL) carry the top projections at first base. Bellinger comes slightly ahead in projection because of his incredible context. However, you might be able to get a discount on Carpenter’s ownership tonight thanks to slate size. He has a matchup against Ivan Nova, who’s allowed a .360 wOBA and .210 ISO to LHBs since 2017. We’re interested in these two options in tournaments.
The big price tags on Bellinger and Carpenter are a big reason why they’re not cash viable in this slate. We’d rather pursue more cost effective options like Greg Bird (NYY), Mitch Moreland (BOS) (on FD) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) (on FD). Bird is affordable on both sites and gets a matchup in 90 degree weather in Yankee Stadium against James Shields, who’s allowed a .216 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season.
Moreland has been a slightly above league average hitter against RHP since 2017, generating a .335 wOBA and .219 ISO. He has an average price on FD and gets to hit in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.
As we mentioned at the catcher position, Grandal is priced at the average cost of a hitter on FD and if he hits cleanup he’d be a stronger per dollar value than any of the 1B on that site.
If you can’t afford the options above, Wilmer Flores (NYM) (on DK) and Eric Hosmer (SD) (on FD) are decent site specific values with cheap price tags. They’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) and Justin Smoak (TOR) are additional targets to consider in GPPs. Rizzo has a very difficult matchup against Jacob deGrom but we’re getting 80 degree weather in Wrigley Field with 10-15 MPH winds blowing out. Couple that with Rizzo’s skill set against RHP and he becomes a viable tournament play. Smoak will get above average pitching matchups in near 90 degree weather.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is the top projected scorer at second base. While we like Altuve’s context, there are simply bigger upside plays in better spots to attack in this slate. We prefer Altuve in MME tonight.
Whit Merrifield (KC), Travis Shaw (MIL), Jonathan Villar (BAL) and Brian Dozier (LAD) are the next in line options at the position from a projection standpoint. Since there’s very little separating these plays in projection tonight, we’re looking at pricing for tie breakers. Villar and Dozier have the cheaper price tags both sites as they’re priced close to the average cost of a roster spot. We have Dozier projected to hit seventh, which isn’t great, but it’s not as big of a deterrent given the context. He’s part of a Dodgers offense that’s getting the benefit of adding a DH as they travel to Arlington and they have a slate high 6.1 IRT. While Dozier has taken a bit of a stepback against RHP, he’s still hitting for plenty of power (.200 ISO since the start of last season).
Unfortunately, Merrifield doesn’t have the big time power upside to be considered on DK where the price tag ($5,100) is beyond full, but a mid-tier price tag on FD puts him in our tournament radar. The same goes for Shaw, though he does have the power upside (.265 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) to pay off his tags on both sites.
There’s a fine amount of good plays at the position, but we don’t think of anyone in particular standing out. With that being the case, you can look towards cheap options if you can’t afford the mid-tier range. On DK, we’ve seen Eduardo Nunez (BOS) and Brandon Lowe (TB) pop into some of our optimals. They’re not good hitters but the cheap price tags puts them in play.
We’re seeing the same thing happening on FD, though we’re more comfortable over there because the cheap play is Lourdes Gurriel (TOR). It’s a very small sample (159 PAs) but it’s great to see that Gurriel has been able to handle the bat well (120 wRC+ and a .170 ISO). Gurriel will either lead off or hit second on the road in Camden Yards and he’s just $2,600.
Rougned Odor (TEX) is facing a good pitcher (Walker Buehler) but is doing so in 90 degree weather at home. He has the power upside you’re looking for out of a GPP option and we’re expecting minimal ownership going in his direction due to the matchup.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) carries the top projection in the hot corner. Ramirez has finally caught somewhat of a cold streak (16.7% HHR over the L15 days compared to his seasonal 24.4%). The price tag remains fair but the lack of recent performance will likely ding his ownership tonight. If that’s the case, you want to have exposure to him in GPPs. After all, we’re talking about a hitter that’s slugged 37 HRs and has swiped 28 bases.
Justin Turner (LAD) is too expensive around the industry to consider him in cash games but he’s a strong option in tournaments. His power upside (.177 ISO baseline vs. RHP) takes a seat to some of the other higher upside options at the position but there’s no denying that Turner has the best context of any third basemen in this slate. Ariel Jurado has allowed a ridiculous 47% hard hit rate to RHBs (according to FanGraphs).
The most popular option that’s representing the position in our optimals is Mike Moustakas (MIL). Moustakas’ projection isn’t all that different than the options above but he comes with a cheaper price tag. That’s particularly the case on DK where Moustakas is $4,400 while Ramirez and Turner are in the $5k range. Moustakas has posted a .347 wOBA and .246 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season and gets a matchup against a pitcher with very wide splits (Anthony DeSclafani – .366 wOBA, .290 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017).
Moustakas has an annoying price tag on FD ($3,700). If you need a cheaper option in cash games on that site, Todd Frazier (NYM) makes a whole lot of sense once again. The Todd Father will have the platoon edge in Wrigley Field, and the latter is a very favorable hitting environment tonight. Frazier has posted a .254 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season and he’s just $2,700 on FD. Teammate Jose Bautista (NYM) has a punt price tag on DK ($3,200). We have him projected to hit cleanup in this environment. He’s a fine option but we’d prefer it in tournaments.
Manny Machado (LAD) carries the top projection at the shortstop position and it’s not particularly close, especially on FD. Machado is a key cog in this Dodgers offense. He gets to hit second and in this context there’s a strong shot he’s getting 5+ PAs. Machado has posted a slate high 42.9% HHR over the L15 days. The upside is immense but so is the price tag on DK. Even then, we’d love to find a way to fit him in all formats.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the tournament pivot off Machado. Like his teammate Jose Ramirez, Lindor doesn’t have strong recent performance and it’s backed up by a negative delta in his HHR over the L15 days. However, he’s shown plenty of upside in both the power (29 HRs) and speed (19 SBs) department, so we’re concerned about his recent performance. Given that he’s priced so closely to Machado on both sites, there’s a good shot here for significantly lower ownership. Carlos Correa (HOU) fits this same ownership mold tonight but his upside is less pronounced due to his lack of base stealing.
Outside of Machado’s price tag on FD ($4,300), we view the shortstop position as one that’s priced very fair. If you can’t afford Machado in cash games, our preferred route becomes punting the position with Amed Rosario (NYM). Rosario isn’t a good hitter but he’s leading off in Wrigley Field and has a $3,300 price tag on DK. We’re less enthused about his FD price tag ($2,900) but he can be considered on that site as well. We’ve seen Tim Beckham (BAL) enter some of our FD optimals because he’s $2,300 and we’re giving the Orioles an IRT in the high 4s given the context.
You’d think Mookie Betts (BOS) at home in hot weather with a big IRT would be the top projected scorer in the outfield. Or maybe Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) at home in hot weather facing James Shields. You’d be wrong. Our top projected scorer at the position is Joc Pederson (LAD). Joc is in a nutty spot. First off, with the Dodgers adding a DH in the AL, there’s less risk of Joc getting PH for in the latter innings. That means we’re likely getting 5+ PAs out of Joc. The other side of this is that Joc has the platoon edge against an awful pitcher in very hot weather. With the platoon edge, Joc has posted a .360 wOBA and .258 ISO since 2017. He’s projecting this way and he’s still priced significantly cheaper than Stanton and Betts, particularly on FD where he’s just $3,100. While we think Stanton and Betts are certainly a part of the tournament conversation in this slate, it’s clear that Joc has an upper hand in cash games.
Christian Yelich (MIL), J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi (BOS) are other elite options at the position that we like in GPPs but appropriate price tags keep them off the cash game conversation. The exception could end up being Yelich and Benintendi on FD. With Joc being priced so affordably on that site, you’ll have a shot at rostering one more elite OF unless you’re spending those resources elsewhere (like Machado at SS).
The value conversation is a great one at the position. Brett Gardner (NYY) is leading off against James Shields and he’s priced affordably on both sites. Randal Grichuk (TOR) is a road leadoff hitter with the platoon edge (.187 ISO vs. LHP since 2017) and he’s just $2,900 on FD. Matt Kemp (LAD) has average price tags and his context is anything but average. George Springer (HOU) remains priced down on DK ($4,200). Scott Schebler (CIN) is another leadoff hitter with a $2,900 price tag on FD, and he has plenty of power upside (.232 ISO vs. RHP since 2017), particularly when he gets to hit at home.
Eric Thames (MIL) and Cody Bellinger (LAD) are additional power upside targets that are in incredible contexts. Thames (.286 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) gets to torment the Reds once again in Great American Ball Park. He hits seventh but that should do wonders for his ownership. Bellinger, the owner of a .273 ISO vs. RHP since 2017, is on the road in Arlington. If Bellinger ends up hitting cleanup rather than sixth, he’ll end up surpassing some of the other elite options at the position in projection.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are the clear top stack, and that’s the way the market will see it, too. They have a 6.2 IRT, half a run higher than any other team on the slate. They add a DH. They get to hit in Texas where it’s in the 90s. The kicker is they face Ariel Jurado, who has a 5.75 FIP through six MLB starts. The guy is striking out less than 10% of batters faced.
2) New York Yankees
The Yankees face James Shields, whose .319 wOBA allowed isn’t indicative of how he’s pitched on the season. Shields has a .354 xwOBA this season as his K and GB rates have dropped while his Hard% is unchanged from a year ago.
3) Milwaukee Brewers
4) Boston Red Sox
The Brewers won’t be a sneaky stack but with a clearly lower IRT than the other top three tiered teams, perhaps they come in at slightly scaled back ownership. They’re on the road in hitter friendly Cincinnati, where it’s hot. Great American Ballpark really aids HRs, and this Brewers lineup has plenty of long ball upside. Desclafani has massive splits over his career, allowing a .351 wOBA to LHBs.
5) Houston Astros
6) Cleveland Indians
It’s tough to find any specific go to point about this tier – just two high end, event oriented offenses facing below average RHPs. Similarly, on the ownership side we’re expecting middle of the pack ownership here.
7) Toronto Blue Jays
8) Baltimore Orioles
We expect this game environment to be stackable and a small reprieve from the higher cost offenses above. Camden Yards is a strong hitting environment that will be enhanced by 90 degree weather. On the Baltimore side of things, they’ll face LHP Thomas Pannone, who didn’t allow a run in his first MLB start last game (versus Baltimore). However, pannone was really lucky in that outing. He projects to be an extreme fly ball pitcher at the MLB level.
On the Toronto side, they’re expected to face LHP Josh Rogers, who is getting called up to make his MLB debut. Rogers has a combination of a low K and GB rate at AAA that should result in trouble at the big league level. Steamer is projecting a 5.37 ERA and 1.75 HR/9.
Additional tournament stacks:
-Wrigley Field: With two good pitchers on the mound in Jacob deGrom and Cole Hamels, ownership here will likely be low, but the unique weather situation in Wrigley when it’s hot and the wind is blowing out still creates meaningful upside. The Mets side of the stack has the added benefit of being cheap, which helps to create Scherzer teams in tournaments alongside a stack.