Daily Fantasy Rundown – August 3 MLB DFS Picks and Analysis
Welcome to Monday’s edition of the Daily Fantasy Rundown with “leonem”, “dinkpiece” and “thenumbersguy”. Each day throughout the MLB season our daily MLB scouting reports will highlight the best top, value and cheap plays of the day based on the Daily Fantasy Industry’s pricing for salary cap games. The goal of our analysis is to help you improve consistency and become a better player long-term.
Weather: Minor delay concerns in PIT (early in the game), WSH (late) and in COL. Not expecting a ppd anywhere
Please see Meteorologist Mark Paquette’s game by game weather forecasts below the Analysis.
If any weather situations shift drastically, we will keep you updated with lineup alerts so make sure to check your email inbox up until roster lock.
Buster Posey (SF) – Posey is our top catcher but he’s not a particularly compelling value. He’ll face Mike Foltynewicz who has allowed a .340 wOBA and 1.26 HR/9 to RHBs as a big leaguer and practically any road game is a park upgrade for Posey. Posey ranks inside our Top 30 hitters overall but is priced on most sites as a Top 15-20 hitter. With an emphasis on bats in Coors Field, it’s difficult to justify Posey in cash games. He’s a better tournament option.
Mike Zunino (SEA) – Catcher lacks many compelling options on Monday which pushes us to default towards Coors Field. Zunino isn’t a good hitter against RHP (.265 wOBA, 33.3 K Rate) but when he does make contact, he hits for power (.172 ISO). Enter a matchup against Eddie Butler who has a puny 12 percent K Rate against RHBs and you’ve got a better opportunity for Zunino to deliver on a modest price tag. Ideally, we’d like to invest in Zunino when it comes with salary relief. He hits low in the order and is a low probability play overall, but if you can get him cheap it adds another dimension of value at a position with low opportunity cost.
Additional catcher notes: My priorities at catcher on Monday are: 1) salary relief 2) Zunino if it comes with salary relief and 3) salary relief. The position lacks many strong value plays and I’d like to emphasize some spending at other positions, specifically with the Mariners getting a huge park shift to Coors Field. As a result, I’ll use the position to fill in a hole with a cheap option. Jason Castro (HOU) ranks highest in our model. His skills against RHP (.334 wOBA, .186 ISO since 2012) are solid and the Astros have an implied run total approaching five. If he’s priced as a punt, he’s our lead option despite a poor lineup spot. Stephen Vogt (OAK) is in the midst of a terrible slump (13-85 and 0-24) which has pushed his price way down. At the minimum on FanDuel, I’d consider him against Tyler Wilson who projects well below average against LHBs (ZiPS projects a .366 wOBA and .210 ISO allowed). Wilson Ramos (WAS) is another min priced option on FanDuel. He doesn’t come with a good lineup spot but he’s one of the more skilled options at that price point (.303 wOBA, .165 ISO against RHP since 2012). This is a position we’ll make sure to touch on in lineup alerts given salary relief is a priority.
Jose Abreu (CHW) – Nate Karns has earned good results against RHBs (.304 wOBA) but he’s allowed a lot of hard contact (37.4 percent) and a hefty home run rate (1.98 HR/9) despite pitching the majority of his games in Tampa. He’ll get a big park downgrade and Abreu’s power rates against RHP are impressive (.385 wOBA, .233 ISO). Abreu ranks inside our Top 10 overall hitters and as our top first base option. The price is elevated and the emphasis on Seattle may have Abreu lost in the shuffle (especially with a low total for a White Sox game). He’s an elite tournament option.
Adam LaRoche (CHW) – LaRoche has been horrific all season long and the peripherals back up a deterioration in skill. LaRoche’s contact rate has dropped from 77-78 percent down to 74.1 percent and consequently he’s posted an 11 percent swinging strike rate and 29 percent K Rate. When he’s making contact, it’s still hard contact (35.7 percent); but he’s also traded some fly balls for ground balls. His performance against RHP (.324 wOBA, .159 ISO) is below average but acceptable for a minimum price point. Given first base is surprisingly thin on Monday, he’s an acceptable source of salary relief. I’d prefer he hit fifth instead of sixth if we’re investing, but salary relief is a fine emphasis at the difficult position.
Additional first base notes: The first base position lacks compelling price points and value plays but isn’t short of options on the whole. Prince Fielder (TEX) is the other first basemen that ranks inside our Top 10 overall options, but he’s priced fairly. Brandon Belt (SF) has a plus matchup with Mike Foltynewicz (.410 wOBA, 1.73 HR/9) but is priced up a bit and hits sixth. The Astros first base/DH options (Chris Carter and Evan Gattis) both rank well in our model (Top 30) for home run upside in Arlington. Lucas Duda (NYM) has been crushing of late but his price tag has adjusted for the recent performance. Tom Koehler has been solid against LHBs in his career (.308 wOBA, 46.2 GB Rate), so I’m less likely to attack the hot streak in cash games. Mark Trumbo (SEA) and Logan Morrison (SEA) come with first base eligibility and a reasonable price point on a few sites. If either one gets into the lineup, they represent a fine value play. Ike Davis (OAK) and Yonder Alonso (SD) are secondary cheap options to LaRoche that could emerge as stronger value plays with good lineup spots. This is another position we’ll attack more thoroughly in the lineup alerts.
Robinson Cano (SEA) – There is some uncertainty around Cano’s availability to play the field and thus his availability for tonight’s game in a National League park. If Cano is able to play, he represents our top overall hitting option in our model. Cano owns a solid .361 wOBA and .171 ISO against RHP since joining Seattle and he gets a big park shift to Coors Field. The Mariners have an implied run total approaching 5.5 runs which is more than a run higher than every other team but the Astros. The price point is elevated but if Cano is in the lineup, we feel he’s worth the tag.
Jose Altuve (HOU) – Altuve ranks just outside our Top 10 overall hitters as the leadoff hitter for an Astros offense in a favorable situation. Colby Lewis has allowed a .329 wOBA and 1.56 HR/9 to RHBs since 2013 and the park shift from Houston to Texas is slightly favorable for Altuve and the Astros. Altuve isn’t dominant against RHP (.325 wOBA, .103 ISO) but he makes up for it with speed (60 SB since 2014). Like Cano, the price point is elevated around the industry but we view it as fair. He’s essentially our insurance policy on Cano. If Cano is out of the lineup, our priority at second base will shift to Altuve.
Anthony Rendon (WAS) – Anthony Rendon is too cheap for his skill set. He owns a .338 wOBA and .162 ISO against RHP as a big leaguer and will face Zach Godley who projects as a below average opposing starter. Godley has pitched well in his first two start but Steamer projections expect an ERA over 4.20 going forward. The Nationals have an implied run total approaching 4.5 and Rendon earns a premier lineup spot leading off. We really love the top end options at second base but Rendon is a really strong value alternative if you want to prioritize some savings at the position.
Additional second base notes: Scooter Gennett (MIL) is exceptionally cheap for a leadoff hitter in a great hitting environment. Tyson Ross is more vulnerable to patience than power against LHBs and Gennett’s profile isn’t built on patience. Gennett is a secondary value play at a deep position. Luis Valbuena (HOU), Logan Forsythe (TB), and Rougned Odor (TEX) are all compelling tournament plays due to their power in favorable offensive environments. Valbuena has the best matchup of the three and I think his lineup spot will push the ownership down, so he’s my favorite tournament play of the bunch.
Carlos Correa (HOU) – Correa has been incredible against RHP (.371 wOBA, .246 ISO) as a big leaguer and he gets a premier lineup spot in the second best offensive environment and implied run total of the evening. He’s very expensive, but if you’re paying up at shortstop, he’s the clear cut option.
Ketel Marte/Brad Miller (SEA) – We’re not sure how the Mariners will approach tonight’s lineup with Robinson Cano having DH-ed over the weekend, but if Ketel Marte is leading off again the $2,000 price tag on DraftKings makes him an auto play. Marte is an under the radar top prospect that hit .314/.359/.410 in AAA with strong plate discipline characteristics. Throw in a depressed price point with a premier lineup spot in the best hitters’ park in baseball and he’s the best value play at the position. If Marte isn’t in the lineup, Brad Miller becomes an alternative. He won’t get a great lineup spot, but he’s posted an impressive track record against RHP (.325 wOBA and .171 ISO). Eddie Butler has been tattooed by LHBs (.444 wOBA, 1.67 HR/9 since 2013) which makes any Mariners bat a target.
Jed Lowrie (HOU) – Lowrie has earned a premier lineup spot (fifth) since returning to the lineup. He’s a plus hitter against RHP (.335 wOBA, .161 ISO) and the price tag around the industry is palatable. Colby Lewis has allowed a .352 wOBA and 36.1 percent hard hit rate allowed to LHBs which provides a plus matchup for Lowrie. Throw in a strong expected run total for the Astros and the road plate appearances extending Lowrie’s chance at a fourth or fifth plate appearance and you’ve got a strong value.
Additional shortstop notes: Jose Reyes (COL) is a fine tournament play. The matchup with Felix Hernandez is difficult and the price is elevated so the ownership level should be low. Asdrubal Cabrera (TB) is an acceptable secondary value play with the positive park shift, a good lineup spot, and a reasonably affordable price tag.
Kyle Seager (SEA) – Seager is our top option at third base and a Top Five overall hitter in our model. Mariners’ hitters are the focus of our recommendations today as they get the big park shift from Seattle to Coors Field. Seager is among the best Mariners hitters against RHP. He’s compiled a .349 wOBA and .180 ISO against RHP since 2012 and he comes with an elite lineup spot. He’s also made strides against LHP (.362 wOBA, .202 ISO in 120 PA this season) which holds his value deep into the game. Even on sites that have adjusted his price tag up for the park shift, we feel he’s a compelling option and one of our top targets to spend on given the lack of depth at third base on Monday.
Evan Longoria (TB) – Longoria has historically been great against LHP (.383 wOBA, .229 ISO since 2012) but his performance has declined in the last two seasons (.358 wOBA, .167 ISO since 2014). He gets a huge park upgrade and his price point around the industry is really favorable. Jose Quintana is an above average lefty who keeps RHBs in check (.307 wOBA, 0.77 HR/9). He cracks our Top 35 hitters overall and is a viable alternative to Seager.
Additional third base notes: Adrian Beltre (TEX) has historically hit RHP very well and is in a great park. Lance McCullers has outperformed his pre-season expectations in terms of command and it’s made him a difficult pitcher to pick on. The price point on Beltre is fair around the industry which makes him an interesting tournament play. Derek Dietrich (MIA) is another interesting tournament option. His value is almost entirely tied to his power which is what we want to attack in tournaments.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) – Cruz is the top hitter on the top team to target. He owns a .350 wOBA and .233 ISO against RHP since 2012. He’s historically been a weaker hitter against RHP than Robinson Cano, but this season he’s been far better. They both rank inside our Top Five overall hitters. The price point around the industry is difficult to reach up for and outfield is deep, so he’s not a necessity. Due to positional scarcity, Seager is my top Mariner to target and Cruz/Cano are very closely behind.
Preston Tucker/Carlos Gomez (HOU) – Tucker has been phenomenal against RHP (.396 wOBA, .272 ISO and 36.4 percent hard hit rate in 177 PA) and outperformed all of the expectations from projection systems coming into the season. Given Colby Lewis‘ struggles against LH power, Tucker is a great target to exploit for a chance at a home run. Gomez is the more complete player and his price point is reasonable around the industry. He’s posted a .348 wOBA and .187 ISO against RHP since 2012 while contributing 93 stolen bases. Gomez ranks inside our Top Five hitters overall while Tucker cracks our Top 20.
Seth Smith/Mark Trumbo (SEA) – Smith’s lineup spot has been pushed down a bit which makes him more vulnerable to LH relievers, but the price tag is quite compelling. Smith has posted a .343 wOBA and .181 ISO against RHP since 2012 and he’s done that largely in tough hitting environments. The Rockies bullpen has been extremely left handed at times this year but they’re down to just two left handed relievers now. Smith still carries big pinch hit risk late in the game but the early plate appearances are very valuable. He ranks inside our Top 20 hitters overall and makes for a strong value play. Trumbo’s power always pushes him way up in our model. He owns just a .312 wOBA against RHP since 2012 but it comes with a .185 ISO. If he’s in the lineup, he’s an especially valuable option on FanDuel at $2,300.
Will Venable (SD) – Venable is underpriced for a leadoff hitter and he’s getting a nice park shift playing in Milwaukee. He’s been adequate against RHP (.319 wOBA, .158 ISO since 2012) and Peralta has allowed a .349 wOBA and 1.30 HR/9 to LHBs since 2013. He’s a Top 50 hitter in our model and a viable salary relief option to squeeze in more bats from our two preferred offenses.
Additional outfield notes: Colby Rasmus (HOU) and Austin Jackson (SEA) are two secondary values that are viable options from our favorite offenses. The low spots in the order push them down our list of preferences on their respective teams. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) and Charlie Blackmon (COL) are fine tournament plays in a tough matchup against King Felix. The price points are high enough that the ownership should be super low. Andrew McCutchen (PIT) and Starling Marte (PIT) also fall into that group of secondary top plays that are better in tournaments. They both crush LHP and have speed which can play up against Jon Lester. Coco Crisp (OAK) is expected back from the DL and priced at the minimum on FanDuel. If he gets the leadoff spot, he’ll earn consideration given how poorly Tyler Wilson projects. Josh Reddick (OAK) is also priced down a bit but not enough that he’s a screaming bargain. He’s another secondary value play.
Rankings (price not considered):
1) Francisco Liriano (PIT)
2) Jon Lester (CHC)
3) Corey Kluber (CLE)
4a) Garrett Richards (LAA)
4b) Jose Quintana (CHW)
6) Jesse Chavez (OAK)
7) Tyson Ross (SD)
8) Felix Hernandez (SEA)
9) Bartolo Colon (NYM)
10) Lance McCullers (HOU)
11) Matt Cain (SF)
Francisco Liriano (PIT) – The Cubs profile as a solid offense against LHP but one that is very strikeout prone. This season they rank 16th in wRC+ against LHP and have struck out in 22.9 percent of their plate appearances against lefties. With Kris Bryant‘s availability in question, the lineup will likely be without Bryant and Schwarber. Liriano has been exceptional this season with the most significant improvement coming in his command. After posting a BB Rate above 10% in his first two seasons with the Pirates, he’s cut it to 8.4 percent this season. He’s always had elite strikeout rates and above average GB Rates so adding in league average control has really helped in the run prevention category (2.92 ERA). Liriano is a slight favorite (-130) in the lowest total (6.5) game of the evening and our model projects him for the highest K Rate by a wide margin (31 percent, next highest is Lester at 28%). Lowest implied run total against and highest projected K Rate are always a good combination and it places Liriano in his own tier on Monday.
Next in line:
Jon Lester (CHC) – Lester has very quietly turned his season around in July. After a month with a 30.7 K Rate, 3.1 BB Rate, and 1.66 ERA all of Lester’s peripherals and performance are back in line with his tenure in Boston. The Pirates rank just 14th in wRC+ against LHP and their 23.5 K Rate against lefties is fourth most in the league. They do possess elite lefty mashers in McCutchen (.437 wOBA, .244 ISO) and Marte (.405 wOBA, .211 ISO) along with depth like Kang (.385 wOBA, .222 ISO) and Cervelli (.371 wOBA, .172 ISO) that make starting a LHP uncomfortable against them. However, the elevated projected K Rate coupled with the low implied run total pushes Lester up in our rankings.
Jose Quintana (CHW) – The Rays rank fifth in wRC+ against LHP and are getting a huge park shift in their favor. At first glance, this isn’t an ideal matchup to deploy Quintana but our model really likes him. The Rays lost Steven Souza who projects as one of their top hitters against LHP and will likely replace him with Mikie Mahtook who projects far worse. Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe project as above average hitters against LHP but the rest of the lineup projects as below average and strikeout heavy. Quintana’s price tag is modest around the industry and he’s a slight favorite (-123) in a game with just a 7.5 total.
Jesse Chavez (OAK) – Chavez is a cheap pitcher we like to target when pitching at home in Oakland. He’s very fly ball prone (36-38 percent throughout his career) but he’s got a slightly above average K Rate (20.6 percent) and BB Rate (6.5 percent). The home park in Oakland can mitigate some of the HR risk with the fly balls and when he faces a RH dominant lineup, he’s particularly valuable (.286 wOBA, 24.6 percent K Rate against RHBs). The Orioles typically only deploy four LHBs in their lineup and only two are historically above average against RHP (Davis and Parra). Jones and Machado are very good hitters against RHP but Chavez has the platoon advantage there. He’s a slight favorite (-113) in a game with a total of just 7.5 and he’s very cheap around the industry. On multiple starting pitcher sites, Chavez is a strong value play.
Additional starting pitcher notes: Corey Kluber (CLE) and Garrett Richards (LAA) are pitching in a game with just a 6.5 total but both opposing lineups are contact heavy. The Angels, especially, with the additions of David Murphy and David DeJesus project similarly to the Royals lineups we’ve avoided picking on all season. Richards is a real conundrum because the peripherals (10.7 swinging strike rate, 59.9 first strike percentage) suggest the K Rate should climb closer to last season’s 24.2 percent, but it just hasn’t happened. The Indians lineup also projects as very contact heavy with a lot of LHBs that don’t strike out. I think run prevention for both players will provide a strong foundation but the K Rate is in question. Tyson Ross (SD) is a fun tournament play. The park shift to Miller Park is a tough one but the Brewers lineup is severely watered down after the trade deadline and their best hitters are right handed. Given Ross’ heavy GB Rates against RHBs, the park shift isn’t as big of a concern. Bartolo Colon (NYM) and Matt Cain (SF) are acceptable secondary starting pitcher options that rank a bit behind Jesse Chavez in our model. The model prefers Colon as it views the Marlins lineup as weaker than the Braves, but I think they’re pretty similar.
Macro Thinking, Stacks, and Tournament Notes:
This is a new section we’ve created to try and offer more dedicated macro thinking to our analysis and hopefully add more value to those playing tournaments. The format is a bit of a work in progress and we welcome feedback (email@example.com) if you have suggestions.
Top Tournament Stacks/Cash Game Mini Stacks:
1) Seattle Mariners
2) Houston Astros
These are the two primary offenses we’re focusing on in cash games. They have the two highest implied run totals of the slate and are road offenses getting positive park shifts.
1) San Francisco Giants
2) Washington Nationals
3) Colorado Rockies
The Giants disappointed yesterday in a great spot in Texas and that recency bias should push their ownership down. The Braves park isn’t an elite hitting environment but it’s still an upgrade from San Francisco. The Braves bullpen is really weak behind Foltynewicz and the Giants are one of the best teams against RHP.
The Nationals have been through a slew of elite starting pitching and finally get a reprieve against Zach Godley. The price points on all their key hitters are down a bit so it’s possible to stack or mini-stack with elite pitching.
The Rockies are priced appropriately for Coors Field and facing an elite starter in Felix Hernandez. It’s a difficult matchup but any time you can get Coors Field exposure at a low ownership rate, it’s worth attacking in tournaments. I believe that is the case tonight.
MLB Game Weather Forecasts
In the scales below, a 10 strongly favors the batter, a 1 strongly favors the pitcher and a 5 has no impact on the game.
CHC at PIT 7:00: Thunderstorms should be in the process of leaving the region around or just before the scheduled start of the game. Thus, would put a 20% chance of an late start to the game but they should be good to play the game. Temps in the mid to upper 70s falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7. Wind southwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows from right to left.
AZ at WSH 7:05: A 10-20% chance of a delay after 9 PM due to a thunderstorm. Temps in the mid to upper 80s falling to near 80. Air density is an 8. Wind south-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to left-center. The wind is a 7.
SF at ATL 7:10: Dry. Temps in the mid to upper 80s falling into the low 80s. Air density is an 8. Wind northwest 6-12 mph lessening to 4-8 mph which blows from left to right. The wind is a 5.
NYM at MIA: The retractable roof will likely be closed.
HOU at TEX 8:05: Dry. Temps in the upper 90s falling into the mid-80s. Air density is a 9 becoming an 8. Wind southeast 7-14 mph lessening 4-8 mph which blows in from center. The wind is a 4.
TB at CHW 8:10: Dry. Temps near 80 falling into the low 70s. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west 8-16 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 7 becoming a 6.
SD at MIL 8:10: Retractable roof. Dry. Temps in the upper 70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-northwest 7-14 mph lessening to 5-10 mph which blows out to left. The wind is a 6.
SEA at COL 8:40: Some showers/thunderstorms around, nothing widespread nor heavy so the worst case scenario is a delay with a 20% chance of that happening. Temps in the low 80s falling to near 70. Air density is a 10. Wind south 10-20 mph lessening to 8-16 mph which blows out to center. The wind is a 8 becoming a 7.
CLE at LAA 10:05: Dry. Temps in the mid-70s falling to near 70. Air density is a 7 becoming a 6. Wind west-southwest 8-16 mph which blows out to right. The wind is a 7.
BLT at OAK 10:05: Dry. Temps in the low 70s falling into the mid to upper 60s. Air density is a 6 becoming a 5. Wind west-northwest 10-20 mph which blows out to right. The wind is an 8.