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August 3 MLB DFS: Play Johnny? Of Coors
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August 3 MLB DFS: Play Johnny? Of Coors

00:41 Starting Pitchers
07:25 Catchers
09:35 First Base
11:38 Second Base
15:26 Shortstops
17:35 Third Base
19:53 Outfield
26:33 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks




Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Johnny Cueto (SF)

Tier Two

2) Trevor Bauer (CLE)

3) Cole Hamels (TEX)

Tier Three

4) Michael Fulmer (DET)

5) Jake Odorizzi (TB)

6) Edinson Volquez (KC)

7) Chris Sale (CHW)

8) Steven Matz (NYM)

9) Marco Estrada (TOR)

10) Michael Wacha (STL)

While Johnny Cueto (SF) may not possess the huge K upside we normally like to see from a pitcher at this price point, his incredible safety is worth paying up for given the huge gap in floor between him and the rest of the options on the slate. Cueto’s unbelievable run prevention skills (on pace to have a sub-3.00 ERA for the fifth time in six years) meet a Phillies offense ranked 29th in wRC+ against RHP. It’s no surprise that he has the lowest implied run total against and is the largest favorite. With Trevor Bauer (CLE) (strong alternative on FanDuel due to price point) still a little volatile (high BB rate, allowed multiple runs in four straight starts) and Cole Hamels (TEX) on the road against a powerful Baltimore offense, the value in Cueto’s floor is apparent.

The tier two starting pitchers (Bauer and Hamels) rank much closer to the tier three options than to Cueto. As a result, price becomes very important when trying to determine value on multiple starting pitcher sites among nine pretty closely ranked options. Bauer (above) is the best industry wide mid-tier value play. Despite the struggles of Salazar and Carrasco the past two days, this is still a neutral to plus matchup. Another well priced option is Edinson Volquez (KC). The Rays lineup against RHP takes a hit with Morrison on the DL, damaging a lineup that was already good to pick on in DFS thanks to a 91 wRC+ against RHP and, more importantly, a healthy 24.3 K percentage. In pitcher friendly Tampa Bay, this game has one of the lowest run totals on the slate.

It’s a smart slate to get creative in tournaments. Cueto’s floor is why we’re on him in cash games, but the ceiling can be matched by tier two or tier three starting pitchers. The tight cluster will also force ownership to a few names based on pricing, which is something to take advantage of in tournaments. A couple of our favorite options in this format are Michael Fulmer (DET) (solid K rate, has shown ability to work deep into games) and Michael Wacha (STL) (really cheap on DK, which allows you to stack Coors Field).

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (TEX)

4) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

5) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

You can attack this position at the mid, mid-low price point and still gain access to our top five catchers overall. Stephen Vogt (OAK) is the best industry wide option. Anywhere in the top five, Vogt is useful against over the hill Jered Weaver (5.75 xFIP, 17.6 hard minus soft hit rate), but he’s particularly valuable if he hits third as he did last night. Victor Martinez (DET) is actually a shade cheaper on FanDuel and can be considered in play as Chris Sale has allowed a .322 wOBA and .165 ISO to his last 250 RHBs faced.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Joey Votto (CIN)

3) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

4) Carlos Santana (CLE)

5) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

It makes sense to play the value game at first base as our tightly ranked top five first basemen all rank outside our top 10 overall hitters. With Coors Field and Johnny Cueto to prioritize, it’s not difficult to look at values, such as Justin Morneau (CHW), who is viable on both sites. While we’re fans of Michael Fulmer‘s upside, he’s likely headed for some regression, and Morneau, who holds the platoon edge, is underpriced with a top five lineup spot. Alternatives exist on both sites, most notably John Jaso (PIT) on DraftKings (essentially a pure punt price and facing a RHP making his MLB debut in Rob Whalen) and Miguel Cabrera (DET) on FanDuel (too cheap for his skills, especially with Chris sale more human this year – 3.73 xFIP, 12.1 hard minus soft hit rate).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Howie Kendrick (LAD)

3) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

4) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

5) Neil Walker (NYM)

If possible, we’d really like to get up to Howie Kendrick (LAD) at this position. He’s scorching in our well-hit tool, posting a positive 0.7 delta over the last two weeks. With an expected team total around 5.5 in Coors and Kendrick likely leading off against a LHP, his context could not get any better. It is difficult to balance Cueto and Coors bats however, meaning you can drop down in price if you don’t have the cap room, mostly looking at DJ LeMahieu (COL) (should also see a team total around 5.5, possibly higher against Brock Stewart who has replaced Kenta Maeda as the Dodgers starter), Neil Walker (NYM) (.345 wOBA and .185 ISO against RHP since 2014, facing young RHP Chad Green), and Jed Lowrie (OAK) (good shot at five plate appearances and super cheap power upside against Weaver). On DraftKings, it’s easier to get more creative with cheap upside, especially depending on what Baltimore does with their lineup as both Jonathan Schoop and Steve Pearce (BAL) are high upside power options; we just need to get a top five lineup spot to use them in cash.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

4) Alex Bregman (HOU) (if hitting second)

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

Shortstop is another position that’s difficult to justify paying up for. Our 2-4 ranked options all have pretty bad ratings over the last two weeks in our well hit tool, and Correa/Bogaerts have neutral to poor matchups. While we’ll still look to utilize a good price (Manny Machado (BAL)) on DraftKings, this is a logical position to punt if such an option emerges. The likely candidates are some injury fill ins. Ivan De Jesus (CIN) hit second for the Reds last night with Zack Cozart out. Christian Adames (COL) won’t get a good lineup spot, but he could start for the injured Trevor Story, making him affordable Coors exposure at a scarce position, particularly on DraftKings.

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Justin Turner (LAD)

3) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Nolan Arenado (COL) and Justin Turner (LAD) both rank inside our top five overall hitters on the slate, so in an ideal world we’d pay up for one of them. That’s easier to do so on DraftKings where roster construction is a lot more flexible. The pricing isn’t bad on either of these guys on FanDuel, but everything is tight if locking in Cueto (more flexibility for bats if using Bauer). As a result, you can pure punt with Alex Bregman (HOU) if he continues to hit second, but do note that he’s started off his MLB career quite cold (3.30 well-hit rating, 26.7 K percentage).

Outfield Rankings

1) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

2) Mike Trout (LAA)

3) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

4) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

5) Matt Holliday (STL)

6) Howie Kendrick (LAD) (where eligible)

7) Starling Marte (PIT)

8) George Springer (HOU)

9) David Dahl (COL)

10) Scott Van Slyke (LAD)

11) Jay Bruce (NYM)

12) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

13) Mookie Betts (BOS)

14) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

15) Jose Bautista (TOR)

Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is our top ranked overall hitter on the slate. While Brock Stewart is not a bad pitcher (good K rate and run prevention in Minors), he did get smacked around in his only MLB start (earlier this year) and is a higher risk/reward pitcher than Maeda. This adds to the upside of the Rockies bats. Gonzalez is a logical spend in all formats, with teammate Charlie Blackmon (COL) following closely behind. Rookie David Dahl (COL), however, may be the best value of the group on DraftKings, where he’s almost a free square at just $3,000. Rounding out our top 10 is another Coors Field hitter in Scott Van Slyke (LAD), who has hit cleanup in the Dodgers last two games against LHP (carries pinch hit risk, which prevents him from climbing further up our rankings). The best complementary options to Coors Field are the Cardinals Outfielders (RHBs against Cody Reed who has allowed a 6.51 FIP to RHBs; huge park shift in their favor) and Mets Outfielders (Green has been great in relief but has yielded 12 ERs in his three starts). The Pirates Outfielders burned us bad last week, but we like them a lot as contrarian tournament options given uncertainty around Rob Whalen (okay MiLB numbers but wild and didn’t pitch above A ball before this season) and the bad bullpen behind him (eighth highest xFIP).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Coors Field

Tier Two

2) St. Louis Cardinals

3) Cleveland Indians

Obviously Coors Field is an emphasis in cash games where you can fit it. With all the ownership it commands however, we love the Cardinals and Indians as tournament stacks. In our minds they are the clear top stacks in terms of upside in the non-Coors Field division.

Additional Tournament Mini-Stacks

-Oakland Athletics (pretty affordable mini-stack that despite a big park has power upside against Jered Weaver)

-Pittsburgh Pirates (expecting low ownership here but chance at a disaster start for a guy making his MLB debut; they have stolen base upside)

-Texas Rangers (just a really deep lineup right now and now get a guaranteed nine innings on the road in a hitter’s park)

-New York Mets (as mentioned above, in the three starts Green has made, he’s been clobbered despite solid stuff; also note that the deadline deals have greatly weakened this bullpen; huge park shift playing in Yankee Stadium)

MLB Daily Analysis

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