Welcome to August 31 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for August 30 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our 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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August 31 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:45 Starting Pitcher
10:33 First Base
13:12 Second Base
14:31 Third Base
- 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.
August 31 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
There are still concerns when it comes to Madison Bumgarner (SF). He yielded a couple of home runs against Arizona and now has forced tiny Soft percentages of just 10.5, 6.3, and 4.8 his previous three starts. However, the velocity last start was as strong as it’s been since returning from the DL. Bumgarner struck out seven batters, which he has now in five of six starts, completing six or seven innings in all of those starts. We’re not at a point where we feel cozy with him, but on a small slate with him at home he’s by far the superior pitching option and a worthwhile building block on both sites.
The next in line options are Gio Gonzalez (WAS) and Kyle Hendricks (CHC). There’s some concern around Gonzalez at high prices given that his surface stats far outpace his skill statistics, but Milwaukee just strikes out so much against LHP that he keeps pace with Hendricks. Speaking of Hendrick, he’s pitched much better recently and is by far the largest favorite on the slate (-235) with likely the lowest IRTA on a cool night at Wrigley with the wind blowing in. The issue is K upside, but if you believe our 4.9 K projection is conservative, you could make the case that Hendricks should be in the same tier with Bumgarner.
What makes this slate difficult and one of the reasons we’re set on paying up for a “not at full strength” Bumgarner is the precarious spot the mid-tier options find themselves in. Three of our best projected per dollar values on DK are Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) (in Yankee Stadium with a 4.7 IRTA), Sean Newcomb (ATL) (volatile walk rates, large underdog, tough opposing lineup), and Michael Wacha (STL) (recent peripherals are awful). It’s pick your poison to an extent. Rodriguez offers the safest skill set, posting a 25.8 K% on the season, but even he’s posted xFIPs over 4 in seven of eight starts. Wacha has the best matchup and is the safest from a run prevention standpoint despite the recent shaky peripherals. Newcomb is the option to use if you think everyone has risk and simply want cheap Ks. All things considered our slight lean is for the positive contextual spot that Wacha finds himself in.
Marco Estrada (TOR) and Ben Lively (PHI) have each pitched a bit better recently and are tournament punt options, but only if multi-entering.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) is the clear top play at the catcher position, boasting a .278 ISO split baseline, nearly 100 points higher than any other catcher on the slate. Sanchez is an affordable luxury on this slate – meaning it’s not terribly difficult to fit him if you want, but he’s not a must play. Our lean however is to capitalize on the upside he offers relative to the rest of the position.
On FD we get a strong salary cap alternative in JT Realmuto (MIA), who faces Ben Lively. Lively has struggled to miss bats most of the season (12.8 K%), and he hasn’t made up for it by keeping the ball in the park (39.7 GB rate, 32.8 FanGraphs Hard%).
Both Realmuto and Sanchez are priced tougher, relatively speaking, on DK but still rate as the top two values at the projections and where you’re likely looking in cash games. In tournaments, other options are Buster Posey (SF) (missed the last few games with a thumb injury) and Miguel Montero (TOR) (bad season and poor lineup spot, but longer term splits/matchup/park all make him viable).
With the elite talent at the position in spots we’d rabble dabble in in tournaments (Anthony Rizzo (CHC) L/L and Freddie Freeman (CHC) against one of the better SPs, both playing in cool temperatures with the wind blowing in), our attention turns to Toronto. The Jays are a road team in a favorable park in Baltimore, facing Jeremy Hellickson who has a 5.45 FIP and 5.34 xFIP. His K and GB rates have dropped off dramatically, and he’s struck out just four combined batters while allowing six HRs over his last two starts. As a result, we’re taking a look at Justin Smoak (TOR) and Kendrys Morales (TOR). Smoak has the better overall projection due to lineup spot and better baselines. However, Morales has a high positive 15-day delta in our Hard% (+13.7), and his cheaper cost makes it easier to incorporate a luxury spend like Gary Sanchez.
In that same game, Chris Davis‘ (BAL) power against the homer prone Marco Estrada (1.42 HR/9) makes him an excellent tournament target. His lineup spot and boom or bust profile do make it tough to utilize him over the Jays options in cash games, but Davis has a +8.0 Hard% delta over the last 15 days.
Jesus Aguilar (MIL) is a good cap relief play in GPPs if you’re skeptical of Gio Gonzalez‘s’ surface stats (2.40 ERA, 4.28 xFIP; very lucky BABIP and LOB%).
The scarce up the middle positions (C, 2B, SS) are tough to crack on this slate. You can make an argument at paying up for any one or two of these three spots but won’t be able to in all three spots. As noted above, we like the idea of paying up for Sanchez at C, which has us value hunting in the MI. Our attention mostly turns to Cubs as Ben Zobrist (CHC), Ian Happ (CHC), and Javier Baez (CHC) are all viable against Sean Newcomb, the volatile ATL LHP who has yielded a .345 wOBA and .210 ISO to RHBs. Which Cubs you use is a bit site specific. Zobrist and Baez are meaningfully cheaper than Happ on DK, but over on FD a sub-$3k Happ is most enticing of the trio.
Daniel Murphy (WAS) is the top option if you’re paying up, and is underpriced on FD. Murphy has a negative Hard% delta, but the positive park shift on the road against a subpar RHP is a nice spot. He’s followed up by a couple of event upside AL East bats in Jonathan Schoop (BAL) (.234 ISO, 29 HRs) and Eduardo Nunez (BOS) (7 HRs, 3 SBs in 28 games with Boston).
A final GPP option is the speedster Dee Gordon (MIA).
Josh Donaldson (TOR) leads our 3B rankings given all of Jeremy Hellickson‘s issues on the season overall and recently. Hellickson has particularly struggled with same handed hitters this season. He’s affordable on both sites, particularly FD.
High upside pivots, if you’re looking to diversify in GPPs or simply want to limit Blue Jays exposure in cash games, are Kris Bryant (CHC) and Manny Machado (BAL). Bryant’s taken a step back this season due to reduced hard contact, but his fly ball tendencies line up well against Newcomb. Machado is dominant against same handed pitching
It’s a really good position to pay up as that trio rates well above the rest of the position. If you did want to go cheaper, Jedd Gyorko (STL) is an acceptable low owned one-off play against Bumgarner, hoping to catch a HR while Bumgarner is still a little off. Anthony Rendon (WAS) has a positive Hard% delta and is receiving a positive park shift as well.
On FD Trea Turner (WAS) is a possibility given an underpriced Bumgarner and a slew of mid-tier OF values with upside, although you may have to swallow the drop down from Smoak to Morales at first base to make it work. Turner struggled in a rehab stint (really small sample size), which likely doesn’t mean anything but wanted to throw that out there.
Over on DK a high tag on Turner makes him tough to fit, although he still rates as our favorite per dollar value there. MPE allows you to load up on cubs at the MI and use Javier Baez (CHC) there. We don’t mind getting lots of Cubs exposure with the lack of opportunity cost at the position. Other cheaper options with acceptable value rankings either have poor matchups (Paul DeJong (STL)), poor lineup spot (Ryan Goins (TOR)), or a lack of skill (Freddy Galvis (PHI)).
Tim Beckham (BAL) provides the most power upside at the position against the fly ball oriented Marco Estrada. Beckham has now had decent sized parts of three consecutive seasons posting a .182 ISO or higher.
The outfield is one of the most straightforward positions – you’re attacking this spot with mid-tier players across the board. While it’s uncomfortable to have too much Blue Jays exposure, both Steve Pearce (TOR) and Jose Bautista (TOR) are simply too cheap for top four road hitters against Hellickson.
A couple of dominant platoon players in Ryan Braun (MIL) and Rajai Davis (BOS) have reduced price tags. Braun has a .409 wOBA and .246 ISO against LHP, making him one of the best buys at home versus a southpaw. Davis doesn’t have the same pure power upside, but he brings an elite speed component to the table while holding respectable splits of his own historically. He led off for the Red Sox against a LHP last night.
On DK, Braun’s teammates in the OF that carry event upside are underpriced as well. Domingo Santana (MIL) is viable in all formats, and Keon Broxton (MIL) is the perfect type of punt play in tournament settings.
Speaking of event players, the boom or bust Michael Taylor (WAS) is a secondary option on both sites. Taylor strikes out a ton (31.4%), but he’ll run (42 SBs in 1,1113 career PAs) and currently holds a .198 ISO.
The Marlins duo of Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Christian Yelich (MIA) could go under owned in tournaments if people are focusing on the cheaper mid-tier plays in better hitting environments. Ben Lively‘s propensity to allow a lot of balls in play provides opponents with plenty of DFS upside.
1) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are a nice tournament play to hedge on our reduced cash game suggestions for this offense, as their price in that format is prohibitive across the board.
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) Washington Nationals
4) Miami Marlins
5) Chicago Cubs
It’s difficult to tell where ownership will end up. If the Jays are popular, they’re a good tournament fade given their volatility and overall ineffectiveness this season (22nd in wRC+ against RHP).
We’d like to use the Marlins a contrarian stack. It’s difficult to tell if they end up contrarian because they share a slate high 5.3 IRT, but they don’t seem to mesh how we expect most people to build rosters.
6) Boston Red Sox
7) Milwaukee Brewers
8) New York Yankees
The Brewers are a high event upside team with several underpriced players, making them a low owned team you can target at a low cost to fit alongside an expensive stack.