Welcome to August 4 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 4 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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00:52 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 4 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
James Paxton (SEA) is our top ranked SP overall as a large home favorite (-230) with just a 3.0 IRTA (lowest on the slate). Paxton was sharp in his return off the DL last time out, pitching seven clean innings and striking out eight against a good Astros offense. This time he faces a Blue Jays team that is below average in wRC+ against LHP, and you can make the case that his duration baselines should be a bit higher than where we have them set. The price isn’t escalated on FD, and he’s our favorite cash game option there.
Right on Paxton’s heels is Jose Berrios (MIN), who has had an up and down season. In his last seven starts, he has post an xFIP of 4.94 or higher in four of them, but in the other three starts his xFIPs are an elite 2.44, 2.02, and 1.78. If you catch him on a good day, the ceiling is magnificent, and that’s amplified by a matchup against a dreadful Royals team that leads to Berrios being pegged as the largest favorite on the slate (-240). He’s too pricey in cash games, but we actually prefer him to Corey Kluber (CLE) as the expensive pivot to Paxton in tournaments.
There are two similarly ranked values to Paxton on FD, Kenta Maeda (LAD) at about $1,000 cheaper than Paxton, and Freddy Peralta (MIL) at about $1,000 cheaper than Maeda. It makes builds interesting since you can approach things at different salary levels without sacrificing mean value. We still prefer Paxton’s raw total on a one SP site. Maeda’s risk is always how deep he will pitch. He’s at least shown upside in that department this year, but the downside is there as well. The matchup is tough against the Astros, but it’s mitigated by an extremely favorable home plate umpire and an NL park that forces the Astros to lose the DH.
Peralta is clearly the upside play in tournaments to allow you more bats. He’s struck out an outstanding 32.8% of batters faced through nine MLB starts, and he faces a Rockies team that is atrocious versus RHP after you account for their home park, including a K rate higher than the league average. The issue in cash games is Peralta’s volatility, which stems from a low GB rate and high BB rate. He actually carries the second highest strikeout projection on the slate.
On DK, both Paxton and Peralta are priced much more aggressively, which leaves us with two high ceiling options who are underpriced, despite facing really good offenses. The first of those is Maeda, who we discussed above, and the second is his opponent, Lance McCullers (HOU). McCullers has some Berrios in him in terms of start to start volatility. Here are his xFIPs his last four starts: -0.03, 6.77, 9.98, 0.41. In the two good starts he struck out a combined 23 batters. Like with Maeda, the combination of a pitcher friendly NL park and extremely favorable home plate umpire trump the concerns of facing an elite opposing offense, at least at sub-$9k pricing.
If you want to take a stab on cheap pitching for tournaments on DK, Ivan Nova (PIT) and Andrew Suarez (SF) are options in positive pitching environments. A couple of mid-low tier go for broke tournament plays on DK are Mike Minor (TEX) (improved velocity recently, Orioles are bad despite a context that is much more favorable for hitting) and Clay Buchholz (ARI) (Giants are worse versus RHP, favorable home plate umpire, duration expanded last couple of starts and has struck out 7-plus hitters in one third of starts).
The cheap play to risk on FD is Kevin Gausman (ATL), who gets a positive league and park shift now that he is with Atlanta and is a road favorite (Citi Field also a positive park shift for him) against a below average Mets offense.
Matt Wieters (WSH) graces most of the early Saturday night main slate optimals. Wieters and the Nats will draw Matt Harvey, albeit a better version of Matt Harvey than we have seen in a while. A caveat exists to the Wieter play though, as the Nats are playing a double-header, so we’ll need to ensure that he’s actually catching the second game. If he is in the lineup – he gives us exposure to an implied run total of 5.6 runs. Harvey has been hurt by LHB in the last few seasons, allowing a .380 wOBA and .215 ISO since 2016.
Robinson Chirinos (TEX) projects the highest from a raw total perspective. Chirinos draws a tough matchup with Dylan Bundy, but one that is exploitable given Bundy’s susceptibility to power. Chirinos has posted a .235 ISO versus RHP since 2016 and Bundy is allowing more than 2 HR/9. The Rangers have an implied run total of 5.7.
Afterwards it doesn’t get any better. James McCann (DET) finds himself in some early optimals based on price. He’s $2,700 on DK and draws Edwin Jackson in Oakland. Jackson has somehow not been the worst but still allows a lot of hard contact, and most of it aerial. Yadier Molina (STL) gets a great lineup spot and projects better in raw total than everyone but Chirinos. Yet, the park and overall game environment is less appealing than Chirinos who is just $100 cheaper.
Joey Votto (CIN) and Logan Morrison (MIN) are the most popular first baseman hitting early optimals for Saturday night. Votto and the Reds will take on a negative park shift and despite “meh” season returns, the price tag and his historical skills against RHP make him a compelling play and value on the slate. He’s only really a play on DraftKings.
LoMo though enters more of the optimals at a much cheaper tag ($3,900 on DK, $2,700 on FD). He’ll get Burch Smith, a journeyman right-hander that projects for a 5.34 ERA rest of season via ZiPS. LoMo has been remarkably worse than his last season’s performance, but he’s posted a positive delta in batted ball data in the last 15 days and boasts a .233 ISO versus RHP since 2016. The Twins have one of three implied run totals above five runs (5.1).
Joe Mauer (MIN) and Matt Adams (WSH) frequent some of the early optimals that LoMo is absent from. Both guys fill a similar void – cheap, platoon edge, good overall run scoring environment. Adams is actually in the top FD optimal at just $2,900.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) represent a pair of excellent upper tier first base options. Freeman actually pops into some of the optimals on DraftKings at just $4,600 against Zack Wheeler. There is nothing overly compelling about the matchup – but the price tag and Freeman’s skills against RHP are undeniable (.398 wOBA, .261 ISO since 2016).
Goldy gets the platoon edge on Andrew Suarez. Suarez has been solid and keeps the ball on the ground, but Goldschmidt has destroyed southpaws (.414 wOBA, .256 ISO since 2016). On a slate with top first base options being viable cash game plays, he makes for an excellent tournament pivot.
Joey Gallo (TEX) is first base eligible on DraftKings where his power upside versus Bundy should be strongly considered.
Jonathan Villar (BAL) is the top second base option on Saturday. After changing teams, Villar has slid into the leadoff spot each of the last two nights and we expect him back there again. The price is very affordable ($2,400 on FD, $3,900 on DK) and as a road leadoff hitter at a position that lacks depth, you can’t ask for much more. Except we also get a plus matchup against Mike Minor (Villar has posted a .196 ISO versus RHP since 2016) who is allowing a ton of hard contact and more than 1.5 HR/9. Villar dominates early optimals.
Rougned Odor (TEX) falls next in line. There is a meaningful price discrepancy on both sites though ($3,900 on FD, $5,100 on DK). He’s taken advantage of the lineup bump and has posted excellent batted ball data in the last fifteen days. He’ll look to exploit the power issues that Dylan Bundy has offered hitters (.190 ISO allowed to LHB since 2016).
There is a steep drop after those squaring off in Texas. Dee Gordon (SEA) and Cesar Hernandez (PHI) bring us a few other leadoff hitters. They are priced similarly and in the middle of Villar and Odor, but don’t rate or project nearly as well as home leadoff hitters. Both offer a bit of event upside and would be potential pivots if Villar should get a bad lineup spot or not play.
A lot of similarly rated values exist at the third based position. The top tier houses Jose Ramirez (CLE) and Matt Carpenter (STL). Ramirez is the top projected scorer at the position as the Indians will host Felix Pena. There is little to say about Ramirez at this point, as he can do it all and has dominated RHP since 2016 (.401 wOBA, .250 ISO). Whether or not he fits your build will depend on which other positions you decide to spend on.
Carpenter is less appealing from an overall game context standpoint, but has equally compelling batted ball data and gets the platoon edge on Ivan Nova. He is the second highest projected scorer, but someone we’d prefer in tournaments.
Anthony Rendon (WSH) essentially owns the middle tier by himself. He and the Nats are one of the top offenses on the slate and he’s very affordable (particularly on DK at $4,300). He gives you access to the middle of the order, and though has been more oftenly deployed against LHP he has posted a .196 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
Adrian Beltre (TEX) and Miguel Sano (MIN) round out the lower tier. Sano is just $2,600 on FanDuel where he’s the second best value at the position. The matchup with Burch Smith brings his power upside into play as Smith allows a lot of hard contact and most of it in the air. Beltre and the Rangers draw Dylan Bundy in their home park. The Texas heat has helped pump the 5.7 implied run total, but so too has Bundy’s susceptibility to the long ball. At $2,700 on FD and $3,700 on DK he is firmly in play in either format. With a focus on more stable, high upside arms in cash games – this tier is frequented in early optimals.
Francisco Lindor (CLE), Trea Turner (WSH), and Tim Beckham (BAL) are the top three shortstop options by a wide margin. Lindor is astronomically priced but is the top projected scorer at the position and is still rating as the top value on both sites. At $5,700 on DK he gets pushed out of the early optimals, but he is definitely present at $4,800 on FD.
Turner only provides a slight discount in price, so if paying up, we’d prefer to side with Lindor – yet Turner will give you exposure to a high powered Nats offense and a lot of individual upside on the base paths. Furthermore, Turner has been notably better versus RHP in his young career (.363 wOBA, .198 ISO since 2016).
Beckham makes most of the early optimals on DraftKings where he is just $3,900 (a big drop from the top two). He has slid down just one spot in the order to accommodate the acquisition of Jonathan Villar, not ceding much value from a plate appearance perspective. He’s been pretty solid against LHP (.177 ISO since 2016) and has posted a small positive delta in batted ball data as well. The biggest play here is that his salary relief will allow you to pay up at premium positions like 1B and 3B.
Bryce Harper (WSH), Adam Eaton (WSH), Shin-Soo Choo (TEX), and Joey Gallo (TEX) make up the top four values in a loaded outfield on Saturday. The matchups need little justification, as we’ve already noted a few times the allure of picking on both Matt Harvey and Dylan Bundy. All four of these options come with the platoon edge and have posted excellent batted ball data in the last fifteen days. The early optimals are typically deploying at least two of the group.
Michael Brantley (CLE) is in the top five values on both sites as a more affordable way to get exposure to the Indians offense. He’s about the only Indian without excellent batted ball data, but he provides a good lineup spot and the platoon edge for cheap.
Danny Valencia (BAL), Mark Trumbo (BAL), and Eddie Rosario (MIN) round out another pair of popular teams in the outfield. Both Trumbo and Valencia have been solid with the platoon edge and will grab that plus a nice park shift (and the heat!!!) moving to Texas to face Mike Minor. Valencia has actually outperformed Trumbo via ISO against LHP since 2016, posting a .207 ISO in that time.
To gain a bit more diversity, Charlie Blackmon (COL), Rhys Hoskins (PHI), and A.J. Pollock (ARI) help to fill out the top ten projected outfielders that we haven’t already named. Blackmon will draw the platoon edge and even away from Coors has a friendly hitters park in Milwaukee.
Hoskins gets Jose Urena on a negative park shift. No platoon edge, but Urena allows a lot of hard contact. And last but not least, Pollock will grab the platoon edge on Andrew Suarez (.239 ISO versus LHP since 2016).
1) Washington Nationals
The Nationals carry our top stack score against gas can Matt Harvey who has a 5.6 IRTA. It’s not surprising given the depth of this Nationals offense now that they are healthy and with the emergence of Juan Soto. Harvey has had better results recently, but the peripherals haven’t improved – a .354 xwOBA and .219 xISO on the season.
2) Texas Rangers
3) Cleveland Indians
The Rangers will likely be chalky for the third consecutive night. We’ve seen the upside of this offense the past two nights given some individual skills (power of Odor and Gallo), the heat in Texas, and the horrendous Orioles team. Dylan Bundy is a much better overall pitcher than David Hess and Andrew Cashner, but his issues with the long ball are a definite cause for concern in this spot ( 2.03 HR/9).
After a quick start, the Cleveland stack fizzled out last night. They get a chance at redemption in a matchup against Felix Pena, who is coming off of a disaster start, allowing 7 ERs while recording a single out before getting pulled. An unfavorable umpire for pitchers also benefits the Cleveland offense.
4) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are the poor man’s version of the Rangers – not a great lineup top to bottom but some decent individual upside that finds itself in a good context. The concern tonight is that Mike Minor has pitched better recently, but ultimately the low price tags against a fly ball oriented pitcher with a .361 xwOBA still has us buying pieces of this frustrating Orioles team.
5) Philadelphia Phillies
6) Minnesota Twins
7) Arizona Diamondbacks
8) Cincinnati Reds
The Phillies are a strong contrarian stack. Their ownership the past couple of days has really been deflated, and nothing in the results suggests that will change. Opposing pitcher Jose Urena has been much better this year, improving his K-BB% while also seeing a big spike in GB rate. Still he’s just an average RHP with a negative park shift against a decent upside Phillies offense.
Once again, the Twins are the low-ish owned value stack to use on FD if you want cap relief but don’t want to ride the BAL-TEX chalk.
While Oakland and Seattle didn’t crack our stack rankings, they’re among a few options on a decently deep offensive slate that are worthy of being used as either one off plays or complementary mini stacks.