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August 5 MLB DFS: Wild Windy Wrigley

August 5 MLB DFS: Wild Windy Wrigley
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Welcome to August 5 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 5 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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  • 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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Range of Outcome Projections

August 5 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Aaron Nola (PHI) is the clear top SP on this slate, outprojecting everyone else on DK by nearly four full points and five points on FD. Nola’s been outstanding this season, putting together a 2.68 FIP as a result of an 18.8 K-BB% that well exceeds the league average (13.6). Nola also keeps the ball on the ground (50.7 GB rate) and, despite league wide trends, has held his HR/FB rate in check in large part due to an outstanding 2.9 Hard-Soft%. He’s the largest favorite on the slate with the lowest IRTA facing a Marlins offense that is 26th in wRC+ against RHP. On FD, he’s the clear cut play for cash games, but on DK our initial optimals are prioritizing offense, in large part due to the two SP setup, an expected gaudy game total in Wrigley, and the inclusion of the BAL-TEX game that has a slate high 11 total.

On DK, there are a slew of mid-tier options that all project close to one another. We’re talking five pitchers projecting within half a point of each other and a sixth, cheaper, pitcher that’s not far behind. In tournaments, with projections this close, it makes sense to utilize the UFC ownership projections and go the lower owned route.

Ownership aside, Tanner Roark (WAS) has been pitching great recently, striking out 18 batters over his last two starts, which spanned 15 innings and saw just one runner cross the plate. However, he’s the most expensive of the bunch. Next is Jon Gray (COL), who, in a vacuum, we prefer in tournaments given his volatility and a tough matchup in a hitter’s park (as evidenced by a 4.2 IRTA, which is the highest of this grouping). Gray also has a pretty unfavorable umpire. The good news on Gray is that he has electric stuff, giving him the highest strikeout projection on the slate, and there’s a chance his volatility is played up a bit too much (.291 xwOBA).

For cash games that leaves us with the duo of Jack Flaherty (STL) and Ervin Santana (MIN). Flaherty is in a favorable park for run prevention but does lose a touch of K upside in PNC Park, which is amplified by a contact oriented Pirates team. Still he’s underpriced for his skill set that includes a .287 xwOBA and 29.8 K%.

Ervin Santana (MIN) provides some much needed cap relief. It’s difficult to get an accurate baseline on Santana, who has made just two starts this season since returning from the DL. However, even with somewhat conservative baselines relative to actual splits the last few seasons he pops as a really strong value against a dreadful Royals lineup that is 25th in wRC+ over the last 30 days, with a higher 23.6 K%.

With a crowd of similarly projected mid-tier values, some other options to include in tournaments are Danny Duffy (KC) (recovering from a bad start to the season, best xFIP split in July and around a 22.5 K% last two months), James Shields (CHW) (as much as we mock him, he’s made small improvements this year and does pitch deep when not getting shelled), and Shane Bieber (CLE). Bieber has some troubling batted ball data (high Hard-Soft%), but the K-BB% is great. He’d shoot up our value projection rankings if Mike Trout remains out.

Jon Lester (CHC) hasn’t pitched well recently – the peripherals have been flat out ugly for six starts. And, if we’re right on the total in this game it would leave him with a high IRTA of 4.6 (hot, wind blowing out). Still, he has a very favorable umpire for pitchers in an elite matchup against a Padres team that inflates strikeouts and ranks 21st in wRC+ against LHP that at least provides some tournament intrigue.

On FD, the pivots off of Nola are pretty much the same options above, all again projected really closely in value – mostly Santana, Roark, Flaherty, and Lester.

Catcher

The story of this slate is the weather in Wrigley Field where low 90s degree weather and a 15 mph wind blowing straight out to CF for a day game should result in a massive total. We’re currently guessing an 11 total, which would leave the Cubs with a 6.4 team total. If that’s accurate, it’s tough to pass on Willson Contreras (CHC) who is the most talented offensive catcher in the slate, with one of the best lineup spots, facing a homer prone southpaw. He’s the only catcher sneaking into some of our top FD optimals as well.

The price tag on Chris Iannetta (COL) is surprisingly low given a favorable road matchup against Wade Miley. We always worry about the Brewers bullpen, but hopefully iannetta can get his damage done against Miley. Iannetta has posted a .336 wOBA and .155 ISO against LHP since 2016. He’s the cheap drop down.

Robinson Chirinos (TEX) gets lost in the shuffle a bit since he’s more expensive than Iannetta clearly inferior to Contreras. Still he has plenty of pop in his own right (actually has the best ISO split for catchers on thes late) and also a good hitting environment and team total. He’s the pivot off Contreras in tournaments if the Cubs get crazy chalk.

Depending on where the total in that SD-CHC game winds up and depending on lineup spot, Austin Hedges (SD) may actually be a better cheap drop down than Iannetta. Hedges has a .174 ISO this season, and most projections systems expect similar of him moving forward.

The final one off of some intrigue in tournaments is Mitch Garver (MIN). He has more intiruge on FD where he could be extremely low owned since catchers aren’t mandatory and is priced as a full punt.

First Base

Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Joey Gallo (TEX) are our top ranked 1B, although Gallo is only 1B eligible on DK (OF eligible both sites). Freeman faces Corey Oswalt, who has a 5.26 FIP albeit in a small sample at the MLB level. He projects to be very homer prone, which isn’t a surprise given 1.55 HR/9 allowed at AAA prior to getting called up (currently 1.65 at the MLB level).

Gallo has been on an absolute tear in this home series against the Orioles, homering in all three games thus far. He has a chance to make it 4-4 against Yefry Ramirez, who has a ZiPS projected 1.92 HR/9 rest of season.

It’s reasonable to make a spend up for either of those options on DK, but the best per dollar value is Carlos Santana (PHI). Santana has flashed a lot more power versus RHP since 2016 (.227 ISO), and he’ll get a favorable matchup against Dan Straily, who has been wrecked by LHBs this season (.362 wOBA).

Santana is also the top value on FD, but trying to prioritize both Nola at SP and Cubs bats may force you into more cap relief. At a slightly less expensive price tag is Yonder Alonso (CLE), who has been coming in at incredibly low ownerships.The Angels will be throwing out Deck McGuire who has a 7.69 FIP through 25 MLB innings this season, allowing a whopping 2.88 HR/9 with terrible control. It’s a small sample size, but ZiPS expects the struggles to continue (5.76 ERA, 1.79 HR/9).

If you need even more cap relief, though, Ji-Man Choi (TB) is the stone cold minimum with the platoon edge against James Shields and has acceptable power. He’s a fine play in cash games if hitting top five in the order.

Generally, additional tournament plays are guys that you’d use as a part of stacks like Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Edwin Encarnacion (CLE), and Ian Desmond (COL).   

Second Base

Rougned Odor (TEX) has a good power/speed combination in another huge upside spot, but it’s tough to make the spend for him with priorities at other positions when you have a perfectly viable drop down in the same game in Jonathan Villar (BAL). Villar is still underpriced for the leadoff spot, especially in outstanding context (5.2 IRT on the road in Texas).

Jason Kipnis (CLE) is the only option cheaper than Villar that garners some consideration, but out of the seventh spot at home, that play is better reserved for tournaments.

As you can tell by now, it’s practically two different slates between DK and FD. On the latter, this is a great spot to get Cubs exposure since Ben Zobrist (CHC) is priced much less aggressively (more mid-tier than expensive like he is on DK). And, if you are able to make the spend, his teammate Javier Baez (CHC) is a higher value in a vacuum despite the higher price tag. Baez has broken out in a big way this season with a .281 ISO, but even more than that he’s running like crazy, having stolen 19 bases.

Cesar Hernandez (PHI) is a low-owned tournament pivot, while Jose Pirela (SD) should be considered as a part of game stacks.

Third Base

Third base is one of the positions you can fill out last. Generally, we say that when a position is bad, but this position is actually flush with solid options at varying price points.

The top options is Jose Ramirez (CLE) whose numbers are a bit difficult to believe. The 32 HRs and 25 SBs make him one of the most valuable fantasy assets, and on top of all that he’s a contact oriented hitter with a good eye (more walks than strikeouts) who has hit .292 for his career. He’s expensive but worth the price tag in a plus matchup.

Speaking of difficult to believe numbers, the next in line option is Nolan Arenado (COL), who has a .467 wOBA and .353 ISO against southpaws since 2016. Opposing pitcher Wade Miley has a 1.53 ERA, but both his xFIP (4.82) and xwOBA (.326 xwOBA) suggest some incoming regression.

In the mid-tier, Mike Moustakas (MIL) must be loving life moving from a dreadful Royals offense to a stacked Brewers offense in a much better hitting environment. He’s underpriced but it is a below average matchup against Jon Gray. On DK, Adrian Beltre (TEX) is also viable at a similar price.

We start to get some site differences when surveying the cheap options with Miguel Sano (MIN) still incredibly underpriced on FD, especially in a matchup against a LHP now. We’re going to buy a guy with a career .235 ISO and .351 wOBA consistently at this price tag.

On DK, the punt play is Renato Nunez (BAL) who will have the platoon edge in Texas and has strong power baselines for his price.

Shortstop

At shortstop, we’d really like to get up to Francisco Lindor (CLE), who has incredible speed and power upside like his teammate Jose Ramirez (on pace to set career highs in HRs and SBs). Lindor is a good luxury spend, although we stop short of calling him a top priority given some acceptable mid-tier plays.

Those mid-tier plays are Asdrubal Cabrera (PHI) and Addison Russell (CHC), who will both hold the platoon edge at home with strong IRTs and positive hitting environments. Russell is pretty cheap on FD, where his cap relief is particularly important given the ability to squeeze Cubs and Nola together.

It’s tough to tell how much carryover ownership Trevor Story (COL) will have on the back of a double dong game yesterday, but his power upside and a price tag that gets a bit lost in the shuffle makes him the most intriguing GPp pivot at the position.

Secondary GPP plays include Trea Turner (WAS) and Jorge Polanco (MIN).

Outfield

Once again we get a slate that has us without the BOS and NYY studs up top and possibly without Mike Trout as well. As a result, Rhys Hoskins (PHI) emerges as highest projected outfielder across both sites. Hoskins’ career .290 ISO showcases his incredible power, and Dan Straily has allowed a .202 ISO to same handed batters over the course of his career. His price tag is better for tournaments, though.

On DK, Hoskins is edged out by Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) at a lower cost, and his teammate Joey Gallo (TEX) is among the top options as well, with only his lineup spot holding him back slightly. The Rangers have a 5.8 IRT so we’d like to get at least some Texas exposure into cash game lineups in some fashion.

While Michael Brantley (CLE) lags a bit behind in overall projection, his price tag is amenable to cash games on both sites and is a backup route to ensure at least some Cleveland exposure if your unable to make the spends on Lindor and Ramirez in the infield.

After making a couple of spends in the outfield (or potentially none on FD where it’s a bit more difficult), it’s all about grabbing pieces of Wrigley Field. On FD in particular, the incredible price tags on Ian Happ (CHC), Albert Almora (CHC), and Hunter Renfroe (SD) are critical to making things work in cash games. While he hasn’t showcased it as much this season, Happ has plus power, and we’re expecting the ISO to improve moving forward. Almora is out of the leadoff spot and possesses a career .369 wOBA versus LHP. Renfroe could see a lineup spot bump with Wil Myers hitting the DL, and we have him pegged for a .346 wOBA and .233 ISO versus LHP (before accounting for park). Manuel Margot‘s (SD) baselines are meaningfully lower than Renfroe’s at a higher price tag, but out of the leadoff spot, he’s on the periphery of the cash game conversation as well.

That really makes up the crux of the cash game conversation, but obviously there’s a plethora of viable tournament plays. The mid-tier is loaded on FD with Odubel Herrera (PHI), Adam Eaton (WAS), and Kevin Kiermaier (TB) all ranking within our Top 10 outfield values, priced just over $3k.

That trio takes a backseat to more TEX-BAL exposure on DK as Mark Trumbo (BAL) and Danny Valencia (BAL) hold the platoon edge against Martin Perez, who has allowed a .351 wOBA to RHBs over his career.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Texas Rangers

2) Cleveland Indians

3) Chicago Cubs

4) Philadelphia Phillies

We’ve covered this top tier pretty extensively throughout the positional analysis. In similar spots the last few days, Cleveland ownership has been tame given the high price tags of Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor and simply low ownership on secondary pieces like Yonder Alonso and Jason Kipnis.

However, if you’re unconcerned with ownership, the Cubs stack likely has the highest upside given the weather situation.

Tier Two

5) Baltimore Orioles

6) Washington Nationals

7) Colorado Rockies

8) Milwaukee Brewers

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – but we once again like the Nationals as a contrarian stack as price and opportunity cost likely keep their ownership in check. They’re able to go off in any matchup due to quality and depth. While opposing pitcher Luis Castillo has pitched better recently (sub-4 xFIPs in six of seven starts), the batted ball data is still scary. His Hard% the last three starts is 40, 57.1, and 62.5.

Additional Tournament Stacks

San Diego padres: A lack of depth holds the Padres back in our overall stack rankings, but the game in Wrigley Field could get nutty. The Padres allow you cheap access to that environment.

 

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