Welcome to August 8 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 8 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!
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS | HITTER SPLITS | PITCHER SPLITS | SORTABLE STATS | PITCHER TRENDS | LINEUPS | LEADERS
01:04 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.
Want to help fight blood cancer and compete for World Series tickets? Learn about the mission of DKMS and compete nightly for World Series tickets this MLB season on FantasyDraft. All for FREE. Sponsored by FNTSY and DKMS, learn about their mission and access the daily contests at dailyroto.com/dkms.
August 8 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Luis Severino (NYY) has been struggling for the Yankees, allowing a total of 23 ERs over his last five starts, at least four in each of his past four starts. While two of the past four matchups were against formidable opponents (CLE, BOS), two of them were not (KC, TB), so it’s a little bit disturbing. If we zoom out, though, Severino’s season is pretty close to last year’s, just a slight scale back in K-BB% and GB rate. Ultimately, even with some concern over recent performance, Severino’s price tag has dropped too steeply for us to ignore him, especially with a matchup against the White Sox on tap (18th in wRC+ with a high 25.5 K%), which has him pegged as a massive -312 favorite early on with just a 3.1 IRTA.
Severino’s main competition up top is Clayton Kershaw (LAD). If you dock Severino more harshly for his recent performance and move Kershaw’s K rate closer to his previous three seasons, he would overtake Severino in overall projection. However, the gap in price tag would still drive us to Severino. Kershaw is fully stretched out now and pitching well, but both his xwOBA and K rate indicate he’s not at his peak. He gets a negative league shift and a negative matchup against the Athletics.
The gap is especially wide in value on FD, but on DK, you can make more of a case for Kershaw as a GPP pivot off of Severino if you believe the ownership disparity will be wide.
The difficult part about this slate is the lack of depth/value beyond Severino. Mike Clevinger (CLE) has excellent tournament upside as his whiff rate from last season has returned. Over his last five starts, Clevinger has struck out 25%, 38.1%, 25.9%, 30.8%, and 40.7% of batters. What’s great is the BB rate improvements Clevinger made to start this season have held as his K rate has returned. The only issue with Clevinger is a somewhat appropriate price tag. You aren’t going to play him above Severino in cash games on FD, and on DK we’d simply like to save some more money for bats (Clevinger is the second best value in a vacuum).
In cash games, as a result, if you aren’t going to punt SP2 (which our optimals prefer with no obvious mid-tier mispricing and great value on Severino), you may fall short of being able to pay up for Clevinger, which really only leaves you with Jose Quintana (CHC). It’s been a disappointing season for Quintana who has seen a sharp decline in K-BB% from 18.5% last season to 10.0% this season. That problem is compounded by a career worst Hard%. With all that said, he’s priced like an average SP, which when facing this horrific Royals lineup is enough to get him into the primary plays conversation on a two SP site.
There just aren’t many options on this slate so our optimals are scarily pushing towards Andrew Cashner (BAL), since he’s at a punt price that allows you to pay up for offense and Severino. THere’s nothing good to say about Cashner. He ranks 314/340 pitchers facing at least 150 batters in xwOBA (.372) and has a well below league average 17.1 K%. Honestly, even the matchup against the Rays isn’t great, although our baselines project it more favorably than the actual team splits on the season and overall over last 30 days. This is why you may want to sacrifice some projected points to obtain a better floor with Quintana and still be willing to chase double SP upside by utilizing Clevinger in GPPs. Generally, we’d point towards how the important takeaway is that the macro roster construction is to build with a cheap SP and to do that in tournaments by spreading out your bets among the cheap SPs. The issue with that is there aren’t even many options to do that with. Brett Kennedy (SD) and Mike Hauschild (TOR) have IRTA over 5, and John Gant (STL) and Brian Johnson (BOS) aren’t priced as punts.
So where does that leave us? Eat Arby’s. In all seriousness, you probably want to force yourself to make some Severino-Cashner GPP teams or to drop off expensive pitching completely and go Clevinger-Quintana as a double mid-tier route. There’s just so much offensive upside on the slate, and the lack of pitching values may result in people overpaying for pitching floors, resulting in some underowned, high upside individuals and stacks.
One final route, which is painful to even type given how they’ve burned us in the past, is to use the Rays long man. Jacob Faria (TB) was *supposed* to pitch last night after Glasnow but never entered the game. Look, at this point you have to know if you play this game you are fully risking zeroes (we don’t even have any word that he’ll pitch today but are assuming after not being used last night). The risk/reward likely doesn’t make sense on “regular” slates, but the dynamics of this slate make it appealing if you have a short memory. It’s a great spot for Faria at home against a bad Orioles offense that will swing and miss a bunch.
#Rays Cash said Faria was “a little banged up” with a stiff neck, they hope he’ll be available on Wednesday
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) August 8, 2018
There is Willson Contreras (CHC) and then a strong drop in value at the catching position on Wednesday. Contreras and the Cubs continue their series in Kauffman Stadium, getting a matchup with right-hander Heath Fillmyer and holding an implied run total of 5.4 runs. Not only has Contreras posted excellent batted ball data in the last fifteen days – but he also comes with a solid lineup spot (projected 5th) and a reasonable price tag ($4,200). He’s an easy way to get exposure to the Cubs offense that will face the contact oriented (lots of it hard contact) Fillmyer, backed by the atrocious Royals pen.
Austin Barnes (LAD) and Tyler Flowers (ATL) are the next two in line after the steep drop from Contreras. Barnes is the cheap option – just $2,700 in his matchup with left-hander Brett Anderson. We don’t expect the lineup spot to be great and the run scoring environment isn’t overly compelling, but the price tag and lack of opportunity cost make him a viable cash game play. He’s posted a .170 ISO versus LHP since 2016.
Flowers too has been good against LHP (.391 wOBA since 2016). He’ll draw an even easier matchup with left-hander Tommy Milone, in Washington with pretty solid temperatures and a helping wind. Milone has been solid in his first two starts for the Nats, but ZiPS projects an ERA above five and 1.85 HR/9 the rest of the season. We aren’t concerned about picking on him for just $3,500.
Salvador Perez (KC) and J.T. Realmuto (MIA) project more than a full point behind Contreras but offer some of the better individual upside for potential tournament pivots.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is the guy at first base. The matchup remains the same, a below average right-hander and one of the worst pens in the league (2nd worst in xFIP, 5th worst in HR/9). The Cubs have the highest implied run total on the slate, and Rizzo gives you exposure to their offense as the road leadoff hitter. At $4,900 on DK and $4,200 on FD he is flooding the early optimals.
He is followed in value by Greg Bird (NYY) and Yonder Alonso (CLE). Bird and the Yanks will still be in a good offensive environment in Guaranteed Rate Field, holding an implied run total of 5.3 runs against Lucas Giolito. Giolito has been #notgood (5.98xFIP) and has allowed at least one home run in 10 of his last 13 starts. Though the lineup spot and batted ball data are not deeply encouraging, Bird is a cheap way to get exposure to the offense while taking advantage of the .216 ISO Giolito has allowed to LHB since 2016.
Alonso and the Indians get Jake Odorizzi at home. He’s a bit less valuable at $4,600 on DraftKings, but at $3,100 on FanDuel he’s a potential option if not spending up for Rizzo. Odorizzi has allowed a .186 ISO to LHB since 2016, and Alonso, like Bird, provides us a cheaper way to get exposure to an offense with an implied run total of 5.2 runs.
Mitch Moreland (BOS) is right around this top trio as far as value goes. He’ll travel to Toronto to face right-hander Mike Hauschild. A journeyman right-hander with nearly no experience, Hauschild doesn’t project as anything intimidating. Moreland and the Sox are just another team with an implied run total above five runs and he’s posted a .205 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Gleyber Torres (NYY) are at the top of the food chain at second base. Both of these young studs have been even better than anticipated thus far, bringing elite event upside to their positions. Albies, a switch hitter, will bat from the right-side against Tommy Milone. That isn’t a problem though, as he’s posted a .370 wOBA and .201 ISO versus LHP in his brief time in the show. While the batted ball data is not encouraging (3.6% 15 Day Hard%), he does find his way into a mixture of the early optimals on DraftKings.
Torres draws the aforementioned matchup with Lucas Giolito. The projection systems expect the power to come back to Earth just a little bit, but nevertheless he’s posted a .249 ISO versus same handed pitchers and we already mentioned Giolito’s struggles with the long ball. He is $100 cheaper than Albies on DraftKings, and likewise is fitting into a handful of the early optimals.
On FanDuel, it’s Travis Shaw (MIL) that steals the limelight as the top man in optimals. He’s just $3,000 with second base eligibility and a matchup with right-hander Brett Kennedy who will make his debut. Kennedy was able to keep the ball on the ground and pitched to a 2.72 ERA at AAA this year, and he doesn’t project as a slouch, but this price and Shaw’s abilities against RHP (.362 wOBA, .233 ISO since 2016).
Brian Dozier (LAD) was thrust to the leadoff spot last night against a left-handed pitcher. If he gets pushed there again he could be a great value at $3,400 on FD and $4,200 on DK.
If you decide to pay up at your second SP on DK, you might end up going a bit cheaper to Yangervis Solarte (TOR). We’d prefer to utilize him from the left-side of the plate (though .150 ISO versus RHP since 2016), but he brings us a fourth place lineup spot at just $3,300. He is getting pushed into most of the optimals when locking two higher priced arms.
Neil Walker (NYY) fits a similar mold on FanDuel at $2,500 (though he’s reasonably priced at $3,800 on DK as well).
Please don’t forget Javier Baez (CHC).
Mike Moustakas (MIL) and Justin Turner (LAD) exist in the realm of highly valuable commodities that are priced affordably. Moustakas, like Travis Shaw before, will get the platoon edge on Brett Kennedy in his home park. The Brewers are just another team with an implied run total above five runs (5.2) and Moustakas has been excellent versus RHP since 2016 (.248 ISO). At $4,100 on DK and $3,100 on FD he is taking up space in most of the early optimals.
Turner is even cheaper than Moustakas, and is picking up the slack where he doesn’t fit the early builds. At just $2,600 on FanDuel and $3,800 on DraftKings he’ll give you plenty of value and the platoon edge on left-hander Brett Anderson. When right, Anderson does a great job of keeping the ball on the ground and the Dodgers will be heading into the cavernous Coliseum in Oakland. We prefer the run scoring environment that Moustakas will be part of, but if you need the extra salary, Turner is a fine alternative.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) doesn’t exist in the same sphere as the top duo, but he’s just as valuable and projects almost 2 full points ahead. There isn’t much the guy can’t do and we noted Odorizzi’s susceptibility to power.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Chris Taylor (LAD) make up a similar set of tiers at shortstop as we had at third base. Lindor is the expensive one, yet still crazy valuable and the highest projected scorer at the position. He’ll get to swing it from the left side (.214 ISO versus RHP since 2016) and will hit leadoff for the Indians and their 5.3 implied run total. The issue is the price tag is a bit too restrictive for cash game use.
Enter Taylor. Much like Justin Turner a position before, he offers plenty of cap relief ($3,800 on DK, $2,600 on FD) and will grab the platoon edge on Brett Anderson. He’s been solid against LHP since 2016 (.180 ISO), but the bigger news is that this potentially thrusts him to the leadoff spot as the road leadoff hitter. We will have to monitor this situation, but regardless Taylor will be a solid play at his price tag.
Manny Machado (LAD) and Didi Gregorius (NYY) bring about a few other higher priced options as potential tournament pivots. Machado will draw the same matchup as Taylor in Oakland, while Gregorius will get the platoon edge on Lucas Giolito who has struggled mightily with LHB.
The Yankees remain very valuable as even teammate Aaron Hicks (NYY) isn’t too far from the top in their matchup with Lucas Giolito. While they are all fairly expensive (with the exception of Gardner on FD) – one or two of them are finding most of the early optimals on FanDuel. Both Hicks and Stanton have posted solid batted ball data (30.8 and 28.6% Hard% respectively) and the team is tied for the highest implied run total on the slate.
The story doesn’t change for Brantley as he remains one of the cheapest ways to get exposure to the Indians offense (.171 ISO versus RHP since 2016).
Mookie Betts (BOS) and J.D. Martinez (BOS) are two of the highest projected scorers at the position in their matchup with Mike Hauschild. Unfortunately their price tags remove them from the cash game conversation.
Instead you might look to Christian Yelich (MIL), Eric Thames (MIL), Randal Grichuk (TOR), Ian Happ (CHC), or a host of others in the lower-middle tier of pricing to help round out your outfield. Yelich and Thames both will get the platoon edge and an excellent run scoring environment against the debuting arm of Brett Kennedy.
Grichuk will slide to the leadoff spot with the platoon edge. He’s posted a .201 ISO versus LHP since 2016 and is just $3,000 on FanDuel and $3,900 on DK.
Matt Kemp (LAD) is disgustingly cheap on DK at just $3,300 (he’s $2,700 on FD too). He fits into nearly all of the early optimals as just another way to attack Brett Anderson who has allowed a .379 wOBA and .217 ISO to RHB since 2016.
1) Cleveland Indians
2) New York Yankees
You could argue that the top two tiers of stacks should be combined together, but either way we’ve got five of the better offensive lineups in the league all possessing IRTs between 5.2 and 5.4, while the common peasants outside of the top two tiers don’t crack an IRT over 4.6. That’s what makes this slate so complicated from a GPP perspective – the offenses rule the slate, but the pitchers aren’t present to make them work.
Cleveland is almost worth stacking on a nightly basis due to the event oriented upside of Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor alone, but of course it’s taken the entire team to rank fifth in wRC+ against RHP and third in ISO.
The powerful Yankees, headlined by Stanton’s absurd .398 ISO baseline overall, have eight of nine hitters with an ISO baseline split of .163 or better. That’s some depth, and opposing pitcher Lucas Giolito, who it should be noted has pitched better recently, has a 5.97 ERA, 5.91 FIP, and 5.98 xFIP on the season.
3) Chicago Cubs
4) Boston Red Sox
5) Milwaukee Brewers
The Cubs and Red Sox are both guaranteed nine innings as road teams and are both facing subpar rookie RHP. The Cubs will attack Heath Fillmyer (5.09 ZiPS projected ERA) while the Red Sox face Mike Hauschild, who is making his first career MLB start (4.64 ZiPS projected ERA).
Milwaukee is home in a positive hitting environment, even relative to many of the outdoor stadiums with hot temperatures this time of year. With the addition of Moustakas and Schoop, we have six of nine projected Milwaukee hitters with an ISO split baseline of more than .200, which is really astounding. This tier is three for three in facing rookie RHPs as Brett Kennedy will make his MLB debut.
6) Washington Nationals
7) Los Angeles Dodgers
8) Atlanta Braves
This third tier is fine for mini stacks or one offs, but they get lost in the shuffle for us quite a bit as full stacks – not creating the necessary cap relief or expected ownership discount to justify utilizing over the top two tiers of stacks.
9) Toronto Blue Jays
10) Tampa Bay Rays
This fourth tier is necessary as you’ll be spending a lot of money on pitching if unwilling to take some cheap risks at SP. The Jays and Rays are both reasonably priced on both sites. The Jays face Brian Johnson, who has done a great job missing bats recently but is still prone to blow up starts due to his combination of a high BB and FB rate. The Rays face Andrew Cashner, who we mentioned in the SP section has one of the highest xwOBAs in all of baseball.