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August 9 MLB DFS: Bird Is The Word

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
August 9 MLB DFS: Bird Is The Word
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Welcome to August 9 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for August 9 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!


Time Stamps
Starting Pitcher
08:40  Catcher
10:38 First Base
13:57 Second Base
17:08 Third Base
19:41 Shortstop
21:55 Outfield
26:57 Stacks


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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


Starting Pitcher

Justin Verlander (HOU) outpaces his competition (James Paxton (SEA)) as the top SP on this slate. Even at an expensive tag, he’s the best value on both sites and a worthy cash game option on around the industry (in most of our optimals). In general, Verlander hasn’t been working quite as deep into games recently, but it really hasn’t mattered because he’s been so dominant. Over his last four starts he has xFIPs of 1.19, 2.27, 0.76, and 0.80 with a mean 43.75 K%. The Mariners are a below average matchup, but Verlander’s skills trump the matchup.

Paxton also possesses high end skills, but there’s still a tangible difference between his good .296 xwOBA and Verlander’s otherworldly .244 mark. The Astros do have meaningful injuries to Springer and Altuve that make this matchup more palatable than the team splits on the season would otherwise indicate. From a per dollar standpoint, the gap between him and Verlander is clear but not so massive that you shouldn’t be looking to Paxton at a cheaper overall cost in tournaments.

It’s a slate where you can prioritize high end pitching or bats (Yankees, Red Sox with high team totals and a game in Coors). If emphasizing the bats, there are viable values on FD to allow you to do that. JA Happ (NYY) is coming off of the DL, but it was a short stint due to an illness, so we haven’t docked his IP baselines. He’ll face a swing and miss Rangers team as the slate’s largest favorite (-220).

Ross Stripling (LAD) is more of a tournament play due to the low floor that comes attached to pitching in Coors (5 IRTA), but he’s still underpriced for his skills. Keep in mind this Rockies team from a pure skill perspective is not good against RHP (29th in wRC+). Stripling has been dominant this season from both a strikeout perspective (28% K rate) and batted ball perspective (.262 xwOBA).

On DK, Stripling is also underpriced and in play for tournaments. In cash games, though, Andrew Suarez (SF) is the natural complement to Verlander in a build that will still leave you room to take advantage of the expensive offensive bats. Suarez has been beat up recently, failing to register a quality start in four straight outings, but overall has a 3.55 xFIP. More importantly, he’s pitching at home, in the friendliest park in all of MLB for run prevention and has one of the lowest IRTA on the slate.

It’s a fun slate that should allow you to mix and match the above names in either tournaments or cash games, although we’ve made our preferences in the latter format clear. In the former format, there’s not much reason to look to other names. Perhaps on DK, if participating in MME you can take some stabs on punt options like David Hess (BAL) and Ivan Nova (PIT) since they’ll allow you Verlander or Paxton builds with some expensive offenses.


Buster Posey (SF) is the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Posey’s projection is tempered by the fact that he has a R/R matchup at home. We have him with a .330 wOBA baseline, which is a plus for a catcher, but just a .124 ISO baseline vs. RHP. He’s fine if you can reach up to him but he’s not a priority. 

The next in line target at the position is Austin Barnes (LAD), who will have the platoon edge in Coors Field. Barnes has generated a .345 wOBA and .172 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. He’s $500 cheaper than Posey and represents a fine play in all formats.

If you need to punt the position, Sandy Leon (BOS) is a decent target with a $2,800 price tag. He’s on the road and gives you exposure to one of the higher IRTs (5.2) in this slate.

Robinson Chirinos (TEX) is an upside option we like for tournaments. Given the difficult matchup against J.A. Happ and an appropriate price, we think Chirinos will carry very little ownership in this slate. Chirinos has been a monster with the platoon edge, generating a .414 wOBA and .254 ISO since 2017.

First Base

Steve Pearce (BOS) and Greg Bird (NYY) carry the top projections at first base. Both will have the platoon edge in their respective matchups and they’re in two of the best hitting environments in all of baseball. Pearce has posted an absurd 42.9% HHR over the L15 days. We like him in tournaments but in cash games we’re siding with Bird, who’s cheaper on both sites. Bird has a matchup against Ariel Jurado, who’s projected to strikeout ~11% of batters at the major league level. It’s a short sample (15 IP), but it’s worth noting that Jurado has allowed a 39% hard minus soft hit rate thus far at the major league level.

Cody Bellinger (LAD) is 1B eligible on DK and he has the top projection at the position on that site. He’s very expensive though since he’s in Coors FIeld and will have a L/L matchup.

Ji-Man Choi (TB) is just $2,200 on FD and will have the platoon edge against David Hess. Choi has generated a .211 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. He’s a viable option across all formats. Josh Bell (PIT) has a minimum price tag on FD, which brings him into play in cash game builds. Choi has the stronger matchup but the difference in projection between these two is minimal. 

Justin Smoak (TOR) is underpriced on DK, where he’s just $3,900. We prefer Bird in cash games but Smoak is a strong alternative in GPPs. Rick Porcello has allowed a .341 wOBA and .216 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season and Smoak has been a very good hitter from the left side of the plate (.363 wOBA, .250 ISO).

Jake Bauers (TB) and Neil Walker (NYY) are additional targets to consider in MME.

Second Base

Brian Dozier (LAD) is the top projected scorer at the keystone position. Dozier will have the platoon edge (.388 wOBA, .227 ISO since 2017) in Coors Field. We love the context but Dozier is priced appropriately. We prefer him in tournaments on both sites. 

The next in line option at the position is Gleyber Torres (NYY). Torres is priced appropriately on both sites. We prefer him in tournaments in this slate but you can make the case for him in cash games on DK where the price tag is in the low $4ks.

The cheap range at the position will likely play a role in cash games in this slate. Neil Walker (NYY), Jonathan Villar (BAL), Devon Travis (TOR), Eduardo Nunez (BOS) (on DK) and Joe Panik (SF) (on FD) have cheap price tags that fit the slate. Villar and Panik will have the worst contexts of this group as they’re in Tropicana Field and AT&T Park respectively. Villar gives you the most event of this group though thanks to his stolen base potential (15 SBs in 301 PAs this season). Walker has generated a .340 wOBA and .162 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and he’s at home where he can take shots at the short porch in RF. He has the best context of this group. Panik has the best price tag of the bunch on FD where he’s just $2,100.

Third Base

Justin Turner (LAD) represents the top projected scorer in the hot corner. Turner has posted a massive .451 wOBA and .270 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season and he’ll have the platoon edge tonight in Coors FIeld. He has a matchup against Tyler Anderson, who’s allowed a .191 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Turner is priced appropriately on both sites but he’s viable in all formats.  

Eduardo Nunez (BOS) makes some sense as a salary relief alternative on both sites. Nunez hits sixth for the Red Sox vs. LHP. He’s not a very good hitter with the platoon edge (.301 wOBA, .116 ISO since 2017) but he gives you exposure to a Red Sox offense that’s on the road facing a pitcher we’re expecting to regress.

Nolan Arenado (COL) will likely have lower ownership than usual in a condensed slate. He’s in Coors Field but has a difficult matchup against Ross Stripling. The same goes for Alex Bregman (HOU), who has an even more difficult context against James Paxton but has been an elite hitter with the platoon edge (.395 wOBA and .245 ISO vs. LHP since 2017).


Manny Machado (LAD) is the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Machado is another Dodger that has the platoon edge tonight. That’s not as impactful for him since his splits are mostly neutral but he’s clearly the top option at the position. He’s a big part of our optimals on DK but on FD there’s a teammate of his that we’re willing to target over him in cash games due to their price discrepancy.

Chris Taylor (LAD) has generated a .331 wOBA and .181 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. He’s priced appropriately around the industry but gets into some of our optimals as he’s cheaper than Machado. Assuming that he leads leadoff, Taylor can be considered in all formats.

Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is another option to consider in cash games on DK, particularly now that his price is down to $4,200. Bogaerts has generated a carer high 38.2% Hard% according to fangraphs.

Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Trevor Story (COL) are additional options to consider in tournaments. Gregorius will be owned in this slate since he’s hitting cleanup with the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. We still like him but if the ownership projection starts to get closer to Machado’s, we’d side with the latter instead. Story won’t be owned given the matchup against Ross Stripling.


Mookie Betts (BOS) represents the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Betts is on the road in Rogers Centre and will have the platoon edge against Ryan Borucki, who’s going to get some serious regression soon (2.30 ERA/4.28 xFIP). We don’t think Borucki is a terrible pitcher, but the bullpen behind him is certainly awful. Betts’ event upside is worth pursuing across all formats.

Behind Betts are J.D. Martinez (BOS) and Giancarlo Stanton (NYY). Martinez is a standout with the platoon edge, as he’s posted a .458 and a massive .346 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. Stanton has a R/R matchup but it’s in Yankee Stadium and it’s against Ariel Jurado. Stanton’s kryptonite is striking out, but Jurado can’t miss bats (10.9% K rate backed up by a sub 6% SwStr rate). While these two are expensive, we think they’re very much in the cash game conversation.

Matt Kemp (LAD) is another high end bat with the platoon edge in Coors Field. Kemp has generated a .205 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. He’s viable across all formats on both sites but DK has priced him the most affordably ($4,200). Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks (NYY), Curtis Granderson (TOR) (on FD) and Kevin Kiermaier (TB) round out the rest of the position. Gardner (.344 wOBA, .171 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) and Hicks (.353 wOBA, .196 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium against an awful pitcher. They have mid-tier price tags on both sites.

Charlie Blackmon (COL) will have the platoon edge in Coors Field. Most of the time that earns him the top projection in a slate but a matchup against Ross Stripling and a good bullpen is tempering that projection. Still, Blackmon has been a standout vs. RHP (.402 wOBA, .274 ISO vs since 2017) and Coors Field can break any pitcher. We’re willing to overlook the matchup and play Blackmon in tournaments.


Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

2) Boston Red Sox

3) New York Yankees

The Dodgers top our stack rankings as the road team in Coors. The Rockies have these pesky LHPs in Tyler Anderson and Kyle Freeland that have a knack for stifling us at inopportune times. Still, Anderson has a projected ERA right around 4.50 rest of season by most projections systems, and this Dodgers lineup is deadly right now, with everyone holding at least a .322 wOBA split baseline.

The Red Sox are always a top stack given their combination of elite talent and depth. They’re on the road in a favorable hitting environment against another Jays rookie, although this time it’s Ryan Borucki who has held his own in a small sample size at the MLB level.

The Yankees face Ariel Jurado, who has some of the worst projected baselines in our database. Jurado has been okay through three starts, but he’s had a lot of BABIP and HR/FB rate luck, The guy has just a 10.9 K% and most projections systems expect the high quantity of balls allowed into play to continue.

Tier Two

4) Colorado Rockies

The Rockies ranking up here in the stack rankings really showcases the power of Coors Field as this isn’t a talented overall team versus RHP and faces a quality SP. Still, the upside bats of Blackmon, Arenado, and Story combined with the park still leaves Colorado stackable, especially in tournaments if people shy away given the opportunity cost (tier one) and strong opposing pitcher.

Tier Three

5) Toronto Blue Jays

6) Tampa Bay Rays

7) San Francisco Giants

This third tier is important as any time we have expensive offensive pieces and some elite pitching you want to find affordable complementary stacks. We’re most interested in the Jays and Rays, just as we were last night. No one on DK is priced above $4k on the Jays and the Rays have multiple pieces priced sub-$3k on FD. The Blue Jays likely come with no ownership against Rick Porcello following his dominant complete game outing. The Rays will carry some ownership, but opposing SP David Hess has an ERA/FIP/xFIP combination all over 6 while allowing 2.19 HR/9.

Tier Four

8) Pittsburgh Pirates

9) Texas Rangers