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August 9 MLB DFS: Jays For Days and Days
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August 9 MLB DFS: Jays For Days and Days

00:41 Starting Pitchers
10:05 Catchers
12:21 First Base
14:52 Second Base
17:29 Shortstops
18:58 Third Base
22:06 Outfield
25:51 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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August 9 MLB DFS PRO TIP

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Two

2) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

3) Chris Sale (CWS)

Tier Three

4) Zack Greinke (ARI)

5) Marco Estrada (TOR)

6) Steven Matz (NYM)

7) Vincent Velasquez (PHI)

Tier Four

8) John Lackey (CHC)

9) Mike Fiers (HOU)

Tier Five

10) Matt Moore (SF)

11) Trevor Bauer (CLE)

12) Rick Porcello (BOS)

13) Mike Leake (STL)

14) Daniel Norris (DET)

Max Scherzer (WAS) is the clear top option as his skills are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else (32.5 K percentage, sub-3.00 ERA for the third time in four years). A large field slate with a handful of teams approaching a 5 IRT combined with a somewhat tough matchup (Cleveland loses the DH but is fifth in wRC+ against RHP) prevents Scherzer from being a must play. On DraftKings, the ability to go cheap at second pitcher pushes him closer to core status than on FanDuel, where our second ranked pitcher is a similar value and allows for more offense.

That second ranked pitcher is Kenta Maeda (LAD), who is a large -180 home favorite against a hapless Phillies offense (29th in wRC+ against RHP). Maeda has had struggles the third time through the order, which has turned some really strong starts into mediocre ones, but the matchup mitigates that concern. You should be using one of Scherzer or Maeda in cash game formats, and it’s feasible to use both.

If you pay up for Scherzer on DraftKings, it’s reasonable to go cheap at that second SP spot to make sure you’re still getting in enough offensive upside. Vincent Velasquez (PHI) and Steven Matz (NYM) are the secondary options for about $1,000 more, but if going that route, it might make sense to risk Mike Leake (STL) at practically a punt price but it needs to be pointed out that he’s allowed a whopping 20 ERs over his past three starts. A closer look indicates he’s had a heck of a lot of bad luck, but it’s still risky since he’s not very K heavy to make up for mistakes on the run prevention side of things.

A couple of our favorite tournament options include two heavy favorites in Marco Estrada (TOR) (facing the Rays provides plenty of K upside as well) and John Lackey (CHC) (tied for the largest favorite on the slate facing an AL team in an NL park). Matt Moore (SF) also deserves a look in tournament formats as we’re hoping the shift to the NL can help that K rate.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Russell Martin (TOR)

3) Willson Contreras (CHC) (if top five in lineup)

4) Evan Gattis (HOU) (where eligible)

5) Brian McCann (NYY)

The top three catcher options are all extremely tight in our model so it’s best to play the price game and to be cognizant of lineup spot. With uncertainty around Willson Contreras (CHC) playing/lineup spot, that brings our focus to Russell Martin (TOR), who is cheaper than Posey around the industry. Martin should have a top five lineup spot at home with the Jays facing a LHP. Toronto has one of the higher team totals on the slate as this is a poor matchup for Smyly given the park, complexion of the Jays lineup, and his splits (.340 wOBA and .193 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2014). On DraftKings it’s possible to punt the position with someone like a Gary Sanchez (NYY) if you are paying up at both starting pitcher spots.

First Base Rankings

1) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

2) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

3) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

4) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

5) David Ortiz (BOS)

First base is absolutely loaded, and we’d really like to pay up for one of our top three options wherever possible. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) (faces the extremely power prone Jered Weaver), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) (already hit on the plus Jays context), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) (big positive park shift; Wily Peralta has allowed a .356 wOBA and .180 ISO to LHBs over his career) are all in great spots. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) faces the most talented pitcher of the top five options, but his awesome splits against LHP keep him in play where priced cheaper. After a cold streak coming out of the break, Brandon Belt (SF) has a positive 0.6 delta in our well-hit tool over the last two weeks and has regained his third spot in the lineup. He’s an excellent tournament option and could be considered in cash if you can’t afford a top five ranked first baseman.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Devon Travis (TOR)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

5) Matt Carpenter (STL)

Jose Altuve (HOU) has such an elite skill set that he’s almost always the top ranked 2B, especially when facing LHP (.436 wOBA and .186 ISO since 2014). He’s a worthwhile spend in a vacuum, but our favorite value at the position is the scorching hot Devon Travis (TOR), who has a +0.3 delta in our well-hit tool (not taking into account last night’s four hit performance) and a plus matchup out of the leadoff spot at home. If you need even more cap relief however, Josh Harrison (PIT) has been leading off for the Pirates, who have a high team total relative to their usual home matchups (4.7).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL) (where eligible)

4) Marcus Semien (OAK)

5) Corey Seager (LAD)

6) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

7) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

There’s tons of upside at the shortstop position this evening, particularly with Carlos Correa (HOU) faces Hector Santiago (5.15 FIP, 5.13 xFIP, fly ball risky and allows hard contact) and Marcus Semien (OAK) (.372 wOBA and .216 ISO against LHP since 2014), who are available on both sites. Really any of the top seven ranked options has upside worth chasing in tournaments. If needing a cap relief option here, Orlando Arcia (MIL) once again is cheap enough to be considered in a good matchup despite a questionable offensive skillset.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Manny Machado (BAL)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL) (where eligible)

5) Danny Valencia (OAK)

While third base is also pretty deep, there’s an option that pretty clearly flies above the rest, and that’s Blue Jay Josh Donaldson (TOR). We’ve discussed our concerns over Smyly facing this offense, and it’s magnified when you get to Donaldson and his absurd splits: .426 wOBA, .319 ISO, and 6.4 HR rate against LHP since 2014. He’s one of several hitters (mostly Blue Jays) competing for the top overall hitter spot on this slate. We’re find of paying up for him in cash games, while mostly sticking to the rest of the top five options as tournament pivots, with the exception of Miguel Sano (MIN) on DraftKings (good power upside even if we’re not high on the Twins offense as a whole).

Outfield Rankings

1) Jose Bautista (TOR)

2) Mike Trout (LAA)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC) (where eligible)

4) Bryce Harper (WAS)

5) Ryan Braun (MIL)

6) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

7) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

8) Mookie Betts (BOS)

9) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

10) George Springer (HOU)

11) Starling Marte (PIT)

12) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

13) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

14) Ben Zobrist (CHC) (where eligible)

15) Ender Inciarte (ATL)

If you trust our hitter model, pricing almost forces you into a mini Blue Jays stack, as Jose Bautista (TOR) is way too cheap on both FanDuel and DraftKings. He’s a near core option like teammate Josh Donaldson. The rest of the top five is priced pretty appropriately. Those options are feasible in cash, but more than likely roster construction will force you to grab exposure to them mostly in tournaments. Just outside the top five, depending on site pricing, you can high upside options without paying exorbitant costs, most notably on Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) (absurd splits against LHP, positive delta in our well-hit tool), Stephen Piscotty (STL) (Cardinals continue to disappoint us but yet another strong matchup for a middle of the order bat with the platoon edge), and George Springer (HOU) (event player against an event pitcher). With Max Scherzer expensive, you may need cap relief and options exist on both sites, with Matt Joyce (PIT) (if hitting cleanup) and Jake Smolinksi (OAK) (if top five, decent profile – particularly in terms of contact rate) cheap on FanDuel and Kole Calhoun (LAA) and Guillermo Heredia (SEA) potential punts on DraftKings.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

2) Boston Red Sox

3) Milwaukee Brewers

Tier Two

4) Houston Astros

5) Baltimore Orioles

Due to pricing (and power upside), the Blue Jays are our preferred mini-stack in cash games. In tournaments however, there’s a lot of upside spread around several different offenses, and it makes sense to try and identify some of the lower ownership stacks. The Brewers are one option (perhaps not super low owned but less than the other tier one stacks; Tyrell Jenkins is a walking disaster start waiting to happen). The Astros are great from an event standpoint (HR+SB team against a pitcher who will allow HR+SB). Their ownership however will likely be much higher than the Orioles, who face Zach Neal, another pitcher prone to disaster starts because he will not miss any bats.

Additional Tournament Stacks

-Chicago Cubs (We don’t have a team total for the Cubs yet but are expecting it somewhere around 5 to 5.5; Weaver allows hard hit aerial contact, which is great for the Cubs power upside; Angels bullpen behind Weaver is not good)

-Minnesota Twins (With Fiers’ FB rate and hard hit contact allowed, you could do a small mini-stack along with a chalkier stack and hope to catch a few dingers)