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June 1 MLB DFS Slate: Keep It Rollin’ With Nolan
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June 1 MLB DFS Slate: Keep It Rollin’ With Nolan

00:43 Starting Pitchers
07:15 Catchers
09:46 First Base
12:18 Second Base
15:43 Shortstop
17:20 Third Base
19:13 Outfield
28:14 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



June 1 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Max Scherzer (WAS)

Tier Two

2) Jon Lester (CHC)

3) Felix Hernandez (SEA)

Tier Three

4) Chris Archer (TB)

Tier Four

5) Michael Fulmer (DET)

6) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)

7) Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)

8) Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

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There’s such a large gap between Max Scherzer (WAS) and the rest of the starting pitchers in our model that even on a Coors Field slate and at an expensive price tag, we view him as part of the short list for cash game options. This is an extremely safe source of a lot of points. Scherzer is a hefty -210 favorite with an opposing implied run total of just 3.1. To top it all off we have him projected for a K percentage around 33 percent (no other pitcher is above 27) and the most innings pitched against a bad Phillies offense. He’s our top priority on FanDuel where the second and third tier options don’t offer enough cap relief (in fact Lester is practically the same price and Hernandez more expensive).

On DraftKings, you can get both Jon Lester (CHC) and Chris Archer (TB) under $10,000, which makes it a bit easier to justify not locking in Scherzer. We’re leaning this value route since it allows more exposure to Coors bats. The Dodgers represent a pretty neutral matchup for Lester (3.57 xFIP, 24.0 K percentage). Meanwhile Archer is a more volatile pitcher, but that volatility is priced in, allowing us to focus on the upside (26.8 K percentage, 3.62 xFIP) if he can just stop allowing so much hard hit contact (19.0 hard minus soft hit rate). The Royals are admittedly a less than ideal matchup for Archer’s skill set, but he’s posted a hard hit rate of 28.6 or lower in four of his past five starts.

We’re mostly staying out of the fourth tier in cash games. The one possible exception is Matt Shoemaker (LAA), who is at a minimum a very strong tournament play. With Lester/Archer at good prices for their skill sets but not really in ideal situations, an argument could be made for simply taking on more risk and the cap relief that comes with it. The Tigers are a plus offense, but with all their RHBs, they will strike out (23.1 K percentage against RHP). More importantly, Shoemaker’s velocity is up. He’s sat at just above 90 mph for most of his career, but in May he’s averages 92.1, 92.6, 91.7, and 92.1 over his past four starts. The result has been the two highest swinging strike rates of Shoemaker’s career over his past two starts – 21.6 and 24.2. His past homerun issues and a powerful lineup do present risk, but there’s plenty of upside here as well. In that same game, Michael Fulmer (DET) is a cap relief option for tournaments. While he ranks higher in our model (better floor), we’re a bit greedy and prefer Shoemaker’s K upside. Still, Fullmer (24.7 K percentage) faces a weak, albeit contact heavy, Angels offense.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SF)

2) Brian McCann (NYY)

3) Evan Gattis (HOU) (where eligible)

4) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

5) JT Realmuto (MIA)

Oddly the DH options on FanDuel (Gattis and Martinez) are only tournament options and Posey is too expensive with the an emphasis on mid-high to high priced pitching and Coors Field bats. That leaves us with a trio of values: Brian McCann (NYY) (faces a good pitcher in Aaron Sanchez but he’s had some issues with LHBs and it’s a plus park), JT Realmuto (MIA) (platoon edge against Jon Niese who has a 5.48 FIP; Realmuto will have a top four lineup spot and has a career .167 ISO against LHP), and Chris Iannetta (SEA) (just missed our top five rankings but has legitimate pop against LHP to go with likely hitting fifth in the order). Iannetta is more of a FanDuel specific option (has a pure punt price), while McCann and Realmuto are cheap enough on DraftKings.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) David Ortiz (BOS)

3) Mark Reynolds (COL)

4) Chris Davis (BAL)

5) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

6) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

Ideally this is a position to go Coors as both Joey Votto (CIN) and Mark Reynolds (COL) are meaningfully cheaper than Ortiz. Votto and the Reds have an implied run total against Tyler Chatwood (solid pitcher but the low K rate is not going to play well in Coors Field). Reynolds and the Rockies have an implied team total at 6. He’ll likely hit fifth, but a bump to the cleanup spot would make the decision between Votto and Reynolds tougher given how bad John Lamb has been this year (5.67 xFIP, 18.4 hard minus soft hit rate, 2.1 mph drop off in velocity from last season. If you need to grab cap relief at the position, Tyler White (HOU) has hit fifth against LHP the past two games. He’ll get Robbie Ray (.357 wOBA, .173 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2014) in a plus hitting environment.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) DJ LeMahieu (COL)

3) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

4) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

5) Brandon Phillips (CIN) (was scratched yesterday)

Second base is a good position to pay up for. There aren’t (at the moment) any good mid-tier, cheap values. By paying up we mean focusing on our top two ranked second basemen: Jose Altuve (HOU) (.433 wOBA, .175 ISO against LHP since 2014 and throw in some elite stolen base upside as well) and DJ LeMahieu (COL) (hitting second with the platoon edge against an absolutely horrendous Reds pitching staff). We lean Altuve’s way on FanDuel where they are priced somewhat close to each other, but on DraftKings you can use LeMahieu without even paying up ($3,900). These are our primary targets.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Trevor Story (COL)

3) Manny Machado (BAL)

4) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

5) Zack Cozart (CIN)

Carlos Correa (HOU) has an absolutely silly price tag on DraftKings in a plus matchup, making him a primary value play there. On FanDuel, he’s priced more reasonably, which in combination with stricter pricing, makes him a similar type target as the punt options in Taylor Motter (TB) (hopeful he hits second and as we’ve stated before – the power/speed combination is great for a punt option even if he’s a bad overall hitter) and Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA) (we could see him in the leadoff spot again facing another weak LHP).

Third Base Rankings

1) Nolan Arenado (COL)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Anthony Rendon (WAS)

4) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

5) Evan Longoria (TB)

Obviously Coors Field exposure is always nice where you can get it, but at third base we particularly see it as the primary option. The combination is too perfect between the elite power peripherals Nolan Arenado (COL) (number one overall hitter in our model) continues to show, the aforementioned issues regarding John Lamb, and the absolutely atrocious bullpen behind him (5.27 xFIP, 6.49 ERA, and 1.95 HR/9 are all league worsts and frankly not close). We don’t see any reasonable alternative to Arenado in cash games, but Travis Shaw (BOS) represents our preferred tournament option at the position (if going contrarian).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) (health risk)

5) Bryce Harper (WAS) (health risk)

6) George Springer (HOU)

7) Mookie Betts (BOS)

8) Billy Hamilton (CIN) (if hitting second)

9) Jay Bruce (CIN)

10) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

11) Kris Bryant (CHC) (where eligible)

12) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

13) Jose Bautista (TOR)

14) Starling Marte (PIT)

15) Michael Taylor (WAS)

Try out the BETA version of our hitter model and lineup optimizer from your desktop (not mobile friendly yet). CLICK HERE

Mike Trout (LAA) is our top outfield option. His elite skill set is driving the rating, but the combination of park, opposing pitcher (Fulmer has pitched better than expected), and lack of lineup support has us preferring Carlos Gonzalez/Charlie Blackmon (COL) in cash games, especially if they save you even a few dollars. The L/L matchup isn’t enough to deter us given the huge team total for the Rockies. Additionally, while it’s a small sample size, Lamb has actually struggled mightily against same handed batters, allowing a ..441 wOBA and .301 ISO to them over his career (78 batters faced). Billy Hamilton (CIN) isn’t in nearly as strong of a matchup, but if hitting second in Coors Field the cap relief he offers from CarGo/Blackmon certainly keeps him in play. Aside from Coors Field, though, there are a lot of plus values. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) is struggling from both a production and health perspective, but it’s tough to ignore the very affordable FanDuel price given his splits (ridiculous .452 wOBA and .364 ISO against LHP since 2014) and a bad LHP opposite him in Jon Niese. George Springer (HOU) has looked really good over the last week. Regardless of the stock you put into that short term success, he rates phenomenally in our model (inside our top 15 overall hitters) given his power/speed combination, a K rate that has been kept in check, and the context (good splits play, good park). On the cheaper side of things, values are a bit more site dependent and lineup spot dependent, but guys we have our eyes on include Franklin Gutierrez (SEA) (if hitting second, .471 wOBA and .276 ISO against LHP since 2014, Friedrich has a 5.16 xFIP through three starts), Michael Taylor (WAS) (bad overall hitter but has power/speed and should hit leadoff against a LHP), and Hyun Soo Kim (BAL) (good EYE to start the year at 0.88 and projections systems are calling for around a .335 wOBA; has been hitting second against RHP and Joe Kelly‘s issues with hard hit contact from last year have carried over to this year).


Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

Tier Two

2) Cincinnati Reds

Tier Three

3) Washington Nationals

4) Houston Astros

5) Camden Yards

We’ve covered the Coors stacks pretty extensively, but it should be clear that we’re prioritizing the Rockies over the Reds where priced similarly (Lamb’s velocity issues and the atrocious bullpen).

With so much ownership likely flocking to Coors Field, particularly the Rockies after last night’s explosion, the entire tier three should be low owned and represents strong tournament options. Adam Morgan is an atrocity as a pitcher, posting a career 5.05 ERA and 1.50 HR/9 in 21 starts over the past two seasons. As we’ve mentioned before the Nationals are much deeper versus LHP.

The reasoning behind the Astros is pretty clear: always high upside with power/speed, and you’re getting them against a LHP that allows plenty of power to RHBs in a plus hitting environment.

Stacking the Camden Yards game gives you exposure to two powerful offenses (the Red Sox are insane) and two pitchers in Mike Wright and Joe Kelly that have ZiPS projected ERA above 4.50.

Tournament Stack

-Pittsburgh Pirates (tons of depth versus LHP, including some really high upside studs in McCutchen and Marte who aren’t overly expensive)

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.