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June 16 MLB DFS: Mad For Max
TheNumbersGuy
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Welcome to June 16 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 16 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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Time Stamps
01:15 Starting Pitcher
10:03 Catcher
13:05 First Base
17:14 Second Base
19:37 Third Base
23:14 Shortstop
26:17 Outfield
32:02 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

June 16 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Despite a negative park and league shift, Max Scherzer (WAS) dominates the starting pitcher position. It’s all about strikeouts. The Jays inflate opposition K rates, and with Scherzer posting a career best 38.8 K% (which is absurd), he has a 9.6 K projection, which is 3-plus strikeouts more than any other SP on the slate. The absurd floor/ceiling combination on Scherzer makes him a necessary component of cash game rosters on both sites.

Coming off a combined 21 strikeouts, Carlos Carrasco (CLE) is a viable cheaper pivot off of Scherzer in tournaments, but we actually view our third ranked overall SP, Sean Newcomb (ATL), as the second best value. He’s priced significantly cheaper than Carrasco. Newcomb is having a breakout season thanks to improvements across the board in K, BB, GB, and Hard-Soft rates. Newcomb has an elite home matchup against a Padres team that is below average in wRC+ against LHP with a high 25% K rate.

Junior Guerra (MIL) is surprisingly our best mid-tier value thanks to a matchup against a Phillies lineup flooded with high K rate baselines against RHP. While Guerra’s sub-3 ERA is certainly based on luck, he’s seen a large drop in FIP from a year ago (6.58 to 3.63). The skill set is shaky enough that we don’t want to pay a mid-tier price tag as an SP2 in cash games, but it’s a viability in GPPs.

In cash games, we’d rather go cheaper at SP2 on DK, and John Lamb (LAA) is basically at a punt price. Due to an injury, Lamb hasn’t pitched at the MLB level since 2016 when he was with the Reds. Lamb has been shaky overall at AAA this season but is missing bats (25.7 K%), something he projects to do at around a league average level at the MLB level. Throw in a positive pitching environment and the risk seems worth the reward at an incredibly low price tag.

If you want to go the cheap SP2 route but have more tangible upside, Luis Castillo (CIN) makes his third start back from the DL. In his last start, Castillo struck out a season high 10 batters. Castillo has struggled this season, particularly in terms of batted ball data – seeing a big reduction in GB rate and increase in Hard%. Still, the swing and miss stuff has been there as evidenced by a 14.6 SwStr%. The matchup against Pittsburgh isn’t great from a strikeout perspective, but it’s a low price tag for a pitcher with this type of raw ability.

Other tournament options include Zach Eflin (PHI) and Sean Manaea (OAK). Eflin is having a breakout year, striking out 23.8% of batters faced after missing almost no bats last season. While Eflin is fly ball risky, on top of the K rate improvement, his Hard-Soft% has dropped from 15.6% to 5.2%. Manaea isn’t seeing the same peripheral improvements as Eflin, but he’s simply underpriced for a game in his home ballpark.

Catcher

J.T. Realmuto (MIA) tops the projections at catcher in a favorable offensive environment in Baltimore against Alex Cobb. Realmuto is a solid hitter against RHP (.339 wOBA, .170 ISO since 2017) and Alex Cobb has allowed a .329 wOBA and .165 ISO against RHBs since 2017. The park boost is helpful but Realmuto is pricey and unnecessary in cash games. In tournaments, Realmuto is an acceptable spend as a pivot.

In cash games, you’ll likely look for more salary relief at the position. The Rockies duo of RH hitting catchers check in at reasonable prices against Mike Minor who has allowed a .327 wOBA and .208 ISO against RHBs since the start of 2017. Tom Murphy (COL) is our primary target if he’s in the lineup as he’s earned more favorable lineup spots of late. Murphy hasn’t played a lot at the major league level but has posted a .261 ISO in limited time and was slugging over .640 in AAA this season. At $3,300, Murphy would represent the strongest play if he garners the sixth spot in the lineup as he did last night. If Murphy isn’t in the lineup, we’d expect Chris Iannetta (COL), who has posted a .351 wOBA and .197 ISO against LHP since 2017, to get into the lineup. With a mid-tier price tag, Iannetta would project as a neutral value even with a poor lineup spot.

Robinson Chirinos (TEX) and Tucker Barnhart (CIN) are secondary salary relief plays at catcher. Chirinos brings the strong skill set (.409 wOBA, .250 ISO against LHP since 2017) while Barnhart brings the good lineup spot (typically second). Both players are priced in the low $3,000s and are viable alternatives to the Rockies catchers.

First Base

Eric Thames (MIL) represents the top projected scorer at first base. Thames was the leadoff hitter against RHP this past Tuesday as he came off the DL. Last night against a RHP, Thames wasn’t in the lineup. He’ll hold the top projection at the position IF he’s in a top three lineup spot against Zach Eflin. Eflin has improved as a pitcher this season but LHBs are still giving him fits (.340 wOBA allowed to LHBs this season). Since the start of last season, he’s served up a .377 wOBA and .254 ISO to LHBs. It’s a strong matchup for Thames and the price tag on FD ($3,300) is too cheap. While he’s more appropriately priced on DK ($4,800), Thames is still our top per dollar value at the position on that site.

The next in line option at the position is Freddie Freeman (ATL). Freeman gets a strong matchup as well as Jordan Lyles has allowed a 1.66 HR/9 this season. Freeman is very pricey but he’s always deserving of a look in tournaments.

Ian Desmond (COL) is coming off a two HR game against southpaws in Arlington and draws yet another LHP today. Mike Minor isn’t a terrible pitcher, but he’s allowed a .208 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season and this context (very hot in Arlington) doesn’t help his fly ball tendencies. Desmond deserves consideration in all formats on both sites and he’ll be the top value at the position on FD if Thames doesn’t get a good lineup spot.

Logan Morrison (MIN) and Trey Mancini (BAL) are viable salary relief targets on DK where Desmond is 1B/OF eligible. We’d rather not pick on Carlos Carrasco as he’s been pitching very well of late and even if he wasn’t, you’re not picking on him in cash games. That takes Morrison outside of the conversation but he’s a decent tournament option. We prefer Mancini of the two if going this route. Mancini will have the platoon edge against a below average fly ball pitcher (Wei-Yin Chen) in Camden Yards and he’s generated a 26% HHR over the L15.

Justin Bour (MIA) is an additional option to consider in tournaments as he gets a big park shift in an AL park and he’s facing Alex Cobb (.184 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017).

Second Base

DJ LeMahieu (COL) carries the top projection at they keystone position. LeMahieu is facing a better pitcher this time around (Mike Minor) but the Rockies have the same IRT (5.3) today in the same context (90 degree temperatures in Arlington). Not only is LeMahieu our top projected scorer – he’s also our top per dollar value on both sites and it’s not particularly close. He’ll be a big part of optimals today, particularly on FD where he’s just $3,500.

If you need to save some salary at the position, Ian Kinsler (LAA) is viable on DK ($3,600). It’s not an exciting context – in Oakland facing Sean Manaea, but Kinsler has generated a .205 ISO against southpaws since the start of last season albeit in a limited sample (191 PAs). Kinsler is a road leadoff hitter, which is a valuable component of his projection.

There’s not much else to discuss from a cash game perspective at the position. Jonathan Schoop (BAL) would be a potential cash game target on FD if he draws a better lineup spot than sixth. Schoop is $2,800 on that site and he has good power for a second baseman (.228 ISO vs. LHP since 2017).

Ozzie Albies (ATL) is the upside target at the position that can run and hit for power but he remains priced up on both sites. Albies and Daniel Murphy (WSH) are viable tournament targets. Murphy will have the platoon edge against a home run prone pitcher (Marco Estrada) in Rogers Centre.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (COL) tops the third base projections with a favorable matchup against Mike Minor who has allowed plenty of power to RHBs in recent years. Arenado owns a .523 wOBA and .382 ISO against LHP in his last 250 PAs against LHP. Arenado is pricey and on a slate with Max Scherzer as a priority may be a difficult spend to get up to. On FanDuel, it’s especially difficult but on DraftKings the ability to create salary relief with SP2 may allow you to get up to Arenado.

The primary alternative to Arenado is Anthony Rendon (WAS) who is really affordable on DraftKings ($3,600) and is reasonably priced on FanDuel as well ($3,400). Rendon faces Marco Estrada who has allowed a .374 wOBA and .238 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2017. Rendon owns a .359 wOBA and .191 ISO against RHP since 2017. He’s a bit underpriced, especially on DraftKings, which makes him a compelling pivot from Arenado on a Max Scherzer slate where every dollar counts.

On FanDuel, Matt Chapman (OAK) is really cheap ($2,800). Chapman has been out of the lineup with a hand issue that may require a DL stint. Even if in the lineup, the hand injury brings enough concern that he’s a better fit in tournaments than cash games.

Adrian Beltre (TEX), Danny Valencia (BAL), and Travis Shaw (MIL) are secondary targets with the platoon edge in strong offensive environments. The price tags on all three are generally fair which makes them slightly above average values.

On FanDuel, Chad Pinder (OAK) is hovering around minimum price and faces Jake Lamb who was very homer prone when last seen in the majors. Lamb allowed a .371 wOBA and .212 ISO against RHBs in his brief major league career. With Chapman bordering on a DL stint, he’s likely unavailable unless starting which reduces Pinder’s pinch hit risk and also makes him more likely to garner a solid lineup spot. Pinder owns a .337 wOBA and .169 ISO against LHP since 2017. He’d represent a particularly solid source of salary relief on FanDuel where the salary is really needed.

Shortstop

Trea Turner (WAS) and Trevor Story (COL) rank at the top of shortstop projections as both land favorable matchups against opposing starters who are vulnerable to their platoon split. Turner faces Marco Estrada who has been more vulnerable to RHBs than LHBs in his career while Story faces Mike Minor who has allowed a heavy ISO to RHBs. Turner is much cheaper than Story on both sites which makes him the more compelling play on a slate where salary relief matters.

If you’re not paying up for Turner, the best alternative is Marcus Semien (OAK). Semien has hit LHP very well in his career (.327 wOBA, .207 ISO since 2016) but has slumped in more recent years. He typically hits at the top of the lineup and the Athletics have the same implied total (4.7) as the Nationals. Semien is just $2,800 on FanDuel where the dollars really go a long way while he’s $3,900 on DraftKings and a less distinct price tag from Turner.

The shortstop position is pretty loaded up top and the nature of the slate may squeeze ownership on some high-end options in good spots. Manny Machado (BAL) is the most intriguing against Wei-Yin Chen‘s fly ball tendencies in Baltimore. Chen is dealing with a negative park shift and league shift while Machado’s hefty price tag likely suppresses ownership. Similarly, Francisco Lindor (CLE) has less individual power upside but more help from his teammates and a more diversified scoring skillset with his ability to generate Fantasy points with his legs as well.

On the cheaper side, Jurickson Profar (TEX) is a fine mid-priced tournament pivot. He’s not as skilled as most of the other shortstop options but he’s shown decent power and generally hits in a good lineup spot. While Machado has more stand-alone value as a one-off, Profar is more intriguing as a part of stacks.

Outfield

Mike Trout (LAA) represents the top projected scorer on the hitting side regardless of position. Not even Bryce Harper (WSH) in Rogers Centre with the platoon edge against Marco Estrada could unseat Trout at the top. The reason being that Trout is a superior hitter, regardless of pitcher handedness. Trout will have the platoon edge today and against LHP he’s generated a .422 wOBA and .259 ISO since the start of last season. Trout also comes into this matchup against Sean Manaea in incredible recent form, generated a 39.5% HHR over the L15. Part of the appeal of going Scherzer-punt SP2 on DK is being able to fit one of Trout or Harper in cash games. If you’re pitching Scherzer and a mid-tier SP, going after one of these elite hitters will be impossible.

On DK, you can make Scherzer and one of Trout-Harper work and still be able to afford other strong OFs as long as you punt SP2. Ian Desmond (COL) immediately stands out on DK with a sub $4k price tag in Arlington with the platoon edge. We saw him hit fifth in this context last night. Adam Eaton (WSH) isn’t cheap on DK ($4,300) but he’s our fourth best OF value on that site as the road leadoff hitter in Rogers Centre. Joey Rickard (BAL) is very cheap on DK ($2,900). He’s an inferior hitter (.301 wOBA vs. LHP since 2017) to any of the options we’ve mentioned so far but he’s a leadoff hitter for an offense with an IRT that’s approaching five runs.

Going after Trout or Harper on FD alongside Scherzer won’t be feasible today, and you’ll need punts to make it work. Most of our optimals on that site are going after sub $3k OFs like Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, Joey Rickard (BAL), Derek Dietrich (MIA) and Preston Tucker (ATL). These hitters will have the platoon edge against subpar pitchers and in the Orioles’ case they’ll get to hit against a fly ball pitcher in Camden Yards. Wei-Yin Chen has allowed a 47% FB rate this season along with a 26.4 % hard minus soft hit rate. The Orioles have been dreadful this season, but our optimals are going after at least one of their OFs today given the cheap tags. Dietrich is a road leadoff hitter in Camden Yards and he’s generated a .331 wOBA and .184 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. Tucker is the most vulnerable of this group as he’s not guaranteed to a) be in the lineup even against RHP or b) to hit sixth.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Colorado Rockies

2) Washington Nationals

The Rockies have the highest implied run total on the slate. They represent a difficult stack because so many of their best hitters are LH but the mini-stack options among Lemahieu-Story-Arenado-Rockies Catcher all make sense to attack in cash games and are viable in tournaments as well.

The Nationals have a bit more natural stack with their best hitters placed at the top of the lineup. They are expensive which likely keeps ownership in check because of the nature of the slate. The Nationals are also such a deep lineup that there are many ways to potentially stack them in a road game against a homer-prone player.

We think the Rockies may come with slightly lower team ownership in stacks but higher individual player ownership.

Tier Two

3) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers rank Top 10 in both HRs and SBs. While there’s a floor risk here given the improvements that Eflin has made, particularly in terms of K rate, Eflin continues to allow a lot of aerial contact (just a 34.8 GB%), so there’s still meaningful upside here, especially in a favorable hitting environment.

Tier Three

4) Cincinnati Reds

5) Cleveland Indians

6) Oakland Athletics

7) Texas Rangers

8) Baltimore Orioles

9) Atlanta Braves

In a highly congested third tier, the Athletics and Orioles are interesting from a price perspective. With Max Scherzer on the slate, any cheap stack is in play as it provides the opportunity to pair the highest range outcome starter with a decently high outcome stack.

The Reds are an interesting contrarian option as they project well but the team has a low implied total that will keep their ownership way down. The matchup with Ivan Nova is an ok one to attack as he allows plenty of balls in play. They’re a more likely target in MME than single entry or three max.

The Atlanta Braves are an intriguing contrarian tournament stack. Jordan Lyles has allowed double digit hits in consecutive starts and the Padres bullpen behind him is poor. When things go wrong for Lyles they usually compound which makes the Braves an intriguing contrarian stack on a slate they don’t fit and don’t project as a priority.

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