Welcome to June 17 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 17 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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- 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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June 17 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Aaron Nola (PHI) headlines an uncomfortable day for starting pitchers with the top projection at the position. Nola is clearly the best all around pitcher in this slate. He’s ranked sixth in xwOBA (.256) out of all the starting pitchers in baseball this season, which has led to a 2.27 ERA. Nola generates plenty of ground balls (54.8%) and Ks (26% K rate). As a result, his floor-ceiling combination has been remarkable going back to last season. He’s going to have to pitch in 90 degree weather in Milwaukee, but the Brewers’ lineup is still prone to swinging and missing (24.6% K rate vs. RHP). Nola’s edge in projection comes from Ks in this slate as he has a 7.4 K projection – that’s nearly two more Ks than our next highest projected scorer at the position. Unfortunately, Nola is priced like he’s the best pitcher on DK, where the price tag feels a bit uncomfortable at $12,800 in a slate that’s full of pricey bats in strong hitting environments. The price tag is more reasonable to deploy in cash games on FD ($9,800).
The next in line option at the position is Lance McCullers (HOU), who has a slightly lower IRTA (3.8) than Nola’s (3.9). McCuller projects for less Ks (5.5) against a Royals’ offense that’s been incredibly contact oriented, striking out a league low 18% of the time vs. RHP. McCullers is a talented pitcher, but his floor this season has been shakier than Nola’s since he’s allowing hard hit contact at an above league average level (17% hard minus soft hit rate). Like Nola, McCullers has to deal with a very difficult hitting environment in Kansas City where temperatures will be in the 90s. He feels like an overspend on DK ($11,300) but is on the short list of cash game candidates on FD ($8,800). After all, his win probability outpaces everyone else’s in this slate as McCullers is a -240 favorite.
While Nola and McCullers are very pricey on DK, they’ll have to be considered in cash games as the position starts to get very uncomfortable quickly. Dylan Bundy (BAL) is in a fine spot for Ks facing a Marlins offense that’s striking out 23.6% of the time vs. RHP, but he comes with the shakiest floor out of the “stud” pitchers in this slate since the majority of the contact he allows is of the aerial kind (47% FB rate, 17% hard minus soft hit rate allowed this season). He’s a fine tournament option, but he’s overpriced for cash games.
The next bucket of starters are uncomfortable but necessary on DK. Tanner Roark (WSH), Julio Teheran (ATL), Shane Bieber (MIN), C.C. Sabathia (NYY), Jon Gray (COL) and James Shields (CHW) form an important tier of pitchers in this slate that have projections in the 14-15 range on DK.
Roark has to deal with a negative league shift and park shift going into Rogers Centre, which is baked into his IRTA (4.6). He’s projecting ahead of the others in this group because of Ks (5.5) and a bigger outs baseline (18.6). His price tag on DK ($8,000) feels very appropriate, but so far our top optimals are jamming him in since he projects ahead.
Teheran likely has the best context of the bunch. He’ll also have to pitch in hot temperatures but the matchup against the Padres (ranked 25th in wRC+ and are striking out 25.5% of the time vs. RHP) is exceptional. His IRTA will likely settle in the high 3s/low 4s. Teheran is pitching with reduced velocity this season as his fastball has lost ~2 MPH, and his K peripherals indicate that his K rate is unlikely to bounce back. The matchup will keep his projection afloat but the price tag ($7,800) is annoying relative to the way he’s pitched this season.
Bieber’s price tag feels too uncomfortable ($7,300) to seriously consider him in this slate in a neutral matchup (Minnesota) for a pitcher that’s only made one start at the major league level. Bieber doesn’t project to be dominant with Ks, but the GB rate at the minor league level (high 50s%) has been exceptional. Bieber has an extremely favorable umpire behind the plate, which is boosting his projection by nearly a full DK point.
Sabathia gets a neutral matchup for run prevention against the Rays, but they’re inside the top 10 in K rate (23.9%) vs. LHP. He’ll have to deal with high 80s temperatures in Yankee Stadium, but he’s been the most impressive pitcher from this tier from a run prevention standpoint, allowing a .299 xwOBA and a 2% hard minus soft hit rate this season. He’s another pitcher that’s priced correctly on DK ($7,600). Both Sabathia and Teheran have sub $7k price tags on FD that open up the ability to stack some of the top offenses on the slate. That’s a viable approach in tournaments on that site.
Gray is outside of Coors Field but will have to deal with the Texas heat instead. He comes with the biggest run prevention risk of this group with an IRTA of 5, but he also packs in the most K upside. He’s a viable tournament target.
That leads us to Shields, who’s by far the cheapest of this group on DK ($5,600). Shields has allowed a .300 wOBA this season, but the xwOBA (.352) and the disparity between his ERA (4.63) and xFIP (5.20) suggest that he’s pitching well over his head. That cheap price tag at a position that’s priced very appropriately on DK does open up the floodgates on the hitting side, which is a big reason why Shields is even in the conversation today. The reason Shields is projecting in this tier is twofold. The Tigers are ranked 24th in wRC+ vs. RHP this season, and his K projection looks decent (5.2) because their lineup is filled with RHBs. Additionally, Shields has a 17.8 outs baseline, which means we’re projecting him to pitch ~6 innings. That’s the second biggest outs baseline in this tier of pitchers.
As you can see, it’s a difficult slate for pitching on DK with everyone priced appropriately. The cash game bucket on that site is Aaron Nola, Lance McCullers, Julio Teheran, CC Sabathia, Tanner Roark and James Shields. Our current top optimals prefer dipping into the mid-tier for an SP1 and punting SP2 with Shields, which allows you to roster every expensive bat you’d want in this slate. Stay tuned for line movement and lineup changes that could shake some things up during alerts in the morning.
Gary Sanchez (NYY), Wilson Ramos (TB) and Tom Murphy (COL) represent the top projected scorers at the catcher position. They project similarly on Sunday, but one of these catchers isn’t priced like the others. That’s Murphy, who’s $3,300 on DK and gets an incredible context in Arlington facing Yovani Gallardo with temperatures in the 90s. Murphy won’t get to hit in a good lineup spot but he allows you to save some salary at the position and gives you power upside (.204 ISO baseline vs. RHP).
Ramos is slightly more expensive than Murphy and has a more difficult matchup against CC Sabathia. He’s in Yankee Stadium though, and temperatures will be in the high 80s today in New York. He also gets the benefit of hitting third on the road. He can be considered in cash games.
Sanchez projects ahead of Ramos and Murphy in terms of raw projection. He’s pricier but deserves to be considered across all formats due to his unique power upside. Sanchez has generated a .240 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. The other pricey play at the position that’s viable in tournaments is J.T. Realmuto (MIA), who’s in Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy is a good pitcher, but he’s allowed a .192 ISO to RHBs since 2017.
Kevan Smith (CHW) has been hitting fifth for the White Sox of late and he’s just $2,700 on DK. He’s not a good hitter but the lineup spot keeps his projection afloat. He’s serviceable in cash games.
Jose Abreu (CHW) paves the way at first base with the top projection. Abreu has tame price tags on both sites, which also makes him the best per dollar option at the position. He’ll have the platoon edge against Blaine Hardy, who’s pitched pretty well for the Tigers (.300 xwOBA). Vegas isn’t buying it, as the White Sox have a 4.6 IRT. Abreu has generated a .420 wOBA and .268 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season.
The two options that can compete with Abreu in terms of cash game viability are Carlos Santana (PHI) and Greg Bird (NYY). These two come with cheaper price tags on FD ($3,400 and $3,100 respectively) and get to hit in above average conditions. The Yankees total will likely settle ~5.5 with the temperatures in the high 80s. That makes Bird appealing on a site that puts a bigger emphasis on runs scored and RBIs.
Eric Thames (MIL), Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) and Joey Votto (CIN) are additional options to consider in tournaments. Thames has a difficult matchup against Aaron Nola, but if he pays off it’ll be through power. Encarnacion checks into this matchup against Jake Odorizzi with a 37.9% HHR over the L15. He’s priced appropriately, which likely ends up affecting his ownership in a slate that’s full of high priced bats. Votto is the most skilled hitter of this group but he’s in a more difficult hitting environment (PNC Park) and is also priced appropriately.
DJ LeMahieu (COL) carries the top projection at second base. LeMahieu is once again on the road in Arlington where temperatures will be in the mid to low 90s and he’s the leadoff hitter. The Rockies have a 5.3 IRT against Yovani Gallardo, who has a projected ERA over five this season. LeMahieu is the top value at the position on DK, where you can pursue him across all formats.
FD isn’t including COL-TEX in their main slate, which leaves Jose Altuve (HOU) with the top projection. Altuve is pricey, which pushes him outside of the cash game conversation, but we do like him in tournaments given the remarkable context.
There’s no one that stands out at the position from a cash game perspective on FD where the position is priced very appropriately. Ozzie Albies (ATL) is another upside target that’s priced accordingly, making it unnecessary to pursue him in cash games.
Daniel Murphy (WSH) is on the road in Rogers Centre, but he’s likely still shaking off some rust after being activated a few days ago from an extended DL trip.
That leads us to Corban Joseph (BAL), who’s priced at the very bottom of the barrel on FD. Joseph is the Orioles’ newest leadoff hitter vs. RHP, and while he doesn’t project to be a good hitter, it’s impossible to find leadoff hitters that are priced at the minimum on FD. If you’re going after one of the expensive pitchers on DK, Joseph becomes a necessity at the position as he’s just $2,500.
Nolan Arenado (COL) represents the top projected scorer as well as the top per dollar value in the hot corner on DK. Arenado is priced appropriately for being on the road, but this road context is a bit different for the Rockies as they’re in an AL Park with scorching hot temperatures. Arenado has generated a .346 wOBA and .211 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season, and this matchup against Yovani Gallardo is outstanding. Gallardo has allowed a .359 and .349 wOBA to RHBs over the last two seasons. Arenado needs to be considered in all formats.
The next in line target at the position is Jose Ramirez (CLE), who’s the top projected scorer at the position on FD. Ramirez is very pricey, and it’s deserving given the type of hitter he’s become over the last couple of seasons. He remains viable in tournaments but we’re looking for cheaper price tags to attack in cash games.
There are a handful of site dependent options that stick out at the position. On DK, Anthony Rendon (WSH) remains too cheap for his improved context in an AL Park. Rendon is just $3,700 and he’s the cleanup hitter for a Nationals’ offense that has a 4.9 IRT.
On FD, Jeimer Candelario (DET) is underpriced. He’s on the road in Chicago, where temperatures will be in the high 80s. Cellular Rate Field plays as a hitter friendly park in the summer when you start to get these sort of temperatures. Candelario hits second in a lineup that doesn’t have much talent to it. He’s been one of the standouts in that offense, generating a .825 OPS in 255 PAs. Matt Davidson (CHW) hits cleanup with the platoon edge, and he’s generated a .232 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. He’s just $2,700 on FD.
Trea Turner (WSH) caries the top projection at the shortstop position. He’s hitting second on the road in Rogers Centre, which makes up some of his strong projection. The other part of his projection is a hitter that can hit for some power (.176 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) and steal plenty of bases. Turner is already up to 20 stolen bases this season, and last season he swiped 46 bags in 447 PAs. We’re pursuing him with confidence in all formats, though this time around he’ll have a matchup against a pitcher that has generated better results than the two SPs Turner faced on Friday (Sanchez) and Saturday (Estrada).
The alternative in cash games at the position is to go cheap with Tim Anderson (CHW), who’s been the leadoff hitter for the White Sox vs. LHP this season. Anderson is poor man’s Trea Turner – he has some power upside against southpaws (.173 ISO vs. LHP since 2017) and he can run as well (14 stolen bases in 258 PAs this season). Our optimals are split between these two on FD but since they’re leaning towards cheaper SPs on DK, Turner has been a bigger part of them on that site.
Francisco Lindor (CLE), Manny Machado (BAL) and Didi Gregorius (NYY) are other upside targets to consider in tournaments. Lindor and Machado have the more impressive seasons thus far but Didi’s production gets inflated by pulling the ball in Yankee Stadium. Given the way SPs are priced today, it’s possible that these pricey SS options don’t fit the mold, which bodes well for their ownership in GPPs.
Harper is the top projected scorer on the hitting side regardless of position. He’s hitting third on the road in an elite hitting environment and with the platoon edge. He’s generated a .413 wOBA and .316 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season.
Blackmon is hitting second with the platoon edge in Arlington, and he’s been incredible vs. RHP as well (.412 wOBA, .284 ISO vs. RHP since 2017).
Stanton and Judge get a bullpen day against a taxed Rays’ pen. Stanton is projecting ahead given the baselines we have for him against RHP, but Judge has been a more impressive hitter without the platon edge (.438 wOBA, .350 ISO) since the start of last season. Ultimately, we’ll default to price tags here.
Stanton and Harper are the cheapest of the bunch around the industry, but you’ll have an opportunity to dip into this tier three times IF you punt SP2 on DK. Since all the SPs are priced accurately on DK and the best values on the hitting side come with expensive tags, optimals have preferred jamming three of these OFs on DK and using James Shields as the SP2 punt.
We’re looking for value in the OF to pair next to the pricier options above. Nicholas Castellanos (DET) stands out, in particular on FD where he’s just $2,800. Castellanos has hit a modest .324 wOBA and .176 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 but in general we view him as too cheap on FD as a road hitter against James Shields. Our baselines are also a little bit more optimistic against RHP than his actual production suggests, which forms a bigger projection.
Austin Meadows (PIT) is affordable on both sites and when he’s in the Pirates lineup vs. RHP, he usually hits second. Brett Gardner (NYY) is appealing on FD where he has an average price tag. He’s part of a Yankees offense that will end up with one of the highest IRTs in the slate (our guess is 5.5). Leonys Martin (DET) is the road hitter in Chicago and he’s another OF with an average price tag on FD. Martin has generated an impressive 28.3% HHR this season. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) and Adam Eaton (WSH) are other above average hitters in top four lineup spots that are a part of some of the best hitting environments in this slate. They’re both affordable on DK with price tags in the low $4ks.
Rhys Hoskins (PHI) continues to stand out in tournaments. Hoskins has now homered in three of the last four games, and Chase Anderson will be his pitching matchup today. Anderson has surrendered a .178 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies, on the road, represent the top stack in this slate for the third day in a row. They’re not in Coors, but that heat in Arlington coupled with below average pitching continues to push their IRT in the fives. We view Yovani Gallardo as a worst pitcher than Mike Minor, who pitched well against the Rockies yesterday and held them to just two runs. Minor can miss bats, and Gallardo can not. That’s a recipe for disaster in this context. The Rockies will be owned, but it probably won’t be excessive enough that you start to get uncomfortable in tournaments. Our lean is to pursue them aggressively on the road.
2) New York Yankees
3) Washington Nationals
The Yankees get a bullpen day from the Rays, and that’s a better formula than throwing a gas can out there in terms of run prevention. Still, the Rays bullpen isn’t very good and we suspect the Yankees will have a big total at home in high 80s weather. They’re probably going to be more popular than the Nationals, a team that was in a big spot yesterday and let us down. Sam Gaviglio has generated strong results from a run prevention standpoint, though we still think he’s pitching a bit over his head. The Nationals are the road team though, and a guaranteed ninth inning against a bullpen that’s been more vulnerable without Roberto Osuna makes them an appealing stack in GPPs.
4) Texas Rangers
5) Cleveland Indians
6) Detroit Tigers
7) Houston Astros
8) Philadelphia Phillies
9) Pittsburgh Pirates
In this tier, we like the Astros the most as far as a tournament stack. They’re incredibly deep, with power and speed throughout their lineup, and they’re the road team in Kansas City where temperatures will be in the mid to low 90s and the wind continues to blow out to LF. They weren’t mentioned much throughout our positional analysis because they’re expensive and they’re also facing a bullpen day, but keep in mind that the Royals bullpen is more vulnerable than most as they just don’t have much talent.
Cleveland’s top four hitters continue to be tournament viable against Jake Odorizzi, but there’s not much if any appeal to their 5-9 hitters as they’re all below average against RHP.
The Phillies and Tigers don’t have good offenses but these are additional road teams that get to hit in hot environments. It won’t feel great pushing buttons on below average hitters in tournaments, but mini-stacking the better hitters from these teams is a viable route.