Welcome to June 18 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 18 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 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Former UCLA teammates Trevor Bauer (CLE) and Gerrit Cole (HOU) are neck in neck in our projections. Cole has had the better overall season, posting a 2.73 FIP and wild 36.7 K%. However, Bauer has been the more dominant arm recently. He’s struck out 10-plus batters in five of six starts and for someone with a reputation as wild, is able to consistently work deep into games (27.8 average batters faced, 20.01 average outs recorded).
We’re giving Bauer the edge in matchup, but Cole the edge in home venue. Both are phenomenal options as heavy favorites with low IRTA and the highest projected strikeouts on the slate. It’s really a toss up as to who you should use on FD. On DK, our early optimals lean towards pairing the two together given a lack of strong value plays at the position. This might sound suboptimal on a Coors Slate, but the total there with two solid SPs is just 9.5, making a bit easier to get away from those expensive bats.
In tournaments, there are some viable mid-tier options if you want to get away from the expensive SPs, most notably Zack Greinke (ARI), Nick Pivetta (PHI), and Miles Mikolas (STL). Greinke and Pivetta have had some shaky recent performances, which keeps them off the cash game radar in tough contextual spots. Greinke gets a negative league shift against an Angels offense that has been Top 5 in wRC+ against RHP and has a below league average K rate in that split. Pivetta has had four consecutive short outings and is home in Philly, a hitter’s park, especially with temperatures in the upper 80s and the wind blowing out. Still, there’s enough K upside to keep these guys interesting in GPP, especially with a bad set of mid-low priced options.
Mikolas is the most stable asset of that trio. He doesn’t possess the same K rate upside, but is a good bet to pitch the deepest of the three and compete with them in total Ks that way. Mikolas has been a little bit lucky this season (2.43 ERA, expected ERAs over 3), but he does deserve a lot of credit for the miniscule BB rate and high GB rate. Like Pivetta, Mikolas will have to deal with pitching in a good hitting environment.
On FD, Jacob deGrom (NYM) is priced in line with Greinke and becomes an intriguing tournament drop down, despite a matchup in Coors Field. He has a sparkling .245 xwOBA, 1.98 FIP, and 32.7 K% on the season. The Rockies actually aren’t a good offense when we remove the park. Of course they’re home tonight, so you need to acknowledge that risk, but the price keeps deGrom in play regardless.
There really is not much in the way of cheap options on this slate. The most compelling cheap SP2 on DK is Andrew Suarez (SF), who won’t pitch deep but has given quality innings thus far at the MLB level (3.34 xFIP). He’s in a great pitching environment at home and pegged as a -145 favorite with just a 3.4 IRTA. If you want a sub-3% owned SP punt on FD that will let you load up on offense, Erick Fedde (WAS) had a 2.70 FIP at AAA with a 24.6 K% and faces the Yankee offense in Washington without the DH.
Salvador Perez (KC) tops the projections at catcher with a favorable matchup against Bartolo Colon with warm temperatures (90s) in Kansas City providing a strong hitting environment. Colon has been hit hard by RHBs since the start of last season, allowing a .374 wOBA and .251 ISO. Perez is one of the few catchers on this slate with a strong lineup spot and the Royals have a healthy 4.7 implied total.
Devin Mesoraco (NYM) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) represent the most likely pivots in cash games over Perez. Mesoraco goes into Coors Field where he’ll hold the platoon edge against Tyler Anderson (.342 wOBA, .212 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2017). Grandal seems like one of the safer bets for points but may come with limited upside in a matchup against Tyler Chatwood and the Cubs strong bullpen. Chatwood has walked 15.8 percent of LHBs faced since the start of 2017 and allowed a .366 wOBA and .168 ISO to them. Chatwood is difficult to square up and generates a ton of ground balls but his command issues generally lead to strong opportunities for big innings.
In tournaments, Buster Posey (SF) and J.T. Realmuto (MIA) go against one another in a dreadful offensive environment in San Francisco (high 50s, big park) but they both hold the platoon edge with good lineup spots and strong individual skill sets. They’ll come with modest ownership compared to the three above.
Yadier Molina (STL) has a softer price tag and a favorable park for home runs in Philadelphia against Nick Pivetta. While Pivetta has been pretty good this season, he’s still allowed a .371 wOBA and .229 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2017.
On DraftKings, a pure punt at catcher may jump into some optimals due to the strength of the high end starting pitching on this slate.
Eric Thames (MIL) tops all the first basemen in projection as he’ll hold the platoon edge against Trevor Williams (.341 wOBA, .135 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017) as a road leadoff hitter in Pittsburgh. With warm temperatures in Pittsburgh (high 80s) this isn’t as bad of a hitting environment, especially for LHBs, as you might think. Thames is really affordable on FanDuel ($3,200) which makes him one of the stronger hitting values on the slate. Thames has been incredible against RHP since coming back to the big leagues last season (.389 wOBA, .297 ISO). On DraftKings, he’s priced more appropriately at $4,800 but still projects as a viable target.
The values at the position are a bit different between the two sites.
On DraftKings, Joey Gallo (TEX) is reasonably priced for a favorable matchup with homer-prone Ian Kennedy. Kennedy has allowed a .348 wOBA and .243 ISO to LHBs since the start of 2017. The challenge with Gallo is the combination of a typically poor lineup spot and contact rate make him an unusual cash game target. We prefer him in tournaments.
Hunter Dozier (KC) has been hitting in better lineup spots of late (fifth yesterday, cleanup the day before) and he’s priced at just $2,800. We noted Colon’s struggles against RHBs and while Dozier isn’t a good hitter, he does have a very strong matchup and price tag.
On FanDuel, Thames is really the best value to target but Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) is also affordable at $3,600. Cleveland has a 5.1 implied total and Encarnacion hits in the middle of the lineup. The matchup with Dylan Covey is one that is a bit more challenging to assess with Covey’s growth this season. We prefer Thames but wouldn’t be surprised if Encarnacion is a bit more popular because of the higher team implied total.
First base typically has plenty of pivots but the price tags are a bit less compelling on this slate. Carlos Santana (PHI) is a likely low-owned pivot in a matchup against Miles Mikolas that many will avoid. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is getting a huge park downgrade in Anaheim and is priced reasonably. Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is also in a park that suppresses power when the wind is blowing in against a good pitcher in Kenta Maeda but Maeda has had wide platoon splits (.334 wOBA, .180 ISO) that make Rizzo a possible one-off. Cody Bellinger (LAD) is perhaps the most intriguing as part of a team stack as he’s been hitting the ball hard of late and Tyler Chatwood‘s command issues can set up big innings.
Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) tops the second base projections as the Mets head into Coors Field to face Tyler Anderson. We’ve touched on Anderson’s issues against RHBs and Cabrera has been solid against LHP the last two seasons posting a .366 wOBA and .133 ISO. Cabrera’s price tag is super reasonable on each site ($4,300 on DraftKings, $3,300 on FanDuel) and represents our primary target.
There is value available if you need additional salary relief at the position. On DraftKings, Matt Carpenter (STL) carries 2B/3B eligibility and is just $3,800. Whit Merrifield (KC) is just $3,800 with that favorable matchup against Bartolo Colon.
On both sites, Jason Kipnis (CLE) and Rougned Odor (TEX) are viable salary relief targets. Odor is priced as a pure punt on FanDuel and the matchup with Ian Kennedy is a favorable one for LHBs with power. Kipnis and Odor have both been bumped into the fifth spot of late which is a nice improvement over the bottom of the order lineup spots earlier in the season. Kipnis owns a .319 wOBA and .173 ISO against RHP since 2016 while Odor has posted a .312 wOBA and .217 ISO during that span.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) tops the projections at third base albeit with an annoying price tag and matchup against Dylan Covey who has shown substantial improvement this season. Ramirez is so expensive that he’s not a particularly strong cash game target. He makes more sense in tournaments as a part of Cleveland stacks.
Todd Frazier (NYM) and Mike Moustakas (KC) are the next highest projected third base targets. Both have favorable matchups in elite hitting conditions. Frazier gets the Coors Field bump in that friendly matchup for RHBs with Tyler Anderson. Moustakas gets to face Bartolo Colon (.369 wOBA, .231 ISO against LHBs since 2017) with temperatures in the 90s in Kansas City. Moustakas owns a solid .349 wOBA and .253 ISO against RHP since 2016.
On DraftKings, the value runs even deeper with Jose Bautista (NYM) carrying 3B/OF eligibility and priced down. Bautista’s skills have shown erosion in recent years but he’s still hit LHP for power (.167 ISO) and walked a decent bit (13.6 percent). At $3,300 it’s rare to get a middle of the order bat in Coors Field. Adrian Beltre (TEX) is also really affordable on DraftKings with a favorable matchup against Ian Kennedy.
The strong depth in the mid-tier pricing should leave most of the expensive third base options as lower owned on a slate that emphasizes high-end SP.
Trea Turner (WAS) is a viable drop down on FanDuel where he’s just $3,800 and the NYY-WAS game will take place after the completion of a suspended game from earlier in the year. There isn’t a ton about the matchup to get super excited about, Turner is just affordable relative to the usual cost of high-end shortstops.
There is a big drop off in value on FanDuel after those two options. Jurickson Profar (TEX) has been swinging a hot bat and inserted into the middle of the Rangers’ lineup of late. The matchup with Ian Kennedy is a strong one to attack but Profar’s price tag requires a bit more due to the recent hot streak.
On DraftKings, Amed Rosario (NYM) is a viable full punt play in Coors Field against Tyler Anderson. Rosario is priced at just $2,800 while nearly all of the high-end shortstop options are priced appropriately.
Michael Brantley (CLE), Shin Soo Choo (TEX), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Nomar Mazara (TEX), Christian Yelich (MIL), and George Springer (HOU) form the next tier of outfield options. With high-priced pitching an emphasis on this slate, value pricing really guides the discussion.
On DraftKings, Nomar Mazara (TEX) is just $4,000 as a middle of the order bat against Ian Kennedy, Mazara is a compelling mid-tier spend. He’s posted a solid .335 wOBA and .186 ISO against RHP since the start of 2016.
Mazara’s teammate, Joey Gallo (TEX), is affordable on both sites. The challenge with Gallo is the lineup spot and the contact issues but the upside is immense against homer-prone Ian Kennedy. He’s a better play on FanDuel where he’s relatively cheaper.
On both sites, Jose Bautista (NYM) is priced reasonably for another middle of the order bat in Coors Field with the platoon edge. He’s just $3,300 on DraftKings and $3,000 on FanDuel.
Alex Gordon (KC) has been bumped to the middle of the Royals order of late and his price tag is extremely cheap on DraftKings ($2,900) and reasonably affordable on FanDuel ($2,700). Gordon’s skill set has really fallen off in recent years against RHP (.291 wOBA, .139 ISO) but the Royals have a 4.7 implied total against Bartolo Colon. This makes Gordon a viable source of salary relief on both sites.
Joc Pederson (LAD) is still cheap on FanDuel ($2,800). He’s been great against RHP as a big leaguer (.374 wOBA, .262 ISO since 2016) but his lineup spot varies. We’re more interested in Joc if he can get into the leadoff spot.
On FanDuel, Tyler Naquin (CLE) is available as a pure punt at $2,000. He’d hit at the bottom of the Cleveland batting order but their high implied total along with his decent skill set (.357 wOBA, .188 ISO since 2016) makes him a viable punt play in all formats.
On DraftKings, Paulo Orlando (KC) would serve the same function if you’re trying to jam in two stud starters.
1) New York Mets
On a medium sized slate, it’s no surprise to see the road team in Coors top our stack projections. However, the Mets do rate much closer to the pack than we often see in this situation.This is due to a combination of Tyler Anderson, who has at times over his career been frustrating to pick on at home and is coming off back to back strong outings, and the Mets offense, which ranks dead last in wRC+ against LHP. The one good thing about picking on Anderson this season has been his inability to keep the ball on the ground (34.9 GB rate), which should make him more susceptible at home than in the past. The Mets are also a more affordable Coors stack than we’re used to seeing.
2) Cleveland Indians
3) Texas Rangers
Cleveland gets a matchup against Dylan Covey that has been a thorn in our side all season long. Covey has made legitimate strides (increased fastball velocity, FIP has dropped from 7.20 to 2.15). However, he’s also pitched a bit over his head and been very lucky (0.0 HR/FB rate). This is no longer a go to stack spot, but the heat in Cleveland, their deep lineup, and the highest IRT on the slate makes it difficult for us to avoid picking on Covey despite the lack of results thus far.
The Rangers get a negative park shift hitting in Kansas City but some of that is mitigated by hot temperatures and the wind blowing out. Those factors certainly add to the HR upside of Texas when you combine them with the opposing starter’s skill set. Ian Kennedy has a career low 30.1 GB rate and a 38.6 Hard% (second highest of career).
4) Colorado Rockies
5) St. Louis Cardinals
6) Los Angeles Dodgers
7) Milwaukee Brewers
The Rockies are a smart leverage stack in GPPs whenever they’re facing good starting pitching or are on a slate where expensive starting pitching will be chalky. Both of those scenarios are in play tonight. It certainly reduces the need to use the Rockies in cash games and keeps them as a mediocre median stack, but the high end upside that Coors provides is still substantial.
The Cardinals are really interesting in this tier given the conditions in Philadelphia (mid-80s, wind blowing out to CF) and that Nick Pivetta, while making large improvements across the board, still allows aerial contact while possessing a worse than league average Hard-Soft%.
The Brewers always seem to sneak into our stack rankings given their HR+SB prowess. It’s a negative park shift for them today, but they get a guaranteed nine innings on the road in Pittsburgh where hot temperatures should help mitigate the negative park shift. Trevor Williams has allowed 21 runs in 15 inning over his last four starts.
Additional tournament stacks:
-Kansas City Royals: The Royals don’t rate that well since they are at home and they have a bad lineup that lacks event upside. However, they have an opportunity to chip away against a Texas pitching staff that is throwing out Bartolo Colon as their starter (.381 xwOBA, three of last six starts were disaster starts). Colon is backed up by a decent bullpen, but one that has used a few relievers in each of the past three days.