Welcome to June 19 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 19 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 19 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Justin Verlander (HOU) headlines Tuesday’s slate with the top projection at the starting pitcher position. This is a very deserving projection given the way Verlander has pitcher with the Astros this season (5% hard minus soft hit rate allowed, 31.7% K rate) as well as an elite context. Verlander is pitching at home, an elite pitcher’s park for strikeouts, and gets to face a Rays offense that’s ranked middle of the pack in both wRC+ and K% vs RHP. As a result, Verlander gets the best combination you can ask for a SP in DFS – the lowest IRTA (2.7) as the largest favorite (-260) and the highest K projection (9) in the entire slate. He’s deservingly the most expensive SP in this slate, but remains a viable anchor in your cash game lineups.
Verlander’s top challenger in this slate from a skills perspective is Chris Sale (BOS), who’s been fantastic once again this season, generating a 34% K rate and a rather absurd -3.7% hard minus soft hit rate. Sale also gets a park downgrade going into Minnesota, and the Twins are ranked 21st in wRC+ vs. LHP this season while striking out 24% of the time against southpaws. We believe that their swinging and missing ways will tone down a bit with Miguel Sano no longer a part of the lineup. Sale has a higher IRTA (3.3) than Verlander but is also a little cheaper on both sites. He’s a strong alternative in all formats and if you wanted to build through him in cash games over Verlander we couldn’t fault you.
Verlander and Sale are the true aces in this slate, which means there’s going to be a drop off in projection rather quickly at the position. Mike Clevinger (CLE) is the next in line pitcher to the aces. Clevinger’s price tag is appropriate on DK, but we’re expecting his K rate to bounce back, which adds some value in this matchup. So far, Clevinger has only struck out 21.9% of hitters this season, but his K peripherals (66.9% F-Strike rate, 11.3% SwStr rate, 31.8% Chase rate) indicate that it should be closer to the mid 20s. The strength of the matchup is boosting his projection as well, as the White Sox are ranked 18th in wRC+ and are striking out 24.9% of the time vs. RHP this season. We’d rather get up to the aces in cash games, but Clevinger is a fine tournament drop off, particularly on FD where he’s priced the cheapest.
After the top projected scorers at the position, the conversation quickly turns into which options should you use at SP2. Since this slate features not one but two aces in favorable spots, our optimals will look to cheap SP2s as the complements in order to afford an ace AND bats. Options like Vince Velasquez (PHI), Cole Hamels (TEX) and Luke Weaver (STL) project ~16.5-17.5 range on DK, which are the best projections you’ll find after the options above. Unfortunately, they’re all priced in the mid-tier, and that’s a tier that will be a challenge to reach if you’re going after optimal lineups. We prefer to attack that tier in tournaments rather than cash games, though Weaver is an interesting name to consider on FD. On that site, Weaver is just $6,500, and in a Coors slate that’s an attractive price tag that lets you fit more offense. Weaver has a very strong matchup against a Phillies offense that’s ranked 20th in wRC+ and are striking out a league high 26.9% vs. RHP. However, he’s not favored to win this game and has a 4.4 IRTA as he’s simply not as talented as any of the pitchers we’ve mentioned thus far. We prefer building through an ace in cash games, but the Weaver route deserves to be considered as well, especially in tournaments.
The best compliments to the aces on DK are Sal Romano (CIN) and Felix Pena (LAA). They have projections ~13-14 DK points and have sub $5k price tags.
You know the drill with these cheap guys – they’re going to have risk as they’re simply not as talented as any of the pitchers we’ve mentioned and we don’t expect them to go as deep into games. Thankfully, they have strong matchups as Romano takes on a Tigers offense that’s ranked 23rd in wRC+ and Pena is at home facing a Diamondbacks offense that’s ranked 29th in wRC+ vs and are striking out 25% of the time vs. RHP. Romano is at home though, so he’ll have to deal with a difficult environment for pitchers. Pena was stretched out in his last minor league outing, as he threw six innings and faced 24 batters. He has good velocity (average fastball velocity is 95 MPH) and he has some friendly K numbers at the minor league level, but he hasn’t been very good at the major league level as a reliever (5.28 ERA in 46 IP). It’s difficult to establish a baseline for him as a starter, but he might be a worthwhile risk since it seems like he can miss some bats. The other SP that falls in this bucket is Eric Lauer (SD), who’s getting the benefit of facing an Oakland offense that’s getting a negative league shift. That’s probably where the positives start and end for Lauer, who’s been horrific at the major league level from a run prevention as he’s allowed wOBAs over .400 to both LHBs and RHBs this season.
Jameson Taillon (PIT) is another option to consider in the mid-tier for tournaments. Taillon’s K upside isn’t massive, but he’s generated 25-29% K rates in five of his 14 starts this season and he’s getting the Brewers offense in PNC Park, which is a park downgrade for those hitters. The Brewers are striking out 24.7% of the time vs. RHP. Dereck Rodriguez (SF) and Rich Hill (LAD) have sub $7k price tags on DK, which puts them in play as well. It’s difficult to figure out Rich Hill after his blister issues that have plagued him throughout the season. Perhaps that’s the reason why Hill’s performance has taken a step down this season, or he’s just 38 years old now and it’s difficult for pitchers of that age to perform like he did over the last few seasons. Either way, it’s not a worthwhile risk in cash games but he has enough K upside to consider in GPPs. Rodriguez is a -170 favorite with a 3.3 IRTA as he takes on the Marlins at home. He’s probably the lone option in the $6k range that deserves some attention in cash games, but our optimals will push towards more salary relief.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) and Tom Murphy (COL) are the top two values at the catcher position on Tuesday’s full slate of games. Normally we’d expect a large discrepancy in the price tag between these two bats, but only $300 separates Sanchez from Murphy, who will be getting the platoon edge in his home park.
While there is an obvious skill gap between the two, they are quite evenly split in the early optimals on DraftKings. Murphy has flashed some serious power (16 homers in 49 games at AAA, projecting anywhere between .174-.208 ISO via projection systems) and we have his baseline ISO in the split set at .201. Left-hander Jason Vargas has always been fly ball oriented, but is now allowing even more hard contact and inducing the least amount of soft contact in his career. The park shift is a massive negative one for him, allowing us to take advantage of Murphy and the Rockies slate high implied run total (6.3). While Murphy has been logging more playing time, Chris Iannetta (COL) has started each of the last two games against left-handed starters. He’s $3,800 on DraftKings and would represent a pivot from Murphy for nearly the same tag.
Sanchez will also have the favor of a good park environment, grabbing the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium. That bodes well for him, as he’s destroyed southpaws, posting a .389 wOBA and .310 ISO since 2016. In this case though, his opposing pitcher will be much better skilled than Vargas, as Marco Gonzales has pitched to a 3.43 xFIP while taking a slight step forward in GB%. There is still some margin for error though, as Gonzales has allowed a 16.6% difference in Hard-Soft%. At just $4,000 Sanchez is underpriced for his skills and upside, despite some recently underwhelming batted ball data.
Tucker Barnhart (CIN) remains a cheap go to guy with a good lineup spot. He is lauded for his defensive presence, and unfortunately get him from the right side of the plate, but in his home park for just $3,200 on DraftKings. Tyler Flowers (ATL) is cheap, but isn’t as much of a slouch. He’ll grab the platoon edge on Jaime Garcia and he’s posted a .390 wOBA and .163 ISO against left-handers since 2016. At just $3,500 he’s worth a look in tournaments where ownership might condense on Murphy and Sanchez.
Rockie, Ian Desmond (COL) leads the way at first base on both sites. The story remains the same as Desmond will get the platoon edge on Vargas and is a cheaper way to get exposure to the top implied run total on the slate. At just $4,500 on DraftKings and $3,800 on FanDuel he is a part of most early optimals.
Elsewhere you can look to a common duo of Carlos Santana (PHI) or Matt Adams (WSH) on both sites. They’ll offer you a slight discount over Desmond in both spots, as they are both $3,500 and $3,900 on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively. Santana will draw the more difficult matchup with right-hander Luke Weaver, but he’ll be in his home park and swinging from the left side (.371 wOBA, .242 ISO versus RHP since 2016).
Adams draws the easier matchup with right-hander David Hess who after three decent outings in a row fell back into being pummeled in his last start. All the peripherals are exceptional…for opposing hitters. He’s fly ball oriented, he allows a lot of contact (much of the hard variety) and he’s been brutalized by 2.20 HR/9. Adams slightly edges Santana with a .248 ISO versus RHP since 2016, though we have Santana’s ISO baseline a tad higher in the split.
Justin Smoak (TOR) is very cheap on FanDuel at $2,900 and finds himself in some of the early optimals if paying up for Justin Verlander on that site. The batted ball data of late has not been particularly encouraging, and the matchup with Mike Soroka isn’t super enticing, but Smoak has been excellent against RHP, posting a .348 wOBA and .243 ISO since 2016. Joey Gallo (TEX) plays a similar role on DraftKings at just $3,900 where he’s 1B eligible. Right-hander Jason Hammel is incredibly susceptible to power (.185 ISO allowed to LHB since 2016) and Gallo has posted a 37.5% Hard% in the last fifteen days.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE), Eric Thames (MIL), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) offer slightly more expensive but high upside bats at the position, all coming with the platoon edge in their favor.
A popular theme pushes D.J. LeMahieu (COL) to the forefront of the second base value rankings. Little needs to be said about the matchup with Jason Vargas and his 7.39 ERA. LeMahieu will be one more Rockie that you’ll have to decide between picking or not (since you can only take so many), and while he doesn’t come with the natural upside of some of his teammates the built in floor of a leadoff hitter with a 6.3 implied run total is very enticing. Furthermore, he’s yet again a cheaper way to get exposure to them, at just $4,900 on DraftKings and $4,100 on FanDuel.
Where LeMahieu slips in optimals you might be looking to cheaper options in Whit Merrifield (KC) or Yoan Moncada (CHW). Both guys sit atop their respective lineups and come with sub-$4,000 price tags on DraftKings and low $3,000 tags on FanDuel. Merrifield draws the platoon edge on Cole Hamels in the heat of Kansas City. While Hamels has seen improvement in the strikeout rate and xFIP thus far, he’s sacrificed with some more fly balls and home runs as well (1.90 HR/9).
Moncada similarly will draw a not so easy matchup with Mike Clevinger, someone who has been much better than Hamels at keeping the ball in the yard despite being a fly ball guy historically (big step up in GB% thus far).
While we’d prefer LeMahieu, Ozzie Albies (ATL) rates similarly on both sites as a more expensive spend. A switch hitter, Albies has actually been better from the right side of the plate in his brief career (albeit only around 150 PAs) having posted a .379 wOBA and .225 ISO versus LHP. He represents an excellent pivot away from LeMahieu for what we’ve seen is considerably more upside in the skills department.
Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM) fits in the middle of the aforementioned values on both sites getting a trip to Coors. And Matt Carpenter‘s (STL) dual positional eligibility brings him into play on DraftKings.
Matt Carpenter (STL) resurfaces though at third base on both sites. He can’t be gifted the top value spot on a slate where Nolan Arenado (COL) gets the platoon edge in his home park, but he rates behind Arenado for a large discount on both sites. He’ll get the platoon edge on Vincent Velasquez, getting a park boost to Philadelphia as well. Velasquez has been badly beaten by LHB, allowing a .202 ISO to them since 2016. Carpenter is not sitting on as much tough luck as he once was, and the batted ball data is excellent (nearly 38% Hard% last fifteen). At $3,700 on FanDuel and $4,000 on DraftKings he will be a popular drop down from Arenado.
Though Arenado will still command plenty of ownership given his gaudy .442 wOBA and .318 ISO in the split since 2016. On a full slate it’s tough to say that any one player is a priority, and given Carpenter’s price and matchup we feel comfortable moving away from Arenado, though if you have the salary it’s a slam dunk play.
The conversation largely hinges on just those two options, but outside of it there is not a shortage of potential tournament pieces. Anthony Rendon (WSH) is a rather cheap way to get exposure to a Nats lineup against David Hess. Todd Frazier (NYM) won’t get the platoon edge, but he still gets a massive park upgrade moving to Coors Field and though the Mets implied run total is 1.1 runs behind that of the Rockies, they still have one of the highest totals on the slate.
Kris Bryant (CHC) and Jose Ramirez (CLE) both represent high priced potential spends for tournaments, guys with a ton of upside, the platoon edge but prices closer to Arenado. Jeimer Candelario (DET) gets a park boost and will hit from the left side against Sal Romano, adding a cheaper option to the tournament ranks.
Recycled thoughts at shortstop have become quite familiar as Trevor Story (COL) and Trea Turner (WSH) are the top two value options at the position before a decent sized drop. Story much like many of his teammates has pummeled left-handed pitching (.412 wOBA, .316 ISO since 2016) and the large benefit here is that Vargas is not a scary strikeout threat. He’s seen a bump this year just to 19.5% K%, but has a career total of just 15.9%. The lone question that follows a lot of these Rockies is, “can I actually play one more?”
Turner gets an equally exciting matchup with David Hess. Plus, he offers a $1,000 discount on FanDuel and $800 discount on DraftKings. While both these top options represent excellent floors and ceilings in their respective matchups, the price tags might actually push us down the pricing spectrum to some mid-tier values that will better allows to round out a more formidable lineup.
Early optimals on both sites gravitate towards the ever-middling Marcus Semien (OAK) and Elvis Andrus (TEX). Semien seemingly never gets a price bump and will get the platoon edge on left-hander Eric Lauer. While the batted ball data isn’t very strong, Semien has been quite powerful versus southpaws posting a .211 ISO since 2015. He’ll save you a bunch in cap relief as well, allowing you to spend up at other premium positions.
Andrus is perhaps a more appealing overall value at $3,600 on DraftKings and $3,300 on FanDuel. The negative park shift is negated a bit by mid-80s weather and winds blowing out to left, plus a matchup with the same handed susceptibility of Jason Hammel (.154 ISO allowed since 2015). Andrus finds his way into a lot of the early optimals, where he and Semien split time on both FanDuel and DraftKings.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) actually rates quite well from a value perspective as well, but it’s tough to push him through to the cash game conversation with the matchups gifted to Story and Turner. If spending up though and looking for a way to differentiate in tournaments – this is a great way to do so.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), Bryce Harper (WSH), Mike Trout (LAA), and Charlie Blackmon (COL) represent four of the top values in the outfield as well as four of the top projected scoring hitters on the entire slate.
Stanton is priced appropriately, but draws the platoon edge on Marco Gonzales in his home park. That doesn’t bode well for Gonzales as Stanton has posted laughable platoon splits (.441 wOBA, .384 ISO since 2016). He gets pushed into optimals on both sites, but you can make a decision on him versus the rest of this crowded outfield. Harper will get the platoon edge on David Hess, Trout gets the heavy contact and homer prone ways of Matt Koch, and Blackmon, despite not getting the platoon edge, gets to face Jason Vargas in his home park.
What the outfield gifts us in upside though, it tries to provide in value as well. Some upper-middle tier guys like Michael Conforto (NYM) and Adam Eaton (WSH) piggyback on the train of either Coors Field or attack bad pitchers. Both guys will get the platoon advantage as well.
Just behind them, Jay Bruce (NYM) and Aaron Hicks (NYY) follow suit and their price tags push them into plenty of early optimals. Bruce gets the same park shift as his teammates and will have the platoon edge (though German Marquez has been considerably better against LHB). To counteract, Bruce has posted a .252 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
Hicks gets the platoon edge regardless of handedness, but lucky for us from the right-side he’s displayed more power (.178 ISO since 2016). At $3,800 on DraftKings he’s particularly valuable.
Joey Gallo (TEX) is only $3,100 on FanDuel and is outfield eligible. We mentioned his massive upside and the matchup with Hammel at 1B. Adam Duvall (CIN) plays a role as a super cheap option on both sites ($2,800 on FanDuel and $3,400 on DraftKings). He gets the platoon edge against Matt Boyd, a handedness he has not been kind to (.265 ISO since 2016). He’s struggled but is dealing with an absurdly low .209 BABIP.
Ian Desmond (COL) and Whit Merrifield (KC) get to do the dual positional eligibility dance on DraftKings.
Brandon Nimmo (NYM), Nomar Mazara (TEX) a whole host of others fall just below all these options and represent potential tournament pieces in stacks or as one-offs.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are the top ranked stack in this slate and they deserve to be on a tier all by themselves. In fact, the gap between them and the next ranked offenses probably deserve another tier in separation. Jason Vargas and his 87 MPH fastball won’t play well in Coors Field. He’s allowed a .394 wOBA this season, mostly because he’s getting tagged (22.4% hard minus soft hit rate allowed) by hard hit fly balls (39.8% FB rate this season). The Rockies will be chalky, especially on DK, but it’s tough not to want to eat this chalk as they’re in a phenomenal spot.
2) New York Mets
3) Washington Nationals
4) New York Yankees
The Mets are the road team in Coors Field. No matter how bad they’ve been offensively, being in Coors Field is an obvious plus and it’s the reason they have an IRT over five runs. The Rockies will be a bigger part of optimals, but the Mets are squarely in play in tournaments despite carrying appropriate price tags.
The Nationals are facing David Hess, who’s generated a 13% K rate and has allowed a .358 xwOBA. Hess isn’t a good pitcher, and the Nationals offense is back at full health. They’re at home so they don’t get the guaranteed ninth inning, but with the Rockies leading the charge in ownership, we’re not expecting even modest ownership coming their way.
The Yankees are at home facing a southpaw, which means Judge-Stanton-Sanchez all get bigger projections. Marco Gonzales has pitched well for the Mariners this season (3.42 ERA/3.20 FIP), but this is the most difficult context he’s faced all season. In a 15 game slate, it’s likely that the Yankees RH smashers only get modest ownership in tournaments.
5) Cleveland Indians
6) Texas Rangers
7) St. Louis Cardinals
Of this group, the Rangers have the best matchup against Jason Hammel and the Royals bullpen. Hammel has allowed an absurd .390 xwOBA and his K rate is currently an alarmingly low 14.9%. The Rangers are a road team in Kansas City where temperatures are in the 80s and the wind will be blowing out at 10 MPH.
Cleveland’s 1-5 hitters remain stack-worthy in tournaments because those hitters have upside, but Carlos Rodon isn’t a terrible pitcher and therefore the stack is less appealing in a full slate of games.
The Cardinals get a pitcher that can miss bats (Vince Velasquez) but they’re the road team in Philadelphia. When Velasquez goes wrong though, he’s allowing home runs. We prefer mini-stacking the Cardinals rather than running a full stack in this slate.
8) Chicago Cubs
9) Atlanta Braves
10) Cincinnati Reds
This tier has some appeal in MME, but we’re not intrigued by these offenses in single entry or three max tournaments. The Reds probably have the most appealing upside because of the environment they’ll be a part of (Great American Ball Park) and facing a fly ball pitcher (Matt Boyd) that’s getting a steep park downgrade. Boyd, to his credit, has pitched well this season though (.301 xwOBA). The Braves are the other team in this tier that have appealing upside. They’re facing southpaw Jaime Garcia and they’re getting a park upgrade and positive league shift as they go into the Rogers Centre. Freeman and Markakis won’t have the platoon edge in this matchup, but the Braves have been lights out vs. LHP, ranking third in wRC+ vs. southpaws this season. This is an upside spot for the Braves.