Welcome to June 21 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 21 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 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Max Scherzer (WAS) completely dominates the SP position for this slate, projecting nearly double all of his competitors on DK. Scherzer is a -300 favorite with just a 2.6 IRTA facing a Baltimore team that ranks 27th in wRC+ with a high 24.8 K% against RHP, is undergoing a negative park shift, and will be without a DH. Scherzer has a 10.8 strikeout projection on the slate; no other SP has a K projection over six. He’s a must play in cash games.
On DK the pricing is pretty efficient beyond Scherzer, and the seven best projected values beyond Scherzer are all within one point of value. The best of these options from a projected value standpoint is Chris Bassitt (OAK), mostly because of the poor baselines we have on the White Sox offense. We won’t spend too much time here, however, as the forecast in Chicago looks horrendous with heavy rain expected all day and night.
There’s no comparable cap relief play to Bassitt, but there are three mid-low tier SPs that all rank similarly and are viable in cash games: Zack Godley (ARI), Tyson Ross (SD), and Chad Kuhl (PIT). Godley is a bit of an enigma. A year after breaking out, he’s posting an ugly .363 xwOBA and has seen a meaningful 3.8 point drop in his K rate. The good news is that Godley is coming off back to back 8 strikeout games after reaching that level just twice in his first 12 starts. He’ll pitch in pitcher friendly PNC Park, although that park does tend to deflate strikeout totals.
Some of the shine has worn off on Tyson Ross who has struck out 20.3% of batters faced after hovering around 25% prior to June. The GB rate has dipped as well. Still, Ross is pitching in the friendliest pitcher’s park in all of baseball in San Francisco and faces a Giants lineup that has struck out at the eighth highest rate against RHP.
Finally, we have Kuhl who we’re assuming is pushed back after yesterday’s rain out. Kuhl should have a modest IRTA in his pitcher friendly home park and has been a model of consistency in the strikeout department, notching at least 5 Ks (but rarely much more) in eight straight starts.
It’s tempting if considering these options to simply pay a bit more for Carlos Martinez (STL), who is by far the most talented of the group and has the most K upside. The issue with martinez is that he’s walked 5, 6, and 7 batters in his three starts since returning from the DL. Plus, his overall K rate is at just 22.3% this season. It’s a tricky spot as Martinez from a raw talent perspective is underpriced, but it’s tough to ignore the data we just presented. On a normal slate this would make him a clear avoid in cash and a clear play in GPPs, but the lack of strong values on this slate muddies the waters a bit.
In GPPs, Aaron Sanchez (TOR) is a cheap option at a similar price tag to Bassitt. Sanchez gets a positive park shift pitching out West against the Angels. The Angels project to have 7 RHBs in the lineup, which is a big deal for Sanchez and his wide splits. Thus far this season Sanchez has a .273 wOBA and 21.4 K% against RHBs, but just a 15.8 K% and .383 wOBA when he lacks the platoon edge.
On FD, the next in line overall projected pitchers are interesting tournament pivots off of Scherzer, as both Madison Bumgarner (SF) and Tyler Skaggs (LAA) have more favorable price tags than on DK. Bumgarner at full strength is clearly underpriced. While there’s nothing to suggest he’s at full strength, the elite matchup against the Padres is enough to draw you in at this tag. Skaggs has put together a 3.26 FIP and 25.9 K%. He possesses the second best Vegas lines beyond Scherzer (-156, 3.4 IRTA).
Willson Contreras (CHC) tops the catcher projections by a wide margin. Contreras gets to face Matt Harvey and the Reds weak bullpen with a park upgrade in Cincinnati. Contreras has been cold of late but owns a .355 wOBA and .192 ISO against RHP since the start of last season. Additionally, the price tag is reasonable at $3,800. With the lack of depth at the position, even a slumping Contreras would be a priority for us as long as he’s in a strong lineup spot. The Cubs have a slate high 5.2 implied total. Contreras is also in play on FanDuel where he’s just $3,000 and cheap exposure to the Cubs will take precedence with Max Scherzer on the slate.
If weather removes Contreras from consideration or he’s out of the lineup, the position thins out pretty quickly. Tucker Barnhart (CIN), in that same game, remains a solid value hitting near the top of the lineup.
Jonathan Lucroy (OAK) doesn’t hit in a good lineup spot but is cheap for an Athletics’ offense that also has a 5.2 implied total against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox. He’d represent an adequate alternative but also comes with weather risk.
The most likely pivot would be Yadier Molina (STL) who gets a nice park upgrade in Milwaukee and we think will face Brent Suter after getting pushed back to a PPD last night. This gives Molina the platoon edge in a good park and he comes with a good lineup spot and a hot bat (26.3 hard hit rate over last 15 days). The knock on Molina is the Brewers great bullpen suppresses implied totals and thus the Cardinals’ offense as a whole won’t rate great.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) projects clearly as the top first base option on this slate. Rizzo will face Matt Harvey who has allowed a .410 wOBA and .271 ISO against LHBs since the start of last season. Rizzo’s hard hit rate has been strong of late (31 percent) and Rizzo’s the highest projected hitter on the entire slate. On DraftKings, it’s not difficult to get up to Rizzo if you utilize a salary relief second starter. There are other alternatives though that will allow you to save some salary. On FanDuel, Rizzo is a bit tougher to get up to given the cost associated with Scherzer, but he’s a very strong play in a vacuum.
Eric Thames (MIL), Matt Olson (OAK), and Joey Votto (CIN) comprise the next tier of first base options. All three hit RHP extremely well but Olson is clearly facing the weakest starter of the group and he’s priced most affordably. Since the start of last season, Lucas Giolito has allowed a .367 wOBA and .217 ISO to LHBs while walking more batters than he’s struck out. Olson during that same span owns a .388 wOBA and .332 ISO against RHP. With a park bump for power, Olson is one of the better sources of salary relief on both sites ($3,900 on DK, $3,000 on FD) and a strong target in all formats.
If weather removes some of the strongest first base options like Olson, Votto, and Rizzo, Thames becomes a more viable target on FanDuel where the price isn’t bad. The matchup with Carlos Martinez isn’t a bad one for a player with wide platoon splits. Martinez has allowed a .321 wOBA and .146 ISO to LHBs since 2017.
Luis Valbuena (LAA) is a viable pure punt option on DraftKings where he holds 1B/3B eligibility. Valbuena often gets a good lineup spot against RHP and he’s hit for good power against them (.203 ISO since 2017). The park and environment aren’t great for power but Aaron Sanchez has allowed a .362 wOBA and .158 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season.
The highest projected second base options are both in that CHW-OAK game that comes with some weather concerns. Jed Lowrie (OAK) and Yoan Moncada (CHW) project nearly identically on FanDuel. Moncada is the more diverse Fantasy scorer with a better power-speed profile while Lowrie has the better supporting cast and more stable scoring game. They’re priced similarly and if that game is available, they’d represent our primary targets at the position. On DraftKings, Moncada is slightly cheaper.
If those two aren’t available due to weather concerns, Jedd Gyorko (STL) and Joe Panik (SF) look like the most affordable pivots. Neither are great plays but have the platoon edge. Gyorko’s power should play up in Milwaukee against a fly ball oriented starter. The question mark with Gyorko is where he’ll hit as the Cardinals shift him around a bunch. He’s posted an incredible .426 wOBA and .284 ISO against LHP since the start of last season. Panik faces Tyson Ross who has allowed a .344 wOBA and .157 ISO against LHBs and is vulnerable to the running game. Neither player benefits from a great implied total but both are relatively cheap.
In tournaments, Javier Baez (CHC), Jonathan Villar (MIL), and Josh Harrison (PIT) are all event players that can rack up big scores at a relatively thin position. Daniel Murphy (WAS) makes sense as a part of Nationals stacks with their deep offense.
Kris Bryant (CHC) tops the third base projections by a wide margin. While Matt Harvey has been better against RHBs (.330 wOBA,.160 ISO since 2017), he still hasn’t been good. Bryant is getting a nice park shift and the Cubs have the highest implied total on the slate. He’s expensive and not a cash game priority at a deep position but a fine play on the whole.
Jake Lamb (ARI) looks like the best mid-tier target with a favorable matchup against Chad Kuhl who has allowed a .362 wOBA and .220 ISO to LHBs since the start of 2017. Pittsburgh is a difficult park for hitters but it’s not nearly as penal to LHBs.
On DraftKings, Travis Shaw (MIL) and Anthony Rendon (WAS) are priced similarly to Lamb and just as talented hitters just with slightly weaker matchups. They’re fine alternatives if you want players from offenses with a slightly higher implied team total. Rendon (.364 wOBA, .190 ISO since 2017) and Shaw (.385 wOBA, .268 ISO since 2017) both have hit RHP quite well.
On both sites, Luis Valbuena (LAA) is the best punt play at the position as long as he hits in a good lineup spot. We briefly touched on Valbuena’s power upside in the first base notes.
With Trea Turner (WAS) shifted down the lineup of late, Marcus Semien (OAK) tops the projections at shortstop. Semien will hit near the top of the lineup on the road for a team with an implied total of 5.2 runs. He comes with a mid-tier price tag on both sites that makes him an acceptable target in all formats. Semien is a pretty average hitter against RHP (.310 wOBA and .126 ISO since 2017) but the lineup spot gives him a strong chance at five plate appearances if the weather holds and that fuels his projection.
If you need salary relief on the slate, Addison Russell (CHC) would make the most sense on FanDuel at $2,500. He gets you cheap exposure to a Cubs offense with a 5+ implied total and Russell isn’t much different of a hitter than Semien against RHP (.304 wOBA, .142 ISO since 2017). The salary relief really plays well with Scherzer on FanDuel.
If weather removes those two from consideration you might be looking at other pure punts on FanDuel like Aledmys Diaz (TOR) or Orlando Arcia (MIL) just to free up salary relief at a position with essentially no good plays.
Mike Trout (LAA) and Dustin Fowler (OAK) top the outfield projections. One of these is not like the other and not priced like the other. Fowler gets an ideal matchup against Lucas Giolito who really struggles against LHBs and is also very poor at limiting the running game. Fowler as a road leadoff hitter with a team implied total over five has a great chance at five plate appearances. He’s priced near the minimum on FanDuel and would represent a cash game lock if CHW-OAK avoid weather concerns. Trout’s in a less compelling matchup and with a full price tag doesn’t fit a Scherzer slate particularly well. He remains the best hitter on the planet and a fine target in GPPs but not someone we’d emphasize on this slate.
Bryce Harper (WAS), Khris Davis (OAK), Christian Yelich (MIL), Kyle Schwarber (CHC), and Jason Heyward (CHC) make up the next tier of outfield options. Heyward and Schwarber are far more affordable than the rest of the tier which makes them strong targets in cash games. Matt Harvey has been insanely bad against LHBs and both Heyward (.327 wOBA, .145 ISO since 2017) and Schwarber (.354 wOBA, .273 ISO) have shown wider platoon splits. Schwarber’s been pushed down in the lineup of late which may be a nuisance but anywhere in the top six and we’d consider him a fine cash game target.
Albert Almora Jr. (CHC) is another Cubs outfielder that projects well if he gets a good lineup spot.
Scott Schebler (CIN) and Adam Eaton/Juan Soto (WAS) are all solid secondary targets. The Nationals bats are good pivots from the Cubs if we get weather concerns.
Marcell Ozuna (STL) is one of the hard hit leaders of late (37.8 percent over the last 15 days) and faces a fly ball oriented lefty. He’s a nice one-off target in tournaments.
1) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are in hitter friendly Cincinnati with the highest IRT on the slate facing Matt Harvey, owner of a .376 xwOBA.
2) Oakland Athletics
If the rain somehow holds off, the Athletics are receiving a massive park shift in their favor, facing Lucas Giolito who has walked more batters then he’s struck out en route to a 6.29 FIP. Even more favorably for Oakland, the CWS battery projects to inflate stolen bases at a high rate.
3) Washington Nationals
4) Milwaukee Brewers
5) Cincinnati Reds
Depending on how the weather breaks, the Nationals and Brewers may end up in their own tier one by roster lock. The Nationals face Kevin Gausman who has actually pitched well on the whole (3.55 xFIP), but his consistently high Hard% leads to HR problems he can’t escape. He’s also backed up by the bullpen with the highest xFIP in MLB.
Milwaukee is an interesting contrarian stack at home against Carlos Martinez who has been wild since returning from the DL and has seen a downgrade in K rate this season. Throw in a negative park shift against an event oriented offense and you start to see the upside.
Cincinnati is a surprise stack at home if they play. Hendricks has FIPs of 5.90, 5.50, 5.30, and 6.26 over his last four starts. In that span he’s struck out just 13 batters against 10 walks.
6) St. Louis Cardinals
7) Arizona Diamondbacks
In this final tier, the Cardinals draw the most interest as a road team receiving a big positive park shift and facing a contact oriented LHP who has struggled to keep the ball on the ground this season in Brent Suter. That brings into play event upside RHBs like Tommy Pham, Jedd Gyorko, Marcell Ozuna, and Harrison Bader.