Welcome to June 25 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 25 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!
00:58 Starting Pitcher
13:11 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- 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.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
June 25 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Max Scherzer (WSH) and Gerrit Cole (HOU) are the two pitchers priced like aces on Tuesday’s slate but Scherzer is projecting as above and away the top pitcher of the night. On FanDuel specifically, Scherzer is projecting for over six more fantasy points than the next guy (Cole) and one and a half more strikeouts more than any other pitcher (Snell). Scherzer draws the dream matchup against the Marlins who are being implied to score fewer than 3.0-runs at home. Scherzer’s outs baseline is higher than any other pitcher on the slate and he earns a positive park shift pitching in gigantic Marlins Park. On DraftKings, Scherzer is nearly popping into 100-percent of standard optimals, but not on FanDuel because there is a certain cheaper alternative projecting as a superior per-dollar value.
As for Cole, he is listed as a massive -268 home favorite (highest on the slate), but his K projection is well below that of Scherzer. The Pirates’ active hitters quietly rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and line drive rate while only striking out at an 18.4-percent rate. In comparison to Scherzer’s matchup versus the Marlins, Cole finds himself with a difficult task, and that is enough to create separation between the two in the projections. If fading the chalk, Cole can still be deployed as a direct alternative to Scherzer in tournaments, as he is still one of the few pitchers on the slate with 10-plus strikeout upside if he has his best stuff.
Madison Bumgarner (SF) and David Price (BOS) constitute the next tier at the position and Bumgarner pops as the best value of the entire slate on FanDuel where he is only priced at $8,300 in a matchup versus the Trevor Story-less Rockies. Even Drew Pomeranz excelled in this spot yesterday when he struck out 11 Rockies in just five innings. As noted in yesterday’s content, the Rockies have struggled mightily versus lefties on the road, where they have produced a wRC+ below 75. Losing Trevor Story leaves the Rockies with limited weapons on the split against LHP especially with Bumgarner having limited LHHs to a .223 wOBA this year. Regardless of site, Bumgarner can be found in 100-percent of standard optimals, and we view him as a building block on this slate.
Price is a Red Sox LHP matched up against the White Sox for the second straight day after Eduardo Rodriguez suffered the fate of being left in an inning too long last night. The White Sox rolled out a lineup with their best five hitters in the split in the top five spots yesterday with Jon Jay, who rarely strikes out, in the lineup instead of Zack Collins and his 30-plus percent projected K rate. Price is slightly cheaper than Bumgarner on FanDuel if needing the few hundred in salary relief but the setup is much more difficult with him pitching in Fenway Park under American League rules.
Robbie Ray (ARI) is priced similarly to both Bumgarner and Price on FanDuel but both the pitching environment and opposing offense are far from ideal. Although the temperature is supposed to be over 100-degrees in Arizona, the roof is expected to be open. Even assuming the roof ends up closed, the Dodgers are still a tough task for any pitcher, as they rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and BB rate against southpaws. Ray features K percentage baselines of over 28-percent versus both sides of the plate but is only projecting for 6.8 strikeouts because of the tough opponent. His price is more conducive to the slate on the FanDuel but he rates outside cash game consideration on both sites.
Shane Bieber (CLE) and Blake Snell (TB) are both talented pitchers who would normally project amongst the top pitchers on the slate but not tonight with 15 games to choose from. Bieber opened as a massive -236 home favorite against the Royals sans Adalberto Mondesi but the problem with the Royals is their lack of strikeouts. Thus far, their active hitters have only struck out at a 20.3-percent rate against RHP, and Bieber is not priced too much cheaper than Cole on DraftKings (which makes his name tough to pull the trigger on).
Snell, on the other hand, is priced meaningfully cheaper on DraftKings but will be tasked with slowing down the offense that leads the league in both runs and home runs per game. The addition of Luis Arraez (called back up from the minors due to the injury to Marwin Gonzalez) to the offense has only made them less strikeout prone than before and 4.5-runs against an ace is obviously higher than a typical game. Comparatively to the other aces on the slate, Snell is a risky proposition, especially since he has allowed four-plus runs in three of his last four games. However, his 7.6 K projection is more than even Cole on this slate. The price depreciation across the industry is the main motivation to consider using him.
Jack Flaherty (STL) sits in a tier of his own at home against an Athletics team that will be devoid of their designated hitter (DH). Khris Davis is their full time DH in the American League and it would naturally be a huge blow to the team’s offensive prospects if he were to sit. Flaherty has held his own against RHHs this year to the tune of a .273 wOBA and 31.8-percent K rate in the split. Our projected lineup for the Athletics features six righties and a pitcher so there is reason for optimism here if searching for pitching options outside the top few.
Andrew Heaney (LAA) and Kyle Gibson (MIN) are similarly-priced on FanDuel with K projections under 6.0 and implied run totals against over 4.0. Heaney is the larger favorite of the two at -147 but he has been extremely prone to the long ball this year versus both sides of the plate (2.65 HR/9 rate versus RHHs and 2.16 versus LHHs). The Reds strike out at just below the league average versus LHP and we are projecting just two lefties in their lineup. Heaney has struck out righties at a rate just over 21-percent for his career but lefties have K’d at a 25.8-percent rate. In that sense, the matchup is far from a perfect fit with his splits. In Gibson’s case, the game is essentially a pick’em, with the Rays being implied to score 4.5-runs in Target Field. Gibson’s K rate is up to 23.8-percent this year compared to 17.7-percent for his career, and the Rays strike out at the 10th highest rate versus RHP, but they also rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO.
In tournaments, Zach Davies (MIL) is incredibly cheap ($6,500 on both DraftKings and FanDuel), and he has done a solid job in the run prevention department all year (3.04), despite ugly underlying numbers (5.25 SIERA). Playing in a National League park, the Mariners will lose their designated hitter, and the Mariners’ 36.0-percent hard hit rate amongst active hitters versus RHP ranks ninth worst. If looking to pair an ace with high-end bats, Davies is one of the only positive values in the sub-$7,000 price range according to our models on both sites.
On DraftKings, if looking for a true punt SP2 even beyond Davies, Jesse Chavez (TEX) is coming off his longest outing of the season where he faced 16 batters through 5.0 innings versus the Indians. Our baseline for him has consequently moved to 14 outs, as he does not appear to be a true “opener” any longer, and he is only priced at $5,300 in a matchup versus a Tigers team we have been targeting RHP against all season long.
Also on DraftKings, the other true punt SP option is Chi Chi Gonzalez (COL) priced at $6,600 in the most extreme possible positive park shift against a Giants offense that ranks in the bottom five of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against RHP. Gonzalez features virtually no strikeout upside at all (career K rate below 12-percent versus both sides of the plate) but he is the path to stacking multiple expensive offenses. Chris Bassitt (OAK) is also cheap on FanDuel (just $6,900) and facing a Cardinals team that has struggled mightily in the split against RHP this year (.311 wOBA, 92 wRC+). He is mentioned because he features a bit more K upside than Gonzalez.Stacks
1) New York Yankees
Holy cow, the Yankees opened with an implied run total approaching 7.0, and that number has already trended up to 7.5-runs. No, they are not playing in Coors Field, but rather at home versus a subpar left-hander with the entire group of powerful righties expected to be heatlhy and in the lineup. The prices on the Yankees make them difficult to stack on both sites with all their powerful righties approaching or exceeding $5,000 on DraftKings and all approaching $4,000-4,500 on FanDuel. The choice basically comes down to the Yankees or rostering an ace in a lineup because it is darn near impossible to do both. Otherwise, there is no reason not to love the spot against a pitcher that has yielded a .421 wOBA and 1.89 HR/9 rate against RHHs in the early-going this year while striking them out at just an 11.4-percent rate. Yankee Stadium is not likely to be kind to a starting pitcher of such a skill set and the Yankees look primed to smash.
2) Boston Red Sox
3) Atlanta Braves
The second tier includes the Red Sox and Braves who both own implied run totals of at least 6.0. Carson Fulmer is set to start for the White Sox but the team has declared it a bullpen day. The last time an opener led the way on a bullpen day for the White Sox, Ryan Burr started that game (May 20) and left after two innings. We have slightly higher expectations for Fulmer, especially due to the state of the starting staff for the White Sox, and this is a White Sox bullpen that ranks in the bottom seven of both xFIP and SIERA. The Red Sox’ implied total was down to an unusually low number for them yesterday against the White Sox’ best starter but the matchup gets easier today (and their 6.5 implied run total is second highest on the slate).
Once again, the Braves will be playing in windy Wrigley Field, and Adbert Alzolay will be making just his second big league appearance. In his first appearance, he lasted 4.0 innings while allowing just three base runners and one earned run (ER) while striking out five. Alzolay posted excellent strikeout numbers in Triple-A, with solid underlying numbers (3.13 FIP, 3.55 xFIP), but Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out is a unique task for any pitcher (let alone a young one). Unfortunately for Alzolay, the opponent is extremely tough too, with the Braves featuring one of the deepest lineups in the league. Wrigley Field will not get the focus it had yesterday, where half the game was 30-plus percent owned, and yet the wind will still be blowing out at center at between 13-15 mph.
4) San Diego Padres
5) Cleveland Indians
6) Chicago Cubs
7) Milwaukee Brewers
The Padres and Indians headline tier number three but the Padres specifically have been priced up on DraftKings like they will be facing a pitching machine in Coors Field. Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hunter Renfroe are all priced in the mid-$5,000s there, which is going to make stacking this offense contrarian by default as none of those players are going to pop as the primary values at their position. Still, the setup is fantastic versus opener Jimmy Yacabonis, presumably long man Josh Rogers and the rest of the atrocious Orioles bullpen. On the road, where they will enjoy the presence of a designated hitter and will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs), the Padres feature an implied run total over 6.0. On FanDuel, it is a bit of an easier proposition to stack this team, as Eric Hosmer, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes are all priced quite affordably.
The Indians, meanwhile, will be playing at home versus a pitcher sporting a 5.28 SIERA this season (and career 5.04 SIERA) coming off one of the best starts of his career. In that game, Glenn Sparkman still posted a FIP over 4.60 and an xFIP over 5.20, signifying the positive results were just fool’s gold. Only the Astros and Red Sox are heavier favorites than the Indians and the hitting conditions are favorable in Progressive Field (which is already one of the best hitting environments in the league to begin with). This could be a sneaky good spot.
The Wrigley Field win is aiding the Cubs implied total of 6.0 but facing a contact pitcher should only help their cause in these conditions. To this point, Max Fried has only struck out righties at a 20.8-percent rate while allowing a .334 wOBA, 1.46 HR/9 rate, 25.3-percent line drive rate and 35.4-percent hard hit rate in the split. While the hard hit rate is nothing to write home about, the inability to miss bats is, because the wind will help push fly balls out of the yard. Fried does not allow many fly balls (21.1-percent fly ball rate allowed to RHHs) but Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are two of the most talented hitters in the league in the split. Start Cubs stacks with those two and add-on as needed.
Marco Gonzales has won three straight starts and eight overall this year but has been doing so with brutal underlying numbers. In fact, Gonsales’ 5.16 SIERA ranks eighth worst amongst qualified pitchers, and Miller Park serves as a significant park downgrade for him. The Brewers’ righties have severely underperformed in the split versus LHP this year and the lefties have picked up much of the slack. This makes them a tough team to stack against a pitcher who also has had hard hit issues versus LHHs. If stacking the Brewers, fantasy owners will need to decide how many lefties to include, especially with the righties popping in our model (due to their career numbers holding weight).
The Rangers, Astros and Phillies are the other stacks of note on this slate, and things drop off quickly beyond these three teams. All, coincidentally, are matched up against contact-oriented pitchers and the offenses are loaded with high ISO bats.
The Rangers will suffer through a bit of a negative park shift, especially for left-handed power, but Jordan Zimmermann heads into this game with a 5.21 SIERA, 5.14 FIP and 5.46 xFIP.
The Astros will be at home versus Trevor Williams, who has limited power against him this year, but that is mostly playing at home in PNC Park. Williams’ 36.4-percent hard hit rate allowed this year is over five percentage points higher than in any other season of his career and George Springer will be back in the Astros lineup tonight.
The Phillies smashed Steven Matz last night and Walker Lockett is a pitcher that posted a single-digit K rate in Triple-A this year (and a low teens K rate for most of his minor league career). Many of the high ISO bats in this lineup strike out at a high rate as well and swings-and-misses will not be much of a concern this evening as long as Lockett remains in the game.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) projects as one of the Top Five offensive options on the slate and comes at a thin catcher position. He dominates the projections and is clearly a high-end target in all formats. He’s a tough fit in cash games given all the other high end spends on the slate and the opportunity cost in terms of getting salary relief and a pure punt. As a result, he’s not a primary target in cash games but he’s a tremendous play.
On DraftKings, the emphasis at catcher is often just finding the salary relief to afford all the plays you want at other positions. The two names who have fit the mold as pure punts all season long are Danny Jansen (TOR) and Jeff Mathis (TEX) who once again are priced at just $2,100. Jansen is the better hitter but will face a more difficult group of opposing pitchers as the Yankees staff trumps the Tigers staff by a wide margin.
If you’re looking for mid-tier options then J.T. Realmuto (PHI) and Austin Hedges (SD) are the best mid-tier targets that balance the salary relief with strong projections. Realmuto faces Walker Lockett who was roughed up by the Cubs in his first major league outing and profiles as a fringe big leaguer. The Phillies have a strong 5.8 implied total and Realmuto is underpriced for his talent. Hedges gets a big park upgrade for power which elevates his best skill set and draws a great matchup against the Orioles.
Brian McCann (ATL) and Willson Contreras (CHC) represent tournament targets that should see some ownership carryover simply from the elevated total in Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out.
Yasmani Grandal (MIL) is a potentially under-owned candidate with a home matchup against a lefty fly ball oriented pitcher and a weak bullpen behind him. The Brewers are a potential under-the-radar stack on this slate and Grandal certainly fits that mold as most wanting to spend at catcher will want to get up to Sanchez.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Luke Voit (NYY) top the projections at first base with Edwin Encarnacion (NYY), Carlos Santana (CLE), and Rhys Hoskins (PHI) not too far behind.
Voit is the cheapest of the group and thus the primary target for those who are spending at first base. The Yankees lineup is ridiculous against LHP with five hitters who have a baseline ISO against LHP over .255 and seven hitters with a wOBA baseline above .350 in the platoon split. They have a 7.1 implied total against Clayton Richard who struggled to a 5.33 ERA in San Diego last season and has walked more batters than he’s struck out in his first six starts in the American League this season. The Yankees are the top offense on the slate by a wide margin.
The other high-end options are fine pivots in tournaments. Hoskins, Freeman, and Encarnacion should be the second tier in ownership. Carlos Santana seems like the lowest owned option of the group as Cleveland is an offense despite their high implied total (5.8) we’d expect to fall behind the others in ownership.
In terms of value, Eric Hosmer (SD) is priced down a bit on FanDuel and gets a big park upgrade back in the American League in Baltimore. If you can’t get all the way up to Voit, then Eric Hosmer is likely your fallback plan. The Padres have a hefty 6.1 implied total.
If Jesus Aguilar (MIL) lands in a good lineup spot, he’s really cheap ($2,400) on FanDuel and on DraftKings ($3,500). The Brewers have a 5.7 implied total and Aguilar has compiled a .385 wOBA and .249 ISO against LHP since 2017. He’s been awful this season but his power against LHP is intriguing for such a cheap price tag.
A Yankees eligible player will top the projections at second base. If you’re playing on FanDuel, it’s Gleyber Torres (NYY) who has a .365 wOBA and .257 ISO baseline against LHP and gets that favorable matchup with Clayton Richard. On DraftKings, it’s DJ LeMahieu (NYY) who doesn’t project as dominant as a hitter as Torres but comes with a far better lineup spot that drives his projection further. LeMahieu is the better Fantasy play but both are strong options and priced appropriately. Second base may not be the primary position to spend on so they may take a backseat on priority.
Jason Kipnis (CLE) is the value play that should draw more attention on both sites. Kipnis projects as the cleanup hitter for a team with a 5.8 implied total and he’s priced around the average cost of a hitter. Glenn Sparkman has allowed a .350 wOBA and .127 ISO against LHBs since the start of 2017 and the Royals bullpen behind him is a bottom seven bullpen in the league. Kipnis is a fine target on either site.
On DraftKings, Jose Altuve (HOU) is the preferred target as he’s underpriced at $3,900 and the Astros offense will get deeper with the return of George Springer. Trevor Williams does a good job limiting hard contact but he’s not accustomed to pitching against AL lineups let alone the Astros deep offense. The Astros have a 5.3 implied total and Altuve is probably $1,000 too cheap. Target him aggressively in cash games on DraftKings.
Robinson Cano (NYM) and Addison Russell (CHC) are potential salary relief targets on both sites. Cano’s lineup spot could bump up (like it did last night) and improve his projection while Russell is unlikely to get a good lineup spot but is a cheap piece of a likely high owned Cubs’ offense.
With the second base targets pretty clear, you’ll likely get low ownership on one-off power options like Mike Moustakas (MIL), Brandon Lowe (TB), Ozzie Albies (ATL), Cavan Biggio (TOR), and Rougned Odor (TEX).
DJ LeMahieu (NYY) leads a strong group of third base options in projection. The leadoff man for a team with an implied total well over seven is usually going to project well and LeMahieu has had a spectacular season. Josh Donaldson (ATL), Kris Bryant (CHC), Rafael Devers (BOS), Manny Machado (SD), and Jose Ramirez (CLE) all project for 14-15 FanDuel points.
Ramirez and Donaldson are the cheapest options and both on offenses with implied totals approaching six. Donaldson’s skill set and baseline is less fragile than Ramirez and our preferred target where priced closely.
The first tier of third basemen are so strong that we ultimately would prefer cash game exposure to someone from that tier, but third base is a deep position which should lead to low owned pivots beyond that top tier.
Justin Turner (LAD), Eugenio Suarez (CIN), Matt Carpenter (STL), and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR) are all secondary alternatives as one-offs that should come with low ownership and big power upside.
On FanDuel, Hernan Perez (MIL) is a cheap option to include on Brewers stacks.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the top projected shortstop on the slate as the leadoff hitter for a Cleveland offense with a 5.8 implied total. While Lindor is clearly the best play at the position, we expect ownership will remain modest given the priority spends at other positions.
Javier Baez (CHC), Manny Machado (SD), Alex Bregman (HOU), Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD), and Gleyber Torres (NYY) provide a deep second tier. Bregman is the cheapest of the bunch on DraftKings where all the Astros appear a bit underpriced. The cheaper price tag should inspire some ownership to compete with the top options but he makes sense as a target in cash games.
Dansby Swanson (ATL), Xander Bogaerts (BOS), and Jean Segura (PHI) are a secondary group of targets. The gaps in price tags between this group and the top tier aren’t as hefty on FanDuel as they are on DraftKings so they’re a bit more valuable on DraftKings. They all represent likely targets as a part of stacks but Segura and Swanson are also fine cash game targets.
Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Addison Russell (CHC) are potential down the order and cheaper options as a part of chalkier stacks.
Aaron Judge (NYY) and Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) are the top options in the outfield and they lead the way by a relatively wide margin. Stanton has absurd baselines against LHP (.418 wOBA, .361 ISO) while Judge also has really strong baselines (.383 wOBA, .277 ISO) and the two get the platoon edge for a lineup with a projected run total over seven. They are severely underpriced for their projections on DraftKings and represent our priority spends in the outfield for cash games as the most efficient way to get exposure to the Yankees offense. On FanDuel, it will be more difficult to access both of them.
Ronald Acuna (ATL), Mookie Betts (BOS), and JD Martinez (BOS) for the second tier of elite outfielders on this slate. All should carry some ownership but we’d expect the Yankees options to dwarf it.
Christian Yelich (MIL), Mike Trout (LAA), and Bryce Harper (PHI) are all in a tier behind those and we expect Yelich and Trout ownership to be more under control than usual given the lack of platoon edge and in Trout’s case favorable offensive environment. A cheaper Harper should see some ownership as a part of Phillies stacks.
In terms of value, Ryan Braun (MIL) stands out as a strong play. Braun has a .357 wOBA and .235 ISO baseline against LHP and gets Marco Gonzales in a big park downgrade for Gonzales. Marco already struggles with the long ball so a smaller park should exacerbate the problem.
On DraftKings, Lorenzo Cain (MIL) and Kyle Schwarber (CHC) are cheap leadoff hitters with the platoon edge and team implied totals around six. They may take precedence over Braun due to a better price tag.
On FanDuel, Hunter Renfroe (SD) also joins the mix as his prodigious power profile (.266 baseline ISO) gets a big park upgrade for RH power. His teammates Franmil Reyes (SD) and Wil Myers (SD) are also affordable options as Padres stacks could be cheap ways to unlock high-end SP.
Kyle Garlick (LAD) is priced as a pure punt on DraftKings at $2,200 and might get into some optimal lineups that try to build through Max Scherzer.