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!
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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 25 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Justin Verlander (HOU) is in his own stratosphere atop the starting pitching projections on Monday. Verlander has been remarkably consistent this season. He’s 15-16 in quality starts. He’s allowed ONE earned run or fewer in 11 of 16 starts (69%, very nice). He’s generated a strikeout rate over 30 percent in 10 of 16 starts and in just four of his 16 starts have opponents generated a hard hit rate above 30 percent against him. Verlander will face a Blue Jays’ offense that ranks 10th in wRC+ against RHP but are just two percent above the league average and they have generated an above average K Rate against RHP. Verlander is expensive on both sites but justifiably so. He is the consensus top target for cash games. In tournaments, high ownership should warrant some consideration on a fade in single entry or three max. In MME, a stand is likely a necessity in either direction as we expect he’ll approach 40 percent ownership.
Blake Snell (TB), Mike Foltynewicz (ATL), Kenta Maeda (LAD), Gio Gonzalez (WAS), Cole Hamels (TEX), Jameson Taillon (PIT), and Mike Clevinger (CLE) form a deep second tier of starters that is generally filled with a mix of plus matchups but questionable price tags or questionable matchups with plus price tags.
Snell is the most talented of the bunch and his consistency this season is all the more impressive given a tough schedule pitching in the AL East. Snell has allowed one or fewer earned runs in 10 of his 16 starts this year. The Nationals provide another stiff test as they project like an above average offense against LHP when fully healthy but most of their contact-oriented bats come from the left side (Murphy and Eaton). Snell has dominated LHBs as a big leaguer, allowing just a .199 wOBA and .063 ISO while striking out nearly 28 percent of them since the beginning of last season. The matchup isn’t ideal for Snell but he likely represents the best pivot from Verlander given his upside.
Foltynewicz has quietly been one of the hottest pitchers in all of baseball, allowing just two earned runs or less in 13 of 14 starts this season and allowing just four earned runs in his last 42 innings. The velocity has improved this season and he’s handling LHBs better but a .272 BABIP has also helped fuel the run prevention. He’s wildly overpriced on DraftKings but on FanDuel he’s a reasonable pivot off Verlander.
Kenta Maeda is affordable on this slate and has the second lowest implied total against but faces a Cubs’ offense that is known to play the platoon aggressively. With Maeda’s wide platoon splits (.335 wOBA, .175 ISO allowed to LHBs, .276 wOBA, .154 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2017) and two poor starts since being activated off the DL with a hip injury, we believe he’s only a viable candidate in tournaments.
Mike Clevinger (CLE) and Cole Hamels (TEX) are overpriced on both sites for us. Gio Gonzalez (WAS) faces the Rays who are basically league average against LHP but strike out at an above average clip. It’s a negative league shift for Gonzalez who is finally priced below 10k on DraftKings but is still a bit pricey for our taste. On FanDuel, Gonzalez isn’t as punished for the WHIP and is priced better so he’s in play as a pivot from Verlander.
On both sites, Jameson Taillon (PIT) has a solid price tag for a matchup with a Mets’ offense that is slightly below average (98 wRC+) against RHP this season. Taillon has developed some pretty wide splits (.345 wOBA, .147 ISO against LHBs, .294 wOBA, .138 ISO against RHBs since 2017) which is why the Mets can be a bit of a nuisance. The best Mets hitters are from the left side and they’ll likely have four of the first five from the left side before the bottom of the order thins out quickly. Taillon has a 3.7 implied total against which is the third lowest on the slate. We think he’s a viable SP2 candidate on DraftKings if you’re uncomfortable with spending down or very comfortable with value bats.
On DraftKings, the immense price tag associated with Verlander does put some pressure on your salary cap and thus optimal lineups are looking for cheap SP2 to make things work. The options are all questionable.
Shelby Miller (ARI) is the most justifiable. Miller is making his debut in Miami against the Marlins who rank 25th in wRC+ against RHP and are returning from a long road trip that finished in Colorado. Miller’s minor league rehab was volatile but it finished in great fashion with 6 ⅔ dominant shutout innings (10 K, 0 BB, 3 H on 81 pitches). Unfortunately this was against a Class A team, so there isn’t much we can really take from it. Vegas has installed Miller as a favorite (-130) with an implied total of just four runs against. This would make for one of the better implied totals against on the slate. At $6,500, he’s a viable candidate.
Opposite Miller is Dan Straily (MIA) who is just $4,500 but is also just one season removed from a league average pitcher (22 percent K Rate, mid-4s FIP/xFIP) and he’s facing a Diamondbacks offense that is getting a park downgrade and ranks 28th in wRC+ this season. On the flip side, Straily has allowed a 50 percent hard hit rate this season and is coming off a start in which he faced just 11 batters. It’s not pretty.
Our lean for SP2 on DraftKings is between one of Taillon, Miller, or Straily. Projections will make a few others look like viable, most notably: Vincent Velasquez (PHI). On the plus side for Velasquez he’s been pretty good against RHBs this season (.275 wOBA, .108 ISO. 29.2 K Rate) and he gets a Yankees’ offense without Gary Sanchez or the DH. On the negative side, Velasquez is vulnerable to blow up starts because of a combination of shaky command and high fly ball rate. With a 4.8 implied total against, Velasquez feels like a better tournament target than cash game option. Although with how shaky the rest of the SPs are for cash consideration, he probably can’t be removed altogether.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) tops the catcher position with the top projection in this slate. Grandal has generated a .338 wOBA and .229 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. He’s one of the better hitting catchers in the league, and his HHR over the L15 days (31.8%) has been phenomenal. We’re considering him across all formats on DK even though he’s priced correctly.
The catcher position isn’t very exciting tonight. If you’re filling it out last and you need to save resources, Alex Avila (ARI) can be considered. He’s just $2,500 and will have the platoon edge. He’s not a good hitter – after all, you’re getting what you’re paying for, which is a projection that doesn’t crack 6 DK points.
Mid-tier options like Mike Zunino (SEA) and Robinson Chirinos (TEX) are also acceptable though they’re a bit overpriced as bottom of the order hitters. They have power upside though, which is what makes them appealing. Zunino has generated a .240 ISO vs. RHP and Chirinos has slugged a .250 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) represents the top projected scorer at first base. He has the best baselines in this slate vs. RHP at the position, and the matchup against Tyler Mahle is a strone one, as Mahle has been beyond terrible vs. LHBs (.406 wOBA, .275 ISO allowed since the start of last season). Freeman is a viable play in all formats, but the only site that you might be able to roster him alongside an ace in cash games is on DK.
There’s a cheap play that we’re eyeing on both sites at the position, and that’s Greg Bird (NYY). Bird is $3,700 and just $2,400 on FD. He’ll flood a bunch of optimals on DK, but it’s on FD that he feels unfadable in cash games. Vince Velasquez is a wide splits pitcher. He’s allowed a .370 wOBA and .235 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season. It’s a plus matchup for Bird, who’s simply way underpriced on FD for the baselines we have for him vs. RHP (.347 wOBA, .244 ISO).
Justin Bour (MIA) is a fine straight line privot off Bird on DK where he’s $3,500. Bour has generated a .375 wOBA and .246 ISO vs. RHP since 2017. He’ll hit at home, which is a subpar hitting environment, but it’s worth noting that Shelby Miller is coming off Tommy John surgery.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Dee Gordon (SEA) form the top tier of second basemen in this slate as they lead the position in projection. One of these is simply not priced like the other, and that would be Gordon, who’s particularly cheap on FD ($2,900). Gordon isn’t a good hitter, but he leads off for the Mariners and his stolen base upside is tantalizing. He swiped 60 bases last season and this season he’s up to 19 in 297 PAs. He’s a road leadoff hitter today, and the Mariners have the highest IRT (5.1 in the slate). Five PAs is very much in his range of outcomes tonight.
Albies is a better hitter than Gordon and he carries more upside, but he’s priced appropriately. We remain intrigued in tournaments.
The other alternatives at the position come with cheap price tags. Jose Pirela (SD) is certainly not a good hitter, but he’s $3,100 on DK and $2,300 on FD. We prefer Gordon on FD, but Pirela is $1,200 cheaper than Gordon on DK, which puts him squarely in play in cash games. He’ll have the platoon edge in Arlington, which is a massive park shift for the Padres offense.
Jace Peterson (BAL) is another bad hitter, but he’s been generating hard contact lately (26% HHR over the L15 days) and he’ll have the platoon edge at home. We have him projected to hit leadoff, but Colby Rasmus was the leadoff hitter vs. a RHP yesterday. We won’t have any interest in him if he’s not leading off.
Jose Ramirez (CLE) carries the top projection in the hot corner, but he’s very pricey on both sites. That takes him out of the cash game conversation, but he can be considered in tournaments. After all, he’s been outstanding against RHP, generating a .417 wOBA and .300 ISO since the start of last season.
Kyle Seager (SEA) appears in the majority of FD optimals tonight, and that’s because he’s cheap ($2,900) and has an above average context. The Mariners are traveling to Camden Yards, which is an upgrade in hitting environment for this offense. Seager can hit for power (.194 ISO vs. RHP since 2017), and with the platoon edge he’s simply too cheap.
Seager’s price tag is more appropriate on DK ($4,100), but he’s still flooding into a bunch of our top optimals on that site. Jake Lamb (ARI), Adrian Beltre (TEX) and Jace Peterson (BAL) (if leading off) are viable alternatives at the position. Lamb carries nearly the same projection as Seager on DK. He’ll face off against Dan Straily, who’s surrendered a .190 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season. Beltre has generated a 27% HHR over the L15 days and will have the platoon edge in Arlington. Lamb and Beltre are in the same price range as Seager, which keeps them in the cash game conversation on DK. They’re viable alternatives in tournaments on FD.
Matt Carpenter (STL) doesn’t have an exciting matchup (Mike Clevinger), but he’s been red hot of late, generating a slate leading 42.9% HHR over the L15 days. He’s a viable tournament target on both sites.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) and Manny Machado (BAL) represent the top projected scorers at the shortstop position. While these two have the type of upside that you’d like to jam in all formats, their price tags are very appropriate on both sites. As a result, they make more sense in tournament builds, and with a clear ace in this slate, it’s very possible that these two carry low ownership.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) is showing up in top optimals on both sites. He hasn’t done much after coming back from an extended DL trip, but he’s been a pretty solid hitter vs. southpaws since the start of last season, generated a .343 wOBA and .182 ISO. His price tag is okay on both sites, but that might be enough to roster him in cash games at a position that doesn’t have clear values.
Didi Gregorius (NYY) won’t get the benefit of hitting in Yankee Stadium, but his matchup against Vince Velasquez sticks out since the latter is a wide splits pitcher. Didi’s $4,400 price tag on DK puts him in the short list of viable cash game targets. The same goes for Jean Segura (SEA), who’s priced in the mid-tier on FD ($3,700). If you need to save more resources on DK, Scott Kingery (PHI) is a decent target. This position will likely be one of the last ones you fill tonight.
Giancarlo Stanton and teammate Aaron Judge (NYY) represent the top projected scorers in this slate regardless of hitting position on FD. On DK, they’re right on par with Freddie Freeman. Judge (.439 wOBA, .345 ISO) has been a more impressive than Stanton (.360 wOBA, .266 ISO) vs. RHP since the start of last season, but Stanton is a little bit cheaper than Judge on both sites. They’re both great targets, even in a NL park. Vince Velasquez misses bats, especially against RHBs, so the matchup won’t check all the boxes for these two. They’re viable in all formats.
The next highest projected scorer at the position is Wil Myers (SD), who’s $2,700 on FD. He should be a core part of your cash game lineups. Myers has a .347 wOBA and .213 ISO baselines with the platoon edge and he’s in Arlington facing a southpaw tonight. Cole Hamels isn’t a terrible pitcher by any means, but he does allow power to RHBs (.188 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2017). Myers has also entered some of the top optimals on DK, and he’s $4,500 on that site.
Other values that stick out at the position are Brett Gardner (NYY) and Hunter Renfroe (SD), who’s just $2,500 on FD. Gardner is a modest hitter with the platoon edge, but he’s the leadoff hitter in the Yankees offense and he’s sub $3k on FD and $3,800 on DK. Renfroe has been unbelivable with the platoon edge, slugging a .415 wOBA and .318 ISO since the start of last season. It’s a small sample of PAs (175), but that’s still impressive. Adam Jones (BAL) is a decent target on FD, where he’s $2,800.
There’s not much else that sticks out in cash games in the outfield. There are some intriguing tournament names to consider, like George Springer (HOU) with the platoon edge and a cheaper price tag than usual on DK due to a matchup against J.A. Happ. Nelson Cruz (SEA) has generated a 28.6% HHR over the L15 days and will get to hit in another above average hitting park in this series against Baltimore. Teammate Mitch Haniger (SEA) can be included as part of Mariners’ stacks. Rhys Hoskins (PHI) has been exceptional, even without the platoon edge (.391 wOBA and .280 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season). He’s priced accurately for a matchup against electric rookie Jonathan Loaisiga and the potent Yankees bullpen, but he can be considered in tournaments as well.
1) New York Yankees
This slate figures to be one without much chalk as there isn’t a clearly defined offense in terms of implied totals (Texas and Seattle the only two over five runs) and the pitching decisions are difficult. Although the Yankees rate first in our stack rankings, we don’t expect they’ll make for a particularly chalky group. The offense should be a bit more concentrated without the DH and Gary Sanchez heading to the DL and Stanton/Judge price tags are hard to get to with Verlander on the slate. We see some room for lower ownership on a Yankees’ stack that feels very boom-or-bust against Velasquez fly ball tendencies and a middling bullpen behind him with a guaranteed nine innings of plate appearances.
2) Seattle Mariners
Seattle is the stack that we believe has the highest likelihood of getting chalky on this slate. They’re affordable on FanDuel, though priced appropriately on DraftKings, and they’re getting a big park upgrade into Baltimore against Andrew Cashner and the Orioles bullpen.
3) Cleveland Indians
4) Atlanta Braves
5) San Diego Padres
6) Texas Rangers
This third tier should see ownership spread out as well. While the Texas Rangers have the highest implied total on the slate and some players may carry ownership (Beltre/Andrus), the lefty heavy nature of their best hitters makes it unlikely the stack as a whole is high owned. Joey Lucchesi has been dominant against LHBs early in his career but knocked around by righties and he rarely works deep into the games. We would not worry about ownership here, although our projections like other teams ahead of them who should carry similarly mild total stack ownership but perhaps a bit more spread distribution as we expect Beltre/Andrus to carry decent ownership numbers.
Cleveland is intriguing but expensive. They’ll face John Gant who is a converted reliever and is backed up by a brutal Cardinals pen with temperatures in the 80s and high humidity in St. Louis. Cleveland’s implied total is a modest 4.5 and they’re pretty expensive so we expect low ownership here.
San Diego might get some spillover chalk due to the big bump in hitting environment and cheap price tags. Cole Hamels has allowed tons of hard contact this season so the play is warranted. The really soft price tags on FanDuel will likely make them a bit more popular than you’d expect simply because they fit well with Verlander.
7) Houston Astros
8) Arizona Diamondbacks
9) Philadelphia Phillies
10) Baltimore Orioles
11) Los Angeles Dodgers
This tier figures to come with really low ownership on the slate. The Diamondbacks are interesting because of all the hard contact Dan Straily has consistently allowed this year although it is a terrible park to put up big numbers. The Astros are simply taking low owned shots at great skill as a matchup with J.A. Happ isn’t particularly great. The Dodgers get to face an emergency Cubs starter backed up by a worn out bullpen without two of their best relievers. Those are our three favorites from this tier with respect to expected ownership, price tags, and probability of hitting.