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June 29 MLB DFS Early Slate: Willson!
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June 29 MLB DFS Early Slate: Willson!

01:01 Starting Pitchers
06:18 Catchers
08:31 First Base
10:57 Second Base
13:59 Shortstop
16:07 Third Base
18:22 Outfield
23:53 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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June 29 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) David Price (BOS)

Tier Two

2) Kyle Hendricks (CCHC)

Tier Three

3) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

4) Archie Bradley (ARI)

Tier Four

5) Cody Reed (CIN)

6) Yovani Gallardo (BAL)

7) Christian Friedrich (SD)

8) Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

9) Matt Moore (TB)

David Price (BOS) is the clear cut top starting pitcher on the slate. While he was wretched last start out, the general trend in his hard hit rate allowed is downwards, which may help him to get his run prevention more in line with his 3.32 xFIP rather than 4.68 ERA. If that happens, he’s an elite DFS play due to high innings and K totals (25.8 K percentage). Price gets a massive park shift in his favor playing in Tropicana Field. It’s a high risk, high reward matchup as the Rays lead MLB in wRC+ against LHP but have a high 23.0 K percentage. We don’t mind him as an anchor on either site, but we’re more likely to use him in cash games on DraftKings due to more flexible pricing.

There’s a huge increase in risk once you move outside of the top three tiers of starting pitchers, so we’d like to stay within those tiers in cash games. On DraftKings, Dallas Keuchel (HOU) is priced the cheapest and thus our favorite option. The Angels are a subpar DFS matchup because they don’t swing and miss. However, it’s a favorable park for Keuchel who has been pitching extremely well with the exception of his last start (3.39 xFIP or lower in seven of eight starts). Over on FanDuel, Archie Bradley (ARI) has the friendliest price. He is risky, but it’s a risk we’re leaning towards taking, even in cash games, as his cap relief allows you to get in some of the plethora of high upside bats partaking in this slate. Bradley remains wild, but he found his strikeout stuff in AAA (29.9 K percentage), which is carrying over to this go-around at the MLB level (24.6 K percentage). That ability to miss bats combined with a plus matchup against the Phillies (28th in wRC+ against RHP) helps us to tolerate the associated risk.

In tournaments, any of the tier four options can be used, but our favorites our the five-seventh ranked options as Cody Reed (CIN) has excellent strikeout stuff and Yovani Gallardo (BAL)/Christian Friedrich (SD) get the benefit of Petco Park.

Catcher Rankings

1) Russell Martin (TOR)

2) Willson Contreras (CHC)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

4) Welington Castillo (ARI)

5) JT Realmuto (MIA)

Given a sizable gap following Victor Martinez in our raw rankings yet similar pricing for the next few ranked catchers, our cash game focus is on the top three options, particularly Russell Martin (TOR) and Willson Contreras (CHC). Both catchers should hold top five lineup spots with the platoon edge in extremely favorable park environments for two of the teams with the three highest implied run totals on the slate. You could get low ownership on any similarly priced catchers, but if deviating here it might be better to simply find a punt option. It’s possible Martin sits after catching a late start night game last night, and unfortunately backup catcher Josh Thole is not at a punt price.

First Base Rankings

1) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

4) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

5) Joey Votto (CIN)

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is our top ranked first baseman and second ranked hitter overall, as the Blue Jays RHBs get a LHP in Coors Field, leading to a slate high implied run total of 6.5. Encarnacion, who has been torrid in June (0.4 delta in our well-hit tool, .463 ISO in June) is a good spend in cash games but not a must due to opportunity cost. In the mid-tier, Miguel Cabrera (DET) is simply underpriced, and power hitting rookie AJ Reed (HOU) is also too cheap, representing a cap relief play in a matchup that should help his power. Opposing pitcher Jered Weaver has just a 31.0 GB rate and has allowed a 19.8 hard minus soft hit rate. Depending on how you approach starting pitcher and what expensive Coors bats you squeeze in, you can really attack first base at any price point.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Devon Travis (TOR)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Jean Segura (ARI)

5) Ian Kinsler (DET)

It’s fun to try and pay up for one of Jose Altuve (HOU) (with the power he’s found this year, he’s averaging the most Fantasy points of any hitter) or Devon Travis (TOR) (should lead off or hit second; limited sample but career .201 ISO). Both have really great matchups, with Altuve facing Jered Weaver (5.24 ERA/5.62 FIP/5.52 xFIP) and Travis holding the platoon edge in Coors Field. We’d like to get up there, but if you can’t, Dustin Pedroia (BOS) feels underpriced as a mid-tier option, Ryan Schimpf (SD) is a potential full punt on DraftKings.

Shortstop Rankings

1a) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

1b) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

4) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

5a) Javier Baez (CHC)

5b) Addison Russell (CHC)

Shortstop is a bit easier on FanDuel where Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) are strong cash game candidates at mid-tier pricing. However, on DraftKings they’re priced so close to Manny Machado (BAL)/Carlos Correa (HOU), that you might as well just pay up for our top options at the position in cash games, unless you’re using Tulowitzki to simply force Coors Field. With the shortstops expensive in general on DraftKings, it’s viable to simply punt the position if one emerges. One cap relief option who doesn’t quite have a pure punt price tag is Addison Russell (CHC), who has a large positive delta in our well-hit tool and will hold the platoon edge in Coors Field for a Cubs team with an implied run total over 5. Opposing pitcher Cody Reed can miss bats but also projects to give up quite a bit of power in that ballpark, and obviously the bullpen behind him is historically bad.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Manny Machado (BAL)

5) Jake Lamb (ARI)

With Josh Donaldson (TOR) (first) and Kris Bryant (CHC) (third) representing two of our top three hitters overall, this is an absolutely stacked position. Nolan Arenado (COL) and Manny Machado (BAL) rank juuust outside our top 10, and Jake Lamb (ARI) is a top 20 option overall. So how to attack the position? On DraftKings we like paying up here, which contributes to us not calling Edwin Encarnacion a must play at first base (would rather do something like AJ Reed-Expensive 3B than Edwin-Cheap 3B). The two options then are Donaldson and Bryant who have mammoth upside. We don’t mind paying up for them on FanDuel, but the less flexible cap (even if going cheap at starting pitcher) and more distance in pricing between Donaldson/Bryant and Machado/Lamb evens things out a bit. It’s also possible you could pure punt here with Ryan Schimpf (SD), but we’d rather try and find a higher upside punt at a position that carries less opportunity cost.

Outfield Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC) (where eligible)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

4) Mike Trout (LAA)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Mookie Betts (BOS)

7) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

8) George Springer (HOU)

9) Marcell Ozuna (MIA)

10) Willson Contreras (CHC) (where eligible)

11) Adam Jones (BAL)

12) Jason Heyward (CHC)

13) Kevin Pillar (TOR)

14) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

15) Christian Yelich (MIA)

On DraftKings it’s a legitimate cash game strategy to use Kris Bryant (CHC) in the outfield, allowing yourself to pay up for Josh Donaldson at third base. However, Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is right on your heels and currently looks like the best way to get Rockies exposure. Despite the huge run total (6), we don’t see a ton of value on the Rockies since Aaron Sanchez is a strong overall pitcher, and especially tough against RHBs. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) matches the upside of Bryant/Gonzalez, and his cheaper price tag accounts for the increased risk he carries. Since 2014, Stanton has a ridiculous .473 wOBA and .357 ISO against LHP. Meanwhile in his short career, Daniel Norris has yielded 1.19 HR/9 to RHBs. Stanton has shown more life in his bat recently with extra base hits in five of seven games (homered last night) but continues to strike out a ton. Another power upside option at a similar price point is Mark Trumbo (BAL). There’s not currently a lot in the way of cheap outfielders. On DraftKings a more balanced outfield may pay off as Jason Heyward (CHC) and Kevin Pillar (TOR) represent underpriced mid-tier options. Over on FanDuel, you can get away with a pure punt as both Matt Szczur (CHC) and Jimmy Paredes (PHI) are minimum priced. For a small slate, there are a surprising amount of fun tournaments options, with any top 10 ranked outfielder not already mentioned worth a pivot as a lower owned alternative.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

3) Colorado Rockies

Tier Three

4) Houston Astros

5) Arizona Diamondbacks

6) Miami Marlins

We’d definitely force some Jays exposure in cash games as they are clearly in a tier of their own on this shortened slate. Despite the short slate, though, there are several really high upside secondary stacks. The Cubs edge out the Rockies, despite a lower team total, as we simply prefer their matchup against the horrific Reds pitching staff.

The third tier teams should all see low ownership in tournaments since the top three stacks are all so chalky. The Astros are a power/speed team that has plenty of homer upside despite a big ballpark. The Diamondbacks could go overlooked, but they face Zach Eflin (horrendous through three starts, ZiPS projected 5.62 ERA) at home. The Marlins are in a neutral park overall, but it’s a positive shift for them. Plus, they gain some lineup depth with the DH. Norris is a wild, homer prone pitcher, which is the combination you look for generally speaking when stacking.

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