Welcome to June 8 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for June 8 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 8 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
This slate is loaded with pitching. Chris Sale (BOS), Jacob deGrom (NYM), Justin Verlander (HOU), Stephen Strasburg (WAS), Trevor Bauer (CLE), and Walker Buehler (LAD) all approach 20+ DraftKings points in projection and there are another 4-5 brand names behind them.
Chris Sale sits atop the projections as he takes on his former team as a -300 favorite with a 2.9 implied total against. The White Sox project as a below average offense against LHP and they’ve been 24th in wRC+ against LHP this season with a ridiculously high 27.7 K Rate. While Sale won’t have the platoon edge on nearly the entire lineup, this is a projection similar to the Max Scherzer nights we’ve seen of late. Sale has a K projection of nearly 11 and remarkably he’s not even priced inside the top two starters on DraftKings. There is some more risk than the Scherzer situation because he’ll face RHBs in Fenway, a park that inflates RH power, but we feel confident that he’s in the best spot among the high end starters. Vegas seems to agree with an implied total that is .2-.3 runs lower than all other studs on the slate.
Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander form the next tier of starters. Both have more difficult matchups than Sale as you’ll see implied totals in the high threes for both. deGrom faces the Yankees who rank second in wRC+ against RHP and Verlander has to deal with temperatures in the low 90s in Arlington. We view deGrom as the stronger play, in large part due to his dominance against RHBs (.268 wOBA, .130 ISO allowed since 2017 with a 33.3 K Rate). The Yankees’ offense is primarily RH dominant and they’re getting a big park downgrade going into the National League. deGrom is also meaningfully cheaper on DraftKings where it’s entirely reasonable to pair two of the studs and still afford plenty of offense! Verlander’s matchup with the Rangers isn’t a bad one. The Rangers rank 25th in wRC+ against RHP and have an above average K Rate (25.9 percent) but the warm conditions in Arlington have them with a 3.8 implied total that outpaces the other studs. Verlander has as much upside as any of the other starters so if the heavier price tag keeps ownership down, he’s a strong GPP target.
Stephen Strasburg (WAS) ranks a bit behind the deGrom/Verlander group as he faces a watered down Giants’ offense without Brandon Belt but also one that doesn’t project as super strikeout friendly. Surprisingly, they’ve been the opposite this year (fifth in wRC+ against RHP but a 25 percent K Rate). Strasburg is similarly affordable to deGrom and we suspect may carry heftier ownership than deGrom due to the lower implied total (3.1 runs). The challenge will be whether Strasburg can keep up the pace with strikeouts. We project just four batters in the lineup for the Giants with a baseline K Rate against RHP above 20 percent and only TWO above the league average 22 percent (both towards the bottom of the order).
The low expected K Rate for the Giants keeps Strasburg projecting closely with pitchers like Trevor Bauer (CLE) and Walker Buehler (LAD) who Strasburg is clearly more skilled than. Bauer has an annoying price tag on both sites. He’s priced just like the other aces and even with a friendly matchup against the Tigers RH heavy lineup, Bauer just doesn’t quite stack up with the studs. This should keep his ownership really low in tournaments. Buehler is a more interesting case as the price tag is reasonable but the matchup with Atlanta is tricky. The Braves rank 12th in wRC+ against RHP this season with a below average K Rate (20.6 percent) and they have a slew of heavy contact lefties (Inciarte, Freeman, Markakis) that keep the strikeout projection down. However, the field generally doesn’t like taking pitchers against the Braves and the lineup is a bit watered down without Acuna which makes Buehler a viable GPP target.
Vincent Velasquez (PHI) projects just a touch behind Buehler. He faces a Brewers’ offense that is primarily RH heavy and Velasquez has held RHBs to a .303 wOBA and .158 ISO allowed since 2017 with a 26.2 K Rate. Velasquez is a volatile starter because he works up in the zone and relies heavily on his fastball. When command is off, he gives up home runs in bunches. His price is attractive for GPPs though give he has a similar implied total to deGrom/Verlander.
Garrett Richards (LAA) remains underpriced for his upside and his skill-set. The Twins rank 18th in wRC+ against RHP this season with a league average K Rate against them. Richards is getting a park downgrade and comes with an implied total against of four, but we’ve seen the upside for Richards when the command clicks. He’s an ideal GPP target on DraftKings as a SP2 that opens up more room to spend on offense.
Beyond this group, we still have Masahiro Tanaka (NYY), J.A. Happ (TOR), and Caleb Smith (MIA) who all have flashed K upside this season. Smith gets a good matchup against the Padres but seems the thinnest of the bunch on a slate with so many studs. Smith just doesn’t work consistently deep enough to challenge other aces. Tanaka has the best matchup as the Mets have been in a horrific offensive rut. They’ve scored just two runs in their last four games and five of their last six games they’ve been held to one run or less. The issue with Tanaka is he appears overpriced. Happ is definitely overpriced but the Orioles are strikeout prone and rank 25th in wRC+ against LHP. Tanaka is the only one from this group we could see carrying even modest ownership.
With so much opportunity cost on this slate, we find it difficult to spend way down at starting pitcher. Lance Lynn (MIN) is the most attractive per punt given his wide platoon splits and the Angels RH heavy lineups. Zack Greinke (ARI) is underpriced on DK due to pitching in Coors Field and will come with no ownership. These options are merely MME sprinkles for us. Perhaps Brandon McCarthy (ATL) with the benefit of a big park in Los Angeles, but in general this is a tough slate to look for cheap SP.
J.T. Realmuto (MIA) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) represent the top projected scorers at the catcher position. Their projections are a bit light though (under eight DK points), especially when you consider the price tags you’re paying for both on DK. They’re in fine matchups to attack in tournaments as low owned one-offs but in cash games we’re going to be looking elsewhere.
The option our optimals on DK like the most at the position is Russell Martin (TOR), who has the fourth best projection at the position and carries a $2,700 price tag. Martin has modest skills (.325 wOBA, .172 ISO vs. RHP since 2016) but those stand out relative to price tag. The matchup against Andrew Cashner doesn’t stand out as much since the latter has struggled more against LHBs than RHBs but the Blue Jays have an 5.2 IRT at home and Martin hits sixth. His price tag simply fits the slate.
Evan Gattis (HOU) has generated a 23.7% HHR over the L15 and gets a favorable park shift going into Arlington. He’s priced correctly but we think he deserves tournament consideration.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) carries the top projection in this slate regardless of hitting position. He’s in Coors Field and while he won’t have the platoon edge, he checks into this matchup against German Marquez in excellent recent form (38.9% HHR over the L15) and the latter has been a reverse splits pitcher. Since 2016, Marquez has allowed a .349 wOBA and a massive .227 ISO to RHBs. Ultimately, fitting Goldschmidt on DK will be much easier but he’s also part of our top three FD optimals as well.
From a cash game perspective, we’re mostly interested in Goldschmidt and potentially Justin Smoak (TOR) if you need some savings. Smoak is $4,300 on DK and $3,400 on FD and will hit from the left side of the plate against Andrew Cashner (.354 wOBA, .191 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2016). He’s another first baseman that checks into his matchup with good recent form (32% HHR over the L15). Kendrys Morales (TOR) makes his way into some of our FD optimals in the utility slot since he’s just $2,300. He usually doesn’t hit in a good lineup spot but he’s a fine way of creating salary relief in order to get Sale + Goldy in your lineups.
While the position is straightforward in cash games, there are some intriguing tournament pivots. Joey Votto (CIN) is at home with the platoon edge. Jose Martinez (STL) gets a massive park shift going into Great American Ball Park and he has a matchup against Matt Harvey tonight. Cody Bellinger (LAD) has been generating better results lately and his HHR is starting to look a bit stronger as well. He’s still priced favorably on both sites when you consider that he’ll have the platoon edge tonight.
Jose Altuve (HOU) is the top projected scorer at second base. He’s generated a 31% HHR over the L15 days and gets a sizeable park shift going into Arlington. The matchup against Doug Fister doesn’t stand out as much since Fister has been much better vs. RHBs (.283 wOBA, .113 ISO since 2016) than LHBs (.378 wOBA, .212 ISO since 2016), but Altuve remains a fine tournament target. In cash games we’ll need to save some salary at the position.
Second base is a position that’s very site dependent from a cash game perspective. On FD, the mid-tier options don’t stand out tonight and Kolten Wong (STL) is just $2,100. That bottom of the barrel price tag creates a good amount of salary relief in a slate that you’ll need it in order to pursue Sale and Goldschmidt. Wong doesn’t get good lineup spots but Matt Harvey has been terrible vs. LHBs and this entire Cardinals offense is getting a massive park shift. The other minimum priced option on FD is Devon Travis (TOR). Like Wong, Travis hits towards the bottom of the lineup but he’s part of an offense that has an IRT over five.
It’s an entirely different conversation on DK where Matt Carpenter (STL) and Yangervis Solarte (TOR) have 2B/3B eligibility. Carpenter carries the fifth best hitting projection in this slate – he’s leading off against Matt Harvey in Great American Ball Park. Harvey has allowed a ridiculous .399 wOBA and .239 ISO to LHBs since 2016. Carpenter is priced like an average hitter on DK. Solarte carries a similar price tag and has an above average matchup against Andrew Cashner. We’re not looking past these two in cash games on that site.
Daniel Descalso (ARI) is another option at the position that’s appealing in tournaments as he’ll have the platoon edge in Coors Field. Descalso has generated a 36.8% HHR over the L15 and against RHP we’ve seen him hit cleanup and leadoff of late. He’s pricey but it’s deserved given the context.
Matt Carpenter (STL) and Nolan Arenado (COL) are neck and neck atop our third base projections in this slate. Arenado is priced very differently as he’s the better hitter, but his matchup against Zack Greinke isn’t a great one to attack. Meanwhile, Carpenter has made his way into all of our top optimals on both sites. The price tag on FD is more accurate ($3,800) than on DK but his projection is so strong in this context that he projects as an underpriced hitter.
Jake Lamb (ARI) has a similar price tag to Carpenter on FD ($3,900) and he’ll hit third or cleanup with the platoon edge in Coors Field. We think he’s a strong alternative in all formats on that site. With the platoon edge, Lamb has slugged a .373 wOBA and .264 ISO since 2016. If you needed some savings at the position, we don’t mind Yangervis Solarte (TOR) with an average price tag ($3,100) though his projection is certainly lighter as he’s simply not as skilled of a hitter as Lamb or Carpenter.
On DK, Rafael Devers (BOS) has been a popular option in our optimals as we have him projected to hit fifth in Fenway Park with a $3,400 price tag. Dylan Covey has made some remarkable strides this season, and while we’ve upgraded his baselines, we still think of him as a below average pitcher just not a terrible pitcher. The Red Sox have a 5.1 IRT and if Devers does end up hitting fifth that’s a cheap way of getting access to this offense. Anthony Rendon (WSH) is another option to consider in all formats on DK where he’s sub $4k with the platoon edge.
Trea Turner (WSH) represents the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. He’ll have the platoon edge against Andrew Suarez, who’s allowed a gaudy .388 wOBA and .246 ISO to RHBs in his first season in the majors. Turner’s price tags are fine and he’s viable in all formats, but our optimals have taken the salary relief approach at the position as there’s simply other priorities in this slate.
Eduardo Nunez (BOS) has been hitting sixth of late in the Red Sox offense and he’s just $3,300 on DK. Nunez isn’t a great hitter, but he gives you decent speed upside at a cheap price tag and gives you exposure to a Red Sox offense that once again has an IRT over five.
On FD, Daniel Robertson (TB) is just $2,300 and will have the platoon edge though it won’t be against a terrible pitcher (Marco Gonzales). Robertson has been hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Rays of late though, and rarely do you see a shortstop leading off in a decent matchup with a bottom of the barrel price tag on that site.
In tournaments, Carlos Correa (HOU) and Xander Bogaerts (BOS) are fine options to include as part of stacks though our favorite of the pricey shortstops after Turner is Francisco Lindor (CLE). Lindor checks into this matchup against Michael Fulmer with a 29% HHR over the L15. Fulmer has allowed a .344 wOBA and .190 ISO to the last 250 LHBs he’s faced. Behind Fulmer is one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball, and Lindor is a road leadoff hitter. This is a very strong context for Lindor in a slate where he could go overlooked.
No surprise, we get Mike Trout (LAA) at the top of our OF projections in this slate. He’s on the road in Minnesota facing Lance Lynn and has generated a 41.3% HHR over the L15. You can’t go wrong with Trout in any format but if you’re building around Goldschmidt on the hitting side in cash games you won’t be able to double up with Trout.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) has to deal with a good pitcher though he’ll still have the platoon edge in Coors Field. J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi (BOS) and George Springer (HOU) have annoying matchups in good hitting environments as well. We think they’re all tournament viable but in cash games we’re either building through Goldschmidt at first base or Trout in the OF.
We have some absurd values in the OF on both sites. Jarrod Dyson (ARI) is $2,900 on DK and we have him projected to leadoff in Coors Field. Think about that. His price tag is certainly more appropriate on FD ($3,300) but he’s still rating as our second best OF value given the context. Curtis Granderson (TOR) is $3,500 on DK and $2,500 on FD as the leadoff hitter for the home team in Rogers Centre against Andrew Cashner. Granderson has generated a .231 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.
On DK, Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna (STL) are $3,300 and $3,700 respectively as road hitters in Great American Ball Park. They’ve been similar hitters against RHP since 2016 – Fowler has generated a .349 wOBA and .187 ISO and Ozuna has generated a .353 wOBA and .195 ISO. Fowler is also affordable on FD ($2,800). Teammate Tommy Pham (STL) is also projecting well over on FD where he’s the fourth best OF value with a mid-tier price tag ($3,600). Josh Reddick (HOU) returned from the DL this week and has been hitting sixth vs. RHP. His matchup against Doug Fister is incredible as LHBs have feasted against him over the last couple of seasons (.378 wOBA, .212 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2016). Reddick is just $2,600 on FD and $3,500 on DK.
1) Arizona Diamondbacks
2) Colorado Rockies
3) St. Louis Cardinals
4) Boston Red Sox
5) Toronto Blue Jays
Coors Field certainly takes precedent on the slate but it’s not an overwhelming edge for offense as the Diamondbacks offense is inept and the Rockies are facing Zack Greinke. Still, these two teams top our rankings.
Shockingly, the Diamondbacks are affordable on DraftKings with an average price tag below $4,000. It may be difficult to pair them with multiple elite SPs but it won’t be difficult to access them on the whole. We expect parts of their offense to come in very owned.
The Rockies are much tougher to access on this slate and should come with extremely low ownership in a matchup against Greinke where they’re expensive. It’s not often you get the highest implied total on the slate at low ownership but we’re fairly confident this will be the case on Friday night.
The Cardinals are likely the chalkiest bunch of this tier. They’re very affordable and they get a big park upgrade going into Cincinnati to face Matt Harvey. On the surface this is an incredible spot, but there are some small reasons for concern: 1) Harvey has been solid against RHBs this year (.299 wOBA, 18.9 K Rate, 47.5 GB Rate) 2) the primarily RH heavy Reds bullpen isn’t as much of a plus for the primarily RH heavy Cards lineup and 3) while the team is cheap on the whole, their best bats are in premier positions with decent opportunity cost.
Boston is an interesting stack as Dylan Covey has been bad long-term but good short-term. The price tags towards the bottom of the Red Sox order are really affordable so it’s not hard to get wrap-around stacks with high end pitching – a strategy that will likely come with low ownership against a bad White Sox bullpen.
Toronto gets Andrew Cashner followed by a Baltimore pen likely without their best reliever as Brad Brach has now worked three days in a row. The Blue Jays bats aren’t primary values at many positions however they’re very cheap. This may keep ownership at a reasonable level on FanDuel where pricing is really tight but we expect they’ll be on the lower end of ownership on DraftKings.
6) Houston Astros
7) Washington Nationals
8) Milwaukee Brewers
9) Cleveland Indians
Contrarian Cheap Stacks:
If you’re looking for cheap flier stacks to pair with expensive SP then Baltimore, Miami, and Philadelphia stand out as potential targets. Baltimore has a tough initial matchup with Happ but he’s vulnerable to power and the bullpen behind him is really poor. Most of the cheap Baltimore power bats will have the platoon edge as well (Trumbo, Mancini, Valencia). Miami has one of the higher 15 day hard hit rates of all teams on the slate and San Diego starter Eric Lauer has allowed a nearly 34 percent hard minus soft hit rate this season. If the Phillies can get up on Chacin early, they could avoid the really tough parts of the Brewers bullpen and given Chacin’s struggles with LHBs the Phillies could really pose early problems.