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March 30 MLB DFS: Ray of Light
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Welcome to March 30 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for March 30 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our 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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March 30 MLB DFS Position Timestamps

02:34 Starting Pitcher
12:12 Catcher
14:57 First Base
19:03 Second Base
22:08 Third Base
25:55 Shortstop
29:08 Outfield
35:22 Stacks

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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.

Want to help fight blood cancer and compete for World Series tickets? Learn about the mission of DKMS and compete nightly for World Series tickets this MLB season on FantasyDraft. All for FREE. Sponsored by FNTSY and DKMS, learn about their mission and access the daily contests at dailyroto.com/dkms.

March 30 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Robbie Ray (ARI) is our top rated pitcher on both sites from both a value and raw total perspective. Ray had a phenomenal 2017 campaign. While his sub-3 ERA was a bit lucky (3.72 FIP), Ray struck out 32.8% of batters faced, which is wildly impressive for any SP outside of the Kershaw/Kluber/Sale/Scherzer tier. Where Ray did struggle at times was allowing hard-hit, aerial contact. That issue likely won’t go away in 2018, but Ray’s park might mitigate the associated risk. Last year Chase Field was a Top 3 hitter’s park; this year, with the humidor added, we’re projecting it to play neutral. For more on that you can listen to our podcast with Derek Carty: https://audioboom.com/posts/6714056-swing-for-the-fences-park-factors-with-derek-carty

The matchup against Colorado is neutral from a run scoring standpoint, but they will inflate strikeouts. And that’s why Ray is worth paying up; we’re projecting him for 1.5 more strikeouts than any other pitcher on the slate.

Ray separates himself from what is a crowded second tier of Masahiro Tanaka (NYY), Dallas Keuchel (HOU), David Price (BOS), and Alex Wood (LAD). There’s a lot of risk and reward in this tier. Keuchel has the most certain skill baseline of the group, but is pitching in a tough environment.

Tanaka has the highest projected Ks. He’s also in a tough environment, but he found a lot of success last year by limiting his fastball usage over the second half. The Jays offense is pretty right-handed, and all three LHBs, as noted yesterday, project to K a lot against RHP.

Price has some uncertainty coming off injury, but by all accounts he’s healthy. This is the projection that might be most on the conservative side, as Price can work deep into games and gets a big park upgrade both from a run suppression standpoint and a K enhancement standpoint.

Alex Wood flashed the best skill set of the bunch last year until he fatigued and lost velocity down the stretch, which makes it difficult to pin down the baseline on him. He has a positive matchup against the Giants (-198, 3 IRTA), but not one that is going to drive a lot of strikeouts.

All in all, our initial favorite here is Price for cash games (best combination of K upside andIRTA) if paying up for a second SP on DK and Tanaka in tournaments (6.5 K projection). That might be splitting hairs, however, and we’ll see how things shake out tomorrow on actual lineups and final lines.

On DK, the lack of conviction in that second tier does open up the option of using Johnny Cueto (SF) for less money. Cueto is coming off a disastrous 2017 year in which he dealt with blisters and simply pitched poorly (4.45 FIP). The good news is most projections systems expect him to rebound if he puts the blister issues behind him. ZiPS is calling for a 3.62 ERA with 8.02 K/9. The risk/reward isn’t as strong for Cueto, but hey that’s why he costs $1,500-$2,500 less than the second tier.

Some risky cheap values emerge on this slate. They carry low floors, but the modest K projections of the top pitchers outside of Ray allow them to compete from a ceiling perspective, at least on a per dollar basis. Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) and Nick Pivetta (PHI) each share a 6 K projection in a 9 total game. For Folty, his value is dependent on Altherr once again starting over Odubel Herrera, as Altherr has a way higher K rate and is right-handed. As is, Folty has to face five LHBs, and he’s a wide splits guy.

Pivetta flashed a high K rate last year, striking out 30.1% of batters faced in AAA prior to getting called up and striking out 24% of batters faced in a pretty decent sample (26 starts). The concern is that he’s wild and homer prone, and the 8.7 SwStr% doesn’t generally support an above average K rate.

Some other cheap names to consider for GPP are the two options in pitcher friendly Petco Park, rookie Joseph Lucchesi (SD) (solid Minor League numbers, giving him a baseline similar to JA Happ) and Jhoulys Chacin (MIL) (weak SD lineup). Blake Snell (TB) has a really tough opponent in the Red Sox but is a breakout candidate with a high projected K rate this season.

Catcher

Gary Sanchez (NYY) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. The Yankees have an implied team that’s approaching five runs, and they get nine guaranteed innings in Toronto – a domed environment. Sanchez is pricey though, and while you might even be able to grab him in cash games on DK, he doesn’t rate as strongly as some of the other Yankees power bats. He belongs with Yankees stacks in tournaments.

Wilson Contreras (CHC) is also expensive but he’ll have the platoon edge and hit in the middle of the Cubs lineup. He’s another catcher that carries upside and belongs in Cubs stacks.

Brian McCann (HOU) makes the most sense in cash games on DK. He’ll likely hit towards the bottom of the lineup for a loaded Astros offense, but they carry the highest IRT on the slate (5.5) and McCann will have the platoon edge in a plus matchup against Doug Fister. Fister has surrendered a .199 ISO to LHBs since 2015. The move to Texas certainly won’t do him any favors. Teammate Evan Gattis (HOU) is a fine upside alternative in tournaments but with McCann carrying the cheaper price tag and the platoon edge we’re siding with him in cash.

Yasmani Grandal (LAD) and Buster Posey (SFG) are cheaper catchers on FD that carry upside but there’s less need for them over there thanks to the new C/1B position.

First Base

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) will have the platoon edge – any time that’s the case you’re more than likely getting a top projection from him at the position as long as the pitcher isn’t Kershaw. Tyler Anderson is a quality pitcher, but RHBs have hit him for power (.192 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). In this split, we have Goldy with a .407 wOBA and .254 ISO baseline. He’ll be in play across all formats tonight, and it’s not particularly difficult to get him into your cash game lineups on DK.

Speaking of DK, that’s the site that has Carlos Santana (PHI) priced a bit too closely to Goldy. While he’s still in play on that site and viable in cash, there’s a $1,300 pricing difference between him and Goldy on FD. On that site, Santana will rate as a stronger value. Mike Foltynewicz as a matchup for a LHB is dreamy – Folty has surrendered a cool .365 wOBA and .207 ISO to LHBs since 2015. Temperatures look to be on the cooler side once again in Atlanta (62 degrees), but SunTrust Park played friendlier for LHBs last season and Santana will get to hit from the left side in this matchup.

While we’re expecting some level of regression coming for Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) this year, he’s $2,800 on FD and is a part of a very strong context tonight. He’s an acceptable alternative. Ryan Braun (MIL) also looks quite cheap on FD ($3,000). Petco Park is a downgrade in environment for Braun, but he’s been a very productive hitter with the platoon edge over his career.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Cody Bellinger (LAD) are big boppers that carry plenty of upside. Goldy with the platoon edge *should* be the more popular play in tournaments, so there’s a good chance you could grab these two at lower ownership with the platoon edge in their respective matchups.

It’s very likely that Masahiro Tanaka‘s HR/FB will come back down to earth a little bit this season, after posting a career worse 21% HR/FB rate last year. Pitching in the AL East won’t do him any favors though, and his career HR/FB rate is sitting at 16%. Justin Smoak (TOR) should go under the radar in tournaments where we think he deserves some consideration.

Second Base

Get used to seeing some of these names at the top of projections. Jose Altuve (HOU), without the platoon edge, is the top projected hitter at the keystone position. It’s a very strong context for the league MVP, and you’re not getting any sort of discount on price, which is very fair. We still like him in tournaments though, especially in a slate that allows you to play some of these high upside bats with ease.

There’s very little in the mid-tier to like at the position, so we prefer dipping down to Devon Travis (TOR) in cash games. He’s cheap around the industry, and on FD he’s carrying a punt-like price tag ($2,500). The Yankees bullpen is very menacing and Masahiro Tanaka is a fine pitcher, but you’re getting a leadoff hitter in Travis that has flashed some pop over the last couple of seasons, posting ISOs of .154 and .178.

Ben Zobrist (CHC) has a softer matchup on the whole and is also priced like a punt on FD ($2,200). He’s perfectly acceptable in cash games.

Zobrist’s teammate, Ian Happ (CHC), has more event upside but it also comes with a hefty price tag on DK. After generating 24 home runs and eight stolen bases in less than 500 PAs last season, projection systems are calling for Happ to hit mid to high 20s home runs and steal double digit bases. He’s viable as part of Cubs stacks in tournaments.

Other potential targets that you can consider in tournaments are Cesar Hernandez (PHI) (some event upside and juicy matchup), Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Neil Walker (NYY).

Third Base

Kris Bryant (CHC) carries the platoon edge in his matchup and has the top projection at third base. Bryant’s price tags are mostly on the appropriate side, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering him in tournaments and possibly even cash games.

Josh Donaldson (TOR) is next up in projection at the position and he comes with more affordable price tags. It looks like Donaldson is dealing with dead arm right now – on Thursday he short armed multiple throws to first. He was also dealing with another calf issue during spring training – and it’s the same calf that gave him issues last season. Still, these are good price tags for Donaldson, a hitter that without the platoon edge has a baseline of .378 wOBA and .250 ISO. We’re willing to invest in Donaldson in all formats, but we can’t fault you if you wanted to look at similarly priced alternatives.

For example, Alex Bregman (HOU) is right around Donaldson’s price tags around the industry and he’s a young player that isn’t dealing with any injuries. He’s an inferior hitter, but matchups aren’t a concern for him or the Astros while they play a series against the Texas Rangers with nine guaranteed innings on the road. Doug Fister has fared better vs. RHBs over the last couple seasons, but this is simply a very challenging context and the Rangers bullpen behind him remains a non threat.

Marwin Gonzalez (HOU), who we spoke about at 1B, carries 3B/OF eligibility on DK. He’s a fine alternative if you can’t pay up for the aforementioned options, though it doesn’t feel great to roster him in cash games while being just $300 cheaper than Donaldson on that site.

Nolan Arenado (COL) is an excellent hitter and has a monster baseline in our projections vs. LHP. He’s not in a favorable context, but it’s not like Robbie Ray is perfect. Ray is coming off a season in which he allowed a 40.5% hard hit rate, according to fangraphs.

Shortstop

Carlos Correa (HOU) is yet another Astro at the top of projections at his position. There’s no denying that the Astros’ context is excellent. The price tags on most of these players though are appropriate. Correa’s event upside alone is enough to consider him, and his position doesn’t have much depth to it.

Your decision in cash games seems to be coming down to spending up for Correa or simply saving some funds with Marcus Semien (OAK). Semien has above average power with the platoon edge for a shortstop, and with the platoon edge you get him in good lineup spots. He’ll likely lead off and he’s sub $3k on FD.

Even on DK where the price tag is more appropriate ($3,600), Semien represents our top value at the position. Alternatives like Ozzie Albies (ATL) or Chris Owings (ARI) are fine at similar price tags, but our preference is with Semien.

Corey Seager (LAD), Trevor Story (COL) and Addison Russell (CHC) are upside options that can be used in tournaments though they all come with appropriate price tags. Didi Gregorius (NYY) can be included with Yankees stacks in tournaments as well.

Outfield

Mike Trout (LAA) and Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) carry the top hitting projections in this slate. Stanton had a thunderous debut in pinstripes, hitting two home runs and a double en route to 39 DK points. Tonight he doesn’t get the platoon edge against Aaron Sanchez, but the latter is coming off a difficult season in which he dealt with blisters and saw his K rate come down to 14%. Stanton is going to be very popular most nights, and tonight is probably no exception. Trout has the platoon edge, and he’s been the best hitter in baseball for some time now. It’s possible to include these two in your cash game plans on DK and you likely will be able to jam one big bat on FD.

George Springer (HOU) carries plenty of even upside, and he’s on the road in Texas. He’s a fine alternative in all formats once again.

Speaking of Astros, Josh Reddick (HOU) has cheap price tags around the industry and he’ll be hitting fifth with the platoon edge. He’s a strong cash game play. Brett Gardner (NYY) also seems too cheap on FD. He’s sub $3k and will be leading off with Judge, Stanton and Sanchez behind him on the road.

A.J. Pollock (ARI) is a little bit more expensive than Reddick and Gardner though it’s deserved. He’s a strong play in the mid-tier if you’re able to afford him.

In tournaments, you can either go with another power upside bat in Aaron Judge (NYY) or go down the Houston lineup and use a cheap part with even upside like Derek Fisher (HOU). Judge will be popular with Yankees stacks, but that’s a theme you’ll see play out throughout the season. Nick Williams (PHI) is just $2,300 and has the platoon edge against Mike Foltynewicz. At worst he’s a strong tournament play with power upside at a very cheap price tag.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

The Astros once again find themselves atop our stack rankings. Even with the weather a bit cooler than usual in Texas, it’s a plus park that’s warmer than most of the other outdoor environments. The Astros always get a boost in our stack rankings because they are such a DFS friendly lineup given their homer and steal upside. Perhaps most importantly, though, they’ll face Doug Fister, who projects for a high 4’s ERA across most projections systems with over 1.3 HR/9.

Tier Two

2) New York Yankees

3) Chicago Cubs

The Yankees play in the best offensive environment of the day, a domed road game in Toronto. While Stanton, Sanchez, and Judge lose a little umph facing a RHP, they still have plenty of individual upside and are now complemented by a deeper lineup than against LHP (Gardner, Walker, Gregorius).

Goodness gracious the Marlins pitching staff is horrendous. Caleb Smith had a solid year at AAA, but he projects to have issues with the long ball and to be rather wild. For a patient Cubs team with pop, that could be dangerous.

Tier Three

4) Arizona Diamondbacks

5) Philadelphia Phillies

We have conflicting feelings on the Diamondbacks. On one hand, they are set up nicely against LHP, particularly their best two hitters – Goldschmidt and Pollock. On the other hand, the humidor removes a previous offensive advantage, and Tyler Anderson was once again solid last year (3.95 xFIP) despite the high ERA.

The Phillies are an interesting road stack, especially if Herrera gets into the lineup, giving them 6 LHBs. Over his career, Folty has allowed just a .311 wOBA to RHBs but a whopping .375 wOBA with a .188 ISO to LHBs.

Contrarian/Value Stacks

-Colorado Rockies: Whenever the top pitcher on the slate has hard-hit, aerial contact as a weakness, it makes sense to throw out some contrarian stacks against him.

-Atlanta Braves: If Nick Pivetta‘s K rate regresses, he’s going to get shelled this season as he’s wild, GB neutral, and had a Hard-Soft% nearly double the league average last season.

-Toronto Blue Jays: Tanaka is pitching in the toughest environment of the slate, and when he goes bad, it’s due to the long ball. Yes his 21.2 HR/FB rate last season was quite a bit of bad luck, but his career mark is an elevated 16.1%. This Jays lineup does have decent pop throughout the order.

Want to help fight blood cancer and compete for World Series tickets? Learn about the mission of DKMS and compete nightly for World Series tickets this MLB season on FantasyDraft. All for FREE. Sponsored by FNTSY and DKMS, learn about their mission and access the daily contests at dailyroto.com/dkms.

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