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May 14 MLB DFS: Sale of the Century

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
May 14 MLB DFS: Sale of the Century
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Welcome to May 14 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for May 14 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!

Timestamps
01:02 Starting Pitcher
13:22 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
20:46 C
22:45 1B
25:28 2B
27:15 3B
30:17 SS
32:38 OF

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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.

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.

May 14 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Chris Sale (BOS) tops all SPs in projection and by a wide margin on Tuesday’s slate. Sale’s average fastball velocity has been back up over 94 mph over the last two starts and unsurprisingly the strikeouts have returned in bulk (24 K in last 14 innings). Sale faces a Rockies’ offense that ranks 17th in wRC+ against LHP and have the 11th highest K Rate. Sale has the second lowest implied total against on the slate and projects for nearly two strikeouts more than everyone else. We view him as a building block in cash games on both sites.

Charlie Morton (TB), Clayton Kershaw (LAD), and Caleb Smith (MIA) project closely as the next tier but without much separation in price tag from Sale.

Morton has the best matchup against an inept Marlins’ offense that has the dubious combination of highest K Rate and lowest wRC+ in the league against RHP. The one knock on Morton is the Rays appeared content to limit his total batters faced early in the year but things have improved of late (26, 24, 26, 24 last four starts). Morton should be efficient given the matchup and the positive league adjustment but the ceiling is unlocked if the Rays allow him to work deeper.

Clayton Kershaw hasn’t had any issue with working deep into games (at least 24 batters faced in every start) which keeps his projection in line with Morton despite a lower projected K Rate. The Padres are a neutral matchup against LHP but Kershaw gets the benefit of facing them at home with just a 3.2 implied total against.

Smith is the cheapest of the bunch on DraftKings and thus the most compelling as a SP2. The Rays have the highest K Rate in the league against LHP (30.6 percent) and they lose the DH. While they’re an average offense against LHP, they are an above average matchup in this scenario. Vegas seems to agree with just a 3.4 implied total.

In general, these four pitchers are where we’d prefer to keep most of the cash game conversation built around.

Noah Syndergaard (NYM) and Chris Paddack (SD) are two exceptionally skilled starters that project slightly below the Top Four in large part due to difficult matchups. Syndergaard faces a newly healthy Nationals lineup that brings back a lot of contact with Soto-Eaton-Rendon all back in the mix. As a result, Syndergaard has a 3.8 implied total against that is a half run higher than most of the stud counterparts. Paddack has the same issue against an elite Dodgers offense that doesn’t strikeout much against RHP (19.6 percent K Rate this season against RHP). They’re viable tournament targets.

There aren’t many exciting cheap options on this slate but there are a few that earn tournament consideration as SP2. Danny Duffy (KC) looks like the highest upside option of the group. Duffy has dominated LHBs (.247 wOBA, .089 ISO, 23.6 K Rate) since 2017 but rarely gets to face them because of his wide platoon splits (.340 wOBA, .165 ISO, 20.2 K Rate against RHBs). The Rangers routinely rely on LHBs (Gallo, Choo, Mazara, Odor, etc) and if Duffy gets a LH heavy lineup, he’s a nice upside target.

Trent Thornton (TOR) is the other mid-$7,000s SP that should draw some intrigue with a favorable matchup against the Giants (23rd in wRC+ against RHP) in a great pitching environment. The challenge for Thornton is an inability to work deep into games (hasn’t faced more than 22 batters in a start). He does miss bats though and the environment can help ease the run prevention risk.

Brett Anderson (OAK) is one of the cheapest starters on the slate. It’s a dangerous game with Anderson who doesn’t miss many bats and relies heavily on ground balls but that allows him to go deeper into games and at just $5,600 he’s viable in GPPs.

There are a few other tournament targets that should come with low ownership. Joe Musgrove (PIT) has the most useful price tag ($6,500) while Luke Weaver (ARI) and Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) have more historical strikeout upside.  

Stacks

Tier One

1) Houston Astros

The Astros have an implied total that is 1.5 runs higher than every other team on the slate. The best offense in baseball against LHP (143 wRC+) by a wide margin is without one of their best hitters in Jose Altuve but Vegas remains confident with a 6.2 implied total. Ryan Carpenter has a limited sample at the big league level but it’s been really bad (7.90 ERA, 7.54 FIP, 4.90 xFIP in 27 ⅓ innings). He relies heavily on fly balls and doesn’t generate many swings and misses. The Tigers bullpen behind him is awful as well. The Astros should be popular but their hefty price tags with all the high-end SP on the slate should keep things in check. As a result, they still rate as one of our better leverage stacks.

Tier Two

2) Kansas City Royals

The Royals offense is often difficult to stack because Merrifield-Mondesi carry some ownership on positional scarcity and the rest of the offense is less compelling. The matchup with Shelby Miller is quite attractive. Miller has walked more batters than he’s struck out, generated just a 36.8 percent ground ball rate, and allowed a hard hit rate over 46 percent. He’s been incredibly bad which is why the mighty Royals offense has the second highest implied total on the slate.

Tier Three

3) Oakland Athletics

4) Boston Red Sox

5) Milwaukee Brewers

6) New York Mets

7) Minnesota Twins

8) St. Louis Cardinals

The Brewers have a modest implied total against Jerad Eickhoff but their power and speed always profile well in terms of Fantasy points and we view them as a compelling contrarian stack target given the modest implied total.

Oakland rates well for us given their strong power profile and Mike Leake‘s inability to miss bats. When the Athletics go right it’s usually via the long ball and their mid-tier price tags could get lost in the shuffle bringing modest ownership.

The Cardinals are another interesting stack target with a road matchup in Atlanta against Mike Foltynewicz whose statistical profile has some big warning signs. Foltynewicz has allowed a 41.7 percent hard hit rate and 53.6 fly ball rate while striking out just 13.2 percent of batters faced. His swinging strike rate is still good but the velocity is down two mph from his average last year and he’s allowing a ton of hard aerial contact. Throw in a horrific Braves bullpen behind him and you have a great recipe for stack success.

The Mets are another potential low owned stack with a park upgrade on the road against a contact oriented starter who is backed up by a bad bullpen. The Mets offense has shown more power this year and come with relatively affordable price tags on both sites that fit well with high-end SP.

The Red Sox look potentially over-owned for us as Kyle Freeland limits power and they’re very likely to get just eight innings of plate appearances as a huge favorite.

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal (MIL) represents the top projected scorer at catcher. Grandal is also the best value by a wide margin. He’s just $3,900, which is a bit too cheap all things considered. Grandal gets to hit cleanup, which is an unusual lineup spot for a catcher, and his baselines vs. RHP (.355 wOBA, .244 ISO) are clearly ahead of every other catcher in this slate. He’s our preferred cash game target.

Otherwise, you’re just trying to punt this position in cash games with sub $3,000 options like Francisco Cervelli (PIT) and Martin Maldonado (KC).

In tournaments, Robinson Chirinos (HOU) and J.T. Realmuto (PHI) are options that stand out due to their power upside, carrying ISO baselines above .200.

First Base

Paul Goldschmidt (STL) leads the way in projection at first base. Goldy’s R/R matchup against Mike Foltynewicz and an appropriate price tag keeps him away from cash game consideration. His individual production regardless of split nets him tournament consideration, though.

The focus in cash games at the position is to save salary. Matt Olson (OAK) is the best salary relief option at the position. Olson’s price tags ($3,000 on FanDuel, $3,900 on DraftKings) are a bit discounted relative to his production vs. RHP. His baselines in this split are a .356 wOBA and .265 ISO. The matchup against Mike Leake is a great one to get Olson going as Leake fails to miss bats, posting a 16% K rate throughout his career.

On DraftKings, Yuli Gurriel (HOU) is a viable cash game alternative in a similar price range to Olson ($4,100). Gurriel’s upside is limited, but he’s projected to hit fifth for an Astros’ offense that projects to score ~6 runs. His teammate Tyler White (HOU) is the strongest punt available on FanDuel’s slate. White is $2,300 on that site and his baselines in this split (against LHP; .356 wOBA, .206 ISO) are better than Gurriel’s.

Matt Carpenter (STL) is first base eligible on DraftKings and his price tag ($3,700) remains way too cheap in a matchup against a RHP. He’s the strongest value available at the position on that site.

Steve Pearce (BOS) has been dreadful this season and he carries PH risk, but the $2,200 price tag on FanDuel keeps him in play in tournaments. After all, Pearce’s history against LHP is a good one and our ISO baseline for him in that split is .210.

Second Base

Whit Merrifield (KC) is the top projected scorer at second base. Our priority at the position is to use cheap targets in order to afford expensive pitching in this slate. Merrifield doesn’t fit what we’re trying to do, but he’s in play in MME.

Mike Moustakas (MIL) has the best baselines (.361 wOBA, .271 ISO vs. RHP) of any second basemen in this slate, and he’s a road hitter that gets to hit third. He’s a great mid-tier option around the industry.

Jurickson Profar (OAK) is the best cost saving option at the position. Profar is just $3,500 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel. He gets to face Mike Leake on the road and he’s been hitting second vs. RHP of late. He’s not a great hitter but the context and price tag makes this a worthy cash game investment.

Robinson Cano (NYM) (just $3,000 on FanDuel) and Aledmys Diaz (on FanDuel) are site dependent options that can be considered across all formats. Cano in particular is a great buy at that price tag given his baselines vs. RHP (.347 wOBA, .197 ISO).

Third Base

Alex Bregman (HOU) is the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Bregman is priced up for this projection on DraftKings ($5,500), but not on FanDuel ($4,300). He’s a core piece of lineups on FanDuel. Bregman will have the platoon edge against the worst pitcher in this slate, Ryan Carpenter. We’ve only seen Carpenter for 27 innings at the major league level, but what we’ve seen has been awful. He’s posted a 7.90 ERA/7.54 FIP and a 13.2% K rate in those innings.

Bregman is rating so well in this slate that it’s tough to get excited about other plays at the position. On DraftKings, you’ll need to consider other plays that are priced cheaper. Matt Carpenter (STL) immediately stands out because he’s $3,700 and gets the platoon edge against a good pitcher (Mike Foltynewicz). In that split, Carpenter’s baselines (.370 wOBA, .240 ISO) are excellent. We’d love to get to Bregman, but Carpenter is a fine alternative if you can’t get there.

Matt Chapman (OAK), Jeimer Candelario (DET), Vladimir Guerrero (TOR) (on FanDuel) and Todd Frazier (NYM) are additional options to consider in tournaments. Candelario’s punt price tag earns him cash game consideration as well.

Shortstop

Carlos Correa (HOU) represents the top projected scorer at shortstop, with Adalberto Mondesi (KC) not far behind in projection. Correa and the Astros’ offense should dominate the worst pitcher in this slate, Ryan Carpenter. On top of a great matchup, Correa’s baselines vs. LHP (.372 wOBA, .209 ISO) are clearly the best ones at the position tonight. He’s a great option in all formats while Mondesi is a clear alternative in GPPs.

With Correa and Mondesi (facing Shelby Miller) in clear upside spots, projections at the position drop considerably right away. The next in line options at the position are Marcus Semien (OAK), Jorge Polanco (MIN), Eduardo Escobar (ARI) and Elvis Andrus (TEX). Most of these options are flat out overpriced in this slate. They’re fine tournament targets at low ownership, but the lone option to consider in cash games from this group is likely Semien and that’s because he’s priced in the mid-tier while the others are priced too closely to the Correa-Mondesi range.

You’re going to want to spend up at the position tonight, because punts are a wasteland at shortstop. The best combination of price tag and projection goes to Nicky Lopez (KC) on DraftKings and Cole Tucker (PIT) on FanDuel where the Pirates’ shortstop is minimum-priced. That’s probably not enticing enough, especially for a player that projects to barely crack 7.5 FanDuel points, but Lopez on FanDuel is a different story. Lopez is one of the Royals’ top prospect and was just called up to make his debut against one of the worst starting pitchers on the slate. On a team with the second highest implied run total, Lopez is worth a shot to make everything else fit.

Outfield

George Springer (HOU) projects higher than Mike Trout (LAA) in this slate. It’s unusual for this to happen, even when Springer is in better contexts. Tonight is the exception because Springer is facing by far the worst starting pitcher in this slate, and the Astros’ IRT is currently sitting at 5.7. Also, Springer’s baselines vs. LHP (.390 wOBA, .247 ISO) are remarkable. Neither is a priority in this slate but they’re viable across all formats.

As usual in a slate with more than 10 games, you’ll have plenty of high end alternatives in the outfield and tonight is no exception. Christian Yelich (MIL), Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez (BOS) and Khris Davis (OAK) have some of the best baselines in this slate and are worthy tournament targets. Davis is just $4,000 on DraftKings, which makes him one of the better values and a strong cash game candidate.

Our focus in the outfield is to save salary in order to spend at starting pitcher and a couple of middle infield positions that don’t carry much depth. On FanDuel, Jake Marisnick (HOU) ($2,200), Jarrod Dyson (ARI) ($2,800) are the strongest sources of salary relief below $3,000.

On DraftKings, Max Kepler (MIN) ($3,800) and Niko Goodrum (DET) ($3,400) are the primary sources of salary relief. Kepler is way too cheap on that site, particularly when facing a RHP. Kepler’s baselines in that split are a .360 wOBA and .234 ISO, and he gets to lead off vs. RHP.

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