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May 16 MLB DFS: Fade a Maeda?
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May 16 MLB DFS: Fade a Maeda?

01:12 Starting Pitchers
11:20 Catchers
14:09 First Base
17:30 Second Base
19:50 Shortstop
22:02 Third Base
24:45 Outfield
28:05 Cash Game Roster Construction and Stacks



May 16 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Kenta Maeda (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Drew Smyly (TB)

3) Jerad Eickhoff (PHI)

4) Adam Conley (MIA)

Tier Three

5) Robbie Ray (ARZ)

6) Jon Niese (PIT)

7) Jordan Zimmermann (DET)

8) Jose Berrios (MIN)

Tier Four

9) J.A. Happ (TOR)

10) Rick Porcello (BOS)

This is an interesting slate for starting pitching as we’re without an ace but do have a clearly defined number one on the slate. Kenta Maeda (LAD) is among the most skilled starters on the slate and gets a nice matchup with the punch less Angels who are losing the DH transitioning to a National League park. The Angels rank 13th in wRC+ against RHP but 25th in ISO and 20th in wOBA. The challenge with the Angels is they simply don’t strike out. They are tied for the lowest K Rate in the league against RHP (15.6 percent). Maeda ranks in alone in our top tier largely on run prevention and expected innings. The Angels have the lowest implied run total on the slate (just over three runs) and Maeda projects for 2/3 of an inning more than most of the alternatives on this slate. We expect Maeda will be heavily owned on this slate and the reasons for are more about stability than upside, making him a very strong fade in tournaments, but our primary target in cash games.

After Maeda, the slate is a unique mix of skill, matchup, and scoring environment. Drew Smyly (TB) has the biggest strikeout upside on the slate (30.1 K Rate) but is getting a drastic park downgrade against a Blue Jays offense that projects as one of the strongest in the league against LHP. Smyly is viable in tournaments but we don’t see a lot to get excited about in cash games. Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) and Adam Conley (MIA) square off against one another in Philadelphia and the two rank nearly identically. Eickhoff’s peripherals are a bit more stable thanks to better command. His issues against LHBs (.375 wOBA allowed, .231 ISO allowed) are less of an issue against the RH heavy Marlins’ lineup while Conley has more strikeout upside (25 percent K Rate this season) is facing a weaker overall lineup, and is a slight favorite. Eickhoff is significantly cheaper than Conley on both sites, but this slate isn’t one where salary relief is as necessary. The preference among the two may ultimately shift with opposing lineups, line movement, or even umpires (a favorable umpire would be more impactful for Conley given his command issues) so we’ll keep posted via alerts. Jon Niese (PIT) and Jordan Zimmermann (DET) may look like viable cash game alternatives as heavy favorites against weak opposing offenses, but neither pitcher has missed a ton of bats this season and Zimmermann’s price tag is unusually expensive.

For tournament upside, we really want to emphasize strikeout upside on a slate where many of the best plays at starting pitcher come with relatively low strikeout upside. Robbie Ray (ARZ), Jose Berrios (MIN), and Adam Conley (MIA) are the three targets that best fit the bill.

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) Welington Castillo (ARZ)

5) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

The catcher position is pretty shallow on Monday. Victor Martinez (DET) cracks our Top 30 overall hitters and thus is the clear cut top option on FanDuel where he carries eligibility. Yasmani Grandal (LAD) is the primary alternative otherwise as he cracks our Top 55 hitters with an assumed lineup spot of fifth. The Dodgers do shift lineups around so if he catches a bad slot preferences could shift here. Otherwise, it’s good lineup spots in favorable hitting environments for guys without the platoon advantage like Brian McCann (NYY) and Welington Castillo (ARZ).

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ)

2) David Ortiz (BOS)

3) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

4) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

5) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) tops our first base rankings and that’s before accounting for Chad Green as the starter, instead operating under the assumption of Michael Pineda starting. The Yankees switched up the starters right before our recording window, so we’ll be sure to update any changes in alerts to rankings and viable plays. Goldschmidt is a Top Five hitter in our model and the pitching change will likely boost him into the Top Three. The Diamondbacks are in the best hitting environment on the slate, have one of the highest implied team totals, and should get a significantly softer matchup against the Yankees vaunted bullpen. Betances, Miller, and Chapman all worked on Sunday making it consecutive days for Miller and Chapman and three in four for Betances. It’s likely a few, if not all, are unavailable on Monday leaving Phil Coke, Nick Goody, Conor Mullee, Kirby Yates, and Chasen Shreve as the primary bullpen arms. On FanDuel, Goldschmidt looks like your primary target. On DraftKings, Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) are underpriced making them stronger per dollar values and viable alternatives. Both rank inside our Top 10 overall hitters and are very strong value plays.

Second Base Rankings

1) Starlin Castro (NYY)

2) Derek Dietrich (MIA)

3) Steve Pearce (TB) – where eligible

4) Ian Kinsler (DET)

5) Cesar Hernandez (PHI)

6) Jean Segura (ARZ)

7) Chase Utley (LAD)

Starlin Castro (NYY) represents the top option in our rankings and the best value if hitting second in the Yankees lineup. Robbie Ray‘s an improved pitcher with more velocity but he’s still giving up all sorts of hard contact to RHBs (40.8 percent this year, 29 percent hard minus soft hit rate) and he’s allowed a .390 wOBA in total. Castro isn’t an elite hitter by any means, but good lineup spot on the road with the platoon advantage makes him a fine target. Derek Dietrich (MIA) ranks almost identically to Castro and is a more skilled hitter overall. Eickhoff’s struggles against lefties make Dietrich a really compelling play with the park shift in his favor and a weaker Phillies bullpen behind Eickhoff than the Diamondbacks bullpen behind Ray. On DraftKings, where they’re priced similarly, Dietrich is a viable alternative.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Corey Seager (LAD)

2) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

3) Brad Miller (TB) – if second

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – if second

5) Troy Tulowitzki (TOR)

6) Alcides Escobar (KC)

Corey Seager (LAD) is the top overall shortstop target and on sites where pricing is soft, he’s an easy target for cash games. Matt Shoemaker is really vulnerable to LH power (.170 ISO allowed since 2014) and Seager owns a .373 wOBA and .181 ISO against RHP in his brief major league career. Seager is a Top 30 hitter in our model. The fall-off after Seager is rather significant. Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Brad Miller (TB) creep inside our Top 70 options but Miller is lineup dependent and Bogaerts is expensive. If you’re not spending up for Miller, you’re likely punting this position with the most attractive lineup spot and game environment.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Evan Longoria (TB)

3) Maikel Franco (PHI)

4) Jake Lamb (ARZ)

5) Justin Turner (LAD)

6) Derek Dietrich (MIA) – where eligible

7) Danny Valencia (OAK)

8) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Josh Donaldson (TOR) gets a lefty at home and his price is reduced around the industry. Unfortunately, it’s not your average lefty as Drew Smyly can really miss bats. He is vulnerable to power as he’s allowed a .180 ISO and .322 wOBA to RHBs since the start of 2014. Donaldson ranks inside our Top 10 hitters and is a very good value worth pursuing in all formats. Third base is exceptionally deep though so if you don’t want to spend all the way up for Donaldson, there are plenty of alternatives. Justin Turner (LAD), Danny Valencia (OAK), and Jake Lamb (ARZ). We’ve manually moved Lamb up to fourth in our rankings where we expect him to fall once we update for the Yankees pitching change. He’s in the best environment of the group and likely the top salary relief target, but Valencia gets the platoon edge against Derek Holland (.361 wOBA, 37 percent hard hit rate allowed to RHBs this year) and Turner faces homer-prone Matt Shoemaker.

Outfield Rankings

1) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

2) Jose Bautista (TOR)

3) Mike Trout (LAA)

4) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

5) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

6) J.D. Martinez (DET)

7) Christian Yelich (MIA)

8) Starling Marte (PIT)

9) Mookie Betts (BOS)

10) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

11) Brandon Guyer (TB)

12) Steven Souza (TB)

13) Miguel Sano (DET)

14) Brett Gardner (NYY)

15) Steve Pearce (TB) – if cleanup

16) Ian Desmond (TEX)

17) Kevin Pillar (TOR) – if leading off

18) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

19) Khris Davis (OAK)

20) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) sits atop our outfield rankings and ranks as our top hitter overall. Eickhoff has been so good against RHBs (.218 wOBA, .128 ISO) that it’s difficult to initially have confidence in paying all the way up for Stanton, but the park shift is huge and the Phillies bullpen behind Eickhoff is below average. Jose Bautista (TOR) is our next ranked outfielder and also inside our Top Five overall hitters. The matchup with Drew Smyly isn’t one we want to go overboard picking on in cash games, but with a depressed price tag on DraftKings ($3,700) he’s a very strong play. There is a lot of value to be had in the second tier of outfield options. Gregory Polanco (PIT) and J.D. Martinez (DET) are both underpriced on each site and strong cash game targets. Carlos Beltran (NYY) is in another tier down but also underpriced on both sites and a strong cash game target. You won’t need to stray much outside the Top 10 in cash games due to softer pricing without elite SPs and/or Coors Field.


Tier One

1) Arizona Diamondbacks

2) Los Angeles Dodgers

3) Pittsburgh Pirates

Tier Two

4) Boston Red Sox

5) Detroit Tigers

6) Oakland Athletics

7) Tampa Bay Rays

8) Toronto Blue Jays

The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, and Pirates lead our stack rankings and are all strong tournament targets. This slate should have ownership relatively spread out with tighter implied team totals and spending not a big concern. The Dodgers and Pirates should come with lower ownership due to the offensive environments they’re playing in, but both teams have deep lineups that suit their opposing matchups well. The Pirates speedy outfielders should take an aggressive approach on the base paths against Flowers/Pierzysnki and a young inexperienced pitching staff (Braves rank 30th in rSB allowed).

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.