Welcome to May 16 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 16 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat. 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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May 16 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
- 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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May 16 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Although we only have a five game main slate, it’s a slate loaded with elite pitching. Chris Sale (BOS), Max Scherzer (WAS), and Justin Verlander (HOU) top the starting pitcher projections. Sale and Scherzer have superior matchups to Verlander who faces the pesky Angels’ lineup that not only performs well against RHP but doesn’t strike out often. This creates a separation in the projections with Sale and Scherzer clearly ahead of Verlander. Sale faces the Athletics who are largely a neutral matchup for lefties. Many of their best hitters are strong against LHP but they also strike out a decent bit. Scherzer faces a Yankees’ lineup that ranks second in wRC+ against RHP but is extremely RH dominant which plays into Scherzer’s domination against RHBs (.196 wOBA, .115 ISO, 41.8 K Rate, and 3.9 BB Rate against RHBs since 2016). With such a wide gap between the aces and the next tier of starters on the slate, cash games require spending on at least one of the studs and on DraftKings the loose pricing makes it possible to fit both. We have Sale and Scherzer as basically equivalent plays and they would fill one of both of those spots.
After the big three, Walker Buehler (LAD) is in a tier of his own with a favorable matchup against the Marlins. Buehler’s price tag is back in a reasonable range on DraftKings ($8,500) while it’s the situation flipped on FanDuel with a more aggressive tag there ($9,500). Buehler has been consistently really good but unable to work deep into games. He’s had a slew of favorable matchups (MIA, SF, SD, CIN) and gets another one on Wednesday night. He’s likely going to command heavy ownership as he’s the best way to fit in stacks along with the top starters. We think he’s viable in cash games but pricing seems soft enough to get two studs and would prefer that route.
The slate does have high upside cheap arms with Caleb Smith (MIA) and Garrett Richards (LAA) against teams that project well but have been struggling of late. Both pitchers can rack up strikeouts in a big way and are really cheap. Richards faces the Astros who rank fifth in wRC+ against RHP but also come with a below average K Rate. Smith faces a Dodgers’ lineup that ranks 25th in wRC+ against LHP but just got back Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe to solidify their lineup. Neither pitcher is in the conversation for cash games but either pitcher makes strong sense in tournaments when paired with the elite studs to stack higher priced offenses.
Yasmani Grandal (LAD) tops the projections at the catcher position. Grandal is also the best per dollar value at the position and he projects as an overspend in this slate. He’s hitting from the right side, which is his worst side, and still carries an ISO baseline of .211 vs. LHP. Grandal is also in play on FD where every first baseman is overpriced.
Every catcher in this slate is priced beyond appropriately, and we have expensive pitching to pay up for. Christian Vazquez (BOS) might be a necessary evil on DK where he’s priced like a punt. Vazquez has been abysmal at the plate this season and he’ll continue to project as a below average hitter. He’s also hitting in the worst lineup spot possible (ninth) at home. This is strictly a price play.
Willson Contreras (CHC) has been heating up of late and gets a matchup against the struggling Brandon McCarthy, who’s coming off back to back disaster starts. We like him in tournaments but like Grandal he’s a clear overspend in a slate where expensive pitching will be the focus. J.T. Realmuto (MIA) has a mid-tier price tag and leads off but the matchup against Walker Buehler is below average.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Anthony Rizzo (CHC) represent the top projected scorers at first base. These two carry the best wOBA baselines vs. RHP in this slate and are clearly the top options at the position. It’ll be difficult to fit them tonight because of the appropriate price tags, but we think they’re worthy tournament spends.
For salary relief, we’re pursuing Hanley Ramirez (BOS) and Justin Bour (MIA) on DK. Ramirez has the better context (in Fenway, Red Sox IRT is 5.2) but also carries the bigger price tag ($3,900). Bour is just $3k on DK and will have the platoon edge. It’s not a great matchup by any means (Walker Buehler) but he fits the slate well given the cheap price tag and he’s clearly skilled with the platoon edge (.365 wOBA and .238 ISO vs. RHP since 2016).
This position is clearly overpriced on FD and the cheapest target, Neil Walker (NYY), has a matchup against Max Scherzer. It’s probably the first slate thus far this season that we’d recommend rostering a catcher over a first baseman in cash games.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) finally gets a crack at the top of our second base projections. Unfortunately, Albies’ price tag is now beyond appropriate ($5,100 on DK, $4,600 on FD) and like any other expensive player in this slate he’ll be too difficult of a fit in cash games. He remains playable in tournaments but in order to fit him you’ll have to get away from expensive pitching.
The salary relief options at the position are site dependent. On DK, Ben Zobrist (CHC), Howie Kendrick (WSH) and Kike Hernandez (LAD) all project similarly. Zobrist carries the highest projection of the bunch because he’s on the road and has been leading off of late. Hernandez has the toughest matchup of this group (Caleb Smith) but he finds himself in favorable lineup spots vs. LHP. Hernandez is also the best hitter of this group, generating a .351 wOBA and .239 ISO vs. southpaws since 2016.
On FD, Eduardo Nunez (BOS) projects as an overspend but is also the top value at the position. We’re projecting him to hit eight vs. RHP at home, which isn’t great, but he adds upside with his legs and is part of the team that has the highest IRT in the slate. Howie Kendrick (WSH) is the other playable value but he’s also overpriced ($3,300).
Kris Bryant (CHC) carries the top projection in the hot corner. He brings his 31.4% HHR over the L15 to a matchup against Brandon McCarthy, who’s allowed 12 earned runs over his last two starts. Bryant is in play in tournaments but in cash games we’ll need cheaper options that fit the slate.
The industry wide value that’s projecting well at the position is Justin Turner (LAD). And by well we mean he projects as a positive value, which is significant in this slate. Turner will have the platoon edge against a good pitcher. Turner has been a much better hitter vs. RHP, but we’re still holding on to aggressive baselines for him vs. LHP (.373 wOBA, .198 ISO).
On DK, Anthony Rendon (WSH) is particularly cheap ($3,800) and will have the platoon edge against C.C. Sabathia. Rendon has generated a 36.8% HHR over the L15 days.
On FD, Kike Hernandez (LAD) is priced like a punt ($2,400). We’re expecting his salary relief to be necessary in cash games but he’ll come with pinch hit risk.
Trea Turner (WSH) represents the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. He’s a big spend that you can afford on FD. Turner comes into this game with a 31.4% HHR over the L15 days and he’s a speed/power upside threat.
The alternatives at the position are Chris Taylor (LAD) and Xander Bogaerts (BOS). They’re in a playbale range on both sites but if you’re not playing Turner it’s likely because you need salary relief out of this position, particularly on DK. Given the state of the outfield, it’s even possible to play one of these two in the utility slot on FD.
Marcus Semien (OAK) is cheap on DK ($3,200) and he’s clearly the most skilled option (.207 ISO vs. LHP since 2016) at the position in this price range. The challenge for Semien is his matchup against Chris Sale, but he’s in Fenway Park and he’s the road leadoff hitter. Eduardo Nunez (BOS) carries a higher projection than Semien but he’s an inferior hitter. Nunez is in a similar pricing range though which puts him squarely in play across all formats.
Mookie Betts (BOS) carries the highest projection in this slate regardless of hitting position. He’s at home where he gets to take shots at the Green Monster. Betts is the most expensive hitter in this slate, and like most of the pricey hitters he faces the same challenge. We prefer him in tournaments were you’ll have to build differently (away from expensive pitching) in order to fit him in.
Andrew Benintendi (BOS) and Kyle Schwarber (CHC) are intriguing mid-tier targets on DK. Schwarber in particular carries plenty of power upside but his contact data has been awful of late (5% HHR over the L15). These two have annoying price tags on FD where they’re priced over $4k. They won’t fit the slate with expensive pitching on that site and on DK if you go double expensive at SP they’re unlikely to fit as well.
Ben Zobrist (CHC) is OF eligible on both sites and carries a cheap price tag. He’ll be necessary in this slate. He’s a road leadoff hitter. We’ll have to dip to the cheap OF pool multiple times in this slate in order to make expensive pitching work. Michael A. Taylor (WSH), Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS), Yasiel Puig (on FD), Kike Hernandez (LAD) (on DK) and Howie Kendrick (WSH) (on DK) are all cheap and fit the slate. Bradley Jr. has been out of the Red Sox lineup of late since he’s been struggling offensively. If he’s back he’s more likely to hit towards the bottom of the lineup but the price tag keeps him in play. He’s generated a .204 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. Jason Heyward (CHC) is further down the list of OF values but he’s minimum priced on FD and will have the platoon edge in his matchup against Brandon McCarthy. He’s not a good offensive player but there aren’t a lot of ways of creating salary relief quite like that over on that site.
1) Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have the highest implied total on the slate and are facing one of the weaker bullpens behind Trevor Cahill who historically doesn’t work deep into games. The core pieces of the Red Sox offense are priced out of the slate a bit by the high end pitching. This should result in modest ownership that can be attacked in GPPs. It’s easier to do so on DraftKings because the second starting pitcher can really open more salary.
2) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs are a bit more affordable than the Red Sox and face a weaker opposing starter while also guaranteed a ninth inning. Their offense is just as explosive but faces a bit better bullpen in the Braves and thus ranks a bit behind the Red Sox. Like Boston, we imagine ownership will be held back a bit by the strength of the expensive SP on the slate and they also make a bit more sense on DraftKings where you can create that salary relief with SP2.
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
4) Washington Nationals
The Dodgers are the cheap stack that fits the slate the best so we expect they’ll carry ownership. While Caleb Smith has been electric early on, he doesn’t work very deep into games which exposes a rather weak pen behind him. The Nationals are similarly cheap, more so on DraftKings which may also funnel a bit of ownership. Sabathia has avoided hard contact this year and been tougher to pick on despite middling stuff.
5) Atlanta Braves
6) Houston Astros
The Braves and Astros don’t have particularly great matchups but rank here on pedigree alone. The Astros bottom of the order stack is an intriguing cheap stack on FanDuel where pricing is really tight and Garrett Richards inability to work deep into the game leaves the Astros bottom of the order with a chance for more reps against the bullpen.