Welcome to May 17 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for May 16 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!
May 17 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:40 Starting Pitcher
15:00 First Base
18:39 Second Base
21:27 Third Base
- 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.
May 17 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
With Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, and Lance McCullers all on the early slate, the options for the larger evening slate are thinner at the starting pitcher position. Michael Pineda (NYY) checks in as the highest projected starter with a nice park shift against a Royals’ offense that ranks 26th in wRC+ against RHP with a league average 21.1 K Rate. While Kansas City is historically an upgrade over Yankee Stadium the conditions in Kansas City (high 70s, wind blowing out 20+ mph to center) will keep it a challenging environment for Pineda’s home run issues (1.74 HR/9) and keep the total inflated. Pineda comes with the most strikeouts built in on the evening slate and thus the biggest upside, but prioritizing offense along with cheaper starters in better environments keeps Pineda from building block status.
The next tier of starters is where some value sneaks into the conversation. Rick Porcello (BOS), Jhoulys Chacin (SD), Gerrit Cole (PIT), and Matt Shoemaker (LAA) all project similarly. Chacin is the cheapest of the group on both sites and represents a key source of salary relief on DraftKings where two pitchers are required. We’ve noted Chacin’s very wide platoon splits in his career (.295 wOBA, .104 ISO allowed, with a 24.5 K Rate against RHBs compared to .342/.189/13 percent against LHBs) and the Brewers have struggled to get LH of late with nagging injuries for Travis Shaw and Eric Thames. While our projected lineup includes three LHBs for the Brewers (Thames, Villar, and Shaw), there is additional upside for Chacin who comes with the second lowest implied run total (3.6) on the slate. Matt Shoemaker is home to the lowest implied total (3.3) against as the White Sox rank 28th against RHP in wRC+ and have struck out in 23.2 percent of their plate appearances. A favorable home umpire for starting pitching and cool temperatures (low 60s) keep the run prevention environment strong. The concern for Shoemaker is the White Sox have been running out lineups that aren’t quite as strikeout friendly of late. Shoemaker also isn’t cheap at $8,800 on DK and $8,100 on FanDuel. Porcello is in that same price range on DraftKings as Shoemaker with a few more strikeouts built in but a higher implied run total against. Gerrit Cole is somewhere in between those two. Porcello-Cole-Shoemaker are all viable drop-downs from Pineda if you need to free more salary relief for offense but Chacin is the prize we’re targeting most heavily on DraftKings.
On FanDuel, the discussion is tighter and will come down to lineups. Pineda is cheaper on FanDuel and Chacin a bit more expensive. If more salary relief plays open up, it’s easy to slide in Pineda and take the higher ceiling but if the Brewers run out and extremely RH lineup Chacin may close the projection gap anyway.
In tournaments, German Marquez (COL) has flashed strikeout upside but has seen his price tag raise substantially. Outside of Coors Field, he gets a better pitching environment but has to face the DH. A watered down Jays lineup without the DH would make Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) another potential tournament target and our favorite of this group.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) represents our top projected catcher in this slate. Sanchez is expensive on DK (though viable), but the $3.4k on FD puts him squarely in the cash game conversation. He’ll have the platoon edge, and he’s generated a .339 ISO vs. LHP in a small sample (71 PAs) so the upside here is great.
Jonathan Lucroy (TEX) is right behind Sanchez in projection. Lucroy has been hitting cleanup lately, and his HHR% is up to 26.7% over the L15. It’s a nice matchup against Zach Eflin and a cheaper price tag than Sanchez on both sites, making him a better point per dollar target.
Victor Martinez (DET) is a viable alternative on FD where he’s C eligible. Martinez will hit from the left side of the plate vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, who’s allowed a .383 wOBA and .235 ISO to LHBs since the beginning of last season.
Cameron Rupp (PHI) and Willson Contreras (CHC) are viable power upside pivots. It’s not a huge sample (180 PAs) as a part time player, but Rupp has raked vs. LHP (.385 wOBA and .257 ISO) since 2014 and the Phillies are in Texas, which adds a DH to their lineup. We like Rupp in tournaments. Contreras’ $3.1k price tag on DK makes him the best point per dollar target IF we’re guessing the correct total on a Cubs game that currently has the wind blowing out at 20 MPH to left center. UPDATE: The Rangers swapped Probable SPs pushing Martin Perez back a day and starting Andrew Cashner (TEX) instead. It makes all the Phillies RHBs a bit less appealing.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) carries the top projection at first base. We’re projecting a hefty implied run total (six runs) for the Cubs with the wind likely to be blowing out significantly. Rizzo hasn’t been squaring up the ball lately (HHR% of 8.8% over the L15), but the skills here are phenomenal as he’ll have the platoon edge. Since 2015, Rizzo has generated a .388 wOBA, .246 ISO and excellent plate discipline skills vs. RHP. His price tag is discounted around the industry and he’s our preferred target in cash games.
If searching for alternatives, Miguel Cabrera (DET) remains on the cheap side on both sides. The Tigers have an implied run total of 5.1 runs vs. the volatile Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez is striking out less batters, getting hit harder and giving up more runs this season.
Tournament pivots include Freddie Freeman (ATL), Eric Thames (MIL), Chris Davis (BAL) (cheap on DK), Joey Votto (CIN), and Matt Holliday (NYY) (on DK). Thames is dealing with an illness and we’re unsure if he’ll be in the lineup, but if he plays the matchup against Chacin is strong. Chacin has allowed a .342 wOBA and .189 ISO to LHBs since 2015. There’s a chance that Chacin ends up with big ownership on DK, which would make Thames a strong leverage play if he suits up.
Rougned Odor (TEX) is our top projected scorer at second base. It’s a phenomenal matchup for Odor, who takes on Zach Eflin (.346 wOBA, .262 ISO and a 9.9% K rate vs. LHBs since 2015). To make matters worse for Eflin, he has to deal with a negative league shift in a great hitting environment (mid to high 80s temps in Arlington tonight). Odor is an easy fit in cash games on both sites.
If Ian Happ (CHC) starts once again for the Cubs and hits cleanup, he’ll be a strong challenger to Odor given the punt price tags around the industry.
Brian Dozier (MIN) leads off at home and has power/speed upside, making him a fine alternative in tournaments if the weather holds.
Jonathan Villar (MIL) looks like a good value in our projections on FD where his price remains down, but we’d rather invest in tournaments here as the Brewers are facing a negative park shift with an unhealthy lineup (Braun is out and Thames looks iffy).
Ben Zobrist (CHC) is dealing with a back injury, but the price tag is capturing this. If he’s in the lineup and in a fine lineup spot, he’s worth a shot in tournaments.
Ryan Schimpf (SD) is a good investment in tournaments on FD where he’s just $2.9k. His uppercut swing meets a dream matchup (Matt Garza, who’s allowed a .370 wOBA and .194 ISO to LHBs since 2015). He’s a good pivot off a likely chalky Rougned Odor.
Kris Bryant (CHC) is the top projected scorer in the hot corner. Bryant is making more contact this season (21% K rate, 9.7% SwStr rate are career bests so far), which is scary for opposing pitchers given Bryant’s powerful uppercut swing. In a windy Wrigley game that benefits hitters, Bryant’s upside is significant. He’s our preferred target at the position.
Miguel Sano (MIN) is a strong alternative but with even better recent form. Sano’s HHR is sitting at 47.4% over the L15, and 42.4% this season.
Joey Gallo (TEX) is a boom or bust option to consider in tournaments. Gallo is going to strike out a bunch (39.6% K rate), but the power upside is significant (12 HRs backed up by a 60% FB rate this season).
Manny Machado (BAL), Eugenio Suarez (CIN), Ryan Schimpf (SD) (on DK) and Maikel Franco (PHI) are other names to keep in mind in tournaments. Franco’s power baseline is a bit lighter than Machado’s and Schimpf’s , but he’s in the better hitting environment and will have the platoon edge. UPDATE: The Rangers swapped Probable SPs pushing Martin Perez back a day and starting Andrew Cashner (TEX) instead. It makes all the Phillies RHBs a bit less appealing.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) and Addison Russell (CHC) are the two shortstops we like the most from a cash game perspective as they’re the best point per dollar targets in the best hitting environments in this slate. We’ve mentioned throughout the notes that the wind is likely going to be blowing out in Wrigley, but the other aspect is warmer temperatures (low 80s, high 70s) which helps the ball carry more. Russell is a middle of the lineup Cubs bat, and while he’s been scuffling lately the price tag on DK ($3.3k) is way too low.
Andrus has been hitting second of late for the Rangers, and his matchup is even better than Russell’s. Zach Eflin has been more competent vs. RHBs, but he doesn’t miss bats (5.7% SwStr rate in his short career) and Andrus’ best offensive skills are not striking out and running.
Zack Cozart (CIN) is a decent tournament target on DK simply due to the plus hitting environment and lack of depth at the position after Andrus and Russell.
Mike Trout (LAA) carries one of the best projections on the hitters side of things in this slate, and he’s been on a power surge lately. Trout is priced appropriately, but the upside here remains significant. We prefer Trout in tournaments, but if you wanted to fit him in cash games it’s not very difficult to do so on a slate that lacks elite SPs.
We’re being flooded by outfielders in a Texas and Chicago uniform, as Kyle Schwarber (CHC), Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) will carry the platoon edge in their respective matchups. As we’ve mentioned previously, these are also the two best hitting environments in this slate featuring weak pitching staffs on the whole. If Ben Zobrist (CHC) suits up, he’s cheap enough to consider on both sites but he’s battling a back issue and there’s no need to pull the trigger in cash games.
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is turning it around at the plate from a hard contact perspective, as his HHR% is up to 27% over the L15. It’s a significant downgrade in hitting environment, but the Rockies’ lineup gets deeper with the DH in the AL and the price tag here is really cheap on both sites.
Khris Davis (OAK) is a high risk high reward option to consider in tournaments. We’re hoping that a matchup against Christian Bergman, who doesn’t strike batters out, increases his chances at making contact.
Billy Hamilton (CIN), Matt Holliday and Aaron Judge (NYY) are other upside pivots to consider in tournaments. Judge’s HHR% over the L15 is sitting at 48%, and we’re hoping that a peak price tag, downgrade in environment, and a pitcher that’s gotten good results (Jason Vargas) but should regress keeps his ownership on the low end.
1) Chicago Cubs
2) Texas Rangers
3) Colorado Rockies
4) Cincinnati Reds
5) Minnesota Twins
6) Baltimore Orioles
Once again the warm weather and heavy winds in Chicago should drive ownership to the Cubs. They’re facing a better pitcher this time out as Feldman has kept hard contact below 30 percent throughout his career but he is contact oriented and the Cubs still have immense upside. Last night ownership was in the 25-30 percent range which is still playable though a slight underweight may be the best approach. The Rangers represent the best pivot with a difficult umpire for SP behind home plate and a great matchup against Zach Eflin (13 percent K Rate, 34 percent hard hit rate) with temperatures starting in the high 80s and decreasing through the night.
The Yankees aren’t normally contrarian but the strong start to the season from Jason Vargas coupled with a few prominent LHBs mixed in throughout the stack drop their overall ranking. Vargas’ fly ball tendencies have returned strongly over his last four starts (GB Rates of 29-27-40-28) and with warm temperatures and the wind blowing out strongly to center field, the Yankees power RHBs make sense in tournaments (Sanchez, Castro, Holiday, and Judge). The Rockies also rate well as a contrarian stack in our projections. Ervin Santana isn’t a bad starter but he has pitched over his head and the Twins bullpen behind him is very poor. The Rockies possess an AL style lineup in terms of depth and will come with very little ownership due to their low implied total. If the Rockies game runs into weather concerns, the Phillies are an intriguing stack. They rank Top 10 in wRC+ against LHP and outside of Yu Darvish shutting them down have been swinging it well of late with a number of positive deltas in the HHR%. UPDATE: The Rangers swapped Probable SPs pushing Martin Perez back a day and starting Andrew Cashner (TEX) instead. It makes all the Phillies RHBs a bit less appealing.