Welcome to May 16 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 16 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
0:50 Starting Pitcher
12:25 First Base
15:50 Second Base
17:45 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 16 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
PLEASE NOTE: Eickhoff is now the probable pitcher for the Phillies, not Eflin. Please see projections.
We’re presented with two elite SP options on this slate in Yu Darvish (TEX) and Dallas Keuchel (HOU). On both DK and FD, we suggest anchoring your teams with one of these options.
Our projection preference is for Darvish who faces a Phillies team that ranks below average in wRC+ and K% against RHP. Darvish tops Keuchel in our projections mainly due to K upside (career 30.0%), especially considering the volatility seems similar in these particular matchups (larger favorite than Keuchel and slightly reduced IRT).
If you’re risk averse, there is an argument to be made for Keuchel over Darvish in cash games, regardless of what the Vegas lines are suggesting. Darvish’s peripherals are a little shaky. He’s allowed a higher Hard% than usual, and the K% has not been elite due to a drop in SwStr%. Meanwhile, Keuchel has been rolling since the season opener, registering a quality start in every outing but one. He looks to be in 2015 form – the K%, GB%, and Hard-Soft% are all indications of that. Keuchel gets a league shift and park shift in his favor, pitching in a big park without the DH. The Marlins are a tougher opponent, park aside, than the Phillies, boasting a much higher wRC+ split and lower K% split.
One strategy may be to take Keuchel in cash games while saving a touch of money and getting more K upside into tournament lineups with Darvish.
A potential pivot off Keuchel or Darvish is Stephen Strasburg (WAS). He rates lower in our model because our baselines have the Pirates as a contact oriented team. While that’s been true for the most part, they’ve struck out the eighth most over the last 14 days and could possibly be without Gregory Polanco. We prefer Darvish and Keuchel, but the gap is probably a bit closer than the projections currently indicate.
The second SP spot on DK could go a variety of places. Our current lean is to take additional savings and use J.C. Ramirez (LAA), who has impressed as an SP. Ramirez has recorded at least 16 outs in each start since his first one (transitioning from RP to SP), including a couple of 7 IP outings. There’s more upside than we initially felt as a result, especially considering the K rate has been strong, albeit up and down (three starts with a K% at 29.3% or better, 3 at 14.3 or worse). Ramirez is in a nice spot for run prevention, facing a White Sox team ranked 28th in wRC+ against RHP in his pitcher friendly home stadium. Vegas seems to think so as well; Ramirez has the lowest IRTA on the slate at 3.3.
If you’re not sold on Ramirez, mid-tier options ranging from mid-high to mid-low include John Lackey (CHC), Rich Hill (LAD) (tied for lowest IRTA, underpriced for his skill set in a great pitcher’s park, some concern over IP expectations), and Jimmy Nelson (MIL) (shakiest skill set but lowest cost and elite matchup – in Petco against a Padres team with the second highest K% against RHP and seventh lowest wRC+; also has a very favorable umpire for SPs).
Gary Sanchez (NYY) headlines the catching position on Tuesday’s slate, but with some high priced arms on our radar, he might not be in our cash game plans. Nevertheless, the matchup with Jason Hammel is one that he can exploit, as Hammel is susceptible to right-handed power, allowing a .184 ISO to RHB since 2015. Additionally, Sanchez and the Yankees hold an implied run total of 4.9 runs despite getting a negative park shift to Kauffman Stadium.
Jonathan Lucroy (TEX) and Willson Contreras (CHC) both offer decent lineup spots and a bit of a savings over Sanchez. Lucroy has been established in the cleanup spot in each of his last three starts and draws a matchup with right-hander Zach Eflin (PLEASE NOTE: Eickhoff is now the probable pitcher for the Phillies, not Eflin.) Eflin has outperformed his xFIP in the early going and the Rangers hold an implied run total of 4.8 runs. He has not only struggled to miss bats (4.78 K/9) but also allowed a lot of hard contact (34%). At just $3,700 on DK and $2,700 on FanDuel – Lucroy is an excellent source of cap relief viable in all formats. Contreras gets a nice matchup with right-hander Bronson Arroyo. He’s actually even cheaper than Lucroy on DraftKings at just $3,400, but will come with a slightly worse lineup spot. Arroyo has been what we’ve expected, posting a 5.94 ERA while allowing over two home runs per nine innings.
Brian McCann (HOU) and Stephen Vogt (OAK) should be considered as even cheaper alternatives. Buster Posey (SF) is always in the tournament conversation when he holds the platoon advantage, regardless of a difficult matchup with left-hander Rich Hill.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) finds himself near the top of the 1B rankings in our model. Rizzo and the Cubs have an implied run total of 4.6 runs in their matchup with old right-hander Bronson Arroyo. Not only has Arroyo been susceptible to power, but he’s also allowed a lot of hard contact overall (35.8%). Rizzo has been one of many Cubs who are currently scuffling, but we’ll take the .388 wOBA and .246 ISO against RHP since 2015 given his descending price tag ($4,600 on DK, $3,900 on FD).
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is just behindRizzo in our projections, getting the platoon edge at home against Tommy Milone. The Diamondbacks have the slate’s highest implied run total, and rightfully so. Millone is a fly ball oriented arm that has allowed a .198 ISO to right-handed batters since 2015. Goldy’s price tag will be difficult to fit in cash games, but he’s one of the best options on the entire slate.
Miguel Cabrera (DET), Albert Pujols (LAA), and Mike Napoli (TEX) offer a bit more cost savings at the position. Cabrera will hold the platoon edge on Wade Miley and Napoli draws Eflin, but Pujols is our favorite way to be a bit cheaper. Pujols draws the platoon edge on left-hander Derek Holland and is just $3,700 on DK and $2,700 on FanDuel. Holland has struggled mightily against RHB since 2015, allowing a .348 wOBA and a .212 ISO.
Pujols’ teammate, C.J. Cron (LAA) is back and 1B eligible on both sites. He’s an even cheaper less skilled way to get exposure to the wide splits of Derek Holland.
Rougned Odor (TEX) headlines the second base position. Odor has seen his price come down to just $2,800 on FanDuel where he stands head and shoulders above the rest of the options at the position. On DraftKings at $4,000 there is a bit more of a conversation, but the left-handed hitting second baseman will hold the platoon edge on Zach Eflin and draw a top five lineup spot.
Brian Dozier (MIN) is a menace to left-handed pitching and he’ll hold the platoon edge on Kyle Freeland. He’s been hitting the ball harder of late (28% Hard% L15, 22% for season) and at just $4,600 on DraftKings he is firmly in the conversation for any format. On FanDuel however, where he’s $1,100 more expensive than Odor, it seems that he’s primed more for the tournament conversation.
Chris Taylor (LAD) has lead off against both of the last two left-handers the Dodgers have faced and we have no reason to believe that he won’t be back there again against Ty Blach. The overall environment is less enticing than the aforementioned duo, but the lineup spot and price tag are reason enough to consider him, particularly on DraftKings where he is just $3,100.
Ben Zobrist (CHC) holds 2B eligibility on DraftKings and deserves consideration there in the matchup with Bronson Arroyo. He has missed the last two games with some back problems though.
The third base position is dominated tonight by a trio of the game’s best, Nolan Arenado (COL), Kris Bryant (CHC), and Manny Machado (BAL).
Arenado and Bryant hold the better matchups, but they also come with the more expensive price tags. Arenado will travel to Target Field to take on the reverse splits oriented Phil Hughes who has allowed a .214 ISO to RHB since 2015. It’s feasible to make Arenado’s price tag work, particularly on DraftKings, but his viability will depend on your spending elsewhere.
Bryant missed the entire Cardinals series due to an illness, but should hopefully be ready to face Bronson Arroyo. He actually offers a bit of a discount over Arenado on FanDuel, but he’s priced at $5,000 on DraftKings where every last dollar might count due to the need for two starting pitchers. Nevertheless, if he finds himself in the lineup he deserves consideration in all formats.
Machado is the cheapest of the trio and is perhaps a bit more suitable on FanDuel at just $3,700. Matt Boyd is one of many weak pitchers on this slate that has been susceptible to right-handed batters, having allowed a .352 wOBA and .212 ISO to RHB.
Miguel Sano (MIN), Joey Gallo (TEX), and Nick Castellanos (DET) hold down their own separate trio just below that Arenado, Bryant, and Machado. Sano has been absurd this season, and of late posting a 47.4% Hard%. He’ll draw the platoon edge against Kyle Freeland and is a lethal tournament pairing with teammate Brian Dozier. Gallo’s absurd power (and some speed upside) will certainly play against Zach Eflin. While Castellanos is a cheaper, lower upside alternative that has some secondary cash game appeal.
Shortstop will likely be a position that will likely depend on the site you’re playing on. On FanDuel, Chris Owings (ARI) is just $3,300 and is an easy spend where he’ll grab the platoon edge and share the highest implied run total on the slate against Tommy Millone. His platoon splits won’t wow you, but he’s shown a stroke of power against LHP, posting a .154 ISO against southpaws since 2015.
You’ll also find Elvis Andrus (TEX) and Addison Russell (CHC) at just $3,000 and $3,200 on FanDuel respectively. Andrus has cemented himself in the second spot of the order after many shufflings of the Texas lineup. The Rangers are a common theme in the positional analysis due to their matchup with Zach Eflin.
Russell has been one of many Cubs to be injured of late, dealing with a shoulder injury. Should he find himself back in the lineup he warrants consideration on both sites, as he’s also just $3,500 on DraftKings. Like almost every Cub, he’s struggled of late (7.7% Hard% L15), but Bronson Arroyo is a potentially dazzling remedy.
While you can reasonably choose from the aforementioned trio on FanDuel, DraftKings might have you looking to punt the position as a whole. Alcides Escobar (KC) is back in the leadoff spot of late and will get the platoon edge against C.C. Sabathia. Shield your eyes when looking at his platoon splits, but a premier lineup spot and a $2,700 price tag is reason enough to consider him. You can also use Nick Ahmed (ARI) on DraftKings at just $2,800. The Diamondbacks are one of our favorite stacks on this slate, and though he won’t come with a great lineup spot, Ahmed will be able to take advantage of the horrendous Tommy Millone. He’s posted a serviceable .330 wOBA and .146 ISO against LHP since 2015.
Trea Turner (WSH) is the top rated shortstop on the slate, but holds a difficult price tag to fit.
Kyle Schwarber (CHC) is back at the top of our outfield model as he gets to take out his Hulk-en rage on Bronson Arroyo. Schwarber has seen his price dip to just $4,100 on DK and $3,100 on FanDuel in wake of “slumps.” But don’t be super alarmed, he’s seen just a 1.3% decrease in Hard% over the last fifteen days (23.7%) and given his problems have been with swinging and missing the matchup with Arroyo is even more appealing.
Schwarber is only outdone in raw projection by both Bryce Harper (WSH) and Mike Trout (LAA). The pair will both hold the platoon edge over weak opposing starting pitchers, but the price tags are a bit restrictive for cash game use with top starting pitchers on the slate.
A cheap way to grab some value in the outfield while getting exposure to a top offense is by looking to the Texas Rangers. Both Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) and Nomar Mazara (TEX) rate in the top five of our outfield values on both sites. They’ve seen their lineup spots shift quite a bit this season, but Mazara has settled into the third spot of the order recently, with Choo getting time at 1 and 2. In a small sample size, Eflin has been destroyed by left-handed batters allowing a .346 wOBA and .262 ISO.
Yasmany Tomas (ARI) is another way to get exposure to the Diamondbacks. He’s priced in the mid-tier just above the Rangers on DraftKings, but on FanDuel he’s just $3,300. He holds strong cash game consideration as he’s posted a .387 wOBA and .251 ISO against LHP since 2015.
Carlos Gonzalez (COL) has seen his price dip enough to throw him into the conversation despite the reverse splits of Phil Hughes. Matt Joyce (OAK) and Khris Davis (OAK) are a pair of Athletic bats that rate well in a matchup with Chase de Jong. de Jong has been horrible in his first few starts, failing to strike out many hitters while allowing power, walks, and posting a 7.85 ERA. Davis’ price tag on both sites makes him a secondary cash game target with lots of tournament upside.
Joey Rickard (BAL) will enjoy a move back to the leadoff spot in his platoon role for the Orioles. He’s a really cheap way to get exposure to the wide splits of Matt Boyd and allows you to prioritize elsewhere given a price tag of just $2,800 on DK.
1) Chicago Cubs
2) Arizona Diamondbacks
3) Texas Rangers
4) Colorado Rockies
5) Washington Nationals
The Cubs are our top stack. Their 15-Day Hard% is surprisingly one of the worst on the slate and keeps them from being in a tier of their own. However, this is a talented offense facing one of the most homer prone pitchers in all of baseball in Bronson Arroyo (2.23 HR/9 currently, ZiPS projects 2.15). UPDATE: With the wind projected to blow out at over 15 mph on a hot night, the Cubs solidify themselves as the top stack.
One team absolutely mashing the ball recently in the tier one stacks is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They lead all teams on this slate in both season-long Hard% and 15-day Hard%. Like with the Cubs, there’s HR upside here. Milone in a small sample last year gave up 1.95 HR/9. In a smaller sample this year he’s yielded 2.42 per 9. While AJ Pollock being out hurts this lineup, it also helps create value up top with Owings and Drury.
The Rangers add to a deep first tier of stacks. We often refer to Zach Eflin as the prototypical stack against SP because he allows a lot of balls in play, but is fly ball oriented and has a high Hard-Soft%. He gets a negative league and park shift and is backed up by arguably the worst bullpen in the league (PLEASE NOTE: Eickhoff is now the probable pitcher for the Phillies, not Eflin.)
6) New York Yankees
7) Houston Astros
8) Milwaukee Brewers
The Yankees have the most upside of the tier two stacks. They lead all of baseball in wRC+ against RHP and are third in ISO. Opposing pitcher Jason Hammel currently has the lowest GB rate and highest xFIP of his career. He’s always had a high Hard%, which could be an issue on an 80-degree night with the wind blowing out at 15 mph.
-Minnesota Twins: The Twins may go overlooked despite a high 4.8 IRT. Kyle Freeland has been fortunate this season (4.3 HR/FB rate), but he’s a poor K/BB rate guy who could have difficulty with some of the power RHBs of the Twins, most notably Dozier and Sano.