Welcome to May 18 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 18 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 18 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 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Max Scherzer (WAS) is the cleap top SP on the slate given an absurd 9.8 K projection that is a full two strikeouts higher than any other pitcher on this slate. He’s the second largest favorite (-210) with the lowest IRTA as well (2.9). The big issue here, however, is weather. The forecast looks bleak, and unless something changes drastically, this game probably gets cancelled.
If you remove Scherzer from the slate, Jacob deGrom (NYM) steps in as the clear top SP. We’ve docked his outs and batters faced baseline as he was pulled after just 1 inning in his first start back from the DL (threw 45 pitches), although he’s reportedly healthy. Even with the duration dock, we have deGrom with a 7.8 K projection, which is more than 1.5 Ks higher than any of the remaining SPs. After a career best 28.9 K% last season, deGrom’s is up to 32 this year, and his xwOBA is .239, the best among SPs. He seems worth the risk on this slate.
Following deGrom is Charlie Morton (HOU), who has been absurd this season and is coming off a 14-K performance where he had a negative xFIP. The issue with Morton on DK is how crazy high the price tag has gotten ($12,200). On FD, it’s more reasonable. We still don’t have him as a top flight value because of the matchup with Cleveland, but if you raise his K rate to what it’s been so far this season, he’d start to look like a viable alternative to deGrom.
Hernandez has allowed way too much hard-hit, aerial contact, which has led to his 5-plus ERA, but he has consistently struck out hitters recently, striking out 22.7% or more in five of his last six starts. He’ll take on a very weak, heavily right-handed Tigers lineup, leading to just a 3.6 IRTA and -150 line despite Hernandez’s poor surface statistics. If you’re uncomfortable with deGrom on FD, Hernandez is really cheap there and allows you to stack a top flight offense.
With Pomeranz, you’re hoping for some regression as his first five starts have been ugly (5.25 FIP), but most projections systems expect a mid-low ERA with a good K rate and decent win rate given Boston’s strength. The one thing Pomeranz has done well is strike out batters, compiling them at a 23.4% clip, in line with his career mark. He has the same high risk/reward matchup against the Orioles that teammate David Price was able to take advantage of last night.
The final mid-tier option to consider is Zack Godley, who is the most talented of the trio, holding a 3.79 xFIP, following a breakout season in which he had a really strong combination of K (26.3%) and GB rate (51.9%). Small steps back across the board have occurred thus far this season. Godley has a neutral to below average matchup against a Mets team that currently ranks fifth in wRC+ against RHP.
Two potential cheap plays on DK are Marco Estrada (TOR) and Carson Fulmer (CHW). Both have horrific wOBA and ISO baselines, and their significant downside is evidenced by IRTA of nearly 5 in strong hitting environments. However, they’re just so cheap against offenses that inflate strikeout totals that they still rate as okay per dollar values. We’d categorize them as tournament options only.
On FD, you can throw another mid-tier value into the mix alongside Hernandez, Pomeranz, and Godley. That is Kyle Gibson (MIN). His velocity and repertoire don’t really look much different, but for whatever reason he’s seeing a spike in whiff rates on all of his pitches. The result has been a career high 26.5 K%. We don’t want to chase a small sample (K rate has never been higher than 17.7% before), but Gibson has now struck out 24%, 29.6%, 27.3%, 47.6%, and 28% of batters faced over his last five starts. He’s tournament viable on both sites, but the price is better on FD.
Willson Contreras (CHC) carries the top projection at the catcher position. The Cubs have the second highest IRT (5.4) in this slate and Contreras has been hitting cleanup of late. They’re on the road in a matchup against Homer Bailey, who’s allowed a 42% FB rate, 40.9% HHR allowed and a 2.23 HR/9 this season. All of those are career high marks for Bailey. Contreras is a strong target in all formats on DK despite carrying an appropriate price tags.
If you need some salary relief at the position, Russell Martin (TOR) (platoon edge and has generated a 30% HHR over the L15 days) and Kurt Suzuki (ATL) (Braves have a 5.3 IRT and Suzuki has been hitting fifth) are adequate targets with $3,300 price tags.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) is projecting behind Contreras tonight but he’s also on the road in Kansas City where temperatures will be in the low 80s. It’s a good hitting environment and Sanchez has a vanilla matchup against Jake Junis, who’s allowed a .197 ISO vs. RHBs since last season. You’re unlikely to get low ownership here but it’s possible that it’s lower than Contreras’ ownership. We like Sanchez in all formats as well. Buster Posey (SF) and Salvador Perez (KC) are other potential alternatives with the platoon edge to consider in tournaments.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) represents the top projected scorer at first base and second overall behind his teammate Kris Bryant. Let’s face it, Rizzo’s results have not been that of a top scorer at a position. He’s generated a 83 wRC+ and .163 ISO this season. He’s also run into some impressive bad luck (.186 BABIP; career .283). His batted ball profile remains unchanged – in fact, this season he’s creating more loft (44% FB rate). He’s generated a .380 wOBA and .235 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. Tonight he gets to face Homer Bailey in a band box of a park (GAB). It’s an incredible context, but with him struggling this season and the asking price tag still high it’s possible he’s not a very chalky option. If you agree with our projection, this should be a hitter to build around in this slate.
The only other hitter projecting near Rizzo at the position is Freddie Freeman (ATL), who’s more expensive around the industry. We really like Freeman as he’s one of the best hitters in the league against RHP and he’s outperformed Rizzo substantially this season. We think of him as an elite tournament play though you’re unlikely to see low ownership.
If you’re fading Rizzo in cash games, we prefer creating some salary relief at the position. Matt Olson (OAK) is cheap on both sites and Justin Smoak (TOR) remains priced below $4k on DK. They’re our prefered targets with cheaper price tags in this slate.
In tournaments, Hanley Ramirez (BOS), Joey Gallo (TEX) (on DK) and Joey Votto (CIN) are viable options to consider in tournaments. Ramirez’s teammate, Mitch Moreland (BOS), has been on a heater this month and carries a 33% HHR over the L15 days into his matchup against Alex Cobb. He’s expensive now and gets to hit sixth (not a great lineup spot for the asking price) but he’s also viable in tournaments.
Ozzie Albies (ATL) is our top projected scorer at second base. He’s held this moniker twice this week – we’re making progress! All jokes aside, Albies has had a remarkable season thus far and tonight he’ll have the platoon edge against Dan Straily. The latter is coming off a much better start from a results standpoint against the Braves, and in that start he allowed a 64.3% HHR (according to fangraphs) and a 35.7% FB rate. Albies is pricey and given his remarkable season, it’s unlikely that he comes with low ownership. We still think he’s viable in tournaments.
This position doesn’t have great values as most options are priced appropriately. Brian Dozier (MIN) has decent price tags and he’ll have the platoon edge in Minnesota where it’s been warming up a bunch of late (high 70s temps tonight).
If Dozier doesn’t fit, we have some site specific options that are viable alternatives. On DK, Yangervis Solarte (TOR) and Adam Frazier (PIT) are in play. Frazier has the tougher matchup against Tyson Ross but the latter is easy to run on as well.
On FD, Rougned Odor (TEX) and Eduardo Nunez (BOS) are $2,700 and have above average matchups. We prefer Odor’s power upside on the road but Nunez is part of a Red Sox team that has a slate high 5.7 IRT.
Javier Baez (CHC) is no longer hitting second for the Cubs as he’s cooled off this month. He’s still pricey but the context alone puts him in play in tournaments.
Kris Bryant (CHC) is the top projected scorer in the slate regardless of hitting position. Homer Bailey looks particularly broken this season and Bryant has generated a .386 wOBA and .234 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. He’s a road hitter in Great American Ball Park hitting second. Bryant is pricey but deservingly so. He’s viable across all formats.
The obvious drop down at the position is Josh Donaldson (TOR), who’s $1,100 cheaper than Bryant on DK and $700 cheaper on FD. Donaldson will have the platoon edge at home, and with the platoon edge we have him pegged for a .390 wOBA and .280 ISO. Brett Anderson will be his matchup. The latter has been generating ground balls as expected but he’s not fooling anyone (11.8% K rate).
If you need salary relief at the position, which might end up being the case on FD, Yangervis Solarte (TOR) is just $3k. Solarte is a switch hitter, so when this game gets to Oakland’s below average bullpen he’ll still hold the platoon edge.
The other cheap value to consider is Matt Chapman (OAK), a power upside option that gets a massive park shift in his favor and gets to face a pitcher that struggles with the long ball (Marco Estrada).
Manny Machado (BAL) carries the top projection at the shortstop position. He’ll have the platoon edge against a fly ball prone pitcher in Fenway Park. As much as we love Machado, this isn’t the slate to pursue him in cash games. We think he’s a phenomenal tournament play though.
In cash games, we’re trying to create some salary relief at this position. Marcus Semien (OAK) fits though his price tags are on the rise. Semien has been hitting second for Oakland vs. RHP and he’ll be on the road in Rogers Centre. The matchup against Marco Estrada is excellent. The latter has allowed a .204 ISO to RHBs since 2016 and this season he’s missing less bats. Missing less bats for him means allowing more power (2.05 HR/9 allowed; 1.38 throughout his career).
Didi Gregorius (NYY) is the other target at the position that’s rating in a playable range for cash games now that his price tags have come down ($4k on DK, $3,800 on FD). After his incredible hot start to the season, Didi has cooled off significantly and comes into this series with a 6.5% HHR over the L15 days. He’s a viable alternative to Semien but moreso on DK where the price tags are a bit more similar.
If you need a cheaper target than Semien or Didi, Jurickson Profar (TEX) is a decent option. He’s been in good lineup spots of late and he’s on the road in an above average matchup.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is unlikely to be low owned at this point but he continues to be relevant in tournaments as part of Red Sox stacks.
Mike Trout (LAA), Mookie Betts (BOS) and Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) represent the top projected scorers in the outfield. They don’t fit the slate from a cash game perspective since they’re all expensive and our favorite pricey spends in the infield are part of positions that carry less values. We think all three are viable tournament spends with Mookie likely being the most popular of the bunch as he’s had a ridiculous season and is part of a chalky Red Sox team that once again will carry the highest IRT in a full slate. Stanton is the cheapest of the bunch on DK and represents a top five OF value over there. It’s not unreasonable to go after him in cash games on that site but it’ll cost you a big spend elsewhere. If you’re taking that route, we prefer not spending for Contreras at the catcher position instead of fading an elite third baseman or Rizzo.
Our top industry wide values at the position are Matt Joyce (OAK) and Teoscar Hernandez (TOR), two leadoff hitters in the same game. They’ll be a part of a phenomenal hitting environment (Rogers Centre) with controlled conditions thanks to the roof and both will have the platoon edge in their respective matchups. Joyce is really cheap and should be popular given the context. He’s generated a .367 wOBA and .241 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. Khris Davis (OAK) is another Oakland option that’s rating well on both sites and his power upside should be on full display in this matchup against Marco Estrada. Davis has generated a massive .285 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.
Albert Almora Jr. (CHC) and Brett Gardner (NYY) are other targets with cheap price tags that can be considered as OF3s in cash games. Of that bunch, Almora rates ahead since he’s projected to be the leadoff hitter for out top ranked stack in Great American Ball Park.
On FD, Joey Gallo (TEX) is $3,400 and will have the platoon edge against Carson Fulmer, who’s allowed a .355 wOBA and .206 ISO vs. LHBs in his time in the big leagues (since 2016). He’s only faced 155 LHBs in his career but he doesn’t project to be a good pitcher at this level. Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) are viable target. You could include Nomar Mazara (TEX) as part of a Rangers stack but he’s the most expensive of the bunch.
1) Chicago Cubs
The Cubs take the top spot in our stack rankings by a rather large margin as they get a big positive park shift and guaranteed nine innings playing on the road in Cincinnati. Opposing pitcher Homer Bailey has a 6.17 FIP and has a .410 xwOBA and .304 xISO.
2) Boston Red Sox
3) New York Yankees
The Red Sox flashed their event upside ways last night, running like crazy on the basepaths and blasting multiple HRs to boot. Alex Cobb has been better his last two starts, but he’s still someone that is going to allow a ton of balls in play, which is great from a DFS upside perspective for opposing hitters. He’s backed up by a bad bullpen
The Bronx Bombers get a negative park shift but they d face a SP that should accentuate their HR upside. Jake Junis has allowed a whopping 1.94 HR/9, and his mediocre K rate along with a low BB rate and low GB rate means lots of fly balls as a percentage of plate appearances.
4) Atlanta Braves
5) Toronto Blue Jays
6) Oakland Athletics
We haven’t messed with Dan Straily‘s baselines too much given the very limited sample (3 starts, 13 IP), but if you were going to change them, it’d be a downgrade. Straily has been getting crushed by the long ball and has walked more batters than he has struck out.
Brett Anderson had a dominating four starts in AAA before getting called back up to the bigs, and, well, the results have not been so dominant. Anderson does do a good job keeping the ball on the ground, but that’s not that great of a feature with the turf in Toronto. More importantly, he simply doesn’t miss enough bats at the big league level.
Marco Estrada has a huge xwOBA and xISO, which lines up with a 5.58 FIP and 33.8 Hard%. The Athletics are powerful (eighth in HRs despite a pitcher’s park for their home stadium and less games played than most teams) and get a big park upgrade. It’s a natural fit as a stack.
7) Texas Rangers
8) Houston Astros
9) Baltimore Orioles
The Rangers were a huge disappointment against James Shields last night, but they get a really good opportunity to bounce back. Opposing pitcher Carson Fulmer now has a 6.33 FIP in 65 big league innings (12 starts, 11 relief appearances). He doesn’t do anything right, but is particularly horrible at limiting walks and keeping the ball in the park. They are our favorite tack from this tier.