Welcome to May 21 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 21 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!
CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS | HITTER SPLITS | PITCHER SPLITS | SORTABLE STATS | PITCHER TRENDS | LINEUPS | LEADERS
May 21 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.
Want to help fight blood cancer and compete for World Series tickets? Learn about the mission of DKMS and compete nightly for World Series tickets this MLB season on FantasyDraft. All for FREE. Sponsored by FNTSY and DKMS, learn about their mission and access the daily contests at dailyroto.com/dkms.
May 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Both Zack Greinke (ARI) and Walker Buehler (LAD) rate neck and neck for the top overall pitching spot on this slate. Greinke has a slight edge on FD where he’s cheaper and the quality start scoring component is more beneficial to him. Greinke has had a strange season, with a great K-BB% (actually a bit better than last season) but reduced velocity and increased Hard% that has led to him getting burned a bit more when the ball is in play. He has a negative park shift in Milwaukee, leading to a higher IRT than we’re used to seeing, but does end up with the highest K projection on the slate (7.5, Buehler narrowly behind at 7.4).
Greinke has nearly an inning higher baseline than Buehler, which gives him a head start, but we’re anticipating a higher K rate for Buehler and less run prevention risk given just a 3.2 IRTA and a Rockies team that ranks ded last in wRC+ against RHP and is undergoing a negative park shift. It also helps that Buehler has faced 23 and 26 batters the last two starts, which gives us more confidence that we’re looking at 5-6 outings in a normal outing. He’s significantly cheaper than Greinke on DK.
The next in line option is Gio Gonzalez (WAS), who has an elite matchup against the Padres and is off to a hot start (2.36 ERA). The biggest issue with Gonzalez is that he’s out pitched his peripherals (3.72 xFIP, worth noting he outpitched them all of last year), which simply leaves him overpriced in our eyes as one of your two SPs on DK. On FD, Gonzalez is slightly cheaper than Greinke/Buehler, which keeps him in play in tournaments there.
With Gonzalez and Greinke both very expensive on DK, we like pairing Buehler with Jose Berrios (MIN). It’s already managed to be an up and down season for Berrios who has been fantastic when his cuve ball is on (three games with a whiff rate north of 25% on it) and not so much when it’s off (whiff rate was 11, 6, and 0 percent in three games he struggled prior to last start). Ultimately, it’s sort of impossible for us to know if Berrios is going to have the good or bad curve on a given day, but the overarching skill set leaves him underpriced in a good matchup against the Tigers (-200).
Currently, the only pitcher with a higher money line than Berrios is Miles Mikolas (STL) (-202, just a 3.5 IRTA against KC without the DH), but it’s difficult to project Mikolas with as many Ks as those around him.
In tournaments on DK, Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) has plenty of upside (Rangers are 27th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 25.9 K%), but the run prevention risk and a drop in K rate this year pushes him out of the cash game conversation.
On FD, the mid-tier K upside tournament target is Nick Pivetta (PHI), as his price has not risen as aggressively there. It’s a tough matchup against Atlanta, but Pivetta has six outings with a 25% K rate or higher, including two over 40%.
It’s a tough day to find cheap starting pitching, but if you want to go that route in tournaments on DK, the options are German Marquez (COL) (solid baseline K rate and out of Coors Field), Jason Vargas (NYM) (horrific start to the season and not a lot of K rate upside but the most favorable Vegas odds of the cheap options), and Andrew Cashner (BAL) (overall skills are pretty bad but increasing K rate and one of the most favorable lineups to face in the White Sox who are now down Nicky Delmonico).
Gary Sanchez (NYY) carries the top projection at the catcher position. He’s in Arlington Texas tonight taking on Bartolo Colon, who’s allowed a .172 ISO to RHBs since 2016. Sanchez’s power upside at the position is likely unmatched. We really like him despite the appropriate price tags and softer pricing elsewhere should allow you reach for him in all formats.
J.T. Realmuto (MIA) and Yasmani Grandal (LAD) represent the next highest projected scorers at the position and should be looked upon as the best pivots off Sanchez in tournaments. If there’s someone that can match Sanchez from a power perspective, it’s likely Grandal, who’s generated a massive .248 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.
We’ll see if Mitch Garver (MIN) and Alex Avila (ARI) are in the lineup and in reasonable spots. If they are, they’re your best sources of salary relief at the position. They’re mostly secondary targets as frankly the salary relief they provide isn’t necessary in this slate.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) is the top projected scorer in this slate. He projects as an average tournament play as Nick Pivetta has made some strong strides in allowing less hard contact this season. No other first baseman carries better baselines than Freeman in this slate, which keeps him in play.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is projecting as a stronger per dollar value around the industry. Goldschmidt is just $4,200 on DK and $3,600 on FD and has a matchup against a reverse splits pitcher (Chase Anderson) that struggles with the long ball. Anderson is missing less bats this season as he’s generating less swings and misses outside the strike zone. More balls in play from Anderson will simply result in more hard, aerial contact. It’s a strong matchup for Goldy, who checks into this game with a 40.7 HHR over the L15 days. He’s a viable target in all formats around the industry.
If you need some salary relief at the position, Trey Mancini (BAL) fits the bill on DK where he’s 1B/OF eligible. Mancini is just $3,800 and he’s a road leadoff hitter in a matchup against Hector Santiago, who’s allowed a .191 ISO to RHBs since 2016. Mancini’s teammate, Mark Trumbo (BAL), is a viable pivot on DK as well where he’s just $3,500.
On FD, the best salary relief targets come with punt price tags. Neil Walker (NYY) and Wilmer Flores (NYM) are $2,200 and $2,300 respectively on that site. Flores gets the better lineup spot (has been hitting third of late) while Walker (a switch hitter) gives you access to our favorite stack in this slate, the New York Yankees.
Yoan Moncada (CHW) and Brian Dozier (MIN) represents the top projected scorers at second base. Moncada will leadoff against Andrew Cashner, who’s having the type of season we were expecting out of him last season with an ERA close to five. Cashner’s GB rate has dropped to 37.6% this season, which is a concern for him moving forward. Moncada’s event upside should be in full display tonight and his price tag on DK is particularly strong ($4,100).
Dozier will have the platoon edge against Blaine Hardy, who’s unlikely to pitch more than a handful of innings. Behind Hardy is a pretty wretched Orioles bullpen, so the context for Dozier is strong. The Twins have an IRT of 5.2 runs, which is the second highest in this slate, and Dozier is their leadoff hitter. WIth the platoon edge we have him pegged for a .224 ISO baseline. His price tags are great on both sites.
Moncada and Dozier have reachable price tags and as the best values at the position it’s not necessary to dip down elsewhere in cash games. One more option that we like is Matt Carpenter (STL), who’s 2B/3B eligible on DK. We prefer to use him at 3B.
In tournaments, Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Jonathan Schoop (BAL) are additional names to consider in tournaments. Albies is really expensive while Schoop is on the cheaper end on both sites. With the platoon edge in Guaranteed Rate Field, we think Schoop is better than an average tournament play in this slate as he can match the power upside of the other 2B options we like.
Matt Carpenter (STL) carries the top projection in the hot corner. Carpenter has moved back to the two-hole with Paul DeJong landing on the DL. He’s in a matchup against power prone Ian Kennedy, who’s allowed a .205 ISO to LHBs since 2016. Carpenter continues to hit the ball hard (24% HHR over the L15) without generating great results as he’s being shifted often. He remains playable across all formats and he’s particularly affordable on DK ($3,400).
On FD, we think Jake Lamb (ARI) is more than a serviceable alternative to Carpenter. He’s $300 cheaper than Carpenter and will have the platoon edge against Chase Anderson. Lamb just returned a few days ago from the DL and he’s been hitting third. He’s generated a .375 wOBA and .267 ISO vs. RHP since 2016 and he gets a park upgrade tonight going into Miller Park.
We don’t have a direct alternative on DK that can compete with Carpenter’s price tag. Yolmer Sanchez (CHW) carries the same price tag but he’s an inferior hitter. We prefer Carpenter strongly in cash games over there while Sanchez can be used as part of White Sox stacks in tournaments.
Anthony Rendon (WSH) and Wilmer Flores (NYM) are additional targets with cheaper price tags on DK that have some tournament appeal. In Rendon’s case, he’ll have the platoon edge against a below average pitcher and he’s been an incredible hitter vs. LHP (.390 wOBA, .229 ISO since 2016).
Manny Machado (BAL) represents the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. We love his context – on the road with the platoon edge against Hector Santiago, who’s backed up by a below average bullpen. The challenge with Machado is he’s one of the elite hitters that’s priced best in this slate, making him a difficult fit in cash games. He can still be pursued, particularly on DK where pricing is softer than it’s been of late.
Didi Gregorius (NYY) and Trea Turner (WSH) carry the next best projections at the position but neither is particularly affordable on FD. On DK, Gregorius is just $3,900 and projects as our best per dollar value at the position. Gregorius has been awful this month, generating a .130 wOBA and a .036 ISO in 58 PAs. The matchup against Bartolo Colon is a good one and when he’s been in the lineup of late, we’ve seen him hit third despite his struggles. It’s a strong context and a good price tag which keeps him in play.
Turner checks into this matchup against Robbie Erlin with a 33% HHR over the L15. He projects as an overspend in this slate but he’s usable in tournaments.
On FD, we have a salary relief route that’s projecting adequately. That’s Jedd Gyorko (STL), who’s $2,700 and has been hitting fifth of late even against RHP. Gyorko has generated a .216 ISO vs. RHP since 2016, and this matchup against Ian Kennedy is friendly for power upside.
If you’re looking for a straight line pivot off Gregorius on DK, Chris Taylor (LAD) is probably the best one. He leads off and has a matchup against a reverse splits pitcher (German Marquez). Eduardo Escobar (MIN) is also in play over there where he’s $3,700. Escobar has been hitting cleanup for the Twins and he has decent power upside as a switch hitter.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) is the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Stanton has slugged a .261 ISO vs. RHP since 2016 and will be on the road taking on Bartolo Colon in the Texas heat. Stanton is pricey but he’s an easy fit on DK. Paying a $5k price tag for any hitter on FD is difficult, but doable in this slate since our top SP targets are in the $9k range. Stanton should be used across all formats. Aaron Judge (NYY) is the next in line option after Stanton. He’s a bit more expensive than Stanton on DK but remains playable in tournaments regardless of price tag.
We have some cheap values in the OF that we’d like to take advantage of in this slate. Adam Jones and Trey Mancini (BAL) are particularly cheap on DK and will have the platoon edge in their matchup against Hector Santiago tonight. They’re also playable on FD. Brett Gardner (NYY) is just $2,800 on FD as the leadoff hitter for our top stack in this slate. He’s very valuable on that site.
David Peralta (ARI), another leadoff hitter, is just $3,400 on DK and will receive a park upgrade going into Miller Park. Peralta is a skilled hitter with the platoon edge (.353 wOBA, .181 ISO vs. RHP since 2016). His teammate, Steven Souza Jr. (ARI), has been out of the lineup of late with a pectoral issue. If he’s back in there tonight he projects as a very strong value on FD where he’s priced like a punt ($2,100). Joc Pederson (LAD) remains affordable on both sites and will have the platoon edge tonight. He’s generated a .362 wOBA and .238 ISO vs. RHP since 2016. We’ll have to see where Robbie Grossman (MIN) hits in the lineup vs. a LHP. If he’s in a top five lineup spot he’ll rate as a viable minimum priced play on FD.
1) New York Yankees
The Yankees are far and away our top stack as they possess the highest IRT on the slate, facing Bartolo Colon (.332 xwOBA and .203 xISO indicate he’s been lucky, especially in light of his history) in Texas (guaranteed nine innings in a positive overall park shift).
2) Baltimore Orioles
3) St. Louis Cardinals
The Orioles have been a better offense vs. LHP (13th in wRC+ vs. LHP; 26 vs. RHP) as their offense is very right handed. They’re facing a fly ball pitcher in Hector Santiago on the road tonight and behind Santiago is one of the weakest bullpens in the league. The lone pricey player in this stack is Manny Machado, who’s also the best hitter in an Orioles’ uniform.
The Cardinals are at home but get to face a pitcher that has issues with the long ball in Ian Kennedy (1.53 HR/9 allowed this season, 1.99 allowed last season). We prefer the Orioles as the road team but both are viable pivots off the Yankees in tournaments.
4) Atlanta Braves
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta is now routinely in the top half of our stacks given the dramatic turnaround for their offense this season as they’ve added Albies and Acuna, gotten outlier performances from role players, and of course have an elite hitter in Freddie Freeman. As good as Nick Pivetta has been this season striking people out, we suspect HRs will be an issue for him moving forward (as they were last season).
6) Minnesota Twins
7) Los Angeles Dodgers
8) Chicago White Sox
The Twins actually have the second highest IRT on the slate, as they’ll face SP Blaine Hardy, who is tough to get a handle on as he’s mostly pitched as a RP the last few seasons. Hardy did stretch out as a starter at the end of April in AAA (and was pretty successful), but we’re anticipating a short outing from him, which could leave a lot of innings for a pretty bad pen.
The White Sox just have an absolutely brutal lineup outside of Moncada and Abreu. However, our baselines for Andrew Cashner are about as bad as they get for a regular starter, and it meshes with a 4.7 IRT for the White Sox, which is pretty high for this offense. This is one of our favorite contrarian stacks since you’ll likely be able to get it at low ownership outside of Moncada and Abreu.