SportGrid Radio SportsGrid
May 21 MLB DFS Late Slate: Worth the Astronomical Prices
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

May 21 MLB DFS Late Slate: Worth the Astronomical Prices

01:00 Starting Pitchers
08:48 Catchers
10:29 First Base
12:48 Second Base
14:53 Shortstop
16:40 Third Base
18:20 Outfield
20:55 Cash Game Roster Construction
22:15 Stacks



May 21 MLB DFS Late Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

2) Jon Lester (CHC)

Tier Three

3) Alex Wood (LAD)

4) Kevin Gausman (BAL)

5) Joe Ross (WAS)

Tier Four

6) Mike Fiers (HOU)

7) Matt Cain (SF)

8) Matt Shoemaker (LAA)

Jose Fernandez (MIA) is our top starter on the slate and by a pretty significant margin. Fernandez has a projected K Rate over 30 percent while Jon Lester (CHC) is around 23 percent. Fernandez is at home in a favorable environment and the right hand heavy Nationals lineup is a great matchup for Fernandez who has held RHBs to a .210 ISO and .074 ISO since 2014. The two high-end starters have similar implied team totals against (3.2 runs) but we’re projecting Fernandez for a few extra strikeouts. Where priced similarly, our choice is Fernandez. On DraftKings, the decision is more difficult due to the exceptionally elevated price tags associated with our favorite offense on the slate: The Astros. Lester’s softer price tag may make it a viable route to fade Jose Fernandez in hopes of pumping in an extra bat in an elite offensive environment.

Alex Wood (LAD) ranks as our third pitcher against a Padres’ offense that is far more competent against LHP (16th in wRC+) but still strikes out at the third highest clip. Wood’s price tag is elevated enough that it’s difficult to pair him with Fernandez or Lester on DraftKings and the gap in strikeout upside is so severe on FanDuel that we’d prefer Fernandez. As a result, Wood is in limbo a bit. He profiles as a solid cash play but the slate pushes you in different directions. He’s a strong tournament option now that the strikeout upside we thought would come back early in the season has shown itself of late.

The more likely complementary starter on this slate comes from Kevin Gausman (BAL) and Joe Ross (WAS). The two rank very closely in our model and are priced similarly on DraftKings. Gausman gets a big park shift but may not have the same strikeout upside as Ross if the Marlins throw out another RH heavy lineup. We’re projecting Ross’ K Rate in the 20-21 percent range with Gausman in the 19-20 range against a more contact oriented Angels’ offense. Ross gets a more favorable umpire which should aid run prevention but a worse win probability and we’re projecting them for the same innings. Ross has a touch more upside due to National League, favorable umpire, better projected K Rate, but Gausman’s projection erases some of that upside by having a better overall skill set and more win probability. They’re both fine alternatives to pair with one of the aces.

Mike Fiers (HOU), Matt Shoemaker (LAA) and Cesar Vargas (SD) are additional tournament targets on this slate, but better for multiple SP sites. Vargas’ cheap tag opens up more room for offense and an ace. He’s shown intriguing GB skills and gets a good environment to pitch in but the Dodgers project as a plus contact offense and a pretty good offense on the whole. Fiers will face a good Rangers’s offense but has flashed strikeout upside in the past and on a small slate should come with lower ownership. Shoemaker has missed bats at different points in his career and the Orioles strikeout a decent bit. He’s so cheap that he brings some upside paired with Fernandez and an Astros’ stack that is tournament worthy.

Catcher Rankings

1) Evan Gattis (HOU) – where eligible

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Derek Norris (SD)

4) Yasmani Grandal (LAD)

5) Matt Wieters (BAL)

Evan Gattis (HOU) is our top catching option on FanDuel and comes with a reasonable price tag. The only thing that makes him less compelling is Derek Norris‘ (SD) min-price tag on a slate where salary relief is a necessity. On FanDuel, you’re largely choosing between those two. On DraftKings, where Gattis isn’t catcher eligible, Buster Posey (SF) looks like the primary target. He’s priced for the difficult matchup with Jon Lester and Posey’s individual success against LHP trumps all the other punt targets.

First Base Rankings

1) Chris Davis (BAL)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Prince Fielder (TEX)

4) Wil Myers (SD)

5) Tyler White (HOU) – if Top Five

6) Albert Pujols (LAA)

7) Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) – health risk

Chris Davis (BAL) is the top first base option on this slate with a matchup against fly ball prone Matt Shoemaker. The elevated price tag will end up costing you exposure to elite pitching or the Astros’ offense which is a challenge on this slate. As a result, our attention is largely shifting to Prince Fielder‘s (TEX) depressed price tag around the industry. Fielder has been a mess this season (25.4 percent hard hit rate, chasing career worst 37 percent of pitches outside strike zone) but he’s cheap with a good lineup spot and the platoon advantage.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Rougned Odor (TEX)

3) Derek Dietrich (MIA)

4) Chase Utley (LAD)

5) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

6) Howie Kendrick (LAD)

7) Daniel Murphy (WAS)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is our third ranked hitter on this slate and our top overall second basemen. There is a bit more depth on the value end of the second base spectrum, so we may prioritize other Astros above him in cash game selection, but he’s a very strong play that is priced appropriately. On DraftKings, Rougned Odor (TEX) comes with a reasonable price tag ($3,700) and the platoon edge in a favorable park. Tommy La Stella (CHC) could see a nice lineup spot with Jason Heyward leaving last night’s game early and he’s the best source of pure salary relief at the position on both sites.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Corey Seager (LAD)

The shortstop position is deeper with Manny Machado (BAL) now eligible on both sites, but it’s a three-person position on Saturday night and the focus is largely on Carlos Correa (HOU). If you’re paying up at this position Correa is the top overall hitter in our model and your top target. The Astros are facing Cesar Ramos who has a career 4.15 xFIP as a reliever and is unlikely to work deep into the game. If you’re not paying up at the position, you’re just looking for the best available punt which will likely come via lineup alerts.

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL) – where eligible

2) Kris Bryant (CHC)

3) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

4) Justin Turner (LAD)

5) Derek Dietrich (MIA) – where eligible

Manny Machado (BAL) tops our third base rankings, where eligible, and is a Top 10 hitter on this slate. Kris Bryant (CHC) isn’t far behind, but it’s difficult to pay up for either in tough hitting environments. As a result, we’re looking for value here once again. On FanDuel, the near minimum price tag on Justin Turner (LAD) puts him again in the conversation thanks to a good lineup spot. On DraftKings, Tommy La Stella (CHC) is third base eligible and Adrian Beltre (TEX) is priced down a bit. Those are likely tour best targets.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) George Springer (HOU)

3) Bryce Harper (WAS)

4) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

5) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

6) Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

7) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

8) Adam Jones (BAL)

9) Jason Heyward (CHC)

10) Christian Yelich (MIA)

11) Evan Gattis (HOU) – where eligible

12) Matt Kemp (SD)

13) Ian Desmond (TEX)

14) Kole Calhoun (LAA)

15) Colby Rasmus (HOU)

Mike Trout (LAA) is our second ranked overall hitter and the top outfielder on this slate. George Springer (HOU) is our second ranked outfielder and fourth overall hitter. He’s a fine alternative to Trout where priced down and you could argue a viable alternative where priced similarly if you want to build correlation into your lineups and get more Astros exposure (implied run total of five). If looking for values on this slate, you’re going to have to keep an eye on alerts. A few of our favored values left early with injury issues last night as Shin Soo Choo (TEX) left with hamstring tightness and Jason Heyward (CHC) had an abductor injury. If they can’t go you’ll need to shift attention towards Adam Jones (BAL). Mark Trumbo (BAL) doesn’t rank quite as well due to lineup spot and his skill set so pure power oriented but he’s a viable alternative where priced down as well. It’s also possible you might have to squeeze in pure punts like Ben Revere (WAS) or Yasiel Puig (LAD) to help create the necessary room for elite SP.


Tier One

1) Houston Astros

Tier Two

2) Baltimore Orioles

The Astros are pretty clearly the top offense on this slate with an implied run total 0.7 runs ahead of everyone else. The Orioles have some of the biggest home run upside on this slate given Matt Shoemaker‘s extreme fly ball rates. They’re a fine alternative in tournaments.

Tournament Stacks

– Los Angeles Dodgers

– Chicago Cubs

If you’re looking to go contrarian in tournaments, the Dodgers and Cubs present differing reasons why they’ll likely come with low ownership. The Cubs are higher priced and most will look to the Astros or Orioles as a way to squeeze higher price tag offense in, plus the emphasis on elite SP will hold down the overall ownership. The Dodgers are facing a GB heavy starter which is bad for power output and forces the production to come via stringing hits and runs together. The Padres’ bullpen is very vulnerable though and Vargas hasn’t worked deep into games. The power upside the Dodgers have in the middle of the order could get unleashed against a weak bullpen and will undoubtedly come with low ownership.

MLB Daily Analysis

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.