Welcome to May 22 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for May 19 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 22 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
01:03 Starting Pitcher
14:57 First Base
20:27 Second Base
24:06 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 22 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
Michael Pineda (NYY) and Zack Greinke (ARI) represent the top projected scorers at the starting pitching position on Monday’s nine game slate. Both pitchers have been magnificent early in the season combining elite K Rates (Pineda – 28.8 percent, Greinke – 28.6 percent), with elite BB Rates (Pineda – 4.2 percent, Greinke 4.8 percent), and unfortunately enough hard contact (Pineda – 1.90 HR/9, Greinke 1.39 HR/9) to rattle your nerves each start. They both draw relatively favorable matchups, albeit in difficult pitching environments that they’re accustomed to. Greinke will face the White Sox who rank 25th in wRC+ against RHP, while Pineda gets the Royals who rank 28th. Both teams are around the league average in K Rate. The large price gap between the two makes the decision easy (Pineda) when looking for an anchor on this slate. Unfortunately some weather concerns in New York could end up pushing Pineda out of the conversation. If this is the case, Greinke may become the choice to build around on FanDuel where the price tag is more realistic ($10,300). On DraftKings, at $12,000, Greinke’s a tough ask unless both Gerrit Cole (PIT) and Pineda deal with weather issues.
Cole is in a tier alone but a poor price tag makes him an emergency cash game target on this slate. He’ll get a park downgrade in Atlanta but faces a watered down version of the Braves’ offense without Freddie Freeman. Nagging weather concerns also make Cole a “wait-and-see” type. It’s possible to take an “expensive combo” approach in cash games on DraftKings if the weather clears for Pineda and Cole. They’re certainly known options with favorable matchups, albeit in tough pitching environments, but the slate combines a decent bit of offense along with plenty of affordable second starters on DraftKings. They’re not the prettiest of options, but the price tags make them viable. Jeff Hoffman (COL) is one of the Rockies’ top prospects and projects for an above average K Rate at the big league level. The Phillies’ offense has been slightly below average against RHP (18th in wRC+) and it’s a big park shift for all of Hoffman’s baselines. He was pretty impressive last time out against an elite Dodgers’ offense against RHP, generating eight strikeouts and a 37.5 swinging strike rate in that spot start. For under $6,500 on both sites, you don’t need a ton from Hoffman and the salary relief allows you to build at will offensively.
Hoffman is our favorite of the uber-cheap options, but J.C. Ramirez (LAA) and Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) get favorable matchups against the Rays (26.4 K Rate against RHP) and the Pirates primarily RH heavy lineup that ranks 27th in wRC+ against RHP but doesn’t strike out a ton (18.3 percent K Rate). Jerad Eickhoff (PHI) is also in this range and his extremely wide platoon splits make him a bit lineup dependent. The Rockies have the ability to get extremely left handed but haven’t been doing so of late. These options are all viable alternatives to Hoffman as a cash game pairing on DraftKings but we prefer Hoffman at the cheaper tag as the risk profile for all the starters in terms of downside and upside seems similar.
John Lackey (CHC) and Jake Odorizzi (TB) are the boring known commodities with more expensive price tags. Both face more contact-oriented offenses and Lackey has to deal with the wind blowing out. With modest K projections relative to their price tag, we’d rather avoid on this slate, but if you’re casting a wide SP net they’re viable.
Saving cap space is a top priority at the catcher position on this slate. Willson Contreras (CHC) not only allows you to save, but also provides you exposure to the top offense on the slate as the Cubs again boast an implied run total north of 6 (currently 6.1). The wind will be blowing out at Wrigley once again and Contreras will grab the platoon advantage against left-hander Ty Blach. Contreras slid up to the fifth spot in the order the last time the Cubs faced a left-handed starter, but as they get a bit more healthy throughout, there is a chance he doesn’t come with a great lineup spot. Nevertheless, he’s a great play in all formats.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) and Buster Posey (SF) flank Contreras on both sides in terms of raw projection, but their price tags both align them more with the tournament conversation. Sanchez will draw the platoon edge in his home park against fly ball oriented Jason Vargas. Posey will have wind aided Wrigley Field providing a big positive park shift. On FanDuel, they can be considered a bit more in the cash game conversation, but on DraftKings it’s a bit more difficult to justify.
Salvador Perez (KC) and Jason Castro (MIN) are even cheaper than Contreras on both sites. Perez draws a difficult matchup with Michael Pineda, but one that does come with some upside as he’s drawing a positive park shift and Pineda allows a lot of hard hit contact. Castro has the volatile Ubaldo Jimenez. Though he’s the least skilled catcher of this group, he brings a .188 ISO against RHP since 2015.
Chris Davis (BAL) and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) headline the first base position. Though a loaded position on this slate, these two represent the top value options on each site. Davis will draw a matchup in his home park against right-hander Kyle Gibson. Not only has Davis been hot of late (40.5% Hard% in last fifteen), but Gibson has been the complete opposite. He’s pitched to a 8.20 ERA this season while allowing more than two home runs per nine and posting a K-BB% of just 2.3%. Davis’ struggles come when he’s not making contact, he shouldn’t be so concerned against Gibson.
Encarnacion will travel across the state of Ohio to Great American Ball Park, a friendly trip and park upgrade for the Indians. His opponent, Scott Feldman, has been serviceable this season, but he’s getting less ground balls than ever before and walking more hitters as well. He’s been fairly lucky to keep the ball in the park as well as he has, but on this night he might run into some trouble. The price tag on Encarnacion is very enticing ($4,100 on DK, $3,300 on FD) and depending on where you wind up with starting pitching, he could be the cash game lean. His teammate Carlos Santana (CLE) might move to the outfield as the team loses the DH and he represents a tournament worthy pivot that will likely draw less ownership.
Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) leads the position in raw projection. He’s posted an absurd 35.6% Hard% so far this season, but has been even better in the last fifteen days, posting a positive delta of 6.1% (41.7% Hard%). The Diamondbacks are tied with the Orioles for the second highest implied run total at 5.2 runs and Goldschmidt is a great way to get exposure, though his price might limit him to the tournament conversation.
Beyond the aforementioned trio there is a whole host of first basemen that warrant tournament consideration for a myriad of reasons, all jumbled around bad pitchers and good ball parks. The list includes Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Miguel Cabrera (DET), Joey Votto (CIN), and Brandon Belt (SF).
Kennys Vargas (MIN) rates well in our model in his matchup with Ubaldo Jimenez. Though the position offers great depth, he would be a way to get a cheaper bat in a good spot at just $3,000 on FanDuel and $3,900 on DK. John Jaso (PIT) is just $3,000 on DK and holds 1B eligibility. He’ll hold the platoon edge on Mike Foltynewicz who has historically struggled with left-handed batters.
Ian Happ (CHC) and Jason Kipnis (CLE) are two of the top second base options on this slate, both getting great hitting environments. Happ will be able to showcase his skills from the right side of the plate as he’ll face left-hander Ty Blach. The young switch hitter has been a pleasant surprise in the early going and the Cubs once again have the highest implied run total on the slate. His price tag has tried to catch up with him, but at just $3,900 on DK and $3,300 on FD, he’s a great way to get exposure to a premier lineup spot in a premier game environment. On DraftKings, Happ’s teammate Ben Zobrist (CHC) also throws himself into the conversation. They draw the same price tag and both switch hit, so lineup spot could make the difference. Zobrist has lead off in two of the last three games for the Cubs and has been great against left-handers since 2015, posting a .370 wOBA and .174 ISO. It’s likely Happ could draw more ownership, making Zobrist a leverage play.
Kipnis has found himself in the leadoff spot and should remain there as the Indians play in Cincinnati. He registers a similar price tag to Happ, but will be the road leadoff hitter, giving him an edge on gaining that fifth plate appearance. Furthermore, Kipnis has been swinging the bat well, posting a 5% positive delta in our batted ball tool over the last fifteen days as he’s amassed a Hard% of 31.5%.
Joe Panik (SF) has been hitting second again for the Giants and he comes with a disgustingly cheap price tag on both sites. On DraftKings, Panik is just $2,800 while on FanDuel he is just $2,500. There is a bit more depth at the position on this slate, keeping Panik out of the “must play for savings” conversation but he’s a great way to get exposure to the Wrigley situation though he sports just an 11.6% Hard% in the last fifteen days.
Brian Dozier (MIN) is a high end tournament play on this slate. Ubaldo Jimenez has registered a 5.25 xFIP while walking more than five hitters per nine, striking out less than ever and allowing a ton of balls to get over the outfield fence (2.33 HR/9). The Twins implied run total doesn’t speak to their potential in this game against the volatility of Jimenez.
Kris Bryant (CHC) is far and away the top third baseman in our model. Bryant blasted another two home runs on Sunday and he’s been phenomenal against left-handed pitching in his early career, posting a .414 wOBA and .301 ISO. Ty Blach has shown an inability to strike guys out, only adding a major benefit to Bryant on this slate.
Manny Machado (BAL) and Nolan Arenado (COL) fall right behind Bryant in terms of overall projection. Machado draws the juicy matchup with Kyle Gibson as the Orioles hold the second highest implied run total on the slate at 5.2 runs. He doesn’t provide much of a savings over Bryant, so if spending up it is likely you’d just wind up on Bryant, but he’s a viable tournament pivot. Arenado fits largely into the same category as he faces Jerad Eickhoff in Citizen’s Bank Park.
Both Miguel Sano (MIN) and Jake Lamb (ARI) have posted a fifteen day Hard% above 34% but draw the short straws as cash game options with so many studs in play. Sano and the Twins as a whole are a great tournament team against the struggling Ubaldo. Jake Lamb will hold the platoon edge on Miguel Gonzalez in his home park, Chase Field. Lamb has posted a .234 ISO against RHP since 2015.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the top shortstop option on this slate. Lindor has been quietly consistent this season, posting a Hard% of 25.6% while showing a surge of power (.252 ISO). He’s hitting the ball on the ground much less and in the air much more, a great combination to have against Scott Feldman in Great American Ball Park. At just $3,600 on FanDuel he seems like a very easy fit for cash games, but on DraftKings the $4,600 might be a little more difficult to fit.
Do not fear though, Addison Russell (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SF) are $3,700 and $3,300 on DraftKings respectively. Russell dropped all the way down to 8th in the Cubs order yesterday, but a move back to sixth is on the table with a left-hander starting for the Giants. He has not been good recently, but he’s demonstrated power against LHP in his early career (.192 ISO vs. LHP since 2015, compared to .148 ISO against RHP). Crawford has doubled Russell’s last fifteen Hard% and will get a nice park shift in his favor considering the environment. On DraftKings, especially if Russell doesn’t come away with a good lineup spot, Crawford is an acceptable pivot from Lindor.
Alcides Escobar (KC) is still bad, but extremely cheap and hitting leadoff on the road.
Carlos Gonzalez has finally shown signs of life, having posted double his season Hard% in the last fifteen days using our batted balls tool (39.3% Hard%). He’s outside of Coors, but his opponent Jerad Eickhoff has struggled with wide platoon splits. Since 2015, Eickhoff has allowed a .228 ISO to LHB.
Seth Smith is a bit more boring, but is the top of the order platoon guy against Kyle Gibson. Fuentes, Peralta, and even Gregor Blanco make up an Arizona outfield that brings a lot to the table on this slate. Not only do they draw a great matchup with Miguel Gonzalez (fly ball oriented, strikeouts down, walks up) but they also come with stupid cheap price tags, particularly on FanDuel. On FanDuel you’ll be able to grab Fuentes for just $2,200 or Gregor Blanco for $2,300 while Peralta is just $3,100. All three will have the platoon edge on Gonzalez and get you exposure to an implied run total of 5.2 runs.
Charlie Blackmon (COL) and Mike Trout (LAA) represent two of the high end options and the top two projected outfielders in terms of raw projection. Blackmon will have the better overall environment, but Trout gets the fly ball prone, reverse splits matchup of Jake Odorizzi. Their price tags will likely suppress their ownerships, making them good tournament leverage plays as one-offs.
Ben Zobrist (CHC) holds OF eligibility on both sites but on FanDuel in particular is just $3,000. He’s lead off two of the last three for the Cubs and would be a great way to get exposure to their offense.
Michael Brantley (CLE), Adam Duvall (CIN), Mark Trumbo (BAL), George Springer (HOU) and a bunch of others fall in a similar tier right behind Zobrist as far as value. These four in particular have some of the most event upside with Brantley having secondary cash game appeal.
Aaron Judge (NYY) and Matt Holliday (NYY) both rate well in our model and might go overlooked on a loaded offensive slate. Judge has a 51.1% Hard% in the last fifteen days and is probably the largest human on Earth. Jason Vargas has done a great job keeping the ball in the park this season, but it balls don’t stay in the park as easily in Yankee Stadium.
1) Chicago Cubs
With the wind blowing out at Wrigley and a contact-oriented starter on the hill for the Giants, we expect the Cubs will have another hefty implied total on this slate. They’re also pretty affordable on both sites which should keep ownership elevated after they rewarded the chalk heavily on Sunday.
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Cleveland Indians
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) Arizona Diamondbacks
6) Minnesota Twins
This second tier is where you’ll likely get differentiation from the chalk Cubs. Colorado once again rates well in our stack rankings but are pretty expensive on DK. They’re a more viable target on FD where Gonzalez and LeMahieu are priced far more affordably. Cleveland, Minnesota, and Baltimore are our favorite stacks in this tier. Cleveland and Minnesota are the two road teams with a little more upside due to the guaranteed ninth inning. Cleveland also becomes an easier stack in a National League park if they choose to sit one of Santana or Encarnacion. Minnesota gets Ubaldo who is not only bad but vulnerable to base stealing. The challenge with Minnesota is finding the speed to fully take advantage. Baltimore’s hefty implied total will certainly draw interest but they may be in the best position as a bad Twins’ bullpen is coming off a double header where Kintzler pitched for the third time in four days. The rest of the bullpen is very weak and Kyle Gibson was struggling to work deep into games pre-demotion.
New York Yankees – The Yankees may fly under the radar given Jason Vargas‘ strong start to the season. This was the same spot we attacked Vargas’ regressing fly ball rate last game and the Yankees got to him for six earned runs in four innings. The Royals bullpen was asked to cover 10 ⅓ innings yesterday in the double header and it’s not a particularly strong bullpen to start.