Welcome to May 26 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Podcast and cliff notes for May 26 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 26 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 26 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Alex Wood (LAD) is the top SP on a shortened main slate Saturday night. The obvious is that Wood has an elite matchup against the Padres who rank 22nd in wRC+ against LHP with a high 25.5 K%. Wood has quietly pitched really well, even if he hasn’t matched his early season dominance from a year ago. He has a nearly identical K-BB% (18.3%) as a year ago, and his .282 xwOBA is one of the better marks among SPs (also nearly identical to last season). Wood is a -190 favorite with a 3 IRTA (clear best on the slate). On DK, it’s an option to drop down to Jose Quintana (CHC), but the two are priced close enough on FD that you’re likely just going with Wood.
Quintana has not pitched well this season, seeing his K-BB% nearly cut in half, while increased hard-hit contact has hurt him as well. A lot of his problems seemingly stem from falling behind in the count (62.9 F-Strike%, 65.9 for his career). There’s hope this turns around given similar overall command, but there’s nothing in the recent game log to suggest the turnaround is imminent. He’s still underpriced on DK, sharing the largest money line on the slate (-190) while holding the third lowest IRTA (3.8). The Giants represent a middle of the road matchup.
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) actually rates a bit higher than Quintana and has a great ceiling given his baseline K rate (second best on the slate) and ability to pitch deep in games, particularly recently. Still, he’s a tournament option only at a high price tag and in a tough matchup on a Coors Field slate. It’s a similar story for Lance McCullers (HOU) (prefer Carrasco unless you really buy into Cleveland’s early season struggles against RHP, but he does have the best baseline K rate on the slate).
It’s unrealistic in cash contests to squeeze in two of the above three names and still get the requisite Coors Field exposure. As a result, you need to go cheaper. The issue is that none of the cheap options project that well. The cheap play that scarily leaves us with is Wade LeBlanc (SEA). It’s not an appealing play on the surface. However, a K rate approaching 20% along with a 5-inning expectation (batters faced has grown by 3, from 15 to 24, in each of his four starts, completing a full 5-innings or more in the last three) has him close enough to the mid-tier options that he’s worth the punt price. The Mariners are surprisingly a -145 favorite with just a 3.4 IRTA. We’re a bit skeptical of that line, so we’ll have to see if it sticks. The Twins are middle of the pack in wRC+ against LHP but do inflate opposition K rate.
Other options in the same area as LeBlanc are Jake Odorizzi (MIN) (sinker and increased offspeed usage has helped solve problems with same handed batters) and Jordan Lyles (SD) (potential room for growth in K rate baseline but sample size is still small) top LeBlanc in overall projection but are both underdogs with higher IRTA and higher price tags. Sonny Gray (NYY) has been better on the surface recently and can be thrown into this mix, but the peripherals remain ugly in a home matchup (bad pitching environment) against a good Angels offense. Gray’s neutralized splits don’t give him the usual help of a RHP against the heavily right-handed Angels lineup.
A shortened slate with Coors Field has us looking to save at catcher, and luckily Chris Iannetta (COL) doesn’t break the bank. Iannetta will get you exposure to the top implied run total on the slate (5.9) and despite a lackluster lineup spot the price at $3,600 is too easy to pass up. He’s been much better against LHP, but still has posted a .192 ISO versus RHP since 2015. Opposing starter Tyler Mahle has actually been a bit better than his ERA indicates, but moving into Coors Field is a disaster for his already struggling fight with the home run (2.18 HR/9).
If you’ve filled up on Coors at other positions, Buster Posey (SF) actually rates slightly ahead of Iannetta as far as value goes. Posey gets a park boost everytime he leaves his home park and he’ll draw the platoon edge on left-hander Jose Quintana. A .373 wOBA and .184 ISO versus LHP since 2015 puts Posey into the category of strong play, but the upside pales in comparison to the park environment in Coors. Nevertheless, he’s the first one popping in early optimals and represents a solid cash game play.
Willson Contreras (CHC) and Gary Sanchez (NYY) both represent much higher upside plays, but they also come with higher price tags. It’s rather easy to fit one of Posey or Iannetta, so we’d lean there in cash games, but building with Sanchez and Contreras is likely a path to a unique lineup on a night where Coors Field should condense ownership. Sanchez projects about half a point ahead of Contreras on DraftKings, and has posted excellent batted ball data (38.9% Hard% last fifteen). Jaime Barria has kept the ball in the park early in his career, but he’s historically a flyball arm and is now moving into Yankee Stadium. Sanchez is an excellent option.
Anthony Rizzo (CHC) has fallen on some tough luck and struggled for a bit this season, but he’s the top value option at first base on Saturday. He’s been excellent versus RHP in the last few seasons (.383 wOBA, .238 ISO) and opposing pitcher Chris Stratton has been sneakily bad this season. Stratton has allowed a 33.2% Hard-Soft% thus far, continues to walk more than four hitters per nine and has struggled with lefties over the last few years (.355 wOBA, .167 ISO allowed). At $4,600 on DraftKings and $3,900 on FanDuel, Rizzo is finding himself in early optimals.
Joey Votto (CIN) is just behind Rizzo and will get the advantage of traveling to Coors Field. The batted ball data is a bit discouraging, and he won’t draw the platoon edge on Tyler Anderson – but he’s still an elite hitter in an elite run scoring environment. And fears over the platoon edge? Votto has posted a .397 wOBA and .197 ISO against LHP since 2015. At just $200 more than Rizzo on DraftKings, it’s a bit more of a coinflip – but Rizzo will save you $500 on FanDuel.
There is a little bit of a drop after Votto, leading us to Ian Desmond (COL) who is $4,000 on DraftKings and $3,400 on FanDuel. Desmond has settled into the 6th spot of the Rockies order, the top projected run scoring team on the slate. He’s been notably better against LHP, but still has put up a respectable .143 ISO versus RHP since 2015. He’s one of the cheaper ways to get exposure to the Rockies lineup as well.
Cody Bellinger (LAD) represents a great tournament pivot where he’ll get the platoon edge on Jordan Lyles. Lyles has never been someone to fear, and he’s struggled with LHB (.372 wOBA, .180 ISO allowed to LHB since 2015). That screams good things for Bellinger, who has feasted on RHP in his early career (.287 ISO). The park isn’t great, and the total might push people away, but Bellinger is just $3,100 on FanDuel and $4,100 on DraftKings.
Ian Kinsler (LAA) and Brian Dozier (MIN) are the far and away leaders at the second base position. Kinsler is the cheaper option, getting a nice positive park shift heading to Yankee Stadium to face Sonny Gray. Gray has really struggled this year, posting a 4.94 xFIP while seemingly being unable to consistently throw strikes. Kinsler is not quite the threat he used to be with either power or speed, but he’s $3,100 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings and will be the road leadoff hitter. Sign us up.
Dozier receives a negative park shift, but he’ll draw the platoon edge on Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has been about what you’d imagine, skirting by quietly with the help of a good ballpark. But he’s still Wade LeBlanc, allowing a lot of flyballs and a lot of contact. Dozier has been a monster versus left-handed pitching, posting a .377 wOBA and .265 ISO versus southpaws since 2015. He’s a bit more expensive than Kinsler and will have a worse overall run scoring environment, but he represents an excellent pivot.
Daniel Ale Castro (COL) is just $3,000 on DK – the next best value at the position. We’ve repeated a few “affordable Rockies” at the last few positions, but here we have another. It’s a way to be very cheap and get exposure, but he doesn’t offer much upside.
Javier Baez (CHC) and Scooter Gennett (CIN) would be more enticing alternatives for tournaments.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is the man at third base. Though he’s not as good as Kris Bryant 😉 , Arenado gets a really cakey matchup with Tyler Mahle in his home park. At $5,400 on DraftKings he’s making the case for the lock button in nearly every optimal, but on FanDuel the price might have us look in a different direction.
Kris Bryant (CHC) is an alternative, though just $300 cheaper on both sites. Bryant will get a matchup with the aforementioned Chris Stratton, and there isn’t much left to say about how his game is improved. He’s got positive batted ball data, the strikeout rate keeps declining and he’s producing even better all around (.416 wOBA, 167 wRC+). It might be tough to warrant paying near Arendao tags for a guy outside Coors Field, but Bryant would be a reasonable spend as a pivot.
Evan Longoria (SF) represents a really cheap pivot option should you not be able to pay up for either Arenado or Bryant. He’ll get the platoon edge on Jose Quintana who has largely been “meh” this season. Longo has been someone we look to deploy against LHP (.203 ISO since 2015), and he’s just $2,800 on FanDuel and $3,400 on DraftKings.
Eugenio Suarez (CIN) has great numbers against LHP (.398 wOBA, .256 ISO) and will get the platoon edge on Tyler Anderson. The difficulty is he’s priced around Bryant and Arenado. We view him more as a tournament pivot. Miguel Sano (MIN) and Kyle Seager (SEA) fall just behind this group.
Jose Peraza (CIN) and Trevor Story (COL) are the top two shortstop options on the slate. Unsurprisingly, those are the two options from the top expected scoring game on the slate. They are almost polar opposites, as Peraza is a low upside – cheap option that will give you exposure to the top of the Reds lineup (sometimes that is) as Peraza has hit 1,2, and 7 in the last four games. At $3,100 on FanDuel and $4,000 on DraftKings he’s the top value on both sites.
Story is much more expensive on FanDuel, but only $600 more on DraftKings where we’d prefer to utilize his skills. He’s brought the strikeout rate down and hit for even more power thus far. The lineup spot has finally stabilized, the batted ball data is good and Tyler Mahle is not. This one feels pretty easy.
After the Coors guys, we’d look to Didi Gregorius (NYY). All the projection systems are expecting Didi to come back to Earth in the power department (ZiPS .184 ISO rest of season), but his regression might need to wait a day as he’ll get the platoon edge on Jaime Barria. The Yankees haven’t flooded the positional analysis quite as you’d expect given a mediocre arm opposite them and a 5.3 implied run total, but Didi is a way to grab exposure and not lose much against the Coors Field options. He’s posted a .186 ISO versus RHP since 2015.
Addison Russell (CHC) and Jean Segura (SEA) represent two of the only other options we’d consider in tournaments.
The Rockies outfield is basically breaking the value model as Charlie Blackmon (COL), David Dahl (COL), and Carlos Gonzalez (COL) are the top three options in a landslide. For whatever reason, Blackmon is the only that is priced like he’s playing in Coors Field and even as such we want to force him in. A lot of the early optimals throw all three of these guys in.
After these options – we turn our heads to Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), Andrew McCutchen (SF), Mike Trout (LAA), and Joc Pederson (LAD). Stanton and Trout will face off against each other in what could be a slugfest in New York. It’s supposed to be rather steamy in the Bronx and both guys will face average arms opposite them.
McCutchen and Pederson need a bit more justification. Cutch will get the platoon edge on Jose Quintana, a lefty that has struggled a little bit this season, walking more hitters and allowing even more hard, aerial contact. Cutch brings to the table a very cheap price tag ($2,700 on FanDuel, $3,400 on DraftKings), positive batted ball data, and a .387 wOBA and .234 ISO versus LHP since 2015.
Joc has been getting some looks in the leadoff spot against RHP. Should he be there against Jordan Lyles, he’s especially valuable at $2,200 on FanDuel. We mentioned Lyles struggles with LHB, and Joc has stung RHP in the last three seasons, posting a .230 ISO against them.
Adam Duvall (CIN), Aaron Judge (NYY), Aaron Hicks (NYY), and Kyle Schwarber (CHC) round out the top ten or so values on both sites. These guys are unlikely to break into your cash game lineups, but bring about a ton of upside to take advantage of in tournaments. Duvall will get the platoon edge (.262 ISO) in Coors Field, and Judge who struggles with the strikeout will face an arm in Barria that projects at less than 6 K/9 via ZiPS rest of season.
1) Colorado Rockies
The Rockies are the clear-cut top overall stack, which isn’t a surprise given their slate high 5.9 IRT at home. Tyler Mahle has been solid from a strikeout perspective, but he goes into a park that will decrease K rate and amplify his biggest issues – a 2.18 HR/9, stemming from tons of hard hit aerial contact.
2) Chicago Cubs
3) New York Yankees
4) Cincinnati Reds
We’re guessing on the Cubs total, but it looks like it will be a warm evening in Chicago, which should help the offensive side of the ball. Chris Stratton doesn’t give up a whole ton of power, but a 7.9 K-BB% that is nearly half of the league average rate to go with very substandard batted ball data leaves the Cubs with a ton of upside. The Cubs have been one of the more volatile run scoring teams this season, which is good for tournaments, and overall rank third in wRC+ against RHP.
Jaime Barria is coming off back to back strong starts in really tough spots, striking out 14 and allowing just 1 ER against the Astros and at the Rockies. Regression is coming. The 4% HR/FB rate is about a third of the league average. On top of that, Barria was around a 30% GB rate guy in the minors, so he should actually allow even more aerial contact than he has already.
The Reds are in the second tier but a fourth ranking is a bit low for the road team in Coors. Tyler Anderson is a solid overall pitcher (3.85 xFIP, although current drop in GB rate will be an issue if it doesn’t correct itself), and the top of the Reds lineup doesn’t project all that well, which keeps down the total stack ranking.
5) Los Angeles Angels
6) San Francisco Giants
The Angels face Sonny Gray who has really struggled this year (.358xwOBA), and the neutral splits he’s displayed recently give the Angels, who receive a large positive park shift, more upside than usual versus RHP.
The Giants are the most contrarian stak of our ranked stacks, and you do get them at a price discount to the top five stacks. That flexibility is important on this slate. The Giants have three hitters with well above league average baselines against LHP (McCutchen-Posey-Longoria hit 2-4), and Mac Williamson may be underrated in our projection baselines from a power perspective.
Additional Tournament Stacks:
-Houston Astros: The Astros will go virtually unowned on this slate, but the combination of their offensive firepower, which is very event oriented, and some volatility with Carlos Carrasco (has allowed HRs in four of 5 and multiple ERs in 5 of 5 starts), give them enough upside to be used if looking for a very unique build.