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May 29 MLB DFS Slate: We Want Joey
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May 29 MLB DFS: We Want Joey

02:15 Starting Pitchers
10:09 Catchers
12:48 First Base
16:53 Second Base
18:58 Shortstop
21:27 Third Base
24:05 Outfield
27:39 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



May 29 MLB DFS Pro Tip

NOTE: DraftKings has split up the day into two slates, 6pm and 9pm. Our content will cover the larger 9pm slate.

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Clayton Kershaw (LAD)

Tier Two

2) Stephen Strasburg (WSH)

Tier Three

3) Drew Pomeranz (SDP)

4) John Lackey (CHC)

5) Chris Sale (CWS)

6) Julio Teheran (ATL)

7) Taijuan Walker (SEA)

8) David Price (BOS)

9) Nathan Eovaldi (NYY)

10) Johnny Cueto (SFG)

Tier Four

11) Rich Hill (OAK)

12) Nick Tropeano (LAA)

Tier Five

13) Francisco Liriano (PIT)

14) Archie Bradley (ARI)

15) Bartolo Colon (NYM)

16) Jimmy Nelson (MIL)

It’s a Clayton Kershaw (LAD) day, but it’s also a Coors Field and warm temperatures/winds blowing out at Wrigley Field day as well. Our decisions begin at the starting pitcher position, where Kershaw is the top ranked pitcher and as usual, he’s on a tier all by himself. We’ve been harping on Kershaw as the top pitcher in baseline, but to reinforce that thought, think about this; this month, Kershaw has thrown more complete game shutouts (three) than he’s allowed walks (two). His worst DFS performance of the season is 21 Fantasy points. It just doesn’t get safer than Kershaw, and that awesome DFS floor is accompanied by a high ceiling. His K-BB ratio stands at an absurd 32 percent, and when hitters make contact, it’s usually soft (10 percent hard minus soft hit rate) groundballs (52 percent GB rate). The Mets are less of a threat when southpaws take the mound (they lose Conforto and Duda, and Walker is forced to hit from his worse side), and their team total is the lowest in this slate (2.6 runs). The question surrounding Kershaw most times is – are we able to fit him and still have enough upside on the hitting side? The answer today is yes, but you’ll have to surrender some of that upside, particularly on FanDuel (all the high upside offenses are included on that site and there’s very little value below $3,000 in the outfield).

If you want to give yourself more upside with hitters in this slate, there are some good alternatives after Kershaw. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) is our starting pitcher anchor over on DraftKings (early slate is just nine games and Kershaw isn’t included), but he’s also a fine alternative to Kershaw on FanDuel. Strasburg has the more difficult matchup (Cardinals are ranked second in wRC+ and are striking out below 20 percent of the time vs. RHP), but keep in mind that this is already baked in our model along with the Cardinals’ team total of 3.2 runs (second lowest in this slate). The juicier value alternatives are in our third tier of starting pitchers, where you’ll find Drew Pomeranz (SD), Julio Teheran (ATL) and Taijuan Walker (SEA). Pomeranz is our fourth ranked pitcher, but we think his context is a bit more challenging (pitching outside of Petco and at Chase Field – a good hitting environment, facing a Diamondbacks’ offense that gets very right handed). His projection in our model is boosted by his projected K rate, which sits at 30 percent (second highest in this slate), yet we see some of the downside in the projected run prevention (Diamondbacks have an implied run total of 4.2 runs). Going for the Ks makes a ton of sense in DFS (and we don’t mind taking some of that run prevention downside with Pomeranz in tournaments since he’s been so good), but we’re leaning a little more on Teheran and Walker in cash games. Teheran is having a nice bounce back season (improvements in his K-BB ratio, GB rate, F-Strike rate and all of his ERA predictors are below four, including his ERA), and while he’s still a bit shaky vs. LHBs, that shouldn’t be an issue today against this Marlins offense. The Marlins have been without Christian Yelich (their best left handed hitter) for a few days, and their best hitter (Giancarlo Stanton) hasn’t played for four straight games (dealing with some soreness). J.T. Realmuto has been behind the plate for nine straight games for the Marlins, and it’s Sunday (he’ll likely sit today). We’re expecting a pretty barren lineup from the Marlins today, and that combined with Teheran’s resurgence makes him the clear value to target in cash if you’re not going the Kershaw route on FanDuel. Walker is a fine alternative (we love his matchup vs. a below average Twins offense that doesn’t have any discipline at the plate), but if choosing between the two our lean is on Teheran.

Beyond the third tier, you’re looking at Nathan Eovaldi (NYY) (quietly enjoying a nice season and now gets a boost in park shift from Yankee Stadium to Tropicana Field and a matchup vs. a Rays offense that’s striking out 26 percent of the time vs. RHP) and Nick Tropeano (LAA) (doesn’t go deep into games but has a solid projected K rate and he gives you more salary relief than Eovaldi on DraftKings, which can help you fit more bats) for cash game value on DraftKings’ main slate.

Catcher Rankings

1) Buster Posey (SFG)

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

4) Welington Castillo (ARI)

5) Francisco Cervelli (PIT)

Buster Posey (SFG) is our top ranked hitter on a full slate of games, and Sunday is typically a day of rest for catchers (Posey can play first base, so we think he’s in the lineup today one way or another vs. a LHP). Posey is an elite hitter vs. LHP (.376 wOBA, .201 ISO vs. LHP since the start of 2014), and he gets the best park shift possible (from AT&T Park to Coors Field) and a matchup vs. a below average southpaw. The gap at the catcher position is huge, so if you’re not paying for Posey in this slate it’s best to just punt the position. Stephen Vogt (OAK) serves as the best punt on FanDuel, while Bryan Holaday (TEX) is a pure punt over on DraftKings’ main slate. If you’re playing Kershaw on FanDuel, you might have to dip all the way down to Chris Iannetta (SEA) (won’t have a good lineup spot or the platoon edge but he’s min. priced at a position that has little to no value after Busey Posey).

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) David Ortiz (BOS)

5) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

6) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

7) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

8) Chris Carter (MIL)

9) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

10) Carlos Santana (CLE)

We’ve ranked 10 first basemen in this slate, so this is a position that has depth. However, the best cash game value in this slate is Joey Votto (CIN) (on both sites), with Anthony Rizzo (CHC) potentially inching closer. We’re not targeting the Reds heavily in this slate (their team total is just 4.1 runs), but Votto is an exception given that he’s our second overall ranked hitter, and his price is dumb around the industry ($3,700 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel). Votto will have the platoon edge vs. Jimmy Nelson (has surrendered a .369 wOBA and .187 ISO to LHBs since 2015) in a good hitting environment, which is a strong context that’s boosting his projection. Rizzo is also $3,700 on DraftKings, and while he’s been bit by bad luck this season (.212 BABIP), all of his skills/peripherals are in line with last season. In fact, Rizzo has taken a major step in his plate discipline (1.21 EYE this season – 0.74 last season). He’s your best alternative to Votto on DraftKings, and his projection could receive a boost before rosters lock. The winds are blowing out at Wrigley today (15-16 MPH winds blowing out to right field), and it’s warm (right around 80 degrees). We saw the Cubs’ team total land at seven runs yesterday, and our model is only giving them a 5.5 run total today (which is a conservative guess on our part since Vincent Velasquez has been a good pitcher this season). It’s possible that the Cubs see a similar total to yesterday’s, which would improve Rizzo’s projection (he doesn’t even need that boost anyways). Nonetheless, Rizzo is the best cash game alternative to Votto around the industry. Don’t be afraid to use any of the other names here in tournaments, in particular Chris Carter (MIL) (+1.3 change in his well hit rate over the last 14 days and will have the platoon edge vs. Finnegan followed by some shots at a bad Reds’ bullpen).

Second Base Rankings

1) Robinson Cano (SEA)

2) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

3) Joe Panik (SFG) – if hitting second

4) Jose Altuve (HOU)

5) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

Second base is a position that we’d like to see some punts emerge. All the ranked hitters at this position are priced fully everywhere, so we’re left searching for value beyond the rankings. The exception is on DraftKings’ main slate, where you can have access to the Rangers’ offense with a leadoff hitter in Jurickson Profar (TEX). Now is the time to invest in the switch-hitting Profar in DFS (leading off while Odor serves his suspension and remains very cheap), and today is no different (Rangers have a team total of 4.6 runs and second base isn’t deep). Cesar Hernandez (PHI) represents the best punt target on FanDuel, but that’s contingent on his lineup spot (our projection is based on him hitting second, which is where we hope he lands in the lineup). We don’t even mind taking the savings on Hernandez over Profar on DraftKings (especially if it helps you land Strasburg or fit another Cubs’ bat), but it’s clear to us that Profar is the better value (as well as the better real life/DFS player).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Carlos Correa (HOU)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Jordy Mercer (PIT)

5) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

Much like second base, the shortstop position is one that we’d like to find some punt options in order to save some resources. With that being said, it’s difficult to pass on Carlos Correa (HOU) over on DraftKings (just $3,600 – he’s clearly the top value play on that site). Even with Correa’s dumb price tag, we’re keeping our eyes on that Cubs lineup to see if Javier Baez (CHC) can crack a top six spot (even if he doesn’t he might be viable in cash if that Cubs’ team total is out of control). Baez would also represent the best punt on FanDuel at just $2,300, but if he’s not in the lineup we’re comfortable with Jordy Mercer (PIT) (will hold the platoon edge and should hit leadoff for a Pirates’ offense that has a team total of five runs; his price is also below $3,000).

Third Base Rankings

1) Matt Duffy (SFG)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4) Kris Bryant (CHC)

5) David Freese (PIT)

Matt Duffy (SFG) cracks the top three hitters in our model this afternoon, and your investment in him on FanDuel is minimal ($3,100) relative to his context. Duffy’s isn’t even close in skills with the elite hitters at third base (he’s closer to a below average hitter), but our model is accounting for a huge park shift and a top three lineup spot against Chris Rusin (has given up a .369 wOBA and 1.17 HR/9 to the 930 RHBs he’s faced at the major league level and he doesn’t miss bats). If you’d like to invest in better hitters with bigger price tags, there’s Josh Donaldson (TOR) (.441 wOBA, .331 ISO and 6.3 HR rate vs. LHP since 2015) at a below $4,500 price tag on DraftKings, which is accounting for a more challenging matchup vs. David Price (that price is still too low relative to his massive skills vs. LHP), Nolan Arenado (COL) (R/R matchup vs. Cueto but it’s Coors Field and Arenado is the best hitter in a Rockies’ uniform) and Kris Bryant (CHC) (won’t have the platoon edge but the Cubs’ team total is one we might be underselling relative to the conditions at Wrigley Field).

Outfield Rankings

1) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

2) Bryce Harper (WSH)

3) Ryan Braun (MIL)

4) Mike Trout (LAA)

5) Jose Bautista (TOR)

6) Starling Marte (PIT) – if hitting fifth

7) Mookie Betts (BOS)

8) Hunter Pence (SFG)

9) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

10) Denard Span (SFG)

11) Adam Jones (BAL)

12) J.D. Martinez (DET)

13) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

14) Jason Heyward (CHC)

15) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

16) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

17) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

18) Coco Crisp (OAK)

19) Ian Desmond (TEX)

20) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) – health risk

Andrew McCutchen (PIT) is a top five hitter in our model today, and he represents one of the better investments on the hitting side on DraftKings’ main slate. Our model loves that McCutchen has the platoon edge with a steep park shift (from PNC Park to Arlington), but we have some questions about his matchup. Martin Perez isn’t a great pitcher (has allowed a .338 wOBA to RHBs since 2015 and he doesn’t miss bats), but most of the value he gives up to opposing hitters is via groundballs and walks, which isn’t great for DFS. While McCutchen is a worthy spend in cash relative to his skills, environment and team total, we have other alternatives with easier matchups to digest. There’s Ryan Braun (MIL) with the platoon edge vs. Brandon Finnegan (stopped missing bats, gives up tons of power and that Reds’ bullpen looms) and Bryce Harper (WSH) below $4,000 on FanDuel vs. Michael Wacha, who’s been a mess recently (14 earned runs over his last two starts and hasn’t gotten out of the fourth inning in his last three starts). Billy Hamilton (CIN) is a player we’d love for cash game purposes (awesome price tag around the industry), but he’d need to hit second to have relevance in cash. The best DraftKings values in the outfield are Jose Bautista (TOR) ($4,300 and will have the platoon edge – he’s the third best OF value on that site) and Jason Heyward (CHC) (almost a lock for us in cash – just $3,500 and gives you exposure to an offense we love in this slate). Teammate Dexter Fowler is also a good value on that site (could creep into our top 10 OFers if we’re wrong on that Cubs’ team total). Over on FanDuel you’ll find an exceptionally cheap Bryce Harper and Adam Jones (BAL) (priced below $3,000). Mookie Betts (BOS) is a leadoff hitter we’re comfortable targeting in tournaments.


Tier One

1) San Francisco Giants

2) Chicago Cubs

Tier Two

3) Pittsburgh Pirates

4) Milwaukee Brewers

5) Boston Red Sox – love for tournaments

6) Baltimore Orioles

7) Oakland Athletics

What a fun slate on the hitting side of things (as well as the pitching side), with offenses like the Giants (implied run total nearing six runs) and Cubs (our guess is a team total of 5.5 but it could land well above that) available in great hitting environments. They represent the top offenses we’d like to target in cash games, but we’re not afraid to pick at value with teams like the Pirates or Brewers (both of their team totals have landed at five). The Pirates and Brewers also have expensive options that rate very well in our model, so we’re willing to even use those high priced bats in cash. The Red Sox are a team we barely mentioned in this full slate, but their team total is approaching five runs vs. R.A. Dickey and that below average Blue Jays’ bullpen. The Red Sox boast a deep offense that we’d like to pick on in tournaments, which leads us to the last section of the pro tip.

Tournament Stacks

– Colorado Rockies – Difficult matchup vs. Johnny Cueto but it’s Coors Field and their team total is still a solid 4.7 runs. CarGo and Arenado are the cash viable targets here and we love them both in tournaments.

– Texas Rangers – Awful park shift for Francisco Liriano, who has issues with his command. The Rangers struggle to get right handed since they have so many LHBs, but players like Jurickson Profar and Adrian Beltre are RHBs that are worth the investment in tournaments. Profar is the exception on DraftKings’ main slate (he’s an elite value play in cash on that site).

MLB Daily Analysis

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