Welcome to May 4 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for May 4 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 4 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
03:27 Starting Pitcher
11:51 First Base
15:09 Second Base
17:18 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 4 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
It’s an odd early slate as the MIL-STL game has been moved back due to weather, the early game does not count on DK, and even if it did, that game along with CLE-DET (looks disastrous weather wise) could wind up washed out.
Luckily we find stability in Max Scherzer (WAS) who has one of the highest value projections we’ve seen all season. Scherzer has posted K percentages north of 30% each year since moving to the NL, and that has continued thus far this year, giving him absurd K value for DFS but also helping him to limit runs (sub-3 ERAs). Scherzer will face a Diamondbacks team that will likely have six or seven RHBs, which is important because of how dominant Scherzer is against same-handed batters. Since 2015, he’s allowed just a .227 wOBA while striking out 36.8% of them. Scherzer is the largest favorite (-248) with the lowest IRTA (3.1).
If you wanted to pivot off Scherzer on FD, the move is to John Lackey (CHC). There’s some rain risk, but if precipitation stays away, the cold weather should keep the run scoring environment down. Lackey is a -201 favorite with just a 3.3 IRTA. On DK, Lackey is the second highest projected pitcher, both from a raw total and a value standpoint. Ideally you can use value bats to fit him in alongside Scherzer.
If rain is an issue for Lackey or you just need more money for bats, you’re looking at some roulette between Ian Kennedy (KC), Joe Musgrove (HOU), and Jharel Cotton (OAK). Kennedy is in the best spot but costs the most. He’ll get a White Sox team ranked dead last in wRC+ against RHP in his home stadium with the wind blowing in from LC at over 15 mph (great for a fly ball risky pitcher). Musgrove faces a Rangers team that will K a bunch (currently eighth highest K% against RHP) but is dangerous as is the hitting environment. Cotton feels like a mix of the two, in a good pitching environment with more individual K upside than he’s flashed to begin this season. Still his shaky early peripherals along with the highest IRTA of the bunch (4.6) make him a risky proposition.
A final option if you’re not comfortable with the mid-tier is to simply punt and pray with Kyle Gibson (MIN), who lacks K upside but is extremely cheap, in a pitcher’s park at home, and facing a mediocre Oakland offense that collectively has seen a big drop off in Hard% over the last couple of weeks.
Our top projected options at the catcher position are Salvador Perez (KC) and Brian McCann (HOU). Perez will come with the best lineup spot and skillset of available catchers, but the overall context isn’t incredibly enticing as he’s at home in Kauffman Stadium with an implied team run total of just four runs. McCann won’t get the luxury of the cleanup spot, but he’ll have a much better overall context. Furthermore, over the last fifteen days, McCann has posted a 26.7% Hard%, the fourth highest mark among catchers. The Astros hold the highest implied run total on the slate as they’ll take on home run prone (2.12 HR/9 last season), AJ Griffin in their home park.
If you’re looking behind Perez or McCann, it should be in the interest of cost savings. Willson Contreras (CHC) (on FD), Jason Castro (MIN), and Stephen Vogt (OAK) all fit that mold. Francisco Cervelli (PIT) is available on FD and comes with a great macro environment at just $2,500 but he has been day to day with an injury.
The first base position is headlined by Anthony Rizzo (CHC), and Edwin Encarnacion (CLE), but unenviable weather conditions might have us looking in different directions. If the weather should hold, Rizzo would be a suitable cash game target on FanDuel where he is just $4,200 and Encarnacion would hold appeal on both sites at just $3,200 and $4,000 on FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively.
If you’re playing on FanDuel, you can take advantage of Josh Bell (PIT). Bell should slide back into the second spot of the order against a right-hander, and he’s been excellent recently, posting a 40% Hard% in the last fifteen. The Pirates are taking advantage of a big park shift in the positive direction and have a matchup with a homer prone righty in Tim Adleman (career 1.91 HR/9).
On DraftKings, Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) will bring you exposure to the Nats offense. Zimmerman has been red hot to start the season and is part of a deep Nats team that has the highest (tied) implied run total at 4.9 runs. He leads all first basemen this season and in the last fifteen days in Hard%.
Carlos Santana (CLE) and Mike Napoli (TEX) are cheap enough to consider in cash games given the high price tags associated with all the other options at the position. Napoli draws the better overall context, but Santana comes at a slightly discounted cost.
Second base is headlined by Daniel Murphy (WSH). If you choose to build through anyone other than Max Scherzer, Murphy is a viable option on FanDuel at just $4,300. But on DraftKings where you’re going to need to prioritize two higher priced starting pitchers, his price tag seems out of the question for cash games.
The sites play similarly as you move throughout the second base position. In terms of value on DraftKings, Jed Lowrie (OAK) and Whit Merrifield (KC) lead the way. Lowrie continues to hit in a plus lineup spot (has hit 2,3, and 5 in last three starts) and despite unappealing play, he’s just $2,900. Merrifield continues to find himself in the leadoff spot and he’ll hold the platoon edge on Derek Holland. In a small sample size in a short career, Merrifield has posted a .377 wOBA against LHP – a fine play for just $3,400 on DraftKings.
On FanDuel you’ll get access to Rougned Odor (TEX) for just $2,900 and Ben Zobrist (CHC) for $3,100. Odor holds the platoon edge on Joe Musgrove, one of the many arms on this slate that has had problems allowing the long ball. A bonus pro for Odor is the fact that Houston has a retractable roof, shielding them from the dangerous weather effects from the afternoon.
Third base is headlined by a pair of potential values in Joey Gallo (TEX) and Cheslor Cuthbert (KC). Gallo moved up to the cleanup spot last night to face Charlie Morton and should he hit that high again he’ll make for an excellent value play against Joe Musgrove. Not only has Gallo shown his disgusting power potential (.345 ISO so far this season), but he’s also adding value and upside on the bases having swiped five already and is hitting the ball stupid hard 47.6% Hard% in last fifteen. At just $3,400 on DK he seems like the easy cash game play. Cuthbert is a complete punt but has found his way into the lineup each of the last two times the Royals faced a southpaw. We expect his projection to dip from where it is right now due to an expected drop in lineup spot, but for just $2,200 on FanDuel you’ll allow yourself to prioritize elsewhere.
If not looking to use Gallo or the complete punt on FanDuel, Josh Harrison (PIT) is available. He’s been hitting leadoff for the Pirates and has already flashed some power upside in this series in Cincinnati.
The ideal shortstops on this slate, and the two highest projected scorers are Trea Turner (WSH) and Carlos Correa (HOU). The pair are apart of the two highest implied run totals, but their price tags really only put them in play on FanDuel. On FanDuel, the preferred option is Correa at just $3,500.
On DraftKings you’ll be looking to save and a group of four shortstops are pinched tight together in terms of projection and only separated by environment and price tag. Addison Russell (CHC), Adam Rosales (OAK), Elvis Andrus (TEX), and Tim Anderson (CHW) all carry price tags between $2,400 and $3,700 and provide a semblance of cap relief. Andrus will get the best overall environment as he takes on Joe Musgrove on the road. The Rangers lineup keeps shifting without rhyme or reason, but if Andrus hits third again he is the best option of this group.
Rosales won’t be leading off since Rajai Davis is back, but he is just $2,400 and is a worthy punt if you’re looking to spend at a deeper position.
Bryce Harper (WSH) tempts us atop the outfield ranking. Unlike most slates though, it’s actually easier to fit Harper on DraftKings alongside Max Scherzer than it is on FanDuel. Nevertheless, he is an excellent play against right-hander Braden Shipley as the Nationals hold an implied run total of 4.9 runs. Yet, he’ll force you to sacrifice in one position or another.
After Harper though you’ll be looking to try and capitalize on value in the outfield to allow you to spend on Scherzer. The value rankings in the outfield are headlined by Josh Reddick (HOU), Matt Joyce (OAK), Kyle Schwarber (CHC), and Gregory Polanco (PIT) (FD only). Reddick hasn’t seen his price fluctuate too much and he continues to hit second for an Astros team that we’re looking to target on this slate. Shield your eyes if looking at his numbers in the batted ball tool, but a .358 wOBA and .189 ISO against RHP since 2014 is sufficient for his salary.
Joyce fits a similar mold, having a stagnant price tag that allows you to pay up in other spots. He should hit second against a RHP. Schwarber and Polanco are a different tier, but still affordable. They’ll each hold the platoon advantage, looking to take advantage of exploitable young right-handers.
Both Carlos Gomez (TEX) and Nomar Mazara (TEX) are cheaply priced on both sites. The Rangers are a less enticing offense against Musgrove as a team, but the individual price tags are very valuable on both sites. Given that there is no concern over weather and the environment is one of the best on the slate, they are great plays to “default” to.
1) Washington Nationals
2) Chicago Cubs
3) Houston Astros
The Nationals are in an excellent spot against Braden Shipley, who posted a 5.76 FIP last season and 1.80 HR/9 in 13 games (11 starts). The bullpen behind him is suspect. The Nationals have the highest IRT on the slate (4.9), and an added bonus is a higher 15-day Hard%.
The Cubs have the second highest IRT and face a really poor pitching staff. Zach Eflin is the prototypical SP to stack against – allows a lot of balls in play and a ton of power (ZiPS and Steamer both project over 1.40 HR/9). The Phillies bullpen behind him currently has the highest FIP in the league. The one issue here is weather – cold and rainy.
The Astros get a good indoor hitting environment, which on a small slate with some colder outdoor games elsewhere is a nice advantage. Most importantly, though, this is a powerful Astros team facing a pitcher in AJ Griffin who allows nothing but power – 2.12 HR/9 for the Rangers last season and a Hard-Soft% double the league average and mammoth 47.8 FB% means it wasn’t bad luck either.
4) Pittsburgh Pirates
5) Texas Rangers
The Pirates are a major rain risk, but we continue to like them with the big positive park shift in Cincinnati against a suspect pitching staff.
The Rangers are in Houston, and as we mentioned above, that friendly indoor hitting environment carries a little extra weight. Musgrove is one of several pitchers on this slate who is homer prone: ZiPS projected 1.45 HR/9.