Welcome to May 7 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for May 7 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the 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!
01:18 Starting Pitcher
15:03 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- 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.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
May 7 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Noah Syndergaard (NYM) will take the hill tonight for the Mets. Coming off of a CGSO and his first double digit strikeout performance of the season, Thor will pitch in pitcher friendly Petco Park against a Padres team that is 21st in wRC+ and has the highest K rate in the league (26.8%). As expected for a RHP, Thor has much better career numbers against RHBs over his career, and this Padres lineup projects to have just two LHBs in it. He’s a superb option in all formats on both sites. Syndergaard projects to have Bill Miller as his home plate umpire, one of the most favorable in all of baseball.
Collin McHugh (HOU) is the best mid-tier option on this slate, and it’s reasonable to look his way over Syndergaard on FanDuel if you want to spend more on bats (the pairing of the two is viable on DraftKings). McHugh is the highest favorite at -220 and has one of the lower IRTA (implied run total against) at 3.6. We’re projecting McHugh for 6.8 strikeouts, third on this slate behind Thor and Strasburg.
Aside from Syndergaard and McHugh, there are several high end pitching options on this slate, but we view them as either overpriced or in poor contexts. As a result, they’re probably best reserved as MME targets unless you’re getting a severe ownership discount. These options include Stephen Strasburg (WAS) (highest K projection but difficult road start and highest price tag), Jose Berrios (MIN) (a bit lucky in terms of run prevention early and now undergoes a negative park shift pitching on the road), Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) (faces a good ATL offense, but our baselines are definitely lagging behind his absurd peripherals to begin the season, including a 27.8 K-BB%, which is fifth best in MLB behind Cole, Scherzer, Snell, and Carrasco), and Aaron Nola (PHI) (has lagged behind the above options in terms of K rate; still great at run prevention and can pitch deep but not quite as much dominance plus a road start in St. Louis keeps him fourth of the bunch).
On DraftKings, all four rate eerily similar in terms of per dollar values as they are priced in accordance to how we have them ranked. They seem more overpriced on FanDuel, but Ryu and Nola carry the best price tags of the bunch over there.
This is a really deep pitching slate, despite the fact that we have clear favorites up top (Thor) and in the midtier (McHugh). We covered the expensive pivots, but there are mid-tier pivots as well. The four that most come to mind are Caleb Smith (MIA) (sixth in K-BB%; a bit pricey but cool in Wrigley with the wind blowing in, which should deflate offense), Jon Lester (CHC) (a lot of his value is based on our guess of a very low 3.5 IRTA; we’re not fans of the skill set but the weak opposing lineup and unfavorable run scoring environment keeps him in play), Madison Bumgarner (SF) (a terrifying option in Coors Field so definitely tournament only; ability to pitch deep and good early signs including an 11.1% SwStr rate has him as underpriced relative to talent on both sites, likely won’t be owned at all in Coors), and Griffin Canning (LAA).
Projection systems tend to be conservative with younger pitchers, which is the case with Canning who we have as a low to mid 4s ERA pitcher with a good but not great K rate. If you have a more optimistic view of Canning, it makes him a viable mid-tier tournament play on DraftKings and particularly valuable on FanDuel where he comes in at just $6,700. Skills aside, though, one of our concerns with Canning’s upside is that he has not faced more than 22 batters in any of his four starts this season (three at AAA, one at MLB).
Freddy Peralta (MIL) is a good tournament play. You can’t touch him in cash games given his wildness and meltdowns thus far in the season (8.31 ERA, 9.4% BB rate, 26.5 GB rate, 45.7 Hard%). There’s also duration uncertainty given that Adrian Houser (MIL) will open for Milwaukee, but the elite strikeout ability is still there. You’re going to get that strikeout upside at both a discounted price and discounted ownership as a result of the recent performances and a run scoring environment that really isn’t favorable to pitchers. Additionally, Peralta faces a heavy right-handed Nationals offense that is missing key players – Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto.
Jalen Beeks (TB) pitched phenomenally for Tampa Bay as the long man last time out. He’s the probable long man for them again tonight, but Arizona has been so good against LHP that he doesn’t rate that well for us. However, he’s just $5,500.
A cheap play option on DraftKings for MME is Cal Quantrill (SD), who projected to be well below average but the combination of home park and umpire keeps him in the conversation.
1) Boston Red Sox
Boston has a slate high 5.7 IRT, on the road in a good hitting environment, with a great lineup, against a terrible, homer prone pitcher. They check all of the boxes tonight. We’re projecting them for way more ownership than any other team on the slate. Still, on a 13-game slate, their upside gives them our highest leverage score. In single entry, ownership might get conflated, making the Boston decision tougher, but you need to include them in your MME mix.
2) Houston Astros
Facing a LHP, the Astros’ slew of high upside RHBs has them as the second best stack. However, if you’re fading chalk, we’d rather fade the Astros than the Red Sox. The Astros are the one team that may be somewhat close to Boston in ownership, and there are a couple of other factors that aren’t as strong as for Boston. For starters, they aren’t guaranteed a ninth inning of hitting at home, which seems like a small thing but does have an impact. Secondly, we’re less sure of the quality of the opposing pitcher given Danny Duffy‘s volatile history, both production and health wise. Houston is definitely still viable; we’re just saying if we had to fade a high end stack, we’d fade them before Boston.
3) Colorado Rockies
4) Minnesota Twins
5) San Francisco Giants
The Twins and Rockies provide a little bit more leverage than the Astros do in tier two. The Rockies have the second highest IRT but pricing and a good opposing SP could keep ownership in check.
The Twins may see their ownership in check simply because the implied run total of 4.5 doesn’t stick out on this slate. Aaron Sanchez has difficulty getting LHBs out, and the Twins will have Kepler, Polanco, and Rosario among their top four hitters. It’s a park upgrade for them on the road in Toronto.
The Giants represent super strong cash game values in Coors Field as the pricing here isn’t indicative of the context. They still might be a touch overowned relative to their upside.
6) Los Angeles Angels
7) Tampa Bay Rays
8) Pittsburgh Pirates
9) Philadelphia Phillies
The Pirates and Rays are our favorite options in this tier. At home in PNC Park, this is an easy spot for the Pirates to get overlooked. However, Josh Bell is smoking the ball (.330 ISO) and Marte and Polanco are healthy. They face Adrian Sampson, who projection systems by consensus project a 5-plus ERA with over 1.5 HR/9.
Similarly, there’s no one on the Rays that screams value, but they have a team total approaching 5 and depth in terms of power, with 7 of 9 hitters holding an ISO split baseline of .174 or higher. They’ll face a below average pitcher in Taylor Clarke, making his first MLB start.
The Phillies seem like the most overowned stack relative to point per dollar production.
10) Oakland Athletics
11) Milwaukee Brewers
12) Cincinnati Reds
Both Oakland and Milwaukee are interesting as teams we project for less than 30% total ownership in MME but are actually closer to tier four stacks if you look at the stack rankings by 90th percentile projections.
Buster Posey (SF) is the only player at the position popping as at least a neutral value but Posey is not cheap by any means due to the fact he will be playing in Coors Field. Posey is fully-priced at $4,500 but he is projecting for over a full fantasy point more than any other player at the position. Opposing starter Antonio Senzatela has only struck out RHHs at a 13.0-percent rate in the early-going of 2019 and 18.6-percent for his career. He also has posted some reverse-splits over the course of his career so righties have more than held their own against him. The Giants almost never feature an implied total over 5.0-runs and their 5.2 implied run total is tied for the highest of the evening. If the salary is available, Posey is the no-brainer cash game play.
Since salary is unlikely to be plentiful, fantasy owners will more than likely want to focus on a cheap option like Francisco Cervelli (PIT) in cash game formats. Not only is Cervelli arguably matched up against the worst starting pitcher on the slate (Adrian Sampson) but he is also priced at just $3,000. Since the beginning of 2018, Cervelli has posted a .334 wOBA against RHP, and the league average during that span is .317. The ballpark is not overly hitter friendly but the Pirates are listed as .129 favorites and Sampson is one of just five pitchers on the slate sporting a FIP over 6.00 in the split against RHHs.
In 90th percentile models, Yasmani Grandal (MIL) and Robinson Chirinos (HOU) pop as the top two per-dollar options with both priced at exactly $3,900 on DraftKings. With Posey likely to garner the garnership, these two will come in lower owned, with each owning the platoon advantage in their respective matchups. Grandal faces a tough matchup versus Stephen Strasburg who has dominated lefties over the entirety of his career. Only Danny Duffy and Madison Bumgarner have yielded a lower career wOBA to LHHs amongst starting pitchers on this slate. Chirinos will face the aforementioned Duffy and his career .334 wOBA and 38.1-percent hard hit rate allowed to RHHs. The short porch in left field suits the righty power bats well and Chirinos’ .203 ISO baseline rates third highest at the position behind only Grandal and J.T. Realmuto (PHI).
Brandon Belt (SF) tops the first base projections and he hits in the middle of a Giants offense that just averaged 6.0 runs in a four game series in Great American Ballpark. Now the Giants will head to Coors Field which is one of the few parks more hitter-friendly than Cincinnati and just about the most sizable positive park shift the Giants hitters could endure. Sure, Senzatela owns reverse splits for his career, but his FIP sits at almost 5.00 (4.79) against LHHs this year as well. Lefties have also posted a massive 46.7-percent hard hit rate versus Senzatela thus far so it is easy to see why is popping into 80-percent of FanDuel standard optimals.
Joey Votto (CIN) is much cheaper than Belt on DraftKings and is easier to fit alongside a pair of pricey starting pitchers (which most of our optimals are building around). The Reds will head to Oakland, which is a significant park downgrade, but Mike Fiers has been burned to the tune of a .412 wOBA, 13.0-percent K rate, 2.20 HR/9 rate and 43.6-percent hard hit rate by lefties this year. Most importantly, Votto is priced at just $3,500 for a player with a respectable .374 wOBA and .183 ISO baseline.
Other high upside options include Mitch Moreland (BOS), C.J. Cron (MIN) and Justin Smoak (TOR) with Moreland and Cron specifically being important pieces of some of the top stacks on the slate. Moreland owns the platoon advantage against David Hess and that is before the team gets to an Orioles bullpen that ranks second to last in FIP. Cron and the Twins offense have been feisty this year and the team just knocked around a ground-baller yesterday. Sanchez is a similar pitcher, but he has struggled mightily with his control (13.9-percent), and he has only struck out righties at a 16.7-percent rate this year. Mark Reynolds (COL) always goes under-owned in Rockies stacks as well especially for a player who posted a .373 wOBA and 133 wRC+ against LHP a year ago.
Jose Altuve (HOU) once again owns the top projection at second base as his .371 wOBA baseline is 15 percentage points higher than any other player at the position. He owns the platoon advantage against Danny Duffy and his 5.10 SIERA through two starts. Duffy is a notorious fly ball pitcher (37.1-percent career GB rate) and this is an absolutely terrible park for that to be the case due to the short porch in left field. The Astros are loaded with power righties and Altuve features speed upside as well if/when he reaches base. Naturally, he is the preferred spend, but fantasy owners will need to pick and choose their spots to spend (especially on DraftKings).
Joe Panik (SF) is the logical alternative to Altuve as he is expected to lead off for a Giants team being implied to score 5.2-runs. Panik is a tough player to strike out so he will rely heavily on contact in the most hitter-friendly environment in the league. That would be a solid setup versus most pitchers but especially against one sporting a 4.86 SIERA. Normally, Panik is not thought of as a high-ceiling option, but he is giving Altuve a run for his money in our 90th percentile optimal due to the positive park shift.
Other second baseman of note include Kike Hernandez (LAD) leading off with the platoon advantage versus Max Fried, Mike Moustakas (MIL) hitting towards the middle of a potent Brewers lineup and Brian Dozier (WSH) in power-friendly Miller Park. Hernandez’s price is slightly more intriguing on FanDuel where he costs exactly as much as Moustakas. To reiterate, Strasburg has been extremely tough on lefties over the course of his career, so Hernandez’s .211 ISO baseline is a solid pivot if looking to avoid targeting Strasburg. If Michael Chavis (BOS) remains towards the middle of the Red Sox lineup, he would move up the rankings as well, but he hit cleanup against a lefty yesterday and the team faces a righty (David Hess) tonight.
Alex Bregman (HOU) and Nolan Arenado (COL) headline the third base position with both projecting within 0.2 FanDuel fantasy points of one another. Bregman is another member of the Astros with the platoon edge against Duffy on an offense with a 5.0-run implied total. If the team keeps the roof open for the second straight day, the weather is expected to be 80-degrees with the wind blowing out to left at 13 mph. Arenado, meanwhile, draws the platoon advantage against a lefty in Coors Field and his numbers have been otherworldly in that split dating back to last year. In 2018, Arenado slashed .420/.480/.898 against lefties at home with a .555 wOBA, .477 ISO and 241 wRC+. Bumgarner’s .329 wOBA against RHHs so far shows he is starting to depreciate a bit as a pitcher which means there is no reason to fear this matchup.
Evan Longoria (SF) and Jung Ho Kang (PIT) constitute the next tier at the position but their baselines rate drastically below the top tier. Longoria’s .319 wOBA baseline leaves much to be desired but the park and huge implied team total are helping to boost his projection. Kang is priced at $2,200 on FanDuel and has shown serious power since entering the league. Adrian Sampson has yielded a massive .404 wOBA to RHHs this year so the correlation is unmistakable if looking for salary relief.
Jake Noll (WSH) is priced as a pure punt on DraftKings ($2,100) and our models are using him to fit everything else. He has an everyday job as long both Matt Adams and Ryan Zimmerman remain out and Freddy Peralta has had a rough go of it in 2019: .438 wOBA, 19.0-percent K rate, 3.27 HR/9 rate, 46.3-percent hard hit rate and 7.56 FIP versus RHHs this season. If he does not correct his wrongs in a hurry, he should continue to give up power in bundles in a home park that enhances it.
Rafael Devers (BOS) and Matt Carpenter pop as a few of the other positive values on FanDuel, and top six per-dollar options in DraftKings 90th percentile models as well, as both should go overlooked due to the options at the top of the position. Devers is expected to hit sixth in a Boston lineup that should be chalky so targeting down the lineup is a way to move off some of the ownership. Carpenter homered yesterday versus a righty and Nola’s .422 wOBA allowed to LHHs quietly ranks third worst amongst pitchers on the slate (behind only Dakota Hudson and Chad Quantrill).
Trevor Story (COL) is the cream of the crop at shortstop with no one projecting within two fantasy points of him on FanDuel. Like Arenado, Story has been a machine at home versus lefties in general, but especially at home, dating back to last year. A season ago, Story slashed .374/.433/.879 against LHP at home with a .527 wOBA, .505 ISO and 222 wRC+. He cut down on his strikeouts versus lefties last year which helped prompt the growth in the split. Story is by no means cheap and he is still finding his way into 85-percent of FanDuel optimals.
On DraftKings, it is not so easy to find the $5,500 necessary to roster him, which is why Jorge Polanco (MIN) is making his way into optimals instead. Sanchez’s 5.18 FIP is one of the worst of any starting pitcher’s on the slate. Polanco owns baseline projections of a .338 wOBA and .171 ISO and he will top towards the top of a potent Twins lineup. They are being implied to score 4.6-runs but have the potential to top that any time out (as evident by them rocking Stroman yesterday).
Carlos Correa (HOU), Xander Bogaerts (BOS) and Andrelton Simmons (LAA) are the only other positive values at the position on FanDuel. Correa has hit safely in 16 straight games prior to Tuesday so he is obviously an interesting proposition if he goes overlooked due to the overwhelming Story ownership. Bogaerts will match up against David Hess and his 6.13 FIP against RHHs in a park that enhances power. Simmons owns the platoon advantage against Daniel Norris but does not possess the same upside as the others mentioned at the position. For him to be a viable tournament play, Simmons will need to fall into some BABIP luck, as his .127 ISO baseline is 140 percentage points lower than Story.
Brandon Crawford (SF) is another member of the Giants stack who will benefit from a huge positive park shift but his .303 wOBA baseline is nothing special. He hits lower in the lineup and will go lower owned than a few of the other Giants mentioned and his price is just about as low as it gets for players in Denver on FanDuel ($3,000).
Mike Trout (LAA) is the only outfielder projecting in the same realm as the Boston outfield and it is in a matchup where he owns the platoon advantage against Daniel Norris. It is possible Shohei Ohtani returns to the lineup tonight and provides him with a bit more lineup protection so teams stop walking him and give him more pitches to hit. Trout’s .445 wOBA and .305 ISO baselines are unmatched in the outfield and the reason for his strong projection.
J.D. Martinez (BOS), Mookie Betts (BOS) and Andrew Benintendi (BOS) are our top three values in the outfield in a fantastic matchup against gas can David Hess and the brutal Orioles bullpen in power-friendly Camden Yards. Righties have posted a 2.45 HR/9 rate and lefties sit at a 2.25 HR/9 rate against him to this point and Vegas is implying nearly six runs for the Red Sox. Amazingly, Hess has actually been lucky in the split versus RHHs as evident by his .222 BABIP allowed despite a 37.3-percent hard hit rate. In other worse, his .343 wOBA allowed could easily be worse, and his FIP in the split sits at 6.13. This is a great matchup for the Red Sox and fantasy owners will want to act accordingly especially in cash games.
George Springer (HOU) and Max Kepler (MIN) will lead off for their respective teams and both hitting environments are favorable for this pair of talented hitters. Since the beginning of last year, Springer has slashed .281/.362/.497 against LHP including a team-best 10 homers during that span (amongst active hitters on the team). Kepler will lead off for a potent Twins team that hits the ball in the air at the highest rate in the league. They showed yesterday a ground-baller could not show them down and will get a chance to prove for the second straight night that their ability to hit the ball in the air could supercede the pitcher’s skill set. Kepler is also meaningfully cheaper ($3,500) than Springer or any of the aforementioned Red Sox on FanDuel.
Gregory Polanco (PIT), Nelson Cruz (MIN) and Yasiel Puig (CIN) are other high upside bats worth considering in all formats with Cruz playing in the best hitting environment of the trio. Polanco was 30-percent owned in this same spot in Globe Life Park in Arlington last week and he very likely will garner less than one-third that sort of ownership tonight in PNC Park. Adrian Sampson has held his own against lefties this year but his career 4.51 FIP suggests that is a bit of a fluke. Puig will face a reverse-splits right-handed pitcher who is ultra-susceptible to power. The park is a significant downgrade to Reds hitters but Fiers’ 4.53 career FIP against RHHs is fourth worst amongst pitchers on the slate.
If looking to differentiate, Mike Gerber (SF), Eddie Rosario (MIN) and Randal Grichuk (TOR) are bats popping in our model who should go lower-owned than most of those discussed. If Gerber makes the lineup, he is priced at just $2,500 on FanDuel, which is about $500 cheaper than FanDuel typically prices the cheapest bats expected to make the lineup in Coors Field. It should also be noted Brandon Belt (SF) qualifies in the outfield on DraftKings due to his multi-positional eligibility.