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May 8 MLB DFS: Get Some Tigers Upton Here
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May 8 MLB DFS: Get Some Tigers Upton Here

00:37 Happy Mother’s Day!
 Starting Pitchers
10:34 Catchers
12:44 First Base
15:48 Second Base
18:12 Shortstop
19:50 Third Base
22:23 Outfield
26:22 Cash Game Roster Construction
28:39 Stacks



May 8 MLB DFS Pro-Tip

NOTE: We’ll cover the entire slate in the pro tip but note that the main DraftKings slate is composed of the first 11 games. The DraftKings cheat sheets will cover that slate specifically, and we’ll address the all day/late turbo slate in alerts.

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jake Arrieta (CHC)

Tier Two

2) Matt Harvey (NYM)

3) Jeff Samardzija (SF)

4) Aaron Nola (PHI)

5) Jose Quintana (CHW)

Tier Three

6) Gerrit Cole (PIT)

7) Michael Wacha (STL)

8) Nick Tropeano (LAA)

9) Patrick Corbin (ARI)

10) John Lamb (CIN)

Tier Four

11) Justin Verlander (DET)

12) Andrew Cashner (SD)

13) Edinson Volquez (KC)

Jake Arrieta‘s (CHC) skill set lands him as the top starting pitcher (1.77 ERA last year, 0.84 this year; over last 500 batters faced, lowest wOBA allowed to LHBs and fifth lowest to RHBs). Normally at this price against a solid offense, we’d look for more value. However, on FanDuel, the array of value hitters makes him pretty easy to fit in. The DraftKings main slate cuts out some of the values and prices the other ones appropriately. As a result, our current lean is to simply go safe in cash games and lock in Arrieta, but he’s not a must play.

The reason Arrieta isn’t a must play is that our second tier of starting pitchers is pretty solid. Matt Harvey (NYM) has certainly had issues (4.39 xFIP, 16.6 K percentage), but the best matchup in all of baseball may be just what he needs to get back on track. If not using Arrieta on FanDuel, we prefer Harvey or Aaron Nola (PHI), who offers even more cap relief. Nola has wide splits, which isn’t a bad thing as the Marlins can get very right-handed. He’s been dominant this season (29.1 K percentage, 2.52 xFIP).

Jeff Samardzija (SF) (K rate back in line with career marks; gets COL in San Francisco) and Jose Quintana (CHW) (extremely hot start to the season; faces a Twins team that is a bit hit or miss against LHP and probably will be without Byung-Ho Park) are viable as well.

We don’t like too much outside of the top two tiers as far as cash games go. The one exception is Michael Wacha (STL) on DraftKings. Harvey, Samardzija, and Tropeano are unavailable on the main slate, which makes Wacha a solid complementary option if paying up for Arrieta.

Tournament options include Nick Tropeano (LAA) (big park, subpar opposing offense, solid K rates), John Lamb (CIN) (high risk, high reward pitchers against a somewhat high risk, high reward lineup), and Patrick Corbin (ARI) (similar to Shelby Miller yesterday, Corbin’s peripherals are messy and he’s prone to a quick hook – but the matchup is phenomenal).

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

4) Brian McCann (NYY)

5) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

On FanDuel, Victor Martinez (DET) (highest implied run total on the slate; Martin Perez is wild and doesn’t miss bats and backed up by a bad bullpen), Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) (solid three year splits against LHP; facing the fly ball oriented John Lamb in a great hitter’s park), and Brian McCann (NYY) (gets the right-handed knuckle baller at home with the short porch in right) are all strong options. On DraftKings, Lucroy is the default option with Martinez and McCann unavailable. It’s viable to pure punt the position on that site.

First Base Rankings

1) Joey Votto (CIN)

2) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

3) Chris Davis (BAL)

4) Jose Abreu (CHW)

5) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

It was a little bit of a disappointing night for Joey Votto (CIN) in a high scoring affair last night, but he continues to be in a good spot against this terrible Brewers pitching staff (starters and bullpen). He gets another RHP in Junior Guerra who project to have difficulties with LHBs. However, the top four three first basemen are all ranked very similarly in our model. We find ourselves leaning slightly Miguel Cabrera‘s (DET) way because we’d choose DET exposure as a tiebreaker. However, Chris Davis (BAL) has the most power upside of the group against a contact oriented RHP in Kendall Graveman. Some of our favorite tournament options are David Ortiz (BOS) and Chris Carter (MIL) (huge power upside gives him a ceiling equal to the top plays but opportunity cost could drive down ownership). Kendrys Morales (KC) has been hitting cleanup with Mike Moustakas hurt, and he’s priced at the bare minimum on FanDuel.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Ian Kinsler (DET)

3) Robinson Cano (SEA)

4) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

5) Rougned Odor (TEX)

This is one position we don’t have a lot of strong opinions on and will look to fill it out last. On DraftKings in particular the position is priced pretty efficiently. Ian Kinsler (DET) is our favorite cash play of the top five options (.352 wOBA and just an 8.0 K rate against LHP since 2013). If Cesar Hernandez (PHI) gets a top two lineup spot, he’s puntable. Brandon Phillips (CIN) has been mashing. He has a 5.1 well hit rate over the last 15 days (3.8 over the last year, so clearly locked in right now). Hitting at home for a Reds team with a high team total, his price on FanDuel is about as excited as we get over the position today.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Corey Seager (LAD)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Jimmy Rollins (CHW)

5) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

Realistically, the top four options are all pretty viable in cash games depending on what you can afford. On FanDuel, the mid-tier values are a bit more expensive than on DraftKings, pushing us towards Carlos Correa (HOU) or punting with Brad Miller (TB). We prefer the former if possible. On DraftKings, you may need to be a bit more price conscious at the position, which is fine since the tags on Corey Seager (LAD) (solid peripherals and we’re riding the Marco Estrada regression train) and Jonathan Villar (MIL) (park, speed, lineup spot all working together) make them comparable values to Correa.

Third Base Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL)

2) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

3) Todd Frazier (CHW)

4) Kris Bryant (CHC)

5) Justin Turner (LAD)

On FanDuel, it’s possible to pay up for Manny Machado (BAL) (actually better versus RHP thus far into his career; Graveman has a career 6.40 K/9). However, the best industry wide values our Todd Frazier (CHW) (opposing pitcher Tyler Duffey has a 4.70 ZiPS projected ERA and 1.11 HR/9) and Justin Turner (LAD) (slow start but his peripherals are there for the most part and he’s an even splits hitter facing an even splits pitcher). Miguel Sano (MIN) has third base eligibility on DraftKings and a very cheap price tag. Even with Jose Quintana pitching very well, Sano is a prime target in all formats given the power upside he possesses with the platoon edge in US Cellular Field. Jake Lamb (ARI) is a secondary value. In a small sample (249 batters faced), opposing pitcher Mike Foltynewicz has been obliterated by LHBs (.418 wOBA and .276 ISO) while Lamb’s plate discipline and power have been strong early on.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Jose Bautista (TOR)

3) Ryan Braun (MIL)

4) JD Martinez (DET)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Bryce Harper (WAS)

7) Billy Hamilton (CIN)

8) Adam Eaton (CHW)

9) Domingo Santana (MIL)

10) Justin Upton (DET)

11) Michael Conforto (NYM)

12) Michael Brantley (CLE)

13) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

14) Andrew McCutchen (PIT)

15) Miguel Sano (MIN)

If you’re paying up here, Jose Bautista (TOR) appears to have the best combination of price and matchup. He’s followed closely by Ryan Braun (MIL) who has significant power upside given his splits (.400 wOBA, .245 ISO against LHP since 2013), the park, and John Lamb‘s fly ball tilt (career 36.5 GB rate). However, you don’t need to spend up here as a plethora of value exists. Both JD Martinez (DET) and Justin Upton (DET) are very affordable. They’re good splits plays individually, but the high Tigers team total on top of that makes them primary targets. Billy Hamilton (CIN) is usable everywhere, but the price tag on FanDuel is way too low. Even if he’s more of a tournaments player in theory, we’ll lock in that upside at that cost everyday in good matchups. Domingo Santana (MIL) looks like he may finally be ready to return to the Brewers lineup and provides you with a cheap road leadoff hitter who also possesses power. If Jimmy Rollins remains out for the White Sox, that could leave Austin Jackson (CHW) hitting second again, and his price tag does not reflect that opportunity. Other site specific values exist such as Nomar Mazara (TEX) on DraftKings (if you need extra cap relief) and Adam Jones (BAL) on FanDuel. A couple of our favorite tournament options are in the Astros lineup. George Springer (HOU) (“event” player; contact rate gains from a year ago seem to have stuck) and Colby Rasmus (HOU) (still underpriced for his power upside against RHP out of the cleanup spot) face Hisashi Iwakuma, who has been far from sharp to begin the year (less Ks, more BBs, less GBs).


Tier One

1) Detroit Tigers

Tier Two

2) Chicago White Sox

3) Baltimore Orioles

Tier Three

4) Toronto Blue Jays

5) San Francisco Giants

6) Cincinnati Reds

7) Milwaukee Brewers

We’ve covered most of the matchups for the stacks throughout the analysis. The only one we’re really making an active effort to force in cash games is exposure to the Tigers. With the rest of the stacks, we’re simply picking and choosing strong individual values.

Two ranked stacks where individual values didn’t stand out are the Giants and the Blue Jays, making both likely under owned in tournaments. Despite being at home in their pitcher friendly park, the Giants have a high implied team total of nearly five runs. Eddie Butler can be very wild and struggles to generate strikeouts. The Jays get a below average RHP in Ross Stripling (high BB and hard minus soft hit rate is a good combination for opposing team upside).

Additional Tournament Stacks

-Houston Astros (nice power/speed upside throughout; see not in outfield section on Iwakuma)

-Philadelphia Phillies (mini-stack only but Justin Nicolino misses less bats than almost any starter we’ve ever seen)

-Los Angeles Dodgers (we’re still not buying Marco Estrada and the Dodgers lineup gets a nice boost from the park shift and adding the DH)

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.