Welcome to MyFantasyFix's MLB DFS analysis. We'll provide the top plays and value plays at each position and offer some strategy along the way. When deciding who to play in a typical salary-cap daily fantasy game, there are a lot of different factors that come into play. The first and foremost is the price point of each player. While we'd all love to construct a lineup with superstars, we have to stay within the constraints of the salary cap. As a result we need to find values in players by looking at the following factors:
- Splits (righty vs lefty, home vs away, day vs night, etc)
- Ballpark factors (i.e. identifying undervalued players by finding those playing in hitter's parks)
- Opponent strength (I.e. if a player is great at home but poor on the road, I would avoid players hitting against him at home but will boost hitters' value when they face him away)
- Vegas lines (what teams are projected to score the most - after all, Vegas always wins)
- Weather (i.e. is the wind blowing out in Wrigley or is it blowing in at LA?)
- Lineup positioning (is your hitter batting at the top or the bottom of the batting order - this could mean an extra at-bat in the game and is immensely important in the daily game)
- Streaks (is your played rolling on a hot streak or mired in a slump?)
Los Angeles Dodger @ Colorado - The game ended early on Friday and it's not looking promising for Saturday. 60-80% chance of showers for most of the day leading up to an evening first pitch. We included some analysis of this game in here today but purposely tried to avoid players from this game because the game looks unlikely to get in. There's also the possibility of a brisk 20 MPH wind blowing in from left field.
Kansas City @ Detroit - 40-60% chance of rain beginning one hour before first pitch and continuing for the entire afternoon. There are also expected to be 9-13 MPH winds blowing in from right field.
Minnesota @ Cleveland - 30-50% chance of rain beginning one hour before first pitch and continuing for the entire afternoon. There's also 10-12 MPH winds expected to be blowing out to right field.
St. Louis @ Pittsburgh - 30-40% chance of rain beginning at first pitch. I'm not as concerned about this game getting in but monitor it as we get closer to game time.
High Vegas Total & Stack Options:
Cle (-104) vs Min (-106) - 9
Tor (-131) vs Bos (+121) - 9
Mil (-112) vs Chc (+102) - 8.5
Col (+161) vs LAD (-171) - 8.5
ARI (-102) vs SD (-108) - 8.5
DET (-155) vs KC (+144) - 8.5
Madison Bumgarner (SF) -With 3 straight strong performances, Bumgarner enters the day as the top overall pitcher facing the Marlins. Pitching at home and at night, where Bumgarner typically plays better, he's a -180 favorite and will face a Marlins team that strikes out the 6th most frequently. As a team, the Marlins also have the 3rd lowest ISO and while they're middle of the pack in wOBA, they seem to actually be getting lucky with balls in play, posting a .342 BABIP, the highest mark in the major leagues.
Julio Teheran (ATL) - If you're playing on a day-only slate, Julio Teheran is your best option despite him being an underdog and facing a Nationals offense that's heating up. The Nats are very right-handed but they do have the hottest hitter on the planet right now who happens to be a lefty. He's the biggest thing standing in the way between me recommending Teheran as a nice play on all slates versus a day-only play. Teheran has pitched well versus the Nats in his short career with a 3.06 ERA. Doug Fister is the favorite in this game but Teheran can easily have 4 more strikeouts than Fister, making up for the loss of a win on FanDuel (and overcoming the difference on DK). The Nationals have a team strikeout rate of 21.4%, the 8th most in the MLB.
Note: Due to the weather concerns, the poor ballpark shift, and the solid Rockies lineup, I'm fading Clayton Kershaw today. Same story for Johnny Cueto, minus the weather concerns.
Drew Hutchison (TOR) - Hutchison has been terribly unlucky to begin the year (13.5% HR/FB, .324 BABIP, & 56.5% strand rate) and he's actually the favorite on Saturday against the Red Sox. Without Hanley, the Red Sox lineup isn't quite as scary, especially since lefty David Ortiz hasn't heated up yet. With a struggling Papi and a Sandoval that struggled against the slider, which Hutchison throws 23% of the time, the Red Sox are awfully right-handed heavy. It's a scary pitching environment but I'm mildly interested in Hutchison as a potential value, especially in tournaments or multi-pitcher sites.
Carlos Martinez (STL) - The Cubs roughed up Martinez pretty bad but the Pirates are free-swingers outside of Polanco, Walker and Alvarez, they don't have many left-handed options. St. Louis is a slight favorite on the road but with the way the Cardinals are playing, I have more confidence in a Carlos Martinez win than I do for anyone else listed here as value options.
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) - I'm a little hesistant to play Keuchel on the road but he's been so good that it's hard to pass up at nearly $2K less than Kershaw and $1K less than Bumgarner. While Keuchel is a lefty and the Angels are rather right-handed heavy, Keuchel continues to induce groundballs at a ridiculous 64.5%. He doesn't have enormous strikeout upside but the Astros are slight favorites on the road. Pitching is pretty thin today, otherwise he normally wouldn't be in consideration.
Carlos Rodon (CWS) - As of right now, White Sox players are still available for the 7:05 ET start time, so if this remains, Carlos Rodon is extremely cheap at just $6,700 on FD. Since he's unlikely to work deep into the game, his overall upside is limited but if he can just go 5 innings, strikeout 5 and give up 3 runs while getting the win, that's still 11 points and will still return enough value on a $6,700 salary.
Russell Martin (TOR) vs Joe Kelly - Reverse splits or not, no one is more locked in at the plate than catcher Russell Martin. He's on an absolute tear right now,posting a .723 wOBA over the last 7 days and he has historically hit right-handed pitching pretty well despite hitting from the right-side of the plate. He's primarily a fastball hitter and his opponent, Joe Kelly, is predominantly a fastball pitcher (67%) and they're playing in the second-most homer friendly park in the league. He's the most expensive catcher on the slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel but at $3,900 on the latter, you can still build a decent lineup around him.
Value Plays - All Sites:
Devin Mesoraco (CIN) vs Carlos Rodon - Since it's a double-header, you'll need to check your site's rules for this one. Assuming you can use him on the evening slate against the lefty Rodon, Mesoraco is a tremendous value on FanDuel. Even though he can't catch, he'll likely be in the lineup against the White Sox on Saturday since he can hit and he can hit lefties very well (.381 wOBA vs LHP since 2013). If you can't play him against Mesoraco, I'm not quite as high on him but he's certainly in play for the evening slate of games.
Alex Avila (DET) vs Jeremy Guthrie - If you're looking for cheap exposure to the high-scoring affair with Detroit and Kansas City, look no further than the left-handed hitting Alex Avila facing off against the right-handed throwing (lobbing?) Jeremy Guthrie. Values on FD ($2400) and DK ($3400), Avila is has a .333 wOBA against right-handed pitching the last two years. Guthrie has the 4th highest hard hit percentage of any other pitcher going today at 37%.
Carlos Ruiz (PHI) vs Jon Niese - Another cheap option is Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz is minimum priced on FanDuel and hits lefties really well, hitting an OPS of .832 since 2013. He also seems to see Jon Neise well, tallying 10 hits in 29 at-bats. For league minimum of FD, you could do a lot worse for a catcher hitting in a good batting environment.
Miguel Cabrera (DET) vs Jeremy Guthrie- The top overall play of the day is Miguel Cabrera. Projected to be the highest scoring game of the afternoon slate, Miguel Cabrera has a juicy matchup against Jeremy Guthrie, a guy he has 19 hits off of in 52 career at-bats to go along with a solid 8:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 4 homeruns. Over the past 2 seasons, Miggy has an average wOBA of .417 against right-handed pitching and Guthrie has allowed a 24% line drive rate, well above the league average number. He'll need multiple hits with at least one being an extra-base hit along with some action in the run scoring but he's a great building block if you can afford the price tag. Make sure to watch the weather leading up to game time, as well.
Freddie Freeman (ATL) vs Doug Fister - Looking down for a little value, nabbing Freeman at a reduced cost of $3,900 against the right-handed hitting is a nice move. Add to that fact that Fister likes to throw his curveball 15% of the time and Freeman has a 2.08 wCB/c (avg runs created over the course of 100 pitches of that pitch type) and Freeman might provide some salary relief.
Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) vs Joe Kelly - Really underpriced at $3,700 and in one of the highest scoring games of the day, Encarnacion has hit RHP for an OPS of .884 over the last 2+ seasons. Yes, Kelly is groundball pitcher, but his two most frequently thrown pitches are fastballs and changeups, coincidentally the two best pitches that E3 also hits the best.
Chris Davis (BAL) vs Chase Whitley - I absolutely love Crush Davis today. With a .396 wOBA and .940 OPS against right handed pitchers since 2013 and a current hot streak, Davis has averaged 0.82 points per plate appearance on FanDuel. But that's only a partial reason why I like him. The real reason is Chase Whitley's .885 OPS allowed to opposing left-handed hitters. I'm getting a lot of exposure to Davis in many of my cash games on FanDuel since he's just $3,600.
Other FanDuel Values:
Matt Adams (STL) vs Vance Worley - $2,700
Lucas Duda (NYM) @ Aaron Harang -Lucas Duda is an extreme flyball hitter (48%) going up against a flyball pitcher (41%) in the most homerun friendly ballpark in the major leagues for left-handed batters (over 50% more homeruns at Citzens Bank Park to LHB than the league average). Did I mention he's just $3,200 on DraftKings and FanDuel?
Note: Adam LaRoche (CWS) vs Jason Marquis is a great player on afternoon/all day slates at just $3,200 on DK and excellent splits against RHP but he's not a good option for the evening slate against RHP Johnny Cueto. Similarly, Joey Votto is an great player against Hector Noesi for the all day/ afternoon slate but not as good of an option against the LHP Carlos Rodon.
Other DraftKings Values:
Victor Martinez (DET) vs Jeremy Guthrie - $4,300
Brian Dozier (MIN) vs Bruce Chen - Dozier stands out as the top second base option on Saturday for FanDuel. A high vegas game total and a flyball hitter versus a flyball pitcher, there's a lot to like here. He's just $3,200 on FD so he still provides plenty of cap space to spend big on pitching.
Neil Walker (PIT) vs Carlos Martinez - At just $2800 , Walker is a great inexpensive option with a pretty good matchup. He's a fastball hitter and faces a fastball-heavy pitcher in addition to having a solid .358 wOBA against RHP since 2013.
Luis Valbeuna (HOU) vs Matt Shoemaker - At first glance, it's easy to look past Valbeuna, especially since he's cooling down from his hot start. Then you look again and realize his .341 wOBA vs RHP might have some merit and at just $3,300 on DK, there's some upside to the extreme flyball hitter (48%), especially since Shoemaker leans more towards flyballs allowed.
Robinson Cano (SEA) vs Jesse Hahn - Cano is a groundball machine lately but he has historically crushed RHP and at least Hahn isn't a groundball pitcher. Cano's price has fallen to $3,900 and he hits breaking pitches better than fastballs while Hahn's repertoire consists mainly of Fastballs and Curveballs. If he can get ahold of the curveball, there could be some value here.
Aramis Ramirez (MIL) vs Travis Wood - Wood has struggled away from Wrigley Field lately and Aramis Ramirez is elite against left-handed pitching. Against southpaws, he's average 2.25 DK pts and 0.79 FD points per plate appearance the last 2 seasons. He's an extremely streaky hitter and right now you're catching him in the middle of a hot streak. Despite warming up, he's bargain priced at $2,900 on FD and $4,200 on DK. Over three starts against Milwaukee last season, Wood allowed 14 runs over 15.1 innings with a 1.70 WHIP.
Evan Longoria (TB) vs Ross Detwiler - If only Longoria were elite against fastballs instead of above average. Detwiler throws a mix of 84% heaters and 10% curveballs but he's a flyball pitcher pitcher and Longoria has shown impressive batted ball speed on his homeruns this year (107.6MPH with an avg distance of 416). He has a .385 wOBA and .909 OPS versus left-handed pitchers since 2013.
Other Top Play: Josh Donaldson (TOR)- Donaldson remains underpriced and in a really good spot against Joe Kelly on Saturday.
Trevor Plouffe (MIN) vs Bruce Chen - Plouffe is extremely hot with at least one hit in 17 of his last 20 games and has a .475 wOBA over the past week. He draws a nice matchup against flyball prone Bruce Chen and priced at just $2,900 on FanDuel, Plouffe is a great value, especially when you consider his historical success against left-handed starting pitchers.
Kyle Seager (SEA) vs Jesse Hahn - Hahn is a great value at just $3,500 on DK despite facing a right-handed pitcher, which he has a solid .832 OPS against since 2013. He's also starting to heat up but his price hasn't caught up yet.
Shortstop is a barren wasteland out there. With Troy Tulowitzki facing Kershaw, there aren't a lot of solid options.
Danny Santana (MIN) vs Bruce Chen - Facing the lefty, Santana is probably one of the best options on the slate today. He's averaging 0.65 FD pts and 1.99 DK points per plate appearance since 2013 against lefties and has a .771OPS and .340 wOBA overthat same time period. He's just$2,900 on FanDuel. The biggest thing working against him is that he normally bats 9th in the batting order.
Zach Cozart (CIN) vs Carlos Martinez - Cozart, on the other hand, usually bats second for the Reds and he's decent against righties. Most importantly, however, is the fact that he's been hitting well recently and just $2,500 on FanDuel and $3,700.
Andrelton Simmons (ATL) vs Doug Fister - He doesn't hold the split advantage but he has beeen scorching hot at the plate and he almost always hits leadoff for the Braves.
Marcus Semien (OAK) - vs JA Happ - On DraftKings, Marcus Semien has shortstop eligiblity and gets a nice matchup against lefty JA Happ. Semien average 1.76 points per plate appearance against left-handed starters and Semien is just slightly a flyball hitter and Happ is a flyball pitcher.
Other cheap options to keep in mind are Brandon Crawford (SF) and Marwin Gonzalez (HOU), who has batted second in the Astros lineup recently.
Carlos Gomez (MIL) vs Travis Wood - Gomez got the day off against the Cubs in order to rest a sore hip but it sounds like he should be back in the lineup tomorrow. That's a good thing because Gomez has historically hit lefties really well and Travis Wood loves to throw his cutter, a pitch that Gomez also hits very well. Wood is a flyball pitcher throwing in a slightly more friendly hitting environment than Wrigley so the unfavorable ballpark shift is worth noting. Gomez is $5,200 on DK but he's a great value at just $3,800 on FanDuel. He might be worth paying up on DK though, as he's averaged 2.3 points per plate appearance on that site since 2013 against left-handed pitching. Ryan Braun is another nice player but at the price point, I'd rather have Gomez as long as he's in the lineup.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) vs Jesse Hahn - Cruz is locked and loaded at the plate and he draws another really nice matchup against Jesse Hahn on Saturday despite the reverse split. Cruz is an elite fastball hitter and Hahn throws his fastball 62% of the time. Due to the high price ($4,900 on FanDuel and $5,200 on DraftKings), he's more of a tournament play rather than a viable cash game option. He's averaging 0.69 points per plate appearance on FD since 2013 against right-handed pitchers despite the reverse splits.
Justin Upton (SD) @ Chase Anderson - Another guy with solid reverse splits facing a a pitcher who has struggled this season is Justin Upton. Upton is one of the best changeup hitters in baseball, posting a 3.77 wCH/c since 2013 and while Anderson is primarily a fastball thrower, he does throw his change-up the second-most frequently at 20% of the time.
Scott Van Slyke / Alex Guerrero (COL) vs Jorge De La Rosa - I love getting exposure to right-handed Dodger hitters on today's slate and both Van Slyke and Guerrero stand out to me as nice plays in the outfield. Both his lefties very well, both are offtogreat starts through the first month, and over the last 2 seasons, right-handed batters have a 776 OPS against De La Rosa and have a minisule 5.9% K-BB%, a stat I particularly pay attention to on sites like FD where outs are penalized and walks are awarded.
Khris Davis (MIL) vs Travis Wood - Similar to Gomez, Davis is a very good hitter against cutters and Wood throws a lot of them (30% of his total pitches). He's extremely cheap on FanDuel ($2300) and a decent value of DK at $3,900.
Preston Tucker (HOU) vs Matt Shoemaker - Very cheap across most daily sites, the lefty was tearing up Triple-A before replacing George Springer in the Astros lineup. He gets a nice matchup against a righty-pitcher who has a hard-hit percentage of 32% since 2013.
Michael Saunders (TOR) vs Joe Kelly - One of the highest scoring games of the afternoon slate, Michael Saunders makes for a very nice value play across all dailies. He sat out on Friday to rest his knee but that's not too surprising since a lefty was on the mound. On Saturday he gets to face a below average right-hander in Joe Kelly and at just $200 above minimum on FD, he's worth a plug and play even though he's been batting 7th in that batting order. He has a solid .334 wOBA versus right-handed pitching since 2013 and has scored a respectable 0.63 FD pts and 1.84 DK pts per plate appearance during that same span.
Other FanDuel Values:
Ben Revere (PHI) vs Jon Niese - $2700 - .404 wOBA over the last week and Kevin Plawecki allowed 62 steals over 94 games last year - just a 23% caught-stealing rate (and just 25% this year).
Torii Hunter (MIN) vs Bruce Chen - $2900 - batting .444 in May and has a .341wOBA vs LHP in his career
Other DraftKings Values:
Colby Rasmus (HOU) vs Matt Shoemakrer - $3,600 - Rasmus has a hard-hit percent of 39% over the last 2+ seasons and is off to a hot start. Shoemaker
Anthony Gose (DET) vs Jeremy Guthrie - With the righty on the mound, Gose will likely draw the start and leadoff for the Tigers. He's a nice value at $3800 and is in a nice spot hitting in front of the middle of the Tigers batting order that should do quite well against Guthrie.
Billy Burns (OAK) vs Dallas Keuchel - $2,500 - Jason Castro only threw out 21% of the runners who attempted steals last year. Burns is a speed guy and Keuchel is a groundball pitcher. Groundballs are typically more dangerous when hit to the opposite field - something Burns does 30% of the time and up the middle 50% of the time in a very small sample. As long as he bats leadoff, he's a great value.