MLB DFS Plays: Tuesday 8/17

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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

PITCHER

Top Play: Corbin Burnes – Brewers (at Cardinals)

Burnes easily carries the top projection for the day despite costing similarly to other top pitchers. Of course, anyone can see this so he’ll be extra chalky in GPPs. It’s worth investing anyway. Busch Stadium is moderately pitcher friendly although the Cardinals above average offense more than cancels out that advantage. This is all on Burnes’ talent as a possible best-in-league pitcher. He projects for six innings and seven strikeouts. Such a performance would be slightly better than par value for his price. However, a 75th-percentile outcome would look something like seven innings and 9.5 strikeouts – a potentially contest-defining combination.

Pivot: Huascar Ynoa – Braves (at Marlins)

Ynoa is the wild card of the slate. Prior to breaking his hand via punch (there’s always one a season…), Ynoa looked like a breakout star. He compiled a 3.02 ERA with 10.07 K/9 and 2.22 BB/9. His final rehab start lasted a total of 83 pitches, meaning he should be cleared for his usual 90-95 pitch total. He maintained similar swing-and-miss stuff in the minors though his command wasn’t as sharp as before his injury. I don’t have reports on his rehab velocity – his 97-mph heater was a big part of his earlier success.

The best part of this is the Miami safety net. Not only is Marlins Stadium pitcher friendly, the Marlins offense itself does all it can to aid opponents. They’re 10 percent worse than average on the season – and that’s before losing Starling Marte, Adam Duvall, Garrett Cooper, and others from the lineup. They also have a 26 percent strikeout rate – second-worst to only the Cubs.

Also Consider: Framber Valdez, Sandy Alcantara, Marcus Stroman, Tyler Webb, Chris Bassitt, Adam Wainwright, Alek Manoah, Tyler Anderson, Dylan Bundy, Caleb Smith, Casey Mize, Vladimir Gutierrez

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CATCHER

Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Wil Crowe)

Smith has worked to lower his average launch angle this season which was an important improvement for him to become a reliable everyday player. It’s kind of a bummer for DFSers since it means he has fewer runaway nitro matchups. Crowe happens to be an ideal opponent. Their launch angles are mirrored, maximizing Smith’s home run potential. Crowe is also dreadfully homer prone (2.02 HR/9). Smith has a one-in-three chance to broil a tater.

Pivot: Robinson Chirinos – Cubs (at Vladimir Gutierrez)

Chirinos is a fly ball hitter with above average exit velocities. It doesn’t take much to escape Great American Ballpark. Gutierrez has a balanced batted ball profile with a history of home run issues. He’s coughed up 1.47 HR/9. Frankly he’s been lucky it hasn’t been much worse. While not a perfect matchup for Chirinos, he has a one-in-four chance to homer. It’s a bit of an all-or-nothing profile since about 40 percent of his plate appearances end with a walk or strikeout.

Also Consider: Eric Haase, Salvador Perez, J.T. Realmuto, Omar Narvaez, Max Stassi, Elias Diaz, Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers, Carson Kelly, Cal Raleigh

FIRST BASE

Top Play: C.J. Cron – Rockies (vs Matt Strahm)

The Padres are sewing together a bullpen game headlined by either Strahm or Reiss Knehr. Neither pitcher is likely to work more than a couple innings. The Padres relief corps is decently rested but could run into trouble later in the series if today doesn’t go well. Cron has the home/road splits you expect from a Coors Field mash. He’s hitting .308/.410/.679 at home. He also has a healthy .307/.386/.584 slash against southpaws this year. He’ll be lucky to get more than one plate appearance against Strahm or Tim Hill.

Pivot: Connor Joe – Rockies (vs Strahm)

Joe is a solidly above average hitter with the Coors Field boost and a highly affordable price tag. He typically bats leadoff. If not for his outfield eligibility, he would be an incredible pivot behind Cron. Alas, while he may be seldom used at first base, he’ll probably make his way into quite a few lineups. Using him here still gives you some leverageable opportunities in GPPs. He projects as one of the best values in the slate.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Matt Olson, Joey Votto, Max Muncy, Yuli Gurriel, Freddie Freeman, Mike Moustakas, Jared Walsh, Jonathan Schoop, Taylor Motter, Frank Schwindel, Christian Walker, Miguel Sano, Ty France

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Trea Turner – Dodgers (vs Crowe)

Turner is the top-projected second baseman and checks in slightly cheaper to anybody who’s close. The Dodgers stack should be extremely popular for obvious reasons – they possess an incredible offense and are set to face a slew of below average pitchers. Turner could well dominate the box score.

Pivot: Jorge Polanco – Twins (vs Eli Morgan)

Polanco remains comically underpriced. He’s every bit as good or better than most of the hitters priced above him. The Twins also have a friendly matchup against a struggling rookie. Morgan has a 6.52 ERA fueled by serious home run issues (2.23 HR/9). The frontline pairing isn’t ideal for Polanco since both he and Morgan are fly ball guys. Sometimes it’s possible to overthink these advanced aspects of analysis. Polanco is a good hitter at a good price against a bad pitcher. Simple, really.

Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, Ozzie Albies, Brendan Rodgers, Jonathan India, Whit Merrifield, Jean Segura, Jonathan Schoop, Abraham Toro, Jorge Polanco, Garrett Hampson, Adam Frazier, Josh VanMeter, Luis Arraez

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Ryan McMahon – Rockies (vs Strahm)

With a lefty-on-lefty matchup showing as the headline, it’s possible McMahon may be undersubscribed. He’s priced affordably and has a reasonable decent chance at a multi-homer game. He’s batting .294/.360/.517 at Coors Field.

Pivot: Luis Arraez – Twins (vs Morgan)

Arraez is hidden behind Polanco and/or Josh Donaldson depending on your platform of choice. His contact profile versus Morgan is highly advantageous. Aside from Coors Field bats, he’s on the shortlist for best hit potential. He even has a whiff of power potential thanks to Morgan’s fly ball tendencies. The Twins are using him as either the cleanup or fifth hitter lately, improving his run production. He’s a steep bargain.

Also Consider: Manny Machado, Jose Ramirez, Matt Chapman, Mike Moustakas, Ryan McMahon, Josh Donaldson, Justin Turner, Yonny Hernandez

SHORTSTOP

Top Play: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (at German Marquez)

While visitors to Coors Field are usually a trap, it’ll be difficult to overlook Tatis this evening. He’s the chalk of chalk with a contest-leading projection. Despite a hefty price tag, he’s still a fantastic dollar-for-dollar bargain. If you’re concerned about lingering shoulder discomfort, try the next guy.

Pivot: Jake Cronenworth – Padres (at Marquez)

On DraftKings, Cronenworth has lost all of his eligibilities except shortstop. That means he’s hidden behind Chalkzilla, not to mention a slew of other high-profile middle infielders. Oddly, he’s almost as comically cheap as Polanco despite consistent production.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Trea Turner, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, Hoy Jun Park

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Nick Castellanos – Reds (vs Kyle Hendricks)
Andrew McCutchen – Phillies (at Smith)

Castellanos once again has a mid-tier price tag despite rating among the leaders in projected hits. He has better than a one-in-four shot at a dinger. Hendricks is never an easy opponent though the Cubs bullpen is highly exploitable if the Reds can crack into it early. Cutch is one of the few right-handed hitters to demonstrate a lefty-mashing pedigree. This season, he’s batting .317/.429/.675 with the platoon advantage. Beyond Smith, the DBacks bullpen is a horror show.

Pivots: Sam Hilliard – Rockies (vs Strahm)
Chas McCormick – Astros (at Daniel Lynch)
Jake Meyers – Astros (at Lynch)

Hilliard may not start in deference to Strahm. He’s best used at home against right-handed pitchers. Since the Padres are planning to mostly use northpaws, Colorado could easily maneuver the lineup such that Hilliard is only likely to face one southpaw. If he starts, he has a one-in-four shot to homer. His projection is among the upper-mid-tier of outfielders despite a near-minimum price tag.

It’s almost criminal to have not mentioned Astros versus a struggling rookie. McCormick is the known factor – he’s strikeout prone and has above average power. Kauffman Stadium isn’t ideal for him. Meyers hit .343/.408/.598 in Triple-A. He projects as a slightly below average hitter. Given his price tag and pairing against someone who is effectively a Quad-A pitcher right now, Meyers rates as one of the top values of the slate.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Max Kepler, Garrett Hampson, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Tommy Pham, Chris Taylor, A.J. Pollock, Michael Brantley