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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.
Rain threatens Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis tonight. The first and last of those seem at most risk of postponement. None of them are doomed. For now, we’ll include all of those games in the analysis.
Top Play: Carlos Rodon – White Sox (at Marlins)
Rodon, Framber Valdez, and Chris Paddack crowd the top of the charts tonight. Rodon figures to deliver over six innings and eight strikeouts versus the Marlins. They’re a below average offense with a lofty 26.1 percent strikeout rate. Rodon is by far the likeliest pitcher to reach double-digit strikeouts – I have it around a 40 percent chance of happening.
Pivot: Kwang Hyun Kim – Cardinals (vs Pirates)
Although the Pirates aren’t especially strikeout prone, they feature a poor offense. By wRC+, they rate second-worst in the league at 16 percent worse than average. Kim isn’t an especially potent southpaw. He figures to produce around six innings and five strikeouts. His point total will largely be decided by run prevention.
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El Kraken is on a long hot streak. Since early May, he’s hitting .275/.351/.617 with 11 home runs and eight doubles in 134 plate appearances. Strikeouts are always a problem for him. Facing Perez should mitigate that risk for his first couple plate appearances though the Red Sox do have some high-strikeout relievers. He’s recently taken over as the third hitter in the Yankees lineup.
I’ve taken several ineffective shots at Gutierrez in recent weeks. Despite generally strong results, he lacks the qualities of an effective pitcher. As a pitch-to-contact fly ball pitcher with slightly below average command, he projects to allow about 2.00 HR/9 when pitching at Great American Ballpark. Contreras is a ground ball hitter at this stage of his career which means he has an elevated chance to homer tonight.
Top Play: Freddie Freeman – Braves (at Gutierrez)
This is a nitro situation for Freeman. Only his teammate, Ronald Acuna (if healthy), projects to outperform him tonight. Nearly every characteristic of this matchup is favorable – the park, the launch angles of Freeman and Gutierrez, and the Reds pitiful relief corps chief among them. If there’s one backdoor concern, it’s that Gutierrez has below average command and Freeman is adept at working walks. A couple walks and a single would be a real bummer of an outcome for us DFSers.
Pivot: Luke Voit – Yankees (at Perez)
While there are cheaper plays at first base, they don’t come with Voit’s one-in-four odds to homer. Perez’s ground ball tendencies and the Green Monster both work in his favor. Since returning from his most recent injury, he’s 4-for-13 with a triple and two home runs. He seems to be batting fifth.
Top Play: Ozzie Albies – Braves (at Gutierrez)
While Jose Altuve can be expected to marginally outperform Albies, he also costs substantially more. My hope is most DFSers are edgy about a Braves stack given Gutierrez’s improbable run prevention. There’s also a minor weather threat which could drag down rostership. Albies has around a one-in-four chance to homer.
Although a good mid-rotation pitcher who can occasionally author a gem, German is popularly credited with more talent than he actually possesses. He has long-standing home run issues. Chavis hit leadoff yesterday and will represent a large bargain if he reprises that role this evening. Chavis himself has often been overrated by the masses. He’s an all-or-nothing power bat with a skew towards ground ball contact and far too many strikeouts. It’s a second division profile, but the Red Sox can’t seem to find a viable first baseman or a leadoff hitter. Chavis has a one-in-five chance to homer.
Top Play: Jose Ramirez – Indians (at Daniel Coulombe)
Coulombe is a soft-tossing left-handed reliever with a hefty ground ball rate. We can assume this will be a bullpen game. While Ramirez will probably only get one at bat against Coulombe, it comes with seriously elevated power potential. Consider him around a one-in-four chance to homer tonight with that first-inning plate appearance being the most important.
I still like Abraham Toro here, but I’m concerned enough about a postponement to write about someone else. Suarez is showing some signs of breaking his slump. He’s hit a passable .222/.304/.424 over the last month with six home runs in 112 plate appearances. His batted ball profile isn’t a perfect fit for Smyly – they’re both fly ball guys and thus pop-ups are a risk. However, Great American Ballpark is so power friendly that even mis-hit flies can be dangerous.
Like fellow uber-prospect Jarred Kelenic, Franco has followed an early monster performance with a couple duds (Kelenic’s big performance was in his second start). Franco has a higher-floor profile than Kelenic and thus is likelier to deliver a solid performance from day one of his Major League career. The big red flag in his profile is a hefty ground ball rate. That’s where Canning comes into play. A fly ball pitcher, Franco’s potential is maximized by this specific opponent. Canning has thrice failed to escape the third inning. It would be a shame if Franco only faced Canning twice, but it would probably mean the Rays stack popped.
DFSers hate lefty-on-lefty matchups. This one isn’t exactly one to fear. Chisholm has shown almost non-existent platoon splits in a small sample – he’s been slightly less patient against southpaws. Over his long career, Lester has no split. He’s had some success against lefties since the start of 2020. Even if the frontline matchup turns sour for Chisholm, he’ll likely get two or more shots at the Nationals weak bullpen. Brad Hand is available, but that’s only an issue if Chisholm comes to plate trailing in the ninth.
As previously mentioned, Acuna projects as the top play of the slate. He’s dealing with lower back tightness which could keep him sidelined another couple days. Although this is the sort of fly ball pitcher versus fly ball hitter matchup I usually try to avoid, Acuna is a special case. He has a two-in-five chance to homer – that’s about as good as it gets.
Castellanos and Winker aren’t too far behind him in the home run department. They’re both skew to lower launch angles with big HR/FB ratios. They’re particularly dangerous against Smyly. As with Chisholm, the lefty-vs-lefty matchup for Winker might dissuade others from using this incredibly potent hitter.
Of the trio, only Castellanos has an affordable price tag.
Pivots: Tyler O’Neill – Cardinals (vs Wil Crowe)
Lars Nootbar – Cardinals (vs Crowe)
As long as the Cardinals game happens, they’ll profile as one of the most valuable stacks tonight. That’s because Crowe is truly, deeply awful. The only positive thing to say about him is that he’s increased his ground ball rate to 45 percent. While giving him a chance to skate through the occasional outing with some BABIP luck, it also means he’s a perfect opponent for O’Neill.
In addition to possessing possibly the best name in the league, Nootbar is a solid prospect who hit .329/.430/.557 in 93 Triple-A plate appearances. He features above average power and contact skills supplemented by double-plus plate discipline. He’s a ground ball hitter at this early stage of his career which limits his upside. For a minimum investment, he’ll help you fit multiple Braves, Reds, or Astros in your lineup without sacrificing your pitchers.