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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.
Weather could affect the action in Toronto (Buffalo), Cincinnati, and Detroit. There’s some slight risk at other venues too. Monitor accordingly. There’s also some concern surrounding possible as-yet-unreported COVID positives from the All-Star Game.
Top Play: Chris Bassitt – Athletics (vs Indians)
There are pitchers with a higher ceiling than Bassitt, and there are even a few with a higher floor. However, Bassitt offers the best combination of projected output and affordable price. Since the start of 2020, he’s the 11th-best pitcher in the league, a span of 30 starts. How he gets there is a touch mysterious. It’s more wiles and pitchability than knockout stuff. Still, he can be expected to deliver over six innings with over a strikeout per frame. Only volatile Andrew Heaney has similar expectations. While the Indians offense has a couple threats, the overall unit is unimpressive.
Pivot: Andrew Heaney – Angels (vs Mariners)
Heaney is a homer-prone fly ball pitcher with a high strikeout rate. Quite a few of the Mariners regulars are left-handed, giving Heaney a slight advantage. The Seattle offense ranks fourth-worst in the league with a 26.3 percent strikeout rate. Heaney is the likeliest pitcher to reach eight or more strikeouts. He frequently finishes between five and six innings. His previous outing against the Mariners, in late-April, was one of just four outings in which he failed to finish five frames.
Also Consider: Brandon Woodruff, Robbie Ray, Charlie Morton, Danny Duffy, Lance McCullers, Kevin Gausman, Kyle Hendricks, Marcus Stroman
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Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (at Antonio Senzatela)
The Dodgers are visiting Coors Field. You better believe they’ll be a popular stack this evening. Smith tends to bat fifth most days. His fly ball tendencies are perfectly suited to both the venue and his opponent. Senzatela is a one-dimensional ground ball pitcher. Smith is both the top-projected catcher by a wide margin and a healthy bargain.
Pivot: Elias Diaz – Rockies (vs Julio Urias)
Diaz entered the All-Star Break red hot. Since the beginning of June, he’s batting .304/.382/.582 with six home runs and more walks than strikeouts in 89 plate appearances. He’s played on a most-days basis since late-June and even batted second in the final day before the break. Especially if the new role sticks, he’s worth considering against any opponent at Coors Field. Diaz has a number of desirable qualities including above average discipline, contact ability, exit velocities, and launch angle.
Although he’s a Coors Field hitter, he should be effectively hidden behind Smith.
Also Consider: Gary Sanchez, Salvador Perez, Omar Narvaez, Willson Contreras, Cal Raleigh, Daulton Varsho
Top Play: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (vs Chris Flexen)
Max Muncy is the top play at first base, but he’s an even better fit at second base. Ohtani projects similarly to Muncy but at a higher price tag. Flexen fills the strike zone and doesn’t induce whiffs which should serve to mitigate Ohtani’s most-glaring weakness – strikeouts. He has a better than one-in-three shot at a home run.
Pivot: Bobby Dalbec – Red Sox (at Domingo German)
Over the last month, a span of 85 plate appearances, Dalbec is batting .288/.318/.513 with eight extra base hits. He still bats at the bottom of the lineup and has terrible, truly horrific strikeout and walk rates. His recent hot streak is entirely the result of a .404 BABIP. It’s worth noting his contact profile does potentially support a high BABIP. German is homer prone, especially when working at Yankees Stadium.
Also Consider: Max Muncy, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Freddie Freeman, Jared Walsh, Pete Alonso, C.J. Cron, Matt Olson, Trey Mancini, Keston Hiura, Michael Chavis, Christian Walker
Top Play: Max Muncy – Dodgers (at Senzatela)
Muncy is having a banner season. Over half of his hits are for extra bases. His typical launch angle, which is tighter than most, matches well against Senzatela. His discipline will help him to lay off those sinkers and sliders Senzatela likes to dump just off the plate or below the zone to induce soft contact. I’m more worried about Muncy walking away his opportunities than zeroing out entirely.
Pivot: Dylan Moore – Mariners (at Heaney)
By now, my love for Moore’s volatility is readily apparent. His combination of power and speed can produce massive performances on par with the top players in the league. The downside is his high whiff rate which leads him to zero out frequently. In short, he’s a great GPP play. Heaney exacerbates both Moore’s strengths (HR potential) and weaknesses (K risk).
Also Consider: Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, Chris Taylor, Whit Merrifield, Jake Cronenworth, Ozzie Albies, Enrique Hernandez, DJ LeMahieu, Vidal Brujan
Top Play: Justin Turner – Dodgers (at Senzatela)
Teams visiting Coors Field are often a trap. Visitors don’t have time to adjust to some of the quirks that help Rockies hitters. It’ll be tough to dodge the Dodgers tonight – they have so many players who match up well against Senzatela. Turner makes use of the entire field. There’s a lot of space at Coors Field for hits to fall. He also has plenty of power to park one in the seats.
If you want a sleepier play in the same lofty stratosphere, Rafael Devers has a similar price tag and projection. He’s far likelier to home too.
Pivot: Rodolfo Castro – Pirates (vs Marcus Stroman)
Castro has considerably more power than his minimum price tag implies. This isn’t an ideal matchup. He skews to ground ball contact and Stroman tends to pile up bouncers. Castro also bats down in the order though there’s a chance he could hit fifth after a two-homer performance last Sunday. Although strikeout prone, he’s sufficiently aggressive to take the sting out of his high swinging strike rate. That’s a double-edged sword since Stroman likes to nibble and Castro is liable to expand the zone.
Also Consider: Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Austin Riley, Kris Bryant, Wander Franco, DJ LeMahieu, Dylan Moore
Top Play: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (at Erick Fedde)
Fedde is a ground ball-oriented contact pitcher. He gives up copious quantities of hard contact and has a modest home run problem (1.25 HR/9 this year, 1.50 HR/9 career). Tatis is the likeliest hitter to homer this evening with a two-in-five chance. He’s always capable of filling the boxscore in other ways too.
Pivot: Trea Turner – Nationals (vs Chris Paddack)
Between Tatis and the Coors Field game, Turner should slip through the cracks with a relatively low rostership. Paddack has finished fewer than three innings in three of his last four outings (one of which was a relief appearance). He’s struggled with both home runs (1.40 HR/9) and runners on base. While he’s not quite of the same caliber as Tatis, Turner is nearly as capable of blowing up a boxscore with power, run production, multiple hits, and/or stolen bases. He’s done so many times this season.
Also Consider: Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Chris Taylor, Bo Bichette, Francisco Lindor, Willy Adames, Gavin Lux, Javier Baez, Wander Franco
Top Plays: Mookie Betts – Dodgers (at Senzatela)
J.D. Martinez – Red Sox (at German)
Teoscar Hernandez – Blue Jays (vs Lyles)
A projections-based approach is going to tell you to grab Betts, Cody Bellinger, and A.J. Pollock. Betts and Bellinger match up particularly well against Senzatela due to their fly ball tendencies. However, it’s undeniable that they’ve disappointed this season. Betts is having a merely above average campaign while Bellinger can’t seem to strike a spark. Pollock looks like the best bargain of the trio, but he also tends to bat down in the order.
Another outfield to stack, the Blue Jays, have four viable plays opposite one of the most exploitable pitchers in the league. Hernandez has the best combo of role, projection, and price tag. George Springer is of a similar caliber but less efficiently priced. Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel are more affordable bargains.
Martinez is one of the likeliest to homer tonight with a one-in-three chance to roll Yahtzee. He also has multi-homer potential and a cheaper price than most top outfielders.
Pivots: Jorge Soler – Royals (vs Keegan Akin)
Hunter Renfroe – Red Sox (at German)
Soler is having a terrible season. Beneath the surface level stats, his peripherals hint that a power outburst could be right around the corner. His basic Statcast data – exit velocities, launch angles, etc. – are on par with his past performances. Akin is an ineffective southpaw with a home run problem (1.79 HR/9).
Renfroe has comparable home run potential to Martinez at an even cheaper price tag. The downside is he’s an all-or-nothing play. We could see Jarren Duran make his MLB debut tonight at a minimum price. Reports vary as to the likelihood he hits the ground running. For example, Jarred Kelenic is widely agreed to be superior to Duran yet he stumbled out of the gate.
Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Juan Soto, Mitch Haniger, Charlie Blackmon, Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez, Jarren Duran