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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.
Keep an eye on weather in the northeast and Minnesota. Delays or even postponements are possible.
Top Play: Aaron Nola – Phillies (vs DBacks)
Nola has performed unevenly this season. Since his apparent 2018 breakout, he’s continued to show all the traits of an ace while failing to piece it all together with any consistency. This season, he’s allowing more fly balls and, by extension, home runs. The Diamondbacks have one of the limpest offenses in the league. They’re 13 percent below league average on the season though they’ve been a little better lately. That probably comes down to facing weaker pitching rather than any actual improvement. Nola projects for comparable inning and strikeout totals to Gerrit Cole. The matchup is easier to trust, and he’s just a tad cheaper to boot.
Pivot: Logan Gilbert – Mariners (vs Royals)
Gilbert is coming off a couple poor outings against elite offenses. The fly ball pitcher has struggled with home runs of late, allowing seven total across his last five starts. The good news is he consistently records more than a strikeout per inning, and the Mariners aren’t over-managing him. He’s allowed to throw between 85 and 100 pitches depending on his efficiency. Over the last month, the Royals offense has played 20 percent below average. The rub is that they also have a 20.3 percent strikeout rate over the same span.
Also Consider: Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, Joe Musgrove, Eduardo Rodriguez, Max Fried, Sean Manaea, J.A. Happ, Zach Thompson, Andre Jackson
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Top Play: J.T. Realmuto – Phillies (vs Taylor Widener)
Realmuto has all the traits of a top play. He either bats second or cleanup for the Phillies. His .260/.348/.444 batting line is light by his standards but still well above average for the position. Importantly, Widener is an exploitable fly ball pitcher. JTR loves the ball elevated in the zone. The Diamondbacks also have the worst bullpen in the league.
Pivot: Riley Adams – Nationals (at Rich Hill)
Adams has more bat than the typical catcher, and he costs less. It’s a simple formula for profit, albeit with some downsides. I have concerns with how his discerning approach will pair against Hill’s deceptive fastball and curve combination. Adams is strikeout prone in part because of his plate discipline. CitiField is also notoriously pitcher friendly this season.
Also Consider: Salvador Perez, Will Smith, Mike Zunino, Omar Narvaez, Alejandro Kirk, Ryan Jeffers, Austin Nola, Yohel Pozo, Christian Vazquez
Top Play: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Blue Jays (at Matt Manning)
The Phillies aren’t the only stack with friendly matchups. The Blue Jays should eviscerate Manning. The prospect simply isn’t inducing whiffs. Nor is he inducing soft contact. This has all the markers for a three-inning meltdown. Not only has Manning flailed in the Majors, he also coughed up an 8.07 ERA in seven Triple-A starts. Vladito is among the daily leaders in both expected hits and home runs.
Pivot: Ryan Mountcastle – Orioles (vs Shane McClanahan)
McClanahan is one of the most expensive pitchers available which has a certain allure in DFS circles. His stuff is linearly declining in effectiveness. Where once his fastball sat at 98-mph while touching 100-mph, he’s coming off a (good) outing in which he managed just 94.5-mph heat. The Orioles have a sneaky-decent offense. Both Trey Mancini and Mountcastle are classified as first basemen which will split an already unpopular stack. Mountcastle’s profile features less home run potential than Mancini. He’s still a credible power threat with multi-hit potential too.
Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman, Nelson Cruz, Pete Alonso, Yuli Gurriel, Jared Walsh, Ty France, Jonathan Schoop, Trey Mancini, Brad Miller, Luke Voit, Rowdy Tellez, Jace Peterson
Top Play: Brandon Lowe – Rays (at Matt Harvey)
Harvey’s little spurt of effectiveness in the second half of July is already a distant memory. He remains one of the most exploitable and homer prone pitchers in the league. Lowe has better than a one-in-three chance for a dinger. No other second baseman tops a one-in-four shot. That extra power potential is more than enough to ensure Lowe is the top play.
Pivot: Jorge Polanco – Twins (vs Eric Lauer)
The Polanco discount just won’t go away. He remains highly affordable relative to his borderline star-caliber projection. The contact-oriented switch-hitter also has above average pop. He has moderately increased risk of fly outs and whiffs versus a fly ball pitcher. He usually bats second or third in the lineup. He’s homered in three straight games.
Also Consider: Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Marcus Semien, Jean Segura, Jonathan Schoop, Jazz Chisholm, Enrique Hernandez, Jonathan India, Abraham Toro, DJ LeMahieu, Nick Solak
Top Play: Manny Machado – Padres (at Packy Naughton)
Machado is having another superb season. He’s taken his contact quality profile to a new level including an elite 93.3-mph average and 119.6-mph maximum exit velocity. His barrel and hard contact rates are also career best. Beyond his old-timey name, Naughton is a fairly typical soft-tossing southpaw. Even in Triple-A, he usually works five or fewer innings. The Padres as a collective are quite tempting this evening!
Pivot: Luis Urias – Brewers (vs Albers)
Prior to his stint in Japan, Albers always had issues with right-handed hitters. His ground ball profile matches poorly against Urias who has sneaky pop to go with above average plate discipline and contact skills.
Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Patrick Wisdom, Alex Bregman, Yoan Moncada, Mike Moustakas, Josh Donaldson
Top Play: Bo Bichette – Blue Jays (at Manning)
Bichette has comparable multi-hit upside to Vladito. He doesn’t quite match up in the power department, but that’s not strictly necessary from a shortstop. A semi-slump has rendered him quite affordable relative to others with a similar projection and matchup quality like Tim Anderson and Francisco Lindor.
Pivot: Jake Cronenworth – Padres (at Naughton)
Cronenworth typically bats second or cleanup. While the lefty-versus-lefty matchup might scare off some suitors, he actually doesn’t have notable platoon splits. Cronenworth is a top play for hits and run production. He’s available at a deep discount and even has enough pop to really explode this evening. Besides, the Angels bullpen is mostly exploitable.
Also Consider: Xander Bogaerts, Wander Franco, Francisco Lindor, Tim Anderson, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Jazz Chisholm, Jorge Polanco, Dylan Moore, Luis Urias, Jose Barrero
Top Plays: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Padres (vs Naughton)
Bryce Harper – Phillies (vs Widener)
Teoscar Hernandez – Blue Jays (at Manning)
Each of the three juiciest stacks has a tempting star outfielder headlining the show. Tatis is, unsurprisingly, the top play of the entire slate. He comes with a 40 percent shot at a home run to go with the usual array of multi-hit, multi-run, and stolen base potential. Harper is a clear step down for nearly the same price. He’s only one-in-three to homer with otherwise comparable projections to Tatis. He has a slightly better lineup role which helps to make up some of the difference. Hernandez is yet another step down in terms of expected production. He’s also only three-fourths the cost of Harper and Tatis despite still-excellent power and run production projections. All three work as one-offs or in a stack.
Pivots: Kyle Tucker – Astros (at Glenn Otto)
Jake Meyers – Astros (at Otto)
Glenn Otto was one of the most interesting prospects moved at the trade deadline. He’s fascinating because he entered the season without much hype. Improved command of his slider accounts for much of his minor league success this season. He has the makings of a future relief ace, although the Rangers will see if he can stick in the rotation first. His slider is filthy and could give the Astros fits, but it’s also his only weapon. If Houston can nudge him aside early, they have an obvious path to popping off. Tucker made his return to the lineup on Wednesday. With Chas McCormick sidelined, Meyers will continue to start. Both are a cool $1,000 better than their price tags on DraftKings.
Also Consider: Tommy Pham, Wil Myers, Shohei Ohtani, Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Justin Upton, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Randal Grichuk, Corey Dickerson, Lourdes Gurriel, Austin Meadows, Randy Arozarena, J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Kyle Schwarber, Michael Conforto, Rob Refsnyder, Brent Rooker, Harrison Bader, Andrew Vaughn