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Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Tuesday 6/29

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: June 29, 2021, 1:26 pm ET

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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: Lucas Giolito – White Sox (vs Twins)

This is a difficult time for DFSers. As Matt Williams found earlier today, quite a few pitchers have seen their spin rates negatively affected by the new edict surrounding popular grip aids. This affects not just the starting pitchers we roster but the relievers whose job it is to finish off games with physics bending breaking stuff and upper-90s cheddar. I tend to rely on projections to help me organize my targets before applying my specific analysis. Now the projections have been polluted with a healthy dose of statistical noise.

All of which prefaces an issue with this slate – projection systems like Robbie Ray, Walker Buehler, and Charlie Morton. Their spin rates – especially Buehler’s – are among the most-affected. I’m concerned about Ray’s newfound command too. Giolito is an affordable alternative who frequently finishes six frames with at least a strikeout per inning. I’ve no doubt his stuff has declined too, but at least he’s opposed by a deceptively strikeout prone Twins offense – relatively punchless hitters like Luis Arraez and Andrelton Simmons hide over 35 percent strikeout rates from the likes of Miguel Sano and Ryan Jeffers.

Pivot: Kevin Gausman – Giants (at Dodgers)

This one is maximally dangerous. Weather conditions at Chavez Ravine are ripe for home runs. The Dodgers lineup is also on the shortlist for tops in the league. One thing I like about Gausman is that his signature pitch – a splitter – actively performs better with less spin. Theoretically, splitter pitchers are less likely to have used grip aid. Gausman faced the Dodgers once on May 30, limiting a then-diminished lineup to two hits and seven strikeouts in six innings. He’s capable of leading this slate.

Also Consider: Brandon Woodruff, Robbie Ray, Jose Urquidy, Trevor Rogers, Rich Hill, Tylor Megill, J.C Mejia

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CATCHER

Top Play: Gary Sanchez – Yankees (vs Andrew Heaney)

Over the last month, Sanchez is hitting .306/.392/.659 with eight home runs and six doubles in 97 plate appearances. While no Schwarber-ian performance, he rates among the top catchers over this period. Much of his success can be traced to elevated barrel rates and launch angles. It doesn’t take much to chip it out of Yankee Stadium. Heaney is a bizarre pitcher who relies on a high sinker. This has made him homer prone throughout his career (1.51 HR/9). The fly ball versus fly ball matchup favors Heaney. I still expect better than a one-in-three chance for a dinger.

Pivot: Jacob Stallings – Pirates (at German Marquez)

Thanks to Coors Field, this pick is more accurately described as a bargain rather than a pivot. Stallings has the sort of balanced batted ball approach that often plays up for visiting hitters. He bats fourth or fifth in the lineup which gives him an opportunity to deliver healthy point totals via run production rather than purely through power.

Also Consider: Salvador Perez, Will Smith, J.T. Realmuto, Tyler Stephenson, Eric Haase, Yermin Mercedes, Martin Maldonado

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (at Jameson Taillon)

First basemen are pricey tonight. Ohtani is one of the few exceptions which is odd because he’s the top-projected player at the position (and in the outfield). Between Yankees Stadium and a neutral matchup against Taillon, Ohtani is right up there with Sanchez in terms of home run potential.

Pivot: Trey Mancini – Orioles (at Urquidy)

The Astros right-hander is a fly ball guy with predictable (modest) home run issues (career 1.29 HR/9). Presumably, he’ll be among the unwashed masses of pitchers missing the best spin on their offerings, opening him up to more home run risk. Adding to that is Mancini’s own batted ball tendencies which perfectly mirror those of Urquidy. The dreaded Crawford Boxes provide yet another boost to Mancini’s home run potential.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Matt Olson, Freddie Freeman, C.J. Cron, Rhys Hoskins, Pete Alonso, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Jonathan Schoop, Bobby Bradley, Josh Bell, Jared Walsh, Paul Goldschmidt, Garrett Cooper, Yuli Gurriel

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Jose Altuve – Astros (vs Alexander Wells)

Once again, the Astros stack stands out head and shoulders from the crowd. They’re set to face Wells, a pitcher who compiled a pitiful 5.63 ERA at Triple-A. The soft-tossing southpaw works in the zone, making this a perfect opportunity for an Astros hit parade.

Pivot: Jonathan India – Reds (vs Blake Snell)

Snell is among those who have lost a weapon – his vaunted curve ball. He was already struggling to deliver consistent results prior to the grip aid ban. A visit to Great American Ballpark promises a light show – on both sides of the ball. Frankly, I’m more drawn to this game than the one at Coors Field. India, the Reds leadoff hitter, is a jack of all trades with a .294/.406/.448 batting line since making an adjustment in mid-May.

Also Consider: Ozzie Albies, DJ LeMahieu, Marcus Semien, Jonathan Schoop, Brandon Lowe, Adam Frazier, Jake Cronenworth, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers, Jeff McNeil, Dylan Moore

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Manny Machado – Padres (at Tony Santillan)

Santillan is coming off a gem against the Braves last time out. He projects as a volatile opponent who could range anywhere from another solid performance to fewer than three innings. He has the traits of a homer prone pitcher and likely will struggle at Great American Ballpark in the coming seasons. Machado isn’t matching his superb 2020 campaign, but he’s still holding his own complete with elite exit velocities. He’s among the tide of hitters today with a one-in-three shot for a homer.

Pivot: Anthony Rendon – Angels (at Taillon)

Rendon has bounced from injury to injury this season. He sputtered to life at the plate in June, hitting .256/.337/.423 in 89 plate appearances. It’s hardly an earth-shattering performance, but it’s nice to see him recover his plate discipline while increasing his average exit velocities. If he can avoid another stint on the shelf, he’ll catch fire before long. A visit to power-friendly Yankee Stadium could help to ignite the flame. Rendon is a fly ball hitter who frankly could use a cheap park-related boost.

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Matt Chapman, Nolan Arenado, Rafael Devers, Ryan McMahon, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Wander Franco, Jeimer Candelario, Cavan Biggio, Gio Urshela, Abraham Toro

SHORTSTOP

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

If I like Machado today, then you can probably guess how I feel about Tatis. He’s the top hitter in the slate with only Ohtani in the same stratosphere. His dinger potential falls just shy of a coin flip.

Pivot: Josh Rojas – Diamondbacks (at Carlos Martinez)

Rojas is an off-the-beaten-path bargain with a friendly matchup. He has multiple hits in four straight starts and rates as one of the best combinations of projection and cost. If you’re trying to save costs in the middle infield without sacrificing too much potential, give him a whirl against CMart. The former ace is truly dreadful these days, although he does fire off the occasional gem. He’s also allowed five or more runs in four of his last five starts.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Bo Bichette, Trea Turner, Wander Franco, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Tim Anderson, Willy Adames, Gleyber Torres

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Nick Castellanos – Reds (vs Snell)
Aaron Judge – Yankees (vs Heaney)
Tommy Pham – Padres (at Santillan)

How do you even choose in this slate? I suppose it’s my job to offer an opinion! Castellanos matches up particularly well against Snell, and he’s priced to move. He’s among the leaders in projected hits and projected home runs. His aggressive approach should work just fine. Anytime Judge and Giancarlo Stanton face a fly ball pitcher, it’s nitro time. They invariably try to locate down in the zone to neutralize those big bats, increasing the risk of a middle-middle mistake. Judge is the better value today. Pham is one of the hottest hitters in the game, batting .317/.434/.579 over his last 152 plate appearances. He’s an essential piece of a loaded Padres stack.

Pivots: Bryan Reynolds – Pirates (at Marquez)
Adam Duvall – Marlins (at Vince Velasquez)

Reynolds, despite mashing to a nearly elite extent (.311/.397/.527), has retained an affordable price tag for a visit to Coors Field. He should probably be the chalkiest hitter in the slate, but I had to look around to find him with all these other must-plays on the docket. I think quite a few folks will ultimately find their way to using Reynolds despite all the distractions. I’m confident Duvall will actually slip through the cracks despite an over one-in-three shot at homering off Velasquez and friends at Citizen’s Bank Park. As always, he has an all-or-nothing profile.

Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Giancarlo Stanton, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Michael Brantley, Ronald Acuna, Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Teoscar Hernandez, George Springer, Charlie Blackmon, Randy Arozarena, David Peralta, Jesus Sanchez, Jorge Soler, Trent Grisham