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Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Tuesday 7/20

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: July 20, 2021, 3:17 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: Yu Darvish – Padres (at Braves)

This is a weak pitching slate. As with last night, Darvish carries some weather risk. Storms are very patchy in Atlanta so we won’t know more about this game until closer to lock. Assuming the rain holds off, Darvish projects comparably or better than the other top pitchers priced above him. He’s proven a tad inconsistent since the new grip enhancer rules came into effect. He’s mixed a couple gems with duds. The Acuna-less Braves have a slightly below average offense with around a 25 percent strikeout rate. Darvish is the likeliest pitcher to reach double-digit punchouts.

Pivot: Josiah Gray – Dodgers (vs Giants)

The Dodgers will call upon their top pitching prospect as a bulk reliever tonight. He comes with a near-minimum price tag and figures to deliver somewhere around four innings with at least a strikeout per inning and a low walk rate. The Dodgers offense gives him a healthy chance at a win bonus too. Gray only recently returned to action in early July so there’s a chance he won’t be at his best. Remember, another top pitching prospect, Logan Gilbert, struggled for several outings before figuring things out. Gray shares some characteristics with Gilbert and may also need a hot minute to adjust.

Also Consider: Luis Garcia, Aaron Nola, John Means, Shane McClanahan, German Marquez, Tarik Skubal, Dane Dunning, Domingo German

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CATCHER

Top Play: J.T. Realmuto – Phillies (at German)

This is a typical recommendation for Realmuto. He skews slightly to ground ball contact and will be facing a homer prone pitcher who leans towards fly ball contact. Among catchers, only Gary Sanchez is likelier to homer. Of course, for Sanchez, it’s homer or bust. Realmuto has other paths to value too.

Pivot: Luis Torrens – Mariners (at Marquez)

Torrens is really mashing since mid-June. He’s batting .268/.366/.648 over the span with eight home runs in 82 plate appearances. There are some fluky elements to his performance although it’s largely backed by the quality of his contact. We certainly shouldn’t expect a home run per 10 plate appearances going forward. Marquez isn’t an ideal matchup for him. They’re both ground ball guys so Torrens may need to wait for relievers before he delivers serious damage. Lately, he’s filled the designated hitter role while batting cleanup or fifth. He’ll likely catch tonight. If not, Cal Raleigh or Tom Murphy are fine discount alternatives.

Also Consider: Gary Sanchez, Will Smith, Buster Posey, Elias Diaz, Eric Haase, Tyler Stephenson, Jorge Alfaro

FIRST BASE

Top Play: Pete Alonso – Mets (at Wade Miley)

Visiting a middling southpaw at Great American Ballpark is a perfect opportunity to chase a double-dinger from Alonso. Unfortunately, he’s merely a neutral value at his price tag. Miley isn’t especially homer prone, but his ground ball tendencies do make him susceptible to Alonso in particular. The Mets first baseman has around a two-in-five shot at homering.

Pivot: Anthony Rizzo – Cubs (at Johan Oviedo)

These days, Rizzo is a solid but unspectacular core performer whose price dictates when he’s fantasy relevant. Today, he checks in as one of the best values at the position. Oviedo is, on his best days, an effectively wild pitcher. Discerning batters like Rizzo have an in-built advantage. Due to ballpark and ground ball risk, Rizzo only projects for a one-in-five chance to homer. He likely needs the deep fly to rank among the best first basemen tonight.

Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jose Abreu, Rhys Hoskins, Freddie Freeman, C.J. Cron, Ty France, Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle, Christian Walker, Gavin Sheets

SECOND BASE

Top Play: Garrett Hampson – Rockies (vs Marco Gonzales)

Hampson takes a big step forward when playing at Coors Field. He’s a .310/.365/.510 hitter at home this season and usually bats second. He even has a modicum of power, though it’s mostly of the doubles variety. He should make short work of a pitch-to-contact southpaw like Gonzales.

Pivot: Dylan Moore – Mariners (at Marquez)

My favorite infield pivot is in an especially good situation tonight. It’s not just Coors Field. He’s a fly ball hitter who does best when he can scoop pitches low in the zone. Marquez will give him what he wants. Strikeouts remain a risk.

Also Consider: Brendan Rodgers, Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, DJ LeMahieu, Jake Cronenworth, Jonathan India, Jean Segura

THIRD BASE

Top Play: Kyle Seager – Mariners (at Marquez)

First, I should probably point out that fading the Mariners stack is a good idea. Coors Field visitors frequently underperform expectations. Rather than piling together all of these Mariners, select one or two upon which you most want to bet. Seager, like Moore, is a fly ball hitter who gets a big boost against Marquez. Unlike Moore, this is a one-dimensional power play.

Pivot: Patrick Wisdom – Cubs (at Oviedo)

This is a fraught matchup with considerable risk and reward. Wisdom is an aggressive, strikeout prone hitter. Oviedo, as noted, is at best effectively wild. If this is one of those days when he’s making mistakes in the zone, Wisdom could feast. The Cubs third baseman also carries a near-40 percent strikeout rate. There’s a strong chance he doesn’t connect with anything. He’s slightly expensive which should serve to keep his rostership in the low single-digits.

Also Consider: Dylan Moore, Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Ryan McMahon, Eugenio Suarez, Wander Franco, DJ LeMahieu, Kris Bryant, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Cavan Biggio, Abraham Toro

SHORTSTOP

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

This is a rare day when another shortstop (Trevor Story) projects in the same stratosphere as Tatis. Unfortunately for Story, he’s slightly more expense. In limited action, Muller has posted strong strikeout rates in Triple-A and the Majors. These are accompanied by a high walk rate. My fear is he won’t give Tatis anything to hit. Either way, expect no more than four innings from Muller.

Pivot: Didi Gregorius – Phillies (at German)

Gregorius has always liked batting at Yankee Stadium. He also has an elevated fly ball rate which should give him multiple shots at a cheap home run. While I usually avoid fly ball hitters against fly ball pitchers. I ignore my own guidance for certain venues. German also isn’t an extreme fly ball guy – in fact, he’s close to a neutral batted ball profile this season.

Also Consider: Trevor Story, Trea Turner, Tim Anderson, Xander Bogaerts, Bo Bichette, Wander Franco, Carlos Correa, J.P. Crawford

OUTFIELD

Top Plays: Starling Marte – Marlins (at Paolo Espino)
Adam Duvall – Marlins (at Espino)
Bryce Harper – Phillies (at German)

The Marlins face one of the weakest pitchers on the docket today. Espino is a soft-tossing right-hander who almost certainly won’t finish five innings. The Nationals bullpen is exploitable too. Marte and Duvall are both auditioning for contenders. Duvall is among the likeliest to homer this evening. He’s right up there with Alonso. Marte offers a more well-rounded path to production.

Harper’s batted ball profile is a better fit against German than Gregorius’. Like the Mariners, I think it’s a better idea to bet on one or two specific Phillies rather than grabbing everybody mentioned in this column.

Pivots: Jarred Kelenic – Mariners (at Marquez)
Ben Gamel – Pirates (at Taylor Widener)

The outfield includes plenty of minimum-priced options. The best of these is Kelenic at Coors Field. While it still appears he’ll need time to adjust to Major League caliber opponents, he has nothing left to prove in the minors. It’s all about adapting on the job now. Kelenic will likely bat between fifth and seventh. Among the most deeply discounted outfielders, he’s the likeliest to deliver some kind of hit. Gamel isn’t far behind in the hit depart. After briefly flashing breakout potential last season, he appears to be making good on it this year. He’s a fly ball hitter set to face a Triple-A caliber fly ball pitcher. Notably, Widener might not last to face him twice. The Arizona bullpen is one of the worst ever assembled.

Also Consider: Jesse Winker, Nick Castellanos, Tyler Naquin, Mitch Haniger, Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Hampson, Raimel Tapia, Bryan Reynolds, J.D. Martinez, Teoscar Hernandez, Andrew McCutchen, George Springer, Jarren Duran, Stuart Fairchild