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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.
Top Play: Zack Wheeler – Phillies (at Nationals)
Of the five most expensive pitchers, Wheeler is the only one with a friendly matchup. He’s also the best of the bunch in a vacuum, meaning he didn’t even need an easy opponent to rank as the top play. In any event, Wheeler for projects for six-and-two-thirds inning with as many strikeouts. There’s tangible upside for eight or more innings.
Pivot: Luis Patino – Rays (vs Mariners)
Patino has quietly built his pitch count to just shy of 100 tosses per game. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher with over a strikeout per inning and otherwise volatile outcomes. His stuff seemingly supports an eventual top-of-the-rotation future. Hitters struggle to square up his fastball. His slider has a high whiff rate. The Mariners carry a 26 percent strikeout rate, one of the worst in the league. Patino runs the risk of a meltdown, but he also has upside for six innings and eight strikeouts.
Also Consider: Sean Manaea, Walker Buehler, Taijuan Walker, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Lance McCuller, Dylan Cease, Max Fried, Garrett Richards
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Top Play: Salvador Perez – Royals (at Dylan Cease)
This figures to be a bruising slate on the hitter side of the ledger with plenty of suitable matchups. Perez is the second-likeliest to homer at catcher with a better than one-in-four shot. Unlike Gary Sanchez (the guy with better home run odds), it’s not an all-or-nothing profile. Since the grip aid rules came into effect, Cease has allowed 1.50 HR/9 and a 5.36 ERA, albeit with decent peripherals. His spin rates were measurably affected.
Pivot: Elias Diaz – Rockies (vs Zach Davies)
Folks are going to look at Willson Contreras visiting Coors Field as a juicy opportunity. Diaz is the better play, and he comes at a far cheaper price. Since a three-hit game in mid-June, the contact-oriented backstop has added power in a big way. He’s popped 10 home runs to go with a .290/.365/.645 batting line in 104 plate appearances. Included are four home runs in his last 31 plate appearances – all of which were at sea level. Davies also pitches to contact and has a profile that can struggle when visiting altitude.
Also Consider: J.T. Realmuto, Willson Contreras, Salvador Perez, Tyler Stephenson, Buster Posey, Gary Sanchez, Mitch Garver, Omar Narvaez, Will Smith, Max Stassi, Daulton Varsho, Carson Kelly, James McCann, Cal Raleigh
Top Play: C.J. Cron – Rockies (vs Davies)
Cron’s first (only?) season as a Rockie hasn’t gone exactly to plan. He’s performed merely decently. As with most Colorado players, that includes a beefy .268/.370/.580 batting line at home. Comparatively, he’s struggled mightily on the road. Those issues away from altitude have helped to lower his price tag. He’s both one of the top first basemen and a deep bargain.
Pivot: Ryan Mountcastle – Orioles (at Nestor Cortes)
The Yankees have a bullpen game planned with most of their long relief corps gassed. They’ll be asking Cortes to finish five for a second consecutive time. He was successful against the Rays last week. As a fly ball pitcher, he’s not ideal for facing hitters multiple times at tiny Yankee Stadium. Mountcastle and Trey Mancini both match up incredibly against Cortes, they have strong homer odds – better than one-in-four. Mountcastle also happens to have a bargain price tag. His aggression is a boon in GPPs.
Also Consider: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Pete Alonso, Joey Votto, Jose Abreu, Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, Trey Mancini, Anthony Rizzo, Carlos Santana, Curtis Terry, Christian Walker, Rowdy Tellez
Top Play: Ryan McMahon – Rockies (vs Davies)
Like most Rockies hitters, McMahon rocks substantial home/road splits. Usually, DFS platforms adjust by overpricing Rockies on the road. This year, it seems like they consistently inexpensive at home. McMahon is arguably the top play and one of the three best bargains at second base. He has two favorable platoons today. He’s hitting .270/.336/.492 against right-handed pitchers and .287/.348/.511 when at home. Don’t forget, the Cubs bullpen is weakened too.
Pivot: Jorge Polanco – Twins (at Tyler Mahle)
Polanco is doing a credible impression of his breakout 2019 campaign. Since an icy April, he’s been swinging a hot bat while generating plenty of lift and hard contact. Visit Great American Ballpark greatly increases his home run potential as does facing Mahle and an iffy Reds bullpen. Since the grip aid rules came into effect, Mahle has a 4.34 ERA with 1.93 HR/9. His walk rate has spiked to an uncharacteristic 4.82 BB/9. He’s always struggled at home, allowing 2.19 HR/9 over his career. Projections indicate Polanco has just shy of a one-in-four shot at a home run. I think it’s closer to one-in-three.
Also Consider: Ozzie Albies, Max Muncy, Eduardo Escobar, Marcus Semien, Jose Altuve, Whit Merrifield, Jorge Polanco, Jean Segura, Jazz Chisholm, Abraham Toro, Jed Lowrie, Tommy Edman, Dylan Moore, David Bote, Garrett Hampson, Brendan Rodgers
Top Play: Rafael Devers – Red Sox (at Wily Peralta)
A new splitter has helped Peralta to produce passable results this season. The Tigers righty doesn’t induce many whiffs and he might be homer prone (1.50 HR/9 in a small sample). He’s posted similar home run rates in recent seasons. Pitchers with new splitters are usually susceptible to home runs – they’re more likely to make a mistake over the plate with their new weapon. Devers has ridiculous hard contact and barrel rates. The only drawback is his low average launch angle. Worm burners are a risk. He could deliver multiple hits and/or home runs.
Pivot: Matt Duffy – Cubs (at Kyle Freeland)
Duffy is the least interesting of the Cubs three third base eligible hitters. He’s also been batting fifth lately. While not a powerful hitter by any measure, Coors Field also boosts all other types of hits. Duffy’s all-fields contact approach is aptly suited to producing a multi-hit game with possible run production. The matchup against Freeland isn’t ideal since they’re both ground ball guys.
Also Consider: Ryan McMahon, Josh Donaldson, Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Patrick Wisdom, Austin Riley, David Bote, Eugenio Suarez, Abraham Toro
Top Play: Trevor Story – Rockies (vs Davies)
Story is the juiciest of many viable Rockies hitters this evening. He has around a 30 percent chance for a dinger to go with numerous other potentially positive outcomes. No other shortstop comes close. This season, he’s batting .258/.324/.526 at Coors Field – modest output by his usually lofty standards. For his career, he has a .971 OPS at home.
Pivot: Ramon Urias – Orioles (at Cortes)
Urias is making consistent hard, low angle contact with an above average 89.7-mph average exit velocity, 112.7-mph max exit velocity, 12.1 percent barreled contact, and 43.1 percent hard contact. In short, he has a high-average approach that pairs wonderfully against a fly ball pitcher at Yankee Stadium.
Also Consider: Tim Anderson, Willy Adames, Corey Seager, Dansby Swanson, Gleyber Torres, Carlos Correa
Top Plays: Aaron Judge – Yankees (vs Alexander Wells)
Giancarlo Stanton – Yankees (vs Well)
Max Kepler – Twins (at Mahle)
Although we’ve skipped writing them up to this point, the Yankees have one of the juiciest stacks tonight opposite Wells. The southpaw is of a typical soft-tossing, command-based profile. He’s a fly ball pitcher with a repertoire of four ineffective pitches. He won’t induce many whiffs and has struggled to get Major Leaguers to offer at pitches out of the zone. His tendencies make this a nitro matchup for Judge and Stanton both. They love elevated pitches. It’s less desirable for Joey Gallo who will likely need to do his damage against the Orioles relief corps.
Kepler too has a nitro matchup. His shortcoming as a hitter is that his frequent fly ball contact is all-too-often of the wall-scraper variety. Such contact will fly several rows back in Cincinnati. He has a one-in-three shot for a dinger, and I also have my eyes on him as my favorite multi-homer target for tonight.
Pivots: Jo Adell – Angels (at Jordan Lyles)
Ben Gamel – Pirates (at Adrian Houser)
Jorge Soler – Braves (at Jon Lester)
Adell put on a show in Triple-A, hitting 23 home runs with a .289/.342/.592 line in 339 plate appearances. After a mid-season slump, he clamped down on an absurd strikeout rate. Lyles is a slightly tougher variant of a common pitching profile in Triple-A. Adell is minimum-priced for now and has multi-homer potential. Don’t forget he also ran a 41.7 percent strikeout rate last season.
Gamel has cropped up a couple times in recent weeks. He’s a decent, underpriced second-division starter whose home field situation is disadvantageous. Gamel is best used against ground ball pitchers. Fortunately, a visit to American Family Field against a ground ball pitcher could maximize his home run potential. Speaking of home runs, Soler is swinging a hot stick and set to face a highly exploitable southpaw. Lester has coughed up 1.67 HR/9 this season.
Also Consider: Kris Bryant, Austin Slater, Jesse Winker, Charlie Blackmon, George Springer, TeOscar Hernandez, J.D. Martinez, Alex Verdugo, Tyler O’Neill, Kyle Tucker, Jarred Kelenic, Austin Hays, Rafael Ortega, Brandon Marsh, Adam Duvall