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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 – Philliess (vs Nationals)
With Trea Turner on the COVID-list, the Nationals offense is down to Juan Soto and a collection of misfits. They can, at great cost to their defense, squeeze Josh Bell and Ryan Zimmerman into the same lineup now by using Bell in left field. Wheeler is a rare pitcher who frequently carries a throwback workload in the range of 110 pitches. He projects for just shy of seven innings and over seven strikeouts. He’s also the most likely to deliver a complete game.
Pivot: Andrew Heaney – Angels (vs Rockies)
Heaney has a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde act. On his good days, he averages six or more innings and over 100 pitches. When he clunks, he’ll manage about four innings and 75 pitches. We’re chasing one of those better outcomes. His 75th-percentile today is something like six and two-thirds innings and eight strikeouts. The sea level Rockies are a joke. They have a league-worst 64 wRC+ away from Coors Field (i.e. 36 percent worse than league average) and a 25.4 percent strikeout rate. Heaney should be popular tonight, but I’m not sure folks can see past his over-5.00 ERA.
Also Consider: Walker Buehler, Tyler Mahle, Lucas Giolito, Max Fried, Kris Bubic
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Top Play: Willson Contreras – Cubs (vs Tyler Mahle)
The weather isn’t much of a factor at Wrigley today. Like yesterday, Contreras has a friendly matchup against a fly ball pitcher who should effectively maximize his home run potential. He’s slightly overpriced which is a not-uncommon situation for Top Play catchers. These are the days when a catcher punt can make sense.
Pivot: Jorge Alfaro – DBacks (at Jorge Lopez)
The battle of the Jorge’s could prove interesting. They’re both ground ball guys with impressively high exit velocities (in the case of Lopez, in a bad way). The likeliest outcome for Alfaro is a mess of strikeouts and ground balls. If he does manage to generate some lift, he has a decent chance to homer at Camden Yards. I put the odds at about one-in-six. That’s the best among the cheapie catchers.
Also Consider: J.T. Realmuto, Salvador Perez, Gary Sanchez, Daulton Varsho, Max Stassi, Pedro Severino
Top Play: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (vs Chi Chi Gonzalez)
Gonzalez is on the short-list for worst starting pitcher in the league. He’s homer prone (1.59 HR/9) and generally doesn’t have the stuff to retire hitters without the help of his defense. Ohtani is priced like a mid-tier pitcher, but he’s still a decent value in this matchup. He has about a two-in-five shot for a dinger – tops in the contest.
Pivot: Ryan Mountcastle – Orioles (vs Jordan Holloway)
One of my favorite pivot targets, Mountcastle’s rostership is affected by slightly superior teammate Trey Mancini. Mountcastle’s approach, which is reminiscent of a pre-breakout Nick Castellanos, lends itself to volatile outcomes. While Holloway has pitched well as a three-inning Opener, ERA estimators think he’s liable to struggle going forward. My own personal analysis is that Holloway is miscast as more than a five-out reliever.
Also Consider: Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman Jose Abreu, Jared Walsh, Trey Mancini, Curtis Terry, Rowdy Tellez, Keston Hiura, Jesus Aguilar, Nate Lowe
Top Play: Ozzie Albies – Braves (at Tylor Megill)
As anticipated, the Braves punished an over-worked Mets pitching staff yesterday. By virtue of being blown out, New York was able to sit their six best relievers. All but Miguel Castro have pitched twice in the last three days. This is still a fatigued unit. That’s mixed news tonight since it means the Braves will absolutely see the Mets most talented relievers – perhaps not at full effect. Megill is a short burst starter who projects for under five innings. He has interesting characteristics but his 2.10 ERA shouldn’t be taken at face value. Expect closer to a 4.50 ERA going forward. Overall, it’s a neutral matchup for Albies who is too talented for his affordable price tag.
Pivot: Eduardo Escobar – DBacks (at Jordan Lyles)
Sometimes, a high price can make a pivot. Escobar has an iffy matchup against a fly ball pitcher. His teammates are more likely to do damage to Lyles. However, the right mistake could yield a home run, and he’ll likely have two cracks at Texas relievers. Most of those are ordinary middle relievers with high ground ball rates – the exact sort against which Escobar thrives. He has better than a one-in-five chance to homer.
Also Consider: Jonathan India, Kolten Wong, Whit Merrifield, Andy Ibanez
Top Play: Eugenio Suarez – Reds (at Zach Davies)
Like second base, the hot corner is relatively thin tonight. Suarez is set to face a soft-tossing, pitch-to-contact righty with a skew towards ground ball contact. He has about a 30 percent shot at a home run. With the way he’s playing this year, it’s home run or nothing. Suarez’s peripherals still say he’s basically normal even though he’s seemingly no closer to breaking out of this slump.
Pivot: David Bote – Cubs (vs Mahle)
Bote is a low-angle hard-contact guy whose current .228 BABIP screams unlucky. His barrel rate is at a career-high, and the matchup versus Mahle maximizes his home run potential at around a 25 percent chance. He’s also ludicrously cheap. Bote might not play if Javier Baez returns to the lineup.
Also Consider: Kris Bryant, Patrick Wisdom, Brian Anderson, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Carter Kieboom
Top Play: Tim Anderson – White Sox (at Bubic)
I don’t get to write about Anderson often because he’s usually priced just shy of Trea Turner and Fernando Tatis Jr. with a profile more like Whit Merrifield. In short, a selection of Anderson is a commitment to chasing multiple hits and run production. While a home run is possible (about a 1-in-10 chance tonight), it’s not his carrying trait.
Pivot: Gleyber Torres – Yankees (at Michael Wacha)
Wacha is in a sort-of slump, coughing up eight home runs over his last 18 innings. Torres seems to be mostly back on track. Over the last month, he’s hit .288/.377/.470. Notably, his average exit velocity has matched his career-norm over this span. It’s not the flashy performance of 2019, but it is roughly what he projected to do all along. And it’s more than enough at this price tag.
Also Consider: Willy Adames, Trevor Story, Miguel Rojas Isiah Kiner-Falefa
Top Plays: Adam Duvall – Marlins (at Lopez)
Jesse Winker – Reds (at Davies)
Eloy Jimenez – White Sox (at Bubic)
Duvall is the only hitter with comparable home run odds to Ohtani. It’s very much a homer-or-bust profile. The only thing that could make this a better matchup is if Lopez were left-handed Duvall murders ground ball pitchers with mediocre stuff. My standing recommendation of Winker… stands. He’s simply way too good to be this affordable. He ranks highly both in unadjusted projection and dollar-for-dollar value.
After popping a home run yesterday at a dirt-cheap price, I don’t think Jimenez will slip under the radar again. I’m gravely concerned by what I’ll call the “rust factor,” i.e. he returned from injury ahead of schedule and performed poorly while out on rehab. However, that’s more than priced in tonight, and facing a Quad-A caliber pitcher won’t hurt matters.
Pivots: Aristides Aquino – Reds (at Alzolay)
Ben Gamel – Pirates (vs Adrian Houser)
Reds manager David Bell is giving me fits. He keeps sitting Aquino’s nitro matchups in favor of hopeless Shogo Akiyama. Hopefully it’s Aquino’s turn because he once again matches up well against his opponent. He’s about one-in-three to homer out of the bargain bin.
I believe in Gamel as a breakout performer. He’s peppering the ball at ideal launch angles which should fuel strong performances, especially against ground ball pitchers. Houser happens to fit the profile we’re hunting for a Gamel start. It’s just too bad the game is at PNC Park. For all of his otherwise favorable breakout attributes, Gamel’s 108-mph max exit velocity is a tad mild for his home venue.
Also Consider: Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton, Starling Marte, Joey Gallo, Adolis Garcia, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Avisail Garcia, Cedric Mullins, Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Vaughn, Bryan Reynolds, Tyrone Taylor