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July 1 MLB DFS: Heat Happ-ens
TheNumbersGuy
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Welcome to July 1 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 1 MLB DFS along with LIVE Premium Chat. Make sure you’re using the customizable projections tool, you’re actively participating in the live chat, and you’re reviewing the cliff notes to supplement your research and roster construction process. Very best of luck in tonight’s action!

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  • In cash games, we recommend focusing on value plays to build your rosters (far right hand column of Projections page linked above). Value plays are those we feel have the highest probability of out-earning their current price tag. By packing value plays into your roster, you’re creating a team with a higher floor.
  • In tournaments, we recommend building a core of the best value plays and then complementing them with players who have a high ceiling. This combination is essentially turning up the variance on a strong foundation and we believe often is the best recipe for tournament success.

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Range of Outcome Projections

July 1 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Charlie Morton (HOU), JA Happ (TOR), and Cole Hamels (TEX) form our top tier of starting pitchers. Morton and Happ are much safer from a skill set perspective. Morton has a 3.10 xFIP and 31 K%, coming off an impressive 13 K outing. Happ is a bit more homer prone and thus has a slightly worse run prevention profile than Morton, but he has registered a career best 27 K%. In a batter matchup and cheaper price, Happ is our preferred SP1 cash game option. It should also be noted that with really hot temperatures everywhere, Morton (pitcher’s park to begin with) and Happ (in a hitter’s park) pitching in domes has a relative benefit.

On DK it’s possible to save a little bit of cash by dropping down from Happ to Hamels. The risk is higher given the ballpark in Texas and Hamel’s 5.21 FIP. As a result, this might be a better move to reserve for GPPs only, but despite the right-handed nature of the White Sox lineup, they rate as a plus-plus matchup for opposing SPs. After a major dip in K rate last season, Hamels’ strikeout rate is now back a touch above his career mark.

There’s enough offense on this mid-sized slate (the scorching hot weather across the country helps) that it makes sense to go cheap at SP2 on DraftKings. Neither of the top cheap value options are particularly comforting, but you can make a case for Dan Straily (MIA) and Matt Harvey (CIN). But their profiles are horrible, you say? That’s clearly true but our math is taking this into account. In Straily’s case, the 4.1 IRTA is low relative to what he usually faces and is one of the lower ones on this slate, as the Mets have been worse than league average in K%, Hard%, and wRC+ over the last 30 days. Straily has just enough of a baseline K ability to be worth playing.

In Harvey’s case, the downside is greater given his unfavorable home park an HR issues. However, he’s at a pure punt price tag and could piece together a handful of strikeouts against a Brewers team that has a high 24.9 K% against RHP this season.

If you did want to attack the mid-tier, it’s tough to separate a handful of options that all rank within a point of value in our projections – Jon Lester (CHC), Gio Gonzalez (WAS), and Kevin Gausman (BAL) in the $7-8k range, and Steven Matz (NYM) and Jake Arrieta (PHI) coming in below $7k. It’s a slate where we expect a lot of volatility at the pitcher position due to a combination of weather, talent, and matchups.

Catcher

Willson Contreras (CHC) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. He’ll have a matchup against Lance Lynn, who’s handled RHBs well (.275 wOBA, .119 ISO since 2017), but the hitting environment is as good as it gets in Chicago today. With temperatures in the low 90s and 15 MPH winds blowing out to LF, we’re expecting the Cubs to have the highest IRT in the slate (approaching six runs). It’s not a guarantee that Contreras will hit fifth, but if he’s in a decent lineup spot he can be considered in all formats. Contreras has generated a .352 wOBA and .190 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season.

If you need salary relief at the position, Russell Martin (TOR) is $2,900 on DK. Martin has slugged a .172 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and he’ll have a matchup against Jordan Zimmermann, who’s allowed a .366 wOBA and .205 ISO to RHBs since 2017.

Kevan Smith (CHW) and James McCann (DET) will have the platoon edge in strong hitting environments and they’re priced below $3k on DK. They’re viable tournament targets. Robinson Chirinos (TEX) is a mid-tier target that we like in tournaments. He’s generated a massive .233 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 and gets to hit in high 90s weather in Arlington today.

First Base

Eric Thames (MIL) carries the second highest projection in this slate regardless of hitting position and he’s far and away the top projected scorer at first base. He’s in Cincinnati, where temperatures will be in the low 90s, and has a matchup against Matt Harvey (.400 wOBA, .251 ISO allowed to LHBs since the start of last season). Thames has demolished RHP since he came back to the league last season, generating a .387 wOBA and .294 ISO. He’s been hitting leadoff or second vs. RHP, which is a unique lineup spot for a first baseman. He’s a strong play in all formats around the industry.

If you’re not playing Thames on FD, you’re playing Anthony Rizzo (CHC). Rizzo is $400 cheaper than Thames and will get to hit in an absurd hitting environment today with temperatures in the 90s and the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. Rizzo will have the platoon edge against Lance Lynn, who’s allowed a .349 wOBA and .195 ISO to LHBs since 2017.

Justin Smoak (TOR) is a viable source of salary relief on both sites, though we’ve seen him flood more optimals on DK where you can play Thames in the outfield. Smoak gets to hit from the left side of the plate, which is the more productive side for him (.360 wOBA, .257 ISO vs. RHP since 2017). Smoak has a favorable context as well, getting a matchup against Jordan Zimmermann (.359 wOBA, .199 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017) in the Rogers Centre, one of the better hitting environments in all of baseball.

Chris Davis (BAL) is just $2,300 on FD and will have the platoon edge against a Deck McGuire (6.08 ERA/8.11 FIP in six appearances this season) at home. It’s a great context, but trusting Davis in cash games is difficult given his boom or bust (largely bust this season) profile. We prefer him in tournaments, but if you’re willing to take on the volatility asssociated with Davis he can be considered in cash games given the combination of a strong projection and a punt price tag. If Brad Miller (MIL) gets to hit leadoff once again for the Brewers, we’d prefer him as a cash game value given his context (facing Matt Harvey in 90 degree weather in Cincinnati) and potential for five PAs.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) and Jose Abreu (CHW) (on DK) will have the platoon edge in hot weather. We’re willing to overlook their appropriate price tags in tournaments.

Second Base

Brian Dozier (MIN) is the top projected scorer at the keystone position. Dozier will have the platoon edge on the road, and he’ll hit no worse than second. Given the ridiculous hitting environment in Chicago today, there’s a chance that the IRT for the Twins ends up somewhere in the mid to high 4s. Jon Lester is a fine pitcher, but he’s getting quite lucky this season (2.18 ERA/4.45 xFIP, 86.2% strand rate). Lester has allowed a 21% hard minus soft hit rate this season, and he’s not missing as many bats (19.3% K rate). Dozier has generated a .329 wOBA and .196 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. His $4k price tag on FD feels very uncomfortable given the type of season he’s having, but the $3,800 price tag on DK puts him in play across all formats.

On FD, we’d rather save some resources with the likes of Ian Kinsler (LAA), Jonathan Schoop (BAL) or even Devon Travis (TOR). Schoop and Travis have strong matchups in excellent hitting environments and they’re priced as punts on FD. We prefer Schoop, who’s generated a .178 ISO vs. RHP since 2017. We’re not expecting a good lineup spot for these punts, and Kinsler has been hitting towards the bottom of the lineup over the last couple of games. If Kinsler gets to lead off, he’d be doing so in Camden Yards for a road team that has an IRT that’s approaching five runs. Kinsler will be outside of our radar if he’s not in that leadoff role.

If you’d like more Cubs exposure on DK, Ben Zobrist (CHC) is only $100 more expensive than Dozier and his projection is very similar as long as he gets a favorable lineup spot.

Ozzie Albies (ATL) and Javier Baez (CHC) are event upside options with very appropriate price tags that deserve to be considered in tournaments. Baez has generated an absurd 40.6% HHR over the L15 days.

Third Base

Travis Shaw (MIL) carries the top projection in the hot corner. Shaw will get to hit in Great American Ball Park against Matt Harvey, who’s been a mess against LHBs over the last few seasons. Shaw has been a very good hitter with the platoon edge, generating a .379 wOBA and .262 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. He’s affordable on both sites, which makes him a good fit in this slate across all formats.

On DK, Adrian Beltre (TEX) gives you access to a Rangers offense that has a 5.6 IRT in Arlington. The forecast is calling for high 90s temperatures in Texas today. Beltre is just $3,800 on DK, which makes him a fine alternative in all formats.

The CHW-TEX game isn’t available on FD, so we’ll have to look for a different alternative at the position on that site. Yangervis Solarte (TOR) is $3,100 on that site and will get to hit from the left side against Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a strong context for Solarte, but in cash games we prefer Shaw, who’s just $300 more.

We’ve seen a smidge of Luis Valbuena (LAA) in some of our top optimals on FD. The large majority of our optimals will go after Travis Shaw, but Valbuena has a punt price tag ($2,500) and will have the platoon edge in Camden Yards. Valbuena has generated a .215 ISO vs. RHP since 2017 –  that power upside is attractive at such a low price.

Matt Carpenter (STL) has generated a slate high 50% HHR over the L15 days. He’s expensive and the matchup against Mike Foltynewicz isn’t great since he’s pitched so well this season, but keep in mind that going back to last season the latter has allowed a .173 ISO to LHBs. Carpenter remains a fine tournament play.

Shortstop

Manny Machado (BAL) represents the top projected scorers at the shortstop position and it’s not even close on FD. The next hihgest projected scorer at the position on FD is Trea Turner (WSH), who’s in a tough matchup against Jake Arrieta. Turner is behind Machado by two full points and some change in projection. Machado is at home where temperatures will be in the 90s and gets to face Deck McGuire. We haven’t seen a lot from McGuire at the major league level, but the little we’ve seen hasn’t been promising. He hasn’t missed bats, doesn’t keep the ball in the ground and allows lots of hard contact. Machado has generated a 31.3% HHR over the L15 days and he’s slugged a .357 wOBA and .225 ISO vs. RHP since 2017. He’s a strong play around the industry, but the lack of alternatives on FD makes him a standout in cash games.

On DK, Elvis Andrus (TEX) is available with a $3,900 price tag. Andrus is certainly not as good of a hitter as Machado, but he’s $1,300 cheaper than Machado on DK and gives you access to a 5.6 IRT. Andrus will flood our DK optimals today.

The rest of the shortstop position is awful. Orlando Arcia (MIL) is popping as our third best per dollar value on DK, and he’s a terrible hitter, particularly without the platoon edge. He’s $2,700 on DK though, which is cheap, but we’d much rather get up to a chalkier Andrus in cash games. Aledmys Diaz (TOR) managed to sneak into one of our FD optimals, which allows you to fit in Mike Trout. We love Trout, but that’s a big sacrifice as Diaz hits ninth at home and trails Machado in projection by nearly five points. We’d rather stick with Machado in cash games. Tim Anderson (CHW) has an excellent context but he’s clearly overpriced on DK ($4,600). He’s only in play in tournaments.

Outfield

Mike Trout (LAA) is the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. He’s on the road in Camden Yards and gets to hit in 90 degree weather. Trout gets a matchup against Kevin Gausman, who’s allowed a .358 wOBA and .195 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season. It’s a phenomenal context for the best hitter in baseball, and he won’t be a difficult fit on DK as long as you go cheap at SP2. He’s in play across all formats.

The next highest projected scorers at the position are Eric Thames (MIL) (OF eligibility on DK), Christian Yelich (MIL) and Bryce Harper (WSH). Yelich has missed the last two games with back tightness. If he’s back in the lineup, this would be a fantastic spot for him, on the road in Great American Ball Park facing a pitcher that has struggled with LHBs (Matt Harvey). Our top optimals are going after Yelich aggressively on FD where he’s just $3,800. Harper has generated a 35.5% HHR over the L15 days and Jake Arrieta has been more susceptible to LHBs, allowing a .199 ISO since to them since 2017. Harper is a strong tournament play. Thames is in all of our top optimals on DK (more on him at 1B).

There’s plenty to like on the cheaper side at the outfield position today. Adam Jones (BAL) has hit righties well (.341 wOBA, .189 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) and he’s priced below the average cost of a roster spot on both sites. He usually hits second in the Orioles lineup. Curtis Granderson (TOR) is just $2,700 on FD and gets to leadoff against Jordan Zimmermann. Ben Zobrist (CHC) is just $3k on FD and Jason Heyward (CHC) is even cheaper ($2,700 on that site). Most of the other Cubs are priced appropriately, so getting exposure to them in at least one OF spot on FD seems like a strong cash game route. They’re both affordable on DK as well. Colby Rasmus (BAL) is another Orioles’ outfielder that’s cheap on DK ($3,500) and when he’s been in the lineup of late we’ve seen him in the leadoff spot.

The Rangers outfield of Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo (TEX) are priced appropriately on DK. We’re expecting modest ownership coming their way in tournaments, with Gallo getting the lower end ownership number a she hits towards the bottom of the lineup. There’s plenty of upside for the Rangers offense today given the ridiculous hitting environment in Arlington. These lefty outfielders get the benefit of a very favorable matchup against Reynaldo Lopez, who’s allowed a .191 ISO and has struck out just 12.9% of LHBs since the start of last season.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Milwaukee Brewers

2) Chicago Cubs

3) Texas Rangers

The Brewers rank ninth in HRs and third in SBs and now get to face Matt Harvey (.368 xwOBA and .216 xISO) in Great American Ballpark.

We’re currently guessing the Cubs have a 5.7 IRT, which would be a slate high. It’s possible it is even higher given low 90s temperatures and the wind blowing out at around 15 mph to CF. They’ll face Lance Lynn and likely try to get very left-handed against him given Lynn’s wide splits (.366 wOBA versus LHBs this season, compared to .316 against RHBs – reflective of career differentials).

It’s hot everywhere of course, but temperatures will approach 100 degrees in Texas. Opposing pitcher Reynaldo Lopez has a solid 3.73 ERA, but his 5.55 xFIP is more indicative of what we should expect moving forward.

Tier Two

4) Washington Nationals

5) Baltimore Orioles

Tier Three

6) Toronto Blue Jays

7) Los Angeles Angels

It’s a really deep slate for stacks because of balmy temperatures and friendly hitting environments. We generally see a large drop off in IRTs as we move through the tiers, but our fourth through seventh ranked stacks all have IRTs hovering around 5 (Washington a touch lower). If you’re multi entering, it makes sense to cast a wide net in terms of stack exposures given the high end upside across so many teams. The result should put you in a naturally leveraged position where you’re underweight on the chalkiest teams and overweight elsewhere.

Additional Tournament Stacks

-Chicago White Sox: A road team in the Texas heat has plenty of upside, especially given Cole Hamels‘ contact issues this season – lowest GB rate since 2013 and a career worst 44.1 Hard%.

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