Welcome to July 11 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 11 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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00:55 Starting Pitcher
- 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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July 11 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Chris Sale (BOS) leads the pack by a wide margin with Jacob deGrom (NYM) and Kenta Maeda (LAD) the other compelling high-end options on the slate. Sale has a favorable matchup against the Rangers’ offense that has most of their best bats from the left side. Sale’s velocity has picked up meaningfully since June 8th and the results have been ridiculous (41 IP, 21 H, 5 ER, 9 BB, 66 K). Sale was already quite dominant at 94-95 but now he’s throwing 97-98 on average and he’s practically unhittable. While other starters like Cole and Kershaw have felt like a stretch at $13,000 on DraftKings, Sale still feels like a bargain. Sale is your clear cut top target on both sites and a cash game building block. He’s a ridiculous -360 favorite with a 2.9 implied total against.
Jacob deGrom is meaningfully cheaper than Sale and makes for a fine pivot in tournaments. The Phillies are an average offense against RHP (16th in wRC+) but they have one of the highest strikeout rates in the league (26.3 percent) and are getting a big park downgrade in Citi Field. We like deGrom more than any of the other top tier starters we’ve had in recent days (Cole, Verlander, Kershaw, etc) but he happens to be on the same slate as Sale so he’s only a tournament target for us.
On DraftKings, you’ll need a secondary starter to pair with Sale. While there are plenty of strong offensive environments on the slate, the salary relief starters are sketchy. Meanwhile, Kenta Maeda is a bit underpriced for a matchup with the Padres. Maeda has improved his strikeout rate considerably this season and while the length of starts are unpredictable the K Rate has been consistently strong. The Padres rank 30th in wRC+ against RHP with the second highest K Rate in the league (25.9 percent). A Maeda-Sale pairing is a bit of a squeeze but there are enough salary relief targets on DraftKings to make it work. We believe it gives you the best combination of floor and ceiling at the starting pitcher position for cash games.
In tournaments, that pairing may prove costly to stacking upside offenses. The good news is there are alternatives to save some salary that come with intriguing price tags and upside but are uncomfortable cash game options. Luke Weaver (STL), Dylan Bundy (BAL), Carlos Rodon (CHW), Vincent Velasquez (PHI), Dan Straily (MIA), and Sonny Gray (NYY) all fit this mold. The two that are the most cash game viable are Weaver and Velasquez who each draw favorable matchups against the White Sox (24th in wRC+, 25.5 K Rate against RHP) and Mets (23rd in wRC+, with a league average K Rate). Neither starter has been consistent but they both have enough strikeout upside and the opposing offenses have struggled enough that they’re borderline cash game targets. On FanDuel, Weaver is a primary tournament target thanks to a really soft $6,600 price tag.
Bundy, Rodon, Straily, and Gray are the cheap GPP options that are largely in play due to price tags. Bundy faces a Yankees’ offense without a ton of LH threats and he’s been so good against RHBs that you can see a path to his success. He’s also extremely homer prone so the Yankees provide a boom-or-bust matchup. Rodon is vulnerable to RHBs and the Cardinals have plenty of them but he’s also a 6k pitcher with a career 23 percent K Rate and those don’t come around often. Gray is here largely because he faces an Orioles’ offense that can rack up strikeouts against RHP but he’s been dreadful of late so he’s the one we have the least confidence in. Straily gets a bad umpire but a Brewers team that projects for a lot of strikeouts in a good park.
Tony Wolters (COL) is the top value catcher on DraftKings on Wednesday. On a slate with a top arm and a few healthy run scoring environments, we’re looking to not break the bank – and Wolters fits that criteria while providing us access to Coors Field. Otherwise, there is nothing special about Wolters (.098 ISO vs. RHP since 2016 …eek).
Austin Barnes (LAD) actually edges him in most of the early optimals on DraftKings. Barnes is a little further down on the list as far as value goes, but gets the platoon edge and is $500 cheaper than Wolters on DK. In just over 200 plate appearances since 2016, Barnes has been more than serviceable against LHP (.355 wOBA, .183 ISO since 2016). On a slate where every extra dollar counts, his name is coming up often.
Sandy Leon (BOS) edges out Barnes in value, but is slightly more expensive albeit with a much more enticing matchup with Bartolo Colon. After a breakout “season” (he only played 78 games) in 2016, Leon came back to Earth last year and has been as anticipated thus far as well. He comes with a similar lineup spot to the aforementioned duo but overall a softer matchup with Colon.
Tucker Barnhart (CIN) finds himself in more early optimals than Leon, as he brings not only the cheap price, but a solid lineup spot as well. Unfortunately for Barnhart, the matchup is the most difficult of the group against Carlos Carrasco. He is better from the left side (.122 ISO vs. RHP since 2016) but that’s about your only saving grace. As unlikely as it would seem, Chance Sisco (BAL) and Chris Herrmann (SEA) sneak into early optimals despite not rating well. These are merely price plays. Yadier Molina (STL) is the top projected scorer at position but will cost you $600 or more dollars than the rest of this group.
Price, lineup spot, and some excellent batted ball data have us excited about Moreland against Bartolo Colon. In over 1,000 plate appearances since 2016, Moreland has posted a .207 ISO versus RHP and Colon has nearly matched (allowing a .215 ISO to LHB in the same time). He’s posted a Hard% near 38% in the last fifteen days, is priced affordably ($4,100 on DK, $3,100 on FD) and gets you exposure to the second highest implied run total on the slate. He dominates all early optimals.
Goldy is much more expensive, but perhaps deservedly so getting a matchup in Coors Field. He’s the highest projected scorer at the position, similarly carries excellent batted ball data and gets the reverse splits of German Marquez. Since 2016, Marquez has allowed a .227 ISO to RHB, while holding left-handers to just .165. The “necessity” of Chris Sale pushes Goldy out of cash game talks, but he’s an excellent pivot in tournaments.
Alonso is a little bit cheaper, yet also a little bit less enticing than Moreland on both sites. He’s a bit more viable on DraftKings at $3,800 and he’ll draw the platoon edge on right-hander Tyler Mahle. Mahle has been “serviceable” for this Reds staff, and actually gets a positive park shift moving away from GABP but he’s allowed a TON of hard contact and quite a bit of it in the air (40.8% GB%). Where he offers a slight discount over Moreland on DraftKings, Alonso would be a viable pivot.
Jose Martinez (STL) is the third in line value on FanDuel where he’s just $2,600. In a small sample size, Martinez has mashed southpaws, posting a .428 wOBA and .252 ISO in the split since 2016. The opposing arm, Carlos Rodon, has struggled allowing more aerial contact and 1.77 HR/9 thus far.
D.J. LeMahieu (COL) sits atop the value rankings on both sites at second base. The Rockies leadoff guy will get at least a few at-bats against “recently” returned Shelby Miller. Miller has only thrown 14 innings thus far but has already allowed four home runs and now must enter Coors Field. While the long ball is not LeMahieu’s game, he’s leading off for the team with the highest implied run total on the slate (6.1), has positive batted ball data and is a reasonable fit on DraftKings at $4,300.
Dee Gordon (SEA) steals some of the spotlight from LeMahieu on DK at $3,400. The batted ball data is abysmal. Puke worthy. But the dude still gets to leadoff against RHP and continues to run (should he find his way on base). Opposing pitcher Jaime Barria allows a lot of hard contact and it might take just one trip on the base paths for Dee to be valuable.
On FanDuel, Neil Walker (NYY) is your LeMahieu pivot. He shows up in most of the early optimals, drawing a matchup with Dylan Bundy. We mentioned Bundy’s home run problems his last time out and while he only lasted 3.1 innings, he managed to allow one long ball in his first start back from injury. Walker comes with a last place lineup spot (NOT GOOD) but just a $2,300 tag on FanDuel that makes him nearly full punt worthy. He’s posted a .164 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
Yoan Moncada (CHW) and Daniel Descalso (ARI) match walker in value on FanDuel, but they are both $1,000 more expensive. Descalso can give you exposure to a road Coors Field offense and is sub-$4,000 on DraftKings as well.
Nolan Arenado (COL), Jake Lamb (ARI), and Rafael Devers (BOS) are the golden trio at the hot corner on Wednesday. Arenado and Lamb will square off against each other in Coors Field, Arenado getting the matchup with Shelby Miller – Lamb against Marquez.
While Arenado clearly outpaces Lamb as far as raw projection goes, there is a sizable price tag discrepancy where he is $800 more on FanDuel and $900 more on DraftKings. As a result, it is Lamb, not Arenado who finds himself in more early optimals (particularly on DraftKings). Though Marquez is reverse-splitsy, Lamb has been phenomenal against RHP since 2016 posting a .367 wOBA and .252 ISO in the split. He’s the more reasonable Coors Field option.
Devers though might take the cake as the cheapest of the trio. The young left-hander has posted a .209 ISO against RHP since 2016 and now gets the heavy contact, heavy home run prone arm of Bartolo Colon. While Colon has actually gotten better(!) protecting against the home run this season, he’s allowed at least two (including four twice, and three once!) in six of his sixteen starts. At $4,000 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel he’s the default drop down, and the preferable one in many cases.
Logan Forsythe (LAD) is very cheap ($2,400) on DraftKings and finds himself in a lot of the top optimals where they are forcing in Sale and Maeda. The lineup spot, nor park are overly enticing but he’s been very good against southpaws in his career. Since 2016 he’s been closer to “serviceable” range, posting a .334 wOBA and .159 ISO in the split. He’s a route to indulgence at other positions.
Kyle Seager (SEA) would be another potential pivot away from Devers at a similar price tag. The overall context isn’t nearly as enticing, but Seager has performed well with the platoon edge, sporting a .209 ISO since 2016. Opposing pitcher Jaime Barria hasn’t really been “good or bad,” but is fly ball prone and projects to allow more than 1.50 HR/9 the rest of the way (1.48 HR/9 allowed thus far).
Largely a shallow position as it is, the shortstop optimals skip over all the top plays to take advantage of the cheapest muck available. Francisco Lindor (CLE), Trevor Story (COL), and Xander Bogaerts (BOS) represent the top trio on both sites, but each is priced at $5,000+ and $4,000+ on FanDuel and DraftKings respectively. So while the Lindor matchup with Mahle, Story at home against Shelby Miller, and Bogaerts against Colon are all super enticing matchups – we look elsewhere to fill out cash game lineups.
On FanDuel, enter the complete punts, Yairo Munoz (STL) and David Fletcher (LAA). Fletcher provides a bit more appeal destined to get the leadoff spot against left-hander Marco Gonzales. While there is certainly nothing to write home about, he will give you a punt price, the platoon edge and exposure to the leadoff spot. Munoz hits at the opposite end of the order, albeit with more overall upside (ZiPS projects .133 ISO R.O.S.) These two share the spotlight in early optimals.
On DraftKings it is Brock Holt (BOS) who takes advantage of dual positional eligibility. At $3,400 he’s the second most valuable on the site and could hit as high as sixth. There isn’t anything drool worthy from the skill side, rather what the price tag allows you to do at other positions.
The outfield is loaded with values, even at the high end – but our primary focus is in the low to middle tier. That has us bypassing Mookie Betts (BOS), J.D. Martinez (BOS), Andrew Benintendi (BOS), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Giancarlo Stanton (NYY), and A.J. Pollock (ARI), all of whom find themselves in the top ten values at the position – in favor of the Cardinals righties, and Carlos Gonzalez (COL), sorta.
Tommy Pham (STL) and Marcell Ozuna (STL) are both moderately priced and both dominate the early optimals alongside CarGo. We’ve spoken quite a bit about CarGo’s matchup with Shelby Miller, and he’ll give you exposure to the top implied run total, the platoon edge and a cheap outfield bat at $4,300 on DK and $3,600 on FanDuel.
Pham and Ozuna both come with the platoon edge as well, both at sub-$3,000 on FanDuel, and $4,100 and $3,300 on DraftKings respectively. The pair have thrived on left-handed pitching, and opposing arm Carlos Rodon has been susceptible to power versus the opposite handedness, allowing a .184 ISO to RHB since 2016. Add in the positive park shift for Cardinals bats moving to Guaranteed Rate Field, and it’s no wonder they are helping flood early optimals.
Brett Gardner (NYY), Michael Conforto (NYM), and Tyler Naquin (CLE) all show up as scattered fill in options as part of the early optimals. Each of these left-handed bats will get the platoon edge on Wednesday, with Gardner getting to face the homer prone Dylan Bundy for a Yanks team with an implied run total of 5.2 runs. Conforto’s matchup with Vince Velasquez pits his strength against Velasquez susceptibility versus LHB. Conforto has posted a .360 wOBA and .221 ISO in the split since 2016. Naquin won’t come with a great lineup spot but can give you exposure to a top rated offense for just $2,900 on DraftKings. He’s posted a .170 ISO versus RHP since 2016.
There is plenty more to go around as Michael Brantley (CLE), MIKE TROUT (LAA), Eric Thames (MIL), Aaron Judge (NYY), George Springer (HOU), and a whole host of others rate as solid positive values but can’t crack a loaded position for cash game construction on Wednesday.
1) Colorado Rockies
2) Boston Red Sox
3) Arizona Diamondbacks
The Red Sox against Bartolo Colon join Coors Field to form the top tier of stacks on this slate. The pricing on these offenses is getting more and more difficult to stack on either site but especially so on slates with elite SP up top. As has been the case, there are parts of the stacks that will go under-owned but the top bats will still carry plenty of ownership in one off roles. We like the Rockies most of this group as Shelby Miller‘s allowed hard hit rates of 41.7, 55.6, and 85.7 in his three starts back from the DL against middling offenses like MIA, SF, and SD. The Rockies price tags are also a bit more spread out which makes them a bit easier to at least mini stack and still have exposure to the stronger parts of their offense.
4) New York Yankees
5) Cleveland Indians
The Yankees and Cleveland are facing homer prone starters backed up by questionable bullpens. These two stacks are caught in limbo a bit as they’re as expensive as the first tier stacks and project meaningfully worse. This tier generally comes down to ownership. If they’re a fraction of the first tier, then they’re worth investing in but if ownerships are reasonably close we’d prefer getting up to the first tier offenses.
6) St. Louis Cardinals
7) Atlanta Braves
8) Houston Astros
9) Milwaukee Brewers
The third tier is where you start to find some salary relief options in stacks that can be paired with high-end pitching. The Cardinals are going to be extremely popular on this slate because 1) they’re incredibly cheap 2) they just went nuts last night and 3) they’re core hitters should all generally have the platoon edge. You won’t be fooling anyone with Sale + Cardinals stacks which should be the highest owned combination on the slate.
If you’re looking for another cheap contrarian stack to pair with Sale instead of the Cardinals, the Orioles really stand out. Their overall stack ranking is held down by the Yankees incredible bullpen but it’s been worked quite a bit of late and Sonny Gray has allowed hard hit rates of 40 percent or better in three of the last four games. The Dodgers and Angels are also contrarian cheap stacks against lefties in tough hitting environments.