Welcome to July 12 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 12 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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00:56 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 12 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
UPDATE: Our content was originally prepared under the impression Marco Estrada (TOR) was starting for the Jays but the scheduled starter is now J.A. Happ (TOR). The Red Sox are still strong plays but the original cover boy Mitch Moreland is no longer a worthy play. The projections are updated to reflect the change but the podcast and notes will still reference the original production. We’ll update more thoroughly in alerts on Thursday evening.
It’s no surprise that Max Scherzer (WAS) is the top SP on a mid-sized slate. As usual, Scherzer wipes the floor with the competition in terms of projected strikeouts at 9.8, buoyed by his career best 35.4 K%. He’s also the largest favorite on the slate (-210) with the lowest IRTA (2.9). Scherzer is rightfully very expensive, but still rates as the best value play in a vacuum. It’s still not a slam dunk decision in cash games, though, given a strong mid-high tier option that allows you a better offense.
That mid-high tier pivot is Ross Stripling (LAD), who has been phenomenal this season, combining a .244 xwOBA (second best among SPs) with a 28.7 K%. Stripling gets a positive park shift pitching in San Diego against a Padres team that ranks 28th in wRC+ against RHP and a high 25.9 K%. Stripling has similar Vegas odds to Scherzer (-190, 3.2 IRTA), and really the only concern here is duration. Stripling rates as the second best value on both sites and is viable in cash games should you not sacrifice bats to get up to Kershaw.
This slate does not lack for high end pitching options with James Paxton (SEA), Corey Kluber (CLE), Blake Snell (TB), and Luis Severino (NYY) all on this slate. It will be a good slate to check out our Range of Outcomes Probabilities to help dictate GPP strategy as all four of these pitchers have elite upside given their respective talent levels. Simply based on price, Kluber would be the best GPP pivot on DK while Paxton and Snell would be the best FD pivots. All four project for right around 7 strikeouts.
On DK, it’s unreasonable to spend up for two SPs on this slate, so you’re going the mid-tier or cheap route at SP2. It’s easier to go the mid-tier route if using Stripling and the main option in that scenario is Tyler Skaggs (LAA). Skaggs has struck out at least 6 hitters in 10 of 11 games, and the one miss he struck out 5. Overall he has a 26.4 K%. The matchup against the Mariners isn’t ideal. They rank fifth in wRC+ against LHP with a lower than league average K rate, but the price and park are keep him one of the best values.
If going the cheap route, Jameson Taillon (PIT) has a home matchup against a strikeout prone Brewers team undergoing a negative park shift. He’s a small -130 favorite with a mediocre IRT, which isn’t glowing supporting evidence, but it’s much better context than we usually see out of sub-$6k SPs.
It’s a tough slate to whittle down the options in MME given that nine out of 14 SPs on the slate have a positive 2 value or greater in our projections, with the last five all ranking within a point of value of one another. In that group, the affordable options are Steven Matz (NYM) (wouldn’t be surprising if IRTA rose but currently at 4.1 with decent xwOBA, K baseline), Kyle Gibson (MIN), David Price (BOS) (really poor recent data but massive favorite and can pitch deep with BABIP luck), and Tyson Ross (SD) (lower on the list due to recent performances but very cheap given his K potential and park).
The catcher position is awful. Every single catcher projects as a meaningfully negative value. The only catchers that come with good lineup spots like Wilson Ramos (TB) or Francisco Cervelli (PIT) are priced up. There aren’t many particularly appealing sources of salary relief either. Russell Martin (TOR) is in a good park environment for RHBs and is just $3,300 but that’s not even a great price tag for facing David Price. We don’t have much in the way of preferences or recommendations since our projections don’t really like any of them. Just try to get out of here as cheaply as possible to save salary for other key positions.
Mitch Moreland (BOS) projects as the top option at first base as he squares off with Marco Estrada who has been vulnerable to LH power allowing a .202 ISO to LHBs since 2017. Moreland is priced reasonably on both sites and one of the more affordable ways to get exposure to the Red Sox slate leading 5.3 implied total. He’s a fine target on b sites and in all formats.
Eric Thames (MIL) and Cody Bellinger (LAD) project similarly to Moreland on DraftKings where there is less emphasis on Runs and RBIs and more on atter skill set. Both face sinker-ball pitchers that have been vulnerable to LHBs in recent years. Tyson Ross has allowed a .361 wOBA and .183 ISO to LHBs while Jameson Taillon has allowed a .344 wOBA and .144 ISO to LHBs during that span. Thames makes up for the weaker matchup with more dominant splits (.394 wOBA, .299 ISO against RHP since last season) compared to Bellinger (.365 wOBA, .291 ISO against RHP since 2017. On DraftKings, the both come with outfield eligibility which makes them viable targets alongside Moreland but Moreland takes precedence over the duo.
On FanDuel, salary relief is really the emphasis with Max Scherzer priced a bit more affordably over there. If you’re unable to get up to Moreland, the best source of salary relief is Kendrys Morales (TOR) who is just $2,500 for a middle of the order bat in Fenway with the platoon edge.
In tournaments, Ryon Healy (SEA) is a cheap power bat available on FanDuel with the platoon edge. The more expensive mid-priced power upside guys like Jake Bauers (TB), Mark Reynolds (WAS), Justin Smoak (TOR), and Josh Bell (PIT) are all viable alternatives as well.
Second base is a lot like the catcher position. There simply isn’t much to like.
Brian Dozier (MIN) tops the projections at second base but comes with a tough matchup against Blake Snell. Snell has allowed some pop to RHBs (.311 wOBA, .169 ISO since 2017) and Dozier’s splits against LHP have been impressive (.390 wOBA, .267 ISO since 2017). Dozier has started hitting the ball with more authority of late but Snell isn’t an exciting target to pick on. On DraftKings where Dozier’s price tag is held down he’s a viable target but we wouldn’t recommend paying up for him on FanDuel at $4,400.
On DraftKings, Dee Gordon (SEA) is still just $3,600. The matchup with Tyler Skaggs isn’t compelling as a left-on-left matchup for Gordon but it’s a cheap tag for the leadoff hitter. Other uninspiring alternatives include Wilmer Difo (WAS), Brock Holt (BOS), Josh Harrison (PIT), and Brad Miller (MIL). They’re either pure punt options like Difo or slightly expensive options on offenses we like.
On FanDuel, it’s a position to just get out with a punt as every single value rates as -1.00 or worse in our value rankings. Devon Travis (TOR) and Wilmer Difo (WAS) are the pure punts we’re considering. Travis is the more skilled hitter and in the better park environment so he outpaces Difo slightly. If Joey Wendle (TB) got a better lineup spot, he could emerge as a reasonable play at $2,700.
Anthony Rendon (WAS) tops the projections at third base. He’s one of the most skilled third basemen on the slate and he’s not facing a dominant ace. The price tag is too expensive for cash games on a slate that demands spending on elite starting pitching.
Once again, the priority is salary relief as most hitters project as negative values. On DraftKings, David Freese (PIT) is the most compelling target if he lands a spot in the middle of the Pirates lineup against Wade Miley who has allowed a .339 wOBA and .168 ISO to RHBs in his career.
On FanDuel, you get Yangervis Solarte (TOR) and Rafael Devers (BOS) as parts of offenses that project well on this slate. Solarte is just $2,700 and typically hits in the middle of the Blue Jays order. The matchup with David Price is adequate as RHBs have compiled a .316 wOBA and .177 ISO against Price since the start of last season. Devers has been in and out of the lineup of late and he’s been moved down in the order as well. He’s not a great hitter but has shown power against RHP (.323 wOBA, .208 ISO against RHP since 2017) and Estrada is vulnerable to power. The price tag is fair but he takes a backseat to Solarte in cash games unless he moves up in the order.
In tournaments, Kyle Seager (SEA) and Corey Spangenberg (SD) have punt price tags on FanDuel that fit the slate.
Trea Turner (WAS) tops the projections at shortstop. He’s one of the few high-end hitters that isn’t facing an ace on the slate and also has the platoon advantage. This makes him look like an oasis in a desert. Steven Matz has allowed a .346 wOBA and .215 ISO to RHBs since the start of 2017. Turner has not hit LHP particularly well (.302 wOBA, .090 ISO since 2017) but his overall production suggests he should have more neutral splits moving forward. The price tag is fair and the position is awful which makes Turner a strong target in all formats.
Xander Bogaerts (BOS) doesn’t project quite as well as Turner because he doesn’t run and hits in a weaker lineup spot but he has a good matchup with Marco Estrada (.371 wOBA, .223 ISO to RHBs since 2017) and if you wanted to emphasize the Red Sox hefty implied team total that’s a reasonable approach.
The salary relief options at shortstop aren’t particularly intriguing. Brock Holt (BOS) is up to $3,700 on DraftKings which gets you exposure to the Red Sox but at a cost that is a nuisance with Holt’s weak skill set. If Jordy Mercer (PIT) moved up in the lineup for Pittsburgh that would present us with a viable salary relief option but we’re not really holding our breath.
On FanDuel, Brad Miller (MIL) is the punt target if you’d prefer on spending up at a different position. Miller typically hits lower in the order but has decent skills against RHP (.326 wOBA, .206 ISO since 2017) and especially so for a player with SS eligibility.
Mookie Betts (BOS), J.D. Martinez (BOS), and Andrew Benintendi (BOS) are the top projected outfielders on the slate. The Red Sox are the only offense with an implied total over 4.5 and their outfielders are usually responsible for the majority of their offense. They’re priced up which makes it difficult to get up to them with all the elite pitching on the slate. If you can afford one, Betts would be our choice. Estrada’s struggled a bit more with righties than lefties in his career and Betts has the speed component to help separate him from J.D.Martinez slightly.
The outfield does have reasonable value plays, especially compared to the other positions on this slate which will push our optimals towards spending at thinner positions.
Joc Pederson (LAD) is one of the top value targets on both sites. Pederson has been dominant against RHP (.372 wOBA, .266 ISO since start of 2017) and faces Tyson Ross who is not only vulnerable to LHBs but allows plenty of stolen bases as well. A road leadoff spot for Pederson makes him an attractive target to push for a fifth plate appearance and he has a nice mid-tier price tag on both sites.
Similarly, Randal Grichuk (TOR) looks a bit underpriced for his role as a leadoff hitter against LHP of late. Grichuk has compiled a .210 ISO against LHP since the start of 2017 and is in a good park for RH pull power in Fenway. Grichuk feels reasonable priced on DraftKings at $4,000 but is just $2,500 on FanDuel.
If Michael A. Taylor (WAS) gets into the lineup he’s been hitting sixth against LHP on occasion. This would make him a decent value play against Steven Matz. Taylor has posted a .337 wOBA and .185 ISO against LHP since the start of last season.
On FanDuel, Teoscar Hernandez (TOR) is cheap with a sub-$3,000 price tag. He’s crushed LHP in his brief career (.347 wOBA and .268 ISO since 2017). Kevin Kiermaier (TB) is also in that same price range and has a fine matchup with Kyle Gibson.
In tournaments, Michael Conforto (NYM) is a cheap leverage play against Max Scherzer‘s likely high ownership. Conforto is just $3,000 on DraftKings and $2,300 on FanDuel. He’s compiled a .360 wOBA and .221 ISO against RHP since the start of last season and when Scherzer is beat it’s usually via the long ball.
1) Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox run away with the top spot in our stack rankings. They have a 5.3 team total on a slate where no other offense has a team total higher than 4.5 and nearly half the teams have a sub-4 team total. The Red Sox are in a positive hitter’s park with by far the top team wRC+ against RHP and facing Marco Estrada, owner of a .349 xwOBA and .241 xISO. The Red Sox certainly will not be low owned, but given their massive edge on the field, they may still be worth playing in tournaments in hopes that expensive pitching keeps the ownership relatively tame.
2) Washington Nationals
3) Los Angeles Dodgers
The overall depth and talent of the Nationals lineup keeps them in this second tier in a mediocre matchup against Steven Matz, who has pitched well recently but does have a wide discrepancy between his FIP (4.65) and actual ERA (3.31).
The Dodgers are a particularly intriguing tournament stack facing Tyson Ross, who is coming off of back to back disaster starts in which he’s allowed 15 ERs and 4 HRs all against just 2 ks. It’s now been six straight starts for Ross with a K rate below his seasonal average.
4) Toronto Blue Jays
The Jays RHBs are in a good spot with warm weather in Fenway Park, which is one of the best hitter’s parks for RHBs. Price has allowed a 45.5 Hard% and 62.5 Hard% in his last two outings and has FIPs of 4.63, 20.83, 3.96, and 6.96 in his last four outings.
5) Milwaukee Brewers
6) Tampa Bay Rays
7) Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates probably deserve a slightly higher stack ranking than the straight math indicates. They have the second highest IRT on the slate, granted it’s just slivers higher than a few other teams. Opposing pitcher Wade Miley has a 5.04 ZiPS projected ERA and hasn’t pitched very deep in his rehab starts. An early lead for the Pirates and a quick exit for Miley could get the Pirates against the bad part of the Brewers pen.