Welcome to July 14 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 14 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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00:58 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 14 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
On a small six game slate, there’s not too much to get excited about on the pitching front. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) leads the way, mostly due to matchup as he gets a positive park shift in Petco Park and a lineup that ranks dead last in wRC+ with a high 26.0 K%. Hendricks is having the worst year of his career, as a career low K rate and career worst Hard% are combining to a career high 4.55 FIP. However, the struggles keep Hendrick’s price down in both sites, and he’s coming off his best start of the season (8.1 scoreless innings with 8 Ks and good batted ball data). On a slate where we’re prioritizing offense, you can still fit enough of it in alongside Hendricks that he’s our preferred option for cash games on both sites.
The most direct pivot off of Hendricks is Alex Wood (LAD), who has really favorable Vegas odds – -205 favorite with a 3.1 IRTA. The Angels are receiving a negative league shift moving to an NL park where they lose the DH. While the Angels get pretty heavily right-handed, Wood hasn’t allowed a .300 wOBA plus in that split since the 2015 season. He seems like a safe option, but we view more upside with Hendricks given ability to pitch deeper and the matchup.
Beyond Hendricks, the best value is Jeff Samardzija (SF) in his second start back from the DL. This is a scary play as if Samardzija is broken, which is possible given the skills he’s displayed this season and a couple of DL stints already, you don’t really want to use him against a pretty good Athletics lineup. With that said, even based on our conservative baselines it’s difficult to get Samardzija as a poor value given the extremely low price tag and the best pitcher’s park in all of baseball. Some of the risk here is mitigated by both the lack of strong pivots at the position and his salary meshing with how we most want to build anyways – smashing high end offenses, especially the Rockies. For this same reasoning, he’s tournament viable as the cheapest available SP on FD.
On DK, it really makes sense to go chap in that second SP2 spot. Other options if you don’t trust Shark or simply want to diversify are Luis Perdomo (SD) and Yefrey Ramirez (BAL). Perdomo was left in to face 33 batters last start. Unfortunately, he didn’t strike a single one of him out. With Perdomo, you’re banking on ballpark and BABIP luck. Ramirez has more K upside but also one of the higher IRTA on the slate at 4.9. That risk is amplified by a very unfavorable umpire.
Jon Gray (COL) is back up to the bigs after a strange decision to demote him to AAA, where he struck out 13 batters in 10.2 IP. Gray is always going to be volatile as his career strand rate and BABIP are bad, but some of that is due to Coors. He’s actually pitched really well, hosting a 3.11 FIP as a result of a 28.9 K% and .301 xwOBA (not park adjusted). On a slate with a lack of high end pitching, especially in terms of K upside, Gray offers a lot of K per dollar potential, despite coming with a lot of risk.
You could make similar K upside arguments for Mike Clevinger (CLE) and Andrew Heaney (LAA), but they are priced more aggressively.
Chris Iannetta (COL) and Buster Posey (SF) are the clear top two values at the catching position on Saturday. Iannetta will get the platoon edge against Wade LeBlanc, getting the left-hander on a huge negative park shift from Safeco to Coors Field. LeBlanc hasn’t been quite as good as his ERA might suggest, still allowing a lot of contact and most of it in the air. The lineup spot isn’t great (likely 6th or 7th), but Iannetta dominates most of the early optimals as a the top projected raw scorer at the position.
Posey projects a full point behind Iannetta, but is the more skilled hitter and will be getting the platoon advantage. Though the individual upside is dwarfed on account of the park, Posey has posted a .374 wOBA and .181 ISO versus LHP since 2016. He’s a viable pivot.
Chris Herrmann (SEA) and Austin Barnes (LAD) would be the cheaper alternatives. Herrmann has been splitting time behind the backstop for the Mariners and gets the big park boost in Coors Field. Again, the lineup spot is not great but he’s been solid against RHP (.181 ISO since 2016) and is meaningful cheaper than the aforementioned duo at $3,000 on DK.
Barnes too will draw the platoon edge. The batted ball data is not very enticing, but he’s posted a .179 ISO versus left-handed pitchers since 2016. Much like Herrmann, he’s a cheaper alternative and one that is more likely to be in the lineup.
Ian Desmond (COL) and Anthony Rizzo (CHC) cover the middle-tier of pricing as the top values at first base on Saturday. Desmond is the only Coors Field darling in the group, drawing the platoon edge in the matchup with Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has been susceptible to power to RHB, allowing a .192 ISO in the split since 2016. Desmond also provides one of the cheaper ways to get exposure to the Rockies offense, the most desirable on the slate.
Rizzo is slightly cheaper than Desmond on both sites, but comes with a notably worse park environment in San Diego. The matchup pits him against Luis Perdomo, who has struggled against LHB – allowing a .362 wOBA and .160 ISO in the split since 2016. Rizzo’s been quite dreadful for the large portion of this year and is riding an 0-21 streak. As such, he should represent a lower owned viable pivot.
Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) and Mark Trumbo (BAL) round out the top trio on FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively. Edwin is priced at $3,500 with Rizzo on FD, and draws the platoon edge on C.C. Sabathia. It’s Rizzo that hits more of the early optimals over Encarnacion, but he would be a viable pivot at the same price.
Trumbo is 1B eligible on DraftKings and is considerably cheaper than Desmond and Rizzo. He’s posted a positive delta in batted ball data over the last fifteen days and will get the platoon edge on Martin Perez. Perez is a perfect arm to pick on, high contact and lots of it hard contact. Known for not anything other than his power, Trumbo has posted a .193 ISO against LHP since 2016. He’s just $3,700 on DraftKings.
Matt Olson (OAK) and Greg Bird (NYY) are viable pivots on both sites that should go much lower owned in tournaments. The pair of left-handers will both grab the platoon advantage and each have great batted ball data and home run upside.
Dee Gordon (SEA) and D.J. LeMahieu (COL) are the top two values in a landslide at the second base position. The pair square off in Coors Field, both with the platoon edge in the highest total game on the slate. Gordon is slightly cheaper as the road leadoff hitter and will get Jon Gray coming back after a demotion. While Dee offers plenty of speed upside, the matchup with Gray is much more difficult to navigate.
LeMahieu potentially offers less event upside, but he’s been fantastic against LHP (.395 wOBA, .182 ISO since 2016) and gets to leadoff against LeBlanc. For just $300 more than Gordon on both sites, he’s the option we’d prefer to spend up on.
Of course dropping down is an option, but those available are not exciting. Jonathan Schoop (BAL) and Rougned Odor (TEX) both get the platoon advantage in an expected high scoring game in Baltimore. Each guy has posted excellent batted ball data and fall next in line (3-4) in raw projection. The pair each hold better than .200 ISOs in their respective splits since 2016.
Neil Walker (NYY) is one of the only other potential alternatives. He is much cheaper than all the other names, but also comes with the worst lineup spot as the bunch. The matchup with Mike Clevinger will put him in our preferred batter’s box, as well.
Nolan Arenado (COL), Tim Beckham (BAL), and Kyle Seager (SEA) are the top trio at third base. Nolan needs little justification, getting the platoon edge (.457 wOBA, .334 ISO since 2016) in his home park. The only question mark is the price tag ($4,600 on FD, $5,500 on DK).
Seager is the same game alternative, and is $1,300 and $1,100 cheaper than Arenado on DK and FD respectively. He’ll get the platoon edge on Gray (.208 ISO vs. RHP since 2016) and a big park shift in his favor. He actually doesn’t find himself in many early optimals, mainly because of a similar price discrepancy between him and Beckham.
Beckham will get the platoon edge and hit at the top of the order against Martin Perez. His numbers don’t shout quite as much with the platoon edge (.173 ISO since 2016) but his price tag ($3,400 on DraftKings, $2,500 on FanDuel) is very difficult to pass up.
Adrian Beltre (TEX), Justin Turner (LAD), and Danny Valencia (BAL) offer similar projections and price tags to Beckham. This group could help offers potential cheap pivots, but none can match the lineup spot Beckham brings to the table.
Trevor Story (COL), Jean Segura (SEA), and Manny Machado (BAL) are the top trio at the shortstop position. On a slate with a dearth of pitching options it’s actually reasonable that you just stay in the top tier at the shortstop position. Story has the third highest raw projection of all hitters, as he’s Arenado-lite against left-handers (.413 wOBA, .312 ISO). Furthermore, Story’s hindrance has always been the strikeout – but LeBlanc mitigates that risk a bit.
Segura offers a similar price discount as many of his teammates, but if straying from Story we’d prefer to go to Machado. He offers a slight discount from Story as well, and helps to buoy the “I can only fit so many Rockies” problem that is likely to be the case on this slate. Excellent batted ball data and the platoon edge are just a few points that help to justify his usage. The walk rate is up, the strikeout rate is down, and he’s hitting for the most power of his career. Roster him confidently.
There is really no reason to stray from the top trio, but Elvis Andrus (TEX) would give you a cheaper option in one of the better run scoring environments on the slate. He’s the next in line as far as value goes on this slate.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) would be a potential high priced pivot who should go much lower owned than both Story and Machado.
Charlie Blackmon (COL), Adam Jones (BAL), and Nomar Mazara (TEX) help take up three of the top value spots in the outfield on both sites. Blackmon of course gets stuck in the middle of the highly coveted Rockies lineup, but he might actually draw lower ownership than normal given the left-on-left matchup. There will definitely be a decision to make regarding which four Rockies you use, and with a focus on the right-handed hitters, Blackmon does find the optimals a bit less frequently. Nevertheless, he still needs consideration and has been serviceable even without the platoon edge (.378 wOBA, .167 ISO since 2016).
Jones and Mazara square off in Baltimore and are considerably cheaper, acting as a pair of values that will help you to pay for all of Blackmon’s teammates. The platoon edge hasn’t meant much for Jones in the last few seasons (.293 wOBA, .115 ISO versus southpaws since 2016), but for $3,400 on DK and $2,600 on FD, his second place lineup spot is tough to pass up against Martin Perez.
Mazara’s skills against RHP are more exciting (.180 ISO since 2016). He and teammate Shin-Soo Choo (TEX) both standout on FanDuel where Choo is only $3,300 to go along with Mazara’s $3,100. Yefry Ramirez has been “fine” in his first three starts, but ZiPS projects an ERA just south of six and nearly two home runs per nine the rest of the way. Throw teammate Joey Gallo (TEX) into the mix as a huge potential upside play on a slate that carries focus in Coors Field.
Nelson Cruz (SEA) and Mitch Haniger (SEA) would be better suited with the platoon edge, but rank in the top five in raw projection in the outfield on the slate. They are excellent tournament pivots, and Cruz at $4,600 is cash game viable on DraftKings. On DK, Dee Gordon (SEA) uses dual positional eligibility to sneak into that conversation as well at $4,300.
Dustin Fowler (OAK) and Danny Valencia (BAL) are similar type values on both sites, just behind this big group of names. Fowler finds himself in quite a few of the optimals on FanDuel where he’s just $2,200 and he’ll get the platoon edge and get the road leadoff spot against Jeff Samardzija. Valencia’s teammate Trey Mancini (BAL) deserves some consideration as well with the platoon edge.
Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) and Aaron Judge (NYY) both rate in the top ten in raw projection as far as outfielders go. Mike Clevinger has kept the ball in the park up to this point, but he’s a flyball guy due for some regression in HR/FB%.
1) Colorado Rockies
You need Colorado exposure in cash games against Wade LeBlanc. Despite the strong 3.39 ERA, LeBlanc has a ZiPS projected 4.54 ERA with 1.51 HR/9 (Steamer projections are worse). He’s a fly ball oriented pitcher who allows a lot of balls in play. In Coors Field with around 90 degree weather, expect a ton of offense.
2) Seattle Mariners
The Mariners are also in the elite hitting environment that is a hot Coors Field, although their matchup has a bit more volatility since Jon Gray, despite being prone to some hard hit contact and big innings, has stellar peripherals overall.
3) Texas Rangers
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) New York Yankees
6) Chicago Cubs
While this tier is four teams deep, the Rangers and Orioles are clearly ahead of the Yankees and Cubs. They face each other in hitter friendly Camden Yards, where it’s also hot (mid to high 80s). The Orioles face Martin Perez, who is making his first start back from the DL. Prior to hitting the DL, Perez made five absolutely atrocious April starts leading to a 9.67 ERA (.429 xwOBA), so there may be even more upside for the Orioles than our projections indicate.
Meanwhile the Rangers have a slight edge since they are guaranteed a ninth inning on the road. Yefry Ramirez has a horrific 5.93 ZiPS projected ERA with a 1.93 HR/9. So like with the Orioles, there’s potential for Ramirez’s baselines to be even worse than what we’re setting. Both teams will also benefit from an umpire that is unfavorable for starting pitchers.
The Yankees are in this tier because of the powerful and deep lineup, but the matchup isn’t all that great against Mike Clevinger, who has a strong .310 xwOBA and is coming off an 11 K game, his third double digit strikeout game in his last five starts.
The Cubs may go overlooked in a bad hitting environment, but Luis Perdomo can blow up anywhere since his K-BB% has been negative in consecutive outings, a problem compounded by a high seasonal Hard% of 38.1%.