Welcome to July 16 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 16 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!
00:52 Starting Pitcher
11:52 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
- 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.
MLB DFS Optimizer Tutorial
Our MLB DFS Optimizer is live. Arturo put together an overview with MLB DFS Optimizer Cliffnotes that walk through the various features and frequently asked questions (FAQs) from customers during testing. We have also produced a basic optimizer tutorial video on YouTube (linked below) as well as a power user optimizer tutorial for the most advanced tournament players on how to get the most out of the optimizer. You can join the #MLB channel in slack if you have additional questions.
July 16 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
On Tuesday’s 15-game slate, pitching is surprisingly scarce, with Brandon Woodruff (MIL) popping as our top value on both sites. He is projecting for 0.7 more strikeouts than any other pitcher on the slate and he is priced below $9,000 on DraftKings. The matchup against the Braves is by no means a “gimme” as they rank in the top 10 of wOBA, wRC+, ISO and BB rate against RHP this year, but the thing with Woodruff is he has completely shut down RHHs this year. In 61.0 innings in the sample, RHHs have posted a measly, .233 wOBA and 0.44 HR/9 rate. Additionally, Woodruff’s 2.13 FIP in the split is easily the best amongst any pitcher on the slate, so the Atlanta righties should have a tough go of it. Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Ozzie Albies are not right-handed so those guys will be the true test for the underpriced Woodruff. He is by no means a must-start in tournaments but should be considered a solid cash game building block.
If trying to avoid the matchup against the Braves, Jack Flaherty (STL) and Zach Plesac (CLE) constitute the next tier at the position. Flaherty’s 3.9 implied run total against is the second lowest on the entire slate and he has struck out a whopping 32.1-percent of the RHHs he has faced this year. The bad news is the Pirates have struck out at the third lowest rate against RHP and the lowest rate of any National League team. However, he is priced at just $7,400, and is only projecting for 5.0 strikeouts, so he does not need to hit his strikeout ceiling to provide fantasy owners with value.
As for Plesac, he faces the dream matchup versus the lowly Tigers who rank dead last in all of baseball in wOBA and wRC+ against RHP. Plesac’s underlying numbers have been ugly during his 45.0 inning tenure in the big league (5.61 FIP, 5.29 xFIP), but the team has also shown a commitment to pitch him deep into ball games when running hot (7.0-plus innings in four of his last seven MLB starts). Due to the lack of other options on the slate, playing the matchup with Plesac is nearly as enticing an option as fantasy owners are going to find.
Although they are not priced similarly, Austin Voth (WSH) and Jordan Yamamoto (MIA) are both appropriately-priced across the industry in matchups against the Orioles and Padres specifically. In a limited sample, Yamamoto, a RHP, has held his own against RHHs, and the Padres are loaded with them. Yamamoto’s home park depreciates power which is one of the few strengths of the Padres’ offense in the split against RHP. As icing on the cake, they have struck out at a 26.0-percent rate in the split.
Voth is not a talent we are typically interested in but it is rare to see a pitcher priced around $7,000 on DraftKings and $6,500 on FanDuel that is listed as a -200 favorite. Only 10 pitchers are projecting for 5.0-plus Ks on this slate and Voth happens to be one of them. While he is not a name that stands out in cash games, he is worth including in MME builds.
Drew Pomeranz (SF) is priced at $4,500 on DraftKings in the most treacherous ballpark shift imaginable but there is still a potential for him to miss bats. Having to face Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado multiple times in Coors Field is obviously a scary proposition but it is not like any pitchers jump off the page on this slate either.
Walker Buehler (LAD) is the safe talent to invest in but our models view him as overpriced comparatively to the skill set and matchup. Of all pitchers on the slate, his 6.2 K projection ranks second highest, but 4.1 implied runs against is uncomfortably high for a pitcher priced at $10,000-plus on both sites.
In tournaments, Lance Lynn (TEX) and Dylan Cease (CWS) are two pitchers who our baselines could potentially be low on, as Lynn owns the ninth highest K/9 rate of any pitcher in the league since May 10. Cease is a prospect who struck out 24.0-percent of batters in Triple-A and our K rate projections on him are around 23.5-percent versus RHHs and 20.5-percent versus LHHs. If those prove to be low, he could outperform his projection, and the Royals are not a patient offense (which should help a pitcher that has posted a double-digit walk rate at every level he has been at since the middle of 2018).
1) Washington Nationals
2) Colorado Rockies
The Nationals actually edge out the Rockies in terms of stack ranking on Tuesday as they will face MLB journeyman Asher Wojciechowski followed by the terrible Orioles bullpen in Camden Yards. At time of first pitch, it is supposed to be 90-degrees in Camden Yards with the wind blowing out to right center. Possible light rain could hit the ballpark in the early innings but there is no real postponement concern of anything of the type. Wojciechowski has yet to last more than 5.1 innings in any of his appearances with the Orioles thus far and he was used out of the bullpen on Jul. 12 for 0.2 of an inning (so his expectation may be even shorter than usual). Once the Nationals get to the Orioles bullpen, all bets are off, and our model views some of the hitters towards the top of the lineup as some of the best values on the entire slate.
Meanwhile, the Rockies will be facing a power-prone left-hander in the friendly confines of home so it is tough to overlook them as well. They disappointed in both games of a double-header yesterday but those were in two matchups versus RHPs. Arenado and Story are two of the best hitters on the planet versus LHP and Pomeranz has yielded a .412 wOBA, 2.57 HR/9 rate, 24.7-percent line drive rate and 6.52 FIP in the split versus RHHs this year…all while playing half his games in the best pitching environment in all of baseball. It is unlikely the Coors ownership gets too depreciated after yesterday’s disappointment but Arenado/Story for sure names that should be towards the top of your priority list.
3) San Francisco Giants
4) Los Angeles Dodgers
The Giants and Dodgers represent the second stack tier with the Giants being implied to score 6.6-runs as the road team in Coors Field. Lambert struggled in Triple-A for back-to-back years before getting the call to the bigs where he has unsurprisingly struggled as well: 6.72 FIP, 4.82 xFIP and 4.99 SIERA. The Giants are by no means an offensive juggernaut but they have averaged 11.5 runs per game in Coors Field this year. Obviously, that could be due to a small sample size, but it also could personify just how large the positive park shift is for all these hitters. Furthermore, Lambert has yielded a wOBA over .360 to both sides of the plate this year and the Giants are not nearly as expensive as some of the members of the Rockies.
The Dodgers dropped a bomb on the Phillies yesterday (16-runs) and Vince Velasquez has had similar struggles versus lefties for his career that yesterday’s started Zach Eflin had suffered through. In 222.1 career innings versus LHHs, Velasquez has been blasted to the tune of a .347 wOBA, 1.46 HR/9 rate, 22.5-percent line drive rate and a 4.61 FIP. As the visiting team, the Dodgers are guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs) once again, making them an intriguing pivot off the tier one stacks.
5) Boston Red Sox
6) Cleveland Indians
The Red Sox and Indians are both listed as sizeable home favorites in games where they are being implied to score exactly 6.3-runs. Opposing starter Jacob Waguespack is a former 37th round pick who posted a 5.30 ERA, 5.44 FIP and 4.96 xFIP in Triple-A this season prior to his call-up. He has pitched relatively well in two bullpen appearances at the MLB level but this will be his first true test. Judging by the line, Vegas does not believe it is going to go so well, and our model is mostly in line with that thought process. For the second straight day, the Red Sox make for an interestingly lower-owned stack in single-entry and three-max before even talking about their allure in MME.
The Indians will also square off with a pitcher, Ryan Carpenter, who probably belongs in Triple-A as he has only struck out 14.0-percent of opponents with a 44.3-percent hard hit rate and 5.50 SIERA at the MLB level. Behind him, the Tigers’ bullpen is amongst the worst in the league, and the wind is expected to be blowing out in warm Cleveland this evening. Rain may pass through the area in the early-going, which may lead to a delay, but there is not a large chance of this game being postponed at this time.
7) Milwaukee Brewers
8) Houston Astros
The Brewers and Astros round out the fourth tier and both lineups are quite deep which should give the opposing pitchers fits. Miller Park enhances left-handed power and Wilson has had a tough time inducing ground balls versus LHHs specifically which bodes well for such names as Christian Yelich and Mike Moustakas. In the Astros’ case, they are loaded with right-handed power, and Heaney relies heavily on fly ball outs (54.5-percent) versus RHHs which often leads to the ball leaving the yard. His 47.4-percent hard hit rate allowed to RHHs ranks second worst amongst pitchers on the slate with at least a 15.0 inning sample size in the split and his 1.72 HR/9 rate allowed is not much better. Ownerships of both these teams should mostly be in the single digits which is an intriguing thought given the matchups.
Buster Posey (SF) and Yasmani Grandal (MIL) are the top projected catchers on Tuesday’s slate. After sitting out the nightcap last night, we expect Posey to get back into the lineup on Tuesday in a favorable matchup with Peter Lambert. The Giants have a 6.6 implied total which is third highest on the slate and Posey comes with a reasonable price tag. Grandal gets a matchup from his stronger side of the plate (.351 wOBA, .223 ISO since 2017 against RHP) with an intriguing Braves prospect but one who has struggled with the long ball in the minors (1.22 HR/9 in AAA) and been hit hard in his brief major league experience (1.84 HR/9, 40.5 percent hard hit rate). Grandal looks like a fine tournament pivot as a likely lower-owned and higher upside target at catcher.
Chris Iannetta (COL), Gary Sanchez (NYY), and Mitch Garver (MIN) form a deep second tier of options as all three will get the bulk of their plate appearances with the platoon edge. Iannetta should have some carryover ownership from Rockies stacks with their slate-leading 7.4 implied total. Garver could be the lower-owned target here given the highest price tag at the position. Sanchez, like Grandal, is a big power pivot from the Coors options but probably garners a bit more ownership based on name value.
There is some punt value to keep an eye for this slate with Yan Gomes (WSH) priced at just $2,900 and the Nationals holding a 6.7 implied total that is second highest on the slate. A trip to Camden Yards these days is basically as good as Coors Field with the Orioles pitching staff and today’s matchup with Asher Wojciechowski is a great one power. Wojciechowski has allowed 1.82 HR/9 in his 89 big league innings with a career 27.7 GB Rate. Gomes is your primary salary relief target at the position.
With 15 games, there are certainly other alternatives at the catcher position. Travis d’Arnaud (TB) will have some carryover ownership after his three homer day last night and with the platoon edge is a fine option atop the Rays lineup. James McCann (CHW) has had a great year and gets a soft matchup against Glenn Sparkman and the Royals pitching staff. Curt Casali (CIN) and Mike Zunino (TB) are bottom of the order power bats with possible punt price tags.
Brandon Belt (SF) tops the projections with another favorable matchup in Coors Field with the platoon edge. We’ve noted Belt’s strong historical performance on the road against RHP and he’s facing one who struggles to miss bats (15 percent K Rate) and hasn’t carried over his minor league GB Rate to the big leagues (just 44 percent). Lambert has been unlucky with a 29 percent HR/FB Rate but a 42.3 hard hit rate allowed is problematic, especially in Coors Field. Belt is priced appropriately on both sites and thus not a primary target, but a fine play in all formats.
Matt Adams (WSH) and Joc Pederson (LAD) form the second tier of first base options and both are incredibly cheap on FanDuel at $2,700. This is the primary place to target first base exposure as both options are more than $1,000 cheaper than many of their counterparts with similar projections. Adams gets that favorable matchup with Wojciechowski who has allowed a .416 wOBA and .288 ISO to LHBs as a big leaguer. In the AL park, Adams comes with no pinch hit risk and he’s simply too cheap. On both sites, Adams is a primary target. Joc is a road leadoff hitter with the platoon edge for one of the best offenses in baseball against RHP. Vincent Velasquez has allowed a .382 wOBA and .230 ISO to LHBs since the start of 2017. This is another great matchup for the Dodgers LH power. Target both aggressively on FanDuel and one of these top three options will likely fill out your 1B spot on DraftKings.
Those the plays stand out a bit from the rest on both sites, but on a 15 game slate there are tons of viable alternatives. Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) is another member of the Nationals offense with likely lower ownership because of the lack of platoon edge but also comes with a reasonable price tag. Miguel Sano (MIN), Joey Votto (CIN), and Jose Abreu (CHW) are all fine secondary targets with favorable matchups.
If Mark Reynolds (COL) gets into the lineup tonight and finds himself in a favorable lineup spot, his cheap tag ($3,200 on DK, $2,900 on FD) would garner some interest.
Max Muncy (LAD), Mike Moustakas (MIL), and Brian Dozier (WSH) are the three second base options with double digit projections on DraftKings. Jose Altuve (HOU) isn’t too far behind and once again is cheap enough to earn consideration on DraftKings ($4,000) as a value play.
Muncy and Moustakas get the favorable matchups against homer prone RHPs that we’ve talked about at earlier positions. Moustakas is unusually affordable on DraftKings ($4,300) where he stands out as a stronger play but both are fine targets in all formats.
Dozier is the consistently affordable option and his production has steadily climbed as the season has worn on: .280 wOBA/.149 ISO in April, .295 wOBA/.156 ISO in May, .366 wOBA/.288 ISO in June, with it exploding early in July – .456 wOBA/.381 ISO. Dozier is unlikely to garner a strong lineup spot and won’t have the platoon edge but he’s an affordable way to get exposure to the Nationals hefty implied total and someone swinging a hot bat.
Scooter Gennett (CIN) is the strongest competition to Dozier as a value second base option. Gennett slid down in the lineup last night with Derek Dietrich playing in LF with Jesse Winker sidelined. It’s unclear if the Reds intend to jam Dietrich into the lineup all the time against RHP but their depth could slide Gennett down further in our projections. Alec Mills has allowed 1.69 HR/9 in AAA this season and has peripherals in the 5.30 range. He provides a favorable matchup for all the Reds power bats.
On FanDuel, Jonathan Schoop (MIN) is affordable at $2,700 and if granted a strong lineup spot would make sense for a Twins team who matches up well with Steven Matz and the Mets bullpen. Schoop is most compelling as a part of Twins stacks.
If you really need to emphasize salary relief at the position, Nicky Lopez (KC) looks like your best bet. He’s been back near the top of the order of late and is just $2,100 on FanDuel and $2,600 on DraftKings.
Nolan Arenado (COL) and Anthony Rendon (WSH) are well ahead of the field at third base with monstrous projections as arguably the top two batters on the top two offenses on the slate. Arenado has the projection advantage thanks to the platoon edge (career .484 wOBA, .372 ISO against LHP at home). Rendon is a bit cheaper on FanDuel where it’s more of a conversation between the two. Third base is a deep position and there is a clear value on FanDuel so these top options aren’t necessarily priorities but they’re great plays. On DraftKings, where Pablo Sandoval (SF) is priced closer to the two, Arenado will flood optimals.
Pablo Sandoval is the primary target on FanDuel where we expect he’ll hit cleanup in the absence of Evan Longoria. Sandoval is just $2,900 and he’s had a huge resurgence this year thanks to a big power output against RHP (.270 ISO). The price tag is far too cheap for a middle of the order hitter in Coors Field.
The position has no shortage of options but those three stand above the rest. Rafael Devers (BOS), Jose Ramirez (CLE), Mike Moustakas (MIL), Yoan Moncada (CHW), Eugenio Suarez (CIN), Justin Turner (LAD), and Kris Bryant (CHC) are all secondary options.
In general, the position is so deep that we’d prioritize that secondary tier based on which stacks are compelling.
Trevor Story (COL) and Trea Turner (WSH) are the top options at shortstop where once again the Nationals and Rockies are dominating the projections. Turner is the cheaper option of the two and has a slight plate appearance expectation advantage as the road leadoff hitter. It helps close the skill gap as Story has been Arenado-like dominant at home against LHP (.454 wOBA, .407 ISO in his career) and the Rockies have an implied total north of seven. One of these two should be your priority at shortstop for cash games.
Francisco Lindor (CLE) is just behind Turner and Story and makes for a fine GPP target as a part of Cleveland stacks against Ryan Carpenter who has allowed 2.63 HR/9 on his way to a 8.36 ERA and 6.80 FIP this season.
If salary relief is more of an emphasis, you’ll need to target mid tier options like Brandon Crawford (SF), Jonathan Villar (BAL), Paul DeJong (STL), or Leury Garcia (CHW). Of this group, Crawford should see outsized ownership compared to the rest given his strong opening performance in the series. If you’re looking for strong GPP pivots as one-offs, DeJong, Villar, and Garcia certainly make sense.
Juan Soto (WSH) is the top projected outfielder as he breaks away from the Coors Field options thanks to this incredible matchup with Asher Wojciechowski. Soto is one of the primary targets in the outfield on both sites. He’s our favorite Nationals option to get exposure to this evening.
After Soto, we have a big second tier with Christian Yelich (MIL), Cody Bellinger (LAD), Mookie Betts (BOS), Charlie Blackmon (COL), Ian Desmond (COL), Adam Eaton (WSH), Alex Dickerson (SF), and Joc Pederson (LAD) – where eligible.
Of this tier, the secondary Coors Field options and Adam Eaton are the cheapest and thus the primary targets for cash games. Eaton is typically a player that needs the stack to go off to bring him along for upside so in GPPs we’d consider rules that make sure he’s used in stacks. In cash games, he’s a fine target.
The rest of that elite secondary tier makes for strong tournament targets.
In terms of value at the position it’s a similar story to yesterday where Oscar Mercado (CLE) and Jordan Luplow (CLE) are too cheap on FanDuel and make a ton of sense as salary relief targets. You may not need both given the strength of values at other positions but both hold the platoon edge against an opposing starter who has been one of the worst in the league this year.
On DraftKings, Kyle Schwarber (CHC), Jesse Winker (CIN), and Khris Davis (OAK) are all priced below $4,000 and represent fine alternatives to the Cleveland guys who are more appropriately priced.
Delino Deshields Jr. (TEX) is also really affordable on both sites and should garner a strong lineup spot with the platoon edge against a below average lefty. We simply prefer the other alternatives at slightly higher price tags to him as they’re more skilled hitters.