Welcome to July 18 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for July 18 MLB DFS along with our LIVE Premium Chat and cliff notes. Make sure you’re using our 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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July 18 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:39 Starting Pitcher
11:52 First Base
15:02 Second Base
17:01 Third Base
- 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.
July 18 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
Clayton Kershaw (LAD) has almost no competition on this slate. Only Robbie Ray (ARI) is even projected within 10 DK points of Kershaw, and he’s still nearly seven points behind. While Kershaw is expensive on both sites, the massive gap between him and all other pitchers makes him a cash game building block. There are reasons to fade in tournaments – a combination of expensive bats and negative context for Kershaw, who receives a negative park and league shift while facing a White Sox team ranked fourth in wRC+ against LHP.
Ray is the main pivot off Kershaw. While it’s true he’s really the only option within five ballparks of Kershaw, Ray does possess the requisite upside to be used in tournaments. Ray’s K rate has impressively risen from 28.1% to 32.1%, and that change is backed up by a combination of more curve ball usage (which has rated very effectively on a per pitch basis) and 1.9 point increase in SwStr rate. The issue with Ray is the floor. He’s in a home run paradise in Cincinnati where it’s 90 degrees, and Ray’s combination of fly ball tilt and high Hard% make him quite the risk on the run prevention side (4.8 IRTA).
In the mid-tier we’re given a slew of pitchers that are throwing well but overpriced, making them dicy risk/reward propositions. The trio we’re mostly talking about in that regard are Brad Peacock (HOU) (32.1 K%), Michael Wacha (STL) (27.7 K% last five starts, double digit SwStr% in three of four), and Mike Clevinger (CLE) (wild and power prone but a 27.5 K%) on the season.
As a result, we’d probably take our chances with cheap options, either as an SP2 on DK or as tournament plays if not spending up. Our model most prefers Blake Snell (TB) among the cheap Sps. The problem with Snell is his fly ball tilt combined with his wildness (career 5.43 BB/9). That’s tolerable when he’s striking people out, but he hasn’t thus far this year (19.2%). The velocity is down on the season, but the good news is he’s recorded his two highest average fastball velocities in back to back starts. Both ZiPS and Steamer are expecting a healthy rebound in K rate. And from a contextual standpoint, pitching in Oakland should help mitigate Snell’s fly ball riskiness.
Behind Snell, you could take a shot on Vincent Velasquez (PHI) in his first start back from the DL. We’re not expecting a full workload, although we haven’t officially seen a pitch count on him. That’s not a bad move to make in GPPs given the high K upside and likely low ownership. Rafael Montero (NYM) can be thrown in here as another high risk SP who likely won’t pitch deep but can still rack up Ks.
The best cash game pivot off of Snell as a cheap SP2 is probably Adam Conley (MIA), who is the largest favorite of the options we’re discussing (-141_ with the lowest IRTA (4.2). If you’re purely punting the SP2 spot, Chris Smith (OAK) is sub-5k in a pitcher’s park against a K happy Rays team.
Russell Martin (TOR) gets the cash game conversation started at the catcher position. Martin will have the platoon edge in Fenway Park, which is meaningful for his projection. He’s generated a .345 wOBA and .184 ISO vs. LHP since 2015, and Fenway Park is one of the better environments for RH pull power. The $2,700 price tag on FD makes him particularly appealing.
On DK, we also get Yasmani Grandal (LAD) at a similar price tag. Grandal’s power stroke meets a good hitting environment and a pitcher that struggles with power (Miguel Gonzalez). If you want to create a little more salary relief at the position and use the savings elsewhere, James McCann (DET) is a decent sub $3,000 value on DK as he’ll have the platoon edge against Travis Wood.
Gary Sanchez (NYY) is a difficult fit alongside Kershaw in this slate, but he’s our top projected scorer in a matchup against Bartolo Colon, who’s allowed at least six earned runs in three of his last four starts.
Willson Contreras (CHC) has a 34.8% HHR over the L15, but he’s getting pricey. We like him in tournaments.
DK is doing us a favor and pricing Wil Myers (SD) at $4,100 in Coors, Miguel Cabrera (DET) at $3,700 vs. Travis Wood and Chris Davis (BAL) at $3,100 with the platoon edge. This trio isn’t in the best recent form (negative deltas in their HHR over the L15 – Davis just came back from the DL), but their contexts at these price tags makes them appealing in all formats.
On FD, Davis is $2,900 and he’s the best point per dollar fit at this price tag alongside Kershaw. There’s also Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) in a great matchup and on the road (Cincinnati – warm weather), but he’s expensive. It’s a route worth taking if you’re using a cheap SP in cash, but we prefer him in tournaments. Matt Holliday (NYY) doesn’t have great recent form either, but a sub $3,000 price tag in a matchup against Bartolo Colon simply fits the slate. If you had the opportunity of spending more, Cody Bellinger (LAD) and Justin Smoak (TOR) are great spends but they profile as better tournament targets given the price tags in a Kershaw slate.
Mark Reynolds (COL), Matt Carpenter (STL) (1B eligible on DK) and Kendrys Morales (TOR) are additional tournament targets that can be considered at a deep position.
Brian Dozier (MIN) is our top projected scorer at second base. The middling price tag on FD keeps him in the cash game conversation, but realistically you’re going to be looking at cheaper values at this position in a Kershaw slate. Dozier is an excellent tournament target.
Rougned Odor (TEX) and Ian Kinsler (DET) have cheaper price tags than usual around the industry and they represent the best point per dollar values at the position. Kinsler had been struggling even before the ASB, but he’ll have the platoon edge and he’s generated a .358 wOBA and .188 ISO vs. LHP since 2015. Odor’s power stroke meets a matchup against Dylan Bundy in Camden Yards. Bundy’s K rate has slipped all the way down to 12.2% vs. LHBs this season.
On FD, it’s possible you might need to eek out more salary relief at this position, and that’s where Chase Utley (LAD) enters the conversation should he lead off for the Dodgers. Utley is just $2,400 on that site.
DJ LeMahieu (COL) is priced appropriately around the industry since he’s at home (Coors). We prefer him in tournaments at these price tags.
Josh Donaldson (TOR) is essentially tied in projection with Nolan Arenado (COL), who’s at Coors with an IRT approaching 6.5 runs. Donaldson’s production is down this season and we’re hoping that the ASB gave him a chance to rest his legs. Still, he’s $3,600 on FD and $4,700 on DK, which are discounted price tags when you consider that he’s been a monster vs. LHP (.406 wOBA, .270 ISO since 2015) and he’s in Fenway Park facing a subpar southpaw. Arenado isn’t a must tonight given the depth at the position but he’s viable across all formats as well.
Jake Lamb (ARI) will have the platoon edge against Sal Romano in Cincinnati. Romano has only made two starts this season, but ZiPS doesn’t like him much (5.26 ROS ERA according to ZiPS). Like Donaldson, Lamb’s price tags around the industry are discounted.
Nicholas Castellanos (DET) is just $3,600 on DK with the platoon edge against Travis Wood, who’s made most of his appearances out of the pen this season and has been awful (5.86 xFIP, 5.39 SIERA). If you’re not able to get to Donaldson on DK, Castellanos is our preference as he fits the slate.
Kris Bryant (CHC) (nice price tag on FD), Miguel Sano (MIN) and Justin Turner (LAD) are other upside options that you can consider in tournaments. This trio will likely carry lower ownership than the options above.
The high upside targets like Corey Seager (LAD) and Carlos Correa (HOU) are appealing given their contexts and individual skills, but they don’t fit the slate from a cash game perspective. They’re great tournament targets in the middle infield.
We want to save some salary at the shortstop position. Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) with the platoon edge in Fenway Park against a flyballer Brian Johnson is appealing at $3,300 on DK, while Marcus Semien (OAK) at a punt price tag ($2,400) on FD puts him in the cash game conversation. It’s a bad ballpark for hitters in Oakland, but Semien has amassed a .212 ISO vs. LHP since 2015.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) is the splits the difference option on both sites. He’s on the road in Baltimore facing a pitcher that’s been more contact prone this season (Bundy).
Charlie Blackmon (COL) is our top projected scorer regardless of position in this slate as he’s in Coors facing a pitcher that’s allowed tons of aerial hard contact (Dinelson Lamet – 36.8% GB rate, 25% hard minus soft hard hit rate according to fangraphs). The challenge with Blackmon on FD is that you have to choose between him and Kershaw in cash games, and our lean is always to secure the security of Kershaw in that format. It’s possible to use Blackmon on DK, and you won’t have to fade Kershaw to use him on that site. His teammate, Carlos Gonzalez (COL), fits the slate better given his reduced price tags around the industry. CarGo hasn’t been in his usual form all season long, but he gives you cheap Coors exposure.
The name of the game is saving salary in the OF in a Kershaw slate. Shin-Soo Choo (TEX), Lorenzo Cain (KC) and Manuel Margot (SD) (leadoff road hitter in Coors) represent the best sub $4,000 values on DK. Zack Granite (MIN) might be a necessary evil in this slate on both sites. Granite is minimum priced on FD, and if he’s hitting second you won’t find a better value hovering at that sort of price tag in the OF. On DK, the $2,900 price tag looks like the key to unlock Blackmon without sacrificing Kershaw. On FD, David Peralta and A.J. Pollock (ARI) are sub $3,500. They’re in Cincinnati facing a young pitcher. Dexter Fowler (STL) is $2,800 on that site.
Aaron Judge (NYY) is facing one of the worst pitchers on the slate. You know what to do here in tournaments.
1) Colorado Rockies
On a slate that is incredibly deep with offense, the Rockies separate themselves from the pack. Lamet can miss bats, but when he allows balls in play, they’re generally of the hard hit variety and in the air, which will play very poorly in Coors.
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3) Arizona Diamondbacks
4) Toronto Blue Jays
5) Texas Rangers
6) San Diego Padres
The Dodgers are our favorite non-Coors stack. They get a big park shift in their favor playing at CWS, and opposing pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is homer prone: 1.49 HR/9, which is pretty much in line with ZiPS ROS projections. The Dodgers projected lineup has our second highest 15-day Hard% average and as a team over the last 14-days they lead the league in FanGraphs’ Hard%. Additionally they are fifth in wRC+ against RHP.
7) Chicago Cubs
8) Detroit Tigers
9) Houston Astros
10) New York Yankees
Addition Stack Notes
Beyond Coors we have 11 teams with an IRT between 5 and 5.5 and a total of 23/30 teams on the slate with an IRT of at least 4.5. Only one team has an IRT below 4 and that team is facing Kershaw. It makes tournament strategy, quite frankly, difficult as many offenses could go off in this slate. It’ll be important to monitor potential ownership throughout the day since you’ll be able to create leverage on the field without sacrificing ownership.