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July 2 MLB DFS Early Slate: JOSE, Jose, Jose, JOSE
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July 2 MLB DFS Early Slate: JOSE, Jose, Jose, JOSE

00:40 Starting Pitchers
06:12 Catchers
08:50 First Base
12:05 Second Base
14:35 Shortstop
17:08 Third Base
19:17 Outfield
21:10 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks

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July 2 MLB DFS Early Slate Pro Tip

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Jose Fernandez (MIA)

Tier Two

2) Chris Sale (CWS)

3) Danny Duffy (KC)

4) Justin Verlander (DET)

Tier Three

5) Adam Wainwright (STL)

6) Doug Fister (HOU)

7) Aaron Nola (PHI)

8) Marco Estrada (TOR)

Unlike the last couple of days, the starting pitcher position has a true cash game foundation today. We have Jose Fernandez (MIA) ranked ahead of every other pitcher in this slate by a healthy margin. Fernandez has generated an absurd 37.6 percent K rate this season backed up by a 15 percent SwStr rate, and his run prevention is excellent (2.28 ERA/2.37 xFIP). The Braves don’t strike out much (19.5 percent K rate vs. RHP this season), but they’re awful (ranked 30th in wRC+ vs. RHP). The price for Fernandez is full on both sites, but there are ways to fit him in cash without surrendering upside on the hitting side. Fernandez represents a cash game foundation for us this afternoon. Our second ranked pitcher, Chris Sale (CWS), has tournament value relative to the matchup (Astros are striking out nearly 25 percent of the time vs. LHP) but we’re not interested in cash games (his K rate is down from 32 percent last season to 25 percent this season and his asking price around the industry is too high).

Danny Duffy (KC) is our favorite complement to Fernandez on DraftKings. His matchup against the Phillies is perfect (ranked 30th in wRC+ and they’re striking out almost 24 percent of the time vs. LHP – their team total today is 3.8 runs), and he’s been a stud so far this season (29.7 percent K rate, six percent BB rate and a 3.24 ERA/3.60 xFIP) thanks to an increase in velocity (95.7 MPH this season – 93.8 MPH last season). Duffy will also benefit from a league shift (going from an AL park to the NL, where he won’t have to face a DH).

We’re pursuing Justin Verlander (DET) in tournaments (the Rays’ swing for the fences approach brings some downside for Verlander, but it also brings upside in the form of Ks, as they’re striking out 25 percent of the time vs. RHP). Adam Wainwright (STL) has some cash value (especially on a site like FanDuel) since he’s likely going to be the second highest favorite in this slate (-170). However, we’re not willing to fade Fernandez in cash games today, so he’s more of a tournament option (we like him better in that format anyways – Brewers are striking out 26 percent of the time vs. RHP but Wainwright has been inconsistent this season, which makes it difficult to trust him in cash).

Catcher Rankings

1) Victor Martinez (DET) – where eligible

2) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

3) Russell Martin (TOR)

The catcher position is the last position we’re filling out in this slate. Other than Russell Martin (TOR) on DraftKings, no catcher cracks positive value today. We’re looking to punt this position with Martin or any other catcher in a decent lineup spot.

First Base Rankings

1) Miguel Cabrera (DET)

2) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

3) Carlos Santana (CLE)

4) Eric Hosmer (KC)

5) Jose Abreu (CWS)

We caught a break with the Toronto Blue Jays on DraftKings, where they’re all underpriced. Trevor Bauer was scheduled to pitch, but he pitched last night in that 19 inning game so he’ll no longer pitch today. This might be a bullpen game for the Indians, or they could elect to 1) call up a starter from the minors or 2) push Corey Kluber to a three-day rest start. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) is just $3,800 on DraftKings. As long as Corey Kluber doesn’t get the start, Encarnacion represents our primary target at the position on DraftKings, but he’s priced correctly on FanDuel, and the majority of our funds are tied up with Jose Fernandez on that site. Eric Hosmer (KC) is the cheapest we’re willing to go at the position on FanDuel ($3,200). He’ll face Aaron Nola, who hasn’t been able to pitch out of the third inning in each of his last four starts. We love his teammate Kendrys Morales (KC) in tournaments (price has caught up to his production of late; +1.2 change over the last two weeks in our well-hit tool, and he hit another home run last night). Justin Bour (MIA) is another well-hit tool darling (+0.8 change over the last two weeks in our well-hit tool), and we continue to like him in tournaments.

Second Base Rankings

1) Matt Carpenter (STL)

2) Jose Altuve (HOU)

3) Jason Kipnis (CLE)

4) Brian Dozier (MIN)

5) Derek Dietrich (MIA)

For value at second base, we’re turning to Derek Dietrich (MIA) on FanDuel and Devon Travis (TOR) on DraftKings. Dietrich is nearly min. priced on FanDuel, and he leads off the majority of the time vs. RHP. Dietrich has generated a .386 wOBA and .189 ISO vs. RHP since 2015, so he’s clearly underpriced on FanDuel relative to his skills and opportunity (four PAs are guaranteed as a leadoff hitter on the road). Travis has been hitting second for the Blue Jays as of late, and his asking price is too low on DraftKings ($3,100). Vegas hasn’t posted a line for the Blue Jays game, but we’re expecting their team total to land somewhere in the high 4s now that Trevor Bauer won’t be available to start.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Francisco Lindor (CLE)

3) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

4) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

5) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

Shortstop is a tough position to find value on FanDuel, but on DraftKings, Carlos Correa (HOU) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) are simply underpriced. They represent our top values at the position on that site, but on FanDuel we’re not fond of paying fair prices for them. Jonathan Villar (MIL) and Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) won’t crack positive value, but they’re cheaper and frankly we’re not interested in funneling more funds to this position because the downside could be huge (would likely cost you Jose Fernandez on that site, and we’re not willing to do that).

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

3) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

4) Maikel Franco (PHI)

5) Todd Frazier (CWS)

Josh Donaldson (TOR) represents another underpriced Blue Jay (won’t be the last one we touch on) on DraftKings ($3,900 on that site). He’s our primary cash game target there, but our thoughts are very different on FanDuel where Donaldson is priced correctly. You’re going to have to spend low to mid $3,000s for a third baseman in cash games on FanDuel, and while they don’t break positive value, Adrian Beltre (TEX) and Maikel Franco (PHI) are neutral values (there’s not a single positive value at the position on that site anyways). If you can’t quite get up to those two, Trevor Plouffe (MIN) (a negative value on FanDuel but he’s hitting fifth for a Twins offense that has a team total approaching five runs) is a viable alternative.

Outfield Rankings

1) Miguel Sano (MIN)

2) Christian Yelich (MIA)

3) George Springer (HOU)

4) Shin-soo Choo (TEX)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Ryan Braun (MIL)

7) Ian Desmond (TEX)

8) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

9) Adam Eaton (CWS)

10) Ezequiel Carrera (TOR)

Miguel Sano (MIN) is our top ranked outfielder (third ranked overall hitter this afternoon), and he’s just $3,000 on FanDuel. We love picking on Chi Chi Gonzalez (10.5 percent K rate in his short career, backed up by a 4.25 ERA/5.26 xFIP), and we’re excited to do it with Sano today (his main struggle is striking out, but when he makes contact with the ball, it usually goes a long way as evidenced by a .247 ISO in 546 PAs at the major league level). Sano is priced appropriately on DraftKings, but he’s still a cash viable target on that site. Casey Kelly was supposed to start for the Atlanta Braves today, but he pitched last night since the game went to extra innings. We’re not sure who’s starting for Atlanta, but Christian Yelich (MIA) is our second ranked outfielder and he has a solid price tag on both sites. Alex Gordon (KC) is a good value play on both FanDuel and DraftKings, as he’ll take on the struggling Aaron Nola (priced below the average cost of a hitter on both sites). Ezequiel Carrera and Michael Saunders (TOR) are below $3,000 on DraftKings, which makes them elite value plays on that particular site (especially Carrera, who leads off for the Jays). We don’t want to pick on Chris Sale much, but George Springer (HOU) is just $3,800 on DraftKings and he’s one of our favorite event players in baseball. For tournaments, we’ll take Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna (MIA) (priced appropriately everywhere but we like their power upside against a bad Atlanta pitching staff).

Stacks

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays (as long as Kluber doesn’t start)

Tier Two

2) Texas Rangers

3) Minnesota Twins

4) St. Louis Cardinals

Tier Three

5) Detroit Tigers

6) Cleveland Indians

Our focus is on the Toronto Blue Jays in cash games on DraftKings thanks to their friendly prices, but on FanDuel we’re taking on a more balanced approach. We’re more likely to take on more pieces from our second tier of offenses on that site, and that meshes well with our overall approach today (lock Jose Fernandez in cash while simultaneously giving yourself some upside on the hitting side with offenses that have above average team totals). The Miami Marlins will likely land somewhere in our second tier of offenses (Vegas hasn’t posted a line on that game yet), and they have power bats that can do damage vs. the Braves’ below average pitching staff. They’re a natural fit for us in tournaments, and some of their hitters (like Dietrich/Yelich) have cash game value as well.

For tournament value, we like the St. Louis Cardinals (we’d love their lineup even more if they include more LHBs vs. Jimmy Nelson, who has extreme splits – very good pitcher vs. RHBs but awful vs. LHBs, allowing a .360 wOBA and .191 ISO to LHBs since 2015) and our tier three offenses (the Detroit Tigers in a bad hitting environment vs. an inexperienced LHP and the Cleveland Indians in a good hitting environment and facing a pitcher that has clearly gotten lucky – Marco Estrada has a 2.81 ERA/4.62 xFIP).

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