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July 2 MLB DFS: Those Damn Yankees

July 2 MLB DFS: Those Damn Yankees
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Welcome to July 2 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 2 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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Time Stamps
00:41 
Starting Pitcher
13:20 Catcher
16:37 First Base
20:24 Second Base
23:31 Third Base
29:49Shortstop
32:38 Outfield
37:30 Stacks

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  • 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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Range of Outcome Projections

July 2 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Corey Kluber (CLE) and Max Scherzer (WSH) top the starting pitcher projections by a strong margin. Scherzer has been the better pitcher this year (2.19 FIP, 37.1 K Rate compared to 3.28, 26.9 K Rate) but the two face extreme gaps in opposing talent on Monday. Scherzer will face the Red Sox who lead the league in wRC+ against RHP and have one of the lowest strikeout rates in the league against RHP. Kluber faces the Royals who rank 29th in wRC+ and also carry a below average strikeout rate. Our projections still view Scherzer as the better option given the strong gap in skills and Boston’s lineup mostly RH while they also lose the DH, but the gap in price between the two makes Kluber the preferred route in cash games. The savings from Kluber makes a meaningful difference in the builds on offense.

Robbie Ray (ARI) and Luis Castillo (CIN) are the next two highest projected starters on the slate and they are priced very differently. Castillo is one of the cheapest starters on the entire slate ($5,700 on DraftKings and $7,100 on FanDuel) and these price tags make him a focal point as your SP2 on DraftKings and even a possibility as a cash game target on FanDuel. Castillo is an inconsistent talent who often allows hard contact which in Cincinnati gets punished with home runs. He’ll face the White Sox who rank 20th in wRC+ against RHP and have the third highest K Rate against RHP. The White Sox will lose the DH and Castillo is a -181 favorite with a reasonable 4.1 implied total against. Castillo has been notably better against RHBs (.300 wOBA, .154 ISO allowed, and 27.1 K Rate) as a big leaguer and we expect the White Sox will field a majority of LHBs. It’s a great price tag for Castillo and one of the best matchups he could possibly draw. We view him as clearly the SP2 target on DraftKings. On FanDuel, he will pop into some optimals due to the strong offenses you can build around him but we’d still slightly prefer the stability of Kluber lineups.

Ray is an interesting tournament target as he gets caught in pricing limbo on this slate. The Cardinals are a primarily RH heavy lineup but they rank 23rd in wRC+ against LHP this season. Ray is a reasonable favorite at home and has the kind of strikeout upside to match the studs on this slate. He’s also priced down slightly and one start further stretched out in his return from the DL.

While cash games appear fairly straight forward on both sites, there are some mid-tier GPP starters to consider if they come with low ownership. Kyle Gibson (MIN) almost certainly will. He’s set to face the Brewers in the National League and he has a 4.6 implied total against as an underdog. On the plus side for Gibson, the Brewers have been striking out a lot lately against guys like Matt Harvey and Tyler Mahle. Gibson also gets the benefit of facing eight professional hitters when he’s accustomed to facing nine thanks to the loss of the DH.

Domingo German (NYY) has a less clear path to low ownership. He’s facing the Braves who rank 14th in wRC+ against RHP with a below average K Rate. They’re getting the benefit of a DH but their offense should stay a bit more RH heavy which helps German. German’s recent big strikeout totals coupled with a hefty -190 favorite and a modest four run implied total against should make him a reasonably owned mid-tier target. He does have the type of upside you’d consider though in GPPs.

Similarly, Nathan Eovaldi (TB) will draw some interest as the Marlins only have a 3.5 implied total and Eovaldi is going into the National League in a strong pitchers’ park. Eovaldi’s price tag is up in the mid-$8,000s which feels appropriate for this matchup. Eovaldi and German are similar pitchers to Castillo in that they can run up strikeout numbers but are vulnerable to hard contact and home runs. The big difference is Castillo is 2.5k cheaper. On FanDuel, Eovaldi is even cheaper than Castillo and German which makes him a compelling GPP target and perhaps a less volatile version of Castillo but serving the same principles for cash games if you want to put the majority of the burden on your offense.

Finally, on the punt side of things Wei-Yin Chen (MIA) is just $4,600 and the MIA-TB game has a total of 7.5. The Rays lose a DH and their best hitters are mostly from the left side now. This is about the best we can say for Chen who doesn’t project well but could fit the slate with Scherzer and Kluber so expensive.

Catcher

Buster Posey (SF) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Posey is in Coors Field tonight, and he’ll have the platoon edge in his matchup against Kyle Freeland. He’s been a very good hitter vs. LHP, generating a .381 wOBA and .195 ISO since 2017. Posey also gets the benefit of hitting third in this Giants lineup. He’s $4,800 on DK, which is pricey for a catcher, but he’s in play across all formats.

Most of our top optimals on DK have gone after Tucker Barnhart (CIN), who’s $1k cheaper than Posey and gets to hit second in Great American Ball Park against James Shields (.339 wOBA, .214 ISO allowed to LHBs since the start of last season). Barnhart is certainly not as good of a hitter as Posey, but he’s a switch hitter with a very strong context and has the second highest projection at the catcher position tonight.

We’d like to end the cash game conversation with Posey and Barnhart tonight. There are some intriguing tournament pivots like Yasmani Grandal (LAD) (35% HHR over the L15 days, gets to hit from the left side) and Tom Murphy (COL) (platoon edge in Coors Field) that are priced accurately but have the power upside we’re looking for in tournaments. Wilson Ramos (TB) can be thrown into that group as well as he’ll have the platoon edge against a subpar, fly ball pitcher but the hitting environment (Marlins Park) isn’t a good one.

First Base

Joey Votto (CIN) carries the top projection at first base. He’s in Great American Ball Park facing James Shields, which is a phenomenal context. Votto has generated a .413 wOBA and .219 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. He’s a big part of our top optimals on both sites.

If you’re in need of salary relief at the position, Greg Bird (NYY) stands out. He’s priced under the average cost of a roster spot on both sites and he’ll have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium against Anibal Sanchez (.341 wOBA, .201 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017). It’s a strong context for Bird, who’s been a fine power bat (.207 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) with the platoon edge. Yonder Alonso (CLE) is another cheap option to consider on FD ($2,800). Alonso will have the platoon edge on the road against Jake Junis, who’s allowed a .173 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season).

The rest of the position is priced appropriately, but you can still attack these names in tournaments. Eric Thames (MIL) is a standout. He’s at home and with the platoon edge he’s slugged a .294 ISO since 2017. Freddie Freeman (ATL) is in Yankee Stadium and will have the platoon edge as well. He has a matchup against Domingo German, who’s been able to generate an above league average K rate but has issues with the long ball (1.54 HR/9 allowed this season). Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) and Jose Abreu (CHW) have strong road matchups against pitchers that have been bit by the long ball this season. Brandon Belt (SF) has a L/L matchup, but it’s in Coors Field and the price tag on FD ($3,600) is very reasonable.

Second Base

Scooter Gennett (CIN), DJ LeMahieu (COL) and Yoan Moncada (CHW) form the top tier of second basemen in this slate with the top projections at the position. These three hitters are in excellent hitting environments and will have the platoon edge, so we’re looking to attack the better price tags of the group in cash games. Moncada is by far the cheapest on FD where he’s $3,100, and he’ll be a necessity if you’re going after expensive pitching on that site. If you’re going the cheap route at SP, Gennett is a fine fit with a $3,700 price tag. LeMahieu has the toughest matchup of the bunch and his price tag is on the appropriate side around the industry, but he remains a viable target in Coors Field.

We’ve seen our top DK optimals go in a different direction at the position as it’s trying to generate a little bit more salary relief in order to fit in an expensive pitcher. That’s where options like Brian Dozier (MIN), Jonathan Villar (MIL) and Daniel Descalso (ARI) can be considered. Dozier is the best hitter of the bunch, and with the platoon edge he’s generated a .382 wOBA and .242 ISO since the start of last season. He’s on the road in Miller Park tonight, which is a nice boost in hitting environment for these Twins. Dozier is also the priciest of the bunch ($4k) but it’s still a cheaper tag than the top options at the position. Villar carries strong speed upside if he can reach base, but he’s been an underwhelming hitter, posting a .295 wOBA vs. RHP since 2017.

Ozzie Albies (ATL) deserves a look in tournaments given the strong context (in Yankee Stadium, gets to hit from the left side), but the price tag takes him away from the cash game conversation.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (COL) will have the platoon edge in Coors Field. As a result, he’s the top projected scorer at the position but a matchup against Madison Bumgarner is keeping his projection in check. Arenado has been ridiculous vs. LHP. Since the start of last season, he’s generated an absurd .543 wOBA and .423 ISO (!) against southpaws. The price tag is deservingly appropriate, but the matchup against Bumgarner won’t stop us from going after him in tournaments. After all, Bumgarner has allowed plenty of power (.207 ISO) to RHBs since 2017.

Jose Ramirez (CLE) deserves tournament consideration, but he’s as expensive as Arenado around the industry. The price tag is simply too steep to pay in cash games.

On FD, we’ve seen Jake Lamb (ARI) take over the top optimals with a $3,500 price tag. Lamb has been exceptional with the platoon edge, generating a .365 wOBA and .239 ISO since 2017. Carlos Martinez isn’t an exciting matchup, but he’s always had wide platoon splits. Since the start of last season, Martinez has allowed a .276 wOBA and has struck out 28.5% of RHBs; against LHBs, he’s allowed a .320 wOBA and has struck out 20.8%. He’s also been more wild vs. LHBs (12% walk rate). Travis Shaw (MIL) is a viable pivot that’s hit RHP well and gets to hit in a better hitting  environment than Lamb. He’s $3,400 on FD.

On DK, Lamb and Shaw have price tags in the low $4ks, which keeps them in play. However, our top optimals have gone after more salary relief with options like Daniel Descalso (ARI) and Jedd Gyorko (STL) priced in the mid to low $3ks. They’ll have the platoon edge in their respective matchups, and we’ve seen them hit for plenty of power in this split. Descalso has generated a .193 ISO vs. RHP and Gyorko has slugged a .283 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season.

Shortstop

Francisco Lindor (CLE) is the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. He’s on the road leading off against Jake Junis and the worst bullpen in baseball. Lindor has been remarkable yet again. After hitting 33 home runs and stealing 15 bases last season, he’s up to 21 home runs and 10 stolen bases this season and the all-star break is still a couple of weeks away. The key for him as it is for essentially any hitter that starts to hit more home runs has been generating more loft – 42% FB rate last season and 39% this season after being in the 28% range over the first couple of seasons. The challenge with Lindor is that he’s pricey on both sites, but that won’t keep us away from him in tournaments.

Trevor Story (COL) is the next in line target at the position, but he’s also pricey given the context (platoon edge in Coors Field). We prefer him in tournaments tonight.

In cash games, it makes more sense to find a cheaper target at the position. Didi Gregorius (NYY) is $4,300 on DK and gives you access to a Yankees offense that carries a slate high 5.5 IRT. Didi gets the benefit of pulling the ball into that short porch in Yankee Stadium. He’s generated a .234 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. If you need more salary relief on DK, Ketel Marte (ARI) is a decent target with a $3,500 price tag. It’s not a very exciting play though given that he’s not a good hitter (.292 wOBA vs. RHP since 2017) and we’re projecting him to hit sixth at home.

Gregorius can still be considered on FD, but the price tag ($3,800) is annoying enough to make you look elsewhere. Thankfully, Jose Peraza (CIN) is $3,200 and projects very similarly to Gregorius on that site. Peraza isn’t a good hitter, but he has speed upside (14 stolen bases this season; 23 last season) and he’s been hitting leadoff or second of late.

 

Outfield

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) carries the top projection in this slate regardless of hitting position. Stanton is at home facing Anibal Sanchez, who’s surrendered a .378 wOBA and .228 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Stanton has been a very good hitter vs. RHP (.361 wOBA, .265 ISO since the start of last season), but teammate Aaron Judge (NYY) has been otherworldly without the platoon edge. Judge has slugged a .434 wOBA and .339 ISO vs. RHP. These two can be considered in all formats around the industry. Brett Gardner (NYY) is nowhere near the caliber of hitter as these two, but he’s the leadoff hitter for the Yankees offense and has been a modest hitter with the platoon edge (.350 wOBA, .176 ISO since 2017). Gardner is just $3,700 on DK, where he’s been a big part of our top optimals.

Andrew McCutchen (SF) is a fine alternative should you not be able to land one of Stanton or Judge in cash games. McCutchen is a little bit cheaper around the industry and gets to hit in Coors Field with the platoon edge.

You’ll need immediate salary relief after rostering one of the Yankees sluggers or McCutchen in cash games. Thankfully, we have a decent amount of those in this slate. Tommy Pham’s (STL) price tag has reached a new low on FD ($2,900). Robbie Ray misses plenty of bats and he’s a good pitcher, but he allows some power to RHBs (.152 ISO) and Pham has been lights out vs. LHP (.396 wOBA, .221 ISO since 2017). You need him on FD. Gorkys Hernandez (SF) stands out on DK given the price tag ($3,800) for a road leadoff hitter in Coors Field. Adam Duvall (CIN) has cheap price tags on both sites and this context, facing James Shields at home, is a strong one for his power stroke. Avisail Garcia (CHW) has a sub $3k price tag on FD. The matchup against Luis Castillo isn’t great but that’s a cheap price tag for a hitter that’s in Great American Ball Park and gets favorable lineup spots.

Michael Brantley (CLE) and Christian Yelich (MIL) are viable tournament targets that could go overlooked in this slate. We’ll have to monitor Yelich’s status though, as he’s missed the last three games with back tightness. If he’s back in the lineup tonight, there’s a strong chance that he lands in the leadoff spot.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Cincinnati Reds

2) New York Yankees

3) San Francisco Giants

4) Cleveland Indians

5) Colorado Rockies

This is an unusual slate where we have Coors Field but neither of the offenses involved in that game rank at the top of our stack rankings.

The Reds get to face James Shields who has been frustrating to pick on this year with a .248 BABIP despite allowing a 16.7 hard minus soft hit rate this season. Batters are still hitting the ball hard against him but this year they’ve been finding gloves more often than in years past. Shields HR/FB Rate is down about 25 percent over his career average and nearly in half from where it’s sat the last three years. We expect regression will come and the Reds’ offense is in a strong position to succeed. They’re priced appropriately so we expect the Yankees may carry heavier ownership than the Reds.

The Yankees face Anibal Sanchez in Yankee Stadium which is a match made for long balls. Sanchez allows lots of power to RHBs (.230 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015) and the Yankees have lots of power from the right side. With these stacks tightly bunched in both price tag and projection we assume the Yankees name value will draw in slightly more ownership tonight.

The Giants and Rockies are both facing above average pitchers but in Coors Field. The combination should keep ownership in check on both stacks as users look for more reasons to “fade” Coors Field. We think this may actually create lower ownership on the Coors Field game than the counterparts in the first tier as both offenses are adequately priced. The Rockies in particular are interesting given Bumgarner’s strong recent two starts rewarded chalkier ownership but he’s still allowing a 40.6 percent hard hit rate this season.

Cleveland is a fantastic contrarian target on this slate. Jakob Junis can generate some swings and misses so DFS-ers don’t consider him an easy pitcher to pick on, but he’s not dissimilar than Anibal Sanchez in that he yields a lot of homers. The hard minus soft contact is WAY better (0 percent) who as a result has a lower BABIP but the bullpen behind him is also way worse. Cleveland is guaranteed nine innings of plate appearances and they have the hardest composite team hit rate over the last 15 days.

Tier Two

6) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers always rate well for us with a good power-speed combination in their lineup that generates DFS points. The Twins bullpen was worked hard over the weekend.

Tier Three

7) Arizona Diamondbacks

8) Washington Nationals

9) Atlanta Braves

10) Chicago White Sox

This third tier projects far worse than the top tier as on average they’re closer to 1.3 points per player below the top tier offenses. The White Sox are an interesting leverage stack in really large field GPPs on DraftKings. Luis Castillo is going to be owned because of his price tag and when he goes wrong it’s via home runs. If Castillo struggles, the White Sox are likely leaving the yard at really low ownership.

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