Welcome to July 21 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for July 21 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 21 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:40 Starting Pitcher
11:45 First Base
15:53 Second Base
18:08 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 21 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections
We’re absolutely loaded up top at the starting pitcher position on a large Friday slate with Max Scherzer (WAS), Chris Sale (BOS), and Alex Wood (LAD). As absurd as Chris Sale has been (36.4 K%, 1.99 FIP, averaging 11 Ks over last 6 starts), he carries the heftiest price tag and a matchup against a contact oriented Angels team. He still has an elite combination of ceiling and floor, but the top tier values are Scherzer and Wood.
Let’s start with Mad Max. Against RHBs this season, Scherzer has struck out 45.6% of batters faced. That’s jaw dropping. It’s especially relevant against a Diamondbacks offense that is good but righty heavy. We’re currently projecting just two LHBs, which gives Scherzer a gaudy 10.9 K projection, nearly three strikeouts higher than any other SP on the slate. The only reason Scherzer isn’t a lock on this slate is there is some run prevention risk in Arizona.
Meanwhile, Alex Wood is at home, and we’re estimating him as a larger favorite with an IRTA about half a run lower than Scherzer’s. Atlanta is contact oriented, but you neutralize two of their power hitters in Matt Adams (won’t play) and Freddie Freeman with a LH starter. Wood has a 1.56 ERA that is backed up by a 2.04 FIP and 1.9 Hard-Soft%.
We prefer Scherzer’s K floor, but on a large slate with a lot of offense, if you need to dip down to Wood that’s perfectly acceptable. We wouldn’t stray from using one of these two studs as your cash game anchor on both sites.
The SP2 conversation on DK is tricky for cash games. Scherzer’s high cost may push you towards a riskier but cheaper option like Trevor Bauer (CLE). Bauer has the K upside to easily pay off his tag, but there’s plenty of volatility here. In his past seven starts, he’s had three DK outings of 2 points or less. That volatility may be tough to swallow on a slate where there are strong mid-tier options, they’re just tough to fit alongside expensive bats and an expensive SP1.
Those strong mid-tier options are Jeff Samardzija (SF) and Aaron Nola (PHI). Samardzija just got blasted for 7 ERs against the Padres last time out, but that start was typical of his season – unlucky, especially with the long ball, masking an increase in dominance. Shark has a 3.07 xFIP and will see the ERA drop when his trio of luck stats normalizes: BABIP, HR/FB%, and LOB%. He has a career high 26.4 K%, and the Padres are a bad offense that will swing and miss. This game will be played in the best pitcher’s park in baseball in San Francisco.
Nola is in a tougher environment in Philadelphia. It’s a better hitter’s park to begin with and that will be exacerbated by temperatures in the 90s. The good news with Nola is he’s been dominant recently, striking out 27.5% of batters faced over his last five starts. The Brewers have the third highest K% against RHP on the season.
Steven Matz (NYM) has been tough to figure out since returning from the DL. He returned to four straight strong and long starts before getting blown up in back to back outings. The peripherals suggest the recent performances may be more indicative of where he’s at right now, but it’s a fine price tag to use in tournaments.
Other cheaper options for tournaments are Ian Kennedy (KC), Jaime Garcia (ATL) (some trade rumors), and Andrew Moore (SEA). Kennedy has the most upside, but all are just GPP fliers simply as cap options – not because they are good GPP plays in a vacuum.
Yu Darvish (TEX) hasn’t been his dominant self this season, but he gets a positive park shift pitching in Tampa Bay. He’s the one SP outside of the elite trio who can match said trio in K upside. He’s a strong tournament play on both sites.
From a cash game perspective, the conversation at the catcher position around the industry is largely between Salvador Perez (KC) and Brian McCann (HOU). Perez is facing James Shields and his fly ball tendencies in hot weather (once again, temps will reach the low 90s in KC tonight). Shields has posted a 5.10 ERA this season, but his xFIP is over a full run worse (6.21). McCann gets a worse lineup spot than Perez, but his matchup is tasty as well. He’ll face Ubaldo Jimenez, (.360 wOBA and .217 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015) and the hitting conditions are excellent in Baltimore (low 90s temps).
In tournaments, you can expand the position to include Gary Sanchez (NYY), Alex Avila (DET) and Russell Martin (TOR). Our preference here is with Avila, who’s facing a major regression candidate (Ervin Santana – 2.99 ERA/4.88 xFIP).
Joey Votto (CIN) is the top projected scorer at the first base position. The challenge with Votto tonight from a cash game perspective boils down to his price tag and the opportunity cost at the position. The $3,900 looks great on FD and he’s our best value at the position, but it’ll be too difficult to fit him alongside Scherzer. Use him with confidence in tournaments.
Eric Hosmer (KC) is our best value at the position on both sites. He’ll get James Shields in hot Kauffman Stadium and his HHR is up to 34.8% over the L15. We’re hoping that Shields’ inability to keep the ball in the ground helps Hosmer create more loft. Josh Bell (PIT) isn’t far behind in projection from Hosmer on DK, and he’s in Coors with a $3,900 price tag. He’s an excellent value on that site. Tommy Joseph (PHI) is really cheap on DK ($3,000) and he’ll be hitting in one of the better hitting environments on the slate (temps will be in the low 90s in Philly). We’re hoping he hits in the middle of the lineup instead of sixth. Chris Davis‘ (BAL) price tag is on the rise, but it’s still light on both sites given the power upside he possesses. Davis has the tougher matchup (Mike Fiers – has held LHBs to a .296 wOBA this season), but he’ll get to hit in an excellent hitting environment (Baltimore). Miguel Cabrera (DET) ($3,700) and Eric Thames (MIL) ($4,000) are simply too cheap on DK.
Jose Abreu (CWS) and Ryon Healy (OAK) (punt price on DK) are other names to consider in tournaments at a deep position.
Jose Altuve (HOU) and Brian Dozier (MIN) represent the top projected scorers at second base and they’re strong tournament targets in this slate. Dozier’s $3,600 price tag on FD keeps him in the cash game conversation, but we’d still rather invest in tournaments rather than cash games.
Jonathan Schoop (BAL) is our preferred target at the position in cash games. Schoop’s price tag on both sites is very accessible (particularly on DK), and while Fiers has pitched great this season, he’s been more vulnerable to RHBs (.359 wOBA, 2.51 HR/9 allowed to RHBs this season). The other challenge for Fiers tonight is the environment (really hot temps in Baltimore once again). On DK, we’re getting a gift at the position as Josh Harrison (PIT) is just $3,700 and he’ll hit second in Coors.
Dee Gordon (MIA) and Jonathan Villar (MIL) are viable alternatives in cash games on FD where fitting Max will force you to make some sacrifices. These two are sub $3,000 on that site.
Nolan Arenado (COL) is the top projected scorer at a deep third base position. Arenado has been on a roll lately, scorching the ball (37.9% HHR over the L15) and he’s in Coors once again tonight. He’s viable in cash games if you’re willing to take a different route at SP.
We’d rather save our resources at third base. On DK, Josh Harrison (PIT) and Mike Moustakas (KC) are both sub $4,000 and they’re contexts are phenomenal (Harrison is in Coors and gets to hit in a great lineup spot, Moustakas is facing Shields in one of the better hitting environments in this slate). On FD, Manny Machado (BAL) remains underpriced ($3,600) and as we mentioned earlier, we’d rather attack Fiers with RHBs since he’s a reverse splits pitcher. The best alternative to Machado on FD is likely Moustakas at $3,200 or Josh Donaldson (TOR) at $3,400.
Miguel Sano (MIN) and Ryon Healy (OAK) are other targets to consider in tournaments. Sano in particular is very intriguing given the matchup vs. Anibal Sanchez (.374 wOBA, .240 ISO surrendered to RHBs since 2015) and his own power stroke.
Our priority at the shortstop position is to save salary. Marcus Semien (OAK) allows you to do this on both sites. He’ll have the platoon edge, which is meaningful for his projection (.192 ISO is our baseline for him vs. LHP – he’s generated a .211 ISO vs. LHP since 2015). Semien is facing Steven Matz (5.69, 7.06, 5.39 xFIPs over his L3 starts). If you’re taking the Scherzer route on FD, Semien is a must for salary relief purposes at a punt price ($2,300).
Freddy Galvis (PHI) and Xander Bogaerts (BOS) (price drop on DK) are both viable alternatives on DK.
Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) has SS eligibility on FD, where he projects as our best value at $3,500. It’s a tough asking price in cash games, but we’re willing to use him in tournaments given the plus matchup vs. Ubaldo Jimenez in Baltimore. Trevor Story‘s (COL) HHR is on the rise (38.9% over the L15). He’s viable in tournaments despite the appropriate price tags.
You’d think that our top projected scorer in this slate would come out of the Coors Field game, or perhaps Bryce Harper in Arizona. Wrong. Josh Reddick (HOU) is our top projected scorer regardless of position, and there’s no possible way you saw that one coming. It’s the power of Ubaldo Jimenez, who’s allowed a .371 wOBA and .287 ISO to the last 250 LHBs he’s faced. The environment won’t help him either (Baltimore). Reddick projects as a can’t miss hitter, and that’s how we’re treating him in cash games. He’s at least a lock on FD where the price tag is silly ($2,900).
Charlie Blackmon (COL) is right behind Reddick in projection, but he’s way more expensive. With the platoon edge in Coors, Blackmon is in play in all formats but you won’t be able to fit him alongside Scherzer on FD. Carlos Gonzalez (COL) remains a great cash game fit on DK where he’s still $3,500. These two will face Trevor Williams, who’s allowed a .357 wOBA and .162 ISO to LHBs since 2016. Starling Marte (PIT) and Andrew McCutchen (PIT) aren’t priced for a trip to Coors on DK where they’re $4,300 and $4,600 respectively. As you’ll read in our stack section, Jeff Hoffman started the season on a high note but he’s been faltering of late. Take advantage of these reduced PIT price tags with confidence.
Outside of Reddick, you might not be able to reach for any of the Coors OF on FD if Scherzer is your top priority. Carlos Beltran (HOU) (Ubaldo has the HOU LHBs projecting as if they were in Coors), Jay Bruce (NYM) (platoon edge, it’s going to be really hot in New York tonight), Bradley Zimmer (CLE) (just $2,600 on that site and leading off vs. Estrada, who’s been awful for over a month) and Zack Granite (MIN) (only a route we’re willing to take if using Scherzer) are better cash game fits alongside Scherzer.
Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) is facing Homer Bailey in Cincinnati, and he’s been incredible lately (48% HHR after the ASB). We love him in tournaments.
1) Houston Astros
2) Colorado Rockies
3) Pittsburgh Pirates
Even without Carlos Correa the Astros are our top stack as Ubaldo Jimenez and his 7.01 ERA (5.96 FIP, 34.7 FanGraphs Hard%) take on a top offense in Baltimore where it’s mid-90s.
Following the Astros, we have the chalky Coors Field options. One note on the Pirates side – Jeff Hoffman got called up and received a lot of hype, especially given some strong initial outings. He’s had some putrid SwStr%’s over his last six start: none over 7.7 and a low of 1.1. That’s led to some horrific xFIPs: 7.58/5.88/5.56/5.08/4.16/7.33.
4) New York Mets
5) Kansas City Royals
6) Cleveland Indians
7) Miami Marlins
8) Washington Nationals
9) Cincinnati Reds
10) Baltimore Orioles
Lots of hot weather and sub-par pitching when you move past the top 5 or so options leads to a muddled and deep second tier of stacks. One favorite from this group is weather related:
The Royals are the most affordable stack in the top two tiers, and they’ll benefit greatly from the weather. It’s supposed to be around 100 degrees with the wind blowing out to LC at around 15 mph. They’ll face an SP where the weather should make an impact as James Shields who does not miss bats and is fly ball oriented, leading to 2.34 HR/9 thus far this season.
Cleveland faces Marco Estrada who has been absolutely brutal recently. Estrada has allowed a .396 wOBA and .247 ISO over his last five starts, which aligns with how he’s pitched peripherally. Here are his xFIPs over that span: 7.13/6.44/9.47/6.23/6.59.