Welcome to July 23 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 23 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!
00:50 Starting Pitcher
13:03 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 23 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES
Chris Sale (BOS) and Trevor Bauer (CLE) top the projections at the starting pitcher position on Tuesday and they are the only two starting pitchers projecting for more than 20 DraftKings fantasy points. Sale is both cheaper than Bauer and out-projecting him across the industry which is the reason he is the focus of standard models on both sites. Tonight, Sale will take on a Rays team whose active hitters have struck out at a 24.5-percent rate in the split and rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and ISO. On this slate, Sale is the only starting pitcher projecting for more than eight strikeouts and his current projection sits at 8.7. There are enough value bats to warrant rostering Sale on both sites and Sale is cheaper than usual on FanDuel ($10,200) where he habitually flirts with $12,000 when rolling. We view him as a building block especially in cash games.
As for Bauer, he opened as a heavier favorite than Sale (-173) in Toronto versus Aaron Sanchez and the Blue Jays. Thus far, the Blue Jays’ active hitters cumulatively rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and hard hit rate while striking out at a 23.3-percent rate. However, the 4.1-run implied total against is almost a full run higher than against Sale (3.3) and his 7.9 K projection is also well behind the Red Sox ace. If looking to pivot off chalk, there is merit to using Bauer instead, but we only view that move as viable in tournaments.
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) and Matthew Boyd (DET) are two high upside starters who may get a bit overlooked on this slate with guys like Sale and Bauer toeing the mound. The Rockies, despite playing half their games in Coors Field, have only managed an 86 wRC+ and have struck out at a 23.1-percent rate. In Boyd’s case, the Phillies present a neutral matchup versus LHP but they will benefit from the addition of a designated hitter playing in an American League park. Strasburg is only slightly more expensive across the industry and he projects similarly to Bauer at a cheaper price point.
Madison Bumgarner (SF) and Caleb Smith (MIA) constitute the next tier at the position with our standard models looking to build around Bumgarner specifically at SP2. At $9,000 on DraftKings, Bumgarner is not the typical, cheap starter that our model looks to build around, but there are a ton of viable hitters priced below $4,000 on this slate. For his career, Bumgarner has held opponents to a .272 wOBA in the friendly confines of home and his .275 wOBA this year is in line with his career numbers. Against LHP, the Cubs rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA and wRC+ while striking out at a whopping 25.3-percent. Both Javier Baez and Kris Bryant are powerful but Oracle Park severely depreciates power and will only help Bumgarner’s cause.
Smith will be dealing with a both negative league shift and negative park shift but the absence of Eloy Jimenez in the White Sox lineup is a huge blow to them. Their current roster has struck out at a 23.7-percent rate versus southpaws this year and Smith is projecting for over a full strikeout more than Bumgarner. The differences here are the 4.3 implied run total against versus Bumgarner’s 3.7 and Smith’s duration baseline is nearly a full out less than Bumgarner’s as well. On FanDuel, Smith is slightly cheaper than Bumgarner, making him a viable alternative, but Bumgarner is clearly the preferred SP2 on DraftKings where he is the cheaper one of the duo.
If looking for cheaper alternatives to Bumgarner, Chris Archer (PIT), Kenta Maeda (LAD) and Merrill Kelly (ARI) are all priced below $8,000 on DraftKings. In fact, all but Archer are priced below $8,000 on FanDuel as well. Archer leads the way in K projections and that is partially because we have temporarily docked the duration baselines for Maeda. The Dodgers righty’s last appearance came out of the bullpen four days ago so it is unlikely the team pushes him in this outing otherwise he would project better than he currently does. Kelly is the lucky one who draws the matchup against the Orioles tonight, so while he is not incredibly talented, his team is listed as a big favorite against a team that ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO in the split. Every pitcher in this tier warrants consideration in MME builds.
Archer’s projection has started to separate itself from the pack and it makes sense considering the matchup against a Cardinals team whose wOBA and wRC+ barely edge out that of the Marlins versus RHP. To be honest, the Archer game log is ugly, as he has failed to last six innings or has allowed at least three earned runs (ERs) in every start since Jun. 8. Additionally, this will be the second straight start in which he faces the Cardinals, although this time it will be at home. Overnight, our standard DraftKings models began to focus on him more heavily, and many of those lineups are working on the premise that Jose Rondon is the cash game second basemen. If not comfortable with him, fantasy owners may need to dip even lower in pricing for a SP2.
Dylan Bundy (BAL) and Dylan Covey (CWS) comprise the even cheaper tier with Covey specifically priced like an absolute scrub ($4,600). If there ever were a time to use Covey, it would be at home against a Marlins team that ranks dead last in the National League in wOBA, wRC+ and ISO against RHP. Bundy will be making his first start off the injured list so it is possible our 16 out baseline is a bit optimistic. When he goes well, it is typically because he is missing bats, but the Diamondbacks have only struck out at 20.2-percent of the time against RHP. Bundy is even more risky than Covey because of the price difference between the two. Peter Lambert (WSH) is priced at an identical price point to Covey so he is another potential punt if willing to roster a pitcher with a 5.4 implied run total against.
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
Only four starting pitchers on this slate have yielded a higher wOBA versus LHHs this season than Felix Pena but none have allowed homers at a higher rate (2.39 HR/9 rate) in the split. The Dodgers’ lineup is loaded with powerful lefties and they often lefty-load the top of the lineup with four in the top five hitters: Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy. Their 5.5 implied run total is not tops on the slate, but it is awfully close (0.2 runs behind the Braves), and it is clear fantasy owners will want to target bats towards the top of this lineup in all formats.
2) Milwaukee Brewers
3) Washington Nationals
The Brewers and Nationals are a pair of other teams being implied to score over 5.0-runs on this slate (there are only eight of them on this slate) in matchups versus pitchers with wOBAs allowed over .400 versus LHHs in 2019. Like the Dodgers, the Brewers are loaded with powerful lefties, and their lineup too will likely begin with three lefties in the top four of the lineup. Miller Park enhances the power potential of LHHs and Roark’s 6.28 FIP ranks third worst amongst starters on this slate.
The Nationals assuredly will roll out Matt Adams in their lineup with Ryan Zimmerman on the injured list which adds another lefty to the mix. However, Lambert’s splits are not quite as substantial as Roark’s considering he has been burned for a .350 wOBA, 1.86 HR/9 rate and 5.66 FIP by RHHs as well. In a tiny sample, Lambert has pitched better on the road, which is not a surprise given his home park. He is still the top pitching prospect in the Rockies organization so there is still a bit of a reason for pause before going all-in on the Nationals. Nevertheless, the Nationals are a viable stack, especially in MME, as the Rockies’ bullpen is also very bad behind Lambert (eighth worst FIP amongst bullpens).
4) Houston Astros
5) Atlanta Braves
6) Cleveland Indians
7) New York Yankees
The Astros and Braves are another pair of home favorites popping in our model with the Braves featuring the highest implied total of the night. On paper, Danny Duffy does not look like the least talented pitcher on the slate, but his 5.06 SIERA this season would be a career-worst if it were to hold. Duffy is missing bats at his lowest rate since 2015 and is an extreme fly-ball pitcher which often leads to power against him. Since they are expensive, none of the Braves bats are projecting as a top value at their position, which may lead to an abbreviated ownership percentage for the stack.
Mike Fiers is the probable starter for the Athletics in Minute Maid Park and his 5.43 FIP against RHHs suggests he has been quite lucky this season. Despite holding righties to a .200 BABIP, they have posted a 40.0-percent hard hit rate against him to go along with a 44.1-percent fly ball rate and only a 15.9-percent K rate. Over time, these numbers should even themselves out, and the top of the Astros lineup features such names as George Springer, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve before even discussing the lefties. Good luck, Mr. Fiers.
The Indians and Yankees round out the second tier and Jose Ramirez’ ascension late in the year continues to unfold. According to Drew Silva on Twitter, Jose Ramirez has batted .314 with a .949 OPS over his last 110 plate appearances. 23 RBI, 21 runs scored in his last 26 games. Aaron Sanchez ranks second worst amongst qualified starters in SIERA and he has allowed at least four earned runs (ERs) in eight of his last nine starts.
The Yankees’ matchup is a bit tougher versus a pitcher who has held opponents to a sub-.317 wOBA in every month this year. Since the pitcher is right-handed and talented, the Yankees are not a logical fit for the slate quite like they would be against a left-hander, but their offense is undoubtedly one of the few most talented in the league. They can go off on any given night and Target Field enhances right-handed power (of which the Yankees are loaded).
8) Texas Rangers
9) San Diego Padres
The Rangers and Padres will take on a pair of southpaws of which the Padres roster is more equipped to take advantage. Whereas the Rangers lineup projects to include four lefties, the Padres could roll out as few as one lefty in their matchup versus Jason Vargas. Judging by the numbers, Vargas is yet another pitcher who has been benefited from good fortune as his FIP is almost a full run higher than his ERA in the split against RHH (and he has allowed a 40.9-percent hard hit rate). Earlier in the year, he enjoyed a nine game stretch in which he did not allow more than three runs in any of those games, but that has since come to a crashing halt. Heading into tonight, he has allowed a homer in six straight starts, and the middle of the Padres loaded is on red-alert to go deep (Franmil Reyes, Manny Machado and Hunter Renfroe specifically). In MME, these offenses are both worthy of sprinkles, and the Padres could even factor into the single-entry or three-max conversation if looking to pivot off chalk.
Yasmani Grandal (MIL) and Gary Sanchez (NYY) are back atop the projections as the absence of Coors Field this week starts to prioritize skill over environment once again. Grandal and Sanchez have similar implied totals (5.1 and 5.2, respectively) and similar price tags. We give Grandal the slight edge in projection with the platoon advantage in a better hitting environment for LH power. The $4,300 price tags for both are reasonable on DraftKings and one will likely anchor your cash game decisions. Even on FanDuel, Grandal is in the mix at $3,300 though the combined 1B/C spot brings in far more competition.
James McCann (CHW) and J.T. Realmuto (PHI) form a solid second tier of catchers. McCann and Realmuto get Caleb Smith and Matt Boyd who aren’t pitchers we’re anxious to pick on but should hold ownership down. This group is viable in GPPs.
If you’re in need of salary relief at the position, Yan Gomes (WSH) stands out as your best option. The Nationals 5.4 implied total is one of the highest on the slate and Gomes is just $2,500.
The rest of the position is mostly useful for rounding out stacks. Tyler Flowers (ATL), Robinson Chirinos (HOU), Roberto Perez (CLE), and Austin Barnes (LAD) are all part of offenses that are compelling stacks.
Joc Pederson (LAD) leads the way at first base by a wide margin. The Dodgers have a strong 5.5 implied total at home and Felix Pena has always struggled with LHBs (.342 wOBA, .172 ISO allowed since 2017). Pederson has huge baselines against RHP (.373 wOBA, .286 ISO) and comes with an investable price tag on both sites. He isn’t as unusually cheap as the last few weeks but we still view him as a solid buy at $3,500 on FD and $4,500 on DK. He’s our clear top target at the position.
The projections bunch quite a bit at first base after Pederson. Carlos Santana (CLE) and Jose Abreu (CHW) are the next best options with Abreu coming at a stronger discount on both sites. Abreu is too cheap for the platoon edge at home even if Caleb Smith is an above average starter. Abreu owns a .404 wOBA and .246 ISO against LHP since the start of 2017.
Along with Abreu, Joey Votto (CIN) and Neil Walker (MIA) are affordable salary relief options on both sites.
Matt Adams (WSH) is unusually cheap on FanDuel ($2,600) where he’s a primary target. Adams owns a .345 wOBA and .249 ISO against RHP since 2017 and his opponent Peter Lambert has surrendered 2.27 HR/9 in his first seven big league starts.
First base also has a ton of power-oriented options that make sense as a part of stacks. Luke Voit (NYY), Eric Thames (MIL), and Freddie Freeman (ATL) are all part of compelling stacks and make sense in GPPs. Freeman in particular may come with unusually low ownership due to the difficult left-on-left matchup.
Max Muncy (LAD), Mike Moustakas (MIL), Jose Altuve (HOU), and Eduardo Escobar (ARI) project similarly atop the second base position. All four are on offenses with implied totals above five and Altuve is the only one without the platoon edge. Moussakas comes with eligibility on DraftKings, but not on FanDuel, while Escobar is the opposite.
While these options are all fine targets, second base is a position where the optimizer emphasizes value. We’re more likely to get exposure to this top tier via stacks in GPPs.
The values that stand out are Scooter Gennett (CIN), on FanDuel, and Jason Kipnis (CLE) or Jose Rondon (CHW) on DraftKings.
Rondon is just a pure punt ($2,100) that allows you exposure to top offensive pieces at all your other positions. His purpose is just salary relief.
Kipnis gets a good lineup spot against RHP and Aaron Sanchez has .366 wOBA that includes a 16.1 BB Rate to LHBs since 2017. At just $3,600, Kipnis gets you a potential clean-up hitter on a team with an implied total above five.
Gennett is a more skilled hitter than Kipnis but gets a weaker offensive environment as the Reds have just a 4.4 implied total in Milwaukee. Zach Davies isn’t quite as vulnerable as Aaron Sanchez but has allowed a .334 wOBA and .174 ISO to LHBs during the same time frame. Gennett is slightly cheaper on DraftKings ($3,500 vs. $3,600) but way cheaper on FanDuel ($2,400 vs.$3,200) where he becomes the clear cut value target.
Brian Dozier (WSH) is a secondary value on FanDuel where he’s slightly more expensive than Gennett but comes with a more potent supporting cast and implied total (5.4). Dozier is a viable one-off given his power-speed combo and is also a compelling part of Nationals stacks.
Josh Donaldson (ATL), Anthony Rendon (WSH), Manny Machado (SD), Alex Bregman (HOU), Mike Moustakas (MIL), and Jose Ramirez (CLE) form a deep top tier of third base options. The pricing on both sites makes it difficult to access this top tier as it’s generally priced efficiently. Donaldson and Rendon are our favorites of the group but this is a position that in cash games we’ll look to more salary relief.
On DraftKings, this pushes up Jose Ramirez who is the cheapest of the top tier options. Ramirez has looked more like his old self inJuly with a .395 wOBA and .328 ISO. The matchup against Aaron Sanchez is a good one and the price tag is still compelling.
On FanDuel, Brian Anderson (MIA) works his way into more optimals as a middle of the order bat against Dylan Covey (.353 wOBA, .165 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2017) that is priced at just $2,600. Anderson is mostly useful as a source of salary relief to make other lineup spots work but he’s an adequate option with a nice park shift and good matchup.
Neil Walker (MIA) fits this mold similarly on DraftKings where he’s a bit cheaper than Brian Anderson. The two have similar baselines and the same matchup so it’s mostly about price tag here. Walker is the cheap one on DK.
In tournaments, Justin Turner (LAD) makes sense as a part of Dodgers stacks. Though he won’t hold the platoon edge on Pena, he’ll likely garner a middle of the order spot on one of the top offenses on the slate.
Trea Turner (WSH) and Francisco Lindor (CLE) are the top two options at shortstop as both get favorable matchups against vulnerable RH starters. Projections view them similarly so the cheaper Turner becomes a bit more of a priority. On both sites, we view this as a position where you’ll likely spend up.
Alex Bregman (HOU) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (SD) aren’t too far behind in projection from Turner and Lindor and serve as fine pivots in all formats.
Elvis Andrus (TEX) and Dansby Swanson (ATL) are mid-tier options on both sites. Both will have the platoon edge but Swanson gets a better supporting environment as the Braves have a slate leading 5.7 implied total against the Royals. Andrus projects a bit better simply because of his ability to swipe bases but both are fine mid-tier targets. Our projections just slightly prefer the straight spend up top.
On FanDuel, Miguel Rojas (MIA) is priced as a pure punt. We don’t think he’s necessary on this slate but a road leadoff spot against Dylan Covey is a fine angle to pursue.
On DraftKings, Jean Segura (PHI) is priced affordably for a road leadoff hitter ($3,600). His matchup with Matt Boyd isn’t great but the Tigers bullpen behind him is very vulnerable.
Corey Seager (LAD) should be one of the lower owned options in Dodgers stacks simply due to the priority of other positions but he’s a fine target as well despite hitting lower in the lineup of late.
Christian Yelich (MIL) and Cody Bellinger (LAD) are the top projected outfielders on the slate as both face below average righties who struggle against the platoon edge. Both are priced appropriately so it may be difficult to get all the way up to either one of these but they’re fine options.
A 15 game slate has tons of top outfield options to consider but the best price tags are on Juan Soto (WSH) on both sites. At just $4,600 on DraftKings and $3.900 on FanDuel, Soto is our favorite of the spends in the outfield as he’s a bit cheaper than the rest.
Ronald Acuna (ATL), Joey Gallo (TEX), Aaron Judge (NYY), and George Springer (HOU) are all fine tournament pivots. Of this group, we’d expect the heftiest ownership on Acuna given the Braves hefty implied total.
In terms of value, Khris Davis (OAK) extended slump keeps him in priced down and thus in the conversation with the platoon edge against Wade Miley. Adam Eaton (WSH) gets you exposure to the Nats hefty total at a reasonable price tag on both sites. Curtis Granderson (MIA) is practically free on FanDuel ($2,000) and quite cheap on DraftKings ($3,500). If he bumps back into the leadoff spot, he’d grade out as one of the strongest values on the slate.
Delino Deshields Jr. (TEX) remains cheap and likely earns a good lineup spot on the road.
In tournaments, Hunter Renfroe (SD) has a monstrous .294 ISO baseline against LHP and gets a matchup with fly-ball oriented Jason Vargas. Renfroe’s power upside is elite and ownership may be modest given the lack of love for the Padres.