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July 30 MLB DFS: Judge a Book by Its Cover

Adam Hummell
July 30 MLB DFS: Judge a Book by Its Cover
RSANDERSRX
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Welcome to July 30 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 30 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!

Timestamps
00:55 Starting Pitcher
13:15 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
22:14 C
23:43 1B
26:04 2B
30:46 3B
33:03 SS
36:38 OF

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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.

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 30 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Noah Syndergaard (NYM) and Justin Verlander (HOU) top the projections at starter pitcher with both projecting for over seven strikeouts and 19 DraftKings fantasy points in their respective matchups. Of the two, our model prefers the per-dollar value of Syndergaard across the industry because he actually out-projects Verlander and is cheaper on both sites. Syndergaard will draw a matchup versus a White Sox team whose active hitters rank in the bottom 10 of wOBA, wRC+ and BB rate while striking out at a massive 25.4-percent rate. The Mets opened as -143 favorites and Syndergaard’s 7.5 K projection tops all pitchers on this slate. On DraftKings, our model is locking in Syndergaard as a SP1 in standard models across 100 lineups but that is not the case on FanDuel where fantasy owners can only roster one pitcher. With Coors Field on the slate, salary relief will be necessary at the starting pitcher position to make it all work, so our FanDuel model is choosing to take the cheaper route at the position.

As for Verlander, he is certainly a viable tournament option on a slate where he may go overlooked due to his full price tag and the masses prioritizing the spend on bats. The Indians are a tough bunch to strike out (20.1-percent K rate), which is keeping his K projection down, but he is talented enough to whiff double-digits any time out. The trip to Cleveland also constitutes a negative park shift and his price tag is not easy to fit.

On FanDuel, Jake Odorizzi (MIN) and Griffin Canning (LAA) lead the way as per-dollar values as they are priced at $7,300 and $6,700 respectively in two of the best matchups of the night. Odorizzi will head to Miami where he will enjoy both a positive park and league shift. If Miami closes the roof tonight, the park will become slightly more pitcher-friendly, and that is noteworthy considering all the hot weather throughout the country tonight. While other pitchers may be dealing with grueling pitching conditions, Odorizzi may be indoors versus a team that ranks in the bottom two of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO. Odorizzi relies heavily on fly ball outs which is perfectly conducive to this park that depreciates power (and the Marlins rank dead last in ISO). Neither he nor Canning typically pitches very deep into games but his elite setup is why he tops the value rankings.

Canning, meanwhile, opened as a massive -260 favorite against the Tigers which partially has to do with their terrible offense and partially has to do with the fact that Drew VerHagen will toe the mound for them. On paper, the Tigers rate as the worst team in the league versus RHP, as the Marlins edge them out in both wOBA and wRC+. No team has struck out at a higher rate against RHP than the Tigers (26.3-percent) and Canning has induced a ridiculous 13.6-percent swinging strike rate this year. It will take some good fortune for him to reach six innings but the matchup is fantastic and Los Angeles is one of the coolest environments on this slate this evening (which should work in his favor).

On DraftKings, Joe Musgrove (PIT) is priced like an absolute scrub at $5,100, but if looking to pair Syndergaard with expensive bats then he is the logical starting pitcher to pair with him. Obviously, the 5.1-run implied total against is not ideal nor is the negative park shift to Great American Ballpark but a near 5.0 K projection is solid for a punt pitcher. There is not really too much else to say about Musgrove other than he is extremely cheap.

Yu Darvish (CHC) and David Price (BOS) are both priced a tier below the aces and this is not likely to be an overly popular tier on a slate that is concentrated in the ace tier and value tier. Despite the recent hot streak of players like Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong, the Cardinals still rank in the bottom four of wOBA, wRC+ and ISO versus RHP. Additionally, their strikeout rate ranks just outside the top 10 (22.9-percent) and the Cubs are favored in St. Louis. Heading into tonight, Darvish has walked one or fewer in four straight starts, so it appears his control issues have subsided.

Price is a GPP-only shot as he has struggled through duration issues this year, especially comparatively to his norm, but at least the Rays have struck out at the sixth highest rate versus LHP (24.9-percent).

In tournaments, Adam Wainwright (STL) and J.A. Happ (NYY) are two players to add to the MME mix despite not having perfect setups. Wainwright will face a Cubs team loaded with left-handed power (especially after calling up Ian Happ) and J.A. Happ will be pitching in the unfriendly confines of Yankee Stadium versus a team that crushes lefties (they crushed another one yesterday). The same can be said for Tanner Roark (CIN) and Chris Bassitt (OAK) on FanDuel specifically where they are priced at just $6,800 and $6,600 respectively.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Los Angeles Dodgers

Once again, the Dodgers top the stack rankings playing in Coors Field, but this go-around the weather is extremely hot (93-degrees at time of first pitch) and the wind is blowing out to right center in the mid-teens. Opposing starter Kyle Freeland has depreciated like crazy since last year as he posted a 2.85 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 4.22 xFIP last year despite playing half his games in Coors Field. This year, he has been a disaster: 7.00 ERA, 5.82 FIP, 5.19 xFIP, 2.09 HR/9 rate, 43.8-percent GB rate (almost five full percentage points below his career average) and a 5.10 SIERA (compared to 4.35 last year). Freeland has even struggled with LHHs this season which is noteworthy because the Dodgers’ projected lineup includes four lefties. They are likely to be the highest-owned team once again, but rightfully so, considering the 7.3 implied run total.

Tier Two

2) New York Yankees

Next up in terms of stack rankings is the Yankees at home versus Taylor Clarke and his 5.27 SIERA this year. The Yankees’ lineup is loaded with powerful RHHs and Clarke has been roasted to the tune of a .394 wOBA, 2.35 HR/9 rate, 40.5-percent hard hit rate and 43.2-percent fly ball rate by RHHs this season alone. Clarke’s FIP sits at an ugly 6.33 with a 5.64 xFIP and his K rate in the majors is actually higher than the number he produced in both High-A and Triple-A earlier this year. This is a bad pitcher dealing with a negative park and league shift and battling the weather environments (hot with wind blowing out) so the Yankees are an extremely enticing bunch.

Tier Three

3) Colorado Rockies

4) Texas Rangers

The Rockies and Rangers constitute the third stack tier with both stadiums expected to be dealing with extreme heat (90-plus degree temperatures) around first pitch. Julio Urias is a talented young pitcher for the Dodgers, and he has held righties to a .214 wOBA this year, Still, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are two of the best hitters on the planet versus LHP and both are competing with players at their position on both the Dodgers and Yankees. In other words, there may be some muted ownership there at least compared to a normal, smaller slate.

In the Rangers’ case, Globe Life Park in Arlington is expected to see temperatures around 100-degrees in this one and Mike Leake is clearly a depreciating pitcher. If his 4.51 SIERA were to hold, it would be the worst tally he has ever produced in the category, and the same goes for his FIP (4.71), xFIP (4.44) and ground ball rate (46.5-percent). No Joey Gallo in the lineup limits the upside of the offense a bit but anyone other than Elvis Andrus and Shin-soo Choo (and Jeff Mathis on DraftKings) should come at single-digit ownership.

Tier Three

5) Atlanta Braves

6) Washington Nationals

7) Seattle Mariners

8) Los Angeles Angels

The Braves and Nationals headline the fourth tier with the Braves set to square off versus a pitcher who has walked more RHHs (11.7-percent BB rate) than he has struck out (9.9-percent). Fedde’s .183 BABIP allowed to RHHs is the second lowest amongst pitchers on this slate so it is fair to say he has been lucky. Fedde’s 5.65 SIERA tells the real story this year although he is a ground-ball heavy pitcher (52.6-percent GB rate). With high temperatures and the wind blowing out in Atlanta, this is an extremely tough spot for him versus a Braves lineup that is extremely top-heavy. If targeting this team, fantasy owners will likely want to focus on hitters 1-5. 

The Nationals’ game environment is not too shabby either as 93-degree temperatures are expected at time of first pitch with the wind blowing out to center at about nine mph. Julio Teheran owns substantial career splits and lefties have always been the superior target against him. Neither of the Braves’ catchers is an above-average throwing catcher so there is speed potential to this matchup as well. 

The Mariners and Angels round out the fourth tier with the Mariners listed as the underdogs in stifling Texas against Ariel Jurado. Prior to his game, Jurado has allowed three-plus runs in eight of his last 10 games including 13 earned runs (ERs) over the course of his last three starts alone. To be fair, his recent schedule has been brutal, although the match up does not get much easier tonight because of the unfavorability of his home park. The Mariners’ active hitters strike out a lot (25.6-percent) but rank just outside the top 10 of wOBA and rank inside the top 10 of wRC+ and ISO versus RHP. None of their bats are overly expensive so stacking them is a path to more expensive pitching as well.

The Angels will do battle with Drew VerHagen who has been an absolute gas can this year. In a small sample, VerHagen has produced a miserable 7.27 SIERA (which is significantly higher than his career 4.43 SIERA). VerHagen’s control has been brutal both this season (23.3-percent BB rate) and during the entirety of his career (10.1-percent BB rate) and he does not miss bats much. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani are the first two names that come to mind, but with Justin Upton struggling, the lineup is not overly deep. If stacking them, Kole Calhoun is probably the next guy to add to the mix, but this is more of a game theory stack (and is probably better-utilized as a mini stack).

Catcher

Buster Posey (SF) tops the catcher projections as a trip to Citizens Bank Ballpark and a matchup with Drew Smyly (2.98 HR/9 allowed this season, 7.69 ERA) brings out some power upside in the projection for Posey. With a reasonable $3,700 price tag, Posey is your top target in cash games on DraftKings.

Omar Narvaez (SEA), Yasmani Grandal (MIL), Will Smith (LAD), and J.T. Realmuto (PHI) are secondary pivots in tournaments as higher priced options than Posey with a slightly weaker projection. 

Wilson Ramos (NYM) is the most reasonable cash game pivot. He’s slightly cheaper than Posey and gets a strong matchup in Chicago against Reynaldo Lopez. It’s a similarly favorable park shift but without the platoon edge Ramos falls behind Posey. 

With all the offense on the slate, you may consider pure punts at the position. Danny Jansen (TOR), Jeff Mathis (TEX), Yan Gomes (WSH), and Mike Zunino (TB) are the salary relief options that make the most sense when trying to squeeze in expensive stacks in tournaments.

First Base

Joc Pederson (LAD) once again has a sizable projection advantage at first base. He retained his leadoff spot last night although it didn’t go well for the Dodgers offense. As long as he remains in the leadoff spot the plate appearance advantage coupled with those plate appearances in Coors Field make him the top option. The matchup tonight isn’t as favorable for Joc because it’s left on left and that makes it more likely we see a different lineup so stay tuned for lock.

If Joc isn’t in the leadoff spot, Edwin Encarnacion (NYY) will hold the top projection at the position. The Yankees have a massive 6.8 implied total at home against Taylor Clarke who draws a difficult league switch and park downgrade. Encarnacion has been hitting cleanup and is a fine expensive pivot off Joc.

In terms of value, Tyler White (LAD) is the newly acquired Dodger who pops up frequently in projections. White has been awful most of the year with the Astros but a matchup against Kyle Freeland in Coors Field is a great spot to attack a depressed price tag. We’re uncertain of what the Dodgers lineup against LHP will look like without Enrique Hernandez but if White draws a good lineup spot, he’s a fantastic value.

Joey Votto (CIN), Tyler Austin (SF), Matt Adams (WSH), and Brandon Belt (SF) are secondary values at a deep position. The affordable price tags would make them likely targets if the Dodgers lineup isn’t favorable to White-Pederson.

Second Base

Max Muncy (LAD) dominates projections for the second day in a row. Even without the platoon edge, Muncy’s projection is nearly three full FanDuel points ahead of his competition. Muncy has compiled a .382 wOBA and .255 ISO against LHP in 243 PAs since 2017. The relatively small sample size is still a decent indicator that Muncy’s performance doesn’t drop-off dramatically without the platoon edge. He’s difficult to afford but clearly the top option at the position.

Like last night, second base is a position we’re more in search of value. Rougned Odor (TEX), Ozzie Albies (ATL), and Donovan Solano (SF) represent the best sources of value on FanDuel while multiple position eligibility brings in Jeff McNeil (NYM) and Whit Merrifield (KC) into the mix on DraftKings.

Solano is the weakest hitter of the bunch so you want to make sure you’re getting a big salary savings if investing in him. This is the case on FanDuel where he’s just $2,500. He’s only relevant if he’s leading off on the road against Drew Smyly. 

Odor has had a frustrating season but our baselines still view him as a huge upside target. In the second half he’s posted a .300 ISO and .322 wOBA but is still striking out over 30 percent of the time. A matchup with Mike Leake, who struggles to miss bats, in Texas is a good recipe for success.

Merrifield, Albies, and McNeil are the more stable options. All three have good lineup spots and solid baseline skill sets. On DraftKings, these three make more sense as primary targets given there isn’t much price discount with Odor and Solano. 

If you do need salary relief on DraftKings, Robinson Cano (NYM), Scooter Gennett (CIN), and Brian Dozier (WSH) are all affordable sources. 

In tournaments, working down the chalky Yankees stack for Gleyber Torres (NYY) certainly makes some sense as a differentiator.

Third Base

Justin Turner (LAD) is the priority bat to spend on tonight and he headlines our third base position. Turner is the lone top Dodger with the platoon edge and Kyle Freeland has really struggled with RHBs this season allowing a .371 wOBA and .270 ISO. The Dodgers have an implied total approaching 7.5 with warm weather in Colorado and Turner is the second highest projected scorer on the entire slate. Target him aggressively in cash games.

Third base is always ripe with options so there is room to pivot off Turner in tournaments. Nolan Arenado (COL) is the first choice but he won’t come with a giant ownership discount. Arenado’s history of success against LHP in Coors Field (.482 wOBA, .369 ISO) always makes him a premier target.  

DJ LeMahieu (NYY) should also garner some ownership with the Yankees stack a popular one. He’s fully priced and been battling a groin issue so we’d be more likely to move down the Yankees chalky lineup if LeMahieu is atop it and commanding sizable ownership.

Josh Donaldson (ATL), Anthony Rendon (WSH), Rafael Devers (BOS), and Eugenio Suarez (CIN) fill out a tier of high-end pivots that will likely come with low ownership. 

However, we’d prefer to go even cheaper in tournaments. Asdrubal Cabrera (TEX), Kyle Seager (SEA), and Pablo Sandoval (SF) are the salary relief options on FanDuel that should bring out more unique builds. You could even extend to include Colin Moran (PIT) in the discussion. All these options will hold the platoon edge for sub-$3,000 and necessitate different builds than Turner-Arenado combinations.

Shortstop

Trevor Story (COL) tops the projections at shortstop with the platoon edge in Coors Field. Like Arenado, Story has been ridiculous at home against LHBs (.461 wOBA, .425 ISO). The shortstop position has less direct competition than third base so Story is a preferred target over Arenado. The price tag is a reasonable $4,000 on FanDuel which makes him a priority play. He is priced more appropriately on DraftKings which makes the position a bit more diverse in our optimals.

Trea Turner (WSH) and Didi Gregorius (NYY) are the next in line projected shortstop options. Gregorius is a bit more affordable on FanDuel while Turner is cheaper on DraftKings. Use the price discrepancies to differentiate ownership between the two sites.

On both sites, Elvis Andrus (TEX) is a viable mid-tier price tag ($3,000 on FD, $4,000 on DK). The Rangers have an implied total of six and Andrus hits in a premier lineup spot. Given the wider gap in pricing between Andrus and the other top options on DraftKings, he ends up in a big chunk of optimals.

Shortstop has some depth to it so guys like JP Crawford (SEA), Alex Bregman (HOU), and Jean Segura (PHI) are all viable tournament routes with softer price tags. 

On FanDuel, Bo Bichette (TOR) is priced just above the minimum and will get the platoon edge against Mike Montgomery. As a shiny new toy he may get some ownership but it’s certainly a way to differentiate builds as there aren’t many attractive options below $3,000.

Outfield

Cody Bellinger (LAD) leads all hitters in projection. Bellinger is very expensive and deservedly so as the top overall hitter on the top overall offense. Bellinger has posted a .364 wOBA and .241 ISO against LHP in his career. If you can afford him, he’s a tremendous target.

AJ Pollock (LAD) is the more affordable option and our primary target on both sites. Along with Justin Turner, Pollock draws the platoon edge against Freeland and owns a .333 wOBA and .211 ISO since the start of 2017 against LHP. Pollock is much more affordable than most of the other Dodgers bats and should be a primary target in cash games on both sites. 

Aaron Judge (NYY) and Mike Trout (LAA) are the other two outfielders that project along this tier. Judge should come with more ownership given the Yankees massive implied total and the strong price tag on both sites. Judge and Pollock should be a popular start to outfields tonight as both are underpriced options in top offenses.

Shin Soo Choo (TEX), Aaron Hicks (NYY), Juan Soto (WSH), and Bryce Harper (PHI) are underpriced secondary options that can round out cash game lineups or represent tournament pivots on both sites.

There are more pure salary relief options available on FanDuel were Mallex Smith (SEA) is priced below $3,000 and Tyler Austin (SF) is priced as a pure punt ($2,300). 

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