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July 4 MLB DFS: Break out the #Sparklers
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July 4 MLB DFS: Break out the #Sparklers

00:45 Slate Content Overview
 Starting Pitchers
10:33 Catchers
12:54 First Base
18:06 Second Base
20:05 Shortstop
22:52 Third Base
25:43 Outfield
28:45 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks



July 4 MLB DFS Pro Tip

Slate Note: Our content will cover the main slates on each site. On DraftKings it covers the games starting at 1:10 EST-4:10 EST and on FanDuel it’s covering the 1:35 EST-4:10 EST. The evening games will be covered in a separate alert.

Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Carlos Martinez (STL)

2) Kyle Hendricks (CHC)

3) Matt Harvey (NYM)

Tier Two

4) Lance McCullers (HOU)

Tier Three

5) Jake Peavy (SF)

6) Jerad Eickhoff (PHI)

7) Tom Koehler (MIA)

With Max Scherzer (WAS) in an 11:05 AM EST game that DraftKings has ignored completely and FanDuel has only included in their all-day slate, it’s a difficult day for starting pitching. There are no clear cut aces on this slate and few elite matchups exist. Carlos Martinez (STL) heads up our first tier. The Pirates are a pretty good offense against RHP (10th in wRC+) and they’re league average in strikeouts (20 percent K Rate vs. RHP) but their best bats are for the most part slumping. Using our well hit tool (searching PIT), you’ll see Jaso (-0.1), Marte (-0.2), McCutchen (-0.3), Polanco (-0.3), Joyce (-0.6), and Kang (-0.7) are all struggling of late. The Pirates had a BRUTAL stretch in mid-June where they were facing an ace every night but it’s important to note this two week stretch is only capturing the tail end of that. Martinez isn’t quite as big of a favorite as Kyle Hendricks (CHC) (-260) but at -180 he’s a hefty favorite and has a solid 3.6 implied run total against. Martinez and Hendricks rank slightly above Matt Harvey (NYM) who has the lowest implied run total against on this slate (3.4 runs) against a Marlins’ offense that ranks 14th in wRC+ against RHP but has just sixth lowest K Rate against RHP. Harvey’s fastball velocity remains on the rise, but he still hasn’t been missing bats in a significant way. It’s a bit concerning against the contact heavy Marlins’ lineup but the price tag is very soft on DraftKings ($7,000) and there is a distinct lack of alternatives on the slate. Hendricks valuation could change if a lower than expected run total is posted but we’re expecting the Reds to come in at 3.5. This is the best matchup of the group as the Reds rank 28th in wRC+ and possess the eighth highest K Rate against RHP. Hendricks also will likely be extended in this outing given the heavy innings the Cubs bullpen logged over the weekend. As the biggest favorite on the slate, it’s reasonable to prioritize Hendricks over Martinez on FanDuel where the cost difference is minimal and the win value is enhanced, but the hefty price tag on DraftKings ($10,400) coupled with all the elite offense makes him more of a secondary target. In cash games, this is the tier that really makes the most sense to stay within. The prices are friendly and they project as the best combination of upside and run prevention.

Lance McCullers (HOU) is arguably the most talented pitcher on this slate, but the matchup with the Mariners is a difficult one. The Mariners rank fourth in wRC+ against RHP and possess the seventh lowest K Rate against RHP. They’re getting a big park upgrade and their entire team has been on fire except Leonys Martin. McCullers has a fair price tag and his reverse splits (.275 wOBA, 30 percent K Rate against LHBs) bring intriguing upside, but we’d rather pick on other weaker offenses in cash games. McCullers is your primary pivot in tournaments as we expect ownership will bunch around the top tier. Jake Peavy (SF) is the only other cash game alternative we’d consider to the top tier and it’s only on DraftKings where you need multiple starters and Peavy is just $5,600. Peavy faces a Rockies’ offense that ranks 13th in wRC+ and has the 11th lowest K Rate against RHP but has been exceptionally bad of late. Over the Rockies’ last nine road games, they’ve struck out 99 times. They scored two runs in a three game road set against the Dodgers and racked up 41 strikeouts against Bud Norris, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and the Dodgers’ bullpen. Peavy’s skills are weak but the park environment and the matchup create a glimmer of hope on a slate without many choices. We prefer Harvey but Peavy is a viable alternative on multiple SP sites.

Catcher Rankings

1) Willson Contreras (CHC)

2) Buster Posey (SF)

3) Brian McCann (NYY)

4) Stephen Vogt (OAK)

5) Evan Gattis (HOU)

The catcher position largely comes down to two players both of whom have the platoon advantage. Buster Posey (SF) has a more extended track record (.372 wOBA, .189 ISO against LHP since 2015) and is arguably facing the weaker opposing starter. The challenge is the offensive support around Posey isn’t as great and neither is the ballpark. Though you won’t have to deal with the marine layer for an afternoon game, the Giants have been running out lineups with quite a few below average hitters against LHP. As a result, we’re slightly more comfortable with Willson Contreras (CHC) who gets the platoon advantage in a better park and with a worse bullpen to attack as well. We expect the Cubs implied run total will come in almost a full run higher than the Giants. Contreras also happens to be cheaper, which is a nice tie-breaker when deciding between the two.

First Base Rankings

1) David Ortiz (BOS)

2) Jose Abreu (CHW)

3) Freddie Freeman (ATL)

4) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

5) Albert Pujols (LAA)

6) Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

7) Joey Votto (CIN)

8) Mark Teixeira (NYY)

David Ortiz (BOS) is a real priority for us on this slate. Ortiz’s skill-set against RHP (.436 wOBA, .338 ISO since start of last season) is incredible and he’s facing one of the weaker RHPs in the league. Nick Martinez (TEX) has allowed a .341 wOBA to LHBs in his big league career and nearly walked (11.3 percent) as many as he’s struck out (12.2 percent). The Red Sox have the highest implied run total on the slate and Ortiz is the most direct way to access their production. While other Red Sox won’t have the platoon advantage and will have top competition at their respective positions to deal with, Ortiz checks all the boxes. On a slate without elite starting pitching it isn’t difficult to spend for him, so we recommend doing so. There are viable salary relief alternatives on both sites and on FanDuel in particular, there are good arguments to eschewing Ortiz in favor of more salary relief to afford other elite positional scarcity values, but our lean is to build around Ortiz.

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Dustin Pedroia (BOS)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Brian Dozier (MIN)

5) Neil Walker (NYM)

6) Robinson Cano (SEA)

7) Matt Carpenter (STL)

8) Jed Lowrie (OAK)

9) Jace Peterson (ATL)

Jose Altuve (HOU) is a pretty clear cut top option here with a favorable matchup against a left-handed pitcher who has been vulnerable to RH power (Miley – .160 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). The price tag on Altuve is hefty on DraftKings ($5,600) but reasonably discounted on FanDuel ($3,800). If you’re getting exposure to him, it’s a more appropriate decision on FanDuel but it will cost you exposure to one of our other elite options. Our model will prefer mid-priced combos at first base (Jose Abreu, Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto) with Altuve at second base rather than paying up for Ortiz and that’s a very viable route with a softer price tag. Otherwise, we’re searching out value at the position and on each site we’ve got viable alternatives. Jed Lowrie (OAK) has been a go-to salary relief option on FanDuel for most of the year. He remains just $2,700 with a plus matchup against Ricky Nolasco (.334 wOBA, .190 ISO since start of 2015). On DraftKings, Jace Peterson (ATL) is just $2,900 and has been crushing the ball of late (4.6 well hit rating). He also faces Jerad Eickhoff (.343 wOBA, .205 ISO to LHBs since 2015) who can’t get lefties out and the Phillies’ catchers are below average at controlling the running game.

Shortstop Rankings

1) Carlos Correa (HOU)

2) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

3) Aledmys Diaz (STL)

4) Eduardo Nunez (MIN)

5) Tim Anderson (CHW)

6) Javier Baez (CHC)

7) Asdrubal Cabrera (NYM)

Carlos Correa (HOU) is atop our shortstop rankings with the platoon advantage against a below average LHP. He’s priced appropriately on both sites and as a Top 10 hitter in our model is a fine spend. It’s easier to do on DraftKings with looser pricing and less viable salary relief alternatives. On FanDuel, Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is meaningfully cheaper than Correa and a fine way to get more exposure to the Red Sox hefty implied team total (5.9 runs). Javier Baez (CHC) also comes with a near punt price tag and should hit sixth for a Cubs’ offense that figures to have the second highest implied run total. Baez has crushed LHP in his brief career (.439 wOBA, .233 ISO in 79 PA since 2015).

Third Base Rankings

1) Kris Bryant (CHC)

2) Miguel Sano (MIN) – where eligible

3) Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

4) Todd Frazier (CHW)

5) Eduardo Nunez (MIN) – where eligible

6) Nolan Arenado (COL)

7) Maikel Franco (PHI)

8) Danny Valencia (OAK)

9) Adrian Beltre (TEX)

10) Matt Carpenter (STL) – where eligible

Kris Bryant (CHC) is a Top Five overall hitter on this slate and the top option at third base. The position is pretty deep with values at slightly cheaper price points but on both sites Bryant rates as one of our top values at the position. If you’re dropping down it’s likely for Alex Rodriguez (NYY) who has struggled against RHP this season but gets a favorable matchup against homer prone James Shields in a good park for RH power or Todd Frazier (CHW) who has the platoon advantage against CC Sabathia. Rodriguez’s cheap price tag ($3,600) on DraftKings makes it a tougher decision especially with the ability to shift Bryant into the outfield should you choose. Like David Ortiz, Bryant is the most direct way to get exposure to the Cubs’ elevated implied run total, but unlike Ortiz he’s been red hot of late (4.8 well hit rating).

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Kris Bryant (CHC) – where eligible

3) Mookie Betts (BOS)

4) George Springer (HOU)

5) Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)

6) Brett Gardner (NYY)

7) Josh Reddick (OAK)

8) Gregory Polanco (PIT)

9) Yoenis Cespedes (NYM)

10) Miguel Sano (MIN)

11) Odubel Herrera (PHI)

12) Carlos Beltran (NYY)

13) Shin Soo Choo (TEX)

14) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

15) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

16) Coco Crisp (OAK)

17) Stephen Piscotty (STL)

18) Matt Holliday (STL)

19) Curtis Granderson (NYM)

20) Nelson Cruz (SEA)

Mike Trout (LAA) is once again at the top of our outfield rankings as he has the platoon advantage against Matt Moore (.352 wOBA, .173 ISO against RHBs since 2015). The only knock on Trout is the scoring environment and the lack of expected offensive production around him (3.8 implied run total). Additionally, he’s not included on FanDuel’s main slate. Should you choose to pass on Trout on DraftKings, there are plenty of viable alternatives across different price ranges. Kris Bryant (where eligible), Mookie Betts (BOS), George Springer (HOU), Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY), and Brett Gardner (NYY) are all Top 10 hitters on this slate. Ellsbury and Gardner have extremely cheap tags on DraftKings while they’re priced more appropriately on FanDuel. Miguel Sano (MIN) remains unusually cheap and a top value with a matchup against a contact-prone Kendall Graveman. Gregory Polanco (PIT), Josh Reddick (OAK), and Nomar Mazara (TEX) are all very cheap on FanDuel as well. If Brandon Nimmo (NYM) leads off for the Mets, he’d represent a fine source of salary relief on both sites.

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

Tier Two

2) Chicago Cubs

3) New York Yankees

4) Oakland Athletics

5) Philadelphia Phillies

6) Texas Rangers

7) Minnesota Twins

8) St. Louis Cardinals

9) Houston Astros

The Red Sox should have an implied run total nearly a full run higher than every other team on the slate. The Cubs are the only team that could change that but with the wind blowing in we’re expecting something just over five runs. While a Red Sox mini-stack is a fine approach to cash games, it’s not a necessity with elevated price tags and plenty of offense on this slate. Instead, we’re more likely to take a value-based approach to lineup construction than emphasizing one team in cash games.

In tournaments, the Red Sox and Cubs should garner the majority of the ownership which leaves opportunities to go contrarian deeper into our second tier. The Phillies are facing a very weak starter and have a handful of players hitting the ball really well of late (Rupp/Ruiz, Franco, Bourjos, Asche are all up on our well hit tool of late). The Twins offense is suddenly much deeper and loaded with power upside against a starter that simply doesn’t miss bats. They also have several hot bats of late and some elevated price tags on guys like Nunez/Dozier that will keep ownership down. The Athletics are a deeper offense with Josh Reddick back and the Twins’ bullpen is one of the weakest on the slate. These are all full stack or mini-stack combos with the chalkier stack options (Cubs, Red Sox, and even Yankees) that we think will come with lower ownership.

MLB Daily Analysis

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