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July 4 MLB DFS: Good Thames
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Welcome to July 4 MLB DFS action here at DailyRoto. Below you’ll find our Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium podcast for July 4 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 3 MLB DFS Position Timestamps
00:56 Starting Pitcher
06:45 Catcher
09:55 First Base
13:11 Second Base
15:38 Third Base
19:05 Shortstop
22:31 Outfield
26:22 Stacks

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CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS WITH VALUE RATINGS CLICK HERE

  • 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 4 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

 Starting Pitcher

For full SP rankings, see our projections: https://dailyroto.com/mlb-customizable-projections

In cash games, it makes sense to stay chalky on this slate and stick to our top three overall projected starting pitchers, who happen to be our top three values as well. Jon Lester (CHC) leads the way, followed by Chris Archer (TB) and then Felix Hernandez (SEA).

Lester is our preferred cash game anchor on both sites, but especially on DK where the $8,800 price tag is so light. Lester’s season has felt volatile, but from a skills standpoint, he’s pitching just as well as he did last season and has now struck out 7-plus batters in three of four starts. The matchup against the Rays is excellent for LHP, as they still strike out a bunch in this split (26.5%), but the risk side isn’t as concerning (18th in wRC+).

Lester will face Chris Archer, who receives a positive league shift and has a conflicting matchup against the Cubs, a skilled offense but one that has struggled against RHP this season (24th in wRC+). For the third straight season, a high 20s K percentage gives Archer tantalizing DFS upside. He’s the best pivot off Lester on FD.

On DK, you can pay up for Archer to pair with Lester, or, if you want more expensive bats, go with Felix Hernandez in the mid-tier. There’s more uncertainty surrounding Hernandez’s skill set, but it’s a low price considering a home matchup against a Royals team that lacks much punch. The K upside likely isn’t high here, but it’s a good spot in terms of run prevention and getting outs.

Lance Lynn (STL) is an appealing tournament target at his price tag. He possesses the requisite K upside, but his wide splits since 2015 (.270 wOBA, 26.6 K% against RHB; .354 wOBA, 17.6 K% against LHB) means we’ll need to see an actual Marlins lineup before making a determination.

Jameson Taillon (PIT) is a decent mid-tier value, but gets caught in no man’s land. He doesn’t project as well as Lester/Archer/Felix for cash games, but it’s unclear if he has the necessary K upside to be used as a tournament pivot (career 20.4%).

Jimmy Nelson (MIL) has a neutral value rating in our model, but the ceiling is there for tournaments. He’s struck out 29 batters over his last three games, and now has four double-digit K games in his last seven starts.

Catcher

Gary Sanchez (NYY) will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium and he represents our top projected scorer at the catcher position. If you really wanted to fit him in cash games, it’s not difficult to do so on DK where there are a plethora of underpriced players at seemingly every position.

The same can be said for Alex Avila (DET), who’s next in line to Sanchez in terms of raw projection. Avila is part of a Tigers offense that has an IRT close to six runs, as they take on Matt Cain. Cain is a horrific pitcher by any measure you look at, and now he gets a negative league shift and park shift. Avila is in play across all formats on both sites.

If you needed salary relief at the position, Russell Martin (TOR) with the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium stands out. Martin is $2,700 on DK and $2,400 on FD, which aren’t appropriate prices for a catcher that will hit second and has generated a .346 wOBA and .187 ISO vs. LHP since 2015.

Stephen Vogt (OAK) is a good contrarian target in tournaments at the position. He’s similarly priced to Avila and Sanchez on DK and he hits in the bottom of the lineup. We expect low ownership here, and he will have the platoon edge in a good hitting environment against Ubaldo Jimenez (awful vs. LHBs). Vogt is just $2,300 on FD.

First Base

It’s all about Eric Thames (MIL) in this slate. From a projection standpoint, not only is Thames our top projected scorer at first base – he’s the top projected scorer regardless of position and by a significant margin (a gap of over two Fantasy Points on FD). Why? Ubaldo Jimenez. Since 2015, Jimenez has allowed a .353 wOBA and .209 ISO to LHBs. Things that we know about Thames – he will K a bunch (over a quarter of his PAs), but he will hit for a ton of power when he makes contact. Thames is up to 237 PAs vs. RHP this season, and he’s generated a .394 wOBA and .302 ISO. He’s a lock on both sites given the discounted price tags.

On DK, you have the ability to roster Thames in the OF and Miguel Cabrera (DET) at 1b. The demise of Miggy’s power was likely an exaggeration after a slow start to the season from a power perspective. Over his L10 games, Cabrera has hit four home runs. He’s hitting more line drives this season, and he’s smashing the ball (47.9% hhr according to fangraphs – that’s the highest mark of his career). Matt Cain as a matchup is the cherry on top.

Albert Pujols (LAA) is really cheap on DK ($3,100), but you don’t need to dip down there in cash games. He’s a fine target in tournaments along with teammate Luis Valbuena (LAA). Chris Carter (NYY), Matt Carpenter (STL) and Justin Bour (MIA) are other players with power upside to consider in GPPs.

Second Base

Brian Dozier (MIN) was scratched last night. It doesn’t sound like the injury is serious (sore back). If Dozier is the top projected scorer at the position and if he’s back in the lineup, you can confidently have exposure to him in all formats. The Twins have a strong IRT once again (5.4 runs).

If Dozier isn’t in the lineup or you simply wanted to pivot off him, this is a position that has some depth to it. Ian Kinsler (DET) leads off for the offense with the highest IRT in this slate. Alen Hanson (CWS) has a punt price on FD. When he’s been in the lineup the last couple of games, Hanson has lead off for the White Sox and he has some speed upside (ran a lot in the minors – over 70 SBs in two seasons at AAA). Eric Sogard (MIL) is just $2,900 on FD and leads off for the Brewers against Ubaldo. Jed Lowrie (OAK) and Josh Harrison (PIT) are sub $3k on FD and are viable in tournaments. Lowrie has a 39.4% HHR over the L15 and has a matchup against James Shields.  

Third Base

Josh Donaldson (TOR) is the top projected scorer at third base. Donaldson will have the platoon edge in Yankee Stadium, and his price tag is discounted around the industry. However, he’s been cold lately (16% HHR over the L15) and the last time we saw C.C. Sabathia, he was pitching really well (2.34, 3.23, 2.90 xFIPs in Sabathia’s L3 starts).

Donaldson’s awesome production vs. LHP (.405 wOBA, .272 ISO since 2015) earns him the top honors at 3b, but this position is also loaded with options. Travis Shaw (MIL) is a little more expensive on both sites, but he comes in with better recent form (32.4% HHR over the L15) and will have the platoon edge vs. Ubaldo in Miller Park. Manny Machado (BAL) is somehow just $3,700 on DK. It’s a negative league shift for the Orioles and Jimmy Nelson has been pretty good vs. RHBs, but that price tag is simply too cheap for Machado. Miguel Sano (MIN) is the most expensive target at the position on DK at $4,600. His power upside makes him a viable alternative in tournaments.

Shortstop

The shortstop position is the weakest position in this slate. You’re going cheap here on both sites. Eric Sogard (MIL) carries SS eligibility on DK where he’s easily the top target at the position as the leadoff hitter for the Brewers. Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) is a viable alternative on DK, but we like him more on FD where he’s sub $3k and the position is thinner without Sogard. Tulo has generated a .164 ISO vs. LHP since 2015, and we have a bigger baseline for him when he has the platoon edge (.203 ISO). Brandon Crawford (SF) is just $2,500 on FD (really cheap on DK too) and he has generated a .180 ISO vs. RHP since 2015. The matchup against Michael Fulmer isn’t ideal, but we’ll take any sort of power upside at an awful position at this price tag.

Outfield

The OF serves as a position to load up with options on teams with the strongest IRTs in the slate or pick apart really good price tags on hitters with the platoon edge in good matchups.

Eric Thames (MIL) gets the conversation on DK where he has OF eligibility. Matt Joyce and Matt Olson (OAK) will have the platoon edge against James Shields, who’s really bad (6.10 xFIP, 32.6% GB rate this season). Oakland has an IRT of 5.3 runs. Seth Smith (BAL) is cheap on both sites (just $3k on DK) and he’ll have the platoon edge vs. Jimmy Nelson, who’s more susceptible to LH power. J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton (DET) won’t rate as well from a point per dollar perspective, but they have a matchup against Matt Cain  (.205 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2015). Martinez is somehow just $4.2k on DK. Christian Yelich (MIA) isn’t a part of an offense we love in this slate, but we do like him individually given the matchup against a wide splits pitcher in Lance Lynn (.354 wOBA, .194 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2015).

If you wanted to get to Aaron Judge (NYY) without sacrificing anything, this is the slate to do it on DK. He’s going up against a pretty good southpaw (J.A. Happ), but you know the upside here is massive in Yankee Stadium. Judge has posted a .360 ISO and a 49% HHR (according to fangraphs) in 339 PAs this season. This game will be in Oakland, but this is a good matchup for Khris Davis(OAK) power stroke. He’s an excellent target in tournaments. Andrew McCutchen (PIT) in Philadelphia (positive park shift, hot weather) in the middle of a tear (coming off his best hitting month in quite some time) makes him viable in tournaments.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are an outlier stack according to our model. They’re an event oriented team, among the team leaders in steals and homers. They don’t carry the highest IRT (second), but that event upside meets a phenomenal matchup against Ubaldo Jimenez, who has a 5.75 FIP. The bullpen behind him is fun to pick on as well. If there’s a concern here, it’s that Jimenez is coming off a dominant outing against the Blue Jays.

Tier Two

2) Detroit Tigers

3) Oakland Athletics

4) Toronto Blue Jays

5) Pittsburgh Pirates

6) Miami Marlins

The Tigers and Athletics move to the top of this tier, thanks to a combination of IRTs (Tigers highest at 5.9, Athletics at 5.4) and strong 15-day Hard percentages. Matt Cain has morphed into the perfect pitcher to pick on the last few years: below average BB and K rates and yields plenty of power.

The Athletics face James Shields, who has notoriously given up tons of power the last few seasons: 1.47 HR/9, 1.98, and now 1.99.

The Blue Jays are an offense that will be more productive vs. LHP since they have some many RHBs and they’re in Yankee Stadium today. However, as we mentioned earlier, C.C. Sabathia was pitching very well before he landed on the DL and this is an offense that hasn’t been great lately (goose egg vs. Ubaldo in Toronto, laid another egg vs. Tanaka in Yankee Stadium last night) and we think Josh Donaldson might be playing playing hurt.

The Marlins are an interesting contrarian stack if they can get left-handed against the wide splits of Lance Lynn. It’s going to be 90-plus degrees in St. Louis, the hottest temperatures on the slate.

Additional Tournament Stack

New York Yankees – The Yankees are likely the only team in this slate that’s priced appropriately, and relative to some of our other top stacks, they lag in IRT (4.9 runs vs. teams like the Tigers and Brewers, teams with IRTs of 5.5 runs or above). From an upside standpoint though, you get Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez with the platoon edge and Didi Gregorius in a L/L matchup at a shallow position where he will see very low ownership.