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July 5 MLB DFS: Houston, We Have An Ace

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July 5 MLB DFS: Houston, We Have An Ace
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Welcome to July 5 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 5 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!


Time Stamps
Starting Pitcher
07:28 Catcher
10:10 First Base
14:28 Second Base
18:01 Third Base
22:50 Shortstop
26:32 Outfield
32:27 Stacks


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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.

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Range of Outcome Projections


Starting Pitcher

While it’s still incredibly hot across the country, IRTs are a bit more tame on this slate. When you combine that with just a medium sized slate, we’re finally back in a position where we view it reasonable to pay up at SP. In this case the best option, Justin Verlander (HOU), completely dominates the field. On DK, Verlander’s projection is nearly as high as the next two SPs combined. Aside from a massive talent gap between Verlander (.246 xwOBA, 31.2 K%), Verlander is one of the best matchups possible, pegged as a -270 favorite with just a 3.0 IRTA. He’s taking on a White Sox team that ranks 17th in wRC+ against RHP but with a high 24.9 K%.

The SP2 spot on DK is a real struggle, and despite reservations over the true skill set of Shelby Miller (ARI), his matchup against the Padres is tough to ignore. Even if you think our projection is optimistic, no other SP on this slate projects for over 15 DK points, and Miller is one of just five SPs priced below $7k. The Padres are 27th in wRC+ against RHP with a high 25.8 K%. The concern here is that Miller had a 6-plus ERA in his last season with at least 100 IP (2016).

On FD, Miller is the best cheap tournament play as well. The main pivots off of him are Max Fried (ATL) (11 Ks last outing), Luke Weaver (STL) (disappointing season but still fans of raw talent and great relative pitching environment), and Matt Boyd (DET) (surprisingly low .304 xwOBA and a 22.7 K% or greater in five straight starts.

The secondary tournament options on DK are more muddled as the prices on Fried, Weaver, and Boyd are all priced more aggressively. As a result, additional options like Marco Gonzales (SEA) and Eric Lauer (SD) have similar value projections. Gonzales is coming off a complete game, albeit against the Royals, but has posted an xFIP under 4.00 in five straight starts. Lauer is simply a punt play.


Evan Gattis (HOU) and J.T. Realmuto (MIA) represent the top projected scorers at the catcher position. Gattis is our preferred choice in cash games. Gattis has generated a .329 wOBA and a .239 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. The $4,100 price tag is correct but he won’t be a difficult fit tonight.

Realmuto has a R/R matchup, but it’s a good one as Jeremy Hellickson has allowed a .209 ISO to RHBs since 2017. Realmuto is the tournament pivot.

There’s not a single price tag that we like at the catcher position. We do like Robinson Chirinos (TEX), especially against a fly ball southpaw, but he’s overpriced on DK ($3,700) relative to where he gets to hit (usually seventh). He’s a fine pivot off Gattis, and one that can hit for plenty of power (.248 ISO vs. LHP since 2017).

Mike Zunino (SEA) is the last catcher we view as tournament viable in this slate. He’ll have a R/R matchup, but even without the platoon edge he’s generated tons of power vs. RHP (.237 ISO since 2017). It’s also worth noting that Zunino’s matchup against Jaime Barria is great – the latter has allowed a .376 wOBA and a massive .245 ISO to RHBs in a short sample (117 PAs).

First Base

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) is the top projected scorer at first base. He’s facing a LHP, which is a boost in projection given his splits (.413 wOBA, .301 ISO vs. LHP since 2017), and that LHP is Eric Lauer. Lauer has been pretty darn bad against RHBs, allowing a .380 wOBA and .185 ISO to them this season. Goldy is expensive and we’re prioritizing Verlander + Astros’ RHBs in cash games, but in tournaments he’s a 1A option in this slate.

Freddie Freeman (ATL) is the next in line option at the position. He’ll have the platoon edge in Miller Park against a wide splits pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. The Brewers’ backend bullpen arms makes it a difficult spot to target with a lot of confidence, so Freeman and co. will have to do their damage early in this one. He’s a fine tournament target but if he ends up getting similar ownership to Goldy in tournaments, we prefer Goldy.

Most of our optimals are going for salary relief routes, with Ryan Braun (MIL) being the exception on DK. Braun is facing southpaw Max Fried, and with the platoon edge he’s generated a .341 wOBA and .228 ISO since 2017. He’s certainly not as productive as he once was even with the platoon edge, but the power is still there. He’s a fine choice at $4,400.

Justin Bour (MIA) is a popular pick so far in our top optimals. He’s on the road in Washington where he gets to hit in hot weather, and he’s facing a power prone pitcher in Jeremy Hellickson (.236 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2017). Bour’s horrendous recent hard hit data (3.4% HHR over the L15 days) will likely ding his ownership significantly. We like him in all formats, but the recent performance does introduce more targets around his price tag.

Logan Morrison (MIN) is facing Andrew Cashner, who’s allowed a .162 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season. Morrison is cheap on both sites. Teammate Joe Mauer (MIN) has snuck into some of our top optimals on FD as he leads off vs. RHP and has a $2,500 price tag. That’s fine for cash games but Mauer’s lack of event upside makes him an easy tournament fade. Even Victor Martinez (DET) has been a part of some optimals on both sites due to cheap price tags and hitting cleanup against Yovani Gallardo gives him a good context. The idea on FD is to find a decent punt to be able to pay up for Verlander and devote more resources at other premium positions.

Eric Hosmer (SD) is another first baseman with terrible hard hit data of late (7.7% over the L15 days) but we’re expecting him to be very low owned in a road matchup against Shelby Miller. Miller has allowed a 50% HHR through two starts this season. Hosmer is viable in tournaments.

Second Base

Jose Altuve (HOU) carries the top projection at second base. He’s slowed down a bit vs. LHP (.379 wOBA, .155 ISO since 2017) and the price tag remains elevated. With that said, Altuve still has the type of profile you’re looking for in DFS as he can still hit for some power and run (12 SBs this season; on pace for at least mid 20s) in the middle infield. Altuve is cash game viable, particularly on FD where there’s not much else you’ll like at the position.

On DK, Dee Gordon (SEA) provides significant savings off Altuve as he’s $1,500 cheaper. Gordon has a 2% HHR over the L15 days. He typically doesn’t hit the ball hard and he’s not a very good hitter, but he leads off and can swipe bags (22 SBs in 338 PAs this season). We’ll take that at his price tag in cash games.

The next best value on FD is Jonathan Villar (MIL), and he’s a slightly negative value on that site. Villar is cheap ($2,500) but he hits seventh and he’s another hitter with terrible hard hit data of late (3.7% over the L15 days). Like Gordon, you’re simply hoping that Villar gets on base so that he can run. We prefer the Altuve route.

Ozzie Albies (ATL), Brian Dozier (MIN) and Niko Goodrum (DET) are viable tournament targets at different price levels. Goodrum is the inferior hitter of this group, but he enjoyed a nice series at the plate against the Cubs over the last few days and he has the best matchup (Yovani Gallardo). He’s also the cheapest of the bunch on DK where he’s 2B eligible. Daniel Murphy (WSH) deserves to be part of the tournament conversation despite his slow start to the season. His resume against RHP over the last few seasons is impressive – .387 wOBA and .230 ISO since 2016.

Third Base

Alex Bregman (HOU) carries the top projection in the hot corner and it’s not close. Bregman has been a monster with the platoon edge – he’s generated a .395 wOBA and .243 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season. His recent form has been awesome (35.7% HHR over the L15 days). He’ll probably be the highest owned Astro. In some GPPs, there’s a chance his ownership starts to get into that 30%+ level that makes you a bit uncomfortable for a hitter.

The challenge at the position is we don’t have Nolan Arenado or Jose Ramirez as pricey alternatives. However, we do have some intriguing mid-tier targets that have cracked optimal builds. Jeimer Candelario (DET) is the next in line option with an average price tag on both sites. Candelario will get to hit from the left side against Yovani Gallardo, who’s allowed a .190 ISO to LHBs since the start of last season.

Adrian Beltre (TEX) will have the platoon edge against fly baller Matt Boyd (.175 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2017) and his price tags are right around the average cost of a roster spot on both sites.

Kyle Seager (SEA) is in the same price range and will have the platoon edge against Jaime Barria, who’s allowed a 35% hard minus soft hit rate this season. These options are viable targets in all formats and they will have lower ownership than Bregman in tournaments.

Cory Spangerberg (SD) is a viable punt on FD ($2,200). He’ll have the platoon edge against Shelby Miller. The Padres offense isn’t good, but Spangenberg has been able to generate a good amount of hard contact lately (26.9% HHR over the L15) and Shelby Miller hasn’t looked very good through two starts.

Eduardo Escobar (MIN) has single digit hard hit data over the L15 days but the matchup against Andrew Cashner is a fine one to attack with LHBs. Escobar is strictly a tournament only option tonight.


Manny Machado (BAL) is the top projected scorer at the shortstop position. Machado’s HHR has been on the rise lately (30.4% over the L15 days) and the matchup against RHP Aaron Siegers (16% K rate at AAA this season) is a favorable one. Machado is expensive but well worth the price of admission in tournaments. Reduced ownership is incoming in GPPs as this isn’t a slate that allows you to build through an expensive SS.

Elvis Andrus (TEX) is the cash game pick on DK where he’s just $3,800. Andrus is on the road hitting second with the platoon edge. That’s good enough in this slate.

On FD, there’s more of a conversation because Andrus is $3,200. Nick Ahmed (ARI) is $2,600, will hit second and have the platoon edge against a subpar pitcher. Ahmed has generated a .395 wOBA and .235 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season (145 PAs). Marwin Gonzalez (HOU) gives you Astros exposure at a punt price tag ($2,300). Those are the type of shortstop plays we’re looking to make on FD instead of paying a mid-tier price tag for Andrus in cash games.

Jean Segura (SEA) and Trea Turner (WSH) deserve a look in tournaments despite carrying very appropriate price tags on both sites. We view them as secondary plays – if paying up for a shortstop in single entry or three max tournaments we prefer Machado.


Mike Trout (LAA) represents the top projected scorer in this slate regardless of hitting position. Trout has generated a 3.7% HHR over the L15. He’ll have the platoon edge in Seattle, which isn’t a great spot to target hitters. There’s enough here that should reduce Trout’s ownership, but he usually ends up being somewhere in the double digits regardless of context. We’re bypassing in cash games but would consider playing him in tournaments as long as ownership doesn’t go over the low teens.

The next in line targets at the position are Bryce Harper (WSH) and George Springer (HOU). One of these isn’t priced like the other, and that’s Springer, who’s price tag remains too cheap on FD ($3,700). Harper’s HHR over the L15 (37.9) is awesome, and with the platoon edge we’re going to consider him in tournaments. Springer is the cash game target, but it does come with some risk as the recent form has looked very shaky. Still, with the platoon edge, Springer has slugged a .404 wOBA and .252 ISO since 2017.

Ryan Braun (MIL) is OF eligible around the industry. He has mid-tier price tags and is a top three value on both sites. Adam Eaton (WSH) has similar price tags and gets to leadoff for a Washington offense that has a slate high 5.2 IRT. If you want to play Verlander + Astros on FD, you’ll need a minimum priced punt like Mikie Mahtook (DET). While Mahtook isn’t a good hitter, especially in R/R matchups, he’s been leading off for the Tigers. He’ll face Yovani Gallardo, who’s allowed a .364 wOBA and .215 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season. Mahtook is also viable on DK along with Adam Jones (BAL), who’s a better hitter than Mahtook but has been struggling to generate hard contact lately (8.3% HHR over the L15).

A.J. Pollock (ARI), Juan Soto (WSH) and Eddie Rosario (MIN) represent some of our favorite tournament plays in the outfield. These hitters will have the platoon edge in favorable matchups. Pollock in particular stands out. He just came off the DL and hasn’t done much since returning, which will likely affect his ownership. Since the start of last season, Pollock has generated a .353 wOBA and .258 ISO vs. LHP and Eric Lauer has struggled mightily vs. RHBs. Rosario has been a star vs. RHP since 2017, generating a .401 wOBA and .276 ISO. Of this group, Soto will likely generate the most steam given the type of season he’s having and being a part of a Nationals offense that has the highest IRT in the slate.


Tier One

1) Washington Nationals

2) Houston Astros

The Nationals sit atop our stack rankings as they have a slate high 5.2 IRT. This lineup is incredibly deep against RHP, especially with Harper back to swinging the bat well (37.9 15-day Hard%). Opposing SP Pablo Lopez struggled when he was bumped up to AAA this season (5.39 FIP in four starts) and has a ZiPS projected 4.79 ERA.

The Astros are an elite offense, especially versus LHP, and in five starts this year Carlos Rodon has a 5.47 FIP as he has been unable to match pre-injury K and GB rates.

Tier Two

3) Milwaukee Brewers

4) Arizona Diamondbacks

5) Minnesota Twins

6) Atlanta Braves

With some tame IRTs, the top three tiers of stacks cascade in stack rating in a pretty normal distribution. Hopefully this will result in spread out ownerships allowing you to play the stacks you have the most confidence in.

The two that appeal to us most beyond their stack rankings are the Diamondbacks and Twins. The Diamondbacks are generally better equipped to face LHP, especially Goldschmidt and Pollock who offer the most individual upside. Opposing SP Eric Lauer has yielded 1.45 HR/9, thanks to his combination of a low 35.5 GB% and high 40.6 Hard%.

The Twins face Andrew Cashner, owner of a .371 xwOBA and .207 xISO. Cashner currently possesses the lowest GB rate of his career and second lowest K-BB%. As we’ve mentioned previously, the Twins may lack an elite bate but have five bats with an ISO split versus RHP between .193 and .225.

Tier Three

7) Texas Rangers

8) Seattle Mariners

9) Baltimore Orioles

10) Detroit Tigers

Given likely spread out ownership, as mentioned above, you don’t need to drop down to this tier in tournaments. If you do, we like the Mariners here despite a pretty modest team total. Opposing SP Jaime Barria, who we peg as an extremely homer prone SP given his MiLB GB rates.


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