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July 9 MLB DFS: Lock in your Betts

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July 9 MLB DFS: Lock in your Betts
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Welcome to July 9 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 9 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!

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Time Stamps
00:41 
Starting Pitcher
14:01 Catcher
16:32 First Base
19:59 Second Base
22:52 Third Base
29:20 Shortstop
34:46 Outfield
41:49 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

July 9 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Clayton Kershaw (LAD) and Gerrit Cole (HOU) top the starting pitcher projections. Neither pitcher has been at their peak of late with Cole posting just one quality start in his last five outings and Kershaw dealing with some slightly lower velocity since returning from the DL. Kershaw has the more favorable matchup against the Padres who rank 19th in wRC+ against LHP with an above average strikeout rate (24.4 percent). Kershaw is also slightly cheaper with a superior implied total against (2.8 vs. 3.3) which makes him our preferred target IF spending up. Spending up isn’t a necessity on this slate with some intriguing mid-tier targets.

The primary mid-tier target is Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS) who shares a tier with Aaron Nola (PHI) (who isn’t on the slate) and Jose Berrios (MIN) (who is wildly overpriced and has seen his velocity come down a bit the last two starts). Rodriguez faces the Rangers who actually rank 11th in wRC+ against LHP this season but project as a weaker offense against LHP due to so many of their best bats coming from the left side. Rodriguez is tough to square up as evidenced by his 26.9 hard hit rate allowed this season and his 24.9 percent K Rate. He’s improved his command this season generating more swings outside the strike zone and limiting walks. Rodriguez is a -215 favorite with a 3.9 implied total against and on both sites he’s priced in the $8,000s. With four teams on the slate that have implied totals over five runs, there is plenty of offense available and Rodriguez helps you access it easier.  On FanDuel, the cash game decision is largely between Rodriguez and Kershaw. On DraftKings, the studs are a bit overpriced making Rodriguez an ideal target as a potential SP1.

The pairing with Rodriguez on DraftKings is a bit less clear as two of the strongest values are coming back from long layoffs from the majors. Chris Archer (TB) has an ideal matchup against a RH heavy Tigers’ offense that ranks 27th in wRC+. Archer has been dominant against RHBs in his career, allowing a .283 wOBA while striking out 26.1 percent of RHBs faced. The big issue with Archer is he’s coming off the DL and he made just one rehab start throwing 54 pitches. He was dominant in the outing (four hitless innings with seven strikeouts) and our projections even with reduced outs and total batters faced expectations have him viable. The concern here is the ceiling is limited as he’s likely capped around 75-80 pitches and that doesn’t allow him much opportunity to work out of trouble. We would not consider him in GPPs due to the limited ceiling unless we got an updated pitch count closer to 85-90, which we don’t expect; however, he is cash game viable on a thinner slate. The other primary value is Luis Perdomo (SD) who has spent most of the season in AAA where he’s posted a 3.10 ERA with a 55.6 GB Rate but he’s also allowed a ton of homers (1.55 HR/9) and thus posted a 5.07 FIP.  Perdomo has a difficult matchup with the Dodgers but he’s only $4,500. We prefer him in GPPs but the slate makes him viable in cash games.

The other cheaper mid-tier options aren’t particularly enticing either. Jose Urena (MIA) and Francisco Liriano (DET) have historically been uncomfortable targets but both are in great pitching environments in controlled conditions in Florida. Urena has been pretty consistent this season with improved command and a strong GB Rate. He’s struck out at least five batters in nine of his last 12 starts and the Brewers have the third highest K Rate against RHP this season.  Liriano faces a Rays’ offense that ranks 10th in wRC+ against LHP and can load up on RHBs. Liriano is a wide platoon splits guy which makes his viability a bit lineup-dependent. We’d prefer to avoid him in cash games. Kyle Hendricks (CHC) is the other option in this tier and he seems under-priced for a guy with a career 3.13 ERA but he’s also been out of sorts of late battling mechanical issues. Hendricks has just one quality start in his last seven starts. The K Rate has also been on the decline and the Giants aren’t a particularly friendly matchup for strikeouts.  

The other pitcher that may draw some interest is Chase Anderson (MIL) who has a 3.4 implied total against which will certainly stand out on a slate with high totals. He has a great matchup with the Marlins but an awful price tag ($8,500) and we simply don’t project him for many strikeouts. Anderson has held a below average K Rate and the Marlins lineup is a bit more contact oriented with Martin Prado back.

The slate seems pretty straight forward on FanDuel with Rodriguez and Kershaw in the cash game conversation then the GPP conversation getting extended to guys like Cole-Berrios on the high-end and Hendricks-Urena or perhaps Anderson on the lower end. On DraftKings, the slate is more challenging as Rodriguez is the only guy that feels like a “good” cash game play. Archer seems only cash game viable due to price and lack of other options. Perdomo, Kershaw, Cole, Urena, and Hendricks all feel a bit uncomfortable but you’re likely choosing from one of them or Archer’s pitch count.

Catcher

Willson Contreras (CHC) represents the top projected scorer at the catcher position. Contreras has been swinging a hot bat of late, generating a 30.3% HHR over the L15 days. He gets a phenomenal matchup against Andrew Suarez, who’s been tagged by RHBs (.359 wOBA, .176 ISO allowed to RHBs this season). Unfortunately, this matchup is in AT&T Park, which is a very difficult environment for hitters. Contreras is priced appropriately on DK – he’s a GPP only option for us in this slate.

The next in line targets at the position are Mitch Garver (MIN), Evan Gattis (HOU) and Tucker Barnhart (CIN). Garver and Barnhart are the inferior hitters of this group, but they’re priced differently (low $3k range) than Gattis (mid $4ks) on DK. Gattis has slugged a .213 ISO vs. RHP since the start of last season. We like him in tournaments, but in cash game we’re taking the savings of Garver and Barnhart. Of those two, Garver has the better matchup against Danny Duffy but Barnhart gets to hit in a much better lineup spot (second) on the road.

Wilson Ramos (TB) and Sandy Leon (BOS) are additional targets that you can consider in tournaments. We’d only use Leon as part of a Red Sox stack, but it’s worth noting that he’s been generating lots of hard contact of late (31.6% HHR over the L15 days). It might even be worth giving him a shot in cash games. Ramos can be used as a one off as he’ll have the platoon edge against Francisco Liriano.

First Base

Joey Votto (CIN) is the top projected scorer at first base. Votto is too pricey to consider in cash games in this slate but he’s a fine GPP target that should carry low ownership.

Our optimals are going after cheap guys at the position, as there’s not much that separates the top option (Votto) in projection from the affordable options. Steve Pearce (BOS) in particular has been a fixture of optimals on DK. He’s $3,900 on that site and will have the platoon edge at home against Mike Minor, who’s a fly ball oriented pitcher that’s allowed a .192 ISO to RHBs since the start of last season. Pearce has generated a .222 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. He’s also viable on FD where the price tag is average. Josh Bell (PIT) is a decent alternative out of the leadoff spot with a $3,500 price tag on DK.

We do have a clear cut option at the position in cash games on FD, and that’s Yonder Alonso (CLE). Alonso remains too cheap ($2,700) in these spots where he’s getting the platoon edge against sub par pitching. Tonight is no different as he’ll get a matchup against Anthony DeSclafani (.348 wOBA, .218 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2016).

DeSclafani does have wide splits, but given how affordable Alonso is on FD, he’s going to draw plenty of attention in tournaments as well. If you’d like to be a bit different, teammate Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) is a fine pivot. Encarnacion has generated a 37% HHR over the L15 days. Eric Thames (MIL) with the platoon edge can be considered in tournaments on DK where he’s 1B eligible. Cody Bellinger (LAD) is another first baseman that’s been swinging a hot stick, generating a 39% HHR over the L15 days. He’s expensive but those type of routes should carry lower ownership in this slate.

Second Base

Brian Dozier (MIN) represents the top projected scorer at the keystone position and it’s not particularly close. Dozier will have the platoon edge against Danny Duffy, who’s allowed a 1.70 HR/9 this season and is coming off yet another disaster start. Dozier has generated a .385 wOBA and .233 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season, and he gets to hit either second or leadoff against southpaws. Also, it’s very warm in Minnesota, with temperatures projected to reach the mid 80s in this game. Unfortunately, Dozier hasn’t been generating much hard contact of late (9.7% HHR over the L15 days). Playing him in cash games is the correct route, but in tournaments we’re willing to fade if ownership gets hefty, especially on FD where he’s up to $3,800.

There aren’t any great straight line pivots off Dozier. Eduardo Nunez (BOS) will have the platoon edge at home against a fly ball pitcher but he hits seventh in the Red Sox lineup. Jason Kipnis (CLE) gets a strong matchup against Anthony DeSclafani but the price tags aren’t exciting anywhere. Given the price discrepancy between Nunez and Dozier on FD, we’d be willing to consider that route in any format but our top optimals will want to jam Dozier given the big projection.

Jose Altuve (HOU) is the next in line option at the position, but he’s very pricey on both sites. This feels like a low owned route in tournaments, but that’s the only favorable angle here as a R/R matchup keeps the projection in check.

Third Base

Jose Ramirez (CLE) continues to be the class of the position. He’s obliterated RHP (.415 wOBA, .298 ISO since 2017) and gets a strong matchup against Anthony DeSclafani. The price tag is very expensive, but he’s been a fixture of our top optimals on DK. He’s a great target in all formats.

Eduardo Escobar (MIN) is $1,700 cheaper than Ramirez on FD, which is an enormous price gap. Escobar has only generated a 10% HHR over the L15 days, but he continues to hit in favorable lineup spots for the Twins and he’s a switch hitter. He hasn’t been an exciting hitter from the right side of the plate, generating a .308 wOBA and .144 ISO v.s LHP since 2017. The Twins have a 5 IRT in this slate though, and Escobar is an affordable route to get access to that offense on FD.

We have a lone optimal on FD with Colin Moran (PIT) at 3B, and that’s because he carries a punt price ($2,400) at a position that’s priced very appropriately. We prefer the Escobar route in cash games.

There’s also not a lot of exciting matchups to attack third basemen with in this slate. Alex Bregman (HOU) continues to smash the ball (36.2% HHR over the L15 days) but he has a R/R matchup against a decent pitcher. The same applies to Anthony Rendon (WSH), who’s also been crushing the ball (39.6% HHR over the L15 days) but has a R/R matchup against pitcher that struggles more with LHBs. Adrian Beltre (TEX) is in consideration since he’ll have the platoon edge at Fenway Park, but the matchup isn’t all that exciting (Eduardo Rodriguez). We prefer him as a leverage play on DK.

Shortstop

Francisco Lindor (CLE) carries the top projection at the shortstop position. Cleveland has the second highest IRT (5.3) in this slate and Lindor has been one of their better hitters against RHP, generating a .360 wOBA and .256 ISO since 2017. He’s expensive but well worth the price tag on both sites.

That big price tag will make it a challenge to use Lindor in cash games. Thankfully, we have some decent alternatives at the position with more affordable price tags. On FD, Jorge Polanco (MIN) is $2,900. He hasn’t been a good hitter from the right side of the plate, generating a .277 wOBA and .137 ISO vs. LHP since 2017. He’s an affordable piece in this Twins offense though, and our top optimals on FD are jamming him in because of the salary relief he provides.

On DK, Eduardo Escobar (MIN), Trea Turner (WSH) and Eduardo Nunez (BOS) have appeared in most of our top optimals. Neither has a particularly great price tag, and Turner’s context (at PNC Park in a R/R matchup) isn’t overly exciting. We’d rather reach Lindor, but if you can’t afford him these are fine alternatives. Xander Bogaerts (BOS) is a viable part of Red Sox stacks in tournaments. His price tag isn’t great either but that’s the general theme at the position. After Xander, the position thins out rather quickly. Brandon Crawford (SF) is priced correctly but he’s a fine low owned target with power upside.

Outfield

Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez (BOS) represent the top projected scorers in this slate regardless of hitting position. These two have been smashing the ball all season and both have destroyed LHP. Betts has generated a .411 wOBA and .264 ISO while Martinez has been even better, slugging a .475 wOBA and .382 ISO since 2017. They’re getting the platoon edge in Fenway Park. We’d like to use at least one of these two in cash games, and it’s not impossible to use both. In fact, our top optimals are currently preferring that route on both sites.

The next in line targets at the position are Bryce Harper (WSH) and Michael Brantley (CLE). We prefer Harper in tournaments. PNC Park isn’t terrible for LH power, and Ivan Nova has wide splits (.363 wOBA, .210 ISO allowed to LHBs since 2016). Brantley is more affordable, which puts him in the cash game conversation, though we’d still prefer the expensive Red Sox outfielders over him in that format.

Robbie Grossman (MIN) isn’t an exciting play but he’s cheap, particularly on DK where he’s just $3,200. He belongs in the cash game conversation. Scott Schebler (CIN) is another DK specific play – he’s $3,800 on that site and carries meaningfully more power upside (.235 ISO vs. RHP since 2017) than Grossman. Steve Pearce (BOS) has 1B/OF eligibility on DK and he’s a great way of getting exposure to the middle of the Red Sox offense.

Grossman is nearly $3k on FD, which brings into play other options that carry cheaper price tags like Tyler Naquin (CLE), Dustin Fowler (OAK), and Kyle Tucker (HOU). Tucker is minimum priced on FD, and he’s been a standout in the Astros’ farm system. Tucker hit 14 home runs and stole 14 bases in 371 PAs at AAA this season. He won’t get to hit in a favorable lineup spot, but the minimum price tag is appealing. We’d rather pass on Fowler given the very difficult matchup against Gerrit Cole.

Stacks

Tier One

1) Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have the highest implied total on the slate and have the second highest hard hit rate as a team over the last 15 days. They’re extremely expensive but with plenty of cheap ways to access pitching on this slate, they’re not particularly difficult to get to. We expect Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez to carry strong ownership levels but the LHBs that are expensive like Moreland and Benintendi shouldn’t carry much ownership, making the stack still viable as long as Betts/J.D. don’t represent the bulk of the points.

Tier Two

2) Cleveland Indians

3) Washington Nationals

Cleveland may end up slightly more popular than the Red Sox as a full stack simply because their average salary is a bit softer and their key players fit positions that are naturally thinner. Also they’re facing a RHP so most of their key hitters have the platoon edge.

The Nationals remain one of our favorite targets for a bit lower ownership because of their vastly lower implied total. They’re on the road which guarantees them a ninth inning compared to Boston and Cleveland and the harsh park effects on RHBs in Pittsburgh is less of an issue given the bulk of their attractive hitters come from the left side (Soto, Harper, Eaton, Adams, Murphy). Rendon and then Turner who derives more of his Fantasy value from speed than power are the two impacted bats.

Tier Three

4) Minnesota Twins

5) Houston Astros

The Twins will naturally have some ownership on DraftKings because of their cheap price tags and they will fit more conventional builds with higher end pitching. With Danny Duffy‘s wide platoon splits they are very lineup dependent.

The Astros have the highest hard hit rate as a team over the last 15 days and are facing a contact-oriented opposing starter backed up by a below average bullpen. They are expensive and should take a backseat to Cleveland and Boston on this slate despite similar implied totals.

Tier Four

6) Los Angeles Dodgers

7) Cincinnati Reds

8) Chicago Cubs

9) Pittsburgh Pirates

10) Texas Rangers

The Dodgers are the most intriguing long-shot stack. They’re on the road and guaranteed nine innings against Luis Perdomo who has been very vulnerable to LHBs in his career and a Padres’ bullpen that just had to cover 11 innings against the Diamondbacks.
The Pirates are the other interesting contrarian target with Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez having thrown out of the bullpen a few days ago and Sean Doolittle banged up leaving a talented bullpen a bit thinner.

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