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July 2 MLB DFS: Mort-al Kombat

Adam Hummell
July 2 MLB DFS: Mort-al Kombat
RSANDERSRX
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Welcome to July 2 MLB DFS action. You’ll find Daily Fantasy Baseball Premium Cliff Notes for July 2 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
00:51 Starting Pitcher
11:29 Stacks/Tournament Thoughts
22:59 C
24:26 1B
28:03 2B
29:47 3B
32:15 SS
33:06 OF

premium_access_now  CUSTOMIZABLE PROJECTIONS  |  HITTER SPLITS  | PITCHER SPLITS  |  PITCHER TRENDS | MLB LINEUPS

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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 2 MLB DFS CLIFF NOTES

Starting Pitcher

Charlie Morton (TB) and Matthew Boyd (DET) own the top projections at the starting pitcher position on Tuesday’s 15-game slate and both are priced above $10,000 across the industry. Morton will pitch in the friendly confines of home against an Orioles team with the worst record in baseball (24-60). Vegas is expecting Morton to get run support against Asher Wojciechowski and the brutal Orioles bullpen and his 8.4 K projection is tops on the slate. On DraftKings, where he can be complemented with a cheaper SP2, he is easier to fit than on FanDuel where there are cheaper alternatives projecting similarly. 

As for Boyd, he will match up against a White Sox team that has struck out at a 24.6-percent rate in the split and has only walked at a 6.5-percent rate. The implied run total against Boyd sits at 4.3, which is high for a pitcher priced like an ace, but he is the only pitcher on the slate approaching a K projection of 8.0 (7.9 to be exact). Boyd is projecting for almost two and a half fewer DraftKings points than Morton and yet the two are priced within $500. For that reason, our standard models prefer to build around Morton, but Boyd is a viable tournament pivot off Morton if he proves be chalky on this slate.

James Paxton (NYY) sits in a tier of his own on both sites as he is simply priced differently than the likes of both Morton and Boyd. Whereas Morton and Boyd are priced like true aces, Paxton will cost less than $9,000 regardless of site. Heading into this start, Paxton has failed to pitch 6.0 innings in seven of his last eight starts, and he was roasted to the tune of 12 baserunners and six earned runs (ERs) in 4.1 innings his last time out. The Mets have looked like a much improved offense versus LHP this year: .349 wOBA, 120 wRC+ and .345 OBP all rank in the top 10 but they have struck out quite a bit (24.2-percent). The recent results are shaky but Paxton is a pitcher with a career 3.57 SIERA and 26.0-percent K rate. Brighter days are likely ahead, and while he feels like a risky proposition, the price point takes into account some of the risk. If feeling truly worried about his prospects, fantasy owners can go ahead and lower his outs baseline slightly, and rerun the model from there.

On DraftKings, Matt Strahm (SD) is an interesting mid-tier proposition as he is priced quite affordably for a matchup with the lowly Giants. Thus far, the Giants’ active hitters cumulatively rank dead last in wOBA and ISO against LHP while also ranking 29th in wRC+. Unfortunately, Strahm has been consistently average this season, having allowed three-plus runs in five straight starts. He relies heavily on fly balls and has been susceptible to power but the Giants are literally the least powerful team in the league. Strahm hardly walks anyone (5.1-percent BB rate) and has struck out opponents at a 22.4-percent rate this year (and 25.8-percent for his career) but allows a ton of hard contact (45.3-percent). Again, with that being his weakness, this is a solid matchup, because the Giants are severely lacking in formidable hitters. Strahm only has a 3.8 implied run total against, which is tied for lowest on the slate, and his price point is conducive to a slate that features Coors Field and multiple expensive hitters in excellent spots. 

Reynaldo Lopez (CWS), Joe Musgrove (PIT) and Tyler Beede (SF) constitute the next tier at the position and all are priced even cheaper than Strahm. In fact, none of the trio is more expensive than $6,200 and all are projecting for between 4.9 and 5.9 strikeouts. The game context looks best for Lopez, who will face a Tigers team he has already dominated twice this year. Lopez has struck out eight-plus thrice this season and two of the three occasions have come in his two meetings versus the Tigers. At a sub-$6,000 price tag, he is a reasonable risk in all formats. Beede has fared better against righties (.325 wOBA) than lefties (.421 wOBA) this year and will face a right-heavy, strikeout-prone Padres lineup. Musgrove’s matchup is the trickiest of the bunch as he will face the Cubs but his velocity has ticked up as of late. He has topped a 92.8mph average on his fastball in four starts this year and all four of those starts are his last four. His last time out, he registered a 93.9mph average, which was his fastest of the season by 0.5 mph. If this increase is legitimate, our model could even be a bit low on him.

Jack Flaherty (STL) is a pitcher who can miss bats (24.5-plus K rate baselines to both sides of the plate) and the Mariners’ active hitters have struck out at the fourth highest rate in the split. Flaherty will have to deal with a negative league shift heading to Seattle but this park is one of the most pitcher-friendly in the league. At $7,600 on DraftKings, there is still profit potential in tournaments. 

In tournaments, Zack Wheeler (NYM) and David Price (BOS) are pitchers who would be popping on most other slates, except there is no shortage of talent on this 15-game slate. Price faces a Blue Jays squad that ranks in the bottom 10 of wOBA and wRC+ against LHP while Wheeler faces a loaded Yankees lineup at home. Wheeler has lasted at least 6.0 innings in 14 of his last 15 starts so he tends to last deep into games even when things do not shape up perfectly. Losing the designated hitter is a big deal for the Yankees but we still just prefer adding this duo to the MME mix as opposed to building around them in single-entry or three-max.

Stacks

Tier One

 

1) Houston Astros

2) Colorado Rockies

Unsurprisingly, the two teams in Coors Field lead the stack rankings by a wide margin, although it is interesting to see the Astros ranked number one with German Marquez on the mound for the Rockies. Marquez has held opposing RHHs to a .286 wOBA this year and .303 wOBA for his career despite pitching half his games in this miserable pitching environment. Still, the park upgrade naturally leads to our model having interest in the top hitters on the squad, but their stack score only edges out the Rockies ever-so-slightly.

The Rockies will be facing a 24-year old rookie in Jose Urquidy, or as some sites are listing him, “Jose Hernandez,” in his MLB debut. At Triple-A, he struck out 37.0-percent of the batters he faced and walked just 5.8-percent of them while relying heavily on fly ball outs (30.9-percent GB rate). Coors Field depreciates strikeouts as the elevation limits the dip on breaking pitches and relying heavily on fly ball outs is always a dangerous proposition in this park. We expect the Rockies to be the higher owned team of the duo but it is tough not to like the prospects of the Rockies in this setup.

Tier Two

 

3) Boston Red Sox

Playing on the road, the Red Sox’ loaded lineup will be guaranteed nine innings worth of at-bats (ABs) versus Trent Thornton and a bullpen whose active pitchers cumulatively rank in the bottom 10 of both FIP and xFIP. Thornton has especially struggled against LHHs (.347 wOBA, 1.64 HR/9 rate) but the top of the Red Sox is loaded with powerful righties. Sure, the lefties like Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers can be included in a stack, but if this team is going to go off, fantasy owners will likely want to include one or both of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez as well. Assuming the stack hits, that will mean a short outing for the starter, and more innings against this bad bullpen.

Tier Three

 

4) Milwaukee Brewers

5) Los Angeles Angels

6) Los Angeles Dodgers

7) Tampa Bay Rays

The Brewers and Angels headline this tier but the human aspect of the Angels’ matchup is tough to quantify. Yesterday, they lost teammate Tyler Skaggs to a sudden death, and they are scheduled to face Mike Minor. Our projections think Minor is overrated and the Angels offense is a bit underrated so with the big park shift we think they’re a strong target in GPPs. Mike Trout should be one of the higher owned options on the slate and with good reason. Justin Upton‘s favorable price from yesterday rose as well so the Angels will be quite a bit more contrarian on this slate than they would have been yesterday. Meanwhile, the Brewers will once again be stationed in Great American Ballpark versus a pitcher who has had his issues with LHHs (Tanner Roark): .375 wOBA, 18.9-percent K rate, 1.51 HR/9 rate and a whopping 32.5-percent line drive rate. The lefty-loaded Brewers are once again in play for the second straight day and should be nowhere near as chalky as yesterday.

The Dodgers and Rays compose the second half of the tier and each team opened as well over a -200 favorite. During Taylor Clarke’s brief stint as a Major Leaguer, he has looked like a gas can, which actually mimic his numbers from the minors the past few seasons. He looks like a pitcher who belongs in the minors and is set to do battle with the Dodgers’ lineup oozing with talent from top to bottom.

Once again, the Rays will take on an unknown starter at home with the terrible Orioles bullpen looming. Probable starter Asher Wojciechowski has not pitched in the MLB since 2017 and he posted a 6.50 ERA, 5.18 FIP and 4.91 xFIP in 62.1 innings that year. His numbers at Triple-A for the Indians this year have looked quite similar so this is another fantastic setup for the Rays stack. Unlike yesterday, where there were limited stack alternatives to choose from, the Rays could get lost in the shuffle tonight.

Tier Four

 

8) Texas Rangers

9) Cincinnati Reds

The fourth tier is worth diving into in MME as both teams will be playing in some of the top hitting environments of the league and actually are the slight favorites in each game. If they are winning, they will lose the final AB as the home team, but neither Jose Suarez nor Chase Anderson is anything resembling an ace. Both teams are certainly worth having exposure to and, on paper, the Reds make slightly more sense considering the Rangers are a mostly left-handed bunch facing a LHP. 

Honorable Mention

 

10) Atlanta Braves
The Braves pop as one of the top three leverage stacks on this slate meaning we expect them to be under-owned comparatively to their projections. The total in this game is a whopping 10.5 due to the 93-degree weather and the masses will likely avoid this stack due to the opposing starting pitcher (Aaron Nola).

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal (MIL) once again tops the catcher projections with the platoon edge from his more favorable side (.351 wOBA, .233 ISO against RHP since 2017) in Great American Ballpark. The Brewers have a healthy implied total around five runs and Grandal is the second most skilled hitter at the position behind Gary Sanchez. He’s a reasonable play in all formats.

Robinson Chirinos (HOU) is the next highest projected catcher and you could group him in a tier with Gary Sanchez (NYY). Chirinos gets the huge park shift in Coors Field but faces a strong opposing starter in German Marquez. Chirinos price tag didn’t jump aggressively so he remains a fine target in all formats. Sanchez has seen his price come way down ($4,500) but gets a big park downgrade and has some mild concerns around jet lag, travel effects after the trip across the pond. The Yankees lose the DH and have a more reasonable 4.9 implied total against Zack Wheeler. We view Sanchez as more of a tournament target. 

As is typically the case at catcher, if you’re unable to spend up top you should look to punt and get salary relief. John Hicks (DET) is the punt option we feel best about but Jeff Mathis (TEX) is also there as a pure punt. Mike Zunino (TB) is a bit more expensive but is clearly the best hitter of that group and a fine upside target as well. 

In tournaments, Tony Wolters (COL), Jonathan Lucroy (LAA), and J.T. Realmuto (PHI) should all represent options as a part of stacks.

First Base

Daniel Murphy (COL) leads the projections at first base as the Rockies have a 6.8 implied total at home. Once again it’s warm in Colorado with temperatures in the mid 80s at game time and a matchup against Jose Urquidy (formerly Jose Hernandez) who is making his big league debut. Urquidy has been dominant in AAA this year with a 37 percent K rate and 5.8 BB Rate but he’s very fly ball and thus homer prone (1.24 HR/9). Murphy comes with a pretty reasonable price tag on both sites and this is in play in all formats. 

Anthony Rizzo (CHC) is a clear number two at the position before a deep tier of options settles in. Given Rizzo’s price tag he’s mostly in consideration in tournaments. 

The deeper tier behind Rizzo and Murphy includes Paul Goldschmidt (STL), Ji-Man Choi (TB), and Joey Votto (CIN) who serve as the primary values at the position. Goldschmidt has historically crushed LHP (.391 wOBA, .244 ISO since 2017) and faces Wade LeBlanc albeit in a tough environment for RH power in Seattle. Goldschmidt is just $3,100 on FanDuel and $3,600 on DraftKings making him a primary value target.

Choi is a bit cheaper ($2,800) on FanDuel and the same price on DraftKings. Choi isn’t the same caliber of hitter but has had similarly strong results in the platoon split of late (.395 wOBA, .276 ISO since 2017 against RHP). The Rays have a higher implied total (5.3 vs. 4.5) and Choi’s been the hotter hitter of late (32.1 hard hit rate vs. 13.8 hard hit rate for Goldschmidt). Choi is a very reasonable alternative to Goldschmidt. 

Votto is priced more similarly on FanDuel and thus a bit better of an alternative there. The matchup with Chase Anderson is mostly neutral as Anderson has done a good job against LHBs in recent years but the park environment is strong and Votto’s looked more like himself of late (.381 wOBA, .207 ISO in June). 

Miguel Cabrera (DET) and Tyler White (HOU) are both cheap options on DraftKings if you need even more salary relief. Cabrera is also affordable on FanDuel. The matchup with Reynaldo Lopez and the White Sox bullpen is one of the more favorable ones on the slate but a weak Tigers offense still projects for just 4.6 runs.

Second Base

Jose Altuve (HOU) leads all second basemen in projection as the trip to Coors Field elevates all the Astros expectations. Altuve is remarkably cheap on DraftKings, once again, at just $4,200 and looks like a cash game building block. On FanDuel, the $4,000 price tag is more in line with expectation and opens up more competition. 

Mike Moustakas (MIL) is the next highest projected second base option. A matchup with the platoon edge in Great American Ballpark is great for Moustakas’ big power profile (.344 wOBA, .240 ISO against RHP since 2017). Tanner Roark has struggled with LHBs for most of his career (.346 wOBA and .179 ISO allowed since 2017). The price gap between Moustakas and Altuve is small which makes Moustakes a secondary target.

Brandon Lowe (TB), Max Muncy (LAD), and Ryan McMahon (COL) form the next tier of options. Muncy is a bit overpriced after a trip through Coors Field so he takes a backseat to Lowe and McMahon. Lowe has the better offensive profile with more built in power and a plus matchup with Asher Wojciechowski while McMahon is part of the team with the highest implied total on the slate. Both options also take a backseat to Altuve but are solid pivots in tournaments.

The second base options don’t end there. Scooter Gennett (CIN) and Jason Kipnis (CLE) are both cheap options on FanDuel. On DraftKings, Kipnis, Pat Valaika (COL), Brian Dozier (WAS), and Starlin Castro (MIA) are all salary relief options to include in MME.

Third Base

Nolan Arenado (COL) and Alex Bregman (HOU) top the third base projections as both of the premier third base options get to hit in Coors Field. There isn’t much price tag difference between the Coors Field options and the other top third base options. 

Rafael Devers (BOS) is the high-priced pivot from the Coors Field guys and makes a lot of sense in tournaments as a part of Red Sox stacks.

If you’re looking for value, Jose Ramirez (CLE) remains affordable on DraftKings ($3,800). Ramirez has shown some signs of life with his plate discipline of late but the overall picture remains confusing and uninspiring. Jake Junis yields a lot of power and the Royals bullpen behind him provides one of the best matchups in the league. Cleveland has a solid 5.1 implied total on the road.

On FanDuel, Eugenio Suarez (CIN) is the preferred cheap alternative with a matchup against Chase Anderson (.317 wOBA, .203 ISO against RHBs since 2017) who has allowed a ton of power to righties in his career. Suarez is underpriced and you get all of the in-tact baselines with a similar implied total to Ramirez and Cleveland. 

Third base is always a deep position so Justin Turner (LAD), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR), and Kris Bryant (CHC) are all viable as one-offs or in Turner’s case as a part of stacks. 

Yuli Gurriel (HOU), David Fletcher (LAA), and Asdrubal Cabrera (TEX) may be options that get boosted a bit in ownership by their teammates as they’re final pieces on stacks.

Shortstop

Alex Bregman (HOU) is lapping the field at shortstop where the competition is a bit thinner without a comparative Coors Field option from the Rockies. Optimals on both sites will prioritize Bregman as his price tag hasn’t adjusted much for Coors Field. 

The rest of the high priced options are better served as pivots from Bregman in GPPs. Francisco Lindor (CLE) projects as the best but Trea Turner (WSH) should for sure come with low ownership and Xander Bogaerts (BOS)/Elvis Andrus (TEX) may be easier stacked given the strength and depth of their offenses.

If you’re looking for value, Niko Goodrum (DET) and David Fletcher (LAA) are the best options on FanDuel. Both are road leadoff hitters priced below $3,000 and in good offensive environments.

Outfield

The outfield is really loaded on ts slate. Charlie Blackmon (COL), Mike Trout (LAA), George Springer (HOU), and David Dahl (COL) are all in elite offensive environments. They form a strong top tier of options that should command ownership in all formats. We’d like to get at least one from this group in cash game lineup constructions if we could.

Mookie Betts (BOS) isn’t far behind this group but priced way cheaper on DraftKings. Betts and teammate, JD Martinez (BOS) are priced in the mid-$4,000s and make for great values on the road against Trent Thornton who has generated just a 30 percent GB Rate this year. Builds on DraftKings will often include one of these two options as your OF2. On FanDuel, they’re priced appropriately in line with the other top tier options.

Michael Brantley (HOU) is one of those secondary underpriced targets on DraftKings as well. He’ll get you Coors Field exposure at just $4,500 for a middle of the order bat.

Joc Pederson (LAD) is affordable on both sites. Taylor Clarke has an ERA over 6 and peripherals to match it in his short time in the big leagues and the Dodgers deep lineup of lefties is a tough test. Despite the poor hitting environment, the Dodgers offense has a 5.4 implied total that is Top Five on the slate.

There are also a slew of cheap options to consider for salary relief on FanDuel. Delino Deshields (TEX) gets you access to one of the top totals on the slate for $2,500. Christin Stewart (DET) and Jesse Winker (CIN) are more accomplished bats with the platoon edge against below average pitchers. Tyler O’Neill (STL) is a big power upside bat at the stone minimum ($2,000). All four of these options are viable in all formats 

In tournaments, the Rays outfield might get overlooked by all the stronger offensive environments. Austin Meadows (TB) and Tommy Pham (TB) are solid secondary values that have to compete with all the strong options up top.

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