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This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
Top Play: Kevin Gausman – Giants (vs DBacks)
Gausman hasn’t been as sharp lately as he was earlier in the season. That can happen with splitter specialists, although I’m not too concerned that he’s lost his feel for his signature weapon. Oracle Park is one of the better pitching venues, and the Arizona offense is decidedly below average. However, they aren’t especially strikeout prone. This projects out to a hair over six innings and a touch under seven strikeouts.
Pivot: Tyler Anderson – Mariners (vs Rangers)
The Rangers have the worst offense in the league, and that includes when they had hot-hitting Adolis Garcia and Joey Gallo in their offense. Gallo is gone and Garcia has turned into a pumpkin. Anderson isn’t an exceptional pitcher, and his ceiling is quite tame for this evening. He’s quite likely to deliver an acceptable and affordable outing. He projects to finish over six innings with just under five strikeouts.
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Arrieta is toast and everybody knows it. His only redeeming trait is a healthy ground ball rate. Even that is a hinderance against a Brewers lineup featuring several fly ball hitters. Narvaez is one of them. He’s not only the top play, he’s one of the best dollar-for-dollar values at catcher. Winds are blowing out to right field at 15-mph. Beware mid-game storms.
One of these days, Raleigh is going to drop a multi-homer game out of the bargain bin. At some point, the switch-hitter will also start to overcome his swinging strike and strikeout rates. Those are a symptom of being overmatched in the moment rather than an indication of where he’ll settle as a big leaguer. Howard was broken prior to joining the Rangers. Hearn is basically a Quad-A pitcher. They both struggle with opposite-handed hitters. The Rangers bullpen is exploitable too.
Top Play: Rowdy Tellez – Brewers (at Arrieta)
Tellez is another beneficiary of Arrieta and Wrigley Field. He has sufficient lift in his swing to enter the jet stream out to right field. His expected home run potential is over 35 percent. His greatest weakness is a susceptibility to easy fly outs. Those could soar over the wall tonight. Tellez should be woefully popular in GPPs – he’s on the shortlist for top play overall despite a lower-mid-tier price tag. He’s less than half the price of similarly-projected Shohei Ohtani.
If the weather report worsens closer to contest-lock, Matt Olson has the top projection at the position – albeit at a weaker value than Tellez. He’s just as likely as Tellez to homer.
Pivot: Trey Mancini – Orioles (vs Skubal)
Mancini costs more than Tellez but doesn’t quite have the mean or ceiling of other first basemen. As such, I think he’ll slip through the cracks in rostership. While Mancini doesn’t have handedness platoon splits, he does light up in value against fly ball pitchers like Skubal. He carries a one-in-three shot for a dinger at power friendly Camden Yards.
Top Play: Kolten Wong – Brewers (at Arrieta)
The Brewers stack will be hard to avoid. Wong doesn’t even match well against Arrieta. Ground ball outcomes are likely. However, the stack as a whole is so likely to pop off that the Brewers leadoff man will be along for the ride. And if he does happen to get under one, the wind will do the rest.
Pivot: Ramon Urias – Orioles (vs Skubal)
Hard, low-angle contact has enabled Urias to carve out a role as an acceptable second division starter. He doesn’t light up the fantasy scoreboard. His power is usually wasted on ground balls, but there are certain matchups – such as Skubal – when he has a better chance of launch 110-mph exit velocities in the air. He projects as a solid core performer at a bargain price.
Top Play: Eduardo Escobar – Brewers (at Arrieta)
Escobar remains overpriced. He matches so brilliantly against Arrieta that he should be used anyway. He’s a switch-hitter with one of the most extreme fly ball swings in the league. While he’s a tad prone to strikeouts and lazy fly balls, Arrieta rarely induces whiffs and the winds at Wrigley will make even poorly hit flies an adventure.
Harvey has pitched bizarrely well in recent weeks. Don’t get carried away – he’s still terrifically terrible. The Tigers stack is a strong bargain alternative to the Brewers and more regular options like the Dodgers and Blue Jays. Candelario is more of a doubles-power guy. Visiting Camden Yards gives his home run potential a positive nudge. He’s a little below a one-in-five shot at a dinger, but the real draw is multiple hits and mid-lineup run production.
Top Play: Willy Adames – Brewers (at Arrieta)
As much as I’d like to make a different recommendation, Adames is far and away the top play. He’s a fly ball hitter who should feast on Arrieta. The only drawback is that he hits from the right side. Any pulled fly balls will be pushed out towards center field, making them an adventure to catch but not exactly helping Adames’ home run projection.
Pivot: Hoy Park – Pirates (vs Adam Wainwright)
Yesterday, I calmly explained that Park makes a lot of decent-quality contact, rendering him a solid play for multiple hits. As the leadoff hitter, he also has run production in his favor. However, home runs don’t figure to be a prominent part of his game. Of course, he promptly homered last night, indicating that he’s no empty slap hitter. We’re still playing for multiple hits and run production against Waino. He costs the minimum.
This Castellanos bargain just won’t go away. It’s a neutral matchup against a ground ball pitcher at a SunTrust Park. As is often the case, Castellanos is among the projected leaders in hits with around a one-in-four shot to homer too.
The Blue Jays are overshadowed by juicy matchups and deep value plays. However, they have as much chance at double-digit run output as any other offense. Although Bundy is coming off a strong outing against a laughable Rangers offense, he probably hasn’t resolved a season of homeritis and generally poor outcomes. Springer and friends could tee off.
Taylor is a better value than outfielding teammates Christian Yelich and Avisail Garcia. He has more lift to his swing. Like Adames, the gusting 15-mph winds probably neither hinder nor help him. If Jackie Bradley Jr. squeezes into the lineup, he’s a minimum-priced bargain in a nitro matchup.
Lately, Carlson has shifted into the second slot more often. It’s a more valuable role. Crowe is a below average pitcher who is homer prone even at spacious PNC Park (1.96 HR/9 at home, 2.31 HR/9 on the road). Other Cardinals outfielders like Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader are also healthy values.
Hays is swinging a hot bat. Over his last 87 plate appearances, he’s hitting .303/.368/.592 with five home runs. His launch angle is perhaps a tad steep for an extreme opponent like Skubal. There’s modest risk of easy fly outs. He also gets a boost to power outcomes including better than a one-in-four chance to go yard.
Also Consider: Christian Yelich, Shohei Ohtani, Avisail Garcia, Teoscar Hernandez, Corey Dickerson, Randal Grichuk, Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, Mookie Betts, A.J. Pollock, Nelson Cruz, Robbie Grossman, Jesse Winker, Hunter Renfroe, Enrique Hernandez, Cedric Mullins, Hoy Park