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.
A potential postponement in Chicago this afternoon leaves the evening slate as the meatier contest today. Rather than splitting our attention, let’s focus on dissecting the late crew. Tipoff is a 7:05pm ET.
Top Play: Ian Anderson – Braves (vs Phillies)
The Braves and Phillies are in rematch mode. We recently saw Eflin come out the victor in this same pairing last week. History may be doomed to repeat, but the same is not true of baseball. With home field advantage, a hefty ground ball rate, and 11.57 K/9, Anderson is the clear-cut best pitcher tonight. He’s also the top value among pitchers.
Pivot: Jordan Lyles – Rangers (vs Padres)
This one is quite difficult to digest. I’m already nervous, and I haven’t even selected him for my personal lineup yet. Lyles seems to be a beneficiary of the new baseball. He had extra movement on his offspeed stuff in his season debut – likely a product of the larger seams.
There are three very large problems with Lyles tonight. He isn’t especially talented – even at his best. Projections peg him for a 5.00 ERA over a full season. If you take an optimistic view – as I have – then you’re expecting a 4.15 ERA with around 8.50 K/9. The matchup against the Padres is obviously quite terrifying. There’s also the whole business with Wes Benjamin who will supposedly follow Lyles tonight. Benjamin could wind up pitching more innings and/or snipe the win! All that said, the Rangers might actually supply run support against Chris Paddack who presently looks broken. Lyles’ price tag is favorable, and his rostership should be low. He has a middle-of-the-pack projection in a shallow slate. Benjamin offers an even deeper pivot opportunity in large GPPs. I’d steer clear of both in cash games.
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Top Play: Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Patrick Corbin)
With Clayton Kershaw on the bump tomorrow, this looks like an opportunity for Smith to play on back-to-back days. A patient and powerful fly ball hitter, he matches up exceptionally well against Corbin. The Nats southpaw is a ground ball pitcher which plays into Smith’s strengths.
Until his price adjusts, Stephenson is a regular bargain opportunity. The issue is Cincinnati’s commitment to Tucker Barnhart – an inferior hitter with superior defensive skills. Stephenson makes frequent quality contact with an optimized launch angle. Smith induces the same launch angles, indicating Stephenson has increased odds to barrel a pitch or three.
Top Play: Freddie Freeman – Braves (vs Eflin)
Freeman occasionally slips under the DFS radar. This might be one of those days. He’s hitting just .136/.321/.409 due to an improbable .059 BABIP. Course correction lurks ahead. Eflin has a history of issues against left-handed hitters.
Pivot: Shohei Ohtani – Angels (at Matz)
I had faulty intel yesterday. Matz is actually on the bump today so I’m rolling over my recommendation of Ohtani versus a fellow southpaw. DFS players are often hesitant to use left-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers. Ohtani might be under-rostered as a result even though he’s in the mix for best first baseman/outfielder. He’s a career .240/.325/.388 hitter without the platoon advantage – hardly enticing numbers. Of course, that’s built upon 284 plate appearances with various injuries at play too. He’ll likely see at least two plate appearances against right-handed pitchers.
Top Play: Marcus Semien – Blue Jays (vs Quintana)
Semien once again has the platoon advantage, but that’s not why he’s a premium target tonight. As we discussed yesterday, his reputation as a lefty-masher is much-inflated. There’s almost no evidence he’s significantly better against lefties than righties. Instead, this is about a middling starting pitcher backed by an equally middling bullpen. The Blue Jays feature a stout and heavily right-handed offense. They’ll put pressure on Quintana from start to finish.
Pivot: Jonathan India – Reds (at Smith)
India is an early front runner for Rookie of the Year and a favorite bargain play of our DFS Projection system. Scouts were impressed with the power he displayed in Spring Training. He’s a baseball rat who can be expected to outperform the sum of his parts. To this point, a .476 BABIP has helped him outperform expectations. Fortunately for us, his DFS price tag remains quite reasonable. Sadly, he continues to bat seventh in a loaded Reds offense.
Top Play: Anthony Rendon – Angels (at Matz)
I like Matz as a sneaky play tonight, but I can’t help but be drawn towards an Angels stack too. Rendon is slightly underpriced and offers omnipresent multi-hit and run production potential.
Pivot: Mike Moustakas – Reds (at Smith)
Yesterday’s recommendation of Moustakas could be copy and pasted here. Smith is a pitch-to-contact righty. Moose has better than a one-in-four chance to homer – on par with the likes of Rendon, Vladito, and Machado. He’ll slip through the cracks as the least interesting of the pricey third basemen. Until we see any lineup quirks, there aren’t any attractive third base bargain targets tonight.
Top Play: Eugenio Suarez – Reds (at Smith)
The Reds “shortstop” is an annual 40-homer threat whose one true weakness is a high strikeout rate. Thing is, Smith doesn’t induce whiffs, and the DBacks bullpen isn’t much better. We can anticipate plenty of hard hit balls from Suarez and friends.
Pivot: Ha-seong Kim – Padres (at Lyles/Benjamin)
We’re still waiting for Kim’s first big game. While the rest of the Padres offense is clicking, he’s hit a miserable .167/.250/.167. Kim has also demonstrated the traits of a quality player including a low swinging strike rate, good discipline, and above average hard contact. In Korea, he hit 30 home runs and stole 23 bases last season. He remains capable of filling up the boxscore. Alas, he bats at the bottom of the lineup.
Trout remains head and shoulders above the pack. He’s extremely expensive, but his bat is so potent that he’s still a slight bargain.
In case it’s not clear, I’m all in on a Reds stack tonight. The situation is beyond ripe. Castellanos’ aggression should serve him well in this matchup. He might have the best combination of multi-hit and multi-homer potential in the slate. Winker has a near-bargain price and fits well in any lineup – with or without the stack.
These are affordable premium power options. While not bargain basement plays by any stretch, they’re excellent dollar-for-dollar values. In both cases, you’re going all out for a home run or two. Paddack has struggled with deep flies. His fastball barely plays although his changeup is liable to give Gallo fits. Paddack is a ground ball pitcher which is perfect for Gallo. He just needs to run into a pitch to send it into the distance. Upton has a similar but less extreme matchup against Matz. It’s a classic fly ball power hitter versus ground ball pitcher pairing.