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.
Four games are on the docket for the first day of the playoffs. The action starts at 2:00pm ET.
Rays vs Shoemaker/Ray – The Rays like to tailor the handedness of their lineup to their opponent so the Blue Jays have implemented a nefarious scheme. Matt Shoemaker is expected to open with Robbie Ray on tap for bulk relief. If the Rays lean too far towards anticipating Ray’s arrival, Shoemaker can simply make a longer start. It’s a clever play, but they’re still obviously the worst pitchers scheduled today. Although Ray has improved since joining the Jays, he’s still struggling to avoid walks (6.10 BB/9), runs (4.79 ERA), and home runs (1.74 HR/9). Shoemaker is also homer prone (2.51 HR/9).
Blue Jays at Blake Snell – Home runs have also plagued Snell (1.80 HR/9). Otherwise, he’s having an exceptional season with 3.24 ERA and 11.34 K/9.
White Sox at Jesus Luzardo – Despite an impressive rookie campaign, Luzardo is inconsistent enough to rate as a stacking opportunity. The White Sox offense has punished left-handed pitchers this season – albeit, the southpaws in the Central Silo aren’t very impressive. None are remotely of Luzardo’s caliber. Of qualified pitchers, Jon Lester (38th of 40 SP) was the best southpaw the division had to offer. If you lower the inning threshold, only Kwang-Hyun Kim and Rich Hill can be said to have performed better than average.
Gerrit Cole – Yankees (at Indians) – Yahoo: $52, DK: $8600, FD: $10900
Shane Bieber is projected to outperform Cole by a thin margin. However, Cole offers a slightly better dollar-for-dollar value. He might be less popular too. After suffering a prolonged case of homeritis, Cole has allowed only one home run in his last 21 innings. He appears to be back on top of his game just in time for the postseason. The Indians top-heavy offense has some uncompetitive hitters in the bottom half of the lineup. Tyler Naquin, Josh Naylor, Roberto Perez, and Delino DeShields are all expected to start.
Also Consider: All but the Jays pitchers – and only because they’re relatively overpriced
McCann not only had his best season at the dish, he has a reputation for mashing left-handed pitching. This season, he posted a fluky-absurd 429/.528/.714 batting line with the platoon advantage. For his career, he’s managed a tame but still desirable .276/.342/.492 triple slash.
Catcher isn’t a strong position today by any means. If you need to save more cash, consider Alejandro Kirk instead.
I made a similar recommendation of Encarnacion last Saturday. Due to enduring struggles with a ballooning 29.8 percent strikeout rate and .156 BABIP he’s both cheap and unpopular. Treat him as a contrarian GPP pivot in this thin slate. You’re hunting homer or bust. Jose Abreu will absorb nearly all of the attention among White Sox first baseman.
Without a doubt, there are safer first base plays. They are listed below. There’s also a chance McCann is the designated hitter today.
Brandon Lowe – Rays (vs Shoemaker/Ray) – Yahoo: $17, DK: $4900, FD: $3700
Although he has a reputation as a platoon hitter, Lowe showed reverse splits this season. These should be interpreted as suggesting he has no handedness splits, not that he’s actually better against left-handed pitchers. In any event, the Jays clever plans aren’t likely to affect Lowe’s production. He’s one of the top five hitters in the slate. Expect him to be chalky. The threat of Ray could keep things from getting out of hand. Many DFSers refuse to use left-handed hitters against lefty pitchers.
Of the high-quality hitters with challenging matchups, Donaldson is one of the best values. Ominously, he’s day-to-day with calf soreness. The potent slugger is having a typical season, batting .222/.373/.469 with six home runs in 102 plate appearances. If nothing else, a battle with Greinke - who is famous for nibbling around the edges of the strike zone - should make for compelling television.
Anderson maintained his 2019 batting average magic, hitting .322/.357/.529 with a lofty .383 BABIP. He’s been doing this for 739 plate appearances. Anderson is particularly comfortable with left-handed pitchers. For his career, he’s batting .323/.349/.520 with the platoon advantage. In a small sample this season, he hit .449/.509/1.000
Much of the Astros lineup has experienced a “trash can” hangover this season. Springer shows no inclination of slowing down. He’s improved his strikeout rate while retaining his power and plate discipline. For all his excellent performance this season, Maeda has not been immune to home runs (1.22 HR/9). Springer projects as a top outfielder despite this difficult matchup.
Randy Arozarena – Rays (vs Shoemaker/Ray) – Yahoo: $16, DK: $3800, FD: $3000
Arozarena demonstrated extreme platoon splits in a tiny sample this season. Those using him will hope he gets multiple looks at Ray. I caution against expecting too much from the platoon potential – most likely, he’ll eventual prove to have a typical platoon advantage. Most right-handed hitters are about five percent better against lefties. Both Arozarena and Shoemaker are ground ball guys – an unfavorable matchup for the hitter. Ray, however, is a fly ball pitcher which should help Arozarena generate lift.