We are back from the All-Star break! Well, that’s only partially true with a one-game appetizer between the Astros and Rangers on Thursday. Nevertheless, we’ll break down this single game slate for daily fantasy purposes before returning to our normal content schedule for Friday’s TRUE return of major league baseball.
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.
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Tonight’s single-game slate begins at 8:05 ET.
Elvis Andrus - SS - Texas
Andrus is one of my favorite “per dollar” plays of this slate. His salary is relaxed compared to high-end options like George Springer, Joey Gallo, and Alex Bregman. Despite that, you could argue Andrus has the best situation of any hitter tonight. The Texas shortstop will relish the platoon advantage over Houston LHP Framber Valdez, who has surrendered 11 earned runs across 6.1 innings over his last two starts. If those struggles persist, Andrus is the leading candidate to take advantage.
Michael Brantley - OF - Houston
Texas RHP Lance Lynn is enjoying a surprise bounce-back season with an impressive 3.91 ERA alongside 123 strikeouts through 115 innings. However, he has occasionally struggled at home, most recently allowing seven earned runs and 15 hits across 14 innings over his past two starts in Texas. That makes sense, as Globe Life Park is known for its generosity to hitters. On top of that, Lynn holds a career .345 wOBA split to left-handed bats. Putting those two factors together, veteran Michael Brantley is in a position to thrive. He was on a tear heading into the All-Star break, collecting 10 hits with 10 RBIs over a five-game stretch. There’s reason to believe he’ll pick up where he left off in this one.
Joey Gallo - OF - Texas
I’m hoping Gallo is underrated in this lefty/lefty matchup. The costly salary will likely discourage potential DFS backers as well. As mentioned earlier, Houston LHP Valdez has been shaky lately, and left-handed bats have gotten to him as well. Corey Dickerson of Pittsburgh serves as a prime example, as the lefty jumped all over Valdez for a pair of hits and three RBIs through two at-bats in the last appearance for Valdez. Gallo undoubtedly has some of the best power upside of this one-game slate, and he could make some noise in bullpen matchups as well.
Danny Santana - 3B - Texas
The Rangers are apparently full of bounce-back candidates who didn’t work out in Minnesota. We already outlined Lynn, and now Santana is contributing on the major league stage for the first time since his rookie season with the Twins. The utility man has an excellent blend of contact, power, and speed while finally putting it together on a consistent basis. As mentioned earlier, Houston LHP Valdez has been generous lately, and Santana could benefit directly.
Delino DeShields - OF - Texas
If you haven’t noticed by now, my overall strategy revolves around picking on the recent struggles of Astros’ LHP Valdez. That probably goes without saying. DeShields is a dirt-cheap way to execute the plan, as he usually holds a premium lineup spot against left-handed pitching. In fact, DeShields has been second in the order the last two times Texas faced a southpaw. He’s a solid bargain filler who will help you roster the aforementioned top plays.
Josh Reddick - OF - Houston
Reddick isn’t the most exciting option on the board, but he checks in with a non-imposing salary while hoping to jump on Texas RHP Lynn and his .345 wOBA split to left-handed bats. Taking at-bats in hitter-friendly Globe Life Park could give him a much-needed boost, and I’m definitely keeping Reddick on my shortlist of bargain targets.