Today features just nine games overall, but three of them may be off limits. Two - San Francisco and Miami - are afternoon contests, so they're definitely out. The game in Baltimore currently comes with an 80 percent chance of storms.
We have a couple stacking options today, but one stands out. I maintain something I call the Factor Grid. It tracks which games have good stadium and weather effects on a given day. If you visit that page, you'll see the Dodgers-Rockies game stands alone with excellent park factors AND excellent weather (10 is the top score).
The Dodgers have a particularly good matchup against Franklin Morales. Right-handed hitters have mashed him this season, and lefties have hit him well too. He's not exactly stretched out for a start, so he won't last deep into the game. As such, the Dodgers might see the soft underbelly of the Rockies 'pen. Usually I'd implore you to lean on the platoon advantage, but since Morales will probably be lifted before the fifth inning, I think it's fair to use a lefty like Adrian Gonzalez too.
Miguel Cabrera - DET: The big gun is just one of many Tigers on offer today. Comerica Park is the second or third best venue for offense this evening, and the Tigers will face lefty Erik Bedard. While Bedard doesn't show much of a platoon split, many of the Tigers best hitters do. Of course, Cabrera's his own beast. He's having a down season, which is a crazy thing to say about a .311/.368/.542 batting line.
Mike Trout - LAA: He costs an arm and a leg and another leg, but Trout's matchup tonight may be worth it. Lefty Brett Oberholtzer has a tough task with Trout. With Albert Pujols banged up, the Astros may choose to pitch around Trout and attack the softer hitters.
Yasiel Puig - LAD: He has a nagging hip injury, but he rested yesterday. That's not enough for his hip to feel better, although it should mean he'll start tonight. His matchup against Morales at Coors Field is very hard to pass up. He doesn't show a noticeable platoon split, which makes him a good pick for when the righty relievers come into play.
Miguel Montero - ARI: The Diamondbacks catcher and cleanup hitter has already matched his home run total from a year ago. He has extreme splits with an .884 OPS against righties and a .418 OPS against lefties this season. Thankfully, Vance Worley is a right-handed pitcher, so we can expect good things from Montero. Since Worley relies on the ball in play, we can expect contact from Montero. PNC Park will cut down on the chance for a home run, but it's still possible.
Pedro Alvarez - PIT: Alvarez is one of the highest variance picks in fantasy. If I had to bet on any one player to bash two home runs today, it's Alvarez. He could also strikeout four times. Brandon McCarthy makes for a good matchup not just because he's allowed a lot of home runs, but because he's seemingly afraid of the walk. Alvarez will often get himself out on pitcher's pitches, but McCarthy might spend too much time in the strike zone.
Matt Kemp - LAD: I don't often believe Kemp is worth a pick. His strikeout rate is higher than I like from a guy who hasn't hit for power since 2012. Projections systems think he'll add a little bit more power in the second half, which amounts to an extra home run and maybe a couple doubles. With the game at Coors Field, maybe today is the day he picks things up.
Torii Hunter - DET: We don't often have an opportunity to use Hunter in DFS. He's usually in the second half of the Tigers lineup, and they have more exciting outfield talent. He's quietly been the worst player in baseball according to WAR, but his offensive component hasn't been terrible at just 12 percent below league average. His skills have continued to erode, and he's no longer benefiting from a high BABIP. On a thin day when your rivals will be focused on the three other Detroit outfielders, Hunter might work out. Sometimes we have to make creative choices.
Scott Van Slyke - LAD: It feels like every time I turn to Van Slyke, he gives me gold. Some platforms won't have him in the bargain bin due to a couple huge games. Seeing Morales at Coors Field could present the opportunity for another big night. He bopped a home run yesterday, let's see if he can repeat the feat tonight.
Neil Walker - PIT: I found Walker in the bargain bin on one major site, and I can only assume he's been mispriced. The Pirates cleanup hitter doesn't deserve such a low cost (indeed, he's expensive on some sites). He hasn't hit particularly well since returning from the disabled list on June 24, which I assume is why he's here. We shouldn't get too hung up on four games. The switch hitter isn't a big power threat, but he could pick up plenty of RBI batting behind Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco.
Masahiro Tanaka - NYY: It's a tough day for pitching if you don't find budget for Tanaka. There's not much to get into here, he's an elite pitcher with a decent matchup against the Twins. Home runs have been the only downside for Tanaka owners, and Target Field should counteract much of the risk.
Brandon McCarthy - ARI: If you insist on selecting an affordable starter, McCarthy is my top choice. His 5.11 ERA will scare away most DFSers, but his peripherals suggest he's a much better pitcher. He's had one major problem this season; a 20.3 percent HR/FB ratio. Pitchers typically show a rate near 10 percent. Whether or not you believe McCarthy is this homer prone, he'll be starting at PNC Park tonight. The park factors alone should substantially reduce his risk of allowing a home run. Of course, the Pirates lineup is pretty good.
Vance Worley - PIT: Opposing McCarthy is Worley. The draw is his dirt cheap price. He features very low strikeout and walk rates, so it'll be up to his defense to determine the quality of his outing. The Diamondbacks have a weak offense, which works in the Vanimal's favor. It's safer to pony up a couple extra dollars for McCarthy or Phil Hughes, so I'd only use the Worley play if the rest of my lineup was very expensive and/or contained a couple Pittsburgh hitters.