This article aims to help you pin down the best overall plays (and values) for daily fantasy purposes. The following write-ups were constructed earlier in the day, meaning injury information, weather, and lineup cards could alter the fantasy landscape. Checking starting lineups and scanning our MLB Headlines Feed should keep you in the loop.
This article covers the main slate starting at 7:05 ET with nine total games.
Arizona-Philadelphia seems to have the most severe precipitation risk, so keep an eye on that weather situation as we move closer to first pitch.
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Clayton Kershaw – LA Dodgers (vs Miami)
Of course it’s Clayton Kershaw in this spot! I believe you can fade him for cheaper options (then stack) in tournaments, but I’m all aboard the Kershaw-train in cash games. He’s at home, facing a rebuilding Marlins team that ranks dead last in wOBA and wRC+ on the season. Kershaw steps in with a monstrous -350 moneyline designation while Miami easily carries the lowest run-scoring projection. The fact that Verlander and Scherzer already pitched earlier today makes the decision to take Kershaw even easier - as if it wasn’t already!
CATCHER / FIRST BASE
Matt Olson – Oakland (at Texas)
FanDuel has blended the catcher and first base positions while adding a utility spot to their standard contests. I’m thankful for that on days like this, where I’m seriously considering two first basemen through all formats. They both happen to come from opposite sides of the same game, looking at Matt Olson and Joey Gallo. This duo carries plenty of power with solid matchups in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Olson is more of a priority while checking in with a significantly cheaper salary on FanDuel.
Jonathan Villar – Milwaukee (at Kansas City)
I’m not buying into the expensive options at second base tonight, leaving me to scrounge through the mid-range level and bargain bin. Jonathan Villar “pops” as a confident mid-range lift within a well-aligned Milwaukee offense squaring off against mediocre RHP Jason Hammel. The Kansas City righty is coming off a strong showing in his last start against Detroit, but facing this powerful Brewers’ offense should yield a different result. Villar is a strong candidate for multiple hits, runs, and a stolen base tonight. That’s good enough for me considering the low opportunity cost at second base.
David Freese – Pittsburgh (vs Detroit)
Full disclosure: it’s not like I’m locking in David Freese through all formats and moving on to the next positon. I’d much rather have Mike Moustakas, Jedd Gyorko, Travis Shaw, or Matt Chapman here (last two are GPP picks), but it’s tough to blend those guys into a quality lineup when taking Clayton Kershaw at pitcher. If you are going cheap at pitcher in tournaments, feel free to lock in Moustakas without hesitation. On the other hand, David Freese is a fine fallback bargain with the platoon advantage over mediocre southpaw Matt Boyd.
Jurickson Profar – Texas (vs Oakland)
The shortstop position is pretty similar to second base in my opinion. By that I mean the expensive options aren’t really worth their salary, making me look cheaper towards the mid-range and value propositions. Jurickson Profar is someone I feel comfortable with for an economical price point. If you haven’t noticed, I really like the high-scoring nature of this Texas-Oakland matchup. Oakland RHP Kendall Graveman has gotten blasted for 25 earned runs through 22.1 innings this season. There’s a chance the Rangers will jump all over him tonight. Profar should have a solid lineup spot to be considered in DFS within this well-aligned Texas stack.
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee (at Kansas City)
You could look towards guys like Tommy Pham, Lorenzo Cain, or Khris Davis when selecting a cheap pitcher. However, you’ll probably be looking to save some cap space in the outfield if Kershaw is on your roster. Ryan Braun makes for a nice solution to that problem, as he’s a high-caliber hitter in a decent matchup with an economical $3.2k salary on FanDuel. He’s seeing the ball pretty well also, racking up eight hits, two homers, seven RBI, and five runs over his past six games. As mentioned earlier, Kansas City pitcher Jason Hammel is coming off a game at Detroit last Friday. However, the Vegas oddsmakers aren’t believing in a repeat performance, assigning Milwaukee with the third highest run-scoring projection of the evening (behind Texas and Oakland).
Nomar Mazara – Texas (vs Oakland)
Take a look at Jurickson Profar’s write-up if you haven’t already. Yes, Oakland RHP Kendall Graveman has been that bad this season. Needless to say, Texas represents one of the best stacks of this evening slate, and they are cheap enough to blend alongside Clayton Kershaw at pitcher. Mazara makes for a top lift within that; lock him in through all formats.