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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.
As this is a single game slate, most platforms are offering some form of Captain’s Mode wherein you select one player for additional points at a higher cost. On DraftKings, for instance, your “captain” will cost 1.5X for a like points bonus. You can select players of any position for the six lineup spots. Since it’s not our usual way of playing, I’m going to treat the column a little differently than normal. I’ve split the sections into pitchers, infielders, and outfielders so we have a little more room for discussion.
Top Play: Gerrit Cole – Yankees (at Red Sox)
The question of Cole or Nate Eovaldi is always going to turn up in Cole’s favor, especially since there’s hardly any separation in their prices. Cole projects to pitch deeper into the game with a slightly better strikeout rate. Either pitcher is a “smart” pick for the captaincy in smaller contests since one of them is overwhelmingly likely to lead the slate in points. However, you’ll need to roll the nuts to win a large GPP with a pitcher captain. That could even mean catching a pinch-hit Bobby Dalbec home run or some similarly improbable play.
One word of warning. Cole is not immune to home runs. Roughly 40 percent of his balls in play are flies. Sox right-handed hitters need only to chip it over the Green Monster. Cole has only played six career games at Fenway Park. Notably, he’s allowed seven home runs in 32 innings. With such a small sample, it’s probably just a fluke.
Pivot: Aroldis Chapman – Yankees (at Red Sox)
Since this is an all-or-nothing game, we’re very likely to see each club’s best relievers. Chapman, Chad Green, and Hansel Robles are all minimum-priced while Jonathan Loaisiga costs more. There’s no bonus for saves, though there is a chance a reliever will capture the win bonus. A typical premium-reliever inning runs about five or six points. That’s comparable to the projections for highly affordable hitters like Brett Gardner, Gio Urshela, and Alex Verdugo. Using a reliever isn’t a smart expected value play, but it does create considerable leverage in large GPPs.
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Top Play: Anthony Rizzo – Yankees (at Eovaldi)
First, it’s important to note that it’s all-hands-on-deck for any single-game format. After some initial struggles, Rizzo has settled in comfortably with the Yankees. In 200 plate appearances, his batting line was nearly an exact match for the one he posted with the Cubs. He’s an above average hitter who will probably bat second, maximizing his potential for bonus run production and plate appearances. He’s a decent power threat against Eovaldi. Rizzo hits for power in most regions of the strike zone and has a discerning eye. His one weakness is down-and-inside. Eovaldi throws about 20 percent of his pitches in that neighborhood to left-handed hitters – mostly sliders.
Rizzo has captain potential – he’s one of the better dollar-for-dollar values outside of the bargain bin.
Pivot: Bobby Dalbec – Red Sox (vs Cole)
I hope Dalbec starts as he’s been perhaps the Sox most-dynamic hitter in the second half. He basically matched Rafael Devers with an extra 105-points of slugging tacked on for good measure. Only Kyle Schwarber was comparably effective on a rate basis. Unfortunately, starting Dalbec means putting Schwarber in the outfield pasture which the club doesn’t view as their best align. Thus, he might sit. While it certainly would be a spicy pivot to use a bench player in a deep GPP, I want to be clear that this is a “if he starts” recommendation. He’s priced cheaper than Rizzo despite greater home run potential. He’ll also bat down in the lineup where he could be at risk of one fewer plate appearance than his teammates.
Top Play: Giancarlo Stanton – Yankees (at Eovaldi)
With the Green Monster in play, the challenge for Stanton and Aaron Judge is achieving the necessary loft. They’re not unfamiliar with absolutely smashed singles off the Monster. Eovaldi will sometimes elevate his pitches which tends to help Stanton and Judge to achieve lift. However, he’ll mostly work low-and-away against this pair. As is often the case, it comes down to Eovaldi avoiding a mistake and the Yankees sluggers capitalizing if he makes one. Stanton is slightly more affordable than Judge despite a nearly identical projection. He makes a better target for both regular usage and as a captain. Teammate Joey Gallo might be a better play for chasing long-tail outcomes involving multiple home runs.
Pivot: Hunter Renfroe – Red Sox (vs Cole)
If the Yankees outfielders are top plays, that must make the Red Sox the pivots. My analysis is that Renfroe is the likeliest to hit fly balls off either Cole or the most important Yankees relievers. He’s substantially trimmed his strikeout rate this season and quietly bashed 31 dingers in 572 plate appearances. He also has one of the best barreled-contact rates in the league (14.4 percent). I expect most DFSers leaning in the Sox direction to tab Kyle Schwarber, J.D. Martinez, or even leadoff man Enrique Hernandez. Renfroe will probably bat sixth or seventh.