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.
Phillies at Mets – This game pits Jake Arrieta against Rick Porcello – two mediocre veterans who get by on experience more than stuff. Both offenses involved are among the best in the league. By wRC+ (a measure of performance compared to league average), the Mets are third best and the Phillies are sixth best – at 19 and 14 percent better than average respectively.
Dodgers vs Antonio Senzatela – The Dodgers lead the league in home runs – a critical source of DFS fuel. Despite a good ERA, Antonio Senzatela is a swingman-quality starter. The Rockies bullpen is among the worst in the league.
Diamondbacks at Giants – Oracle Park is extremely pitcher friendly which takes some of the sizzle out of a matchup of Taylor Clarke and Tyler Anderson. Both pitchers project for mid-4.00s ERAs, meaning they’re not entirely terrible. Their supporting bullpens are quite exploitable.
Yusei Kikuchi – Mariners (vs Rangers) – Yahoo: $25, DK: $5700, FD: $6300
On the one hand, it feels like I’m sticking out my neck a bit recommending Kikuchi in a slate that includes Yu Darvish and Jack Flaherty. But I also wonder if Kikuchi might not turn into a risky chalk play due to an excessively cheap price tag. I suspect DFS touts will be keen to jump on the bandwagon.
Why? Two reasons: a friendly matchup against the league’s worst-performing offense and improved stuff that hasn’t yet parlayed into a better ERA. To date, the Rangers are 36 percent worse than an average offense. While we can expect (positive) regression, they should definitely be viewed as an exploitable opponent. More importantly, Kikuchi is throwing three-mph harder this season. His strikeout rate has jumped to 9.72 K/9. He allows a little too much hard contact – perhaps because over 80 percent of his offerings are fastballs or cutters. More offspeed stuff could unlock another gear.
In any event, five innings and at least five strikeouts are in the cards. At these prices, that’s a steal. There’s upside for more.
Will Smith – Dodgers (vs Antonio Senzatela) – Yahoo: $19, DK: $3900, FD: $2700
It’s a thin pool for quality catchers today. You might wish to opt for the usual assortment of punts. Smith offers a chance to catch a possible multi-homer game at a discount. He’s an extreme fly ball hitter who rarely whiffs. He also features more than enough power to do some serious damage. While he only has four home runs in 70 plate appearances, his is a profile that can go on a binge. He’s also walking at a 22.9 percent clip so you’ll likely get something out of him.
Smith is by far the preferred catcher by our Rotoworld Player Projections.
Hoskins should be one of the chalkiest players in the slate. Not only does he have an advantageous matchup against a below average opponent, he’s also going wild at the plate. While hot streaks tend to be overreferenced for DFS purposes, Hoskins does appear to be somebody who locks into prolonged surges and slumps. Presently, he’s batting .378/.465/.973 with six home runs in his last 43 plate appearances. Nobody is hotter.
Although I suggested using Kikuchi, it’s also perfectly reasonable to take the opposite approach. Since Kikuchi is prone to allowing hard contact, Solak is a high value target. Although he hasn’t exhibited much home run power, he’s demoing above average plate discipline, contact skills, and a high-BABIP batted ball profile. Kikuchi will be followed by the smoking ruins of Seattle’s bullpen.
Unfortunately, Solak is listed as an outfielder on FanDuel. Our Rotoworld Lineup Optimizer uses him in 34 of the top 50 lineups.
Third base is a strong position in DFS this year. We have some of the usual expensive names available today, but they’re all overpriced for their specific matchups. Down in bargain territory, Bohm offers much the same upside as the big budget plays at a fraction of the cost. This matchup isn’t quite as generous as it is for Hoskins. Bohm is a balanced hitter with a ground ball approach. Against Porcello, this is likely to produce hard ground balls. There’s a high likelihood here for multiple hits, but they’ll probably be singles. It’ll be up to the rest of the lineup to ensure Bohm gets opportunities to score and drive in runs.
There doesn’t appear to be an especially intriguing play at shortstop today. Seager and Trevor Story certainly can be expected to do well, but they aren’t values. Seager is one of the league leaders in several Statcast categories. He’s punishing the ball en route to a shiny .323/.371/.600 batting line. Senzatela doesn’t have notable platoon splits, but he does allow an excess of hard contact. He’s also moderately homer prone – an issue which is liable to rear its head this evening.
Deep bargains are always useful, especially when they project to perform like mid-tier players. Rojas seems to be settling into the sixth spot in the Diamondbacks lineup. After seeing Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw the last two days, he finally gets to face a normal opponent. Although Anderson and Rojas are both lefties, Anderson is a changeup specialist who doesn’t perform better against southpaws. Some rival managers even go as far as to load their lineups with lefty hitters to nullify the changeup.
Rojas is available at second base on DraftKings, a huge boon to his value.
Of the elite hitters, Yelich is once again one of the most affordable. He does seem to be missing his top gear – Yelich continues to strike out at an elevated rate. His ground ball rate has increased year-on-year supported by a decrease to his launch angle. When making contact, he still punishes the ball. Progressive Field is friendly to left-handed power. Although we’re conditioned to avoid using hitters against Carrasco, he’s thrown his share of clunkers (three out of seven appearances). He’s also coughed up six home runs in 36 innings (1.50 HR/9).