Welcome to our daily look at daily fantasy baseball. We’ll use DraftKings salaries to give you some tips and advice on the day’s action. Today, we’ll focus on the 11-game night slate.
Remember to check lineups and weather as gametimes approach. We’ll publish this piece in the mornings, and a lot can happen during the day. If Dusty Baker decides to bench Bryce Harper at the last minute, don’t blame us!
I’ll plan to wager $6 per day on DraftKings - $5 on a cash lineup, $1 on a tournament version – and track my progress all season. If you’re a more serious player who doesn’t want to trust his or her bankroll on a guy who enters six bucks a day, I’ll understand.
Nelson Cruz? Nope. Mike Moustakas? Nah. Mets’ stack? Not even close. Thanks to Mitch Moreland, Justin Bour and Andrew Triggs for making Tuesday’s tips something other than a complete washout.
Season status: Plus $15
USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
News & notes
Beyond the very expensive Clayton Kershaw ($13,800) at minus-300 over the Rockies, the night’s biggest favorites are Masahiro Tanaka ($9,000) at minus-220 over the White Sox, and Dallas Keuchel ($9,900) at minus-210 over the Angels … The night’s highest projected run total is 9.5 for Orioles-Reds (Jimenez-Garrett) … Weather.com pegs Minneapolis for a 100 percent chance of rain between 5-8 p.m., without much letup after that. Avoid Indians-Twins … Rain could also sneak into Kansas City late in the Giants-Royals game.
See you after the All-Star break, Starling Marte … Logan Forsythe’s status for tonight and beyond is TBD due to a bruised big toe. Teammate Justin Turner hurt his finger, and while X-rays were negative, tonight could be iffy. With the Dodgers facing a lefty in Tyler Anderson, watch for Kike Hernandez and/or Yasiel Puig to hit high in the order. I’d like to petition Dave Roberts to let Puig ($3,700) bat leadoff tonight after hitting cleanup in the last two games.
Buster Posey (concussion) returned to the lineup for the Giants, getting three singles … Ten more strikeouts for Luis Severino. Just remember that he faced the White Sox, who can’t hit … Justin Upton left Tuesday’s game with a bruised forearm, and is day-to-day … Trea Turner and Matt Kemp will have short rehab assignments before coming off the DL.
It’s not Kershaw. I’m not necessarily suggesting that you fade him, but nobody at his salary can be called a lock.
Manny Machado is my favorite hitter on the board, but he’s somewhat Kershaw-dependent due to his $4,700 salary. Let’s make him our call in this space.
Evan HabeebEvan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Cash: Cesar Hernandez ($3,100) is still leading second basemen with 11.8 DK points per game. He has three homers, two steals and 13 runs in 13 games. I wouldn’t argue too much with spending on Jose Altuve or even Jose Peraza in cash games, but on a night when you’ll probably pay plenty for pitching, Hernandez is very appealing.
Tournaments: Speedy Jays OF Ezequiel Carrera ($2,600) should bat first or second against Rick Porcello. Carrera hit a pinch homer on Tuesday.
An Astros’ stack against J.C. Ramirez is a solid play. However, note that if you roster Kershaw and the top four Astros’ hitters (Springer/Reddick/Altuve/Beltran, unless Correa returns), even using a cheap Jason Vargas at SP2 would leave you with $3,375 per player for C/1B/3B/SS. You can do it, but it won’t be easy.
The Orioles and Yankees are your next-best options, with the Rays as a sneaky play against Jordan Zimmermann. But you also can’t afford to stack Orioles and use Kershaw, so the Yanks are the call. Gardner/Ellsbury/Holliday/Castro won’t set you back too much salary-wise.
The Guys to Avoid
The Rockies versus Kershaw, obviously. Carlos Gonzalez has whiffed 17 times in 36 at-bats against the Dodger ace.
Position Notes & Suggestions
Starting pitcher: If you pay for Kershaw, you probably have to go down to someone like Robert Gsellman ($6,700) for your SP2. Gsellman has a 9.28 ERA, but with 13 Ks in 10 2/3 IP, and faces a Philly lineup that has whiffed in 23.2 percent of its plate appearances. Even a Kershaw/Gsellman pairing leaves you at $3,687 per hitter … Madison Bumgarner ($11,700) is playable against the struggling Royals. Just remember that he’s not quite as dominant on the road (career 3.22 ERA away, 2.79 home) … Speaking of the Royals, Jason Vargas ($5,300) might throw 40 mph fastballs, but he has 14 Ks against two walks in 13 2/3 innings, and faces a Giants’ squad that isn’t hitting well … If you try to avoid Kershaw, Tanaka/Keuchel/Chris Archer are all options in the $9K-10K range. I prefer Keuchel … Vince Velasquez ($9,700) has crazy strikeout upside, but he whiffed 10 and 7 hitters in his first two starts, which corresponded to DK point totals of 16.2 and 9.3. He doesn’t pitch deep enough into games … I’m not on the Amir Garrett train yet. I don’t care how cheap he is ($4,800).
Catcher: Posey ($4,000) is a strong option vs. Vargas … Strongly consider Brian McCann ($3,500) if he bats fifth vs. Ramirez … Yasmani Grandal ($3,300) can save you a few hundred against Tyler Anderson … Alex Avila ($2,600) bats seventh when in the Tiger lineup and has two homers in his last three starts, but he’s not guaranteed to play.
First base: Joey Votto ($5,000) tops the salary list, but it might be worth it against Ubaldo … Freddie Freeman ($4,600) gets Joe Ross in his first 2017 start … Remember to avoid Santana/Encarnacion due to weather concerns (unless things change, of course) … Hanley Ramirez ($4,100) has always crushed lefties, but he’s not hitting right now. Will he break out vs. Francisco Liriano? … Matt Holliday ($4,000) and the Yanks face a weak SP in Dylan Covey … Ditto for Greg Bird ($3,500) if he bats higher than sixth … I know Archer is a good pitcher, but Victor Martinez ($3,200) is a bit too cheap. V-Mart is warming up, with hits in each of his last three games.
Second base: Altuve ($5,100) faces Ramirez, but remember that his price might lock you out on Kershaw … Daniel Murphy ($4,100) vs. Julio Teheran is more reasonable … Peraza ($3,800) has five steals in his last seven games, with six runs scored … Look for Dustin Pedroia ($3,700) to return to the lineup at a nice price vs. Liriano … Starlin Castro ($3,600) gets the Covey matchup. Is Covey-ted a word? … Rays’ cleanup hitter Brad Miller ($3,600) is a deep threat vs. Jordan Zimmermann.
Third base: Since I’m anti-Garrett, I’m pro-Machado ($4,700) … Jake Lamb is hitting well, and will cost you just $3,900 vs. Jhoulys Chacin … Anthony Rendon ($3,600) is OK vs. Teheran, but I don’t like this position today … Nick Castellanos ($3,300) vs. Archer is as far down the ladder as I’m going.
Shortstop: With Correa (injury) and Lindor (weather) risky, Xander Bogaerts ($4,000) vs. Liriano is a decent play. Batting fifth isn’t great, though … Asdrubal Cabrera ($3,500) is solid vs. Velasquez, against whom he has four hits in nine at-bats … If Hernandez ($3,000) bats high in the Dodger order, he’s in play at this thin position. He has a .361 wOBA vs. LHP in his short career.
Outfield: Bryce Harper ($4,900) has reached base 18 times in 36 plate appearances against Teheran, with five home runs … Lots of options in the mid-fours – Springer, Trumbo, Adam Jones, maybe Duvall … Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury check in at $3,900 and $3,800, respectively, versus Covey … Is Curtis Granderson due for a homer? It’ll cost you $3,700 to find out … Eaton is scoring runs – 11 in 13 games … Consider the solid if unspectacular David Peralta ($3,600) vs. Chacin … Remember when Jordan Zimmermann was good? He’s not any more. Rays’ table setters Corey Dickerson ($3,300) and Kevin Kiermaier ($3,400) can be used against him … The O’s might have Craig Gentry ($3,300) in the leadoff spot. Eh … Carrera is the only good sub-$3K play.
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Altuve (was Castro)
Headley (was Machado)
UPDATE 5:36 p.m. ET: The Yankee order had Headley second and Castro fifth. So, I swapped Castro/Machado for Altuve/Headley.
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