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. We’ll play the 11-game main 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 (usually single-entry) – 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.
Clayton Kershaw ($13,500) is the night’s biggest favorite at minus-290 over the Mets; Jon Lester ($10,500) is also a healthy favorite at minus-215 over the Padres … The highest projected run total BY FAR is 11 for Jays-Rangers (Estrada vs. Bibens-Dirkx) … The rain possibilities look bad for Indians-Orioles, with showers not scheduled to move out until after 10 p.m. (per weather.com).
Indians OF Michael Brantley should return tonight from the paternity list … After being activated from the DL on Friday, Rangers OF Carlos Gomez had two homers and eight RBI over the weekend … The Orioles seem to think that J.J. Hardy fractured his right wrist over the weekend. The replacement options are so bad that we could see Manny Machado shift to shortstop … It sounds like Reds SP Bronson Arroyo might retire.
USA TODAY SportsJordan Johnson
Rays SP Jake Odorizzi ($7,400) is a fine cash play. He’s minus-165 over the Reds in a game with the second-lowest projected total on the board at 8.5, and has been much better in his pitcher-friendly home park (3.11 ERA, 19.2 DK ppg in six starts). You can affordably pair Odorizzi with any non-Kershaw starter, and could even link him with the Dodger ace if you like a couple of cheap bats.
Cash: With Brian McCann having caught three straight games for the Astros, look for Evan Gattis ($2,900) to start vs. A’s rookie Daniel Gossett. Gattis figures to bat no lower than sixth in the order.
Tournaments: This burned us Friday, but the Nats will probably bat Ryan Raburn ($2,900) second vs. Nicolino. Raburn has a .354 career wOBA vs. LHP.
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY SportsThomas Shea
Lots of options here. Vegas sees fireworks on both sides of the Jays-Rangers game. There are good arguments for the Cubs, Nats, Indians, Astros and Brewers. But in Seattle, the Mariners will face Tigers SP Anibal Sanchez, who has allowed 42 homers in 190 innings between the minors and majors since the beginning of last season. The M’s are my favorite stack, followed by the Brewers.
David RichardDavid Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Guy to Avoid
With Wheeler having a history of suppressing home runs (0.82 HR/9 in 394 2/3 career IP), we’re not going to spend $5,200 on Cody Bellinger. Yes, we know that could burn us with one good swing. I hate this one, because I love Bellinger.
Starting pitcher: Kershaw is expensive, as always. If you want to pair him with someone to get below $20K, consider Seattle’s Sam Gaviglio ($6,200). Gaviglio has averaged 18 DK points over his last three starts, with 16 Ks in 16 1/3 innings, and is a minus-160 favorite over the Tigers. There’s certainly bust potential with Gaviglio, but you’re the one who wants to roster Kershaw … Lester faces a Padres’ squad that ranks dead last with a .280 wOBA vs. LHP, and has struck out at a 24.5 percent rate against them … I’m not going to yell at you if you go with Corey Kluber ($11,700) against the Orioles, but Lester is probably a better cash option considering his opponent (and the sketchy Baltimore weather) … Odorizzi is mentioned above … You could try Zach Wheeler ($7,000) against the Dodgers. He’s not a bad play, but the odds of him getting a win are pretty low … Houston’s Brad Peacock ($8,100) has whiffed eight or more batters in four of his five starts, but hasn’t completed five innings in any of them. He’s a tournament option against an A’s lineup that whiffs more than most.
Catcher: Mike Zunino ($4,100) is a terrible hitter who strikes out waaaaaay too much, but his power and Anibal Sanchez’s HR tendencies are a DFS tournament match … If you don’t believe in Gaviglio, then by all means roster Alex Avila ($4,100) who has 10 homers with a 1.052 OPS … Yasmani Grandal ($3,000) isn’t hitting much right now, but he’s cheap … Austin Hedges ($3,000) has plenty of power, but I’m not a fan vs. Lester … Gattis is mentioned above in the bargain section.
First base: Eric Thames ($4,700) by a hair over Justin Smoak, Edwin Encarnacion, Logan Morrison and Ryan Zimmerman (in that order) among the high-end options. Thames faces Gerrit Cole in his friendly home park, and has four homers over his last five games … Miguel Cabrera’s ($4,000) bat is waking up, folks. He has 10 hits with two homers and six runs scored in his last seven games … Brandon Belt ($3,600) can save you some cash vs. the homer-prone Dickey … The cheap play is Houston’s Yuli Gurriel ($2,900) vs. Gossett.
Second base: Jose Altuve ($5,100) looks pretty good vs. a rookie SP in Gossett, but I’d rather save $500 and use Robinson Cano vs. Sanchez … Jason Kipnis ($4,000 ) is a strong play vs. Bundy if the game gets played in Baltimore … Eric Sogard ($3,700) just keeps hitting, and will lead off vs. Cole … Chad Pinder ($3,000) and Javier Baez ($2,900) are both interesting cheap plays, but Pinder figures to bat higher in the order.
Third base: At the top end, look to Kris Bryant ($4,600 vs. Richard) ahead of Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas. Since Bryant made his debut in 2015, only five hitters have better wOBAs than his .414 mark vs. LHP … Joey Gallo ($4,000) looks good vs. the homer-prone Estrada, but he usually bats seventh or eighth … Kyle Seager is just $3,400 vs. Sanchez? Come on … A’s rookie Matt Chapman ($2,600) will bat low in the order, but he had 16 homers in 48 Triple-A games before last week’s promotion.
Shortstop: Trea Turner ($5,200) stole four bases Sunday, and is always capable of exploding vs. a mediocre SP like Nicolino … Xander Bogaerts ($4,500) isn’t a bad consolation prize if you can’t/won’t spend for Turner. Bogey homered twice on Sunday … Brandon Crawford ($3,300) had a huge weekend, but it was at Coors Field. Still, he’s cheap enough to consider vs. Dickey at Atlanta … Sogard, Pinder and Baez fit here, too.
Outfield: Streaky George Springer ($5,200) had three multi-hit games in his last four, and faces Gossett … J.D. Martinez ($4,900) is another Tiger to consider if you don’t like Gaviglio (which I do) … BvP alert: Nelson Cruz ($4,800) has four homers in 15 career plate appearances vs. Sanchez … Thames fits here, too … Rangers Shin-Soo Choo ($4,600) and Carlos Gomez ($4,400) are both playable vs. Estrada, but Choo is preferable due to his leadoff role, with Gomez batting sixth … Christian Yelich ($3,900) has eight hits and 57 DK points in his last four games, I prefer him to Denard Span at the same price, but they’re close … Speedy Mallex Smith ($3,600) should lead off vs. the mediocre Feldman … Belt fits here, too … After a horrible slump, Billy Hamilton ($3,300) has seven hits in his last four games, and stole his first base since May 30 on Sunday. He’ll face Odorizzi … Raburn is mentioned above in the bargain section.