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 15-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.
Ender Inciarte was a solid lock play with 16 DK points. Of the potential stacks we mentioned, the Phillies were the one that hit, with Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Tommy Joseph all homering in an 11-4 win. I thought hard about them, but got spooked by the weather. Oh, well.
When one of the cash lineup players (Gattis) got benched and two others (Inciarte, Kemp) were in a game threatened by rain, I wanted to cancel the cash lineup, but the contest was already full. The cash lineup fell short, while the tournament version won a small amount.
Season status: Minus $28
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News & notes
Jake Arrieta ($9,000) is the night’s biggest favorite at minus-230 over the Marlins … The highest non-Coors projected run total is 10 for Angels-Tigers (Chavez-Norris); the lowest is 7.5 for Nats-Dodgers (Scherzer-McCarthy) and White Sox-Rays (Quintana-Archer) … The weather issues to watch are for Red Sox-Yankees, Phillies-Braves and Indians-Rockies.
Last time the Indians played in an NL park, Carlos Santana moved to right field, so there’s probably no need to worry … Justin Bour (ankle) could be headed to the DL … Don’t expect Marwin Gonzalez (hand) to play tonight … Scott Schebler (shoulder) hopes to return to the Reds’ lineup tonight … Look for Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler to come off the DL tonight … Remember that Brewers 3B Travis Shaw is on the paternity list.
He’s not cheap, but Nelson Cruz for $4,900 against a mediocre lefty like Hector Santiago is as close to money in the bank as a hitter gets. Cruz had seven hits, two homers and 57 DK points in the weekend series against the Rays. And in case you forgot, his career wOBA vs. LHP is .393. He’s the 10th-most expensive outfielder on the board.
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Cash: If A’s 2B/SS Chad Pinder ($2,800) bats second again, he’s a really nice play, even vs. a solid starter like Marco Estrada. Pinder has seven homers in 82 at-bats on the season.
Tournaments: Robbie Ray isn’t the easiest guy to hit against, but he hasn’t been nearly as effective at home (6.75 ERA in five starts). Speedy Padres’ leadoff man Allen Cordoba ($2,700) is a tournament option – he doesn’t have power, but could get on, swipe a base and score a run or two.
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Want a good stat? Angels SP Jesse Chavez has allowed 10 home runs in 34 innings against righthanded batters. He’ll face the righty-heavy Tigers tonight. If you can afford some Tiger hitters, we highly recommend them, as long as you understand that they’ll be popular. So will the Rockies and Indians at Coors, the Astros against KC rookie Jake Junis, and the Red Sox vs. Tanaka.
Aside from the Tigers, my favorite options are the Cubs versus Jeff Locke, and the Brewers against Matt Cain. Locke pitched well last week, but he’s been a reliably bad pitcher for most of his career. Cain has been horrendous away from home, with an 8.28 ERA and more walks than whiffs in five starts. The Brewers won’t have Travis Shaw, but Monday’s top four were Sogard/Santana/Thames/Perez. Sogard makes that a reasonably priced foursome if you’re looking to pivot a bit.
Yes, the Astros are very good, and facing a rookie. They're also very expensive and in a pitcher's ballpark. They only scored seven runs Monday, you know.
The Guys to Avoid
I can see paths to scoring runs against Ray and Jacob deGrom tonight, but why would you roster a hitter who faces Max Scherzer or Chris Archer?
Related: I won't roster Scherzer. Too many good and less expensive alternatives.
News & notes
Starting pitcher: The pitching slate is strong, with four of MLB’s top six K/9 hurlers on the mound … Chris Archer ($10,600) is the play above $10K, as he faces a terrible White Sox lineup … As noted above, Ray ($11,900) matches up with a weak Padres lineup (MLB-worst .262 wOBA vs. LHP), but he’s been less dominant in his hitter-friendly home park … Max Scherzer ($13,000) faces a Dodger lineup that has slumped lately, but do you really want to pay that premium? … Arrieta has been better lately, averaging 22.2 DK points over his last three starts, and is a huge favorite against a Marlins’ lineup that won’t have Bour … I prefer Arrieta to James Paxton and Marco Estrada in the same price range, but Arrieta and Paxton are very close … Against a Rays team that whiffs a lot, Jose Quintana is capable but not trustworthy … Adam Wainwright ($8,100) has averaged 24.9 DK points over his last four starts … Aaron Nola ($6,000) is going to pitch a really good game soon; remember that no matter how solid the Braves have been, they still don’t have Freddie Freeman … San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet ($6,800) has whiffed eight batters in each of his first two big-league starts.
Catcher: Isn’t Gary Sanchez always in play at Yankee Stadium, even for $4,700? … If Alex Avila ($3,400) bats near the top of the Tiger lineup – especially in the two-hole – he’s a fine play vs. Chavez … Jett Bandy ($3,200) is a Brewer to consider vs. Cain, assuming that he plays tonight ahead of Manny Pina … Phillies C Cameron Rupp ($2,700) is a lefty masher and faces Garcia.
First base: Eric Thames ($4,900) vs. Cain is my favorite high-end option – better than Holliday/Duda/Santana in the same range … In the next tier, it’s Miguel Cabrera ($4,400) over Encarnacion and Alonso … BvP alert: Anthony Rizzo ($4,500) has four homers in 29 plate appearances vs. Locke … Wil Myers ($3,800) is a tournament play vs. Ray … Slumping Matt Carpenter ($3,700) faces Tim Adleman. If not now, when? … Philly’s Tommy Joseph isn’t a sexy name, but he’s cheap ($3,200), has 10 homers and bats cleanup vs. Jaime Garcia.
Second base: Jose Altuve ($5,500) is solid but expensive vs. a rookie starter … Jason Kipnis ($4,600) at Coors over Castro, Walker and Ramirez in the next tier … Kinsler is $4,200 for his return … Let’s hope that Ian Happ ($3,900) returns to the Cubs’ leadoff spot vs. Locke … Milwaukee’s Eric Sogard ($3,300) would be very good if he leads off vs. Cain … Chad Pinder ($2,800) could bat second vs. Estrada.
Third base: Jake Lamb ($5,100) over Arenado and Donaldson if you want to spend some cash here … Kris Bryant ($4,600) vs. Locke is probably better than all of them, though … Hernan Perez ($4,100) could have a prime lineup slot vs. Cain … Evan Longoria ($3,900) has always hit southpaws well, and faces Quintana … There’s no bigger risk-reward play on most days than San Diego’s Ryan Schimpf ($3,700), who has four home runs and 17 strikeouts in his last 10 games … The cheaper options here are terrible.
Shortstop: It’s hard to argue with Francisco Lindor ($5,100) at Coors … Xander Bogaerts ($4,700) vs. Tanaka looks pretty good, too … Andrelton Simmons ($3,500) looks good leading off vs. Daniel Norris … Sogard and Pinder are both mentioned at other positions, and can save you money here … They’re really trying to tempt us to use Corey Seager ($3,300) against Scherzer, huh?
Outfield: In the $5K-plus group, the order of preference is Blackmon/J.D.Martinez/Conforto … Thames fits here, too … Nelson Cruz at $4,900 vs. a mediocre lefty (Santiago)? Sure! … I like Domingo Santana ($4,800) vs. Cain, but he’s awfully expensive, even if he batted second on Monday … Mookie Betts is only $4,600 vs. Tanaka? … BvP alert: Mark Trumbo ($4,600) is 10-for-21 with three homers vs. Ivan Nova … Steven Souza ($4,300) is an option if he leads off vs. Quintana … Hernan Perez fits here, too … Andrew Benintendi ($4,100) is a solid option vs. Tanaka. Benintendi homered twice Sunday to break out of a slump … Phillies Howie Kendrick ($3,600) and Aaron Altherr ($3,400) are playable vs. Garcia, assuming that they play together … Check out Seattle’s Guillermo Heredia ($3,200) if he bats second vs. Santiago … Cordoba is mentioned above.
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Note: The tournament lineups could be changed based on batting orders for the Tigers and Brewers.