The grind returns (finally) on Friday, when the MLB All-Star break officially ends and we again have daily fantasy baseball on our hands. It’s been a brutal stretch for MLB DFS fans, as we’ve seriously been relegated to building DFS squads for the WNBA, CFL and fantasy golf. It’s fun to stretch our necks a bit, but even better to get back to our daily FanDuel MLB picks.
Friday offers an interesting daily fantasy baseball platter, as all 30 MLB squads are in action on one massive slate. We have some very appealing pitching options at the top, but everyone seems to come with their own caveat. Jacob deGrom leads the way at home against a dangerous Rockies offense, so we probably need to decide early on if we want to pay for him or emphasize lively bats. Let’s dive into the process as we try to build a competitive team for big GPP tournaments in our first night back:
SP: Johnny Cueto – San Francisco Giants ($9k)
I know Cueto’s recent form hasn’t been remotely encouraging, but he’s pitching at Petco Park against an awful Padres lineup. San Diego ranks dead last in the majors at connecting on right-handed pitching and Cueto delivered a solid performance against this trash heap earlier this year. His recent form is troubling, but he’s coming at a discounted price in the best possible matchup we could hope for. If you can’t trust in Cueto now, then when?
Jaco deGrom is the top arm tonight, but he’s taking on an explosive Rockies lineup. As good as he is, I’m not entirely sure I want to put all of my eggs in that basket tonight. Going away from him in GPPs probably isn’t a bad idea, either. If I’m not using Cueto, I probably will pivot to James Paxton, who typically has worked out well for me. The White Sox tend to hit southpaws well, but I wouldn’t let that deter you too much.
C: Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants ($3k)
I can’t get over the value amongst the bats in MLB DFS tonight. Posey is always a fine try, but he gets a beatable lefty in Clayton Richard and we all know how he rakes against southpaws. Posey isn’t in a good park, but he’s wrecked Richard (11 for 27, 2 HR) in his career and the splits (.448 OBP vs. lefties) are through the roof. More than all of that, this feels way too cheap for such a reliable catcher option.
Catcher is pretty loaded on a 15-game slate, so we should also pay some mind to Alex Avila ($2.7k) who is dirt cheap and facing a righty (which he demolishes). I love both options tonight, but how do we pass on Posey as the 6th most expensive catcher on the board? I’m not sure we can.
1B: Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers ($3.5k)
There are a ton of options to consider at 1B, but I never see a reason to pay all the way up. I love Thames at this price, as he’s at home in a hitter’s park against a pitcher in Nick Pivetta who gives up plenty of contact. Thames can go bust pretty easily, but he yields loads of power and also wrecks right-handed pitching to the tune of a .322 ISO.
We can also consider nice dives tonight and of the top value plays, I like Matt Adams. He’ll be at home against Taijuan Walker and he mashes right-handed pitching. He’s in a groove with 7 hits in his last 5 games, too, so I would be shocked if he was an utter failure.
2B: Robinson Cano – Seattle Mariners ($3.2k)
Cano kills right-handed pitching and comes at a bargain tonight at home against human gas can, James Shiels. Shields did a good job masking his hard contact ways earlier in the year, but he’s now been fully exposed. Cano is in a solid groove with 5 hits in his last 5 games and he always gives us the power upside we covet. Against Shields, that very well may equate to a dong or two.
I also love Brian Dozier’s value at $3k tonight, but chalk or not, I prefer Cano of the two.
3B: Jake Lamb – Arizona Diamondbacks ($3.6k)
Much like with 1B, there are always a ton of useful 3B options. I really don’t mind paying up for Lamb, who destroys right-handed pitching and gets a very beatable arm in R.A. Dickey. The Braves knuckleballer has actually been really stingy lately, but he’s due for some regression and Lamb packs some serious power. I love him in this spot and am calling a long ball for him tonight.
Like I said, there’s plenty of 3B options to consider, and we can take a dive with someone like Reds masher Eugenio Suarez if we want to save. Suarez is another guy with extreme splits (.232 ISO vs righties) and he’s at home against Taijuan Walker in a great park. Walker can be tough, but he got lit up in his last start and is in a tough ballpark. Suarez saves us cash and really might have as much upside as Lamb. I just prefer Lamb’s safety in this spot. I also like Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant a lot, if you’re looking for a pivot from Lamb.
SS: Stephen Drew – Washington Nationals ($2.1k)
Whoops, this is a full-blown punt at SS. I see Carlos Correa, Jean Segura, Corey Seager and others, but SS is super inflated tonight and I’m not super enamored with the intermediate options. That could bring me to a full punt with Drew, who actually wrecks right-handed pitching and could offer a lot of upside in the hittable Great American Ballpark. He’s a gamble, but this is a high upside GPP value play that I not only like, but want to fulfill my bats and pitching desires.
Jean Segura at home versus James Shields is one of my favorite plays up top, while I’m also into Chris Owings and Zack Cozart.
OF: Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs ($3.4k)
Happ is one of my favorite power hitters for tonight, as he gets a very interesting matchup against Kevin Gausman at Camden Yards. Gausman has produced a very good K rate lately, but he got blasted in his last start against the Twins and this is a tough park to survive in. Happ crushes right-handed pitching and is seemingly always a threat to go yard anytime he approaches the plate.
There are a lot of OF options to go after tonight on such a wide open slate, but pivoting to the lefty Mets batters (Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce) here could make some sense. They’re arguably too cheap at home against Jon Gray, who has struggled on the road and specifically has had issues keeping left-handed bats in check.
OF: Michael Conforto – New York Mets ($3.1k)
You can pivot to Conforto or just use him right along with Happ, which is what I plan to do tonight. Jon Gray is a good pitcher, but he hasn’t been reliable on the road and is getting lit up (.373 OBP) by left-handed hitting. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has some trouble keeping the Mets lefties in check tonight, while it’s simply been too long since Conforto last went yard. Beyond all of that, he’s just too cheap right now.
OF: Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers ($4.1k)
There are a ton of options to peruse at OF but I love me some Brew Crew options and right up there with Thames is Braun. Braun is at home with a good matchup and he also has stellar splits with a cool .247 ISO against right-handed pitching. Hopefully his ownership will be down due to calf tightness prior to the All-Star break.