Last night was a slow burn for daily fantasy baseball unless you stacked Astros, Royals or Marlins. We weren’t high on Miami in a pitcher’s park, the Astros are seemingly always chalk and we surely weren’t into the powerless Royals against one of our favorite pitchers.
In the end, Ariel Mirand was a trash pick as KC blasted three home runs in an unlikely 9-6 win. It didn’t make much sense, but this is daily fantasy baseball, in a nutshell. We still liked Alex Wood as a chalk option (61 fantasy points), so hopefully you jettisoned our Miranda pick to the moon and used him, instead.
Our sneaky Braves stack didn’t pay off, as Tyler Flowers, Matt Adams and Freddie Freeman combined for just 15.2 fantasy points. Freeman and Flowers weren’t useless, but they also didn’t meet expectations. Catcher was a tough spot to figure out last night, while Justin Bour – a guy we’ve been propping up for a week straight – finally donged on a night where we didn’t even mention him. The Marlins losing their minds at Busch Stadium was beyond annoying.
We did have some hits, of course, as Jean Segura (34.4) was a monster and ended up homering, which is hilarious since that was the only thing we didn’t expect him to do. We did get a second long ball with Rougned Odor, who was another sweet play. Benintendi (two walks), Adam Jones (one knock) and Ryan Braun (9.2 fantasy points) all at least got on the board.
It wasn’t a great night thanks to Miranda’s quick death by the hands of the Royals, but if you rolled with Wood and used a few of these bats, you probably cashed on a low-scoring slate. Regardless, let’s leave Wednesday behind and see if we can’t piece together a winning MLB DFS squad for Thursday’s main slate:
SP: Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks ($9.3k)
There are several pitching options to consider on this slate, with Boston ace Chris Sale ($11.8k) understandably leading the way. He’s easy to love, but he’s also probably going to be chalk and is quite expensive. Ray has similar strikeout upside and should be lower owned. He also has been fantastic (1.32 ERA) on the road and takes on a Dodgers lineup he posted 10 Ks and gave up just one run against the last time he faced them at Dodger Stadium.
Ray still has a tough test on his hands, as the Dodgers can obliterate anyone and Rich Hill (who is also playable) takes the mound on the other side. Ray has been coughing up homers lately, but most of his poor form lately has come at home in the ever hittable Chase Field. There is a little risk here, but overall Ray offers plenty of value and upside and is probably my favorite arm.
Sale is an easy call for cash games and we can also look at Lance McCullers ($9.4k) against the Jays. If we want a little more value the aforementioned Rich Hill is in play, as well.
C: Evan Gattis – Houston Astros ($2.7k)
I don’t love Gattis against a lefty, but Francisco Liriano has blow up potential and the Astros are heavily favorited tonight. Gattis also brings raw power to the table and is a cheap option at a poor position on the main slate. Matt Wieters ($2.6k) is a cheaper option with a solid home matchup, but Gattis is by far my favorite catcher tonight.
1B: Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals ($3.4k)
I’m not against using Nats against Folty tonight, but I’m also not going to sit here and prop up one of the best offenses in MLB DFS. Instead, let’s just grab Zimmerman and move on. He’s in a mini-slump at the moment, but he rakes at home and kills right-handed pitching. He’s a solid bet to wake up here against a beatable arm in his home park.
The weather doesn’t look great early on for this game, so be sure to have a backup plan in place. For us, that could be Wil Myers, who sees a positive park shift and could go yard against the beatable Josh Tomlin in Cleveland.
2B: Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals ($3.9k)
Okay, just one more Nat. You can stack’em up here, but truth be told, I filled out the other spots and was left with $4k for the 2B spot. I could drop down and maybe upgrade over an OF option, but I like how this MLB DFS team came together. Murph and the Nats are at home against Mike Flotynewicz, who can actually be solid, but got obliterated (8 runs, 3 HR) the last time he faced Washington.
Murphy is a fine try against anyone, but he’s batted over .500 versus Folty specifically and has an absurd .400 OBP against right-handed hurlers. I love him tonight, while we could also switch things up by dropping down to Brian Dozier ($3.4k) who still feels rather cheap and is at home against a beatable arm. We can also pivot from Murphy to Jose Altuve, who could easily fare well against Francisco Liriano tonight.
3B: Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles ($3.1k)
I certainly don’t want to stack O’s against a solid young pitcher like Jose Berrios, but Machado is way too cheap and is always a good try as a one-off play. Berrios has been having issues with the long ball lately (3 HR vs. Royals in his last start) and Target Field is not an easy place to pitch in. Machado doubled last night and has had some success against Berrios before. The splits aren’t really awesome here, but it only takes one long ball to have Machado pay off.
SS: Jean Segura – Seattle Mariners ($3.5k)
It’s back to the well for Segura, who crushed last night and has been ablaze lately. He’s at home with positive splits against a very inexperienced pitcher in Paul Blackburn. Blackburn stifled the Braves in his lone MLB start and actually blanked 9 righties in that outing, but young pitchers are always fair game. I’m not too worried about him completely shutting down the Mariners on the road.
We can also try Francisco Lindor here, as he’s a little cheaper and at home against Dinelson Lamet, who has flashed brilliance but owns a disgusting 7.07 road ERA.
OF: Matt Kemp – Atlanta Braves ($2.9k)
I’m not into an ATL stack tonight, as the Braves take it to the road to battle solid southpaw, Gio Gonzalez. I’m sure they’ll shred now, but the only bat there I really like is Kemp, who is long overdue to connect on his 13th homer of the year. He also destroys left-handed pitching and happens to own positive numbers (7 for 19, 2 HR) against Gonzalez. None of that makes him a lock, but he offers tremendous value and upside at this price.
OF: Andrew Benintendi – Boston Red Sox ($3.4k)
Beni is still a great price, so I don’t mind going back to the well with him tonight. He’s facing a solid young pitcher in Jacob Faria on the road, but Faria is starting to give up a good amount of hard contact. Beni also sports awesome splits versus righties and remains a solid price.
OF: Max Kepler – Minnesota Twins ($2.7k)
Kepler is at home against the beatable Dylan Bundy tonight and he’s way too cheap in this spot. Bundy has been a HR machine this year, as he got taken deep three times in his last start and has given up at least one long ball in each of his last 10 starts (18 on the year). Even if Kepler doesn’t serve one up here, this is still a tough park to pitch in and Kepler (.364 OBP) rakes against right-handed pitching. I think he sends one deep tonight, but even if he doesn’t the park and splits should help him churn out a solid outing.
I like this team quite a bit, but remember to pick your spots as needed and also consider any secondary alternatives we mention. Keep an eye on weather for some of these games, too, as there is some rough weather in D.C. and Philly tonight.