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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: July 22, 2016 – DraftKings & FanDuel Analysis

Below we’ve got breakdowns for each game of Friday’s 15-game evening slate on DraftKings and FanDuel along with player rankings, suggested lineups, and a projections/research chart.

Game Breakdowns

Indians @ Orioles

Not a lot going on fantasy-wise in this one. Dylan Bundy is a non-option, and the O’s are a tough matchup for the right-handed Trevor Bauer. Left-handed hitters are in a decent spot against Bauer who has a 4.39 xFIP vs. LHH and a fly ball lean against them. Chris Davis finally returned from an illness on Thursday and is quite cheap on DK. For the Tribe, Jason Kipnis has a 146 wRC+ vs. RHP dating back to last season, and he’s been hot in July including a 216 wRC+ since the Break. He’s over-priced, but he’s semi-close to appropriately priced on FD.

Phillies @ Pirates

Pittsburgh is one of two really big favorites on this slate at -230 as of this writing. That obviously places Gerrit Cole squarely in consideration for cash games. The problem is that Cole only has one start under his belt since re-joining the rotation after an injury, and he allowed four earned runs in just four innings. He threw 80 pitches in that start, but it’s hard to know if that was because they were being cautious with him or just because he was ineffective. Further complicating things is the fact that he is very attractively priced and the fact that this is a plus matchup with Philadelphia, who has an 81 wRC+ vs. RHP and a slightly higher than average strikeout rate. On a one-pitcher site like FD I might go with someone a little less risky in cash games. But as an SP2 on DK? I’ll roll the dice there considering how cheap he is.

Padres @ Nationals

The Nationals are the other big favorite of the night, also coming in at -230 as of this writing, so that means Tanner Roark is a cash consideration. Roark has been really good in his last five starts with a 2.23 ERA. An 80 percent strand rate is helping, and his strikeout rate has been average at best. But a 3.75 SIERA is more than respectable and his 4.4 percent walk rate is excellent. He also has a superb matchup against the Padres who are third worst in wRC+ vs. RHP with the third highest strikeout rate. There’s not a ton to be concerned with here. Thankfully, Roark is priced very well on FD, so you can just plug him in cash lineups there and not fret over risking it with Cole. His price tag is a bit high on DK, and there are a couple other expensive options you might consider there.

As far as bats go, Washington’s lefties are always worth a look against a right-handed starter. Daniel Murphy has an eight-game hitting streak going that includes four home runs, and Bryce Harper is always an option to spend on against a right-hander, even if he hasn’t been his usual self lately.

Giants @ Yankees

Neither of these teams are particularly good matchups for hitters, but the Giants are a much tough matchup, and Masahiro Tanaka isn’t nearly the pitcher Madison Bumgarner is, so Bumgarner is the only pitcher you want to consider here. Bumgarner continues to roll right along with a 2.94 ERA and 2.71 SIERA in his last five starts with superb strikeout and walk rates. He’s way over-priced on FD, so I wouldn’t touch him there except in a GPP since his price tag may depress his ownership quite a bit. And on DK he’s a fine cash option, though you should look for more contrarian options in GPPs.

Mariners @ Blue Jays

Man, a lot of bats are in play for this one.

The Blue Jays will send Marco Estrada to the hill in his first start back from the DL. That alone favors Seattle bats, but Estrada’s 4.82 xFIP and 50.8 percent fly ball rate against LHH dating back to last season add to the appeal of those bats. Seattle will likely start five guys with a wRC+ of 119 or higher against RHP dating back to last season. The best options are Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager who have been swinging hot bats in June and since the Break. Both are priced well on both sites, but Seager is priced particularly well. Then you have their value play lefties, Adam Lind and Seth Smith. Lind is a good salary relief option on both sites, though 1B typically isn’t the place to look for savings, and Smith is particularly cheap on FD. And finally, don’t forget about Nelson Cruz if you make a Seattle stack. Yeah, he crushes lefties, but his 135 wRC+ vs. RHP ain’t too shabby either.

Seattle will send Jamex Paxton to the hill, and Paxton has really struggled lately with a 5.74 ERA (4.83 SIERA) in his last five starts. His strikeout rate has also fallen off a cliff down to 12.2 percent in his last five. Woof. Josh Donaldson is the most obvious play against Paxton with a 182 wRC+ vs. LHP dating back to last season and very good numbers since the break and in July on the whole. He’s pricey but worth fitting in if possible in cash games. Troy Tulowitzki has a 121 wRC+ vs. LHP and a 147 wRC+ in July along with reasonable price tags on both sites, especially DK. And then finally there’s Russell Martin who has a really nice price tag on FD at a catcher position that is even more thin than normal today. Edwin Encarnacion is also a good option but a pricey one and someone only to use if you stack Jays.

D’Backs @ Reds

The typical names are all that’s really in play here. Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt are in a good spot against Dan Straily who leans fly ball heavy against hitters on both sides of the plate. Goldy hasn’t been going all that well, but his price tag is down far enough on DK that he’s worth a look there. Lamb has been going well and continues to have a curiously nice price tag on FD. For the Reds, their best lefties are in play against Archie Bradley who has a 4.84 xFIP vs. LHH dating back to last season. Joey Votto has been torching it with a 207 wRC+ in July and a 307 wRC+ since the break. He’s a good option on DK where he’s more reasonably priced. Bruce is scuffling a bit, but he is also priced well on DK.

Twins @ Red Sox

The Red Sox are great against right-handed pitching, so Kyle Gibson is a no-go today. But Gibson has been pitching well lately with a 3.80 SIERA in his last five starts. Because the Sox have hit so well, their price tags are all so high, and they might not be worth paying up for in only an average matchup. The only player that really sticks out here is Miguel Sano who owns a 153 wRC+ vs. LHP dating back to last season. He’s not been great since the Break, but his price tags are more than reasonable on both sites.

Behind the paywall you’ll find breakdowns of the remaining games, player rankings, suggested lineups and my projections/research chart.

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Mets @ Marlins

This is another game with just a few stray bats to consider and only from the Mets. First, Wilmer Flores has a 173 wRC+ vs. LHP dating back to last season and a 228 wRC+ in July. He’s a little pricey on DK, but he’s affordable enough on FD to roster against LHP Adam Conley. Also consider Travis d’Arnaud who has a career .180 ISO vs. LHP and very reasonable price tags on both sites.

Cubs @ Brewers

It’s a bit surprising that more hitters don’t show up on my research sheet as good plays in this one, but the only guys I have highlighted are Anthony Rizzo and Jonathan Villar. Rizzo has a 158 wRC+ vs. RHP between this year and last and a 183 wRC+ in July. He’ll face RHP Jimmy Nelson whose 1.86 ERA over his last five starts looks good, but a 5.58 SIERA and almost as many walks as strikeouts portend trouble. The reason more Cubs aren’t on my radar is the ones that hit RHP well, like Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist, have been having a terrible month. As for Villar he has a 120 wRC+ in July and a 140 wRC+ since the Break. He’s priced just about right on both sites.

Tigers @ White Sox

This is yet another game with little going on other than a few bats. Justin Upton has been better without the platoon advantage than with it dating back to last season, and he’s been half decent this month for the first time in awhile. He’s priced nicely on DK. And if Jarrod Saltalamacchia starts for the second day in a row, the switch-hitter is at least average against right-handed pitching but is priced well below average at only $200 over the minimum on FD.

Angles @ Astros

In three starts against the Astros this season Matt Shoemaker has allowed only five earned runs with 24 strikeouts compared to only three walks over 21.1 innings. The Astros are just about average per wRC+ against RHP and strike out more than average at a 24 percent clip, making them an above average matchup for pitchers. The only problem with Shoemaker today is price. He’s priced just about right on both sites with maybe a slightly better price tag on FD. The price would be less of an issue if he were going to be a big cash game play, but we’ve mentioned other, better cash options already, and the Angels are an underdog in this one. He’d be better suited for GPPs, but there’s not a ton of value potential in his price point.

Dodgers @ Cardinals

Good pitchers going in this one. Brandon McCarthy has been excellent in his first three games back from injury, and Michael Wacha has been decent in his last five starts with a 3.88 SIERA, above average strikeout and walk rates, and a 54.4 percent ground ball rate. Unfortunately, McCarthy isn’t usable against a Cardinals team with a 118 wRC+ vs. RHP. But McCarthy has been good enough that Cards bats aren’t attractive options as well. The Dodgers are about average in both wRC+ and strikeout rate vs. RHP, so they’re not a great matchup for Wacha but aren’t a bad one either. The thing to like most about Wacha is price as he’s very under-priced on both sites. He’s an option in both cash and GPP, but the line on this game is about even money, so he’s probably best used in GPPs where he has value potential.

Rangers @ Royals

This is another game with good pitchers going but less than ideal matchups. Neither of these teams strike out much, and the Rangers are about average in wRC+ vs. LHP. But the Royals are below average in wRC+ vs. RHP, and Yu Darvish doesn’t necessarily need a good strikeout matchup to rack up Ks, so he’s an option here. He only went 4.1 innings in his first start back from injury, but he was allowed to throw 90 pitches. The problem was more that he was inefficient, not that he was on too restrictive of a pitch count. That said, he’s still a bit tough to trust in cash games until he’s really stretched out. But there’s plenty of value potential in his price tag on FD, so he’s a GPP option there.

As for bats, Ian Desmond and Robinson Chirinos have good numbers against lefties like Duffy. They also both have excellent numbers in July and since the Break. Both are priced better on DK than FD with Chirinos being a nice value and Desmond just not being over-priced on DK.

Braves @ Rockies

I’m generally someone who likes to fade Coors when he can, and tonight may be one of those nights. Both teams are starting arguably their best pitchers, and both teams are well below average in wRC+ against pitchers of the handedness they’ll be facing. The one thing I might try to pick on in cash is lefties against Julio Teheran. Teheran has a 5.20 xFIP vs. LHH dating back to last season, and an insanely low BABIP vs. LHH is making his basic numbers look much better than they should be. The best guy to exploit that is Carlos Gonzalez who has a 146 wRC+ vs. RHP dating back to last season. He’s priced bizarrely low on FD at only $3,500. Lock him in there.

Rays @ A’s

Let’s appropriately finish this off with a few more stray bats. The Rays have a 199 wRC+ vs. LHP and have three right-handers with excellent numbers vs. LHP, Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe and Brandon Guyer. They have a great matchup against Sean Manaea who has 4.82 xFIP vs. RHH. Forsythe and Guyer haven’t done much lately and aren’t even priced all that well, but Longoria has a 149 wRC+ in July and a 217 wRC+ since the Break. He’s pricey on both sites but closer to affordable on FD. For the A’s, Josh Reddick has been good coming out of the Break and has a reasonable price tag on FD.

Player Rankings

**Players are listed according to their FD positional eligibility


  1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (better value on FD)
  2. Travis d’Arnaud
  3. Russell Martin (better value on FD)
  4. Robinson Chirinos (better value on DK)
  5. Jason Castro

First Base

  1. Chris Davis
  2. Adam Lind
  3. Anthony Rizzo
  4. Joey Votto (better value on DK)
  5. Paul Goldschmidt (better value on DK)

Second Base

  1. Robinson Cano
  2. Jason Kipnis
  3. Logan Forsythe
  4. Daniel Murphy
  5. Jonathan Schoop

Third Base

  1. Kyle Seager
  2. Josh Donaldson
  3. Jake Lamb (FD only)
  4. Evan Longoria (better value on FD)
  5. Wilmer Flores


  1. Troy Tulowitzki
  2. Jonathan Villar
  3. Eduardo Nunez
  4. Carlos Correa
  5. Corey Seager


  1. Seth Smith
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Carlos Gonzalez (better value on FD)
  4. Miguel Sano
  5. Mike Trout
  6. Jay Bruce (better value on DK)
  7. Ian Desmond (better value on DK)
  8. Justin Upton (better value on DK)
  9. Nelson Cruz
  10. Josh Reddick (better value on FD)

Starting Pitcher

  1. Madison Bumgarner (better value on DK)
  2. Tanner Roark (better value on FD)
  3. Gerrit Cole (better value on DK)
  4. Yu Darvish (better value on FD)
  5. Michael Wacha
  6. Matt Shoemaker

Suggested Lineups

Below you’ll find a suggested cash and GPP lineup for both DK and FD. These lineups were posted early in the morning and will not be updated later in the day on account of the author not being able to get home from work in time to do so. So be aware that these lineups were made and posted without knowing the weather for the day and who would and would not be in their team’s lineup today. The lineups are merely suggestions to give you and idea about roster construction.

7-22 DK

7-22 FD

Research Chart

Download today’s research chart from this Google Sheet. Projections are derived from Fangraphs Depth Chart projections, which are cut down to a per-game basis and then adjusted for ball park and matchup. A glossary for the columns in the ‘hitter research’ tab is included below the chart.

SP Adj. – Projected FIP (based on ZiPS) of opposing pitcher against hitters of that handedness

BP Adj. – 2015 Fangraphs HR park factor for LHH or RHH

Pen Adj. – xFIP of opposing bullpen against hitters of that handedness

Last 7 – Hitter’s wRC+ in last seven days

July – Hitter’s wRC+ in July

L/R – Hitter’s 2015-2016 wRC+ against LHP or RHP

Projections and values are then included for each site.


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