This article outlines the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We take a comprehensive look to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
We’ll focus our attention on the 10 earliest games since those are the ones used on the most platforms. Further, rain threatens to postpone the Angels-Jays and Marlins-Mets games so we’ll avoid them.
Top Play: JT Brubaker – Pirates (vs Cubs)
This is an unusual slate in that most of the highest priced pitchers will likely be rained out or are simply mispriced. That gives us a chance to save a lot of money on arms. Brubaker is what we’d typically think of as a middle-of-the-pack pitcher. He’s a ground ball pitcher with enough swinging strikes to record around a punchout per inning. The overall package isn’t flashy, but there’s upside for something like a better Mike Soroka. In this particular matchup, we’re just hoping for five innings, five strikeouts, and a handful of hits – ideally without allowing a run.
Pivot: Matt Shoemaker –Twins (vs Mariners)
The Seattle offense is sputtering out of the gate. Shoemaker doesn’t offer an especially large ceiling, and he should be viewed as volatile too. A splitter specialist, he often has extended hot and cold streaks. His first outing this season was a six-inning, 92-pitch gem. He’s one of only three pitchers (excluding the wet games) who can be expected to exceed 90 pitches. A repeat of last week – six innings, five strikeouts, and one run – would be swell.
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Mercedes has quickly ascended from little-known bargain punt to the top catcher in a slate stocked with some of the best backstops. As I highlighted in yesterday’s Homer Report, Mercedes has considerable power potential. Since he’s not actually a catcher, he also doesn’t share the many downsides that usually come with the position. So long as the Sox are using Mercedes, we should too. Although his price has corrected somewhat, he remains a modest bargain.
Jeffers is a bat-first catching prospect who is expected immediately hit for power in the Majors. In a small sample, he appears to have a low launch angle. What we know of Flexen suggests he’s a fly ball pitcher. When those traits diverge, it favors power outcomes for the hitter.
Top Play: Trey Mancini – Orioles (vs Pivetta)
My way too early analysis of Mancini is that he’s slipped back into the 2017-2018 model – a ground ball hitter with decent but unexceptional power outcomes. He’s struggled with whiffs and strikeouts which is to be expected from somebody who missed all of 2020 treating and recovering from cancer. Pivetta makes for a decent matchup. As an extreme fly ball pitcher, he works in Mancini’s nitro zone. Both home runs and strikeouts are more likely with this pairing.
Across the aisle, Dalbec has yet to really lay into one. He profiles as a sort of poor man’s Joey Gallo with a 30-homer pace, way too many strikeouts, and an otherwise forgettable batting line. He should be regarded as a regular multi-homer threat albeit one who zeroes out more often than not. He’ll see some of the worst pitchers in the league today.
Top Play: Enrique Hernandez – Red Sox (at Lopez)
The Red Sox leadoff man is usually only dusted off for starts against left-handed pitchers. The Orioles pitching staff – and especially Lopez – are so poor that Hernandez leads all second basemen in projected home runs. He has around a one-in-four chance to go yard. The Red Sox stack should furnish a healthy drubbing of Lopez and friends.
Pivot: Nike Goodrum – Tigers (at Logan Allen)
Goodrum is an uninspiring punt with just enough power and speed to maybe make something happen. He bats leadoff and typically furnishes around league average production. He’s priced like a below average eight-hole. This is a simple bargain play with a neutral matchup.
Unlike first and second base, we have some big names to consider here. Ramirez is the top-projected player in the slate (ignoring certain Angels). He profiles as a multi-hit and multi-homer threat against a below average starting pitcher and perhaps the worst bullpen in the Majors.
Pivot: Jeimer Candelario – Tigers (at Allen)
There’s honestly no need to pivot at third base if you’d rather not. However, the most obvious option is the Tigers cleanup hitter. Candelario is a switch-hitter who has vastly superior numbers against southpaws in his brief career. While I see reasons not to expect much of a split going forward, I’m more open to the possibility of one in switch-hitters. Candelario broke out last season by making frequent hard contact. He appears to have picked up where he left off. Allen is exceptionally ordinary. His best trait is a high ground ball rate.
Top Play: Xander Bogaerts – Red Sox (at Lopez)
There’s nothing complicated here. Bogaerts is the best shortstop in the slate, has a juicy matchup, and his surrounding cast are all poised to pop off.
Pivot: Christian Arroyo – Red Sox (at Lopez)
A crafty GPP-player will also consider a wrap-around stack eschewing Bogaerts in favor of Arroyo (and probably Dalbec). While obviously a lower expected value play than simply plugging in Bogaerts, snagging the bottom portion of what should be the most-stacked lineup has obvious implications for contest-winning potential.
Also Consider: Goodrum, Javy Baez, Kim
Urena’s velocity was down in his season debut. He’s a mediocre ground ball pitcher while Rosario skews towards fly ball contact. Progressive Field is favorable to left-handed power, and Rosario’s aggression should serve him well in this particular matchup.
I have some hesitance in recommending Buxton – he’s an extreme fly ball hitter set to face a fly ball pitcher. Our DFS Projections believe him to be the best combination of ceiling and value. While fly outs and strikeouts are more likely against Flexen, Buxton still has around a one-in-four chance to homer. Martinez is the only outfielder projected to outperform him. As with Bogaerts, it’s not a complex recommendation.
Pham is off to a dismal start, batting .133/.250/.133. To my eyes, he’s snakebit. Pham is making plenty of hard contact with his usual distribution of batted ball outcomes. Although Foltynewicz isn’t exactly a fly ball pitcher, he will work up in the zone with his fastball. This is a solid opportunity for Pham to catch fire. Although we didn’t talk about any other Padres bats, they’re perhaps the second-best stack among the dry games.
Isbel is a dart throw of sorts. He has the talent to fill up a boxscore with multiple hits, power, and/or speed. The matchup against Cease is favorable, although the White Sox elite bullpen could turn his last two plate appearances into low-value pairings.