Two months down, four to go. The dog days of summer haven't officially kicked in, but at this point in the season we have a pretty solid grasp on the teams and players. Tonight is as good a time as any to take advantage of that knowledge and apply it to the $150,000 Grand Slam contest on FanDuel, where a $25 entry fee will net a top prize of $20,000 for the night's best score.
As always, make sure to check the lineups as they come out, not only to confirm that your targets are playing. Sometimes you will also find value in cheapies that happen to find themselves in a more appealing lineup spot than they typically land. Additionally, always make sure to check the weather - rain, wind, and temperature can influence the success of your DFS rosters. Let’s get to the picks.
Editor's Note: Play one-day fantasy baseball for cash! FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 league for Monday's MLB games. It's just $5 to join and first place wins $10,000. Starts tonight at 7:05pm ET. Enter now!
Felix Hernandez vs New York Yankees, $12,000
Despite tonight being somewhat of a shortened slate (11 games), there are a pile of top flight arms taking the bump this evening (Clayton Kershaw, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom). I wouldn't fault you for rolling any of them out of your rosters, but I think I feel best about the Seattle ace. He'll be squaring off in what should be a pitcher's duel vs former Mariner Michael Pineda (who makes for an intriguing tournament option). Vegas has posted a paltry over/under of but 6.5 for this contest, with the home team being a -140 favorite. Hernandez has been an absolute rock all season long, and he has been best at home, where it feels like a playoff atmosphere with King's Court always rocking every time Felix steps on the hill (especially when he has two strikes on a perspective K victim). I tend to split my FanDuel cash game lineups in half, and I suspect I will have (at least) 50% shares of Felix Hernandez.
Andrew Cashner vs New York Mets, $8,300
If you are looking to be a bit different and save some salary, why not give Cashner a look? The Mets have struggled vs RHPs this season, as they are currently 29th in wOBA and 28th in ISO when opposed by righties. As for Cashner, he is best unleashed at home in spacious Petco Park, and Vegas has his back by making him a -110 favorite (6.5 over/under), despite being opposed Jacob deGrom, who boasts an impressive arm himself. I'm all for looking to get any edge I can find, and the visiting Mets had to fly cross country from New Yorkm and apparently they came in a little late. Would this be a determining factor in my decision making process? No, of course not, but it certainly doesn't dampen my intrigue with the Padres hurler.
Jonathan Lucroy vs St. Louis, $2,900
We may have reinforcements tonight when it comes to the catcher position being generally thin. Lucroy has been out for a while with a toe injury, but it appears that he is on track to make his return to the lineup this evening. While not the case this year, historically the Brewer backstop has pummeled left-handed pitching. The ballpark isn't ideal, but the price is fair. That said, I'm likely to put Lucroy in the "tournament only" bin with questions surrounding him, and due to the next guy I'm about to talk about.
Yasmani Grandal at Colorado, $2,700
Alright, now is as good a time as any to get this out of the way. There is a game in Coors Field this evening. The Dodgers have been the best team in all of baseball when taking on RHPs. Tonight they will face Kyle Kendrick, by no means a pitching tour de force. Not surprisingly, the Dodgers easily have the day's highest team total (just under 5). As for how this pertains to Grandal, the only potential hiccup here is that A.J. Ellis tends to catch the majority of Clayton Kershaw's starts. That said, if Grandal grabs the start, I'll have a hard time keeping him off my rosters with this price/matchup.
Adrian Gonzalez at Colorado, $3,800
Yep. Another Dodger. He has been scuffling a bit of late, but I prefer to focus on a larger sample as opposed to a smaller one. A-Gonz's larger sample suggests this is a stellar matchup for him. The RotoGrinders Batter Hub confirms this, as the LA first baseman boasts a .383 MUwOBA up against the aforementioned Kyle Kendrick. Additionally, I feel obligated to mention that Paul Goldschmidt is at home and facing a lefty, which is when he is most dangerous. I'm speaking of a guy who is on pace for a ridiculous .354, 50 HR, 142 RBI, 129 R, 26 SB season. That is just silly. The issue here is price, which might relegate Goldy to GPP-only consideration, but I'm going to do my best to at least roster myself a share of two of the D'Backs 1B.
Howie Kendrick at Colorado, $2,800
I'm torn. I don't want to just highlight every Dodger, but at the same time I don't want to ignore the value Kendrick offers this evening. He should hit 3rd or 4th in a Los Angeles lineup that is in a prime spot to excel with the massive park shirt that Coors offers. Generally FanDuel makes sure to increase the prices for games in Colorado, but it appears they were asleep at the wheel here. Take advantage of this apparent misstep, roster Kendrick at this price, and move on.
Neil Walker at San Francisco, $2,800
If you are looking to be different in a tournament, I'd imagine the difference in ownership percentages between Walker and Kendrick will be fairly dramatic. The Pittsburgh second baseman won't be in a positive hitting environment, but the switch-hitter will get to hit from his preferred side, and while he has been solid of late, Ryan Vogelsong isn't an arm you need to go out of your way to avoid.
Manny Machado at Houston, $3,100
Oh, cool, somebody not playing in Coors tonight. Machado is coming off a monster double dong game, so he won't sneak up on anyone, but Brett Oberholtzer is someone I'm targeting this evening, no matter how obvious it may be. With Houston's left field Crawford Boxes but 315 feet from home plate, the Baltimore third baseman is in a prime spot to bang out another one this evening.
Starlin Castro at Miami, $2,600
This looks like a good spot to point out that the Cubs will take on Jose Urena, an inexperienced pitcher who doesn't exactly miss many bats. Nor has he looked particularly major league ready in the little sample we've seen. Castro, along with multiple Cubs, are in play tonight and they can make for an interesting tournament stack.
J.J. Hardy at Houston, $2,200
Rostering a shortstop has been one of the more unpleasant experiences this MLB DFS season. They just aren't very good collectively. At times you are just looking for someone cheap enough to give you the salary to help you roster the guys you really want at other positions. Well, let me introduce you to J.J. Hardy. He is still rounding into form (after being injured at the season's start), but he has traditionally flaunted power vs opposing LHPs, and he is an ideal park to enhance it. That works for me if all I'm looking to spend is the site minimum on a shortstop.
Joc Pederson at Colorado, $3,400
You didn't think I forgot about the Dodgers playing in Coors, did you? Here is one last one for the road. The power hitting Pederson should lead off and has a decent chance to snag five at-bats in the best hitting environment in all of baseball. All he needs is one AB for you to celebrate with your favorite Jock Jams track. Be it Tag Team's "Whoop (There it is)" or Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It", whatever you feel best expresses your excitement, I'd have it cued up for each Pederson AB, in preparation of a potential dong. Basically you can roster an elite arm and four Dodger bats with relative ease this evening. I'd suggest that is a sound strategy tonight (especially in your cash games).
Adam Jones at Houston, $2,800
Here is one more, "I know this guy has been brutal of late, but he is just too cheap" option. When Adam Jones is right he is basically a 4K player on FanDuel, and like I previously stated, all we care about is tonight (and tonight only in DFS), and the Baltimore outfielder is well positioned to succeed this evening. The one issue might be a nagging ankle injury, but he is considered day to day and it doesn't appear to be something severe. If Jones is declare healthy enough to start tonight, that is good enough for me, and I'll have a hard time keeping him off a good chunk of my lineups. Additionally, if you are looking for an outfield cheapie, teammate Delmon Young is worth a look, as he'll likely hit 4th in a nice park vs a weak arm.