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Daily Games

MLB DFS Plays: Friday 7/31

by Brad Johnson
Updated On: July 31, 2020, 10:13 am ET

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.

HITTING STACKS

Houston Astros – It’s not that Matt Andriese is a particularly bad pitcher, he just can’t be expected to handle the Astros offense. You actually have a few ways to attack this stack. There are expensive studs at the top of the lineup. Starting with cleanup hitter Michael Brantley, you can also form a surprisingly inexpensive bargain stack. Lastly, consider a wrap-around.

New York Yankees – Red Sox starter Ryan Weber is an obvious opportunity to pile up DFS points. Like with the Astros stack, you can confidently approach the top or bottom of this lineup. There aren’t as many values.

San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies – Of course the first Coors Field game is rife with stacking opportunities. Rockies pitcher Jon Gray had diminished stuff in his 2020 debut including a two-mph decrease in fastball velocity. Once you get beyond Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres stack is extremely affordable relative to their projections.

PITCHER

Luis Castillo – Reds (vs Tigers) – Yahoo: $43, DK: $8000, FD: $10100

On DraftKings in particular, Castillo might turn out to be the chalkiest pitcher of the season in a main slate. This $8,000 price tag is absurdly low for an extremely favorable matchup. The Tigers have a strikeout prone offense. Our Rotoworld Player Projections expect Castillo to lead the slate by a healthy margin. On Yahoo! and FanDuel, his price is more reasonable but still among the best bargains at the position.

Also Consider: Kris Bubic (bargain), Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Mike Minor, Mike Clevinger

CATCHER

Gary Sanchez – Yankees (at Ryan Weber) – Yahoo: $16, DK: $4700, FD: $3100

The Kraken is 0-for-12 on the season with eight strikeouts. He’s put on a clinic of futility. If this slump were buried in the middle of a season, it would be unremarkable. Sanchez is not unfamiliar with brutal 12 plate appearance stretches. A matchup against Weber will hopefully set him straight. He’s a ground ball pitcher who rarely induces swinging strikes. Sanchez’s swing has plenty of lift. This might be the friendliest pairing Sanchez has all season. No catcher has a better chance to hit multiple home runs.

Also Consider: Dalton Varsho (bargain), Francisco Mejia/Austin Hedges

FIRST BASE

Eric Hosmer – Padres (at Jon Gray) – Yahoo: $16, DK: $4500, FD: $3500

Your willingness to use Hosmer may depend on whether you believe he’s a new hitter or simply benefiting from an unlikely 12 plate appearance start to the season. He’s spent a long career pounding ground balls. Suddenly, his swing has lift. Of nine balls in play, none have been on the ground. Hosmer himself has referenced a mechanical change to increase his launch angle so we shouldn’t simply write this off as a small sample fluke. And if he is suddenly a fly ball hitter (or even a neutral hitter), a matchup against ground ball pitcher Jon Gray is even more favorable than the projections believe.

He’s missed the last few games with a lingering stomach ailment. Make sure he plays.

Also Consider: Ty France (bargain), Pete Alonso, Luke Voit

SECOND BASE

Mike Moustakas – Reds (at Spencer Turnbull) – Yahoo: $18, DK: $3600, FD: $3400

Moustakas was briefly sidelined over what might have been a false positive COVID test. Since he is a low-OBP, high-SLG hitter, this is a low floor, high ceiling play. All told, he projects for a roughly a one-in-five chance to homer. Personally, I expected higher. Between a neutral opposing starter and a terrible bullpen, this is a favorable situation for Moustakas. He’s one of the most prodigious home run hitters over the last three seasons.

While I happen to consider Turnbull a passable starter, he does have some issues with left-handed hitters.

Also Consider: Jose Altuve, Jurickson Profar, Ozzie Albies, Gleyber Torres

THIRD BASE

Manny Machado – Padres (at Jon Gray) – Yahoo: $19, DK: $5000, FD: $3800

Machado is a favorite of the Rotoworld Lineup Optimizer. In a sample of the 50 best lineups, he was used 32 times. The sometimes-streaky slugger is off to a strong start and should be considered one of the top players both by average projection and likelihood to homer. Despite a visit to Coors Field, lingering doubts from 2019 have kept his prices low. And possibly his ownership too!

Also Consider: Nolan Arenado, Jose Ramirez, Alex Bregman, Matt Chapman, J.D. Davis

SHORTSTOP

Trevor Story – Rockies (vs Garrett Richards) – Yahoo: $24, DK: $5700, FD: $4300

Finally, the Rockies are home. While the Padres will get all the press today, the Coors Field effect is disproportionately enjoyed by the home team. They’re the ones who have adjusted to the playing conditions and changes in pitch movement. Richards looked fantastic in his return to the mound, but he’s basically a two-pitch guy whose signature slider will have less bite tonight. As a ground ball pitcher, he’ll be toying with Story’s nitro zone. Multiple home runs are possible.

Also Consider: Francisco Lindor, Fernando Tatis Jr., Amed Rosario, Freddy Galvis (bargain)

OUTFIELD

Michael Brantley (at Matt Andriese) – Yahoo: $17, DK: $2800, FD: $3400

These prices are absurd, especially on DraftKings where Brantley is a must-use steal. This is no worse than a neutral matchup for the Astros cleanup hitter, and Brantley is always usable in such situations. He’s among the likeliest to supply multiple hits with run production. This is a high floor profile. There’s plenty of ceiling too. While a multi-homer game is unlikely, a solitary home run with additional hits is very much plausible.

Hunter Renfroe – Rays (at Sean Newcomb) – Yahoo: $13, DK: $4300, FD: $3100

While there is no shortage of expensive, high-ceiling outfielders tonight, Renfroe represents one of the better values. He’s one of the most likely to homer. An extreme fly ball hitter who tees off against left-handed pitching, he should enjoy a pairing with Newcomb. The Braves starter is a ground-balling southpaw. Alas, Atlanta will probably turn to the bullpen after four innings if not sooner. Renfroe will probably only get two plate appearances against Newcomb. He matches up less well with the bullpen. Renfroe is also a risk to be replaced in the field.

Also Consider: Ronald Acuna, Tommy Pham, Mookie Betts, Trent Grisham, George Springer, Wil Myers, David Dahl, Charlie Blackmon, Aaron Judge, Nick Castellanos, Giancarlo Stanton

Brad Johnson

You can read more from Brad Johnson on Rotoworld, FanGraphs, and RotoFanatic. Find him on Patreon and Twitter @BaseballATeam.