This article will outline the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We will 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.
Let’s take a peek at a two-game AL Division Series contest.
Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros (vs Rays)
Despite this being a postseason series, there’s only one bonafide ace on the docket. Cole costs a boatload more than the other available arms, and he’s the only one who’s likely to pick up his team and carry them into the late innings. It should surprise nobody if all three of the other starters are relieved by the end of the fifth inning. Not only does Cole offer the best shot at a long outing, he’s also a safe bet to post the best strikeout rate. While it’s tempting to go contrarian in GPPs due to the small slate, skipping Cole is a mistake.
If you’re feeling very cheeky in a multi-entry GPP, consider tossing in a lineup with Ryan Yarbrough. He’s unlikely to pitch today, but there is a scenario where he provides some bulk innings following a short Snell outing.
CATCHER / FIRST BASE
A visit to Yankees Stadium is always a good thing for power hitters. Garver and the Twins will aim to punish Tanaka before the Yankees elite bullpen can be brought to bear. Garver carries at least a one-in-four chance to homer. He’s also my pick for likeliest to hit multiple home runs. His swing is geared to punish the sorts of hanging splitters that plague Tanaka in his worst outings. While Garver is the only Twin I highlight in this column, an entire Minnesota stack is a defensible choice – and a good way to save some cash.
Of course, the Yankees stack is the most obvious choice on account of their opponent. Dobnak performed well across nine appearances (five starts). He posted a 1.59 ERA with 7.31 K/9 and 1.59 BB/9. Interestingly, he has a high whiff rate despite the tepid strikeout rate – a sign he intentionally pitches to weak contact with his sinking fastball. If he qualified, Dobnak’s 20.7 percent soft contact rate would rank sixth-best – smack between Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. However, we’re looking at a miniscule sample so we shouldn’t overreact.
In many ways, Dobnak is like A’s Wild Card starter Sean Manaea. The results to date have been excellent, but nobody thinks he’s some kind of true talent 1.59 ERA ace. In this particular matchup against a fearsome lineup at a bandbox ballpark, he projects for an over-4.00 ERA. Torres is one of the top five hitters in the slate, and he can be had at an affordable price. He has a one-in-four chance to homer. Run production also figures to be a strength. His slight tendency towards fly balls should help him against a ground ball pitcher like Dobnak.
You can use LeMahieu with Torres or as an alternative. However, the matchup isn’t quite as sharp since both pitcher and hitter are ground ball guys. LeMahieu is likely to burn a couple worms versus Dobnak. This being a tiny slate, we have to look beyond the starting pitchers. The Twins bullpen features quite a few fly ball pitchers – basically everybody except Brusdar Graterol and Taylor Rogers. If the Yankees can quickly chase Dobnak, their leadoff hitter will suddenly look like a top producer. Since LeMahieu’s best scenarios depend on Yankee success, you should probably plan to stack him.
The playoffs force unusual decisions such as picking upon Snell. The Rays ace missed most of the season’s second half. He topped out at just 2.1 innings in his final start. Snell himself is targeting a five-inning appearance today, but there’s a chance it’ll be much shorter. The Rays bullpen is up to the task of carrying the team through six or seven frames. Bregman annihilated left-handed pitchers in a small sample this season. He also has strong career numbers. More to the point, he’s simply one of the best pure hitters in the league. He projects to perform well against virtually any pitcher.
If you’re playing a GPP, you’ll need some sort of cost-saving contrarian play. Brantley could be your guy. With a lefty-on-lefty matchup, his ownership rate should be low. However, he’s still a league average hitter against southpaws. Snell isn’t much tougher on lefties than righties. As we just discussed, he hasn’t lasted more than 2.1 innings since returning from the injured list, and he’s hasn’t looked especially sharp. The Rays bullpen is no picnic, but Brantley matches up reasonably well against the collection.
Stanton is known for punishing pitches low in the strike zone. He should have little issue with turning on Dobnak’s 93 mph sinker. Stanton’s plate coverage is such that even the low-and-away corner can be pulled out of the park (or tapped lightly to the third baseman). The biggest uncertainty is if Stanton can lift Dobnak’s bowling ball heater. After all, Stanton does hit more grounders than flies. As with LeMahieu, this matchup levels up if the Yankees can quickly crack into the Minnesota bullpen.