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MLB Daily Plays: Friday

by David “headChopper” Kaplen
Updated On: July 12, 2019, 4:20 pm ET

Friday night MLB DFS is here, and that means a full slate of games to choose from.

As always, be sure to remember the heavy variance that comes with baseball and to be very aware of your bankroll management. Additionally, the RotoGrinders MLB lineups page and push notifications are the best way to get all team lineups in a timely manner.

Now, let’s dig in to find some top FanDuel and DraftKings daily fantasy baseball picks. 


Caleb Smith (vs. New York Mets)

On a full slate Friday night I wasn’t expecting to be recommending Caleb Smith as our starting pitcher. However, the numbers are jumping off the page tonight. An absolutely fantastic price tag on both Fanduel and DraftKings puts him squarely on the radar as your first option at starting pitcher tonight. There are only three teams on this slate of games that have a lower implied run total than the New York Mets have tonight against Caleb Smith. He’s been fantastic this year with a 3.85 xFIP and striking out 11 batters per nine innings. Miami is at home tonight in one of the friendliest ballparks in the majors for starting pitching. In addition to all this, the opposing offense, the New York Mets, really only have two threats in the entire lineup. I think Smith spearheads the second tier of pitchers tonight behind Gerritt Cole, but comes in at a significantly cheaper price tag.

Others to Consider: Gerrit Cole, Robbie Ray


Catcher/ First Base

Joey Votto (vs. Colorado Rockies)

With all the time off for the All-Star break it’s tough to figure how guys are going to come out to start the second half of the year. One thing is for sure, before the break Joey Votto was on fire. Now he comes out of the vacation in a matchup against a right-handed pitcher in Colorado. Once again, the numbers against right-handed pitching look perfectly fine for Joey Votto even with a bit of a slow start. The significant number to me is the 83.6% contact rate that he makes. That can come in handy in Coors Field. He’s priced up at an appropriate rate on Fanduel but the $4,100 price tag on DraftKings is well below what I would be willing to pay for him tonight.         

Others to Consider: Daniel Murphy, Freddie Freeman

Second Base

Gleyber Torres (vs. Toronto Blue Jays)

Whether it be in cash games or tournaments I’m going to find a way to get exposure to this New York Yankees lineup tonight. With some of the hitters on the high end of the price range, I think it would behoove us to take a look at some cheaper guys that can still smash in this spot. The Yankees have the highest team total on the slate by a wide margin, coming in with a 7.2 implied run total as of the afternoon. They are at home taking on Aaron Sanchez and I would expect the Yankees to be able to put up some serious offense. One reason is the high rate at which Sanchez walks both left-handers and right-handers. He’s going to get himself into trouble with runners on base and it’s going to be a matter of time before some Yankee hitters capitalize for RBIs. With only 14.9% strikeout rate and 14.4% walk rate against right-handers, I’m going to target Gleyber Torres as a guy who’s going to get opportunities with runners in scoring position tonight at a cheap price tag. A .242 ISO against right-handed pitching this year means Torres has some pop in his bat and I would expect his peripheral stats to be boosted tonight with RBIs and runs. 

Others to Consider: Scooter Gennett, Derek Dietrich


Third Base

Justin Turner (vs. Boston Red Sox)

The Los Angeles Dodgers get a ballpark boost tonight traveling to Boston to take on Eduardo Rodriguez, the left-hander for the Red Sox. There are several hitters in this Dodgers lineup that specialize in smashing left-handed pitching, with Justin Turner being one of them. So far this season Turner has put up a .228 ISO, .357 wOBA and massive 61.3% hard-hit rate against left-handed pitching. These numbers are very similar to what he’s done his entire Dodgers career. Rodriguez is a decent pitcher but the 5.1 implied team total for LA tonight lets me know that Vegas expects plenty of runs in this game for the Dodgers.        

Others to Consider: Mike Moustakas, Matt Chapman



Didi Gregorius (vs. Toronto Blue Jays)   

I’ve already mentioned the Yankees are going to be incredibly chalky as a stack tonight. Most people are going to look to the power hitters - and that’s fine. If you want to stack this team and be a little bit different then you need to choose players who hit lower in the batting order and are going to come in at slightly lower ownership. Didi Gregorius comes in with a fine price tag of only $4,300 on DraftKings and $3,300 on Fanduel. His numbers are naturally going to be better against right-handed pitching and I fully expect him to be batting in the fifth spot tonight, which means he’s going to get opportunities in this game to come up with runners on base. This is a case where we don’t need a homerun from a player if he is going to get the chance to hit with RBI opportunities. With that massive team total for New York I think it’s a tough fade altogether, so I’m looking at lower owned guys with lower salaries to play as mini stacks.                 

Others to Consider: Adalberto Mondesi, Francisco Lindor



Yordan Alvarez (vs. Texas Rangers)        

Things didn't pan out last night for the Houston Astros coming back from the All-Star break as Lance Lynn had phenomenal stuff and shut down this offense. However, I am still salivating at the thought of being able to play Yordan Alvarez in this Texas ballpark with this hot Texas weather on tap. The 22-year-old only has 86 plate appearances in the majors but has capitalized with seven home runs already to go along with a .449 wOBA. Jesse Chavez has been a perfectly acceptable starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers this year, but it only takes one misplaced ball and Alvarez will have a homerun to his name tonight.       

Nick Castellanos (vs. Kansas City Royals)

Getting lost under the radar tonight will be a player like Nick Castellanos. It’s the kind of low-owned player with high upside that can win you a tournament if you put him on a fantasy team that features the right stack that ends up going off. It’s a matchup against a left-hander and that’s all I need to know. The numbers this year look great against left-handed pitching. He has a .250 ISO, .442 wOBA, has struck out only 9.2% of the time while walking 10.8% of the time against southpaws. It’s not just a one-year fluke, it’s something he’s done his entire major league career. This matchup with Danny Duffy is nothing to run and hide from, as Duffy has had a very mediocre season thus far as indicated by the low 17.5% strikeout rate to right-handed batters while giving up a 39.6% hard-hit rate. This Detroit lineup is far too weak for me to consider stacking tonight; however, I love Castellanos as a premier one-off.         

Others to Consider: Shohei Ohtani, David Dahl

David “headChopper” Kaplen
David “headChopper” Kaplen is one of the godfathers of Daily Fantasy, having been near the top of the rankings since DFS emerged in 2010. Nearing double-digit live final qualifiers, David’s crowning achievement is winning the 2013 FanDuel Basketball Champion in Las Vegas. HeadChopper can be found on twitter @headChopper.