DFS Plays of the Day – July 8

Ryan Amore previews Thursday's DFS slate.

Tonight’s main slate features seven games led by the Blue Jays in another potential smash spot at Camden Yards. But, with rain from Tropical Storm Elsa looming this could turn into an interesting slate. 

 

Tonight’s Pitching Options

 

I’m not sure how Max Scherzer didn’t make the All-Star Game. His numbers are beyond reproach this year and he leads the options for tonight’s slate. Yes, he’s a road dog against the Padres and Yu Darvish, but I’m siding with Scherzer given that he’s just been better across the board this year and their salaries are near equal. In terms of K-BB%, Scherzer leads Darvish by a considerable amount at 29.6% as opposed to 24.6%. These two teams have also been very similar in terms of offensive output with the Nationals being ranked 11th in team wOBA at .319 and the Padres trailing just behind at .318.

Taijuan Walker has been a rock for the Mets in the first half and is a potential candidate to replace Jacob deGrom in the All-Star game. He’s probably overperforming just a touch, but he’s an excellent option tonight considering he’s a massive home favorite (-200) against the Pirates, who rank dead-last in team wOBA at .291. Weather will also impact this game, as the NY area will be subjected to the remnants of Tropical Storm Elsa, so keep a close eye here.

As mentioned in the onset, tonight’s game in Baltimore could be in jeopardy, which could really shake up the slate because it features not only the top offense but also an excellent pitching option in Alek Manoah. He’s coming off a superb performance against the Rays his last time out, rolling through seven innings and picking up ten strikeouts, backed by a fantastic 35% CSW. And, even better, he did it all on 109 pitches. For some reason, he’s priced down on DraftKings at just $6,800; I’m not sure what the deal is there but he’s an extreme value at that salary. On FanDuel, the salary gap between him and Scherzer is minuscule so I’d go with Scherzer there in shallow formats.

The Mid-range features quite a few options. Zach Plesac is going to be a name we’re going to want to keep an eye on in the second half. However, for tonight’s purposes, he’s an easy fade as he’ll be limited to 60 pitches or so in his first start off of the IL. The same can be said, although with a little less certainty, for his counterpart Danny Duffy, who is still in the middle of being stretched back out as he was held to 69 pitches his last time out.

Wrigley Field, however, has two pitchers that should be on the radar. The total for that game hasn’t been set, but as of now, the wind looks to be blowing in which should give the advantage to pitchers tonight. Adbert Alzolay has shown some strikeout upside and is the nominal home favorite tonight. However, I’m going with Zach Eflin tonight, as his overall numbers are stronger across the board. He’s held both righties and lefties to under a . 301 and .295 xwOBA respectively. And the Cubs are a plus matchup for strikeouts, as their team K rate of 26.5% is tied with the Rays for third-highest.

Tyler Mahle is an excellent option for all formats. He’s been productive this year with a 21.7% K-BB%. In previous years, Mahle has struggled to contain lefties. But he’s reversed that trend this year, holding lefties to a .256 xwOBA while striking them out at an impressive clip of 34.3%. He’s a slight road dog tonight (+103) but I wouldn’t hesitate to roll him out as an SP2 on DraftKings, as he’s already dominated the Brewers once before, pitching six innings and accumulating twelve strikeouts back on the 16th of June. Assuming the Jays get rained out and if there’s uncertainty with the Mets game, Mahle would be the pitcher I’d be pairing with Scherzer on DraftKings.

 

It’s the Blue Jays…

 

I usually like to break down the slate in terms of both cash and GPP hitters. But tonight’s slate is incredibly condensed as, really, it’s the Blue Jays and everyone else. They’ve got an implied team total pushing six and a half runs. Tonight’s adversary is the lefty Keegan Akin holds a 7.46 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. At Camden Yards, which is highly conducive for righty power, today is “a jam everyone in” scenario. Outside of Vladimir Guerrero Jr./strong>, both George Springer and Teoscar Hernández look like the priorities, as you’re getting some value at their current salaries on DraftKings. Both Bo Bichette and Marcus Semien are the same salary ($5,500) on DraftKings, but between the two I would side with Bichette as I think he’s just a better overall hitter.

 

…And Everyone Else

 

The question for tonight is, “Where else do we go for bats?” In terms of implied run totals, the Twins should be on our radar as they’re projected for over five runs. But, as mentioned earlier, I’m not sure I really want to pick on Tarik Skubal. It looks more like a boom/bust-type of spot on paper to me. If Josh Donaldson returns, the Twins stack could gain some steam, but assuming he misses tonight again, I’d suggest looking at Nelson Cruz as a spend-up option and not much else. If the Jays get rained out, my best guess is this is where the chalk will drift to.

I’d have more interest in the other side of this game. That feels strange to say since it’s the Tigers, but I can’t resist picking on J.A. Happ, who just looks cooked at this point. If the Jays get washed out, I’d look to Robbie Grossman, Jonathan Schoop, Eric Haase, and Jeimer Candelario as they’ve all shown some power.

J.T. Brubaker has pitched well this year but there’s some value to be had with Michael Conforto. It’s been a lost year for him thus far, but given his track record against righties, I’m buying at his current salary. In a similar sort of way, Franmil Reyes is another potential dart throw. I don’t want to pick on Danny Duffy, but Reyes has power upside at his salary.

Adrian Houser has allowed a .352 xwOBA to lefties this season and his K rate against them is just 15.2%. Jesse Winker, similar to Bryce Harper, is a very intriguing spend-up option. Tyler Naquin is a potential value here. 

Value Bats

 

*Indicates tournament option

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Ryan Amore

Writer for PL, artist, DFS enthusiast, and occasional Yankee fan. Once won a GPP with Henderson Alvarez. A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club. Appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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