Happy Fourth of July! If you’re planning on adding some fantasy baseball to the fireworks, food, family and festivity on tap for today, Major League Baseball has 12 games on the schedule spread throughout the day. For this post, we’ll focus on the six-game slate that starts at 2:10 p.m. ET. The first three games to get underway in this group are all divisional matchups between Central Division teams before a pair of interleague games and the Rays hosting the Yankees closes out this slate.
With a dozen teams worth of options and clear skies, there are plenty of factors to consider as you build your roster. As you get your team finalized, take a look at these studs and values at each spot and check for starting lineups and weather updates before the scheduled first pitch on the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com. Hopefully, you can add some sparklers on the mound and some fireworks at the plate as you try to claim the victory on July 4th.
StudBrandon Woodruff, MIL at CIN, $9,400 — There are some solid top-tier starting pitching options, but I love Woodruff’s upside at this salary. He has over 27 DKFP in four of his seven most recent starts and over 20 DKFP in nine of 12. During those 12 outings, he is 8-1 with a 3.09 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. He faced the Reds two starts ago and got the win with seven strong innings, striking out a season-high 12 and allowing three runs on his way to 32.95 DKFP. Woodruff gets a tough head-to-head matchup against Luis Castillo ($10,000) in one of the best pitching matchups on the board, but his strikeout rate and a more favorable matchup make him a better play even though the Brew Crew are on the road. He has had more consistent form than any of the other big-ticket starters, and his strikeout potential is exceptional for an option under $10K.
Other Options — José Berríos ($11,000), Matthew Boyd ($10,600)
ValueJ.A. Happ, NYY at TB, $7,000 — Happ has gone a perfect 3-0 in his seven starts on the road with a 4.05 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 40 innings. He has struggled with a 6.29 ERA and is just 4-4 at Yankee Stadium, but one of those wins did come against the Rays, who he’ll face again today. The veteran is 5-4 in 18 career games against Tampa with a 4.30 ERA. He was knocked around by the Astros in his most recent start but had 13.1 DKFP against the Rays in the previous outing. Before that, he had over 20 DKFP in three of his previous four. Happ doesn’t have the best strikeout rate or the highest ceiling but should get good run support and limit damage, making him worth a look since the game isn’t in the Bronx.
Other Options — José Quintana ($7,400), Michael Wacha ($6,100)
StudJames McCann, CWS vs. DET, $4,300 — McCann was the DH in the nightcap of the White Sox doubleheader Wednesday, so he should be in the lineup Thursday as they look to make it three in a row over the Tigers, McCann’s former team. The 29-year-old has had a breakout season so far, hitting .317 with 15 doubles, nine home runs and an .883 OPS. McCann has hit three of those home runs off of lefties with a .973 OPS. He has cooled off a little bit since his torrid April and May but still is a great bat at this salary in this possible revenge matchup.
Other Options — Gary Sánchez ($4,700), Willson Contreras ($4,500)
ValueElias Díaz, PIT vs. CHC, $3,500 — Since all of these are day games after night games, it makes sense to target catchers who got Wednesday out of the lineup, as Díaz did before entering later in the game against the Cubs. He’ll likely get the start Wednesday against lefty José Quintana ($7,400). Díaz has filled in admirably while Francisco Cervelli (concussion) has been sidelined, hitting .275 overall and .318 against lefties. Diaz is a .316 lifetime hitter against southpaws with a .807 OPS. The Pirates are going for a rare four-game sweep of the Cubs and their bats have been booming so far in the series, so getting a piece of the action with Díaz is a solid strategy behind the plate.
Other Options — Travis d’Arnaud ($3,600), Chris Herrmann ($3,200)
FIRST BASEYandy Díaz, TB vs. DET,$4,900 — With Ji-man Choi (ankle) on the IL, Díaz will likely move to 1B but remains a solid offensive option whichever corner spot he plays. He has had a very nice season in his first year with the Rays and especially thrived against lefties, going 25-for-77 (.325) with five homers and a .986 OPS. He also has done most of his damage at home including 7-of-11 home runs coming at the Trop, where he has a 1.026 OPS. Díaz hasn’t faced Happ in his career but is a solid play from the heart of the Tampa Bay lineup.
Other Options — Josh Bell ($5,600), Edwin Encarnación ($4,400)
ValueJosé Abreu, CWS vs. CLE, $4,200 — Abreu had multiple hits in both of the White Sox two games Wednesday, going a combined 4-for-10 with a double in the first game and a three-run walk-off blast in the 12th inning of the nightcap. He has multiple hits in five of his past six games and is 12-for-25 during that stretch. He usually pounds lefties, hitting .370 off southpaws this year with a 1.012 OPS. Abreu also has had success against Boyd in the past, going 12-for-24 (.500) with two home runs and an impressive 1.292 OPS.
Other Options — Paul Goldschmidt ($3,800), Miguel Cabrera ($3,700)
StudGleyber Torres, NYY at TB,$4,900 — Torres has hit safely in seven straight games and in 11 of his past 12. In those dozen games, he has averaged 12.5 DKFP per contest by going 16-for-41 (.390) with a double, four homers, 14 RBI and a 1.207 OPS. Somewhat surprisingly, he has been a much better hitter on the road than at hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. He’s hitting .314 on the road and 10 of his 19 long balls have come outside the Bronx.
Other Options — Kevin Newman ($4,700), Tommy Edman ($4,200)
ValueLuis Arraez, MIN at OAK, $3,800 — Arraez picked up three more hits Wednesday to raise his average to .431 in his 22 games in the Majors this season. Over his past 10 contests, he has been even better, going 17-for-37 (.459) with a pair of doubles, three walks and 7.5 DKFP per contest. Arraez doesn’t have a ton of power but is developing into a great super-utility option with a very high average. With Marwin Gonzalez (toe) struggling and ailing, Arraez should continue to get playing time and find ways to get on base and score runs for the high-powered Minnesota offense.
Other Options — Keston Hiura ($4,000), Hernán Pérez ($3,100)
StudDJ LeMahieu, NYY at TB, $5,400 — LeMahieu’s 14-game hitting streak came to a crashing stop Tuesday, but he bounced back by going 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and 14 DKFP on Wednesday. He has double-digit DKFP in 12 of his past 13 games, averaging 17.9 DKFP per contest by hitting a scorching .482 with five doubles, five home runs, a stolen base and a 1.443 OPS. LeMahieu’s spot atop the Yankees order and MVP-level production all season give him an extremely high ceiling against Yonny Chirinos ($8,700) and the Rays. LeMahieu is 2-for-7 in his career against Chirinos and both those hits have been home runs.
Other Options — Yoan Moncada ($4,700), Matt Chapman ($4,500)
ValueJeimer Candelario, DET at CWS, $3,400 — Candelario is my favorite play of the day under $3.5K. He has been hitting the ball very well since re-joining the Tigers after a stint in Triple-A in June. While in the minors, he hit .345 with five homers and a 1.058 OPS after hitting .179 in 42 games in Detroit to start the season. Since returning, Candelario has translated that success, going 9-for-23 (.391) with two doubles, a home run, a 1.109 OPS and an average of 8.1 DKFP per contest.
Other Options — Gio Urshela ($3,800), Joey Wendle ($3,100)
StudDidi Gregorius, NYY at TB, $4,000 — Gregorius has collected multiple hits in each of his past six games, including three home runs, six RBI and nine runs scored. He has gone 13-for-27 (.481) over that stretch to raise his average on the season to .312. Gregorius is hitting .385 on the road and just .237 at home, so he looks lined up to be a great option at $4K if he can stay hot in Tampa against Chirinos and the Rays.
Other Options — Javier Báez ($5,000), Paul DeJong ($4,100)
ValueOrlando Arcia, MIL at CIN, $3,600 — Arcia can get lost in the Brewers’ power-packed lineup, but staying under the radar keeps him affordable even though he is having an impressive season. Arcia is hitting only .238 on the season but does have 11 home runs, 33 runs scored and 36 RBI. Three of his 11 home runs this season have come in his past 10 games, in which he is 8-for-32 (.250) with seven RBI, two stolen bases and an average of 8.8 DKFP per start. Arcia is a solid value play against Castillo, since he is 7-for-17 (.412) in his career against the Reds’ scheduled starter.
Other Options — Marcus Semien ($3,800), Addison Russell ($3,200)
StudMax Kepler, MIN at OAK, $4,600 — Kepler and the Twins are a solid lineup to target as they face Tanner Anderson ($5,700) in Oakland. Anderson has gone 0-3 in his four starts with a 7.13 ERA. His main struggles have been against lefties, who he has allowed to go 14-for-37 (.378) with four home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.169 OPS. Kepler has been one of the Twins best left-handed bats this season and is hitting .274 over his past 10 games with six homers and a .892 OPS. Sixteen of his 21 home runs have come against right-handed pitching, so look for him to put together a big game out of the leadoff spot against Anderson. He could even start the fireworks early with a home run to lead off the game.
Other Options — Christian Yelich ($5,800)
ValueLeury García, CWS vs. DET, $4,100 — Normally, I highlight a cheaper OF in this spot, but García is such a good play he deserves the callout. There are cheaper options below if you’re hunting for an ultra-bargain. García usually leads off for the White Sox and has been heating up recently. Over his past 16 games, he is 25-for-72 (.347) with eight doubles, two home runs, a .923 OPS and a stolen base to help him average 9.9 DKFP per contest. He has been especially good all season against lefties, hitting .326 off of southpaws with a .851 OPS. He has also been great at home, so get him in your lineup if you need a mid-range OF play with low-risk and some nice upside.
Other Options — Christin Stewart ($3,600), Harrison Bader ($3,000)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.