Exactly one week after the All-Star game, Major League Baseball is back to a fully-loaded schedule tonight. All 30 teams are scheduled to be in action under the lights tonight, so there are lots of options to consider as you construct your fantasy roster. Here are some of my favorite picks of the day at each position.
Clayton Kershaw – LAD @ CWS – $14,000 – Kershaw has been absolutely dominant this season and has taken it to another level recently posting at least 30 DKFP in four straight starts and six of his last eight. He closed out the first half with a complete game against the Royals allowing two runs on six hits while striking out 13 for 45.2 DKFP. He picked up the win in that game to improve to 14-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. He can be a dominant force and gets a great matchup tonight against the White Sox in Chicago. Kershaw has only faced the White Sox three times in his career, and he has never pitched at Guaranteed Rate Field. However, he has been so locked in this year that he’s the best pitcher available if you can afford his gigantic $14K salary.
Other Options – Michael Wacha ($9,500), Mike Clevinger ($9,100)
Ivan Nova – PIT vs. MIL – $7,600 – Even though his strikeout rate is too low for him to have a super-high ceiling, Nova has been a solid fantasy contributor in his first full season in Pittsburgh. He comes into tonight’s home start against the Brewers 9-6 with a solid 3.21 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He has a pair of complete games and has already thrown a shutout this year. In his eight starts at PNC Park, he is 6-2 with a 2.63 ERA. Even though he only has 29 strikeouts in his 51.1 home innings he can give you solid numbers by limiting damage. In his last outing, he did just that against the Cubs and picked up 24.6 DKFP. He has at least 21 DKFP in three of his last six starts.
Other Options – Sean Newcomb ($6,800), Matthew Boyd ($5,600)
Willson Contreras – CHC @ ATL – $4,000 – Contreras has settled in as the Cubs’ cleanup hitter and has gotten off to a hot start this July. He is 18-46 (.444) so far this month with four doubles and three home runs giving him a 1.114 OPS. Contreras has had success all season against lefties like tonight’s opposing starter Sean Newcomb. He is hitting .284 (23-81) off of southpaws this season with an .857 OPS.
Other Options – Buster Posey ($3,900), Caleb Joseph ($3,400)
J.T. Realmuto – MIA vs. PHI – $3,300 – Realmuto had his nine-game hitting streak come to an end last night, but he still managed to walk twice in the Marlins 6-5 win. He has an impressive .423 OBP this month while hitting .375 (18-48) with two doubles and a home run. Realmuto is 4-9 in his career against tonight’s opposing starter Vince Velasquez with a walk and a RBI. Realmuto is a solid mid-level play who will give you some production while allowing you to spend on power bats at other spots.
Other Options – Matt Wieters ($3,100), Martín Maldonado ($2,800)
Justin Smoak – TOR @ BOS – $4,300 – Smoak walked twice last night going 1-2 against the Red Sox at Fenway. He’s having a monster season for the Blue Jays and comes into tonight’s contest hitting .292 overall with 13 doubles, 24 home runs, 58 RBI and a .933 OPS. Smoak is a switch-hitter who has been especially effective all season when facing left-handed pitchers like Brian Johnson who is expected to start tonight for Boston. Against southpaws, Smoak is hitting .387 (29-75) this season with a 1.087 OPS. Against Johnson, Smoak has gone 2-3 with a double and a home run.
Other Options – Freddie Freeman ($5,000), Justin Bour ($4,400)
Yuli Gurriel – HOU vs. SEA – $3,800 – Gurriel has hit safely in all four of his games since the All Star break and has at least seven DKFP in each of those games. In his last 10 games, he has hit .429 (16-42) with six doubles, two homers, nine RBI and a 1.265 OPS. Gurriel is a right-handed batter, but he has fared much better against righties this season. He is hitting .324 with a .883 OPS against righties like Seattle’s starter for tonight Sam Gaviglio who has been getting beat up lately and makes the Astros lineup one to invest in again tonight.
Other Options – Matt Adams ($3,700),Sam Travis ($2,900)
Daniel Murphy – WAS @ LAA – $5,100 – As a key part of one of the best lineups in baseball, Murphy had a great June finishing with a .356 average and 1.011 OPS. He has been even better so far this month going 17-42 (.405) with a 1.147 OPS. Murphy and the Nationals head to LA for an interleague series against the Angels tonight. Most of Murphy’s production this year has come on the road where he has hit 12 of his 16 home runs and has a very solid 1.127 OPS.
Other Options – José Altuve ($5,800), Dustin Pedroia ($4,100)
Paul DeJong – STL @ NYM – $3,200 – Murphy is known as a Mets killer since leaving them as a free agent, but DeJong is challenging him for the role since he has been crushing the Mets over a pair of series this month. Overall in July, he is hitting .349 with six doubles, four homers, six RBI and a 1.158 OPS. He has gone 10-17 in four games against New York with four doubles, four home runs and six RBI.
Other Options – Whit Merrifield ($3,800), Asdrúbal Cabrera ($3,500)
Nolan Arenado – COL vs. SD – $5,400 – After a nice road series to start the second half, Arenado went a disappointing 0-5 last night at Coors Field. He should be ready to bounce back tonight, though, as the Rockies face Dinelson Lamet and the Padres. Arenado is swinging a hot bat aside from last night’s letdown. He is hitting .347 (17-49) this month with three doubles and three homers helping him to a .957 OPS. He has a .942 OPS at home this year, and he always makes sense when he’s playing at home if you can find a way to afford his big salary.
Other Options – Anthony Rendon ($4,900), Travis Shaw ($4,400)
Eugenio Suárez – CIN vs. ARI – $2,900 – Suárez is a great affordable option as the Reds open a series with the Diamondbacks at Great American Ballpark. The Reds’ 3B has been streaky this year, but he has hit consistently well at home where he has a .272 batting average and .959 OPS. Eleven of his 13 long balls this season have come at home including his most recent home run which came yesterday afternoon in the series finale against the Nationals. Tonight, he’ll face lefty Robbie Ray who is a good matchup for Suárez who has a .838 OPS against southpaws this year.
Other Options – José Reyes ($3,900), Jedd Gyorko ($3,700)
Jean Segura – SEA @ HOU – $4,400 – When he has been healthy this season, Segura has been a great addition for the Mariners and one of the most consistent leadoff hitters in the American League. He has hit safely in 16 of his 19 games since his last trip to the DL, and he has multiple hits in seven of his last 10 games after going 2-5 last night and adding his 11th steal of the season. Segura is hitting .349 on the season with a .870 OPS and .442 over his last 10 games with a 1.072 OPS.
Other Options – Addison Russell ($4,100), Andrelton Simmons ($4,000)
Javier Báez – CHC @ ATL – $3,600 – After hitting only .203 in April, Báez has turned things around and raised his average to .264 by going 2-4 with a double in the Cubs’ win last night in Atlanta. He is 11-33 (.333) this month with four doubles, three RBI and a walk. He especially makes sense tonight as the Cubs face lefty Sean Newcomb. Against southpaws this season, Báez is hitting .290 and half of his 10 homers have come against lefties giving him a .907 OPS.
Other Options – Orlando Arcia ($3,000), JT Riddle ($2,700)
Charlie Blackmon – COL vs SD – $5,600 – Whenever he’s at home, Blackmon is worth a look, but he also comes into tonight’s game swinging a red hot bat after producing at least 10 DKFP in eight straight games. He homered for his second straight game last night raising his OPS to .980 on the season. He is hitting .381 (21-55) this month with five home runs and a 1.151 OPS. He has been even better than that at home this season where he has an outstanding 1.272 OPS. Over his last 10 games, Blackmon is producing 13.9 FPPG, and he’s a big bat to target at Coors Field this evening.
Other Options – Bryce Harper ($5,700), Giancarlo Stanton ($4,600)
Mikie Mahtook – DET @ KC – $2,800 – If you need a play from the bargain bin in your outfield, check out Mahtook who has been productive when given playing time for the Tigers. In July, he is 12-35 (.242) with a double and a home run. The home run came last night as part of Detroit’s 10-2 rout of the Royals and gave Mahtook five long balls and 19 RBI on the season. Today, Detroit will face left-handed starter Travis Wood which should give right-handed Mahtook another start. Against southpaws this season, he is hitting .269 (18-67) with a .783 OPS. He also seems to have KC’s number since he is 7-19 (.368) with a .894 OPS against the Royals this season.
Other Options – Gregory Polanco ($3,700), Kole Calhoun ($3,000)
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.