We kick off the week with 11 games on tonight’s MLB slate. As far as starting pitchers go, there aren’t too many options that jump off the screen, so playing it safe may make sense. I’m taking up too many words already, so let’s get to it.
Jon Lester — CHC vs. SD — $10,500 – So you can spend an extra $3,000 for Clayton Kershaw, or roll with the lefty Lester vs. the lowly Padres at home. Lester has been great at Wrigley this season, going 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 48 Ks over 51 IP (20.5 DKFP per game). The Padres are batting .215 as a team vs. LHPs, rank dead last in runs (256) and 29th in OPS (.682).
Other Options: Corey Kluber ($11,700), Brad Peacock ($8,100)
Sam Gaviglio — SEA vs. DET — $6,200 – Gaviglio is in a good spot to pick up a win at home vs. the Tigers. The Mariners offense has been decent the last two weeks, scoring 69 runs, while Detroit has not been decent, scoring 53 runs. When Seattle scores six or more runs, Gaviglio is 3-0 this season. He’s struck out 16 in his last three outings (16.1 IP), making him a strong cash-game or GPP play to save salary cap.
Other Options: Austin Bibens-Dirkx ($5,300)
Mike Zunino — SEA vs. DET — $4,100 – Zunino leads the MLB with 22 RBI in the month of June. He’s batting .353 with five HRs and 12 RBI in his last 34 ABs (11.9 average DKFP in 10 games). Despite a putrid 35.2% strikeout rate in June, Zunino has a .480 BABIP and .408 isolated power. He should eat up Anibal Sanchez tonight.
Other Options: Brian McCann ($3,800), Salvador Perez ($3,700)
Jonathan Lucroy — TEX vs. TOR — $3,200 – I feel like it’s been hard to tell what type of play Lucroy has been all season. Right now, his price would suggest value given his track record. But Lucroy’s salary fluctuates so much it’s hard to tell. Anyway, his recent stretch of multi-hit outings is encouraging; he has at least two hits in three of four games. Eventually, he’s going to realize that Globe Life Park in Arlington is designed for hitters, and Blue Jays SP Marco Estrada’s HR tendencies may come into play.
Other Options: Kurt Suzuki ($3,200), Francisco Cervelli ($3,100)
Edwin Encarnacion — CLE vs. BAL — $4,900 – It’s about time Encarnacion started looking like his old self. The Indians brought Encarnacion in to hit HRs and he didn’t do much of that early on. Now, he has 16 on the season thanks to a 10-game stretch in which he’s hit six, with 14 RBI, 14 runs scored and nine walks (.556 OBP). Ten of those 16 HRs have come on the road, and Camden Yards is normally friendly to power-hitting right-handers.
Other Options: Joey Votto ($4,700), Justin Bour ($4,500)
Danny Valencia — SEA vs. DET — $3,400 – I’m high on the Mariners stack at home vs. Sanchez, and Valencia is cheap enough for me to consider him a value play. Valencia’s strikeout rate concerns me, but not vs. Sanchez, who will make his first start of the season on the road, where he’s allowed 12 ER on 19 hits (6 HRs) in 10.1 IP. In two games vs. Detroit this season, Valencia is 4-for-7, averaging 19 DKFP per game.
Other Options: Hanley Ramirez ($3,400), Yuli Gurriel ($2,900)
Jose Ramirez — CLE vs. BAL — $4,800 – I’m trying not to go so heavy on Mariners and Indians hitters, but it’s just so difficult right now. Ramirez, like Encarnacion, is raking, but not in the power sense. In the last two weeks, Ramirez leads the MLB with a .514 wOBA, and is second only to Cody Bellinger with a .820 SLG% in 12 games. Cleveland has scored 40 runs during a five-game winning streak, so if I were Bundy, I would want no part of that or Ramirez.
Other Options: Brandon Phillips ($4,400), Dee Gordon ($4,200)
Josh Rutledge — BOS vs. BAL — $2,600 – With Dustin Pedroia unlikely to start because of swelling following a HBP Sunday vs. the Astros, we could see Rutledge draw a start at 2B tonight. He’ll face Royals SP Jason Hammel, who has pitched well recently but still sports a 5.05 ERA and 1.47 WHIP this season. Rutledge strikes out a lot and doesn’t have a ton of upside, but would be a cost-effective reach.
Other Options: Chad Pinder ($3,000), Taylor Motter ($2,500)
Mike Moustakas — KC vs. BOS — $4,400 – Am I allowed to pick Ramirez again for 3B? No? OK. Well, I guess Moustakas will have to do, considering he’s batting .355 with five HRs and 19 RBI in 16 games this month. He’s clearly more comfortable batting at home, with a .280 average and only 17 Ks in 118 ABs. Things could get ugly fast for Red Sox SP Hector Velazquez.
Other Options: Josh Donaldson ($4,600), Josh Harrison ($4,300)
Eugenio Suarez — CIN vs. TB — $3,100 – To be fair, Suarez has regressed in each month this season. He hit .329 in April, then .255 in May and now .240 so far in June. Suarez should take part of the blame for the Reds’ nine-game losing streak, though that could end Monday vs. the Rays. SP Jake Odorizzi hasn’t been stellar, allowing nine ER on 17 hits (four HRs) over 13.1 IP in his last three starts. If Cincy’s offense wakes up, so would Suarez.
Other Options: Evan Longoria ($3,500), Stephen Drew ($2,900)
Tim Beckham — TB vs. CIN — $4,100 – The Rays are an underrated stack vs. Scott Feldman and the Reds on Monday. Beckham has been moved down in the lineup, but that takes some pressure off the young shortstop. He’s third among SS in the MLB with a .386 BABIP, which will only be aided by Feldman’s inconsistent strikeout numbers.
Other Options: Francisco Lindor ($4,600), Xander Bogaerts ($4,500)
Troy Tulowitzki — TOR vs. TEX — $3,200 – Last week I touted Tulo as the value play at SS, and I’m sticking to him this week. He’s got hits in three straight games and has gone 20 straight ABs without striking out. At some point, all that contact is going to translate to more hits and, ultimately, more DKFP. The last time Austin Bibens-Dirkx faced the Blue Jays, he allowed three ER on four hits (2 HRs) over 4.0 IP.
Other Options: JT Riddle ($2,500)
Nelson Cruz — SEA vs. DET — $4,800 – One could argue Cruz is a value play Monday night considering he’s priced tied for sixth among OFs. On a shorter slate, it may be a good idea to fade Bryce Harper ($5,500) and Cody Bellinger ($5,200), each of whom could have relatively high ownership percentages. Cruz has a juicy matchup vs. Sanchez and is batting .333 at home compared to .254 on the road.
Other Options: George Springer ($5,200), Eric Thames ($4,700), Marcell Ozuna ($4,600)
Billy Hamilton — CIN vs. TB — $3,300 – Hamilton is riding a four-game hitting streak, going 7-for-19 with a triple, two doubles and three runs in that stretch. He’s struck out 12 times in his last 10 games, but if he can get on base, there’s a decent chance he can swipe a bag or two. The Rays are tied for eighth in stolen bases allowed at 41 and are 27th in the MLB in caught stealing percentage (19.61).
Other Options: Gregory Polanco ($3,400), Leonys Martin ($3,200)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is bzweiman521) 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.