Sunday, July 18, has frontloaded main slate teeming with top pitching options as well as some gas cans in search of a match. Let’s get into the top MLB DFS picks for pitchers and stacks for Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel daily fantasy baseball lineups.
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MLB DFS Picks: Spotlight Pitchers and Top Stacks, Sunday, July 18
Yahoo Stack of the Day: New York Mets at J.T. Brubaker — 4.3 implied runs
While the Mets are not a particularly exciting team, they are nearly back to full health. The lone exception at this time is Francisco Lindor, who is out with a strained right oblique. Yahoo has the Coors Field game on their main slate, so some savings will be needed to facilitate Dodgers stacks. Today the Mets are coming in at very favorable salaries.
J.T. Brubaker has put together a solid season with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP across 16 starts. However, he struggled heading into the break, allowing multiple home runs in each of his last three appearances. In these 17 innings he ceded seven home runs and allowed 14 of 22 baserunners to score. It will be interesting to see if the extended time between starts helps what seemed to be a tired arm. Already he has logged 41.1 innings more than last year and 61 more than 2019.
Pete Alonso ($16) gets things started, and as a bonus he hit one out of the park against Brubaker last Friday. Brandon Nimmo is finally healthy, and though his $16 salary seems spendy, keep in mind he should see at least five at-bats today and has a .399 wOBA and .205 ISO in his last 265 lefty/righty matchups. Jeff McNeil ($9) and Michael Conforto ($8) are fine options who will average down the cost of New York stacks. J.D. Davis ($14) and Dominic Smith ($13) are far from household names, but they are excellent power options in the heart of the order. Finally, if James McCann is in the lineup, he will knock out the catcher requirement for the minimum Yahoo salary.
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Kansas City Royals vs. RHP Matt Harvey — 5.4 implied runs
The Orioles are a team to pick on nearly every day. They have allowed the second-most runs in the league this season, and lefty John Means is they only above-average starter. Matt Harvey has a pathetic 7.70 ERA and is second in MLB with 10 losses, behind only teammate Jorge Lopez. Although Harvey has allowed only two home runs in his last five starts, he has only completed the fifth inning once. In these 21.1 innings he has an 8.43 ERA with just 14 strikeouts. The beleaguered Baltimore bullpen will be called upon once Harvey exits, and they are far from the cavalry coming to save the day. The cherry on top is the Royals’ stolen base upside, with Harvey having allowed 12 stolen bases this season.
Though he has just two steals in July, Whit Merrifield still leads MLB with 24 and is on pace to threaten his career high of 45 stolen bases. Carlos Santana and Salvador Perez are the other prime targets. Things thin out after that, though Andrew Benintendi is intriguing as the cleanup hitter and has extra base hits in three of his last four. The rest of the Royals are lottery tickets, as they are high-strikeout players with above-average power. Hunter Dozier, Jorge Soler, Ryan O’Hearn and Michael A. Taylor can be sprinkled in depending on personal preference or positional needs on the afternoon short slate.
Oakland Athletics vs. RHP Zach Plesac — 4.6 implied runs
In his last outing Zach Plesac allowed two home runs and struck out four across four innings of action. It will be interesting to see how many pitches he is allowed to throw today, though something in the 75 range seems reasonable. Ten days ago against the Royals he threw 55 after missing six weeks with a thumb injury. There is no doubt that Plesac is going to be a solid starter for a long time to come, but gamers can still pick on him today. If he were not sidelined by his thumb, he would be on pace to lead the league in home runs allowed.
Matt Olson is the primary target from the Athletics, though for differentiation purposes, gamers can easily pivot to his counterpart Mitch Moreland for both a salary and popularity discount. Jed Lowrie is never exciting to roster, but he always seems to post decent fantasy points. Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano and Matt Chapman have been trading lineup spots, though all three are fine hitters to target. Once the official lineup card is released, gamers can look to whoever is adjacent to the other batters for added synergy in stacks.
Top Target: RHP Zack Wheeler vs. Miami Marlins — 3.6 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $52 | FanDuel $11,000 | DraftKings $9,500
Zack Wheeler is fourth in MLB with a 2.26 ERA and ninth with a 0.97 WHIP. Even more spectacular is the 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which is a top-10 mark, and despite challenging hitters, he has ceded only seven home runs across his 18 starts. The Marlins are striking out 25.5% of the time against right-handed hurlers, which is the fifth-highest rate in the league. They are bottom five from a power and scoring efficiency perspective, which plays right into the hands of Wheeler. Do not let this lofty salary scare you away; he has more than earned it.
Secondary Target: RHP Sonny Gray vs. Milwaukee Brewers — 4.3 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $44 | FanDuel $8,600 | DraftKings $8,200
Although Sonny Gray missed nearly a month with back and groin issues in June, his latest trip to the injured list seems to have only been a procedural transaction. Gray has been excellent in his two July starts. In matchups against the Royals in Kansas City and the Cubs in Cincinnati Gray compiled threw 12 innings, allowed just three runs and struck out 15. While this will be the third time he has squared off against the Brewers, the last game was 40 days ago. Milwaukee strikes out 25.7% of the time against righties, which is the fourth-highest rate in the league. They are in the bottom third from a power and run scoring perspective, which combined with today’s salary makes Gray an interesting option across the board.
Wild Card: RHP Joe Musgrove at Washington Nationals — 4.0 implied runs
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $41 | FanDuel $8,200 | DraftKings $7,900
The DFS community seems to be divided on how the “sticky stuff” crackdown is impacting Joe Musgrove. While his spin rates have remained reasonably consistent, he did have two of his worst outings of the season and one other shaky start since MLB began in-game inspections. The salary is a little rich on Yahoo, and there are safer options on FanDuel. However, Musgrove slots in nicely as a second pitcher on DraftKings. The Nationals are pretty much a league-average offense without Kyle Schwarber; Trea Turner, Juan Soto and Josh Bell are the only scary batters. The rest of the lineup consists of lightweight hitters, including Alcides Escobar, Jordy Mercer, Tres Barrera and Victor Robles, who are barely replacement-level players.
Final Thoughts for the Sunday, July 18, MLB DFS Slate
There should not be any major weather risks today. Each of the main DFS sites is handling their main slates differently, with DraftKings including Game 1 of the Blue Jays – Rangers doubleheader, while Yahoo and FanDuel are skipping it. Yahoo is including all of the other games, which means they are the only site offering the Coors Field matchup with their biggest prize pools.
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