The main slate is eight games and begins at the slightly unusual time of 6:40pm ET on DraftKings. FanDuel bumps up the action to 6:05pm ET so they can include one more game. The Orioles-Marlins contest has been cancelled due to an outbreak of COVID among the Marlins.
Eight more players and two coaches with the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, as an outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total of cases in recent days to at least 14, sources familiar with the situation tell me and @JesseRogersESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 27, 2020
This is Plan of Attack. We’re here to provide advice and recommendations to help you build successful daily fantasy lineups. We’ll be loosely guided by the tenants of our DFS Manifesto – namely a single lineup build designed to improve your enjoyment of the game while giving you a chance to beat the rake.
Don’t be surprised if the column evolves. This is a living creature, and it’s sure to adapt in Darwinian fashion. If there are features you especially like or believe need tweaking to be actionable, please reach out to us. Since this is written early in the day, certain important details will be left for you to find on your own. In particular, weather, lineups, and umpires are all things you should verify within three hours of contest-lock.
For clarity, when I reference “value,” I’m referring to projected points divided by cost.
1. The RotoFanatical Challenge
We will be hosting a daily 20-entry, $3 contest on DraftKings. It’s an excellent low-cost testing ground against fellow RotoFanatic fans. A level playing field is always nice. Today’s 9-game slate begins at 6:40pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.
Tabauer1 took home the Challenge trophy yesterday with the help of Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco. Congratulations.
2. Weather and Park Factors
Cincinnati and Cleveland are both hosting potentially wet games tonight. We’ll need to keep a close eye on both venues. Cleveland is set to have heavy storms throughout the day, although there might be a tiny window to play a partial game. Cincinnati has a better chance to happen – the storms are more scattered. As of this writing, I think we have to assume postponement.
Fenway is on the docket again. It’s doubly fun to have games in Boston’s weird park when neither team is using a respectable starting pitcher. The Green Monster could have a role in this outcome. Or at least a new dent.
3. Building Block Bats
In this section, we’ll look at top hitters with strong projections before moving on to detailed analysis of deeper picks.
The top hitters are mostly who you’d expect. They’re priced accordingly.
Aaron Judge (DK $4900, FD $4100)
UPDATE: Game has been cancelled
Tonight’s Yankees-Phillies game is cancelled, source tells The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2020
Rafael Devers ($5200 DK, $3500 FD)
J.D. Martinez ( $4700 DK, $4000 FD)
Xander Bogaerts ($4200 DK, $3400 FD)
This is a strangely affordable stack in a friendly setting. At his best, Wacha is a four-inning starter. Truthfully, he’s a bulk reliever who joined the league a half decade too early. He had a serious case of homeritis last season. He’s a ground ball pitcher – his one redeeming trait in this matchup. All three of these sluggers also hit more grounders than fly balls. If I had to pick a one-off, it would be Martinez. Although he’s yet to homer, he’s absolutely tattooing the ball.
Devers and Bogaerts have looked less sharp against frankly terrible competition. I’d usually encourage patience, but we don’t have time this year. We can also intuit that some hitters, including studs, will be left behind by the rushed Summer Camp and the long layoff between the spring and summer sessions. Thus, I’m more likely to consider the hot hand early this season since it could contain more signal than normal.
Also consider: Christian Yelich
Andrew Benintendi ($3700 DK, $2700 FD)
Mitch Moreland ($3700 DK, $2900 FD)
A couple cheaper Red Sox also have appeal tonight. Benintendi, like Devers and Bogaerts, has yet to catch his stride through two games (he sat Sunday). This is slightly more concerning if only because Benintendi drifted listlessly through 2019 – a year when most hitters of his type posted career seasons. If you’re not feeling Benintendi, the Alex Verdugo ($3100 DK, $2600) is even cheaper. They’re both ground ball guys which partially offsets the value of facing a guy like Wacha.
The Orioles used a couple southpaws so Moreland only got one start in the first series. His swing has more lift than his lineup-mates, making him a better fit against Wacha. He’s also one of the few hitters who I’d comfortably describe as truly streaky. Most so-called streaky hitters are just sending us random signals that look like patterns. Since Moreland has already homered, I’m on binge watch. He also batted cleanup in his lone start.
Bo Bichette (N/A DK, $3000 FD)
The Blue Jays leadoff man is one of the best combinations of price and quality on FanDuel. He’s a multi-hit threat who can fill up a boxscore with home runs, steals, and/or run production. In other words, he’s a high floor, high ceiling pick most days. Opposing starter Anibal Sanchez got off to a slow start last season until his command sharpened after a handful of outings. If he follows the same pattern this season, the Blue Jays will post some big numbers tonight. The Nationals bullpen includes only three good relievers. If the Jays get to Sanchez, they’ll be rewarded with scrubby followers.
Also consider: Starlin Castro, Howie Kendrick, Adalberto Mondesi
This is not a day for layups. I’ll be skipping the “safe” picks entirely because it’s a list of zero. There are, however, plenty of fascinating value targets. You might think Tyler Glasnow ($8900 DK, $9700 FD) could be classified as safe. He has a tough matchup and struggled throughout Summer Camp. As we’ve seen with a lot of pitchers, not everybody is where we expect them to be in terms of velocity and command. Glasnow will probably be extremely popular too. It feels nice to pivot when you think a high-ownership guy might flop.
Josh James (DK $8600, FD $6700)
This recommendation comes down to how many innings you think James can handle today. My understanding is he’s not quite fully stretched out yet. He’s also an inefficient pitcher. I estimate four frames which would still be playable on FanDuel but should be passed on DraftKings. I mention him because if he throws five or more innings (six seems like a ceiling), then he’s easily the best pitcher available. He projects for the highest K/9 in the slate.
Adrian Houser (DK $8300, FD $6000)
Houser finished 2019 on a high note while combining traits we all crave in fantasy – over a strikeout per inning, a low walk rate, and 50 percent ground balls. Even last year, he was a short-outing guy, frequently throwing only four innings. With this short burst season, the Brewers will probably continue using the bullpen early and often. If you’re to use him at his DraftKings price, you have to believe he has a chance to last five innings at pitcher friendly PNC Park. FanDuel has him priced like a throwaway pitcher. You can use him there even if you expect only four frames.
Also Consider: Tyler Glasnow, Mike Foltynewicz
Connectors are cheap guys who offer a tangible upside and enable you to explore top-heavy builds. FanDuel offers an embarrassing quantity of these players (their pricing model is drunk) so I’ll focus on DraftKings first and foremost.
Ryan McBroom ($2000 DK, $2200 FD)
The Tigers call upon Michael Fulmer who is still somehow only 27 years old. The righty used to sit a hair under 96 mph with his fastball. Even then, he was only moderately effective. He’ll need to throw a lot more offspeed pitches if he wants to succeed in the current meta. McBroom feasted on Triple-A pitching last season. Incidentally, the Tigers pitching staff is Triple-A quality. If he could only face the Tigers every game, I’m confident he would hit over 30 home runs in a full season.
Phil Gosselin ($2700 DK, $2400 FD)
After hitting two home runs on Saturday, Gosselin isn’t likely to slip completely under the radar. He’ll be over-subscribed as a cheap pick. The Phillies will host old friend J.A. Happ. Gosselin was the hottest-hitting Phillie during summer camp. He’s already one home run shy of his career high. I’d feel better about this pick if I had any information about a mechanical change. Going back to a tiny sample last year, he seems to have added more loft to his swing while making more consistent hard contact.
Also Consider: Jose Peraza, Franchy Cordero, Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk (FD-only), Yoenis Cespedes (FD-only)