Another 11-game slate promises two mega-aces and a couple obvious bargains. Shall we get crackin’?

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 are 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 11-game slate begins at 7:05pm ET. Reserve your spot for the contest.

 

2. Weather and Park Factors

 

Cobb County, aka the suburb the Braves fled to like a bunch of betrayers, has the usual summer storm risk. These things tend to come and go pretty quickly. Except when they go and go and go for hours. Check on it before committing to any Nats or Braves.

Coors Field is back on the docket for a brief two-game fling with the Astros. Even though Houston has a 99 wRC+, I still look at this as an imposing offense. They also have several injuries opening up playing time for the next layer of talent. Gimme more Myles Straw please. In addition to Coors, take a peek at Yankee Stadium and Guaranteed Home Run Rate Field for wanton offense.

Pitcher friendly Oracle Park and the Oakland Coliseum are part of the late contingent. Along with T-Mobile Park, these west coast games are liable to push DFSers into the earlier stacks. If you use, say, Dodgers at Taijuan Walker or Angels at Johnny Cueto, you might find it’s radically undersubscribed. PNC Park and Marlins Park are also available for those drinking Pitcherade.

Check out our park factors HERE.

 

3. Building Block Bats

 

Elite values:

Trevor Story ($5400 DK, $4500 FD)

I’m not sure if Rockies stacks will be out of control in GPPs tonight. They’re facing Framber Valdez whose filth-monster sinker has tamed all comers. Elevation mutes the effect of sinker movement, and Valdez himself is prone to bouts of wildness. Personally, if I were running the Astros, I’d bump him to Friday. He’s limited walks this season, and I wouldn’t want to do anything to imperil that sharpness.

In any case, Story is an extreme fly ball hitter who loves nothing more than hosting sinker ballers. Projection systems say he has between a 20 and 25 percent chance to homer. Accounting for the matchup and a weak Astros bullpen, I think it’s a lot closer to 40 percent.

Story and Nolan Arenado are usually popular when they have the platoon advantage.

Also consider: George Springer, Nolan Arenado, Juan Soto, Mike Trout, Trea Turner, Kyle Tucker

Unlikely heroes:

 

Myles Straw ($3600 DK, $2500 FD)

With Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez sidelined, one of my favorite nobodies is lined up for a start (it could also be Abraham Toro at similar prices). Straw is a contact-hitting speedster with good plate discipline. The profile is similar to Delino DeShields Jr. without the passivity-inspired strikeout issues. He’s best used as a wraparound tech to make an Astros stack more affordable. With Straw, you’re playing for multiple hits rather than a home run. Coors Field is extremely friendly to this hitter type.

Houston is set to face DöppleScherzer aka Ryan Castellani. Through two starts (8.2 innings), he’s allowed just one solo home run. Expect a short outing even if he succeeds again. The Rockies bullpen is… exploitable. I plan to fade the Astros, but I might still grab Straw or Toro.

 

Adam Duvall ($3700 DK, $2400 FD)

What we have here is the anti-Straw. It’s home run or bust. Faithful readers have seen me make similar recommendations. Duvall likes to make pulled, fly ball contact. The Braves are hosting Erick Fedde, a ground ball pitcher with no additional redeeming qualities. He currently has nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts. This matchup favors Duvall. Atlanta could crack into the Nationals bullpen early in the game. It’s a below average unit.

Like several of the recommendations today, the Braves might not find a spot for him in the lineup. The recent call up of Cristian Pache means they’ll probably need to choose between Duvall, Matt Adams, and Ender Inciarte for two spots. It’s just one of those slates – many of the interesting values have playing time and/or weather concerns.

Also consider: Toro, Adam Eaton, Victor Robles, Travis d’Arnaud, Trent Grisham

 

4. Pitchers

 

“Safe” Picks: 

 

Gerrit Cole (DK $11000, FD $10900)
Jacob deGrom (DK $11800, FD $10700)

Look, I don’t need to explain Cole and deGrom to you, right? They’re the top-projected pitchers of the day. Cole is hosting an inconsistent Rays offense. deGrom is visiting the Marlins collection of overperforming Quad-A bats. Cole isn’t quite Cole this season, but he’s damned close. It’s most noticeable when actually watching him pitch. He’s very good instead of dominant.

 

 

As for deGrom, he had a start skipped for neck discomfort and visibly battled a blister in the prior outing. The neck thing is concerning since it indicates a shoulder injury. Or maybe he slept wrong. He’s on the wrong side of the aging curve so we have to watch out for these things. Also, the Mets don’t have a promising track record managing injuries.

Also Consider: Julio Urias, Aaron Civale, Lance Lynn

 

Value Targets: 

 

Casey Mize (DK $6900, FD $6600) at Dane Dunning (DK $4500, FD $4500)

The White Sox dinged up Tarik Skubal who only threw 52 pitches in two innings. Those were long innings so hopefully that pitch count isn’t an indication of what we can expect from Mize. The Tigers future ace has a fully developed four-pitch repertoire. Mize vaguely reminds me of Gerrit Cole’s prospect days. It took Cole a minute (five years) before he transitioned from solid to elite. Then again, the process completed almost the instant he gained access to Houston’s analytics. Everybody has a version of those now.

As for Dunning, he was on the road to the majors in 2018 before the dreaded elbow reaper severed his UCL. We haven’t seen him for about two years. Since the alternate training sites are opaque to outsiders, we’re flying blind here. He is, however, exceptionally inexpensive against a strikeout prone opponent. Four innings, five strikeouts, and two runs allowed is all he needs to turn a healthy profit.

 

Patrick Sandoval (DK $7100, FD $7000)

If the wild rookie debuts aren’t your thing for chasing value, Sandoval promises a less perilous path to production. Think of this as a higher floor, same ceiling alternative. He actually induces an impressive swinging strike rate with his four-pitch repertoire. Unfortunately, he’s pitched to ground ball contact through three starts, leading to just 7.31 K/9. His 13.4% SwStr% is on par with Dylan Bundy, Lucas Giolito, Carlos Carrasco, Zac Gallen, and Cole. Also, Kyle Hendricks and Ryan Yarbrough. This isn’t a small sample thing either, he’s been running these whiff rates his entire career – sometimes with strikeouts, sometimes without.

A visit to Oracle Park is always attractive. The only thing missing is home field advantage. The Giants 21.6 percent strikeout rate is bottom 10 in the league, but it’s not low enough to fret.

Also Consider: Jesus Luzardo, Chris Paddack, Pablo Lopez

 

5. Connectors

 

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.

 

Kevin Cron ($2000 DK, $2000 FD)

Cron was recently recalled and started on Monday. Hopefully, his return to the roster signals the end to the Jake Lamb era (.125/.243/.156 in 37 plate appearances). Cron might not do much better, but he comes with an expectation of around one home run every 12 plate appearances. That implies a one-in-three chance to go deep in a given game. He’s exceptionally strikeout prone, and the Diamondbacks have yet to indicate they’re willing to give their older, less-touted version of Joey Gallo an ample chance to succeed.

Arizona will see exciting southpaw Jesus Luzardo. It’s not a great pairing for a guy with Cron’s strikeout rate.

 

Luis Garcia ($2300 DK, $2300 FD)

DFS platforms hate him. The Nationals are regularly starting this aggressive ball-in-play machine, and it’s reaping rewards for the bold managers (ahem, me) who have selected him. He’s struggled with strikeouts (five in 18 plate appearances), but that probably has more to do with the double-jump from Double-A than any worrisome issue. The 20-year-old’s feel for hitting is obvious. Again, you’re taking Garcia as a lottery ticket. He’ll put the ball in play, and you’re hoping those BIPs turn into hits. It’s worked thus far. The Braves are calling upon struggling prospect Kyle Wright.

Beware: he obviously won’t maintain a 50 percent line drive rate.

Also Consider: Luis Gonzalez, Jake Cronenworth