DFS July 31 – Optimal Lineups?

DFS Baseball LogoJim shares his top Draft Kings plays for July 31st along with his thoughts for the day.

We have 15 games on tap today kicking off at 7:05 with the Tigers at Baltimore and the Braves at Philly.

Be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast for potential cancellations and make sure to check your lineups before game time for late scratches.

There are a number of good pitching matchups today from Clayton Kershaw at the top all the way down to Drew Hutchison at $5,600.  Don’t dismiss Hutch if you are in a bind for cash today; he has a 2.21 ERA and 1.05 WHIP at home.  There are also some dreadful pitchers going that you will want to avoid but stack against like Nick Martinez, Kyle Kendrick and Kendall Graveman (who has hit a wall his last 3 times out).  Everybody that posts their DFS recommendations today will say that their guys are the ones to pick, and technically they could ALL be right today.  Given the number of decent pitching options available for cheap like Hutchison, Ian Kennedy ($6,900 vs Miami), Tommy Milone ($6,400 vs Seattle) combined with the bad options mentioned above, there will be multiple optimal lineups today.  While I like all my recommendations for today, there are a number of players I would consider at each position which should make for an interesting day. Happy Hunting!

1. SP – Taylor Jungmann ($7,500) vs Chicago: There are 12 pitchers more expensive than Jungmann, but only 2 of them have put up better numbers than Jungmann over the past 30 days.  He has had five consecutive starts with 6 or more innings allowing 2 earned runs or less in each game.  In case you were wondering, his ERA and WHIP over those 5 starts is 1.75 and 0.94.  While Jungmann has a season ERA of 2.14, it is even better at home (1.59).  A groundball rate just over 52% is partly responsible for his success; the other part is luck as his xFIP is close to 4.0.  Regression should be coming, but I’m banking on it not showing up today versus the Cubs.  It should come as no surprise that the Cubs lead the league in strikeouts for the fourth straight month.  They are also last in batting average and 23rd in OBP for the month of July.  They are 19th in home runs and scoring runs so they are a threat, but Juggmann has given up just 2 long balls this year.  With Carlos Gomez on his way to Houston, Milwaukee may have a though time scoring enough runs to get Jungmann the win, but he should still go at least 6 innings, rack up around 7 K’s and put up 20 or so points on DraftKings today.

2. SP – Danny Salazar ($10,900) @Oakland: Salazar faces an A’s team today that are not doing many things right offensively.  For the month of July the A’s are 23rd in batting average, 28th for scoring runs, 29th in OBP and 29th in home runs.  The only thing they are really good at is not striking out; the A’s have the least number of K’s for July.  Unfortunately Salazar knows how to get to Oakland and did just that a few weeks ago when he spun an 8.2 inning gem racking up 8 K’s. The A’s are not going to put up much of a fight *jinxed myself* and Salazar is usually strong against weak hitting teams.  I like both the player and matchup here. 

Value Play – Ian Kennedy ($6,900) @Miami: For as bad as Kennedy has been this year, he isn’t half bad if you look past his home run total.  Kennedy has given up 3 or fewer runs in each of his last 10 starts.  He is also averaging close to a strikeout an inning over that time and surprisingly is a better pitcher away for Petco.  The Marlins are middle of the road in July when it comes to BA and OBP, but they are near the bottom for scoring runs and dead last in home runs – something that plays in Kennedy’s favor along with the Marlins spacious home park.  Realistically Kennedy could post a similar point total as Danny Salazar and for $4,000 less.  If you get priced out of the top pitchers, this would be a very good player to roll the dice on.

3. C – Buster Posey ($5,400) @Texas: Posey is hitting .410 over the past 2 weeks with 9 RBIs and 6 runs scored.  Of his 14 home runs this year, 12 are against righties and 10 of them are on the road.  Posey hasn’t had a home run in two weeks which means he is due, and Nick Martinez has a propensity for home runs with 3 multi-home run games in his last 4 starts along with 4 or more earned runs in each.  Martinez also has a .311 BAA versus righties and Posey has a .335 versus righties.  Take all that and put it in Arlington and you’ve got a recipe for success – at least for Posey.  There are days to take a cheap catcher; today isn’t one of those days.

4. OF – Hunter Pence ($5,300) vs Houston: There are plenty of good stacks today, but I’m going to continue to pick on Nick Martinez.  Pence is hitting .381 over the past 7 days, .333 on the road and has a career average of .326 in Texas.  As for the power, it is primarily against righties on the road.  Pence only has 5 home runs this year with 4 of them being on the road against righties.  Last season he had 20 homers with 16 against righties and 15 on the road.  His last home run was on the 21st which means just like Posey, he is due.  Granted I’m playing the law of averages on this one, but with very good odds (Vegas has the over/under at 8.5). 

One other player from the Giants who won’t make it into my lineup today is Matt Duffy ($4,200).  He is batting .360 over the past two weeks and .304 for the season with 9 home runs.  He qualifies for second and third base on DraftKings.

5. SS – Francisco LIndor($3,700) @Oakland: I mentioned in the introduction that Kendal Graveman has hit a wall.  In his last 3 games he hasn’t been able to make it 6 innings and has allowed 4 or more earned runs.  Gravman’s home ERA is over a full point higher than his season ERA which doesn’t help his cause much.  Lindor on the other hand has been hitting the ball well over .300 the past few weeks and flexing his muscle with 4 July home runs.  After giving up only 8 home runs over the first 3 months, Graveman has given up 4 in his last two starts.  Am I calling for a Lindor home run. No, but Lindor should be good for hit, runs and around 10 points on DraftKings – plus I like the price tag.

6. OF – Melky Cabrera ($3,900) vs New York: The Melkman has come to life batting .370 for the month of July, .485 over the last 7 days.  Melky has only 4 home runs this month, but he has 22 RBIs and 16 runs scored which means ponts on DraftKings.  Nate Eovaldi could be in some trouble today as he struggles on the road (4.80 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) and is getting pummeled by left-handed hitters (.343 BAA)  Melky is a switch hitter and something tells me he’ll be batting southpaw today.  The only thing that makes me nervous is the Yankees bullpen so the Sox will need to get to Eovaldi fast and early.

7. OF – Adam Eaton ($4,000) vs New York: Eaton has been hotter than Cabrera batting .480 over the past week.  He prefers right-handed pitchers: 6 of his 8 homers and 7 of his 8 steals were against righties.  Finally he’s a left-handed bat and as I stated above, Nate Eovaldi doesn’t play well with guys like this.  I wouldn’t count on a steal today unless McCann get the day off, but hits and runs are definitely in the cards.

So who is my wild card player.  I’ve actually got 3 of them: A first, second and third baseman all for under $9,300.  That means I am going to have to either find some real bargains or sacrifice Danny Salazar above for Ian Kennedy so I can have some extra money.  Honestly I’m not sure what I am going to do; I hate to be cheap when it comes to the corners.  I’ll send out my lineup on twitter when I make my final decision.

Now that’s refreshing!
For my complete lineup, follow me on twitter @TheJimFinch


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Jim Finch

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The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball. You can also find me at FanRagSports.com