To start the final work week before the All-Star break, Major League Baseball has eight great matchups lined up for Monday night on DraftKings’ main fantasy baseball slate. Seven of the eight contests are divisional series that get underway Monday, with the Tigers and Royals starting the week with a doubleheader that concludes on the main slate. The only non-divisional contest is the game between the Phillies and Cardinals, who are closing out their four-game wraparound series.
With eight games in play, there are plenty of players in the pool to consider for your lineup and plenty of large contests to jump into once you have your lineup locked in place. To keep up with all the latest lineups and player news, install the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.
Max Scherzer, New York Mets at Atlanta Braves ($10,300) – There are three aces at the top of the salary structure Monday, and all three are from the NL East. I’m giving Scherzer the nod over Aaron Nola ($10,000) and Max Fried ($9,600) mostly due to his strikeout potential. In his return from the injured list, he struck out 11 Reds in just six innings on his way to 33.7 DKFP. He has an 11.32 K/9 rate on the season while Nola’s is 9.70 and Fried’s is just 8.39. Scherzer only needed 79 pitches against the Reds, so he may not be fully stretched out after his six-week layoff. Still, his strikeout production gives him a high ceiling and a high floor in this matchup, and he should be a little fresher than Nola and Fried. When available he has been dominant, going 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA, a 2.62 FIP and 70 strikeouts in just 55 2⁄3 innings.
Other Options – Aaron Nola ($10,000), Max Fried ($9,600)
Merrill Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants ($7,600) – Kelly will be facing the Giants for a second straight start after going 6 1⁄3 innings against them last Wednesday, allowing just two hits and two runs in a no-decision that resulted in 19.3 DKFP. He has over 19 DKFP in three of his past four starts and has improved to 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 3.34 FIP on the season. The 33-year-old doesn’t have the strikeout rate of the elite options on the board but has been consistent enough at limiting damage to still be a solid play at this price on Monday. The other inexpensive options all come with significant red flags, so it seems like a good spot to go with a more proven play in Kelly, especially in a matchup where he has had recent success.
Other Options – Daniel Lynch ($7,000), Brayan Bello ($5,000)
José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians vs. Chicago White Sox ($5,200) – The Guardians come home and host the White Sox to start the week, and Ramírez will look to build on a strong series in Kansas City, where he had at least 7.0 DKFP in three straight games and averaged 14.3 DKFP. He swiped his 12th bag of the season on Sunday to go with his 17 homers and .402 wOBA. The switch-hitter has hit righties especially well this season with a .311 average and a .435 wOBA, and he is 6-for-17 with three home runs in his career against opposing starter Lance Lynn ($8,200).
Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics ($5,200) – While his season-long numbers are still pretty uninspiring, Semien has picked up the pace lately. Over his past 11 games, he is 15-for-46 (.326) with four home runs and two stolen bases resulting in a solid 12.7 DKFP per game. He gets a very favorable matchup against his former team highlighted below in stacks and is set up well to continue his hot start to July.
Other Options – Bobby Witt Jr. ($4,700), Yandy Díaz ($4,400)
Darick Hall, Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals ($3,300) – In another matchup against a right-handed starter, I’m going back to Hall as a value 1B again on Monday. The power-hitting lefty has gone 12-for-42 (.286) in his 11 games in the Majors with three doubles, four home runs and a .399 wOBA as a result of a 24.1% barrel rate, per Statcast. He hit 20 homers in his 72 games in Triple-A before being called up and has quickly been locked into the cleanup spot since joining the big league squad. On Monday, he and the Phillies face Miles Mikolas ($8,800), who has given up 11 homers in 17 starts including six to left-handed hitters like Hall.
CJ Abrams, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($2,100) – Many top prospects have made big splashes this season, and their salaries have risen with the rest of their numbers. Abrams hasn’t had that experience yet, although his recent results show him trending the right way. Abrams has gone 8-for-24 (.333) over his past 10 games and has hit safely in four straight starts and 12 of his past 14. He had two hits and 8.0 DKFP in Sunday’s loss and is available extremely cheaply even in this contest at Coors Field, where he brings intriguing upside.
Other Options – Vimael Machín ($2,300), Nolan Jones ($2,000)
Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres ($5,100) – Bryant had to leave Sunday’s game early due to cramping, but as long as he’s back in the lineup, he’ll be a good play Monday night in Denver. In his 12 games since coming back off the injured list, he has gone 16-for-47 (.340) with three doubles, four home runs and an average of 10.2 DKFP per contest. He has hit .333 this season against southpaws with a .401 wOBA, and he has had success in his limited opportunities against opposing SP Sean Manaea ($9,200), going 3-for-4 with two home runs in their previous meetings.
J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays ($4,100) – Martinez is surprisingly affordable in this matchup against a lefty as the Red Sox look to build on their momentum from taking the final two games in their weekend series against the Yankees. Martinez homered on Sunday night and had 18 DKFP and has gone 11-for-41 (.268) with three doubles and that home run over his past 10 games. All season, though, he has been a great play against southpaws like Josh Fleming ($6,500). Martinez is hitting an impressive .383 against lefties with a .233 ISO and .469 wOBA.
Other Options – Adolis García ($4,900), Andrew Benintendi ($4,100)
Eloy Jiménez, Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians ($3,800) – Jiménez is still available at a discount following his lengthy layoff with a hamstring injury. In his four games since coming back, he has gone 4-for-16 (.250) with a home run and five RBI while posting at least 7.0 DKFP in three of those contests. He and the White Sox get a good matchup against Cal Quantrill ($7,800), who has allowed 16 runs on 31 hits and five home runs over his past four starts. Due to his elite power upside, this looks like a good spot to take advantage of Jiménez’s bargain rate.
Nomar Mazara, San Diego Padres at Colorado Rockies ($2,000) – Mazara is available at the minimum even playing at Coors Field. The lefty usually draws the start for San Diego against righties like José Ureña ($5,500), and he is hitting .303 through 30 games in the Majors this season. He only has two home runs on the year, but his .344 wOBA shows he has the potential to produce well above his very affordable price point in this matchup in the rarified air of Colorado.
Other Options – Steven Kwan ($3,400), Luis González ($2,300)
TEAMS TO STACK
Colorado Rockies vs. San Diego Padres – The Rockies are back at Coors Field after a seven-game road trip as they welcome in the Padres and lefty Sean Manaea ($9,200). Manaea has been solid overall this season but has allowed three runs or more in three of his past four starts and four home runs during that span. Not surprisingly, Colorado has great offensive home splits, hitting .280 with a .349 wOBA. They have also punished lefties this year, hitting an MLB-leading .291 against southpaws with a .349 wOBA. In addition to Kris Bryant (highlighted above), Connor Joe ($4,800) is worth a look since he has been a great leadoff option at home this season while Brendan Rodgers ($4,500), Randal Grichuk ($3,800) and Yonathan Daza ($2,900) will also be on the favorable side of the split. C.J. Cron ($5,100; wrist) and José Iglesias ($3,500; head) will also be good plays if they can return from their injuries.
Texas Rangers vs. Oakland Athletics – The Rangers have scored at least five runs in five of their past six games and open their home series against the A’s by facing Adrián Martínez ($6,900), who has proven to be very hittable in his three MLB starts. Martínez has surrendered 10 runs on 19 hits, including four home runs in just 15 innings. Even though he is a righty, all four of his home runs allowed have come to right-handed hitters, who have a .424 wOBA against him. The Rangers do use a lot of lefties in their lineup, but Marcus Semien (highlighted above) and Adolis García ($4,900) stand out as potential right-handed power options. Josh Smith ($3,200) is an affordable leadoff option, and there is also cheap power potential available with Nathaniel Lowe ($3,800), Kole Calhoun ($3,600) and Jonah Heim ($3,800).
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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