This July 4, DraftKings is ready to celebrate Independence Day with seven games on the main fantasy baseball slate, which gets underway at 6:40 p.m. ET. There are three divisional matchups on the slate including two matchups from the AL Central and the Rockies visiting the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Cardinals and Braves meet in a marquee National League showdown as well.
With a solid player pool from those 14 teams, there are quite a few options to consider building your roster around. 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 available on Twitter (@ZT_Sports).
Alek Manoah, Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics ($9,300) – Manoah is the most expensive SP on the slate but is still pretty affordable barely over $9K in a good matchup against the Athletics. He’ll be going for his 10th win of the season and enters his 16th start with a 2.09 ERA and 3.08 FIP. He has totaled 85 strikeouts in his 94 2⁄3 innings and has at least five strikeouts in four straight starts. He has 19 DKFP or more in seven of his past eight starts. The A’s have the second-lowest scoring offense in the Majors, averaging just 3.15 runs per game while hitting a woeful .212 as a team. Manoah should be able to return a mountain of fantasy points in the pitcher-friendly confines of RingCentral Coliseum against the light-hitting Oakland lineup.
Other Options – Sean Manaea ($9,000), Julio Urías ($8,300)
Kyle Freeland, Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6,300) – Freeland has a tough matchup against the Dodgers, but he did beat them last time out even in Coors Field, producing 16.1 DKFP in six innings. He has gone at least six innings in five straight starts with over 15 DKFP in four of those outings. In his road starts, Freeland has a 2.91 ERA, so even against the Dodgers, he’s worth a look at this low salary since he’s on the road on Monday.
Other Options – Dylan Bundy ($6,200)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics ($5,300) – Vladdy connected on his 19th homer of the season on Saturday and went 3-for-5 in Sunday’s loss, giving him at least 12 DKFP in five of his past eight games. Over his past 24 games, he’s hitting .316 (31-for-98) with six home runs, 22 RBI and a .410 wOBA. On the season, he also has a .390 wOBA against lefties, so he should be in a good spot to stay hot against Cole Irvin ($7,600), highlighted below in stacks. Guerrero’s season numbers are still not outstanding, but he’s definitely trending in the right direction.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals ($5,200) – Riley had multiple hits in four straight games to finish the Braves’ road trip, going 9-for-16 (.563) with two doubles and two home runs giving him an insane .692 wOBA in that small sample size. In a more zoomed-out view, he’s hit .293 over his past 30 games with eight homers and a .394 wOBA. The 25-year-old is doing a good job building on last year’s breakout and already has 20 homers this season supporting a .370 wOBA.
Other Options – C.J. Cron ($5,100), Tim Anderson ($4,400)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Guardians 1B/OF Josh Naylor (back) is not in the lineup for Game 2 of today’s doubleheader vs. the Tigers.
Josh Naylor, Cleveland Guardians vs. Detroit Tigers ($3,900) – Naylor got the day off on Sunday while the Guardians faced a lefty, but he should be back in action Monday against righty Alex Faedo ($6,100) and the Tigers. Naylor has homered off Faedo in the past, going 2-for-4, and he appears to be on his way to his best season in the majors, hitting .273 with 10 homers in 53 games. Naylor is hitting .301 with a .392 wOBA against right-handed pitching and has gone 12-for-43 (.279) with three home runs over his 11 most recent contests.
Santiago Espinal, Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics ($3,800) – While he isn’t one of the better-known names on the Blue Jays, Espinal has been a very solid producer throughout the season for Toronto. The 27-year-old has been very streaky and is heating up lately with five multi-hit games over his past eight contests. During that span, he has gone 11-for-31 (.355) with two doubles, a home run and a .395 wOBA. He has also thrived all year against lefties, hitting .355 against southpaws with three of his six home runs and a .430 wOBA.
Other Options – Eduardo Escobar ($3,800), Yoán Moncada ($2,400)
Julio Rodríguez, Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres ($5,600) – Rodríguez has posted double-digit DKFP in nine of his past 12 starts with six home runs over that span. He has gone an impressive 22-for-64 (.344) with six homers, three stolen bases and a .467 wOBA over his past 17 games and has moved regularly into the leadoff spot for the Mariners. After a slow start, he has quickly emerged as one of the top Rookie of the Year candidates and continues to bring great dual-threat potential at the top of the Seattle lineup. He has hit lefties well all season, batting .290 with a .377 wOBA, so he should be set up well against southpaw Sean Manaea ($9,000) and the Padres.
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies ($4,300) – Betts returned from his rib injury on Saturday and went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, two runs scored and 18 DKFP. His two-week absence has dropped his salary to a surprisingly affordable salary, so take advantage of his bargain rate against Freeland and the Rockies. He has gone 4-for-20 with a home run against Freeland in the past and is hitting .307 with a .401 wOBA against lefties this season. He and Julio make a great tandem of leadoff hitters who bring high ceilings due to both their power and speed potential.
Other Options – Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,000), Luis Robert ($4,500)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics ($3,600) – Since this is my third Blue Jay, it should be no surprise that they’re highlighted in stacks. Like Espinal and Guerrero, Gurriel is another righty who is surging coming into the Blue Jays’ West Coast trip. He has hit safely in 12 of his past 13 games, going 19-for-48 (.396) with doubles and two home runs and a .471 wOBA. His .447 BABIP over that span is unsustainable long-term, but his 50.0% hard-hit rate has resulted in his hits finding plenty of gaps.
Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers vs. Cleveland Guardians ($2,500) – Greene has made a smooth transition to the Majors and become a very usable option in DFS since he’s hitting leadoff and producing almost every game at a very affordable salary. He has hit safely in 10 of his 13 games and moved into the leadoff spot for the Tigers’ three most recent games. He had 28 DKFP with a home run in one of those contests, showing his nice ceiling, and he has a five-game hitting streak coming into this matchup with Konnor Pilkington ($6,000). Even though Pilkington is a lefty, don’t be scared off of Greene, since he has gone 7-for-23 (.333) with a .377 wOBA in lefty-vs.-lefty matchups since being called up.
Other Options – Michael Harris II ($3,200), Gavin Sheets ($2,200)
TEAMS TO STACK
Atlanta Braves vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Over the past 30 days, the Braves have scored the third-most runs in the Majors and have hit more home runs (57) than any team including the Yankees (56). They had three homers in their narrow loss Sunday and will look to bounce back in a good matchup against Dakota Hudson ($6,900). Hudson is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and has allowed 16 runs in 21 1⁄3 innings over his past four starts. On the season, righties are hitting .297 against him while lefties have only hit .203, so it makes more sense to attack him with righties, who have a .344 wOBA against him on the year. Ronald Acuña Jr. ($6,000) and Dansby Swanson ($5,900) are one of the best top-two hitter combos in the league right now while Austin Riley (highlighted above) and Marcell Ozuna ($4,200) are two more right-handed power hitter to take a look at. Michael Harris II ($3,200) is a lefty but still seems underpriced given his recent run of success, so you can look past the matchup and play him along with Matt Olson ($4,600) to round out your Monday night stack against the Cards.
Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland Athletics – Playing Canada’s team on America’s birthday may seem a little odd, but it makes a lot of sense according to the numbers. Like the Braves, the Blue Jays have also been one of the best offenses in the MLB over the past 30 days, leading the way with 171 runs in 29 games, including 47 home runs and a .287 average. They’ll have a good matchup Monday against Athletics’ lefty Cole Irvin ($7,600). On the season, Irvin has given up 11 home runs in 13 starts and is 2-6 with a 3.58 ERA and a 4.44 FIP. He has dropped four straight starts, giving up four homers and 14 runs in 24 1⁄3 innings. As is typical with left-handed pitchers, lefties struggle against Irvin, but the good news for the Toronto stack is that most of the best Blue Jays bats swing from the right side. George Springer ($5,700), Bo Bichette ($5,500), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (highlighted above) and Alejandro Kirk ($4,900) are all power producers with high ceilings at hefty price tags. If you need some salary relief, Santiago Espinal and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. are affordable plays who have nice upside, as highlighted above.
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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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