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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for July 25 (Night)

Zach Thompson provides his top studs and value plays at each position for Saturday’s four-game fantasy baseball slate, which starts on July 25 at 5:10 p.m. ET.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is back in action with a full slate of games on Saturday as we get into the first weekend of the abbreviated season. After Opening Day on Thursday night and a huge slate of games on Friday, Saturday’s schedule is fairly spread out with most of the action in the early afternoon. As a result, the DraftKings night slate, which locks at 5:10 p.m. ET, gives us a chance to focus on four games that will take place mostly under the lights.

The first two games of the slate involve Central Division teams as the Tigers take on the Reds in Cincinnati and the Royals face Cleveland. At 7:15 p.m. ET, the Nationals and Yankees return to action after getting Friday off following their rain-shortened contest on Opening Night. The final game of the night is an NL West clash between the Diamondbacks and the Padres from Petco Park in San Diego.

With those eight teams in play, there are lots of ways to consider constructing your lineup. In this post, I’ll give you my top studs and value plays for each spot on your roster. Make sure to stay locked in to @DKLive on Twitter and check starting lineups in the DK Live app as we approach the first pitch.

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Starting Pitcher

Stud

Mike Clevinger, CLE vs. KC, $9,800 — Cleveland got a great start from Shane Bieber on Opening Day, as he held the Royals to just four hits in six shutout innings while fanning 14. Clevinger will look to pick up where his teammate left off against a Royals lineup that lacks depth. Clevinger had a knee issue back in Spring Training but is past that now and should be ready to roll at full strength. He has been very impressive the past two seasons and increased his strikeout rate last season to fan 169 in his 126 innings. That increase resulted in a very nice 24.6 DKFP per game in his 21 starts, which included three against Kansas City. He averaged 29.1 DKFP in those three outings, going 3-0 and allowing just two runs in 18 23 innings.

Other Option — James Paxton ($9,000)

Value

Luis Castillo, CIN vs. DET, $8,000 — Castillo has said he’ll be at full strength and ready to go as many innings as the Reds need from him in this start against the Tigers. Detroit’s lineup looked like a favorable matchup in the opener as Sonny Gray allowed just one run on three hits in six innings. Castillo went 15-8 last season with a 3.40 ERA and actually was stronger at home (3.15 ERA, .191 batting average against) despite the fact that Great American Ballpark is considered a hitter’s park. Castillo averaged over a strikeout-per-inning and produced over 20 DKFP per start last season. He’s a great option at $8K and brings a lot of upside.

Other Option — Robbie Ray ($6,900)


Catcher

Stud

Kurt Suzuki, WAS vs. NYY, $4,000 — Suzuki started on Opening Day but went 0-for-2 against Gerrit Cole. He should be in a slightly better spot if he’s in the lineup again for Saturday night’s matchup with lefty James Paxton. Suzuki teed off on lefties last season with a .343 average and four home runs in 67 at-bats for a .957 OPS. The veteran will likely give way to Yan Gomes ($3,400) for one of the next two games, but he’s worth a look if he’s in the lineup.

Other Options — Roberto Pérez ($4,500), Gary Sánchez ($4,500)

Value

Francisco Mejía, SD vs. ARI, $3,200 — Mejía and Austin Hedges ($2,300) are expected to share the catching duties for the Padres, but Mejía got the start on Opening Day, going 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-runner. Mejía has the better pop of the two and was solid last season, hitting .265 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS in his 79 games. Mejía was a very highly-regarded prospect when the Padres acquired him from Cleveland and the 24-year-old could be ready to be a regular contributor to one of the lineups on the rise in the Majors. He is a switch-hitter but hit lefties well last season including going 1-for-2 with a double off of Ray while Hedges has gone just 1-for-18 in his career against the Arizona lefty.

Other Options — Carson Kelly ($3,500)


First Base

Stud

Carlos Santana, CLE vs. KC, $4,500 — Cleveland’s bats are all a little spendy since they’re in a good matchup against Brady Singer ($4,500), who will be making his MLB debut on Saturday night. Singer is the Royals’ No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, but hasn’t pitched above Double-A before this season. He went 12-5 record with a 2.85 ERA in 26 starts for High-A Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas last season. Santana went 0-for-3 with a walk on Opening Day but hit in the cleanup spot, which should set him up well for production this season. He turned things around last season in his return to Cleveland, hitting a very solid .281 with 34 homers and a .911 OPS after a disappointing 2018 with the Phillies.

Other Options — Luke Voit ($4,300), Christian Walker ($4,200)

Value

Joey Votto, CIN vs. DET, $3,900 — Votto went 2-for-4 with a home run to start what is expected to be a promising season for his Reds. He had a down year by his lofty standards last season, hitting just .261 with a .768 OPS, his lowest ever for a full season. He seems to be poised to bounce back, though, with a better lineup around him and the drive of getting his team to the postseason. He has typically been better at Great American Ballpark than on the road and has a good matchup on this slate against journeyman Iván Nova ($5,500).

Other Options — C.J. Cron ($3,600), Jake Lamb ($2,900)


Second Base

Stud

Gleyber Torres, NYY at WAS, $4,400 — Torres had a quiet Opening Night but is still one of the best targets on any slate. He hit 38 home runs last year and hit a healthy .278 with 90 RBI and a .871 OPS. At only 23 years old, he’s already a centerpiece for one of the top offenses in baseball and definitely an option to consider if you’re paying up at either middle infield spot.

Other Option — Eduardo Escobar ($4,700), DJ LeMahieu ($4,500)

Value

César Hernández, CLE vs. KC, $3,700 — Given the matchup for Cleveland, I’m a little surprised the team’s leadoff hitter is so affordable. Hernández joined the team this offseason on a one-year free-agent deal after spending his first seven seasons in the Majors with the Phillies. Hernández hit a solid .279 last season with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases. He doesn’t have prototypical leadoff hitter speed or OBP, but he’ll be a solid play as long as he keeps getting the nod at the top of Terry Francona’s lineup.

Other Options — Starlin Castro ($3,800), Jurickson Profar ($3,500)


Third Base

Stud

Eugenio Suárez, CIN vs. DET, $4,600 — Another Cincinnati bat I like a lot against Nova and the Tigers is Suárez, who batted third in the order on Friday night. Suárez actually started his career with the Tigers in 2014 but has emerged as a great offensive option the past few seasons with the Reds. He hit .271 last season with a career-high 49 home runs with 103 RBI and a very robust .930 OPS. He is 9-for-27 (.333) in his career against Nova and has a pair of home runs against him.

Other Options — José Ramírez ($5,100), Mike Moustakas ($4,300)

Value

Ty France, SD vs. ARI, $3,100 — France is expected to start at DH for the Padres against left-handed starters and was hitting seventh on Opening Day against Madison Bumgarner. He’ll likely be in the lineup again as San Diego faces Robbie Ray. France hit .399 last year with the El Paso Chihuahuas in Triple-A with 27 homers and a 1.247 OPS. He was 33-for-78 (.423) with an eye-popping 1.313 OPS against southpaws. He did struggle in the Majors but still has a lot of upside for a hitter barely over $3K. One MLB pitcher he didn’t struggle against was Ray, who he went 3-for-5 with a home run against.

Other Option — Carter Kieboom ($3,700), Maikel Franco ($3,100)


Shortstop

Stud

Fernando Tatis Jr., SD vs. ARI, $4,800 — Even on this limited slate, SS is totally stacked with top-tier options. I’ll go with Tatis, though, who looks ready to take the league by storm again this season after recovering from his back injury. Tatis went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored for 11.0 DKFP from the leadoff spot on Opening Day. He mashed lefties last season, hitting .419 against them with a 1.268 OPS.

Other Options — Trea Turner ($5,000), Francisco Lindor ($4,900)

Value

Freddy Galvis, CIN vs. DET, $3,600 — Galvis seemed to settle in nicely after joining the Reds midseason last year on a waiver claim and had his option exercised over the offseason. The 30-year-old veteran hit eighth on Opening Day, going 1-for-4 with a run scored. He makes sense as part of a Reds stack or just an affordable middle-infielder since he has a very nice history against Nova. In his career, he has gone 9-for-17 (.529) with two doubles and a home run against Detroit’s scheduled starter.

Other Option — Nick Ahmed ($3,800)


Outfield

Stud

Nick Castellanos, CIN vs. DET, $4,800 — Castellanos complained about the park during his time with Detroit, so it seems fitting that he takes on the Tigers in his new digs to start his first season with the Reds. Castellanos hit cleanup and went 1-for-2 with a double and 13 DKFP in his Reds debut and will be in a good spot to produce again at Great American Ballpark against Nova, who he has gone 6-for-14 (.429) against in his career. The Reds are a very attractive stack and make sure to get this former Tiger in your lineup against his ex-teammates.

Giancarlo Stanton, NYY at WAS, $4,700 — Stanton went 2-for-3 and clubbed a home run on Opening Night to help power the Yankees to the win, and he’s in a good spot to do more damage in this contest. In his career, he is 15-for-48 (.313) with three home runs against Stephen Strasburg ($10,000), who he faced often during his time with the Marlins. Stanton’s power makes him a good option almost any time he’s under $5K.

Other Option — Ketel Marte ($5,200), Jorge Soler ($4,500)

Value

Kole Calhoun, ARI at SD, $4,200 — Calhoun started his Diamondbacks career strong with a 2-for-4 performance that included his first home run. He hit a career-high 33 homers last year and is a solid GPP option even though he doesn’t hit for much average. He can be boom-or-bust, but his power potential makes him worth a look against Dinelson Lamet ($7,800) and the Padres in the nightcap.

Other Option — Tommy Pham ($4,500), Nick Senzel ($3,700), Phillip Ervin ($3,100)

Set your lineups here: MLB $100K Relay Throw [$25K to 1st] (Night)


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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 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.