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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Values for July 27

Matt LaMarca gives his top value plays for Monday’s DraftKings MLB slate, which locks at 6:40 p.m. ET.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Finding the right value plays can be the difference between winning and losing in daily fantasy baseball. The studs may get the glory, but the cheap guys who crush their price tag are the unsung heroes.

Let’s take a look at some guys who can help you save some salary but still provide production for Monday’s nine-game slate, which kicks off at 6:40 p.m. ET.

Set your lineups here: MLB $600K Relay Throw [$100K to 1st]

SP Pablo Lopez, MIA vs. BAL, $7,500

The Orioles have been better than expected to start the season, winning two out of their first three games vs. the Boston Red Sox. They’ve done it with their bats, scoring seven runs in back-to-back contests, but they still don’t figure to be very good offensively. They ranked just 21st in wRC+ vs. right-handers last season, and they lost their best offensive weapon in Jonathan Villar during the offseason.

With that in mind, Lopez should be a popular value target at just $7,500. The Orioles are implied for just 3.9 runs, which is tied for the second-lowest mark on the slate.

Lopez isn’t a particularly strong strikeout pitcher – he managed a K/9 of just 7.68 over 111.1 MLB innings last season – but he specializes in inducing soft contact. That makes him a better option for cash games than large tournaments, especially when you factor in the likely high ownership.

Editor’s note: The Marlins-Orioles game has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

SP Adrian Houser, MIL @ PIT, $8,300

Houser is slightly more expensive than Lopez, but he should have a higher ceiling. He pitched to a very respectable 9.46 K/9 last season and his 3.88 FIP is also solid. He was particularly effective vs. right-handed batters, limiting them to a .267 wOBA and a 32.8% hard hit rate.

He’ll take the mound as a -139 favorite vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have a pretty uninspiring lineup. Josh Bell ($5,100) and Bryan Reynolds ($3,600) both posted strong numbers vs. right-handers last season, but the rest of the Pirates’ projected starters are mediocre at best. It’s obviously very early in the year, but the Pirates have managed just 3.33 runs through the first three games.

The biggest concern here is the weather – there is definitely a chance of rain in the forecast – so you’ll want to monitor that situation heading into lineup lock.

OF Phillip Ervin, CIN vs. CHC, $3,000

The Reds will be taking on Cubs left-hander Jon Lester ($9,200), which means there’s a chance that Ervin could find himself in the leadoff position. That would obviously make him an intriguing option at just $3,000. The Reds’ offense figures to be pretty potent this season and Lester has shown some slippage over the past few seasons. He pitched to a 4.46 ERA and 4.26 FIP last season and right-handed batters averaged 1.48 HRs per nine innings.

Conversely, Ervin was at his best vs. southpaws last season, posting a .426 wOBA. His advanced metrics suggest he’s probably due for some regression in that department this season but he still figures to be an above-average hitter vs. left-handers. Batting in front of guys like Joey Votto ($4,800), Eugenio Suárez ($4,600) and Nick Castellanos ($4,500) shouldn’t hurt either.

1B C.J. Cron, DET vs. KC, $3,300

Cron is priced like a value today vs. the Royals but he has the potential to provide stud-like production. The Tigers’ lineup is actually implied for 5.2 runs and they’ll be taking on left-hander Mike Montgomery ($6,500). Monty is coming off the worst season of his career in 2019, pitching to a 5.52 FIP over 91 innings. He has never been a big strikeout pitcher, and last year he started allowing a ton of hard contact.

That doesn’t bode well for him against Cron, who was quietly one of the best hitters in baseball vs. left-handers last season. He posted a .427 wOBA over 143 plate appearance vs. southpaws and his advanced metrics suggest that he should’ve been even better. He averaged an exit velocity of 97.0 miles per hour in those situations, giving him an expected wOBA of .461.

He’s one of my favorite overall plays on the slate and the Tigers, in general, make for a cheap stack with upside.

OF Michael Brantley, HOU vs. SEA, $3,300

Brantley is often overlooked for the stacked Astros’ offense. Guys like Alex Bregman ($5,100), Jose Altuve ($5,000) and George Springer ($5,400) will all set you back at least $5,000 on today’s slate, yet Brantley costs just $3,300. He might not possess the same power potential as those guys, but he can still rake vs. right-handed pitchers. He posted a .383 wOBA vs. right-handers in 2019, which ranked No. 26 among all qualified batters.

He’ll be facing a very mediocre right-hander today in Kendall Graveman ($4,900). He last pitched in the majors in 2018 and he limped to a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He also allowed a ridiculous 2.36 HRs per nine innings, which could be disastrous against the Astros.

Houston leads all teams with an implied team total of 6.0 runs, which makes Brantley one of the best values of the day at his current price tag.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.