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Fantasy Baseball Picks: Top DraftKings MLB DFS Targets, Values for July 21

Pearce Dietrich gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Wednesday’s fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Wednesday features an eight-game MLB main slate, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let’s go position-by-position and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.


For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.


PITCHER

Stud

Lance McCullers Jr., Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians ($10,100) — The 27-year-old is having a breakout year in his sixth major league season. On the surface, his career best ERA (2.80) doesn’t seem to be the result of a fundamental improvement. His 27.4% K rate is good but it’s not his best, and his 11.9% BB rate is his worst as is his 43.9 HardHit%. So how is he getting it done? This season he added a slider to his pitch mix, and it has become his second-must used pitch (25.7%). Among starters, it ranks 12th in total runs saved (2.48 wSL/C) and McCullers is holding batters to a .210 xwOBA, 36.4% whiff% and a 17% SwStr% with the pitch. The Indians have not faired well against right-handed pitching this season — 89wRC+, .303 wOBA, .172 ISO, 24% K rate and a 7% BB rate. While their strikeout rate isn’t the highest, their walk rate is the worst on the slate. They’re taking their hacks and against McCullers this should result in strikeouts or harmless balls-batted-in-play.

Other Option: Kyle Hendricks ($9,100)

Value

Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers ($4,100) — Extreme savings may not be necessary on this slate, but it’s always worth the exploration. Manning has been up and down from the minors, but the Rangers have been mostly down this season and they have been worse off of late. In July, the Rangers have been the fourth-worst team against right-handed pitching (74 wRC+, .277 wOBA and a .156 ISO). In three of Mannings’ five starts, he lasted five innings and surrendered two earned runs. Toss out a nine run debacle in Cleveland, and Manning has a respectable 3.93 ERA in four starts. Manning does not generate strikeouts (8.9% K rate), but he can record outs at a low price against an inept Rangers offense.

Other Option: Erick Fedde ($8,100)


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CATCHER

Stud

Gary Sánchez, New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($4,500) — Matt Moore ($5,600) is still a major league pitcher for the time being. His dreadful start to the season landed him a spot on the IL. Since his return, his results have been better than acceptable (3.06 ERA), but the bubble could burst at anytime (4.86 xFIP — and that includes a 0.25 xFIP performance against the Marlins). His hard contact problem has only gotten worse (37%) and his propensity to allow fly balls has not disappeared (44.2%). Sánchez has a .378 wOBA, .338 ISO and a 142 wRC+ against left-handed pitching.

NOTE: The Phillies have not officially named the started for Wednesday night’s game. Follow @DKLive for DFS and MLB Lineup updates throughout the day.

Other Option: Eric Haase ($4,400)

Value

Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers ($2,200) — Matt Manning is worth mentioning because he’s cheap, but there is a reason why he is cheap. Heim is a punt, but one thing that he does well is that he avoids strikeouts. That combined with Manning’s inability to strike out batters, and there will be action with this pick. Also, Heim will get to face the fourth-worst bullpen against left-handed batters (4.71 xFIP).

Other Option: Buster Posey ($4,300)

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Swing for the Fences [$50K to 1st]


FIRST BASE

Stud

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox ($6,000) — If the best hitter in baseball versus right-handed pitching is facing a righty, then he’s the play. Vlad’s stats are intriguing, he has a .475 wOBA vs. RHP, but his xwOBA is .430. Despite his average launch angle of 9-degrees and his 34% fly ball rate, he has still managed to club 31 home runs. The slightest tweak to his swing could result in Vlad setting the single season home run record. On Wednesday night, he’ll face right-handed pitcher, Garrett Richards (.387 wOBA vs. RHB).

Other Option: Jonathan Schoop ($4,800)

Value

Chris Gittens, New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies ($2,000) — As mentioned above, Matt Moore is not a good pitcher. Against right-handed batters, he has a 5.63 xFIP, .410 wOBA, .290 ISO, 37% hard contact rate, 2.2 HR/9, 11% BB rate and a 48% fly ball rate. Gittens is only playing because of New York’s Covid situation, but he was having a solid season in Triple-A — .521 wOBA and a .359 ISO in 104 plate appearances. If Moore is not the starting then the Yankees will likely face Mauricio Llovera ($4,000) as an opener (5.40 ERA at Triple-A) and Cristopher Sánchez ($4,000) as the long man (4.46 ERA at Triple-A). This might be better for the Yankees than Moore. Follow @DKLive for DFS and MLB Lineup updates throughout the day.

NOTE: Gittens is day to day with achilles soreness.

Other Option: Nate Lowe ($4,100)


SECOND BASE

Stud

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians ($5,200) — The Indians pitching staff might be great someday, but for now, their young pitchers are going through growing pains. Eli Morgan is allowing a .434 wOBA, .352 ISO, 43% hard contact rate and 3.3 HR/9 in 16 innings against right-handed batters. Altuve has rebounded from a terrible 2020 season, and his turn around hasn’t been a simple matter of getting over a slump. This season his average Launch angle is 15.3-degrees, a significant increase from his average launch angle of 9.5-degrees from 2019 to 2020. His fly ball rate has increased from 29.7% to 38.1%, and his HR rate has doubled compared to last season.

Other Option: Marcus Semien ($5,500)

Value

Zach McKinstry, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants ($3,900) — With Gavin Lux on the IL and Mookie Betts ($6,100) banged up, McKinstry will see daily work. Logan Webb is an excellent pitcher but he is surrendering a .350 wOBA to left-handed batters. McKinstry has a solid .329 wOBA, .245 ISO, 110 wRC+ and a 38% hard contact rate against right-handed pitching.

Other Option: Rougned Odor ($3,600)


THIRD BASE

Stud

Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers ($4,400) — This a bad slate for high-end third basemen. There’s good pitching and few star options at the position. Candelario is facing one of the worst pitchers in baseball, let alone on this slate. Jordan Lyles ($6,600) has been much worse against right-handed batters than left-handed batters, but that appears to be a matter of luck. His wOBA and ISO should be much highest based on his underlying metrics 37% hard contact rate, 48% fly ball rate and a 16% K rate.

Other Option: Rafael Devers ($5,700)

Value

Isaac Paredes, Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers ($2,800) — He’s a little banged up (day to day with hip soreness), but he’s been playing well since being called up after the All-Star break (five hits in 10 at-bats). Jordan Lyles is allowing a .397 wOBA, .266 ISO, 40% hard contact rate and 2.6 HR/9 to right-handed batters.

Other Option: Patrick Wisdom ($4,100)


SHORTSTOP

Stud

Carlos Correa, Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Indians ($4,600) — Against right-handed pitching, Correa is having the best season of his career — .371 wOBA, .244 ISO, 141 wRC+ and a 41% hard contact rate — he shouldn’t have a hard time with Eli Morgan or the Indians’ bullpen on Wednesday night. Cleveland’s bullpen was once a top 10 team against right-handed batters, but since shuffling some of their relievers into the starting rotation, their bullpen has ranked in the bottom third.

Other Option: Trea Turner ($5,700)

Value

Miguel Rojas, Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals ($4,200) — He’s been much better against left-handed pitching but he’s on a eight game hitting streak (.480 wOBA and a .212 ISO). Also, he’ll likely hit lead off on the road, and that should mean five at-bats and several against the seventh-worst bullpen versus right-handed batters (4.36 xFIP).

Other Option: Cavan Biggio ($3,600)


OUTFIELD

Stud

Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers ($5,100) — Everyone knows that Joey Gallo’s major flaw is his strikeout rate (career 36.6% K rate), but that won’t matter tonight. Matt Manning has not earned more than three strikeouts in any of his starts. Gallo will likely make contact in his plate appearances, and that usually means home runs. Against right-handed pitching, Gallo has a .383 wOBA, .276 ISO, 146 wRC+ and a 40% hard contact rate, but that includes a slow start to the season. Gallo turned it on at the beginning of June — .455 wOBA, .429 ISO and a 194 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching.

Other Option: Giancarlo Stanton ($4,600)

Value

Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians ($3,900) — The Astros stack will be popular due to the amount of decent pitchers on this slate. Their offense has cooled off against right-handed pitching this month (80 wRC+), but last month, they were the best team in baseball vs. righties (146 wRC+). They can turn it on at any moment and a game against Eli Morgan seems like a great opportunity. Tucker is an affordable left-handed bat that is having a good season against right-handed pitching (.374 wOBA, .234 ISO and a 143 wRC+). His teammate Michael Brantley ($) is another affordable left-handed batter to stack against Cleveland.

Other Option: Michael Brantley ($3,400), Dylan Carlson ($3,000)

Set your DraftKings fantasy baseball lineups here: MLB $250K Swing for the Fences [$50K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.


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