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FanDuel DFS MLB Strategy Advice: Friday (7/24)

Jul 24, 2020

Here we are, after months of waiting we finally have a slate packed full of games. We’ve got 22 teams to sort through today, so we’ve got plenty of options to begin what is possibly the strangest season in MLB history.

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Justin Verlander (HOU) vs SEA $11,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jack Flaherty (STL) vs PIT $10,500 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) vs BAL $7,100 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Ross Stripling (LAD) vs SFG $6,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Andrew Heaney (LAA) vs OAK $6,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High


Verlander takes the mound against a Seattle team he’s had moderate success against since arriving in Houston. In his eight starts against the M’s, Verlander owns four starts consisting of at least six innings and one earned run. There’s a minor threat of a blow up, as he had one against Seattle in 2018 where he gave up six runs over two innings, but Verlander has the highest ceiling on the slate. Jack Flaherty on the other hand is one of, if not the safest options on the slate. He gets a soft Pittsburgh lineup he’s dominated against over recent memory, giving up just 14 hits and two earned runs over his last 28 innings against them.

On to the value plays, first I have Nathan Eovaldi who is looking to bounce back from a rough first full season in Boston and I think he has a strong chance to get that started on the right foot. The Orioles lost a staggering 108 games last season and they didn’t do a whole lot to improve. He does have more risk involved than someone like Ross Stripling, though. Stripling takes the mound against a Giants team he put up 7 1/3 no-hit innings against in his debut back in 2016. The Giants haven’t gotten any better since then, and Stripling remains one of the Dodgers’ unsung heroes, quietly posting a  3.51 ERA across 387 career innings. Lastly I have Andrew Heaney, who is my boom or bust pitcher of the night. On paper, it looks like an uphill battle for Heaney as he faces a deadly Athletics lineup. Upon closer look however, the thing the A’s lack the most is left-handed hitting, which was what held Heaney back last season, allowing a .321/.374/.548 slash line against them . He could surprise some people.

Catcher/First Base

Carlos Santana (CLE) vs KC $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Daniel Murphy (COL) @ TEX $2,900 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Chris Davis (BAL) @ BOS $2,200 ⭐⭐⭐ High


One of my favorite plays tonight is Carlos Santana, who has owned Danny Duffy throughout his career. In 36 career at-bats, Santana has beat Duffy for a .444/.474/.778/1.251 slash line with three homers and eight RBI. Santana has potential to be one of the top first basemen on the slate and yet is tied for eighth in terms of salary. Slightly cheaper, I have Daniel Murphy, who believe it or not hit 10 of his 13 long balls outside of Coors last season. While he isn’t the Murphy of old, he’s got a favorable matchup and price, though I’d still much rather take Santana.

Lastly, hear me out on Chris Davis. Yes, he was absolutely abysmal last season and yes, Nathan Eovaldi himself is in a good spot. However, while Eovaldi has good value, he also gave up a monstrous .597 slugging percentage to left-handed hitters last year. He’s boom or bust, but thats exactly what you’re looking for at the low price of $2,200.

Second Base

Ketel Marte (ARI) @ SDP $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Michael Chavis (BOS) vs BAL $2,600 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Jason Kipnis (CHC) vs MIL $2,500 ⭐⭐⭐ Medium


Second base is my least favorite position on the slate, which makes it a great place to spend down and grab a value piece to help fit in a big ticket pitcher. If you are spending here, however, Ketel Marte might be your guy. While not in a fantastic spot, Marte is 4-for-6 against Chris Paddack and hit .327 against right-handers last year, giving him a solid ceiling. Also not in the best spot, I’m slightly more interested in Michael Chavis. While Chavis hit just .226 against left-handers last season, he also managed to hit eight of his 18 home runs against them despite seeing less than half the at-bats(106 to 241.) He’s not a slate breaker but provides a solid ceiling at a cheap price.

Also at a budget price, I like the spot Jason Kipnis is in. He’s one of the few lefties on the Cubs that favors right-handed pitching. He’ll get that in Brandon Woodruff, who gave up an additional 47 points to batting to left-handed hitters compared to righties. He has the lowest floor of the three but he’s fairly under the radar as well.

Third Base

Alex Bregman (HOU) vs SEA $4,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Kyle Seager (SEA) @ HOU $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐ High
Rio Ruiz (BAL) @ BOS $2,200 ⭐⭐⭐ Low


While third base is loaded with talent tonight, it’s similar to second where there aren’t too many obvious exploitable matchups. We do have Alex Bregman, however, who is 8-for-17 in his career against Mariners’ starter Marco Gonzales. Gonzales isn’t the only left-handed pitcher Bregman has raked against either, as the 26-year old posted an eye-popping .350/.443/.742/1.186 slash line against them last year across 163 at-bats. He needs to finish as the top option at third base to make him worth the price, but there is a good chance he does so.

Kyle Seager is a solid boom or bust option, owning four career home runs against the Astros’ Justin Verlander. He’s one of the few guys in Seattle who can do considerate damage to Verlander but it comes at the price of possibly being the riskiest play in this article. Rio Ruiz is my final player here and he’s here for the same reason as Chris Davis. He’s a cheap, decent left-handed bat going up against a starter that was dreadful against them in 2019. He’s a good option for those who opt to take Carlos Santana at C/1B over Davis.


Francisco Lindor (CLE) vs KC $3,800 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Corey Seager (LAD) vs SFG $3,200 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Didi Gregorious (PHI) vs MIA $3,000 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium


Earlier I wrote about the numbers Carlos Santana has posted against the Royals’ Danny Duffy. While Francisco Lindor doesn’t quite have the numbers against Duffy that Santana does, he’s had his moments himself, owning seven hits, two home runs and five RBI across 24 at-bats. Lindor is also arguably the best shortstop in the game at the moment and his price doesn’t necessarily reflect that. Coming in $600 cheaper, I have Corey Seager who is very capable of posting high-end numbers from the shortstop position. At the time of this writing, it’s unclear who the Giants will have on the mound to start this one but its somewhat safe to assume a right-handed starter will be what they go with. This is good for Seager as he owns a .305 average with 29 homers and 49 doubles across 205 career games at home against righties.

Capable of a similar ceiling as Seager, Didi Gregorious might be my favorite shortstop on the slate. Didi has notably done significantly more damage against right-handed pitching with 91 of his 110 career home runs coming against them. It doesn’t hurt that the Marlins’ opening man Sandy Alcantara allowed a .424 slugging percentage to left-handed hitters in 2019, 59 points higher than the mark he allowed to righties. Playing his first official game at Citizens Bank park, I’m all over Gregorious.


J.D. Martinez (BOS) vs BAL $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Low
Bryce Harper (PHI) vs MIA $3,900 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Franmil Reyes (CLE) vs KC $2,700 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Nelson Cruz (MIN) @ CWS $3,600 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium
Alex Verdugo (BOS) vs BAL $2,300 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Medium


If you thought what Alex Bregman did against lefties last season was disgusting, wait until I tell you what J.D. Martinez did to them. Through 141 at-bats, Martinez hit an absurd .404/.494/.887/1.381 with 19 home runs, 40 RBI and 25 walks against them. He’ll get one tonight in Tommy Milone, who just so happened to serve up 15 homers to right-handed hitters in 79.2 innings last season. It wouldn’t surprise me if Martinez finishes as the top outfielder on the slate.

Next I have Bryce Harper, who adores Opening Day. Through his eight season thus far in the majors, Harper has five Opening Day home runs to his name. Not to mention he’s also going up against the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara, who he’s recorded a hit against in six of his 12 at-bats against. He’ll be popular but he might just be worth it. While on the topic of top outfielders, I think Franmil Reyes could break this slate. Like Martinez, Reyes is getting a left-handed starter and owns a .308 career batting average with a .939 OPS against them. With massive power, a favorable matchup and solid price, I’m all over Reyes tonight. They aren’t the only sluggers I’m a fan of today as Nelson Cruz is also someone I’m big on. While the matchup against the tough Lucas Giolito might be a turnoff, Cruz actually already owns three career homers against Giolito, and in just 12 at-bats at that. He’s unlikely to break the slate like Martinez or Reyes might but I’m expecting a solid performance from the 40-year old.

On the opposite side of their career, I also really like Alex Verdugo who is out to prove himself in his first year in Boston. Verdugo, like his new mentor Martinez, loves to hit against left-handers. Albeit a small sample size, Verdugo owns a .306/.333/.452 slash line against them through 124 at-bats. He’s unlikely to be what wins you a tournament, but consider him a mini Martinez if you choose to spend salary elsewhere.

Five Studs Worth Their Salary

  • Justin Verlander (SP – HOU) $11,200: Verlander’s ceiling is undeniable and he gets a soft matchup in the Seattle Mariners.
  • Jack Flaherty (SP – STL) $10,500: Flaherty is arguably the safest pitcher on the slate and gets a team he’s dominated in recent memory.
  • J.D. Martinez (OF – BOS) $3,900: Martinez absolutely crushes left-handed pitching and he’ll get just that tonight.
  • Bryce Harper (OF – PHI) $3,900: An Opening Day warrior, Harper already owns five home runs in his first games.
  • Alex Bregman (3B – HOU) $4,000: Bregman gets a pitcher he’s had success against and just so happens to be of the left-handed variety that Bregman loves.

Five Notable Players To Fade

All advanced statistics sourced from Fangraphs.

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Caleb Baggette is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Caleb, check out his archive and follow him @CalebBg9.