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MLB DFS Plays: Thursday 7/18

Spencer Limbach

This article will outline the best daily fantasy MLB plays of the day at every position. We’ll take a comprehensive look across the DFS industry to uncover these core recommendations, factoring respective salaries into the analysis.

Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.

Editor’s Note: Stay ahead of the competition from wire to wire with rankings, customizable projections, trade evaluator, exclusive columns and more in our Season Pass. And start using optimized lineups with our DFS Toolkit!

We will be looking at the seven-game main slate starting at 7:05 ET.

PITCHER

Trevor Bauer - Cleveland (vs. Detroit) 

Let’s start out with one of the most obvious cash game recommendations of the day. There’s no need to get cute at starting pitcher when you have a top tier hurler like Bauer in a fantastic matchup. Detroit’s offense currently ranks dead last in wRC+ (77) while tied for the highest strikeout rate (26.1%) in all of baseball. Those numbers are accurate reflections of their true talent level, and Bauer has a perfect opportunity to keep rolling after posting 20 strikeouts through 13 innings (4 ER) over his past two starts. 

Also Consider: Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner

CATCHER / FIRST BASE

Joey Votto - Cincinnati (vs. St. Louis) 

Votto has been pretty mediocre since the calendar flipped to July, but his salary has fallen as a result. That makes room for a buy-low opportunity in tonight’s confident matchup against St. Louis’ RHP Dakota Hudson, who carries a .391 wOBA split to left-handed bats. Returning to home to hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark should give Votto and company a nice boost. 

Also Consider: Albert Pujols, C.J. Cron

SECOND BASE

Eduardo Escobar - Arizona (vs. Milwaukee) 

Escobar is having himself an impressive season while hitting .291 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs (!) to this point. He smacked a pair of round-trippers yesterday, and the Arizona infielder will have a chance to keep that heater alive this time around. Milwaukee RHP Zach Davies has looked better over his last two starts, but those came against bottom-ten offenses in San Francisco and Pittsburgh. Davies holds a .345 wOBA split to left-handed bats while allowing plenty of contact. As a result, Escobar makes for a nice lift at an otherwise uninspiring second base position. 

Also Consider: David Fletcher, Scooter Gennett, Derek Dietrich

THIRD BASE

Jake Lamb - Arizona (vs. Milwaukee) 

Lamb is an interesting bargain choice that feeds off the rationale of previously mentioned teammate, Escobar. As outlined in that write-up, I’m not a believer in Milwaukee RHP Davies and his recent bounce-back. Regression could come knocking in Arizona tonight, and Lamb is rounding into form with three doubles, two runs, and two RBIs over his last pair of games. 

Also Consider: Jose Ramirez, Tommy Edman

SHORTSTOP

Jorge Polanco - Minnesota (vs. Oakland) 

Polanco doesn’t have inspiring career numbers against Oakland RHP Mike Fiers. However, that’s the previous version of the Twins’ shortstop, not the current form that carried Polanco to a starting spot for the AL All-Stars. Even though Fiers has looked reasonably good lately, he still allows plenty of hard contact that could translate to plenty of runs while facing a capable Minnesota offense. The Twins represent one of the highest run-scoring projections of the evening slate, and don’t be surprised if Polanco leads the way. 

Also Consider: Francisco Lindor, Marcus Semien

OUTFIELD

Michael Brantley - Houston (at LA Angels) 

Angels’ RHP Matt Harvey missed nearly two months with a back injury, but he returned with a respectable outing against the Mariners on Saturday (5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 3 K). Sure, Harvey is closer to 100% at the moment, but let’s not forget about his 6.88 ERA on the season along with a .358 wOBA split to left-handed bats. I’m of the opinion that his most recent performance is nothing more than a mirage, and the Astros could get to him tonight. Michael Brantley is a leading candidate to exploit that generous split to lefty bats. 

Tyler O’Neill - St. Louis (at Cincinnati) 

If O’Neill is in the lineup tonight, he makes for a nice bargain lift through all formats. He should get the starting nod while swinging a hot bat with ten hits, two doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs, and four runs over his last five games. Getting a park boost in Cincinnati could help, and Reds’ RHP Tanner Roark has struggled lately. In other words, the scene is set perfectly for O’Neill to keep mashing. 

Also Consider: Ketel Marte, Nelson Cruz, Justin Upton, Ramon Laureano, Josh Reddick