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MLB DFS: Tyler O’Neill and the best/worst DraftKings plays for Friday, July 2nd

Alex Wood, left-handed Houston Astros, and reverse splits at Coors Field are the flavor of today’s MLB DFS first pass...

St Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Yesterday gave us some unfortunate injuries that could have implications today. Ronald Acuna Jr. (back), Yoan Moncada (hand), and Jose Ramirez (face) are names to monitor moving forward. Moncada is already listed as out for this weekend, while the other two are expected to play. We shall see.


Best play: LHP Alex Wood at Arizona Diamondbacks ($8,500)

There’s at least a quartet of aces to pay up for today (Scherzer, Lynn, McCullers Jr., Urias) but that number increases to five if you include Pablo Lopez. But Lopez is where things get much murkier to me. He’s at Atlanta, a place I never like to go. Casey Mize at 9K is home against the White Sox, who are heating back up. Zac Gallen’s pitch counts are being limited after his return from an elbow injury, and he’s in a tough matchup against the slugging Giants anyway. Add it all up, and I’m a fan of dropping down to Alex Wood.

Wood was coming off of a rough stretch of games a month or so ago (15 runs allowed in 15 innings) until he ran into the get-right spot which was a home start against these same D-backs on June 14th. He went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits, striking out seven batters. The damage against him came in the form of Carson Kelly, who has since hit the IL. Ketel Marte is another notable D-back to have hit the IL since that game.

I like Wood’s price point, right above a popular guy like Kyle Gibson ($7,800). Gibson is a name I’ll have to weave in, but given his latest 38-point effort and his matchup against Seattle, I think he’ll be popular. Meanwhile, Wood is backed by the better offense and the D-backs (3.83) have a lower implied run total than the Mariners (4.00). Arizona doesn’t strikeout much versus lefties, but this lineup is without Ketel Marte (10.8% K-rate) and Carson Kelly (8.5% K-rate). Insert Daulton Varsho (26.7%) and Andy Young (47.4%), and all of a sudden the outlook is much improved. In a season where pitching is tough to figure, I like snagging a guy in the middle with a chance to work six innings, get a solid amount of strikeouts, and have a solid chance at a win.

Worst play: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez @ Oakland Athletics ($7,400)

At some point, the results just have to matter. I’m a fan of E-Rod’s peripherals (3.58 FIP, 3.38 xFIP), but he’s given us just THREE quality starts in 15 games this year—and his latest 26.5 DK point effort was his first 20+ point effort since April 25th. He has only four 20-point games in total. So while his price point may be friendly, I think it is well-earned given his results so far.

Anyway, the Athletics are a team that can surprise against southpaws, with three starters sporting ISOs over .200: Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Ramon Laureano. Chad Pinder (.182 ISO) should crack the lineup as well, given that he’s got a solid history against E-Rod (.308 BA and 1 HR in 13 AB) and that he lives to crush lefties. Add in the righty catcher Sean Murphy (.155 ISO) and that’s just another right-handed stick for E-Rod to maneuver around. Righties are slashing .300/.341/.494 with 10 of E-Rod’s 12 homers allowed. I don’t like the matchup for him, even on the road to Oakland.


Best play: Houston Astros @ LHP Sam Hentges

Stop me if you’ve heard it before. Stack Houston Astros. With Coors Field on the slate, the Toronto Blue Jays at home, the Reds in a solid matchup at home, a large game total in KC, the Angels likely drawing some eyes against Keegan Akin, AND a whopping 14 games on the slate...I’m thinking ownership will be spread out enough that loading up on Astros is viable. Hentges has allowed six of seven homers to right-handed bats, but he’s been bad against both handedness of hitter and this will show up in my value plays of the day...

Worst play: Minnesota Twins @ RHP Brady Singer

I don’t think Singer is a bad pitcher, I think he’s just fine. I’m trying to pick a spot that people might actually land on, and with the 10-run game total and 5.00 IRT for Minnesota, I could see people going here. However, Singer has allowed six of his eight homers to left-handed bats this year...and the scary Minnesota bats are both right-handed (Cruz and Donaldson). On top of that, he’s allowed one home run at home, compared to seven on the road...and at home he’s got a 4.20 ERA (2.86 FIP) compared to a 5.25 ERA (5.22 FIP) in the away split. Singer also limits hard contact on fly balls and line drives (92.4 MPH, 26th-best) and overall (87.2 MPH average exit velocity, tied for 14th-best) among qualified starters. I could see the Twins underwhelming today.

Value Plays: lefty Houston Astros, Michael Conforto, reverse splits at Coors Field, Chad Pinder, David Fletcher/Phil Gosselin

My early research on LvL splits is coming into play recently. Yesterday saw guys like Max Muncy and Joey Gallo homer in the split, as well as Michael Brantley. Today, Brantley gets another lefty and is only $4,100 and batting second for Houston. Kyle Tucker, too, is another notable name that I unearthed against southpaws. He is just $3,800. That’s a lot of power to add to your MLB DFS lineups, for not a lot of cost.

Michael Conforto ($3,100) also finds himself in the LvL split, a spot where he has generally excelled. The lefty Jordan Montgomery has been very good in that split, however, so don’t go too crazy. That’s a larger field GPP play for me.

If you’re looking for more safety, Tyler O’Neill has 14 of his 15 homers in the RvR split. Against right-handers he is slashing .289/.338/.583 with a .294 ISO and 151 wRC+. Against lefties his numbers crater, down to a .216/.286/.432 slash, .216 ISO, and 96 wRC+. Luckily, right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez has been worse against right-handed hitters, at least from a power perspective. Lefties have a higher OBP (.373 to .318), but righties are slugging more (.538 to .480) and have hit more homers (7 to 5) in fewer opportunities (32.2 innings against 37). Right-handers make more hard contact and hit more fly balls against Gonzalez, too.

Of note is a heating up Paul DeJong, who is only $3,400 at Coors. DeJong is also a reverse splits guy. His is a career .250/.315/.459 slash and .209 ISO against righties, compared to .215/.310/.391 and a .176 ISO against lefties. In 2021, eight of DeJong’s 10 homers have come against right-handed pitching. He’s got an ugly slash line so far this year, but he’s shown signs of life lately with a couple of homers and a stolen base over his past five games.

I mentioned Chad Pinder ($2,900) earlier against the lefty E-Rod. I like him best as a member of an Oakland stack, but he has a career .183 ISO against southpaws and is batting .291/.350/.473 with a .182 ISO in the split this year—so right at what we expect.

David Fletcher ($3,200) should be appealing if he bats leadoff against the lefty Keegan Akin. The Angels have a healthy IRT of 5.39, are at home, and very quietly rank sixth against southpaws with a .183 ISO. They rank 12th with a 23.2% K-rate and are tied for 7th with a .325 wOBA. This is not a good matchup for Akin, and the projected leadoff man’s price point sticks out like a sore thumb when you consider the other Halo salaries. 1B/OF Phil Gosselin ($3,100) is projected to bat fourth for the Halos and has given us a pair of 20+ point DK efforts in his last three games.