Major League Baseball is ready to get another busy week of daily fantasy sports action off to a good start on Monday night. There are seven games lined up to be on the main DFS fantasy baseball slate on DraftKings, which gets underway at 7:20 p.m. ET. Coors Field is in on the action, boosting a pair of normally weak-hitting lineups into consideration. There are several great matchups to attack and a few tough ones to avoid. Check out my favorite plays listed below.
Make sure to keep a close eye on pregame lineups and the latest player news by installing the DK Live app and following DK Live on Twitter (@dklive). I’m also on Twitter (@ZT_Sports), where you can keep up with all my picks as the season continues.
Cristian Javier, Houston Astros at Milwaukee Brewers ($10,000) – Javier has been very solid for the Astros this season, going 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA and 3.53 FIP. He has racked up 59 strikeouts in 52 2⁄3 innings and brings a high ceiling with that much punchout potential. Javier has turned in a quality start in four of his past five outings with over 23 DKFP in each of those outings and 40 strikeouts in 30 2⁄3 innings over that span.
Javier has held opponents to just a .181 average in his road starts with an 11.5 K/9 rate, but he has given up a few key hits and gotten some unlucky road bounces. He’ll look for some positive regression in this road matchup at American Family Field. The Brewers’ lineup is pretty thin and ranks in the bottom 10 of runs scored, batting average and wOBA while ranking in the top five of K%. Even though he’s the most expensive play, Javier is worth paying up for based on his matchup and recent excellent form.
Other Options – Luis Castillo ($9,200), Corbin Burnes ($9,000)
Bailey Ober, Minnesota Twins vs. San Francisco Giants ($8,100) – As Javier has done for the Astros, Ober has given his team a huge boost since other key starting pitchers are missing from the rotation due to significant injuries. Ober has made five starts for the Twins and gone 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA. His 3.00 FIP shows that some of that is good luck, but he has been excellent at limiting damage and keeping traffic off the basepaths. He has only allowed more than one run in one start.
In his five starts, Ober has averaged 21.4 DKFP and is coming off a strong outing on the road against the Dodgers that resulted in 23.3 DKFP last Tuesday. This matchup against a different NL West foe seems to be tilted even more in his favor and is at home at Target Field. The Giants have the second-highest K% in the Majors and have scored the 10th-fewest runs so far this season. Like the Brewers, they give their opposing pitcher a high ceiling and reduce the risk of a total implosion. Both Javier and Ober are solid plays with high ceilings and limited risk Monday.
Other Option – Tanner Houck ($7,500), Gavin Stone ($5,400)
Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves ($5,100) – Freeman is coming back to Atlanta again, and he’s coming into this series in his old stomping grounds swinging a red-hot bat. Over his past 11 games, he has averaged 14.7 DKFP per contest to raise his average to 10.3 DKFP per game this season. After going 1-for-4 Sunday, he is hitting .321 on the season with eight home runs, five stolen bases and an impressive .397 wOBA. On top of his elite recent production and the narrative of his homecoming, he also has a good history in this specific matchup. He has gone 8-for-15 (.533) with two homers against Charlie Morton ($9,400) in their past meetings.
Jon Berti, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies ($4,500) – Berti had almost fallen out of the Marlins’ regular lineup prior to the injury to Jazz Chisholm (foot) but has been back in the leadoff spot lately and doing well enough to deserve some attention as his team rolls in to face the Rockies. Berti had three hits Sunday and is 16-for-45 (.356) over his past 13 games. He has added three stolen bases and a double during that run and does bring both power and speed upside when at his best. If he leads off atop Miami’s lineup in Colorado on Monday, he’s a solid midrange option to consider at either 3B or SS.
Other Options – Rafael Devers ($5,900), Jose Altuve ($5,100), Eugenio Suárez ($4,000)
Zach McKinstry, Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals ($3,700) – Monday’s slate sets up several lighter-hitting teams in potential step-up spots, and this may be the first targets of the season with both Tigers and Marlins as top options. McKinstry has earned some consideration, though, after establishing himself as the leadoff hitter against righties by hitting .273 with three home runs, six stolen bases and a .348 wOBA over his 37 games with the Tigers. The former Dodger and Cub has averaged 7.7 DKFP over his past 10 games, even though only eight of those 10 were starts. Royals starter Brady Singer ($7,000) has been a mess this season, posting a 7.09 ERA and 4.79 FIP while allowing left-handed hitters like McKinstry to hit .303 with a .410 wOBA. It should be a good spot to grab some value from the Tigers, starting with McKinstry in the leadoff spot.
Jose Caballero, Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland Athletics ($2,400) – The 26-year-old middle infielder played the game of his life on Sunday, going 1-for-1 with a home run and three stolen bases for a total of 33 DKFP in a loss to Atlanta. He stole two bases after being hit by a pitch and another after being walked before swatting his first MLB home run to cap his big day. Caballero is hitting a solid .278 with a .342 wOBA in his first 23 games in the Majors this season. He’s outplaying the veteran option, Kolten Wong ($2,100), and he should get another start in this contest since he’ll be facing struggling Athletics lefty Kyle Muller ($5,000).
Other Options – Alex Kirilloff ($3,400), Casey Schmitt ($3,200), Gio Urshela ($2,700)
Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($6,500) – Acuña extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Sunday and has averaged 13.8 DKFP per game over that impressive span. On the season, he has 11 homers and 18 stolen bases with seven of those home runs and five of those steals coming in May. His .442 wOBA show just how high his power upside is, and his stolen base potential takes him from being a strong play to an elite play. He and the Braves get a good matchup against the Dodgers and unproven rookie Gavin Stone ($5,400), who struggled in his only MLB start this season but will now have to fill in for Dustin May (elbow).
Jorge Soler, Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies ($5,300) – Soler had four hits on Sunday, including his 12th homer of the season. He finished with 27 DKFP and raised his wOBA to .357 on the season. He’s hitting .289 and averaging 9.4 DKFP over his past 10 games, and now he’ll get the added boost of playing at Coors Field. Soler is a power threat with a high ceiling on almost every slate, but his aggressive approach makes him “boom or bust.” However, especially in a visit to the Rockies, it’s surprising to find him at a salary this low. He’s having a great bounce-back year in his second year with the Marlins.
Other Options – Yordan Alvarez ($6,200), Alex Verdugo ($4,500)
Esteury Ruiz, Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners ($3,500) – Ruiz stole his MLB-leading 24th base on Sunday and has swiped at least one bag in five of his past six games while posting at least 10 DKFP in each of those six games. He isn’t just a one-trick pony, hitting .287 on the season and .325 in his 19 games in May. He also has eight doubles, a triple and a home run this month to bring his wOBA to .367. His fantasy asset is definitely his speed but he is finding ways to contribute on a regular basis from the leadoff spot for Oakland.
Marcel Ozuna, Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers ($2,700) – Ozuna’s batting average for the season is still only .204, but the slugger has found a nice groove in his past few games. He enters play on Monday with an eight-game hitting streak, and in his last 15 games, he has hit six of his eight home runs this season. In those 15 games, he is hitting .328 (19-for-58) with a .441 wOBA. He’s a prototypical cheap boom-or-bust play since his power potential gives him a high ceiling but his swing-and-miss potential makes him high risk.
Other Options – Teoscar Hernández ($3,600), Xavier Edwards ($2,700), Akil Baddoo ($2,400)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.