MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 7/2/15

Is Scott Kazmir a viable pivot from Max Scherzer tonight?

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As for today's lineups -- those can be found here. The information below is to help you understand why particular players are being picked, because we don't want you going into the things completely blind. We want to help you. Keep in mind, however, that things often change up until the games start, so make sure you're refreshing the optimal lineups as close to the start of games as possible.

Top Pitchers

High-Cost Pitcher

Scott Kazmir – I'm not recommending that you fade Max Scherzer, but the dude does cost $14,500 on DraftKings tonight, and there are only seven games to pick from, so value bats may not be plentiful. That makes Kazmir a viable option, but his numbers and the matchup back it up.

Seattle owns a wRC+ of 98 against lefties this year (which ranks 14th in the league), and their wOBA (.307) ranks 16th. Their strikeout rate of 19.2% is actually good against lefties, ranking 24th-lowest in the Majors. But Kazmir can make the most of the matchup, considering his 23.60% hard hit rate, which ranks ninth among 98 qualified pitchers this year and is lowest among qualified starters tonight. He also owns a swinging strike rate of 10.90%, 22nd among qualified pitchers and third on the slate tonight (behind Scherzer at 14.20% and Tyson Ross at 13.20%).

Alternative Options: Max Scherzer, Tyson Ross

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Matt Boyd – Boyd is the top point-per-dollar pitching option on the slate this evening, according to our projections. Why? Well, Boston strikes out just 18.9% of the time against lefties, which is 25th-lowest in the bigs. However, their wOBA (.286) ranks 27th.

Boyd has a knack for strikeouts, though, which is what you want from a low-dollar pitcher (he costs $4,400 on DraftKings). His strikeout rate has hovered above 22% in every level of the minors since his debut in 2013, so he's got a chance for some upside at a price that will allow you to roster either Scherzer or some of the big bats in hitter-friendly parks tonight.

Alternative Options: Tim Cooney, Chris Young

High-Cost Hitters

Edwin Encarnacion – With the big decision of the night coming down to paying up for Scherzer or not, odds are that a guy such as Encarnacion could go underowned if people either spend up for Scherzer and save at first or roll with value pitchers and plug in Paul Goldschmidt. Encarnacion hasn't been as dynamite against lefties as some of his teammates this year but still owns a .349 wOBA and a .167 ISO against them. With a team total of about five runs (per Vegas odds), Encarnacion just makes sense.

Bryce Harper – Harper has a glorious matchup but might also be overlooked by those who pay up for Scherzer and avoid Nationals bats because of the stacking limitations. Harper owns a gnarly .292 ISO against lefties this year and a .467 wOBA, too. Harper is projected to be the second-highest scoring batter tonight and might not be a very popular play. Even if he is popular, his upside is worth it if you can fit him into your lineup.

Alternative Options: Charlie Blackmon, Hanley Ramirez

Cost-Effective Hitters

Stephen Vogt – Vogt is projected as our fourth-best hitter today, regardless of price, so it helps that he costs just $3,800 on DraftKings. Vogt owns a .357 wOBA against lefties and has been hitting second recently. Marcus Semien and Billy Burns both own an OBP against lefties around .350 this year (Semien is at .351 and Burns is at .348). Batting ninth and first, respectively, they could provide Vogt with a few RBI opportunities in the lefty-versus-lefty matchup. You can also consider fellow A's catcher Josh Phegley, who has the handedness advantage.

Chris Parmelee – Parmelee owns a .432 wOBA and a .395 ISO against righties this year in 43 at-bats. He's posted double-digit fantasy points on DraftKings just once in his last six games, though, so not many people might be eying him up. He projects as one of our top value plays at just $2,900 in a matchup against Yovani Gallardo, whose swinging strike rate of 6.80% ranks just 86th among the 98 qualified pitchers this year and is the lowest among qualified pitchers throwing tonight. His strikeout rate of 17.80% ranks just 66th. Parmelee could get the ball in play, and at that price and with his power marks, he makes for a solid play.

Alternative Options: Ben Paulsen, Tyler Moore

Click here for our top stacks of the day.