MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 8/3/15

With the Mariners taking a trip to Coors, it's time to fire up Nelson Cruz.

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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

Francisco Liriano – Liriano has been outstanding this season. He's earned an ERA (2.92), FIP (2.94), xFIP (2.82) and SIERA (2.99) all under 3.00 and has struck out an impressive 9.97 batters per nine innings. Tonight, the Pirates' ace draws a matchup with a Cubs squad who strikes out at a whopping 22.9% against left-handed pitching in a game that Vegas expects to be one of the lowest scoring on the slate with an over/under of just 6.5. Although Pittsburgh is only a slight favorite at -138, our algorithm projects Liriano as the highest scoring player on the board tonight. Do not hesitate to plug him into your lineups in all formats.

Alternative Option: Corey Kluber, David Price

Cost-Effective Pitcher

Nate Karns – The young Rays' starter has had his best season in the majors by far this year. He's posted a 3.37 ERA, 3.74 FIP and 3.82 SIERA while striking out a respectable 8.30 batters per nine innings. He is not giving up the long ball at nearly as high of a rate has he had in his previous two stints in the big leagues and has held both left-handed and right-handed batters to a wOBA below .300. All that said, what really makes Karns a viable option tonight is his matchup against the White Sox. Chicago ranks 25th in the league in wOBA (.299), 27th in ISO (.128) and dead last in the league in wRC+ (85). They also strike out at a very high 20.8% clip. With several elite pitching options available tonight, I'm not sure that I'm starting Karns in cash games, but if you're looking for a pitcher to provide a little cap relief in tournaments, Karns could be your guy.

Alternative Option: Jesse Chavez

High-Cost Hitters

Nelson Cruz – You know the drill -- Seattle is headed to the friendly confines of Coors Field tonight so time to fire up your Mariners. As usual for Coors, pretty much all Mariners bats are in play tonight but Cruz is the one hitter who stands out above all the rest. Cruz has been one of the best hitters in all of baseball this season, amassing a ridiculous .410 wOBA and .264 ISO while belting 29 homers with 65 RBI. Although he has had more success against left-handed pitching than right-handed, Cruz has still managed a .383 wOBA and .240 ISO against righties, despite playing his home games at one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the majors. Not too shabby. Tonight, he draws a matchup with Rockies' starter Eddie Butler who has allowed both righties and lefties to hit for greater than a .360 wOBA and has a FIP above 4.70 to hitters from both sides of the plate as well. Cruz is our number one overall projected hitter on the board. Do not let his massive price tag scare you off.

Freddie Freeman – Freeman is finally back from a long layoff due to a wrist injury and boy did the Braves miss him. With their power-hitting first baseman sidelined for six weeks, the Braves ranked 28th in wOBA, 27th in wRC+ and dead last in the majors in ISO (.109) in the month of July, with Freeman playing just the final seven games of the month. The Braves' first baseman brings a .388 wOBA and .248 ISO to the table against righties and draws a favorable matchup against Matt Cain tonight, who has given up a .370 wOBA to left-handed batters with a horrific 5.50 xFIP against lefties this season. Freeman should have no problem taking advantage of this plus-matchup and should provide great value tonight at just $4,400 on DraftKings and $3,500 on FanDuel.

Alternative Option: Bryce Harper, Austin Jackson

Cost-Effective Hitters

Evan Longoria – Although the Rays' All-Star third baseman has had somewhat of a down year this season, he is still clobbering left-handed pitching. Longoria has posted a .370 wOBA and .152 ISO with a .879 OPS against lefties this season and draws an strong matchup against the White Sox' southpaw Jose Quintana tonight. Quintana has allowed righties to hit for a .339 wOBA on the season and Longoria should be in a prime position to take advantage of this matchup. The Rays' slugger has seen his price tag fall all the way to $3,700 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel, which makes him an exceptional value any time he faces a lefty and tonight is no exception.

Joe Panik – Braves' starter Mike Foltynewicz has been absolutely obliterated by left-handed pitching this year. So far this season, Foltynewicz has given up a .395 wOBA and .920 OPS to lefties with an abysmal 4.95 xFIP through 10 starts. The Giants' lineup is not short on solid, left-handed bats and it starts with Panik. Panik has crushed righties to the tune of a .360 wOBA and 137 wRC+ this season and gets an added bonus tonight while playing at hitter-friendly Turner Field. Look for the Giants to put up a bunch of runs tonight and for Panik to be right in the middle of the fun. He should have little trouble reaching value at just $3,700 on DraftKings and $2,900 on FanDuel.

Alternative Option: Asdrubal Cabrera, Yangervis Solarte

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