MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Monday 7/8/13

Tim Lincecum may be 4-9, but the Mets' offense makes him the top pitching value tonight.

We know that people play all sorts of fantasy platforms, not just from from our friends at StarStreet but on other platforms such as FanDuel, Draft Kings, and Fantasy Feud as well. So once again, we have four optimized rosters, all for you, the numberFire reader. One is for free here; the others can be found in our Premium section.

As always, the full tables for today's action are available at our Daily Fantasy Projections page. Make sure to check it out to see where the best values are for your team.

Our baseball projections are updated throughout the day, so make sure to come back to double-check your optimized rosters for any last-minute lineup changes. Since most action happens later in the day, we will be ignoring the early games (if there are any) and focusing solely on the late contests. That way, you can use and tinker with our optimized rosters throughout the day.

StarStreet Optimized Roster

PlayerPositionProjected FPCostValue
Tim LincecumSP25.85$26,2000.99
Hector SantiagoSP23.41$21,7001.08
Carlos GonzalezLF16.4578002.11
Robinson Cano2B15.33$6,7002.29
Shin-Soo ChooCF14.5$6,6002.20
Buster PoseyC11.84$5,8002.04
Carl CrawfordLF12.97$5,7002.28
Aaron Hill2B12.83$5,3002.42
Manny Machado3B12.88$5,1002.53
Starlin CastroSS11.68$4,8002.43
James Loney1B12.42$4,3002.89

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The Three Top Pitchers

Tim Lincecum - His 1.435 WHIP still hurts. His 28 percent line drive rate makes me want to bang my head against the wall. And his .330 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) may just make you want to run away. Know what? Despite all that, Lincecum is still easily the best option for tonight because of his matchup and his high strikeout rate. An above-average 23.1 percent K rate is nice to have when your opponent (the Mets) have the third-highest team strikeout rate in the majors, and Lincecum's high BABIP should be mitigated by a Mets offense that has the single lowest line drive percentage in the MLB. His mid-level cost means he's a great value tonight.

Hector Santiago - Matchup Time, take two: the Cubs are fourth-to-last in OBP and fifth-to-last in walk percentage while holding slugging percentages and strikeout rates right along the league average. In fact, the only thing they do reasonably well is hit the long ball, which isn't that big of a deal against Santiago's below-average HR rate allowed. Even facing Matt Garza won't prevent Santiago from holding 0.37 projected wins tonight, and his 6.16 projected strikeouts are the second-most among tonight's starters behind Max Scherzer.

Felix Hernandez - Want an almost guaranteed win? The smart money's on King Felix - his 0.50 projected wins are the most of any single starting pitcher tonight (Max Scherzer's second at 0.46). And while his 6.10 projected strikeouts aren't up to Scherzer's level (but still third-most), facing Boston's high-strikeout, mediocre-HR offense means that King Felix holds a 0.64 lower projected ERA and 0.13 lower projected WHIP than his Detroit counterpart tonight. Add that to the fact that Scherzer is more expensive across the board, and our selection for top high-priced option is clear.

Top High-Priced Hitters

Shin-Soo Choo - Why yes, I am intrigued by the fact that 75 percent of batters facing Kyle Lohse put a ball in play. What an oddly specific and somewhat obscure question for you to ask! Facing an opposing starter with such a high in-play percentage and who has allowed 26 percent of those balls in play to be hit for line drives has to look like a juicy steak to Mr. Choo. His own .329 BABIP and 26 percent line drive rate leads directly to a projected .300 average and 0.82 projected RBI tonight at a reasonable cost.

Manny Machado - Move over Adrian Beltre; we have a new semi-permanent third baseman fixture on our optimized rosters. Machado has quickly become a statistically-analyzed favorite of ours over the past couple of weeks, especially due to his declining strikeout rate and high percentage of balls in play hit for line drives. Derek Holland's main strength is his ability to keep balls in the yard, but with Machado's not looking to go deep with a 1.5 percent homerun rate anyway. Instead, expect the Orioles hitter to feast on Holland's 25 percent line drive rate and .325 BABIP allowed to opposing hitters.

Mid-Range Cost-Effective Hitters

Carl Crawford - Two games back, and he has already hit leadoff twice in a row? That's good enough for me to believe he's going to stay there. And with Randall Delgado's 1.370 WHIP and .355 BABIP facing off against him today, there is ample reason to believe he'll convert those opportunities into plenty of on-base chances. With Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez hitting behind him, and with Delgado holding a very high 5.4 percent homerun rate, I don't think Crawford's majors-leading 0.87 projected runs are a stretch in the least.

James Loney - Between Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, and Paul Goldschmidt, getting a top first baseman is starting to get a little bit costly. Good thing there's a player like James Loney that can give you similar stats at a fraction of the cost. His .843 OPS is just outside the AL's top 10, and his outstanding 29 percent line drive rate is in the top ten of all major league batters. That penchant for solid contact should be perfect against Twins starter Sam Deduno, who has allowed 77 percent of opposing batters to hit a ball in play against him this season.