MLB Daily Fantasy Helper: Thursday 7/25/13

What's up with the good pitchers being in early games? Hisashi Iwakuma is feeling lonely here.

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
Hisashi IwakumaSP22.52$24,8000.91
Mark BuehrleSP17.31$21,9000.79
Jose ReyesSS13.05$7,3001.79
David OrtizDH14.94$6,9002.17
Shin-Soo ChooCF13.82$6,6002.09
Paul Goldschmidt1B13.47$6,5002.07
Junior Lake3B14.07$6,3002.23
Adam JonesCF16.9$6,0002.82
Shane VictorinoRF13.1$5,2002.52
Chris HerrmannC14.85$4,4003.38
Darwin Barney2B9.5$3,6002.64

Fan Duel, Draft Kings, and Fantasy Feud Optimized Rosters

For the optimal rosters for the other main players, be sure to check out our brand new Daily Fantasy Optimized Rosters for our Premium members. We know that you're killing it with our picks; maybe now you'll help us continue to help you win each night, every night.

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The Top Three Pitchers

Hisashi Iwakuma - Ah, the curse of only including late games on our optimized rosters. Verlander, Burnett, Gonzalez, and even the very tempting Alex Wood: early game, early game, early game, and early game. So in their stead, we're stuck with Hisashi Iwakuma and... well, really not much else. With his extraordinarily low 0.19 projected losses, 1.26 projected WHIP, and usually-high for him 4.93 projected strikeouts (helped out by Minnesota's team 21.2 percent strikeout rate), you're not going to find a better value no matter the cost tonight.

Lance Lynn - The Phillies offense? That's easily penetrable. Sure, with the big name hitters they have it may not seem that way, but their OBP, slugging percentage, and strikeout rate are right at the league average, while their homerun rate is slightly below-average and their 6.6 percent walk rate is fourth-to-last in the entire majors. Lance Lynn may not be the can't-miss pitcher he was in the early part of the season, but I'm still not one to argue with a guy who misses bats like Lynn does with his 22.4 percent strikeout rate. His 1.4 percent homerun allowed rate is simply extra frosting on top.

Mark Buerhle - Mark Buerhle's first season in Toronto is, how do I put this delicately, like watching the Avril Lavigne/Chad Kroeger marriage vows 20 times in a row in agonizing slow motion. Oh sure, you may be able to forget the horror a few times (like his five wins), but it'll catch up with you eventually. Fortunately, though, the matchup tonight means that it's likely to be one of those easy times. The Astros are the Astros - bottom five in both OBP and slugging with the worst strikeout rate in the majors. All Buerhle's poor season has done is drive down his cost - that makes him the optimum mid-level matchup play tonight.

Top High-Priced Hitters

David Ortiz - I really try and avoid placing guys on this list two days in a row, but when you're the only hitter suggested to start on all five on our optimized rosters as Ortiz is, I don't have much of a choice. Jeremy Hellickson's 9-3 record is a farce; I'm more interested in his .295 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which is much higher for him than previous seasons, as well as his 71 percent ball in-play allowed rate. With Ortiz's prodigious power (he does have 0.27 projected HR tonight), people forget he hits well for average too. Ortiz's late-game-leading .339 projected average tonight has me giddy.

Shin-Soo Choo - Zack Grienke's halfway decent. He has the name recognition. He has the 8-2 record. And he has the 26 percent line drive rate and .310 BABIP that means he's particularly susceptible to being whacked by contact hitters. Wait, I think I took a wrong exit off the freeway somewhere. A hitter like Shin-Soo Choo was essentially made to take advantage of Zack Grienke's pitching style. Choo holds a 26 percent line drive rate of his own (MLB average is 22 percent), and his .347 BABIP this season makes him Grienke's worst nightmare.

Mid-Range Cost-Effective Hitters

Junior Lake - Who? Yes. The young Chicago Cubs outfielder has started each of the past three days, and he's hit either leadoff or second in each of those games as well. That's some value on a normal day, but when you're facing Wade Miley's .310 BABIP allowed and 3.1 percent homerun rate, that value shoots through the roof. He's only played six games total, but his outrageous .600 BABIP and 6.9 percent homerun rate (meaning... two) through those 29 plate appearances has me jumping on the bandwagon early to see what he can do against some poor pitching.

Shane Victorino - It's outfielder city, here at numberFire! It's usually not my style to include three different outfielders in my recommendations, but when our optimized rosters and highly recommending these guys no matter the fantasy format, I have no choice but to obey. As mentioned above, we're not too sold on Jeremy Hellickson as a pitcher, and when a player with Victorino's high .319 BABIP is facing a pitcher with Hellickson's high balls in play allowed rate, I'll take advantage every time. Being projected to hit in front of Ortiz doesn't hurt his 0.81 projected runs scored, either.