MLB Grind Down: Thursday, July 11th

The RotoGrinders MLB Grind Down will give you an in-depth analysis into the upcoming MLB schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy baseball, there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, weather, and salaries.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. No sport has more variance than baseball. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code, FanDuel promo code, and FantasyDraft promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.

Stackability Rating System:

BLUE – One of the top stacks of the slate.
GREEN – A full stack is viable in GPPs.
YELLOW – Not the best stack, but hitters are in play.
ORANGE – Tread lightly, but potentially target a hitter or two.
RED – Fade this offense in all formats.

Houston at Texas – 8:05 PM ET

I wasn’t sure if there would be interest in a Grind Down for a single-game slate, but then I saw how big the All-Star game contests were. There are some decent tournaments on both FanDuel and DraftKings tonight, so I decided to break the game down for those that can’t wait until tomorrow’s slate (myself included). As we know, pitchers aren’t available in FanDuel’s single-game contests and the two-pitcher strategy is almost always viable in the showdown slate on DraftKings. Even though this game has a total of 10.5 runs, the raw points that we get from pitchers are hard to replace.

Valdez has struggled with command in his short time in the majors, but had a 22% strikeout rate last season and currently owns a 21% strikeout rate this season. He induces a ton of ground balls and soft contact, which is why his SIERA is so low. There is certainly blowup potential in a rough start in a hitter-friendly environment, but you can’t ask for a better matchup for Valdez. The Rangers are projected to have five lefties in their lineup, which should be a nice break from the right-handed heavy opponents he has had to face recently. If you combine the last two seasons, Valdez has held lefties under a .250 xwOBA with a k-rate close to 30%. The strikeout upside alone puts him in play in a single-game setting.

Quick Breakdown: I expect many to load up on the hitters tonight, but I will continue to employ my two-pitcher strategy.

Lynn has quietly put together a nice season for the Rangers, posting a 3.86 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 26% and a walk rate of only 5%. The fact that his home/road splits are nearly identical is even more impressive, as this is one of the worst pitcher’s parks in baseball. My general rule of thumb is to auto-fade pitchers against the Astros. They have plenty of firepower in their lineup and one of the lowest strikeout rates of any team in baseball. That’s a tough combination to overcome for a pitcher. However, Lynn has been tough on batters from both sides of the plate and even a mediocre outing might be good enough to get him on the optimal lineup in a single-game slate.

Quick Breakdown: This is a bad matchup and a bad ballpark for Lynn, but he’s still viable in all formats.

Batter Grind Down

The only favorable matchup in this game is righties against Framber Valdez. Lance Lynn has held batters from both sides of the plate under a .295 xwOBA and as noted above, Valdez has been very tough against lefties. Even though this isn’t a great matchup on paper, the Astros see a positive park shift and they own one of the best offenses in baseball. While Lynn has given up a similar xwOBA to batters from both sides, most of the power he has allowed this season has been to righties. George Springer and Alex Bregman are the two righties in this lineup with xwOBAs of at least .370 against right-handed pitching. From a value standpoint, Jose Altuve sticks out like a sore thumb on both FanDuel ($7,000) and DraftKings ($6,200).

Elite PlaysJose Altuve, George Springer (GPP), Alex Bregman (GPP)

Secondary PlaysGeorge Springer (Cash), Alex Bregman (Cash), Michael Brantley (GPP), Yordan Alvarez (GPP), Josh Reddick


The best way to attack Framber Valdez is with right-handed hitters. Over the last two seasons combined, he has allowed a .315 xwOBA to righties while holding lefties to a .247 xwOBA. His strikeout and ground ball rates are both significantly higher when facing lefties. Now, if you are playing tournaments, targeting the lefties will be a contrarian strategy. This is a game full of variance and it’s not like the lefties won’t get some at bats against the Astros’ relievers. On paper, the matchup sets up best for Delino DeShields, Elvis Andrus, and Logan Forsythe. Unfortunately, all three of those righties have an xwOBA under .300 against southpaws this season. This is yet another reason to like Valdez tonight.

Elite Plays – None

Secondary PlaysDelino DeShields, Elvis Andrus, Logan Forsythe, Shin-Soo Choo (GPP), Nomar Mazara (GPP), Joey Gallo (GPP)


About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win


  • mcguirknba

    Thanks for the graphs and inside noto. This saves me a lot of time digging up stats!

    How do you feel about using 1 $3000 pitcher plus the two starters? Frees up money for 3 nice bats.

  • TheLoon

    Thanks, we appreciate all the work you put into these, and its nice you did it today on a one-game slate!

  • Bobbym

    Springer 0-7 with five K’s against Lynn, Bregman 0-4 vs. Lynn

  • bigrande55

    Hey Notorious,
    Thanks for doing the grind down for this one game slate. Great information, as always and much appreciated!

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