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Top MLB DFS building blocks for Monday's slate

Nelson Cruz isn't the only intriguing Seattle Mariners hitter you should consider in DFS Monday. Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire

Our experts are here to provide the best hitters and pitchers for you to build your daily fantasy baseball lineups around on Monday.

Today's panel includes ESPN Fantasy's Eric Karabell, Joe Kaiser and Kyle Soppe.


Hitters to build around

Joe Kaiser -- Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners

Anibal Sanchez is having the worst season of his 12-year career (21 IP, 21 ERs, 34 Hs, 9 BBs), and Cruz is the one Mariners hitter who has dominated him throughout his career. In fact, Cruz is the only player on Seattle's roster who has taken Sanchez deep, but he's done it four times in 15 plate appearances. The veteran designated hitter hasn't hit a homer in his last 11 games -- that streak ends tonight.

Eric Karabell -- Ben Gamel, Seattle Mariners

Sanchez has been summoned by the Tigers to start Monday in Seattle, and that's good news for Mariners hitters. Gamel is hitting .381 over the past month, and while he hasn't shown power or speed, hits and runs matter, and the Mariners should get quite a few of those against Sanchez, who used to be good but isn't anymore. His ERA over 21 big league innings is an even 9.00 with a 2.05 WHIP, and last week he was allowing runs for Triple-A Toledo. Pick a Mariner, any Mariner, but the one who costs little and leads off is a safe bet.

Kyle Soppe -- Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians

He is a nice tournament play for different reasons on DraftKings and FanDuel. On DK, Chisenhall is priced in a strong tier of outfielders (the Yoenis Cespedes, Andrew Benintendi, and Mark Trumbo class), something that figures to drag his ownership down. But he is more than just a play to be different, as he has more multi-hit games in June than he did in the first two months this season and faces a pitcher in Dylan Bundy who has coughed up at least one homer in eight straight starts. On FD ... am I missing something? He is priced the same as Tyler Naquin, a player who was demoted to the minor leagues ... nine weeks ago! The low ownership makes him a nice GPP play on DraftKings, while the nice pricing makes him a must start for all FanDuel contests.

Pitchers to build around

Joe Kaiser -- Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians

Kluber has registered strikeout totals of 10, 8 and 10 in his first three games since coming off the disabled list, allowing five earned runs in 19 innings during that stretch (2.37 ERA). The Orioles, for all the bats they have, rank 15th in batting average and 17th in OPS vs. RHPs this season, and now they are likely to be without slugger Chris Davis until after the All-Star break. If you don't pay up for Kershaw or go with the highly owned Jon Lester on Monday, Kluber is the next best option.

Eric Karabell -- Brad Peacock, Houston Astros

Of course we want wins and innings from our pitchers, but Peacock isn't going deep into games. What he is doing is missing many, many bats, and for that reason combined with a modest price, he's worth it in DFS. Peacock's last five outings have featured 10, 1, 9, 8 and 8 strikeouts, and while the one outing with one whiff against the Angels was a downer, that's still 36 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. That's a ridiculous rate. Peacock faces an Oakland lineup which ranks fourth in strikeouts for the season.

Kyle Soppe -- Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs

If you're playing in a cash contest, it's Clayton Kershaw Day, so it'll be difficult to justify fading him this evening. That said, it is "Make Money Monday," so I'm approaching this from a GPP perspective, and there is a contrarian angle here. I suspect most owners will either pay up for Kershaw or go with a cheap pitching option, thus saddling Lester with a suppressed ownership value. Giddy up! Lester has rung up at least nine batters in three of his last four starts against offenses that don't rank in the top 10 ... yes, the Padres qualify as such. In fact, the Padres are hitting a woeful .215 against southpaws this season (12 points lower than any other team). I'm also buying into the comfort of Lester in front of the Cubbie faithful (in Wrigley, he has posted a 2.04 ERA and .188 batting average against since the beginning of last season), giving him an elite ceiling at a reasonable price.