Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftStreet, and DraftKings 5/16/14

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Yu Darvish FanDuel 10800 DraftKings 12000 DraftStreet 23009
First start since almost completely blanking the Red Sox last Saturday. Darvish had a few games in which he was letting up more than his share of hits, but the game against Boston highlighted that he's one of the elite pitchers in the game (not really news mind you, but his stock was down heading into that affair). Today it's the Blue Jays, a squad about middle of the pack against righties who strike out in the league average range. I am taking Darvish today on his ultimate upside combined with a semi-low floor just because swings and misses he generates. The Blue Jays live off the long ball. If that expectation is dimished through increased strikeouts then Darvish has some huge upside in this one.

Zack Greinke FanDuel 9700 DraftKings 11300 DraftStreet 23315
Greinke and Darvish are about neck and neck for me today. I think Darvish is a better pitcher but Greinke has the better matchup. He's been a different pitcher this season. And by different, I mean shit loads better than the last few seasons. His early numbers are almost identical to his last full season with the Brewers in 2011. The big thing for him is the strikeout. He's back up to averaging more than a K an inning and walking a career low. His xFIP is right in line with his sub 3 ERA and all signs point to him having "it". The D-Backs are below average against righties, much in part to a drop off in their order basically after Goldschmidt. Run Greinke out there today. On DraftStreet, pairing Greinke with Darvish and a RP is a pretty high upside play that still leaves a few bucks for hitters.

Lance Lynn FanDuel 7800 DraftKings 9000 DraftStreet 15241
Do you know who ranks second to last in the league in wOBA against righties? The Braves. The Mets have been better. The Mets. The Braves are getting crushed by righties, mostly because they have a couple of guys (I'm looking at you Upton brothers) who are significantly worse against that hand. Gattis and Simmons and Johnson too. Basically, except for Freeman and Heyward, this team would much rather face lefties. Lynn has been decent this season and I'm looking at him as a midrange option with an optimal opponent.

Yusmeiro Petit
As of this post he wasn't listed on the sites. But if there is an adjustment made, get him in your lineups. He gets to face a Marlins offense that strikes out nearly 25% of the time. And while they have had some success this season against righties, I think you can get Petit in there as an upside play. In two starts this season he's averaging a K an inning with an xFIP of 3.13.

Collin McHugh FanDuel 4300 DraftKings 9000 DraftStreet 14660
Well, he's kind of legit, maybe. I think. I don't know. The numbers certainly suggest what he's doing is not a fluke. What is fluky is that he seems to be a better major league pitcher than he was in the minors. That's the thing that scares me. Some of his peripherals are still built on the back of that twelve strikeout inaugural performance. But the rest of his stuff looks tight. xFIP right in line with the ERA to name one. The White Sox have regressed significantly on offense and strike out a bunch. Makes a nice, cheaper option with upside.



Brian McCann FanDuel 3100 DraftKings 3800 DraftStreet 5937
I'm still buying on McCann. Feel like I write about him every day. And that's fine. That's why they call it daily fantasy. Because we can start anew each morning. This is another situation with McCann facing a below average righty in Volquez in an optimal hitter's park in Yankee Stadium. McCann is the top catcher in terms of raw point expectation and is a great value across the industry. Keep buying.

Yasmani Grandal FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 5562
And we are headed back to Coors. Though there is some evidence to suggest that teams struggle in their first game heading into Coors, I don't think it's enough to dissuade me completely from some Padres. What dissuades me from some Padres more is that they blow. But Grandal has pop, four homers on the season. He's slightly better against lefties and Jorge de la Rosa is about league average (or below). Grandal's been bit by the strikeout this season, but Jorge isn't a big K guy. For me, he's not too far behind McCann.

Mike Zunino FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 3500 DraftStreet 5750
Zunino is worse against righties, but luckily Kyle Gibson is bad against everyone. I'll have Mariners out there today (more of the lefties) but Zunino fits okay into that plan considering his power upside. He has six home runs on the season. Like Grandal, the K's are an issue. But Gibson doesn't consider strikeouts important. Or if he does, he's not interested in making them happen. He walks more guys than he K's.

Consider Jordan Pacheco or Michael McKenry


First Basemen

Chris Davis FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 4300 DraftStreet 8029
Crush is in such a crazy great spot tonight that I am giddy just typing this. There are a number of bad pitchers to target, Jeremy Guthrie is another one. Davis remain pretty affordable as he's making his way back from injury and Guthrie is trash, particularly in the area of the home run. He gets bombed and has one of the higher HR/FB rates you'll see. This is the top first base play today.

Joe Mauer FanDuel 3100 DraftKings 4700 DraftStreet 7209
Though I've been bit by it twice, I'm still firmly in the "Chris Young sucks" camp. This thought has lost me some money, but I'm not getting away from it. His xFIP is more than three runs higher than his ERA. He is still striking out only about four guys per nine. And his Babip is an insanely low .179. He's going to get blown up. It's not an "if" but a "when" kind of thing. The Twins are a sneaky team to cheap stack today. Mauer's carried a 142 wRC+ against righties over the last year and is OPS'ing close to .900. Let's get to Chris Young today please.

Justin Smoak FanDuel 2900 DraftKings 3600 DraftStreet 4611
Continuing the hate on Kyle Gibson comes this play. Smoak can really only be considered against righties as he has an OPS platoon split about 300 points in favor of that side. He's shown some early season pop with six home runs and the Mariners can string some offense together. Fun day to target some off the board teams and Smoak is a great price on DraftStreet.

Consider Eric Hosmer, Ryan Howard and Joey Votto


Second Basemen

Robinson Cano FanDuel 3600 DraftKings 5000 DraftStreet 8282
How many Mariners are too many Mariners? We shall see won't we? Cano has had a power outage since joining Seattle. One home run to start the year isn't exactly what we expected going in. Sure, the move away from Yankee Stadium stood to decrease his power numbers to a degree, but this is getting ridiculous. Much of it is a crazy low HR/FB rate that will regress. On FanDuel he is coming in the mid tier which is nuts. Buy him without thinking there. The other sites are a bit closer, but with the matchup I think you should have some exposure to him.

Anthony Rendon FanDuel 3000 DraftKings 4200 DraftStreet 6441
Another big splits guy facing a lefty today. Rendon has a .895 OPS over the last year against lefties and mashes a .383 wOBA when guys like Niese are on the mound. If you are looking to save money, he is the perfect replacement for Cano. He's cheaper everywhere but the points/$ numbers are nearly identical. This consideration gives you great lineup flexibility because it allows you to construct other pieces around them and fit whatever salary works.

Jedd Gyorko FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 4852
Here's another guy with all of the relevant factors falling into place for this game. Splits? Check. He's much better against lefties over his career. Park? Check. Coors Field. Price? Check. Super low because his numbers are awful to start the year. But he's carrying a .171 Babip into this game which is almost .100 points off his career average. He's grounding out more, a number that stabilizes quickly so there is some reason for concern. But man, the other factors are just so much in his favor.

Consider Brandon Phillips



Troy Tulowitzki FanDuel 5700 DraftKings 6100 DraftStreet 10551
You'll have to pay to get him. And a day with some top end pitching talent going this is going to be a tough thing to pull off. The good news is that there are a bunch of cheaper options facing bad pitching that may allow you to squeeze him. He is the best shortstop every night in terms of expected points. The problem is just the salary. This is sort of a disclaimer because is not really the optimal (or feasible) way to construct squads. But with him facing a weak lefty in Coors, there is a real possibility he goes nuts.

Everth Cabrera FanDuel 2500 DraftKings 3500 DraftStreet 3849
The sample size is on the smaller end (only 142 ABS) but over the last year or so Everth has slaughtered lefty pitching. In that stretch he has an OPS of .890 and a wRC+ of 156. These are crazy high numbers for anyone, especially a shortstop. He is coming at punt prices across the industry and is facing a lefty in Coors. Not really sure what else you need to know here.

Ian Desmond FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 5001
Desmond, over the past year, actually has reverse splits in that he's been slightly better against righties. It doesn't diminish his expectation too much against the lefty Niese, but be careful not to overweight the L/R matchup here. That being said, he's still a top play at shortstop. If he could only get the K's in check.

Eduardo Escobar FanDuel 2200 DraftKings 2800 DraftStreet 4853
Another cheap option at shortstop with a fine matchup. Escobar has actually flashed some offense this season. He is by no means a good hitter over his career (majors and minors) he isn't an automatic out either. I'm looking for his minimum prices against Chris Young to carry the day here. Allows salary relief in other spots and doesn't have too much downside at these prices.


Third Basemen

Nolan Arenado FanDuel 3800 DraftKings 4900 DraftStreet 8181
Well, this is a spot now isn't it? Arenado facing a lefty in Coors. The only reason we aren't talking more about Nolan this season is that his teammates Tulo and Cargo have set the bar so freaking high, that Arenado gets pushed (only slightly) to the side. But that's in discussion only because his game has been awesome. He's hitting for power, scoring runs, knocking guys in. All things that occur when the rest of your team abuses pitchers. He has extreme splits in favor of facing lefties and is still quasi-affordable in some spots.

Kyle Seager FanDuel 3300 DraftKings 3900 DraftStreet 7491
You already know the story: Kyle Gibson. Seager is a third baseman to target here because he rakes righties with a .367 wOBA over the course of the last year. His wRC+ is 133 and he should be expected to put the ball in play against Gibson's low K profile.

Chase Headley FanDuel 3400 DraftKings 4300 DraftStreet 5165
In general, the Padres are running super duper bad to start the year. They are bad, but not this bad. Headley is another case in point. His Babip is more than 100 points off his career average. The rest of his batted ball profile is in line with his career numbers. Leaving me, at first glance, to believe that there is some major regression coming. Welcome to Coors my friend.

Kelly Johnson FanDuel 2800 DraftKings 3000 DraftStreet 5125
This is if you are looking to go cheap at third. Volquez isn't a great pitcher and the game is in Yankee Stadium. His profile leans toward him facing righty pitching (though it isn't crazy extreme) and he comes real cheap considering there is still some power in his bat. I think the boys in pinstripes will put up some runs today.

Consider Pablo Sandoval



Jacoby Ellsbury FanDuel 3700 DraftKings 4600 DraftStreet 8290
Not sure how many ways I can keep saying this, but man this feels like getting in on the ground floor with Jacoby. He isn't running bad per se (though the HR/FB rate is lower than his career average). But rather the stars haven't completely aligned for him. This is partly because Jeter hitting in front of him is not optimal. The Yankees won't move Jeter down in the order (though they should) and this could hurt some of Ellsbury's counting stats over the course of the year. But that isn't everything. There are some other "timeliness" issues going on here that have kept some raw stats low. That won't be a season long trend. He is going to put up some big games. Continue to target him against weak pitching in Yankee Stadium.

Yasiel Puig FanDuel 4700 DraftKings 5500 DraftStreet 9065
Our system is kind of down on him today though I'm willing to overlook it some because of his numbers against lefties over the last year. His price is up, but that's in tune with the damage he does against southpaws. He crushes them with an OPS close to 1.000 and 175 wRC+. These are video game numbers, and don't even account for the speed. Facing Miley today puts him in a great spot. You'll have to pay to get him, but the upside is there.

Jayson Werth FanDuel 3600 DraftKings 4100 DraftStreet 6043
Price has really dropped in some places especially on DraftStreet where he makes a top outfield play in all formats. He destroys lefty pitching over his career and I love pairing him with Rendon today. Both guys own monster splits with Werth mashing over an OPS over 1K. Get in on him here.

Matt Kemp FanDuel 3800 DraftKings 4700 DraftStreet 7331
I like Kemp for many of the same reasons as I like Puig except he's just not on the same level as his teammate. But the price is much more affordable. He's like Yasiel-lite.

Nick Markakis FanDuel 2700 DraftKings 3900 DraftStreet 6699
I can see doing some Oriole mini-stacks out there today against Guthrie. Dude is bad and I want to have exposure to his below-averageness. Markakis doesn't hit for power. But he also doesn't strikeout. He doesn't walk either. He just puts the ball weakly in play. That's actually okay to have today, because the matchup suggests good contact. Hitting at the top of the order helps and the O's should put some runs on the board.

Alex Gordon FanDuel 2500 DraftKings 4000 DraftStreet 5775
I don't believe in Chris Tillman. But I do know that he falls victim to the long ball over his career. I have Hosmer in the "consider" category above and Gordon falls just above that.

Jason Kubel FanDuel 2200 DraftKings 3500 DraftStreet 2897
Chris Parmelee FanDuel 2500 DraftKings 3700 DraftStreet 3879
I'd throw these two guys together (assuming they get the start) today as dudes who won't be highly owned, but snag a great matchup against Young. Both are better against righties and Young isn't good. Neither is sexy (in fantasy or real life) but as slightly contrarian plays I think they could help you cash a GPP because they are off radars.

Consider: Chris Denorfia, James Jones


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