Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, DraftDay and Draftster 8/17/14

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Jon Lester - FD 10300 DK 11900 DD 20900 DFSTR 12200
Lester brings his incredible peripherals to Atlanta, where he’ll face the swing-happy Braves. The Braves are the 4th easiest team to strike out in all of the majors. This one has all the makings of a game where Lester goes deep into the game and racks up a lot of Ks in the process. He is opposed by Mike Minor, a talented pitcher who can't seem to get it together this year. A win seems likely. While the price is pretty high, it will be tough to invest more dollars at a better multiplier today.

Adam Wainwright - FD 9700 DK 9200 DD 20050 DFSTR 6000
There's still a lot to love about Wainwright today. The guy has been his classic beast of a self (some recent blips aside) - owning some of the very best peripherals and ERA in the league. He's facing Odsrisamer Despaigne, who has managed just 36 Ks against 22 BBs in 59 IP this year. The lineup against him is making a run at one of the worst team wOBA performances ever. I love Wain for both safety and upside.

Danny Salazar - FD 7100 DK 7000 DD 13750 DFSTR 0
If you're interested in trying to catch lightning in a bottle, you could do a lot worse than Danny Salazar. Our projection system actually likes him for a similar points output to the aces today, and while I'm not personally quite so bullish, it makes a compelling case. Baltimore does strike out a decent amount, and Kevin Gausman has been a peripheral disaster this year as well. You're running the risk of Salazar sinking your whole squad, but in the chance that he puts it together - you could win your league on the upside of the more expensive bats you could afford.

Jake Arrieta - FD 7400 DK 8000 DD 14450 DFSTR 5300
Arrieta has emerged as a star this year, and the Mets are one of the 3 worst hitting teams in the majors. Rafael Montero has been horrendous this year as well. Serious upside on this pick.



Evan Gattis - FD 2800 DK 3400 DD 8400 DFSTR 3600
It's always tough to stare down the barrel of one of the best pitchers of the day, but Gattis has been in another world this season when facing left handed pitching. His .513 wOBA is downright Bondsian, and when he's facing a lefty, he's essentially a must play if the price is right.

Buster Posey - FD 3300 DK 3900 DD 8850 DFSTR 3000
I tend to not spend much at catcher these days, but I'll admit to being intrigued by Posey today. Buster Posey has historically been a pretty intense platoon guy, but this year his splits have been a lot closer. While I'd prefer to play him against a lefty, I'm happy to take him against a bad righty, too. While Buchanan isn't the world's worst, he's definitely below average, and more promising is his lack of Ks. Posey has run bad this year - his BABIP is .30 points below his career norms - and if you count on those stats coming back to normal, this could be a very nice day for him.

Mike Zunino - FD 2900 DK 2900 DD 7500 DFSTR 7000
Zunino has been a trainwreck against right handed pitching this year, which has made his overall line pretty damned depressing. The good news? He's been well above average against left handed pitching, posting a .784 OPS. He'll square off against Robbie Ray, a lefty with no track record of success at any level. It's risky, but Zunino could put up numbers today.

Also considered: Salvador Perez


First Basemen

Mark Teixeira - FD 2900 DK 3700 DD 9050 DFSTR 3000
The indicators that Teixeira should turn it around soon are all there. His BABIP is .50 points below his established career levels. He seems to be healthy again. And for this game, he happens to have a great match up. For some of his ERA success, Hellickson has a career 4.40 xFIP, which is pretty darned terrible for a pitcher who has gotten as much run as he has. I like Tex and all the Yankees today.

Chris Davis - FD 3100 DK 4500 DD 9700 DFSTR 3600
With 4 homers in the last 2 weeks, Davis has flexed a lot of the power that made daily fantasy baseball players a whole pile of money when he was at his best. In this contest, he'll face the right hander Danny Salazar. While Salazar has true swing and miss stuff, he's also quite erratic. Davis might rack up a K or two, but if he puts one in the seats it will all be worth it.

Albert Pujols - FD 3500 DK 4800 DD 10750 DFSTR 8500
It was tough picking between a few different guys for this last spot, but I settled on Pujols. The reason? The man he's facing, and the park he's playing in. Pujols is unquestionably not the player he once was, but he's definitely a lot better than his season line would indicate. Like a lot of the guys recommended earlier, he's had terrible BABIP luck this year. And like them, he's got a great match-up. Tepesch has some of the worst stuff in the league, and Pujols makes some of the most contact in the league. Could be a monster counting stat night.

Also considered: Michael Morse, Joe Mauer, Adam Dunn, David Ortiz


Second Basemen

Dee Gordon - FD 2900 DK 4200 DD 8950 DFSTR 7400
It's easy to fall into the trap of picturing only home run hitters as the big upside plays, but few second basemen have the same upside as Dee Gordon. When he gets on base, he's almost a lock for a steal or two. Steals then lead to runs. Hits, runs, and stolen bases lead to big days. Makes sense? Wily Peralta is okay and all, but his uninspiring peripherals shouldn't spook potential Gordon owners.

Javier Baez - FD 3300 DK 4200 DD 10450 DFSTR 3000
With the understanding that you're looking at a raw young player, Baez has more upside than any second base prospect in recent memory. He's got huge power for the position. But the best part? One Rafael Montero. Montero's 21 Ks and 13 BBs in 25 innings paint a pretty decent picture - he's a wild pitcher who isn't quite ready for the big stage - and incidentally, this is exactly the type of pitcher we should be tracking down when trying to play young players.

Howie Kendrick - FD 2600 DK 4100 DD 7250 DFSTR 3700
The price continues to dip on Kendrick mostly due to how unsexy he is. But I'm not scared. He continues to churn out a pretty consistent set of games. While he doesn't have the upside of the guys above him, he offers a great deal of safety against the pitch-to-contact Tepesch in Arlington.

Also considered: Tommy la Stella.



Erick Aybar - FD 2500 DK 3900 DD 7100 DFSTR 3000
Elvis Andrus - FD 2500 DK 3700 DD 7550 DFSTR 4000
I'm going cheap on Shorstops today, and this necessarily means I'm going to take a break on upside here. Andrus and Aybar are pretty similar, today. Neither hits for home runs, neither is a huge speed threat, and neither tends to rack up a ton of counting stats. But what they do have going for them? A favorable platoon situation against a mediocre to bad pitcher, a great park, and a great lineup around them.

Asdrubal Cabrera - FD 2800 DK 4000 DD 8150 DFSTR 7900
So, Cabrera's line for the year isn't exactly inspiring, but he's actually been a pretty nice little daily fantasy baseball play recently, and our projection system figures that will continue today. The case for Cabrera? He's been better than league average against right handers this year (a .323 wOBA), and the decidedly unimpressive 2014 performance of Edinson Volquez. The Pirates righty has 95 Ks and 51 BBs in 139.2 IP this year, and while the ERA isn't awful, our projection system has it crashing in the very near term.

Also considered: Derek Jeter, Jose Reyes


Third Basemen

Todd Frazier - FD 3100 DK 4800 DD 9550 DFSTR 6000
It's with some vicarious embarrassment that I present Yohan Flande's year to date peripherals - 20 Ks and 11 BBs in 40 innings this year. Frazier has emerged as a premier fantasy double threat - offering huge potential in both steals and home runs. This is bad news for Sr. Flande, who is clearly not ready for this stage. Throw in Coors Field and a favorable platoon split, and this could get ugly quick. That is assuming, of course, that they have fixed the god damned water main and decided to not cost me a billion dollars two days in a row.

Adrian Beltre - FD 3300 DK 4400 DD 9500 DFSTR 6800
Hector Santiago is a pretty mediocre lefty, which is bad news for him, since Beltre is an incredible righty. Beltre prefers left handed pitching, and very much prefers mediocre left handed pitching, and really really prefers mediocre left handed pitching in his terrific home ballpark. He's put up a startling .464 wOBA against all lefties at home this year, and he's definitely looking like a fantastic play.

Aramis Ramirez - FD 3200 DK 4100 DD 8700 DFSTR 5000
I'm not as convinced by Ramirez's upside here, but I do very much like the safety. Haren really isn't striking guys out anymore, and while he doesn't walk guys, either, his approach fits in perfectly with what Ramirez hopes to do. A-Ram doesn't walk anyway, and will be ready to put some hard hit balls in play against the declining Haren.

Also considered: Lonnie Chisenhall, Martin Prado



Mike Trout - FD 4700 DK 5700 DD 12900 DFSTR 4900
With 43 Ks and 24 BBs in 79 innings, Tepesch is also a guy who allows a ton of balls in play. Watching Trout march to the plate will have to feel akin to watching the middle school bully round the corner and get that sickening smile on his face. Trout doesn't care if you're right handed, left handed, or ambidextrous - and he'll have a ton of opportunity to go off today. Throw in a great hitter's park, and it starts to feel unfair.

Bryce Harper - FD 3100 DK 3800 DD 9650 DFSTR 6300
Hopefully you've stuck with Harper through the lows, and listened to the many times we've gritted our teeth and recommended him this year. With 2 home runs in his last 4 games, Harper has shown that whatever early and mid season worries we had for him are probably not currently relevant. Harper can kill a right handed pitcher, and as I documented in Asdrubal Cabrera's write-up, Edinson Volquez is a well below average righty.

Alex Rios - FD 2600 DK 3300 DD 7850 DFSTR 3000
Rios is a classic guy that you might never consider if you don't have access to an automated projection system. He's got a staggering .418 wOBA against left handed pitching this year, and facing the below average Santiago in his terrific home park should pay terrific dividends.

Josh Hamilton - FD 3000 DK 4100 DD 8100 DFSTR 3000
Hard to write the same thing a hundred times - I love the Angels today against Tepesch in Texas.

Colby Rasmus - FD 2800 DK 3600 DD 7450 DFSTR 3000
INSERT GRATUITOUS UPSIDE PLAY HERE. I kinda love Rasmus today, but know he could also make people shake their heads in disgust. Full disclosure - I've always had an irrational love of Rasmus' skills and bad attitude. Even so, it's not easy to find a guy with a .480 slugging percentage against righties for 2800 (on FanDuel), and Scott Carroll is arguably the very worst pitcher going on a day where there's a lot of competition. With 48 Ks and 32 BB in 90 innings this year, Carroll should give Rasmus a lot to work with.

Ryan Braun - FD 3900 DK 4700 DD 10550 DFSTR 3400
Khris Davis - FD 2800 DK 3600 DD 8650 DFSTR 8200
I always feel awkward when I try to stack guys who don't have a platoon advantage, but here I am doing it anyways. The big sell here is the upside. When Haren isn't striking guys out, he's offering up home runs in bunches. Braun and Davis can hit home runs in bunches. See where this could head?

Charlie Blackmon - FD 2700 DK 3800 DD 9400 DFSTR 3100
Blackmon continues to be a very affordable option considering his home park and the guys who hit around him. He's posted a .343 wOBA against right handers this year, and his 14 homers and 22 SBs make him a terrific double-threat for a huge upside game. While Latos' ERA is very nice this year, his peripherals leave me wanting more, and I think he could get run off the mound against the Rocks today.

Also considered: Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz, Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Billy Hamilton


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