Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 4/6/15
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Clayton Kershaw - FD 11700 DK 12400 DFSTR 12700
Ended the year as the league’s best pitcher and starts off this season looking very much the same way. To say Clayton was dominant last season would be an insult to his actual performance. He K’d well over a batter an inning, walked almost no one and finished the season with an absurd 1.77 ERA. Look for the good times to continue this season as he comes out of the gate facing the Padres who, while improved this season, have a lot of work to make up for their bottom feeding against lefties last season. They hit a paltry .616 OPS with a 22% K rate agaisnt lefties. Plus, Kershaw gets to roll in a home park that really depresses power across the board. Kershaw enters this game a heavy favorite for the win. The tag is steep, but in cash games he makes a solid call.
Corey Kluber - FD 10400 DK 9800 DFSTR 9700
Coming off a somewhat surprising Cy Young season, Kluber makes for a solid Opening Day value facing the Astros. Kluber had an insane 5:1 K:BB ratio last season to with a 2.57 xFIP. His 28.3% K% was among the best in the game and should see decent K numbers in this game. The Astros made some minor changes adding Lowrie and Rasmus to the lineup, but are coming off a year in which they struck out 24% of the time against righties. He comes a little cheaper than Kershaw, and has a little less upside. But the value is still there. He’s a clear play on DraftKings.
Francisco Liriano - FD 8500 DK 8300 DFSTR 7700
He’s more of a GPP consideration for me on this slate for a couple of reasons. When Liriano gets rolling down hill he can rack up strikeout numbers with the best of them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have pinpoint command which can lead to elevated walk numbers and pitch counts. It’s tough for him to go late into games. In fact, he didn’t make it past seven innings in any start last season. But he does strike out more than a batter an inning and faces a Reds’ team that came in near the basement last season against southpaws. They added Marlon Byrd which will help, and could surprise a little on the offensive front. But overall, I think you can get some upside with Francisco.
Julio Teheran - FD 9200 DK 8800 DFSTR 8100
You can see that our system is really pinpointing the matchups with some of the opening day pitchers. With a ton of big arms going on the day, it’s always best to take those facing the weaker squads. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking analysis, but the numbers more than bare it out. The Marlins basically have Giancarlo Stanton and...well Stanton is really great. Those they did add like Prado and Morse are much better against lefties, and the core of their lineup is pretty light hitting. What Teheran lacks in K numbers he makes up for slightly with control, only walking two batters per nine last season. Should be in line for a win against Henderson Alvarez and is coming much cheaper than the big boys especially if you need to pair up for two pitcher sites.
Consider Yordano Ventura
Brian McCann - FD 3300 DK 4000 DFSTR 6400
He’s coming off a disappointing first season in Pinstripes as he put together a sub-.700 OPS to go with a paltry .306 wOBA that was, by far the worst of his career. Some of this was Babip-fueled as his .231 was about 50 points less than his career average. That makes a huge difference. The rest of his batted ball profile fell in line with his career numbers and honestly, I am looking at him as a bounceback candidate entering this season. Love the price on him for Opening Day against Drew Hutchinson in Yankee Stadium. Should be in the 60’s for the game, which helps as well considering it’s early in the season.
Jonathan Lucroy - FD 3800 DK 4300 DFSTR 7400
His lefty-righty splits were nearly identical last season as he posted a 133 and 132 wRC+ respectively. It’s what makes me more confident playing him in this matchup against Kyle Kendrick. It also helps that Kendrick is one of the weaker pitchers on the slate and the game goes down in Miller Park, one of the best power stadiums in the game.
Consider Michael McKenry if he somehow draws the start.
Adam Lind - FD 2800 DK 4100 DFSTR 6400
Fantastic value on this slate for a couple of reasons. He is coming very cheap on a slate where some of the other first base mashers are locked in tougher pitching matchups. Lind should draw the start at first base, faces a weaker righty in Kyle Kendrick and like Lucroy above, has the benefit of playing inside (considering the colder weather) a park that boosts power to lefties.
Miguel Cabrera - FD 4900 DK 5000 DFSTR 8800
According to our system he is the top overall points play at the position. This isn’t news necessarily. But on a day with a million aces, targeting someone against Hughes and his 3.18 xFIP just might be something you need to consider. Miggy’s points per dollar aren’t fantastic, but considering his price it works out all right.
Kendrys Morales - FD 2800 DK 3600 DFSTR 5100
Qualifies at first base but is really the Royals’ designated hitter this season. Morales faces Samardjijajaazaa (letters approximate) and is much better, for his career, against righties. I more like the price and batting lineup placement than his actual qualities as a hitter. But he fits a need.
Ben Zobrist - FD 3100 DK 4000 DFSTR 6900
He’s a guy I’ll often target in cash games because even though the ceiling isn’t inthe stratosphere, the floor is solid. Part of that comes from a solid walk rate to go with a very low K%. I will say it again, but a lot of the picks today come from when we can get an edge in pitching matchups. When so many aces are rolling, you want to work to avoid them. So even though he’s on the wrong side of his split, Zobrist works against Gallardo.
Ian Kinsler - FD 4100 DK 4200 DFSTR 7600
I really abhor going on the wrong side of a guy’s splits but I might be willing to make an exception with Kinsler simply because the rest of the matchups are just grizzly. Shortstop-esque almost. Kinsler was about league average against righties last season. Somewhat of an overpay, but this position is just terrible. Makes Zobrist look borderline great (even though he’s not).
Dustin Pedroia - FD 3400 DK 3700 DFSTR 6800
Pedroia was submarined last season by wrist issues that seemed to totally sap his power. He has surgery in the off-season that hopefully cleared things up. Not the best matchup against Hamels, but the splits are in his favor in this one and we can’t snag 2B against only bums.
Troy Tulowitzki - FD 4400 DK 5000 DFSTR 9200
As always, the shortstop conversation basically begins and ends with Tulo. He is so far and away the best player at the position that is can often feel icky (pro-term) to play anyone else. The question really only becomes about the price. Is he affordable enough to consider when making the rest of your lineup. If you are playing Kershaw, then getting Tulo in there might be near impossible without some major sacrifices. Butt he difference in expected points between him and the second guy (Jose Reyes, who has a terrible matchup with Tanaka) is huge. After that it gets really grizzly (see below). This will be a thing all season.
Jose Ramirez - FD 2600 DK 5400 DFSTR 5500
Far from a masher (which in itself is a major overstatement) but this being shortstop and all we have to take what we can get. If he’s hitting second in the lineup, there is major value in just gaining an extra potential at bat over many of the other SS choices. Honestly, that alone is what vaults him up the picks. If he were to hit ninth, this would certainly change things.
Todd Frazier - FD 3500 DK 4400 DFSTR 6800
For his career Frazier has a 120 wRC+ and .809 OPS against lefties. What good that does him against a dude like Liriano? Well, I wish Frazier walked a little bit more considering Liriano’s wild tendencies. But on this slate I am more than willing to buy on him considering some of the other options.
Chase Headley - FD 3000 DK 4100 DFSTR 6100
At the risk of playing every single Yankee on this slate, which I don’t necessarily want to do, Headley falls in a nice zone of value. He’s a much better hitter, for his career, against righties with a 118 wRC+ and .341 wOBA. We need not overthink the idea of targeting the weaker pitchers on this slate and the Yankees will make a popular stack.
Consider Aramis Ramirez
Carlos Gonzalez - FD 3900 DK 4500 DFSTR 7600
Obviously his biggest issue is staying healthy. And it was a real problem for him last season as he only saw 281 plate appearances on the season. He heads into this season healthy (for him) and will hit in the middle of the Rockies’ order. Of the big money outfielders, he’s the one I’m looking at the closest as his matchup against Lohse is decent and the ballpark is choice. When he’s healthy, he can mash.
Carlos Beltran - FD 3100 DK 4100 DFSTR 7000
Came in at only a .700 OPS last season though some of that was a Babip of .250 down from a career average of .301. That makes a difference over the course of a season. Beltran will be in the middle of the Yankee lineup again with that short porch out in right and a weaker pitcher on the mound.
Mookie Betts - FD 3300 DK 4000 DFSTR 6600
He’s having a Spring Training to remember for sure. Seems like the dude has a home run in every at bat. Of course, our system doesn’t care about this at all, but it’s at least a nice narrative.
Ryan Braun - FD 4100 DK 4800 DFSTR 7000
Post-steroid Braun made us all pine for the days when these dudes could juice to infinity with no consequences. He saw his Hr/FB% decline last year which really left his power numbers down. He showed some flashes of power this spring and our system likes his value heading into this Opening Day. Give the guy a chance.