Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/8/15

Full disclaimer - this is a massive slate, and there's no way I could ever possibly list every decent play today. So, I'll do my best in highlighting whom I believe to be the elite plays. If you want the rest? Go ahead and get access to the exclusive projection system that produces these picks. Sign up now and get a free 3 day trial to our lineup construction tool for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster.

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Matt Harvey - FD 10600 DK 11000 DFSTR
It's really too bad that the Phillies' good player (Cole Hamels) is squaring off against Harvey today, because if he weren't, this would be the lockiest of all locks when it comes to picking a starter. Still, this looks to be the safest play on the board by a healthy margin. Harvey has some of the best peripherals in the game (34 Ks against 4 BBs in 32 IP), and Philly is dead last by a country mile when it comes to wOBA against right handed pitching this year. Their pathetic .255 mark is the worst in the majors by .19 points. Need I say more?

Francisco Liriano - FD 8600 DK 9100 DFSTR 3100
If you want to grab arguably as much upside for a discounted price while sacrificing any semblance of safety, consider Francisco Liriano! Now, his last start against the Cardinals was pretty good from a results perspective, but it was actually not in accordance with the rest of his season's performance. No, Liriano's major value this season has come from his huge K rate. Before his last start, he had racked up 30 Ks in 24 IP, making him one of the highest upside plays in daily fantasy sports. The Cardinals have the 11th highest K rate against left handed pitching, and the 5th lowest wOBA against them. And Liriano's opponent, Michael Wacha, has been running ridiculously hot - his 18 Ks against 8 BBs in 32 innings won't lead to a 2 ERA for much longer.

James Shields - FD 8700 DK 8800 DFSTR 3100
For all of the big bats and great home park the D-backs have, it really hasn't translated to that much this season. They're just 13th in the majors in terms of wOBA against right handed pitching, and just 20th in terms of wOBA at home. Shields, on the other hand, has been positively sparkling. His 11.89 K/9 is downright elite, and it's not like he's faced only cupcakes (COL twice, the Dodgers once). He'll have the opportunity of facing a pedestrian opposing pitcher in Hellickson, who should have a great deal of difficulty holding down the new-look Padres offense.





Yasmani Grandal - FD 3200 DK 4100 DFSTR 5700
Well, our projection system can finally say "I told you so" on Grandal. After putting him near the top of the projections against right handers for a while, Grandal finally went off to the tune of 4/4 with 2 homers and 8(!) RBI on Thursday. Chances are good he won't score 23 fantasy points a game, but still, that was quite a performance. And the scary thing? He'll face a decidedly worse pitcher in Eddie Butler. Butler's put up 16 Ks against 15 BBs in 26 IP this season. That's garbage. And this game is in Coors, as well? Should be another nice name for Yasmani.

Wilson Ramos - FD 2800 DK 4100 DFSTR
Ramos has been amazing against left handed pitching over the course of his career - his .362 wOBA is about 50 points better than how he's fared against righties. And the Eric Stults away from Petco experiment just isn't going fantastically. He's maintained last season's increased HR/fly ball rate (13%) while striking out fewer batters. Not a great recipe for success. Ramos is a high floor play, even if he doesn't have Grandal's ceiling.

Brian McCann - FD 3100 DK 4000 DFSTR 6300
I prefer the above guys dramatically to McCann, but if you were considering stacking Yankees against the overrated Gonzalez in great hitters' park, who could blame you? On a big slate, it might be a nice way to get some separation.


First base

Jose Abreu - FD 3600 DK 4800 DFSTR 7300
We're coming up on a pretty serious buying opportunity for Abreu, here. The White Sox slugger has had a brief power outage here, and it's like the whole world forgot that he hit for better than a .950 OPS against both lefties AND righties last season. US Cellular Field is a great hitters' park, and Marquis is just an older version of his once lousy self. Great upside play, here.

Edwin Encarnacion - FD 3700 DK 4900 DFSTR
It hasn't been a banner year for E5 - but that's why he makes a good value play. And frankly, he really hasn't been bad against left handed pitching. His .352 wOBA is only 26 points off of his career numbers, and much of that is BABIP induced. And if there were ever a pitcher to get him out of a slump, Wade Miley'd be it. His 13 Ks against 11 BBs have helped him yield a startling 7.15 ERA in 22 IP this season, and I don't know why it'd get any easier for him against the righty-heavy Jays.

David Ortiz - FD 3000 DK 4500 DFSTR
My God, have you looked at Aaron Sanchez's yearly line recently? 20 walks in 25 innings! He just won't be able to stay in the majors with a walk rate like that, and who to help escort him out of the league than one of the best left handed hitters of his generation? While Ortiz has had a little power slump of his own recently, his floor is a lot higher than most have realized. He's reached base in each of his last 9 games, and still hit 4 doubles in that time. I really like this spot a lot, as combining Ortiz's ability to crush a mistake and Sanchez inability to not make a mistake is a match made in Heaven.

Also considered: Adrian Gonzalez in Coors against a garbage righty. Just the price thing holding me back, here.

Second base

Dustin Pedroia - FD 2900 DK 4400 DFSTR
It's been something of a renaissance season for Pedroia - and it's interesting, because much of that has been fueled by a much stronger approach against right handed pitching this season. This also happens to help Pedroia's fantasy output considerably, because a lot of the guys around him (Papi and Sandoval in particular) are much better against right handed pitching. So his ability to hit northpaws helps him pile on the counting stats, which is great for our daily fantasy purposes. Love him against Sanchez, because again, Sanchez is not presently a major league level pitcher.

Devon Travis - FD 3400 DK 3300 DFSTR
The Blue Jays' second base revelation is simply putting up fantasy numbers this season. And I have to say - I'm a little skeptical of the home runs. But is it outside the realm of possibility that a 24 year old who made incredibly hard contact in the minors (batting .350 across two levels in 2013) could turn his gap power into yard work as he moved up? Sure. I still don't think he tops 30 homers, but he doesn't need to to provide outsized fantasy value for us. Like E5 - he has the opportunity to face one of the most struggling pitchers on the slate, and presently offers as much upside at anyone at the position.

Also considered: Neil Walker.



Jimmy Rollins - FD 3300 DK 4300 DFSTR 5500
I find it irritating that FanDuel has finally started accounting for the Coors factor, making the Coors faders less than dead money. Rollins is not actually an incredible value at this price, but he's still a very good value. And really, this is just an ideal match-up for anyone. Rollins' season line looks like trash, but all of the Rollins-ish things we've come to expect are there. 3 homers is a fine total, and 3 steals is great considering how little he's been on base. "James," you say, "Isn't not getting on base kind of bad?" Sure, hypothetical objector. But Jimmy's posting a .173 BABIP this year, and he'll get 100 points of that back in no time. When he does, he'll be an elite fantasy option once again. But don't sweat that - it's Eddie Butler in Coors!

Jhonny Peralta - FD 2800 DK 3600 DFSTR 5100
Peralta is doing his thing where he just shows up and is good again, volume 152. While Peralta's been slightly better against lefties over the course of his career (.17 wOBA points better, to be exact), this ranking is mostly about his price. He's priced like one of these powerless bum SS types, but he's got significantly more pop than any of them. If Liriano makes a mistake up in the zone, Peralta can punish it in a way that most SS can not.

Troy Tulowitzki - FD 5100 DK 4900 DFSTR
If you can find a way to afford it, Tulo has to be one of the highest raw point total projection guys today, even if his price is nuts. Brett Anderson hasn't been terrible this season or anything, but I'd love to know what his plan is, here. He stays around the plate with what little he has left of his stuff, and that works pretty well in parks like LA. But in Coors? GMAFB. Tulo posted a .653 (!!!) wOBA against lefties in Coors last season, and that presumably includes good ones as well as bad. With all due respect to BA, this could be a bloodbath.

Want to escape cheaply? High-floor Erick Aybar is intriguing at near minimum prices.


Third base

Josh Donaldson - FD 3600 DK 4400 DFSTR
Donaldson is somehow out of fashion in fantasy communities these days, but it seems downright unfair. He's a 29 year old who's compiled a .407 wOBA against left handed pitching over the course of his career, and he hits around a bunch of other guys that crush left handed pitching. Donaldson is a lock of a must play for me, even on this huge slate. Though I imagine he will be for most people, so if you want to get some separation, read on.

Pablo Sandoval - FD 3000 DK 4200 DFSTR
Sandoval's season line looks a little bit less than impressive, but the good news is, we don't have to buy his full season line here. We only need to worry about how he fares against right handers. Against them? He's managed a .985 OPS while maintaining a near 1:1 K:BB ratio. I've documented Sanchez's numerous inadequacies already, so I won't belabor the point. If you want to go crazy on some Red Sox stack and hope that the Blue Jays' righties all hit line drives into people's gloves, Sandoval looks very interesting.

Lonnie Chisenhall - FD 2600 DK 4100 DFSTR 5500
Say you decide to go crazy, and punt the two guys that will make up 75% of the 3B plays tomorrow. Know an interesting spot you can look? Well, you're probably good with context clues, and since I wrote his name above this paragraph, you can probably guess that I'm talking about Lonnie Chisenhall. Now, Lonnie doesn't have the 80 level tools that inspire incredible confidence, but he's only dipped below 2.25 FanDuel points in 1 of his last 9 games. That's a SERIOUS floor on this price tag. And he'll have arguably his best match-up of that stretch in this one. Run-hot Pelfrey has skated by with his atrocious peripherals to a non-awful ERA, but don't let that fool you. He'll be crashing down to Earth, soon.



Jayson Werth - FD 2900 DK 4400 DFSTR
Poor Jayson Werth, perennially underrated because of his admittedly ridiculous contract. Did you know that Werth posted an insane .410 wOBA against left handers last season, and that he's managed a .398 line for his career? That's super-elite, hall of fame level production. I think the Nats will brutalize Stults, and Werth should be front and center.

Jay Bruce - FD 2900 DK 4800 DFSTR 5900
If you want a boom or bust play, consider Bruce. His strike out rate is downright embarrassing, but Noesi's lack of command and his tendency to leave the ball up in the zone (37% career GB rate) means Bruce could do anything from a golden sombrero to hit three home runs and I wouldn't be surprised. Excellent GPP play.

Brandon Moss - FD 3500 DK 4900 DFSTR 5900
Michael Brantley - FD 4200 DK 5500 DFSTR 7800
There's something to be said about stacking the Native Peoples against Mike Pelfrey, today. Moss has managed to slug .70 points higher against righties over the course of his career, and Brantley has averaged a blistering 6 FanDuel points per game over his last 7 games against much better pitchers than Big Pelf. His unique power speed combo means he can put up huge totals in a number of ways, and I love him for both cash games and GPPs.

Yoenis Cespedes - FD 3200 DK 4200 DFSTR 6300
Cespedes' ridiculous raw approach means he's unlikely to be a fantastic player "in real life," but honestly, who cares? He's still a great power threat against the right opponent, and Ventura has put up awful peripherals in 3 of his 5 starts this season. It stands to reason that the patient Tigers will give him all he can handle, and Cespedes could potentially ply his platoon-neutral approach to great success here.

Also considered: Kole Calhoun and Matt Kemp, in the mid-tier prices.

The Bargain Bin: Melky Cabrera, just like we recommend him every day. Also, Kevin Kiermaier and Travis Snider, while you're in the bargain bin.

I'll cringe when Joc Pederson comes up, but I don't think I can pull the trigger on these prices that are so grounded in current hype and a great hitters' park.


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