Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 5/9/15

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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Early Slate

Julio Teheran - FD 8300 DK 9000 DFSTR
Teheran went back to his fastball a lot more in his last start against the Reds, to fantastic results. And while it's always so tempting to look at early season results and condemn a guy, I think the worst of this season is far behind him. In this game, he'll draw a Nationals' team that's had a hell of a time doing much of anything against right handers this season. All of their non-Bryce Harper Bats (Desmond, Werth, Ramos, etc) prefer left handers, and the Nats have managed the 6th worst wOBA against right handers so far this season. Throw in a Doug Fister/hardlyknewher match-up, and I think this should be a solid spot to grab him in an early slate that features very little elite pitching.

Consider Phil Hughes. The peripherals are there, the performance isn't. Our projection system thinks he's due for a bounceback.

Late Slate

Madison Bumgarner - FD 10100 DK 11000 DFSTR 3100
Back to back fantastic fantasy starts for the Giants ace, and he'll have a chance to extend this streak on Saturday against the Fish in his home park. Bumgarner is back to business as usual this year - flashing ultra-elite peripherals (32 Ks to 6 BBs), and there's no reason to think he won't turn in another terrific year. In this one, he's got a lot going for him. His xFIP has been .2 runs better at home over the course of his career, for starters. And then there's his opponent - David Phelps' 16 Ks and 10 BBs in 24 IP this year tell a far more accurate tale of his abilities than his 3.24 ERA, and the Giants should be healthy favorites here. The one fly in the ointment? The Marlins have the league's 4th best wOBA against left handers this year. They're still striking out plenty, though, and I'll happily deploy Bumgarner in any format.

Johnny Cueto - FD 10500 DK 9800 DFSTR 3100
Incredibly intriguing match-up with Carlos Rodon and the White Sox here. If you're unfamiliar with Rodon's work, he's an incredible stuff guy that could be the heir apparent to the "best lefty in the league" title. But he's also realllllly young. It's enough of an unknown for me to basically consider it a wash for the purposes of considering Cueto. He's coming off his worst start of the season, and he's still got 40 Ks against 6 BBs in 43 IP. I think he's a healthy bet to go deep in this game for your cash game purposes if you don't want to get on the Bumgarner train. The White Sox, for their part, are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to hitting RHP this season. Pretty solid spot to invest a lot of salary.

Interesting punt options: Travis Wood has managed better than a K per inning this year, and I like the match-up with Lohse - though the Brewers do have a good pile of righties. I also like Carlos Martinez for upside. It's been a couple of bad starts, but the Bucs have only managed the league's 28th best wOBA against right handed pitching, and he could go deep in that one.





Early Slate

Alex Avila - FD 2500 DK 3400 DFSTR 3100
Avila never turned into the superstar it looked like he might be, because he simply can't put the ball in play against left handers. Against righties, though? He's pretty damned fantastic. His 21% BB rate and solid line drive rate against righties has him with a .404 wOBA against them this season, and since Guthrie is one of the worst right handers in the majors, it stands to reason that this will be a good spot to invest in him on a very affordable salary.

Salvador Perez - FD 2500 DK 3600 DFSTR 5500
I hate taking Perez against right handers, but today is just so bad at catcher that I'm tempted. His salary is ridiculously low for his talent level, and he's actually been slightly better against right handed pitching in this young season. He's impossible to strike out, which means Sanchez's greatest weapon is rendered somewhat moot - I think it's a nice high floor play.

Late Slate

Yadier Molina - FD 2300 DK 3500 DFSTR 5500
It's basically impossible to pick any catcher today, so I'll submit Molina to you as the guy who I'm going after. Why? Well, his heavy contact approach leaves him with a pretty high floor, and Worley's basically a league average pitch to contact guy. Molina should have the ball in play a ton, and that could mean good things on what amounts to essentially a minimum priced guy.

Buster Posey - FD 3400 DK 4700 DFSTR 6700
Early season analysis sometimes annoys the heck out of me. Posey's walks are up, and his Ks are down. He's maturing into an even better hitter with an even sharper approach. But his BABIP is .40 points off his career levels, and it's spawning ig'nant pundits saying things like, "What's wrong with Buster Posey?" Nothing, you fools. And it's a nice spot for us to start buying. I mentioned David Phelps and his below average offerings earlier, and a mature hitter like Posey could very well have his way. The only thing holding him back is Molina's ridiculously low price.



First base

Early Slate

David Ortiz - FD 3000 DK 4500 DFSTR
After missing Friday's game for his 1 game suspension, Ortiz is scheduled to be back on Saturday. Papi is by far the best play on the early docket, and it isn't especially close. Drew Hutchison is doing his best to try and earn a job in AAA (7.47 ERA!), and he also has the displeasure of being right handed. Ortiz still managed a .364 wOBA against righties last season, and actually ran horribly with a .247 BABIP. Great spot to grab Ortiz.

Chris Davis - FD 3600 DK 5000 DFSTR 6200
I'm ready to call Chase Whitley a more promising prospect than I thought he'd be, but it still doesn't mean I'm going to run screaming when I see him facing a guy with Davis' upside. Now, Davis' downside is well accounted for by now. This isn't a cash game play, in all likelihood. But his ability to smash right handed pitching remains, and our projection system loves him in the friendly confines on Yankee Stadium.

Also considered: Edwin Encarnacion.

Late Slate

Albert Pujols - FD 3200 DK 4500 DFSTR 6900
Keuchel as posted a ridiculous ERA this seaason, and while he's a fine pitcher, there's still some serious holes in his game. His 30 Ks in 45 IP is a pretty poor strike out rate, and while Pujols isn't the hall of fame version of himself, he should still be able to make a lot of hard contact against a guy with a 6 K/9. And the price is just obviously affordable, especially given the lack of great 1B options in the late slate.

Lucas Duda - FD 3200 DK 3200 DFSTR
Duda's basically the Alexa Avila of first basemen. He can't hit lefties (.642 OPS against them for his career - my God), but he's .190 OPS points better against right handers, and he'll be facing one of those tonight. Harang has been oddly effective this season, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. He hasn't posted an xFIP below 4 since 2009, and Philly is a really tough place to avoid giving up the long ball. Duda's a seriously high upside play on these prices.

Also considered: Matt Adams, Brandon Belt.


Second base

Early Slate

Brian Dozier - FD 3200 DK 4700 DFSTR 7000
It's a pretty darn terrible start to the season for Dozier, but getting a 2nd basemen who went 20/20 last year for $3,200 is a nice spot. And it gets better. Two words: Bruce Chen. 7.45 ERA last season, and a 4.71 career xFIP! And Dozier has been about .190 OPS points better against left handers over the course of his career. Love this play for all formats.

Dustin Pedroia - FD 2900 DK 4100 DFSTR
Pedroia has posted the 2nd highest walk rate of his career so far this season, and man, it's good to have him back. While he's definitely a stronger hitter against left handed pitching, his slight decrease in ability is probably offset by the pile of left handers around him that will be easier to drive in and more likely to knock him in against a righty. I gave Hutchison's credentials earlier. I like Pedroia quite a bit as part of a Red Sox stack today.

Also considered: Jimmy Paredes.

Late Slate

Neil Walker - FD 2800 DK 4100 DFSTR 6100
In Walker you're getting a second baseman that knocked 23 homers last year for less than $3,000 on FanDuel, and his dirty secret? 22 of those came against right handers. I like Carlos Martinez for his upside, but against a righty smasher like Walker, he'll need more than a popping fastball to get the job done. Not to say that he can't, but I like Walker for upside here quite a bit.

Robinson Cano - FD 3400 DK 3900 DFSTR
I'd put Cano a little bit higher here, but I'm slightly bearish on his slow start and a tough park today. But, I do like him here regardless. Leaving Petco hasn't been kind to Hahn in this early season, but the fact of the matter is, his struggles with command have limited his prospect status throughout his career. Cano definitely looks out of sorts so far this season, but I'll trust the back to back seasons of nearly identical triple slash lines and call this a good buying opportunity.

Also considered: Daniel Murphy, as a cheap cash game option against Harang.



Early Slate

Alcides Escobar - FD 2400 DK 3700 DFSTR
Escobar is one of the hardest guys in the majors to strike out, which makes him a nice high floor play at a minimum salary. Sanchez is a fine pitcher and all, but I'll take Escobar and his high contact approach amid all of the other high contact guys and hope for the best at a position that's truly awful at this slate.

Late Slate

Jimmy Rollins - FD 3300 DK 4000 DFSTR 5500
Rollins is priced a little higher since he's hitting in Coors, but he ought to be, and he's still a plenty good value. Here's what I wrote last night: 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. Yup, still the same story tonight. De La Rosa is better than Butler, but it's not so material a difference that we'll change the plan for tonight.

Freddy Galvis - FD 2200 DK 3000 DFSTR
He's my guy if I decide to just go cheap at the position. He's making a lot of solid contact so far this year, and he's been ~80 OPS points better against left handers over the course of his career. Throw in a struggling Niese, and a nice ballpark, and you have a solid play.

Also considered: Jean Segura.


Third base

Early Slate

Pablo Sandoval - FD 3000 DK 4800 DFSTR
I wrote this yesterday, before Sandoval admittedly sucked:
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.
Nothing has changed. Hutchison is a better pitcher than Sanchez, but that's like being a more clever comedian than Larry the Cable Guy.

Trevor Plouffe - FD 2900 DK 4500 DFSTR 5800
Plouffe's .354 wOBA against left handed pitching won't earn him any hall of fame votes, but they'll earn him plenty of daily fantasy baseball starts. Heavy platoon guys like Plouffe are one of the great pricing inefficiencies in the game, and getting him against a washed up never-has-been like Chen is basically ideal. If I didn't like Sandoval so much I'd play Plouffe everywhere, so instead, I'll probably just split them.

Late Slate

Aramis Ramirez - FD 2900 DK 4200 DFSTR 6200
For all of the tolls that father time has taken on Aramis Ramirez, he's still a remarkably good hitter against left handers. Last season he amassed a staggering .440 wOBA against southpaws, and that's simply fantastic. Travis Wood is an okay pitcher and everything, but I think Aramis still has something left in the tank, and I won't be shy about playing him in all formats here.

David Freese - FD 2900 DK 3400 DFSTR 5000
Freese is basically a rich man's Trevor Plouffe. He gets dinged her because Keuchel is actually a decent pitcher, but Freese has managed a .375 wOBA and .861 OPS against left handers over the course of his career, and he'll have a lot of opportunity to build upon that track record against Keuchel.

Also considered: Kyle Seager.



Early Slate

Yoenis Cespedes - FD 3100 DK 4600 DFSTR 6300
Yup, I'm rolling Cespedes back against Guthrie. At this stage in his career, Guthrie is one of the least qualified people in the world who takes the mound with any frequency at the major league level, and I'll trust Cespedes' insane bat speed and try to catch some high upside lightning in a bottle at a very reasonable price.

Brandon Moss - FD 3400 DK 4100 DFSTR 5900
I feel like I'm just listing all the same guys I played yesterday, but that'll happen in baseball as guys wind up in very similar situations from night to night. Moss didn't get it done against a worse pitcher on Friday, and it'd be tempting to run away - but I'm doubling down. I actually like what he does quite a bit against Hughes' pitch to contact approach. The Twins' righty can definitely make mistakes up in the zone, and if he does, it could be yard work for Moss.

Some great cheap options: Torii Hunter, Steven Pearce, Travis Snider & Carlos Beltran, if they play.

For real, though? There are just too many outfielders to name tonight. Grab a free three day trial of our projection system to get the rest of the huge list of guys you could plug and play to relatively similar expectation today.

Late Slate

Mike Trout - FD 5400 DK 5400 DFSTR 8500
Back to back games with homers for Trout, and now he'll get a platoon positive match-up with Keuchel at home. On big slates like these, big savings are often possible. If you can save the $, Trout is the big money play of the slate.

Curtis Granderson - FD 2800 DK 4000 DFSTR
The Grandy Man could hardly be called safe at any point in his career, and even less so now. But there's still a bit to like about what he's been up to this season. His walk rate is at a career best, and his K rate is the lowest it's been since 2008. The only issue is that it's come at the sacrifice of a lot of his trademark power. The good news? Those "just missed" hits could go as homers in hitter-friendly Philly against what's left of Aaron Harang.

Ryan Braun - FD 3500 DK 4900 DFSTR 6600
While the world was pouring dirt on Ryan Braun, he has turned around his fantasy season in a matter of two games, which continues to show how silly it is to make any declarations a month into a baseball season. The peripherals are headed in the wrong way, sure, but Braun still has sufficient power and just enough speed to put up big games in different ways. He's strongly preferred facing lefties over the course of his career, and could post a nice game against Wood here.


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