Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings 6/15/15
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.
Masahiro Tanaka - FD 9600 DK 10600
Welp, Tanaka seems no worse for the wear after going down for a while there. He's averaged 17.5 fantasy points on FanDuel in his last two starts, and he's just cutting down batters while flashing his trademark terrific control. And boy, there's a lot to like about grabbing him against the Marlins today. They have the third lowest wOBA against right handed pitching this year, along with the 11th highest strike out rate. Miami is a fantastic place to pitch. He'll be opposed by the league average (at best) Tom Koehler. From top to bottom, Tanaka seems like both the safest play and the play with the highest upside.
Trevor Bauer - FD 8400 DK 7800
In Bauer you're taking a serious step back in terms of safety, but you're also saving $1,200 worth of salary to apply to a stronger set of hitters to work with. Bauer showed his inherent risk in his last start, getting chased only and leaving fantasy owners hanging. But in the 5 starts before that? He was elite. He averaged 15 fantasy points per start, touching double digit strike outs in 2 of those games. On Monday, he'll have his highest upside matchup of the season - the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs taking a solid shot at going wire to wire with the league's worst K rate of the millenium against right handed pitching (a staggering 25.4%). They're in the bottom half of the league in wOBA as well. The fly in Bauer's ointment is Jake Arrieta - he's been elite in his own right this season, and a win might be tricky. But you're grabbing Bauer primarily for upside, here, so I say shoot for the moon.
Carlos Rodon - FD 7200 DK 6500
If you want to go way off board in a big tournament, Rodon is intriguing. The young lefty has nearly a strikeout per inning this season, and while he's been pretty wild, we're trying to take a shot at greatness here. The Pirates have allowed greatness to no shortage of lefties this season - managing just the 3rd worst wOBA while putting together the 2nd highest K rate against southpaws this season. Listen - a young guy with Rodon's control issues isn't going to be a double up play, but a guy with his pedigree could absolutely headline a large tournament win for you while freeing up salary to spend on big ticket hitters.
Also considered: Anibal Sanchez.
Travis d'Arnaud - FD 3000 DK 3900
D'Arnaud was our top recommendation at the catcher position last night, and if you're following along at home, he went out and plowed a homer while netting 2 runs and 2 RBI to go with it. D'Arnaud has been great recently, and the interesting thing about this recommendation is that our projection system doesn't even know it. What it does know is that he's facing Mark Buehrle. Buehrle's 4.02 K/9 is eclipsed in futility only by Jeremy Guthrie. Taking Ks off the table for a young hitter is music to his ears, and it's another elite upside possibility for D'Arnaud tonight.
Yasmani Grandal - FD 3000 DK 4100
The 26 year old blue chipper has a .911 OPS against right handed pitching this season, which is a top tier number for any position, much less at a position like catcher that lacks any real offensive stars. Now, Gallardo is actually an underrated starting pitcher. His high ground ball rate has his xFIP sitting at 3.75 and below since 2008. And he's only 29 years old. All that said, though - you can still take Grandal in a great hitter's park against a slightly above average pitcher - I just want to temper expectations just a bit.
Jonathan Lucroy - FD 2500 DK 3700
Often times, at offense-lite positions, we just want to escape with a small investment and a high floor. Lucroy certainly offers that. Volquez has been fairly solid this season, but he's sort of neither here nor there in this recommendation. In Lucroy you're getting a high contact hitter who bats second for his team. At near minimum salary, batting amid a bunch of guys who can really hit. It's hard to find that kind of opportunity at the catcher position, and even harder to find it at near minimum prices. And it's not Lucroy is a bad hitter. He's a 29 year old coming off of two excellent offensive seasons. He isn't just terrible all of a sudden, and has actually been much better since returning from his early season injury. I kind of like Lucroy for all formats, even if his upside seems relatively limited.
David Ortiz - FD 2500 DK 4600
Like D'Arnaud, Ortiz sits atop our projection system at his position tonight. And like D'Arnaud, Ortiz did a little yard work for us as well. Here's what we wrote yesterday, since little has changed:
Our projection system has been calling for a steady hand on Ortiz all season, and we've been reaping the benefits heavily this week. With three straight 5+ fantasy point games on FanDuel, Ortiz has shown that he can still maintain mid-tier 1B value. Ortiz has basically the same underlying stats as he did when he put together 35 homers an .880 OPS a season ago, and while some decline at his age is inevitable, he's still a great value on a points per dollar basis. He'll have a nice platoon situation against the league average Estrada, and another good game is possible here.
If anything, Ortiz has a better spot against Williams Perez tonight. While Perez has a nice ERA to start the season, he's cruising at about 1.3 runs ahead of his xFIP, and was never much of a big name prospect in the minors. Could be another big onefor Big Papi.
Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3400 DK 4900
Gonzalez has cooled off a bit after his red, fiery hot start to the season - but let's get real: the big guy still has a near 1K OPS against right handed pitching this season, and has power that will play in any park. He won't need all of it to do damage in Texas, either, as the Texas heat surrenders more than its fair share of homers. Love Gonzo in any format.
Chris Carter - FD 3000 DK 4600
Chris Davis - FD 3000 DK 4200
Big money, big prizes. Or total busts. These guys are in the exact same spot for me today. Both are platoon heavy guys in good platoon spots against past-their-prime pitchers who don't really strike anyone out. It's a great hitters park as well. Love both of these guys.
Ben Zobrist - FD 2600 DK 3200
It seems like I've written this 10,000 times about Zobrist this season, but the fact remains the same - he's basically just had some bad luck. He's walking more than he's striking out, and he's still batting cleanup for a team with some legit hitters on it. If his BABIP were where it has been historically, he'd actually be improving on last year's respectable season. While he's still this cheap, I think you can justify playing him wherever, even against good pitchers like Tyson Ross.
Dustin Pedroia - FD 3400 DK 4500
Jose Altuve - FD 3400 DK 5000
Two interesting plays for me tonight that are both in the same category. Both are facing uncredentialed young pitchers in nice hitters parks. Both bat among hitters who could really make the opposing pitcher pay. But both are batting against their natural platoon splits - which is sort of a big deal for both. Either way, though, I see both as solid high-floor plays with some potential upside if you decide to go the stacking route.
Chase Utley - FD 2300 DK 3400
Utley is a guy that our projection system is begging you to keep a steady hand on. His BABIP is comically off of his career levels - his .195 figure is pitcher-esque. He's certainly making a little less hard contact (per FanGraphs batted-ball data), but even accounting for that, he's probably missing .100 to .150 off of his "true talent" OPS. I actually don't love taking him against his platoon split necessarily, but the price is just so low that I feel you can do it if you just want to go against the grain.
Erick Aybar - FD 2600 DK 3600
Robbie Ray had an ERA over 8 last season, and has an ERA under 2 this season. That's small sample sized baseball for you! If we dig a little deeper we see a guy who's never really done anything of note at AAA or higher. In Aybar you're not getting anything particularly spectacular from a true talent level, but you are getting a high floor and some decent opportunity. He bats atop a lineup with some nice hitters, and can pile on some decent counting stats when things go right.
Jean Segura - FD 2600 DK 4100
It's a sad state of affairs for offensive shortstops in the major leagues. Jean Segura is what passes for an offensive threat in the non-Tulo dvision these days. He's been basically platoon neutral over the course of his career, and his modest power and decent speed mean he could put up a decent upside game at any given time. But really, he's a high floor guy with the odd decent game here and there. Not a ringing endorsement, I know. Shortstop sucks.
Andrelton Simmons - FD 2400 DK 3700
Simmons hasn't lit the world on fire or anything, but his 7% K rate gives him a lot higher floor than most guys at the position. He's a true slap-hitter to be sure, but putting that many balls in play means he gets opportunities to make some things happen. In this one he'll be facing Rick Porcello, who has given up more than a hit an inning and has regressed to his non-strike out days. Simmons is a solid cash game play.
Also considered: Jimmy Rollins, for elite upside and serious downside.
If you're in a boom or bust sort of mood, Joey Gallo makes Chris Davis look like Wade Boggs. Gallo's a true 80 power guy who has posted .300-.400 ISOs at every step along the way, but the 39% strike out rate might frankly be legit. He can't be considered for 50/50s and double ups. But! Large tournaments? Absolutely.
Yeah, yesterday was a good day for our projection system. Gallo went yard yet again, and proved exactly why he's a near must-play when he's facing right handers without overpowering stuff. Carlos Frias is one such right hander. With just 28 Ks in 49 IP this season, he absolutely qualifies. He hasn't struck out more than 3 batters in a game since May 13th. Love Gallo here.
Mike Moustakas - FD 2400 DK 3900
If you're looking for a high floor yang to Gallo's yin, Moustakas is your guy. The young lefty has an .856 OPS against right handed pitching this season, strikes out less than 12% of the time, and bats second in a lineup of similarly decent hitters. And he's dirt cheap. Kyle Lohse has allowed 6 runs to score per 9 innings this season. That's horrible. Moustakas is a great way to save up and spend more elsewhere.
Evan Longoria - FD 3000 DK 3500
I'm not sure he'll be a wildly popular play tomorrow, which is why I think Longoria makes for a pretty interesting large tournament option. While he's not performing at all-star levels offensively these days, Longoria can still rake left handed pitching. His .890 OPS this season and near 1:1 BB:K rate look legit, and I could see him having a decent game against the left handed Gio Gonzalez.
As always, there are infinite super cheap guys at outfield that are good plays. For them, go check out a free three day trial of our projection system. Here are the bigger ticket items.
Michael Cuddyer - FD 2600 DK 3700
The transition from Coors to Citi Field hasn't been a kind one to Cuddyer. Every single underlying stat is worse. But this is a rare opportunity for him to turn things around. Cuddyer has an OPS .100 points higher against left handed pitching, and Buehrle will erase Cuddyer's 24% K rate in a hurry. Lots of upside here.
Joc Pederson - FD 3800 DK 4400
Scouts were concerned that Pederson's raw power wouldn't translate to in-game power, but 200 PAs in, he's got 17 homers. And he put in a 30/30 season last year. We could just be looking at a super-star in the making. Now, the Ks are a concern, of course, but Gallardo isn't really a big strikeout guy at this point in his career. Lots of upside here, from where I'm sitting.
J.D. Martinez - FD 3000 DK 4500
Rajai Davis - FD 2900 DK 4200
It's as good a time as any to point out that someone named "Jon Moscot" is pitching against the Tigers today. I'd say you can probably just stack Tigers for miles and feel good about it, but our projection system likes these guys in particular. Both are better against right handed pitching, and Jon Moscot has a 5 K/9 in AAA ball. Lots of upside here, and safety for miles as well.
Mitch Moreland - FD 3000 DK 4700
Moreland is having a phenomenal season, even if some of that is BABIP driven. But what's really driving it is Moreland's utter destruction of right handed pitching. He's got a 1K OPS against right handed pitching this season, striking out just half as much as he is against lefties. I pointed out Carlos Frias' struggles earlier, and facing a guy without K stuff means Moreland could cash in yet again.
Adam Jones - FD 3600 DK 5200
Jones is one of the rare reverse-platoon guys in the majors. He's got an OPS .50 points higher against righties over the course of his career. While Aarong Harang has a decent ERA this season, most of that is luck driven - his BABIP allowed is more than .050 points off his career levels. His 34% GB rate means he leaves a lot of balls in the zone, and Jones could have excellent upside here.
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