Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, Victiv, and Yahoo 8/8/15

Happy Saturday, everyone! Two big slates, and many nice edges for your daily fantasy baseball gambling purposes today. As it's a huge slate, I'm going to break this down into two sections - I'll give you 1 guy for each position from the early slate, and 2 guys from the larger later slate.

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Early Slate
Noah Syndergaard - FD 10800 DK 11500 Victiv Yahoo
Opponent- TB (Karns) R Park- @TB
After a good 2014 AAA campaign, Syndergaard has been electric across AAA and the majors in 2015. His 2.94 xFIP would be good for 12th in the majors if he qualified (he's only a few innings off), and he's been better than the more ballyhooed duo of Harvey and DeGrom. He's also averaged 20 fantasy points in back to back 8 inning starts, and he's truly at the peak of his powers. Today he'll have truly an ideal match-up with the lowly Rays of Tampa Bay (sweet rhyming team name btw - why not the New York Storks, or the Colorado Avocados? I hate expansion teams.). The Rays have the 4th lowest wOBA in the majors against right handed pitching, which they pair with the 3rd highest K rate against right handers. I'm not worried about the surprisingly decent Nathan Karns, here. Syndergaard is an ace, and I like him for the win and a pile of Ks.

Jesse Chavez actually makes an interesting punt option against Houston's K happy offense. He's on a reduced price after a few awful starts, but everyone is bad from time to time.

Late Slate
Tyson Ross - FD 8900 DK 10600 Victiv Yahoo
Opponent- Phi (Morgan) L Park- @Sd
With a million great pitchers going in the last two days, we're left with a day of the dregs. I won't include Ross in that category. While there's something of a perception that Ross is lucky (due to his high BB rate), the fact of the matter is that he actually has a pretty serviceable and unique skill set. His 63% groundball rate is the 3rd highest in the majors, and it's nearly 5% higher than 4th place. He turns a lot of those walks into double plays, and erases others with his elite 9.56 strikeouts per 9 innings. Today he'll face the Phillies - owners of the 2nd worst wOBA in the majors against right handed pitching. The Phightin Phils don't strike out a ton, but they do have a lousy pitcher to pair with their lousy offense, so Ross should be well positioned for a win.

Trevor Bauer - FD 8300 DK 9800 Victiv Yahoo
Opponent- Min (Santana) R Park- @Cle
I stared at this second position for a while before settling on Bauer. Bauer was terrific in July from a peripheral perspective (32 Ks against 6 BBs), but some bad homerun/flyball luck kept his ERA in the high 4s. While Bauer can be erratic (he's not a great 50/50 play in the way Ross is), he's high heat gives him undeniable upside in the right match-up. The Twins are one such great match-up. They've got the fifth lowest wOBA in the majors against right handed pitching, and the 9th highest K%. They're also tossing out Ervin Santana, who has been both injured and bad this season, walking 2 more batters than he's struck out across his last two starts. I definitely prefer Ross for safety here (he's better, and pitching against an NL team), but if you want a guy who won't get a ton of run in a big tourney? I like Bauer.

Consider: Stephen Strasburg, if you want to take a shot against the Rockies, who have been simply awful on the road. Obviously it's just a shot in the dark for big tournaments.


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Early Slate
Stephen Vogt - FD 2400 DK 3400 Victiv 4100 Yahoo 12
Opponent- Hou (Mchugh) R Park- @Oak
The catcher situation in the early slate is pretty grizzly, but I like Vogt. Even if he's tailed off significantly from his early season tear, he's still got a more than respectable season line for a guy you can get for such a low salary. He's got an .856 OPS against right handed pitching (and a .224 ISO), and a very solid approach that paints a picture of a guy who's doing more than getting lucky. McHugh isn't a horrible pitcher or anything, but again, this a really tough slate for catchers. I'm all about grabbing Vogt and escaping the position cheaply, here.

Late SlateDerek Norris - FD 2400 DK 3300 Victiv 3900 Yahoo 13
Opponent- Phi (Morgan) L Park- @Sd
Grabbing the lefty crushing Norris against a bad lefty feels like a no brainer. I'll justify the claim. The 26 year old Norris has an .833 OPS against left handed pitching for his career, and Morgan's 5.66 xFIP would be the very worst in the majors if he had pitched enough innings to qualify. It's not easy to hit bombs in Petco for sure, but Norris has power that can play anywhere. Love him for the upside here, and oddly for safety as well against a guy who doesn't strike anyone out.

Wilson Ramos - FD 2300 DK 3300 Victiv 4200 Yahoo 13
Opponent- Col (Flande) L Park- @Was
The high floor answer to the high upside Norris play, Wilson Ramos has hit the ball well recently, and has a similarly great righty/lefty match-up with fringe big-leaguer Yohan Flande. Flande had a FIP of 7 in AAA before the Rockies saw fit to call him up, and while he's getting by with a heavy dose of grounders so far, Ramos should be able to put a bunch of balls in play today. At these bargain basement prices, you don't need him to do a whole lot to justify these prices. Strictly a 50/50 or double-up play, but I'll certainly sprinkle him in there to offset Norris' potential downside.


First base

Early Slate
Pedro Alvarez - FD 2600 DK 3000 Victiv 4300 Yahoo
Opponent- Lad (Latos) R Park- @Pit
Good God, there is a dearth of good hitting (on a points per dollar basis) for the early slate of games today. Me? I'm gonna grab Syndergaard and go cheap at a lot of hitter spots. First base looks like it'll be one of them. I don't really love Alvarez necessarily, but 14 of his 15 homers have come against right handed pitching this season, and Mat Latos lacks the elite put-away stuff that tortures Alvarez when he sleeps at night. This one could wind up being a mess, but looking at the other options, I'm going to close my eyes and click it.

Late Slate
Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4000 DK 6000 Victiv 5800 Yahoo 20
Opponent- Cin (Sampson) R Park- @Ari
Whoa, I had written up the below guys before doing a double take at Goldschmidt's projection for tomorrow. So, you get a bonus pick! One of the greatest hitters on Earth, Goldschmidt has a near 1k OPS against right handed pitching (and don't even look at his numbers vs. lefties - they'll make you blush), and is particularly dominant at home. Keyvius Sampson averaged 5 BB per 9 across AA and AAA this season. He can't handle Goldie - not even close. This one could get embarrassing.

Joey Votto - FD 3800 DK 5300 Victiv 5600 Yahoo 20
Opponent- Ari (Ray) L Park- @Ari
It can feel odd to pay up for a slugger against his platoon splits, but let's get real - Votto has crushed pitchers of all handedness this season. He's got a .910 OPS against left handed pitching, and he'll be hitting in a very favorable environment for hitters here. Meanwhile, Robbie Ray has actually allowed a higher wOBA to left handed pitching this season, and while he's taken a significant step forward overall, he's certainly not a guy that should deter you from taking a hitter of Votto's caliber. I like this play in any format.

Ryan Zimmerman - FD 2600 DK 3700 Victiv 4500 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Col (Flande) L Park- @Was
Our projection system has been calling for a steady hand on Zimmerman as his price has descended, and he's demonstrated the meaning of the word "value play" in the last week. He's scored more than 3 FanDuel fantasy points in 5 of his last 8 games - a result that you'd be more than happy with in a 50/50 or double-up. He's been about .090 points better against left handed pitching during his career, and taking him against a below league average left hander like Yohan Flande feels like a very safe bet.


Second base

Early Slate
Neil Walker - FD 2800 DK 3200 Victiv 4700 Yahoo 15
Opponent- Lad (Latos) R Park- @Pit
Walker is a pretty unheralded guy, generally speaking, but our projection system tends to like him against below average right handed pitching. Latos might be more in the "average" category, but on this slate? We've got to stretch it a bit. Still, Walker has 10 homers and 3 steals in 347 PA against northpaws this season - moderate upside for a keystoner - and the price is reasonable enough that he'll have a hard time killing you.

Late Slate
Kolten Wong - FD 2800 DK 3700 Victiv 4800 Yahoo 15
Opponent- Mil (Peralta) R Park- @Mil
When you see him on a day to day basis, Wong is a pretty unsexy player. From a fantasy perspective - from a looks perspective he's obviously a perfect ten. Where was I? Wong. I mean. The Cardinals' second baseman. His 11 homers are 3rd highest at his position, and his 11 steals are tied for 6th. That's pretty darned good. He's been about .070 OPS points better against right handed pitching for his career, and taking him against the below league average Wily Peralta could yield more upside than your competitors realize. He's also a pretty safe play from where I'm sitting - he gets the DFSR stamp of approval for any format, really.

Anthony Rendon - FD 3000 DK 3600 Victiv 5200 Yahoo
Opponent- Col (Flande) L Park- @Was
Yep, you're spotting a trend! It's Nationals' right-hander day. Rendon, like the other Nats going today, has been dramatically better against left handed pitching during his career. He's a high floor play with a 13.8%:8.7% K%:B%, and even if he doesn't cut a classic upside profile, you don't necessarily need rockin' upside from the second base position in your 50/50s. I've given you the case against Flande already, but I think he'll have a very tough time with a polished hitter like Rendon.

Okay, if you want a true upside play you might have to grab Dee Gordon. Our system likes him fine, just not as high on an absolute points per dollar basis as the other guys.



Early Slate
Marcus Semien - FD 2800 DK 3100 Victiv 4000 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Hou (Mchugh) R Park- @Oak
I'm having a hard time recalling a position that has looked worse than shortstop for the early slate today, so here we are. Some will pay up for Brandon Crawford, but it's very hard to stomach paying up for him to that degree against the Cubs unless you really want the upside. So yeah, Semien!! I get it - no one is going to write any ballads about what the guy can do against right handed pitching, but this is really a case of "just who the hell else are you going to play?" Semien does have 10 homers and 10 steals, which is fairly godly for a terrible position. Just felt like throwing it out there.

If you have money, though, a lot of people will play Brandon Crawford. I'll probably just root around for someone who qualifies at the position who is going to get at bats at the minimum salary, though.

Late Slate
Jhonny Peralta - FD 2900 DK 4200 Victiv 5000 Yahoo 15
Opponent- Mil (Peralta) R Park- @Mil
Peralta's basically been platoon neutral this season, and he's on a squad with a lot of guys who get on base a lot more against right handed pitching. He's got the 2nd most homers of any shortstop in the majors, and the third highest wOBA for the position. But you can get him at a significant savings to the others in his tier for some reason. This looks like a solid play with decent big payoff potential.

Erick Aybar - FD 2200 DK 3200 Victiv 4300 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Bal (Jimenez) R Park- @ana
A strict opportunity play. While the late slate offers more potential than the early slate at the shortstop position, it's still no great shakes. Aybar will get his cuts behind some guys that can really hit, and is usually good for a positive score. Nothing to write home about, certainly, but he'll let you get some money in cheap so you can take some true upside talent elsewhere.


Third base

Early Slate
Adrian Beltre - FD 3600 DK 4200 Victiv 4900 Yahoo
Opponent- Sea (Montgomery) L Park- @Sea
Another guy our projection system has been patient on this season, Beltre's price has climbed above the absurd levels he could be had for earlier this year, but he still maintains a healthy amount of value against the left handed Mike Montgomery. His .253 BABIP against left handed pitching is a full .100 points off what it had been since moving over to Texas, and the underlying skills are still there. He's walked more than he's struck out against left handers this season, and he'll face Mike Montgomery, who's 3.07 ERA is more than a run better than his xFIP. I like him as a good way to spend up while you go cheap for value elsewhere.

Also considered: The hard-hitting Kris Bryant. He's been better against right handed pitching this year, and Matt Cain ain't the Matt Cain you remember.

Late Slate
Todd Frazier - FD 3200 DK 4700 Victiv 5300 Yahoo 16
Opponent- Ari (Ray) L Park- @Ari
As you probably could have guessed, if our system liked Votto against Robbie Ray, it loves the right handed Todd Frazier. The Reds' third baseman has a fantastic 27 homers and 10 steals this season, making him one of the very best upside plays at the position. And then there's his .972 OPS against left handed pitching. Yes, he's in a dry spell right now - but this is where you make your money in daily fantasy baseball. I'll play Frazier in every format in every contest today, and feel like I've got my money in damned good.

Matt Carpenter - FD 3600 DK 4600 Victiv 5200 Yahoo 18
Opponent- Mil (Peralta) R Park- @Mil
Only because I'm a man of my word, I'll give you one other play. The hot hitting Carpenter (averaging better than 6 FanDuel fantasy points a game since July 30 - just ridiculous) has a nice match-up here with Wily Peralta. I didn't base my claim against Peralta on anything earlier, so it seems appropriate to point out that his K rate has fallen off a cliff (below 6 Ks per 9 this season) and his xFIP is up to 4.22. Carpenter should be a nice high floor and high upside combo, if you decide to fade the Fraze.



Early Slate
Nelson Cruz - FD 5000 DK 5400 Victiv 5700 Yahoo 21
Opponent- Tex (Perez) L Park- @Sea
The man might be a 70% start, even at these prices. That'll happen when you hit a home run every damned day. The guy has a 1.200 OPS against left handed pitchers this season (no typo), so taking him against the generally embarrassing stuff Martin Perez has thrown up in his first 20 MLB innings this season seems like an easy call.

Jorge Soler - FD 2600 DK 3500 Victiv 4800 Yahoo 15
Opponent- SF (Cain) R Park- @Chc
Soler is actually .060 OPS points better against right handed pitching during his young career, and while it's far too early to say that that's who he is, it probably means at least that he can hit a northpaw. Meanwhile, everything's headed in the wrong direction for Cain (who many think was never really that great in the first place). His extreme flyball tendencies won't play as well in Chi-town as they do in San Fran, and this is a sneaky spot to grab a little upside on the cheap.

Josh Reddick - FD 2400 DK 3900 Victiv 4300 Yahoo 11
Opponent- Hou (Mchugh) R Park- @Oak
Reddick has had a bad week, but again, this is baseball, and this is exactly where value comes from. You can now grab a guy with 11 homers and 4 SB in 298 PA against right handed pitching this season for $2,400 on FanDuel, and the points per dollar upside is looking pretty darn hot. The early slate is fairly rough in the OF, and I'll grab Redick and his high contact rates with reasonable power at these prices any day.

Late Slate
Mike Trout - FD 4700 DK 5500 Victiv 6200 Yahoo 23
Opponent- Bal (Jimenez) R Park- @ana
Fascinatingly, our projection system actually likes Mike Trout better than Nelson Cruz on a points per dollar basis today. Thankfully you don't have to choose (unless you play one of the Satanic all-day 50/50s on FanDuel). The birthday boy has had nearly exactly a 1.000 OPS against both left and right handed pitching this season, but he's actually been about .050 OPS points better against right handed pitching for his career. While Jimenez is a better pitcher than many realize, he's certainly not among the handful that will scare you away from playing Trout. If you can afford him, he's my (uncontroversial) big money play of the day for the late slate.

Matt Kemp - FD 3000 DK 3800 Victiv 5000 Yahoo 16
Opponent- Phi (Morgan) L Park- @Sd
Justin Upton - FD 2800 DK 4300 Victiv 5000 Yahoo 16
Opponent- Phi (Morgan) L Park- @Sd
I spoke ill of Adam Morgan earlier, and the same holds true here. The Padres' big right handed bats can still destroy terrible pitching (it's those pesky good pitchers that have been a problem), and this is precisely the kind of match-up where they'll pad their stats. Definitely fine plays for 50/50s and double-ups, especially considering how well Morgan takes striking out out of the equation.

Rajai Davis - FD 2500 DK 3300 Victiv 4100 Yahoo 7
Opponent- Bos (Miley) L Park- @Det
My favorite way to pinch a penny at outfield, and maybe any position, today. Davis has a career .800 OPS against left handed pitching, and he'll lead off for a Tigers lineup that should absolutely torture what's left of Wade Miley. Miley's been solidly below league average since joining the Red Sox, and the .343 wOBA he's allowed to right handers this year doesn't bode well against the righty-heavy Tigers. Davis should have plenty of opportunity to get on base, steal bases, and score. Great floor here, with plenty of points per dollar ceiling.

Whew! That was a big slate. I obviously couldn't name everyone. If you want the rest of our picks, be sure to try out a free 3-day trial to the projection system that helps produce these picks for the MLB! And check out our free MLB ebook below.

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