Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Justin Koenig

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo and Victiv 8/12/15

Justin Koenig is back giving some plays for Wednesday's slate
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Today’s games include an early slate and a late slate of games. The early slate is a real piece of work, so I’m personally going to stay away from it. If you’re feeling extra courageous we’ve got a couple picks for the early slate, but I’ll be focusing most of my attention to the late slate of games.


Early Slate
Chris Heston - FD 7400 DK 9000 Victiv Yahoo
Opponent- Hou (Feldman) R Park- @SF
The early slate of pitching is something awful today as there are no truly reliable pitching options to lean on. If I had to put my money on someone (which I’m not for full disclosure) it would have to be on Chris Heston. His strikeout numbers aren’t going to blow anyone away, but he will be helped by the Astro’s second highest strikeout rate against righties. Heston also possesses a solid xFIP and a really high GB rate of almost 56%. This is far from a slam-dunk as the Astro’s are an above average hitting team against righties, but the rest of the slate is just that bad that I would take my chances with Heston and load up on hitters.

Strongly consider James Shields

Late Slate
Clayton Kershaw - FD 13000 DK 14200 Victiv Yahoo 70
Opponent- Was (Zimmermann) R Park- @Lad
Finally, some decent pitching options! Now I know he’s extremely pricey and I know he got beat up a bit in his last outing, but I really like Kershaw against the Nationals. Kershaw has had some stellar games this year, and he’s been even more dominant than usual at home. I won’t pretend that the Nationals aren’t a formidable team, but the last time he faced them he struck out 14 over 8 scoreless innings. For 50/50’s and double-ups, I’m going with the former Cy Young winner to give me a solid score with the potential for another 10+ K gem.

Jacob deGrom - FD 11300 DK 11400 Victiv Yahoo 54
Opponent- Col (de la Rosa) L Park- @Nym
I have a feeling that spending up on pitching is going to be a common theme for the late slate, so I’m sticking with the big guns here. DeGrom is arguably the best young pitcher in baseball, and possesses one of the highest K/9 ratios for starting pitchers. That pairs nicely with the Rockies above average strikeout ratio against righties. The majority of the Rockies struggle away from the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, and Citi Field is a long way from Colorado. I don’t like DeGrom as much as I like Kershaw, but consider him if you want some additional lineup flexibility.
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Early Slate
Buster Posey - FD 4400 DK 4400 Victiv 5300 Yahoo 20
Opponent- Hou (Feldman) R Park- @SF
The early slate for today is full of great hitting matchups, and Posey at the catcher spot is one of the best. Feldman has one of the lowest K/9 rates in the bigs, meaning Posey is going to get plenty of opportunities to make solid contact. Combining that with Posey’s .872 OPS against righties makes this matchup that more one-sided. Being in the middle of a lefty-heavy lineup also gives Posey a lot of protection, so I’m looking forward to him having a big day.

Late Slate
John Jaso - FD 2600 DK 3100 Victiv 3900 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Atl (Wisler) R Park- @TB
In order to fit the big arms in, you’re going to have to save at as many positions as possible. Catcher is one of the those positions that offers great points/$ potential, and Jaso certainly fits that description. It’s rare to find a catcher that hits lead-off, which makes his potential even higher. That’s not even mentioning his matchup against Matt Wisler, who quite honestly doesn’t have any business being in the majors right now. I like Jaso in all formats for the late slate.

Salvador Perez - FD 2500 DK 3300 Victiv 4500 Yahoo 13
Opponent- Det (Norris) L Park- @KC
While I like Jaso much more than Perez, he at least deserves a mention against a weaker left-handed pitcher. Perez has been solid against lefties throughout his career, and possesses the power upside that most catchers are lacking. I have a feeling that Jaso will be a popular pick in most formats, so if you want to go against the grain for a big tournament, Perez is a good bet with some decent upside.


First base

Early Slate
Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4600 DK 5600 Victiv 5800 Yahoo 20
Opponent- Phi (Nola) R Park- @Ari
He’s no longer a must play because his salary has risen over the past few days, but I still like Goldschmidt at first base. I won’t bore you with his MVP candidate numbers because I’m sure you’re aware of them, so instead I’ll focus on his pitching matchup. Aaron Nola is a mostly unproven MLB pitcher, who has a below average K/9 ratio and has benefited from inducing a lot of ground balls over is short big league career. Two things that Goldschmidt is really good at is making solid contact and lifting the ball, so I like him as a safe play with lots of upside.

Late Slate
Anthony Rizzo - FD 4200 DK 5400 Victiv 5600 Yahoo 19
Opponent- Mil (Garza) R Park- @Chc
While he’s cooled off a little in the past couple of games, Rizzo has been scorching hot over his past ten games. He's been solid against righties this year, and has especially turned it up over the past two weeks. Matt Garza has been subpar this year, sporting a K/9 ratio of 6.33 and an xFIP of 4.29. Garza also allows almost 1.4 HR’s per 9, so hitters are going to get opportunities to hit the long ball. I think the Cubs are going to hurt Garza quite a bit today, and I’m looking at Rizzo to be a big part of that.

Joe Mauer - FD 2300 DK 3600 Victiv 4400 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Tex (Martinez) R Park- @Min
While I really like Rizzo today, he might be difficult to fit into your lineup with all the pitching available. If you need some salary relief, Joe Mauer is certainly the way to go. Mauer hasn’t exactly set the world on fire with his bat this year, but he’s been solid against righties and hits in a favorable lineup spot. He's facing a guy who has one of the lowest K/9 ratios I’ve ever seen (5.29) means he’ll put plenty of balls in play. For his near minimum salary, Mauer is a solid play with some solid upside for tournaments.


Second base

Early Slate
Chase Utley - FD 2400 DK 3100 Victiv 4200 Yahoo
Opponent- Ari (Anderson) R Park- @Ari
Never in a million years did I think I would recommend a guy who’s batting below the Mendoza line, but here I am giving you Utley as my pick for second base. Utley has been really struggling this year, but has scored above 2.5 FD points in his last three games, so there is reason to believe that he might be turning the corner. Not to mention that Anderson is a below average big league pitcher who struggles to strike hitters out. Utley has always been a solid hitter of righty pitching, and I think that he’s a good option if you want to save a little cash at a position that doesn’t have a whole lot to offer.

Late Slate
Brian Dozier - FD 3200 DK 4500 Victiv 5400 Yahoo 18
Opponent- Tex (Martinez) R Park- @Min
Second base in the late slate is a crapshoot, so I wouldn’t blame you if you want to spend low on this position. But if you have a little extra cash, I would take a look at Dozier. As I mentioned with Mauer, Nick Martinez doesn’t possess strikeout stuff, so Dozier’s high K rate against righties becomes much less concerning. And when he’s not striking out against righties, Dozier has been putting up solid hitting numbers. Throw in the fact that he’s in a good position to score a bunch of runs means that Dozier could have a big game if the Twins get hot.

Johnny Giavotella - FD 2600 DK 3100 Victiv 3600 Yahoo 12
Opponent- CWS (Danks) L Park- @cws
I can’t say I really love this pick, but that’s just how bad this position is today. Giavotella has a favorable spot in the lineup ahead of some big hitters who absolutely crush left-handed pitching. John Danks has been less than serviceable this year, particularly against right-handed batters who have a combined 0.877 OPS against him this year. He’s far from a guarantee to produce big numbers, but if he can get on base he’ll get plenty of chances to score some runs.



Early Slate
Xander Bogaerts - FD 3300 DK 4300 Victiv 4300 Yahoo 16
Opponent- Mia (Conley) L Park- @Mia
Unless he’s facing an ace, Bogaerts is a must play against southpaws. He’s been destroying lefties this year to the tune of a .390/.429/.505 hitting split. In particular that batting average is one of the highest I have ever seen for a platoon split, and it only gets better from there. Conley has been terrible in the short amount of work he’s had in his big league career, and would have one of the highest xFIP in the majors if he qualified. I think Bogaerts is going to have a field day here, and I would play him in all formats.

Late Slate
Alcides Escobar - FD 2300 DK 3600 Victiv 4400 Yahoo 14
Opponent- Det (Norris) L Park- @KC
I’m going to recommend that you use the SS position as a punt play in all formats because it is even worse than 2nd base tonight. Escobar has put up over 2 FD points in each of his last five games, and just getting positive points from a near minimum priced player is a victory in itself. His favorable leadoff spot against a weak left-handed pitcher only increases his value. I’m going with Escobar in all formats for the late slate.

Erick Aybar - FD 2200 DK 3100 Victiv 4400 Yahoo 14
Opponent- CWS (Danks) L Park- @cws
This is strictly an against the grain high upside pick, because I think Escobar is the best option at SS tonight. Aybar has been an average hitter against lefty pitching this year and over his career, but the true value of this play comes from the hitters around him. Similar to Giavotella, there’s a decent chance the Angels have a big offensive game tonight, and if that’s the case Aybar will have plenty of RBI opportunities that could really boost his value.

Third base

Early Slate
Matt Duffy - FD 3300 DK 3800 Victiv 4900 Yahoo 15
Opponent- Hou (Feldman) R Park- @SF
Third base is really crappy in the early slate, so I’m giving you the guy with the highest upside. Duffy is one of those rare hitters who has reverse platoon numbers, and has an OPS that is 0.200 points higher against righties than lefties. To prove the point, 18 of his 20 doubles this year and 6 of his 9 home runs have come against right-handed pitching. As I mentioned with Posey, Feldman will give Duffy plenty of opportunities to hit, and I expect him to produce with those opportunities.

Late Slate
Miguel Sano - FD 2800 DK 4200 Victiv 4000 Yahoo 18
Opponent- Tex (Martinez) R Park- @Min
Trevor Plouffe - FD 3000 DK 4000 Victiv 4700 Yahoo 11
Opponent- Tex (Martinez) R Park- @Min
By now I’m sure you’re starting to recognize a trend of how I feel about Nick Martinez as a big league pitcher. I kind of feel like I’m personally attacking the guy at this point, but he’s truly been that bad. But anyways, moving on. Both of these guys have been solid against right-handed pitching this year, and both guys possess a good amount of power upside. Given the choice between the two, I’d have to choose Sano because his OPS is over 1.000 against righties this year, not to mention he’s a little cheaper than Plouffe. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lineup stack against the Rangers ended up winning a tournament tonight, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if one of these guys was in that lineup.


Early Slate
A.J. Pollock - FD 4200 DK 4900 Victiv 5100 Yahoo 19
Opponent- Phi (Nola) R Park- @Ari
Pollock has been one of the best fantasy producers this year because he provides solid power upside with base-stealing speed. His stellar numbers against lefties are nearly identical to his numbers against righties, and he’s been on a tear recently producing three or more FD points in 3 of his last 6 games. As I mentioned earlier, Nola is just not a proven big league pitcher, and I’m looking for Pollock to capitalize on that. Leading off in front of a lineup that has been hot recently means he’ll have plenty of opportunities to get on base and score some runs.

Preston Tucker - FD 3100 DK 3100 Victiv 3600 Yahoo 14
Opponent- SF (Heston) R Park- @SF
I know I gave Heston as my pitcher for the early slate, but I’m not entirely convinced that he’s going to have a great game. Houston has been above average against righties this year thanks to hitters like Preston Tucker, who boasts a wOBA of 0.369 and an OPS of just over 0.850. San Francisco isn’t a great place to hit home runs, but Tucker has proven that he’s got power that translate to parks other than Minute Maid Park. I like Tucker as a mid-priced option that has quite a bit of upside.

Gregor Blanco - FD 2200 DK 2800 Victiv 3300 Yahoo 8
Opponent- Hou (Feldman) R Park- @SF
This is purely a value play because Blanco hits near the top of the order and will get plenty of chances to hit. He’s been significantly better against righties this year, and not to beat a dead horse, but I personally do not believe in Scott Feldman as a big league pitcher. Play Blanco here so save some cash in order to spend up on some bigger bats at other positions.


Late Slate
Lorenzo Cain - FD 3800 DK 4800 Victiv 5100 Yahoo 19
Opponent- Det (Norris) L Park- @KC
Similar to Xander Bogaerts, Cain is nearly a must play against lefty pitching. His numbers against lefties are incredible this year, with a hitting split of 0.357/0.424/0.605. Norris is a below average big league pitcher who has some serious control issues, and I expect Cain to have another big game (he’s gone over 5 FD points in his last 4 games). I know he’s going to be difficult to squeeze into a lineup with a top pitcher, but I would make an effort to include him if possible.

Mitch Moreland - FD 3300 DK 4400 Victiv 4300 Yahoo 10
Opponent- Min (Pelfrey) R Park- @Min
Moreland is another guy who might be tough to squeeze into your lineup, but I definitely would if you can. He’s got great numbers against righties this year (0.307/0.357/0.564), and he’s got a great matchup against Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey has an even lower K/9 rate than Nick Martinez, which I didn’t even think was possible until I looked it up. Combine that with Moreland’s 0.323 BABIP against righties over the past two years, and this becomes a safe play with some high power upside as well.

Yasiel Puig - FD 2700 DK 3000 Victiv 4800 Yahoo 16
Opponent- Was (Zimmermann) R Park- @Lad
I know that Zimmerman is no scrub, but Puig has been an above average hitter against righties over the past two years. He’s got a wOBA of 0.380 to go along with a 0.868 OPS, both of which are elite numbers. Also in his favor, Zimmerman has been significantly worse pitching on the road this year. This is by no means a slam dunk pick, but at such a low price, it’s difficult to overlook Puig here.

Joc Pederson - FD 2500 DK 3300 Victiv 4500 Yahoo 13
Opponent- Was (Zimmermann) R Park- @Lad
Again, I know that Zimmerman is a decent pitcher, but he has struggled some against lefties this year. Pederson has been in quite the HR drought, and that’s part of the reason his price has dropped so low. Even though he’s been struggling of late, Pederson still has 18 HR’s against righties this year. This is strictly a power upside pick that I would only seriously consider in a tournament if I was going with a top pitcher, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Pederson have a breakout power game here.

Josh Reddick - FD 2500 DK 4200 Victiv 4500 Yahoo 11
Opponent- Tor (Buehrle) L Park- @Tor
He’s featured frequently on this site when he’s up against righties, but that’s because he typically provides salary relief without sacrificing points. Reddick is batting 0.311 and has an OPS of 0.863 against righties this season, numbers that are much higher than his currently salary should dictate. Mark Buehrle doesn’t scare me even a little bit, and I think Reddick is a very safe play that also has potential to produce some big numbers.

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