Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Victiv 8/21/15

This is of course a massive slate with a ton of great arms going. Let's dive into the value plays out there, but of course baseball's baseball and the player pool is huge. This is a place to start.

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Chris Sale - FD 12200 DK 13200 Victiv
Opponent- Sea (Hernandez) R Park- @Sea
Of all the big arms going today (and there are a lot of them) Sale stands out to me as the best bargain and it's not particularly close. Now understand, this doesn't necessarily imply the other pitchers will have bad games. Far from it. But with salaries in mind (as they always are with our picks), Sale is the guy. The Mariners are the 21st ranked team in wOBA against lefties this season and strike out 22% of the time in this split. Safeco depresses power all around which helps Sale avoid the long ball. Oh and of course, Sale's Sale. He's striking out close to 12 batters per nine with a 2.51 xFIP. He's on the short list for Cy Young in the A.L. and he'll cost you a boat load. But I think he's worth it on this slate where you'll need to roster a big arm.

Justin Verlander - FD 7700 DK 7300 Victiv
Opponent- Tex (Lewis) R Park- @Det
Actually recommended him last time out against the Astros and he paid. The thing is, Verlander has been a much different pitcher in the second half of the year. Like to a startling degree. Consider this: since the All-Star break Verlander is striking out eight batters an inning and has a 6:1 K:BB ratio. Those are real numbers and are helping him to (somewhat) turn his season around. This is a price play if you are looking to save a few bucks or get a second SP with some upside.

John Lackey - FD 9000 DK 9100 Victiv
Opponent- SD (Cashner) R Park- @SD
Another strict price play. The Padres are just brutal against righties this season. They strike out close to 22% of the time and rank 26th in the league against that hand. Lackey has the advantage of pitching in a great hitter's park and owning just good enough peripherals to get the job done. If you want to load up on bats somewhere else, his price point helps the cause.


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John Jaso - FD 2300 DK 2700 Victiv 3900
Opponent- Oak (Bassitt) R Park- @Oak
Today's picks are going to be a lot of price plays. That's to be expected when there are this many big arms going on a slate. We will need to find the value around the batting margins. We want to get decent hitters in advantageous matchups, hitting (preferably) higher in the lineup. Jaso fits the bill here. He typically hits leadoff when righties are on the mound. Chris Bassitt is an average righy with a 7 per nine K rate and a low 4's xFIP. Jaso's beat righties to an .821 OPS over the last couple of years and a .359 wOBA. He'll get pulled for a pitch hitter late in the game, so keep that in mind. But he's a punt play with a nice chance of getting on base today.

Russell Martin - FD 2500 DK 3200 Victiv 4600
Opponent- LAA (Santiago) L Park- @Ana
He's seen a big price dip over the short term thanks to a little slump. Love buying players at times like this. Sure, Hector Santiago isn't an ideal matchup, but it's tough to ignore the price on Martin. He's significantly better over the last couple of seasons against lefties with an .837 OPS. Hitting just below the middle of the Jay's lineup helps his cause as compared to some other catchers. Buying low on days with big arms is a great upside strategy.

Seriously consider Victor Martinez on FanDuel and Buster Posey

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First base

Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4400 DK 5600 Victiv 5600
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Cin
I know it can be hard continuing to pay for a guy when he burns you, and burns you and burns you again. And August has been a sorry story for Goldie, which is why we see the price at this point. The strikeouts are up and the power's been non-existent. Those are somewhat troubling signs though there hasn't been any injury news. It just could mean he's off kilter a bit. Who knows. What I do know is that again, the factors are lining up for him to beat his price by and then some. He's facing a brutal lefty in David Holmberg who's sporting an xFIP in the mid 5's. And like we've said many a time, Goldschmidt is about the best hitter in the league against lefty pitching. He mashes. The price on FD is about 30% or more lower than his top price. This is the ultimate buy low situation. I'll go down with this ship especially in a hitter's park.

Justin Bour - FD 2400 DK 3100 Victiv 3200
Opponent- Phi (Eikhoff) R Park- @Mia
I'll continue throwing him out there at punt prices while he hits in the middle of the order. Jared Eickhoff is a something prospect with a decent minor league K rate, but not enough to scare me off many of the Marlin "hitters". Bour just ekes out as above average against righty pitching, though the ballpark does him no favors. It's a cost thing. If you need to save in order to spend up for pitching you'll need dudes like this.

Consider James Loney in the same vein


Second base

Kolten Wong - FD 2400 DK 3300 Victiv 4400
Opponent- SD (Cashner) R Park- @SD
He's dropped in the order which doesn't help his cause but his struggles over the last month are almost primarily BABIP-related. In August that number sits at a putrid .182 and bad luck accounts for his price drop. Again, and I sound like a broke-ass record player right now, but these are the situations we look for when grabbing value. Find players who have run bad over the short term, seen a price dip and buy accordingly because baseball is nothing if not streaky. Because we can't predict streaks, we might as well scoop depreciated assets who stand to come out of a bad one.

Brian Dozier - FD 3400 DK 4700 Victiv 5200
Opponent- Bal (Chen) L Park- @Bal
Good ballpark and the right splits make Dozier an interesting play today. He's a mid .800's OPS guy over the last couple of seasons against lefties and he has the speed to really make a high ceiling. Wei-Yin Chen is an average arm and Camden Yards plays up power to righties. Dozier's price is a little high on DraftKings so I probably won't go there, but he's enough in the middle tier on FanDuel that you may be able to fit him depending on where you save elsewhere.

Consider Chase Utley if he's hitting leadoff or two for the Dodgers



Troy Tulowitzki - FD 3800 DK 4200 Victiv 5200
Opponent- LAA (Santiago) L Park- @Ana
Yeah, yeah, Hector Santiago has a sub-3 ERA. I get it. But the xFIP is actually in the mid 4's and I'm seeing Tulo coming at bargain prices right now. He's struggled for sure, but this is a short stop coming under 4K on FD (and affordable on DK as well) who's hitting leadoff and just happens to be one of the best hitters against lefties in all of baseball. His splits over the last couple of years (and really his whole career) are astounding. Even factoring in for what he did at Coors, his numbers are still elite. I'm buying low on these prices while the gettin's good.

Jimmy Rollins - FD 2700 DK 3000 Victiv 4800
Opponent- Mil (Fiers) r Park- @Hou
He's facing a bigger K guy in Michael Fiers which is less than promising. But Fiers is also prone to a wild side walking more than three batters per nine. Rollins, like Tulo (and this is the only way I would ever compare them) has the advantage of hitting leadoff for the Dodgers. Like we've said all season, this kind of plate appearance expectation is so important when you are simply looking for raw fantasy points. It's worth the downside of an extra out made even on a site like FanDuel. (Keep an eye on whether Chase Utley takes over the leadoff role here)

Consider Alcides Escobar

Third base

Todd Frazier - FD 2800 DK 4400 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Ari (de la Rosa) R Park- @Cin
Frazier's price on FanDuel is borderline ridiculous as it's dropped to a point where I think you basically need to play him there. It's a theme of these picks, but his salary plummet is almost solely thanks to a July and August BABIP of .244 and .205 respectively. He's seen the K's come up this month, but that might be him pressing. You won't see prices like this for .900 OPS guys hitting in the middle of the order who can handle the reverse split. To me, he's a must start on FanDuel and if you aren't paying a ton for pitching, the DK price is solid as well.

Outside of Frazier, consider going cheap with guys like Trevor Plouffe, Martin Prado or Danny Valencia



Byron Buxton - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 3500
Opponent- Bal (Chen) L Park- @Bal
The young would-be, could-be phenom hit leadoff for the Twins last night and if that sticks then I'm all over the pricing here. Dude K's a lot for sure, but if the the Twins are willing to give him a long leash then grabbing him at close to punt prices gives you a lot of upward mobility. He's one of the elite prospects in the game and has that label for a reason. Without knowing too much about his splits, I'm willing to play him against the the lefty Chen in a hitter's park.

A.J. Pollock - FD 4200 DK 5300 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Cin
Yasmany Tomas - FD 2400 DK 3800 Victiv 4100
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Cin
I really overstate how bad David Holmberg is on the mound. With a D-Back's team that handles lefties, well there are a lot of stacking chances in this matchup. Pollock's put up a .900 OPS over the last two seasons against lefties with a .384 OBA. He makes a ton of contact and even at a steeper price, is a solid bet for some production today. If you are looking to go a little cheaper then consider Tomas who's had a bunch of success in this split. I love the ballpark and this game stands to have a lot of runs put up.

Jay Bruce - FD 2900 DK 3600 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Ari (de la Rosa) R Park- @Cin
You have to take what you can get with a guy like Bruce. He's put up a .234 ISO this season against righties, but you need to be willing to live with the downside. He strikes out a lot and isn't the safest play on any given slate. He's going in a great hitter's park against a non-elite K guy in Rubby de la Rosa. More of a tournament play for me, but there's upside for sure.

Consider Marlon Byrd if he gets the start with the Giants

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