Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Victiv 8/22/15

Happy weekend, my friend. If you're new to DFSR, here's how the Saturday picks work. It'd be silly to give you a full set of picks for the tiny slate and the bigger later slate, so here's what I'll do. I'll go ahead and give you one guy to target in the early slate for each position, and a couple of top guys from the late slate. If you want the rest? Go ahead and have a free three day trial of our 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 Victiv.



Early Slate
Danny Salazar - FD 9200 DK 11400 Victiv
Opponent- NYY (Severino) R Park- @NYY
Oy, the early slate is not pretty for top tier pitching. Both Salazar and the other top price option (Gerrit Cole) are up against very good offensive teams, so let me explain why I went with Salazar for my 50/50 games. Let's actually compare him straight up to Cole. The Giants are have a higher wOBA against right handed pitching and strike out less against RHP than the Yankees do. Chris Heston is a better pitcher than Luis Severino. On the other side, Cole is probably a better pitcher than Salazar straight up (though the gap is smaller than you think), and Yankee Stadium is a tougher place to pitch than Pittsburgh. Really, the likelihood that Salazar can get the W and his higher K rate are what push him to the top of the heap for me, here. He also scored 18 FanDuel fantasy points against the Yankees two starts ago. But no one will blame you if you just flip a coin.

Late Slate
Sonny Gray - FD 10700 DK 11600 Victiv
Opponent- TB (Ramirez) R Park- @Oak
If safety is your game, I'm all over Sonny Gray, here. The Rays have struck out at the 4th highest rate in the majors against right handed pitching, and have managed just the 3rd worst wOBA against righties. Oakland is a fantastic place to pitch, and while Erasmo Ramirez has improved, his 4.05 xFIP is still below league average. Gray isn't an ace's ace or anything - far from it. His 2.06 ERA is largely luck driven, but this is one of those cases where the excellent match-up makes up the difference between Gray's ERA inflated price and his true value. Let's be clear, though - this is strictly a 50/50 and double-up play.

Carlos Rodon - FD 6800 DK 7100 Victiv
Opponent- Sea (Nuno) L Park- @Sea
Oh man, this one is just so tempting. For large tournaments. Never, ever for double-ups. Rodon is a blue-chip prospect with electric stuff who put up video game K totals in the minors before forcing the White Sox's hand in bringing him to the majors. He's still extremely raw (his 4.88 BB/9 is an embarrassment), and he has some real stinkers on his resume. But he offers a level of upside you just don't find at these price points elsewhere. He's got 2 20 FanDuel point starts in his last 5 - more than any other pitcher going today. As for Seattle, they've got the 10th lowest wOBA in the majors against LHP, and are middle of the pack in terms of K rate. They're also worse at home - Safeco is a place where batters go to die. This could be another one of Rodon's monster starts, or it could be a stinker. But in a big tournament? You can take the gamble.


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Early Slate
Miguel Montero - FD 2200 DK 3300 Victiv 4000
Opponent- Atl (Perez) R Park- @Chc
Sometimes these early weekend slates leave us in terrible spots at catcher, but this is a clear exception. Montero remains very reasonably priced after a slow start to the season, but he's actually been great in his last 10 games or so. He's averaged 2.1 FanDuel points per game in that time and shown a very high floor. Today he'll face Williams Perez, whose 5.12 xFIP would be the 2nd worst in the majors if he had enough innings to qualify. The left handed Montero should have no trouble making lots of hard contact here. I love him for every format, especially considering your other options.

Late Slate
Salvador Perez - FD 2300 DK 3600 Victiv 4700
Opponent- Bos (Barnes) R Park- @Bos
The evening catcher slate is looking a lot more grizzly than the early one. Perez, though, is an intriguing option. While he's been worse against righties for his career, his .777 OPS against them in 2015 is a fine number for a guy you're getting at near minimum prices. In addition, Matt Barnes isn't going to invoke any memories of Bob Gibson. His 4.30 xFIP this season tells the story of who he is - a below average innings eater who's doing just that until Steven Wright returns. Boston is a nice place to hit for right handed batters, and while Perez has some strike-out downside, I can still picture playing him anywhere in a bad slate for the position.

Jonathan Lucroy - FD 2500 DK 3300 Victiv 4500
Opponent- Was (Ross) R Park- @Was
I'm going to go ahead and call him the high floor answer to Salvador Perez, even though his year to date track record hasn't really justified it. Lucroy's season line is odd. His K's are slightly up, his ISO is slightly down (and largely due to early season injuries), and his BABIP is about .030 points off of his established levels. But his OPS is off by .200 points. Lucroy is probably worse from a true talent level than he was in 2014, but he's also been very unlucky. This has turned a little bit of late, and he's still priced like a bottom of the barrel guy. Today he'll face Joe Ross, who's come crashing down to expected levels in his last two starts. I can't say I love this play, but I'm projecting a higher floor for him than Perez.


First base

Early Slate
Freddie Freeman - FD 3300 DK 4400 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Chc (Haren) R Park- @ChC
Taking lefties against Dan Haren gets me sadly excited. Like, grown man just shouldn't get this excited about fantasy sports. But Haren's up in the zone, pitch to contact style just doesn't work against hard hitting lefties. He has the 7th highest xFIP in the majors, and has allowed an .853 OPS to lefties of all stripes this season. Freeman is something better than your average lefty, and while he doesn't have the top shelf upside of some one-baggers, he can absolutely get it done in the right match-up. Against a bad fly-ball pitcher in Wrigley? That qualifies.

Late Slate
Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4400 DK 5500 Victiv 5600
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
I waffled back and forth between Goldschmidt and Abreu for this top slot, and ultimately landed on Goldie for the top slot because of his upside. In spite of a recent slump, he's still got a 1K OPS on the season, and a .977 OPS against right handed pitching. Desclafani and his 4.25 xFIP aren't scaring anyone, and Cinci is a great place to hit. I love Goldschmidt while he's a buying opportunity before his next, inevitable hot streak.

Jose Abreu - FD 4000 DK 4600 Victiv 5400
Opponent- Sea (Nuno) L Park- @Sea
If you can swing it, it really looks like a day to spend up at first base. Through 264 PA in the majors, Abreu has a .942 OPS against left handed pitching. That's really good. I've also noticed (total anecdote coming here) that he seems a lot more comfortable with the less than top tier pitchers, which is normal for everyone, but in particular guys coming from lesser leagues throughout the world. Seattle's not an easy place to blast the ball, but Abreu's power can play anywhere, and I don't mind taking a shot on him here.

If he plays, Mike Napoli is a pretty juicy option.


Second base

Early Slate
Jason Kipnis - FD 3300 DK 4700 Victiv 5000
Opponent- NYY (Severino) R Park- @NYY
Kipnis has finally returned to reasonable prices after quite a spell at absurd levels based on some early season BABIP luck. While it's still BABIP fueled, the guy has a .978 OPS against right handed pitching this season, which is just ridiculous for the second base position, and triply ridiculous at these very reasonable prices. Luis Severino is a real prospect, but he's still very raw, and Kipnis is so affordable that it's hard to imagine playing anyone else on this slate.

Late Slate
Kolten Wong - FD 2400 DK 3300 Victiv 4400
Opponent- SD (Kennedy) R Park- @SD
Kolten Wong is pretty abysmal against left handed pitching, but against right handed pitching, he's... decent? Wong is far from a huge upside guy, but his .779 OPS against righties and his good contact rate mean you could do a lot worse in a relatively shallow slate in a double-up format. Ian Kennedy's a basically league average pitcher at this point in his career, so he shouldn't spook you. This is a straight points per dollar value play. He's unlikely to kill you, but unlikely to go off, here.

Brian Dozier - FD 3400 DK 4400 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Bal (Tillman) R Park- @Bal
I don't like him nearly as much on a points per dollar basis as Wong, but for upside at the position in the late slate, he's in a tier by himself. His 25 home runs are nearly twice as many as the next highest guy at the position, and his 10 steals are a top 10 number at 2B as well. He's definitely better against lefties, but he's pushed his OPS against righties to nearly .800 this season (including 19 of those homers in 364 PA), making him a more than reasonable option in the right match-up. Enter Chris Tillman. The poor ex-prospect is striking out fewer batters, walking more batters, and allowing more home runs. This has led to his highest xFIP since 2011. Some downside risk with Dozier's K rate here, but I love him for big tournaments if you can afford him.

Another very safe guy: Johnny Giavotella.



Early Slate
If I could play nobody at shortstop in the early slate, I probably would. Our projection system likes Andrelton Simmons best on a points per dollar basis. Are you excited, yet? I guess I like Francisco Lindor for upside, but man, this slate is really rough for shortstops.

Late Slate
Jhonny Peralta - FD 2400 DK 3200 Victiv 4300
Opponent- SD (Kennedy) R Park- @SD
Just another points per dollar value play. He's a shortstop with a .765 OPS against right handed pitching this season, he's 2nd in the majors at his position in home runs, and 4th in the majors at SS in wOBA. He bats third on his team! I get that Kennedy's not a terrible pitcher, and Petco is a bad place to pitch. But $2,400 for Peralta on FanDuel? Give me a break. I'm happy to play him everywhere.

Jimmy Rollins - FD 2700 DK 3300 Victiv 4800
Opponent- Hou (Kazmir) L Park- @Hou
If you want the big upside guy at the position, take a look at Rollins. Kazmir is not a bad pitcher, but his 3.77 xFIP is a lot more telling of his current talent level than his sub 3 ERA. Rollins has a near .800 OPS against lefties this season, bats leadoff for a good hitting team, and his 12 homers and 9 steals are both near the top of the league for his position. And he's cheap! He's got a lower floor than Peralta for me, here, but I love him in big tournaments.


Third base

Early Slate
Kris Bryant - FD 3600 DK 4800 Victiv 5200
Opponent- Atl (Perez) R Park- @Chc
The daily Bryant disclaimer - he's only an upside play. Now that that's out of the way, everyone's floor goes up when facing a low/no stuff guy like Perez. Perez has a 5.54 K/9 and a 4.46 BB/9 this season. Come on. I mean, come on. This is exactly the type of pitcher that Bryant built his godly minor league track record on.

Also considered: Josh Harrison.

Late Slate
Todd Frazier - FD 2700 DK 4800 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Ari (Delgado) R Park- @Cin
We normally give you Frazier without reservation only against left handed pitching, but the combination of Delgado and these prices make it just too ripe to pass up. Delgado is your stock below league average guy, and he's actually allowed a similar batted ball profile to both right handed and left handed hitters over the course of his young career. Really, it's his foul walk rate that holds him down. If he makes a mistake in the zone against Frazier, it could wind up as yard work. This one could be a bust as well, but sometimes you just have to take high upside/low floor guys in any format because the price is no longer justified. That's the case here.

Mike Moustakas - FD 2300 DK 4000 Victiv 4400
Opponent- Bos (Barnes) R Park- @Bos
Your cheap, boring option. Moustakas is a lot less exciting now that Zobrist rightfully replaced him in the two hole, but his high-contact approach and reasonable pop make him a nice play against the right handed Barnes in a great hitter's park. I think he's a very nice option if you're scared to go with Frazier in a righty/righty spot.



Early Slate
Dexter Fowler - FD 3400 DK 4600 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Atl (Perez) R Park- @Chc
That Williams Perez sweepstakes thing again. Fowler does three things well: hit for decent power, run for a decent amount of steals, and get tons of plate appearances. Perez should allow for a disproportionate amount of all of those things. While I generally don't like to pay this much for guys that aren't true power threats, this might be an exception. I'm fine with Fowler in any format.

Starling Marte - FD 3400 DK 4600 Victiv 5100
Opponent- SF (Heston) R Park- @Pit
Gregory Polanco - FD 3100 DK 4200 Victiv 4800
Opponent- SF (Heston) R Park- @Pit
A little double-Pirate outfielder stack against Chris Heston. I love both of these guys as power/speed threats against Heston, who's allowed a SLG .070 points higher on the road this season. And really, the early slate is so shallow that beggars can't totally be choosers. Atlanta doesn't have anyone that can hit in the OF, we already gave you Fowler, and the rest of the potential pitchers are all pretty good. I'll grab these guys at reasonable prices and expect for a decent floor with some potential running upside.

Late Slate
Mike Trout - FD 4800 DK 4600 Victiv 5800
Opponent- Tor (Estrada) R Park- @ana
My favorite big money play of the day after Goldschmidt, but that should be no big surprise. Trout can hit anybody, and Estrada's best days are behind him. I won't bore you with more Trout praise - just play the guy.

Jay Bruce - FD 2800 DK 4100 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Ari (Delgado) R Park- @Cin
Even if Bruce isn't the MVP some thought he'd be, the man still has bell-tower power, and especially against right handed pitching. I've said enough about Delgado so far, so I'll just say this - it's hard to imagine getting more upside on a points per dollar basis from any position today. Or Bruce could strike out 4 times. But if you're trying to catch lightning in a bottle in a big tournament, I love Bruce here.

Ben Zobrist - FD 3800 DK 4600 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Bos (Barnes) R Park- @Bos
The high-floor answer if you don't want to play Jay Bruce. Our projection system has been promoting Zobrist all season, and those with a steady hand have been rewarded on a pretty much nonstop basis for the last long while. Well, now Zobrist is pretty expensive - but his situation has improved dramatically. He's hitting 2nd in a great lineup, and today he'll be doing that against a young (and kinda bad) pitcher in a great hitter's park. Zobrist has walked more than he's struck out this season, and has his highest ISO since 2012. He's just a great player, and this is a great spot. No two ways about it.

For huge upside, Cuddyer against a lefty in Coors is looking mighty fine. He's been awful this season, but he's a season removed from putting up a huge pile of stats in Coors.

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1 Visitor Comment

  1. Hi James,
    You see no value whatsoever in taking Gray in a GPP?


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