Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, Victiv, and Yahoo 8/23/15

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, Victiv, and Yahoo.



Michael Wacha - FD 9200 DK 11000 Victiv
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
So, to be clear, we obviously like Clayton Kershaw best in terms of raw points projected for today's slate. And he's probably the safest option as well. But if you can't make a good lineup around Kershaw's incredibly high salary, I'd take a long look at Michael Wacha. Now, Wacha isn't a classic huge upside play. His 7.74 K/9 is nothing special, and he hasn't gone more than 7 innings in ages. So what gives? Well, first of all, the San Diego Padres give. They've got the 5th lowest wOBA and the 6th highest K% against right handed pitching this season, and are even worse than that at home. They also happen to be starting Colin Rea today. Rea had an xFIP over 4 in A+ ball last season, and was just OK in the minors in 2015. Great chance for a win, great chance for Wacha to pitch for a while, and do well along the way. I like him for any format.

Clayton Kershaw - FD 13000 DK 14800 Victiv
Opponent- Hou (McCullers) R Park- @Hou
Yup, the big old elephant in the room every time he starts. The question is always whether or not you can afford him. I'll give you the pros and cons, and let you decide. The Astros strike out a lot against left handed pitching - their 22.9% rate is the 4th highest in the majors. They've put together the 10th highest wOBA against left handed pitching this season, but their .315 wOBA isn't terrifying or anything. Lance McCullers is a good pitcher, and a win isn't a forgone conclusion or anything. Still, the Astros' strike out rate and Kershaw's general awesomeness make him a fine cash game play, even if he's too expensive for big tournaments.

Taijuan Walker - FD 6700 DK 7700 Victiv
Opponent- CWS (Danks) L Park- @Sea
Ah, your big tournament relief. Walker has a couple of monster starts under his belt this season, including a 23 FanDuel fantasy point performance against the Twins four starts ago. He's also got some average/bad starts. So, what do we like here? Well, he strikes out nearly a batter per inning, and even better, he tends to bunch those Ks together when he's really on. In a big tournament, you can take a shot on guys like that. Safeco's obviously a great place to pitch, so he's got that going for him as well. The White Sox are slightly below average against right handed pitching, and strike out and a higher than league average rate as well. Not a fantastic match-up, but definitely serviceable. John Danks is horrendous, meaning a win is more likely than usual. All in all, Walker is a great way to shoot for the stars and still spend up on hitting.


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Yasmani Grandal - FD 2800 DK 3200 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Hou (McCullers) R Park- @Hou
It always feel a little weird taking a hitter against a good pitcher, but this is one of those times where a too-low price and a good platoon split tilt the scales. Grandal's just more than a $2,800 catcher against right handed pitching, and as far as our projection system is concerned, it will take an ace to make him unaffordable here. He's got an .875 OPS against right handed pitching this season, and Houston's a friendlier place to hit than LA. There's some risk here, I suppose, but his power upside and reasonable price makes it worth it, to me.

Salvador Perez - FD 2200 DK 3500 Victiv 4700
Opponent- Bos (Rodriguez) L Park- @Bos
He's a 25 year old catcher with a career .768 OPS against left handed pitching, and he's facing a a below league average left hander in a great hitter's park for right handed hitting. I can definitely see him blistering balls off the Monster (or putting them over the Monster) all day long. And for the minimum salary? He's exactly the guy you want if you are spending up on Kershaw.

Update: Both Perez and Grandal are out today. If John Jaso is in the lineup, he makes a fine min-priced play from the leadoff slot. Miguel Montero is another cheaper option.

Buster Posey - FD 3300 DK 3700 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Pit (Liriano) L Park- @Pit
The guy you want if you're going for true upside at the position after saving up at pitcher. He's got a .964 OPS against left handed pitching in almost 900 career plate appearances against LHP. It's no fluke - Posey can mash a left handed pitcher. Now, Liriano is still something more than your average left handed pitcher, but after 4 crappy starts in a row, I don't mind rolling the dice in such a favorable platoon situation.


First base

Paul Goldschmidt - FD 4300 DK 5200 Victiv 5600
Opponent- Cin (Iglesias) R Park- @Cin
We gave you Goldschmidt last night against a righty as well, and through 4 innings he's 2 for 2 with a homer. Here's what we wrote, which absolutely applies today as well:

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.

It's like I can predict the future! Or I just make a lot of predictions, and some of them stick. One of those two. I like Goldie again on Sunday.

Edit: Okay! Call it 4/4 with 2 homers now. Not bad for a night's work.

Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3200 DK 4000 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Hou (McCullers) R Park- @Hou
It's just stupid how much prices change in daily fantasy baseball on a week to week basis. We gave you Gonzalez a week ago when he was coming off a slump, and he homered in back to back games. After a 4-5 game downer since then, his price has descended into too-cheap levels again, so here we are, recommending him. Gonzales has 21 homers and an .891 OPS against right handed pitching in 387 PA against them this season. That's too much production for this price, and like Grandal, his production outweighs a tough-ish pitcher match-up.

Justin Bour - FD 2400 DK 3200 Victiv 3200
Opponent- Phi (Nola) R Park- @Mia
When I recommend Kershaw, I always feel compelled to give at least one dirt cheap guy at each position. Bour's the guy at first base. He bats clean-up on a somewhat punchless Marlins team, but still! That's a lot of cuts for a guy priced this way. And he's had a near .800 OPS against right handed pitching this season, which is nothing to sneeze at. All 12 of his homers have come in 250 PA against right handed pitching, which is a high 20s season-long pace if he were somehow able to take all of his PAs against righties. But in this game, he just might have the chance! The righty he's facing today is the rather uninspiring Aaron Nola. Nola was a polished college prospect projected to eat innings in the back of a rotation somewhere, and probably hasn't realized even that potential yet. I like Bour for points per dollar upside, here.

Consider: Mark Teixeira, if he's healthy enough to play. His 25 homers in 311 PA against righties this season tells you about the upside, and he's affordable.


Second base

Brian Dozier - FD 3300 DK 4300 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Bal (Gausman) R Park- @Bal
Gave you Dozier in an identical spot last night, and so far he's 1/2 with a walk and an RBI. Not exactly explosive upside just yet, but that's always a threat with Doze. His 25 homers are nearly double the 2nd best guy at the position, and he's got 10 steals to go with them. He's pushing an .800 OPS against right handed pitching this season, making him playable against the right righties on the right night. Right? Right. Gausman is basically a rich man's Chris Tillman. Which is to say, he's not terrible, but he's still well below league average at this point. I like Dozier best in big tournaments when you want an explosive performance, though, just because he's more expensive than some safer points per dollar options.

Jonathan Schoop - FD 2400 DK 3800 Victiv 4200
Opponent- Min (Pelfrey) R Park- @Bal
Pelfrey is a dream match-up for any hitter, and B-more's a fine place to hit. But wait, there's more! Schoop has been a reverse platoon split guy early in his career, and while it's admittedly BABIP fueled to some degree, his .915 OPS is nothing to sneeze at, even in a small sample size. What really drives this ranking, though, is Mike Pelfrey. His incredible 4.42 K/9 is the 2nd worst in the majors, trailing just Mark Buehrle when it comes to futility in striking out opposing hitters. Take Ks off the table for a young upside guy like Schoop, and you have a fine play for any format.

Neil Walker - FD 3100 DK 3500 Victiv 4800
Opponent- SF (Vogelsong) R Park- @Pit
If you want to pay up a little extra, Walker might have upside equal to or higher than Brian Dozier. He's got 13 homers and 3 steals in 388 PAs against right handed pitching this season, and while that's not going to conjure up any images of Joe Morgan, it's not half bad for the position in today's game. And Vogelsong, for his part, has a worse xFIP than even Pelfrey this season. He's allowed an OPS .160 points higher on the road than at home this season, and an .850 OPS against left handed hitters. Yuge upside here, my friends, even if it doesn't look it at first blush.



Jose Reyes - FD 3600 DK 4900 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Nym (Verrett) R Park- @Col
Rev3nge game! For real, though. Reyes will be batting 2nd against a converted reliever in Colorado. While Reyes hasn't put up video game numbers in his time as a Rockie so far, he's been quite good recently, and he's still got electric upside, as evidenced by his 11 FanDuel fantasy point game against the Nats last week. If you're not familiar with Logan Verrett, you're not missing much. He's just starting in place of Harvey, and will be a lamb to the slaughter, here. Reyes is now priced the way he was in Toronto, and this match-up plus the park is too much to pass up on if you can afford him.

Jhonny Peralta - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 4300
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
I seem to recommend him every night, but what can I say? The price is too low. Lest I repeat myself, here's what I wrote last night:

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.

The one amendment here is that he's facing a significantly worse pitcher today in Colin Rea.

Erick Aybar - FD 2200 DK 2900 Victiv 4300
Opponent- Tor (Dickey) R Park- @ana
Your deep punt play, mostly for 50/50s and double-ups. He bats 6th behind some guys who can really hit, and while he doesn't do any real damage himself, he can still have a reasonable counting stats game in the right match-up. RA Dickey is just that. His 4.77 xFIP is the third worst in all the majors, and his knuckle-ball has gone all pumpkin-shaped on everyone. I'll take Peralta, but I don't blame you if you go with Aybar for safety's sake.

Third base

Matt Carpenter - FD 3500 DK 4100 Victiv 5000
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
It's a steep price to pay for Carpenter, but if you can afford him, he seems like the safest option at the position. Carpenter gets lots of plate appearances atop a good lineup, has been .070 OPS points better against right handed pitching for his career, and is generally a line-drive machine. Colin Rea was getting bludgeoned for a 4.66 FIP in AAA ball before the Padres called him up this season, presumably to continue to lose on purpose. No huge upside for him in Petco, but I like him plenty for cash games.

Adrian Beltre - FD 3200 DK 4300 Victiv 5400
Opponent- Det (Boyd) L Park- @Det
Beltre was on quite a tear before his last little slump, but all the slump has done is help keep his price down for the next ripe opportunity. Well, here you go. Matt Boyd probably has a future as a major league pitcher, but he hasn't come into the potential he'll need to handle the Rangers tough lineup. As for Beltre, he's still been the same old guy against lefties this season. He's walked more than he's struck out, posted a K% below 10%, and made plenty of hard contact. What's killed him is his BABIP. His .255 number is almost .100 points below last season's levels. Beltre's price will rise 10% if he comes anywhere near those numbers, and I frankly like him in any format.

Todd Frazier - FD 2700 DK 4700 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Ari (Anderson) R Park- @Cin
Your cheap option if you go expensive at pitching. We gave you Frazier in a near identical situation last night, and he paid the price going away. Well, today's a fine day to roll it back. Anderson's an arguably worse pitcher than Delgado, and Frazier and the Reds should have similar success here. He strikes out fewer guys, gives up more homers, and his pitch-to-contact approach gives up lots of big games. Here's to hoping Frazier gets a piece of one those tomorrow.



Jay Bruce - FD 2700 DK 3900 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Ari (Anderson) R Park- @Cin
The price is just not in line with what Bruce can do on a day to day basis. He's got a .229 ISO against right handed pitching this season, and his OPS is .070 points higher against northpaws. I've given you the skivvy on Anderson already, but it bears repeating: he's a disaster start waiting to happen, what with his low K rate and total lack of put-away stuff. Bruce always comes with risk, but at these prices, it might be too good to pass up.

Mike Trout - FD 4700 DK 4700 Victiv 5800
Opponent- Tor (Dickey) R Park- @ana
If you read Aybar's write-up, you could have probably seen this coming. Trout's got a 1K OPS against right handed and left handed pitching this season, but what he really does best is burn guys like Dickey alive. My man RA is just pitching batting practice at this point, and if you can afford him, Trout is the runaway pick as best high dollar guy for the evening.

Brett Gardner - FD 2900 DK 4000 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Cle (Bauer) R Park- @NYY
I made an executive decision to leave Gardner out of the picks last night, even though the projection system loved him. Woops. Well, I won't do it again tonight. Gardner brings a balanced power/speed approach that can put up a decent night in the right match-up, and especially against right handed pitching. Trevor Bauer has settled in as something far less than his prospect profile suggested he'd be. His 4.15 xFIP brands him as a below-average starter. Those don't do well against the lefty-heavy Yanks, and Gardner should take plenty of advantage from the top of the lineup.

Jason Heyward - FD 3400 DK 4100 Victiv 4700
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
In a bizarre twist of fate, Jason Heyward has turned into... Brett Gardner. Only more expensive, because hey, sweeter name, and there was that time he hit a ball really far during Spring training that "just had a different sound to it." But! He is still pretty good against right handed pitching, and his surprising willingness to run makes him an interesting daily fantasy baseball play when the going is good. He's better against right handed pitching, and Petco shouldn't depress his speed.

Adam Jones - FD 3700 DK 4800 Victiv 5600
Opponent- Min (Pelfrey) R Park- @Bal
Jones has been marginally better against right handed pitching over the course of his career, even if it hasn't been the case this season. Still, he's able to turn on even good right handed pitching, so facing one of the very worst pitchers in all of the major leagues makes this a pretty nice play. Jones is almost priced out of his playable price range, but this is literally the ideal match-up and park for him, so I'll give him one last go-round.

Dexter Fowler - FD 3300 DK 4400 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Atl (Wisler) R Park- @Chc
It's amazing I've made it this far without recommending a Cub. Our system was kinda high on others (like Rizzo), but it really likes Fowler. Matthew Wisler's 4.75 xFIP is extremely awful, and we love him here for the exact reason we gave you him as the best overall play for his slate last night. He leads off, gets tons of plate appearances, and can do just enough power/speed wise to put up a huge night when things break right.

Also considered: Joc Pederson, and a bunch of other cheaper plays - too many to name here. If you want those?


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2 Visitor Comments

  1. “Trout is the runaway pick as best high dollar guy for the evening.”

    Unless he’s injured. What else explains the decline. We’re way passed slump. He missed those two games on July 28/29th and hasn’t been the same since. In the 23 games since he took those days off : 2 Homeruns, 8 RBI, ZERO stolen bases, batting .197…. In the 3 games before the two days off he had 3 Homeruns and 7 RBIs…. Don’t root for or against the dude but he’s injured imo.

  2. Thomas,

    Thanks for the comment. In our opinion, unless there is evidence to suggest an injury (a team report, etc), then we are hesitant to speculate on that. Agreed that his troubles begin in August for sure with the K’s and GB% spiking (not good signs). But as long as a guy (especially one of Trout’s ability) is trotting out there, we don’t work to quantify a possible injury. Just want to let you know our process. Thanks again for the comment.

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