Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Justin Koenig

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo and Victiv 8/27/15

Editor's Note: Contributor Justin Koenig is back again to give you the 411 (slang for information) on Thursday's double slate. Heed what he's saying people. 

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We've got both an early slate and a late slate today, or as I like to call it the Dodgers and the non-Dodgers slate. But more on that in a little bit. We've been on a roll the past couple of days and I don't see any reason for it to slow down now. Time to keep it rolling with Thursday's plays.


Early Slate
Madison Bumgarner - FD 12600
Bumgarner has been pretty hot as of late, and I don’t see any reason to stop rolling with him. Other than his last start against a Pittsburg team that is one of the best against lefties, Bumgarner has gone for 27, 24, and 19 on Fanduel. Now he gets a great matchup in the Chicago Cubs, who strike out more than any team in the majors against southpaw pitching. I know the Cubs have been hot as of late, but I’m looking for Bumgarner to cool them off and keep his own hot streak alive.

Also consider Zack Greinke. I don’t like him as much as Bumgarner, but the pitching for the early slate is pretty abysmal other than these two. Greinke provides a little more salary relief, but doesn’t have as much upside.

Late Slate
Gerrit Cole - FD 10000 DK 12900 Victiv
Opponent- Mia (Nicolino) L Park- @Mia
Probably the safest option on the late slate comes in the form of Gerrit Cole. His salary isn’t high enough to really hurt you, and he’s got a great matchup against a Marlins team that ranks dead last in both OPS and wOBA against right-handed pitching this year. Not to mention they strikeout nearly 20% of the time against righties. The game is also in Miami, which is one of the best pitchers park the big leagues have to offer. I like Cole in all formats, but particularly in the cash games where you’ll need a solid pitching performance.

Carlos Rodon - FD 8300 DK 9800 Victiv
Opponent- Sea (Elias) L Park- @Cws
Your cheaper, high upside tournament play for the evening comes in the form of Carlos Rodon. He’s either been really, really good this season, or really, really bad so I can’t say for certain which guy is going to show up for this one. I do know that the Mariners are in the top 10 in striking out against lefty pitching, and their OPS and wOBA is about league average (mostly propped up by Nelson Cruz if you ask me). If Rodon can work around Cruz and avoid giving up the long ball, he could have another one of those great starts that wins some people a whole lot of money.

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Early Slate
Victor Martinez - FD 2600 DK 3300 Victiv 4800
Opponent- LAA (Shoemaker) R Park- @Det
I know that it’s against his better platoon split, but his price has fallen so much over the past week or so that we have to consider him at this spot. For a near minimum price, you get a catcher who hits in the middle of a very dangerous lineup, against a below average arm that just got recalled to make this start. This is one of those buy low opportunities that we love on this site, and I’m looking for Martinez to pay off big today.

Also consider Buster Posey, as his price has fallen off quite a bit over the past week or so.

Late Slate
Travis d'Arnaud - FD 3500 DK 4700 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Phi (Harang) R Park- @Phi
I don’t normally recommend spending up this high at the catcher position, but d’Arnaud has too good of a matchup to pass up here. Words cannot describe how bad Aaron Harang is so I’ll throw a couple of numbers at you and let you decide. He’s got an xFIP of 4.81 and a K/9 ratio under 6.  The park boosts power to righties and the catcher pool on this slate is very weak.  He’ll cost you, but d’Arnaud is far and away the best catcher on the slate.

Yadier Molina - FD 2700 DK 3400 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Ari (de la Rosa) R Park- @Ari
After starting the year off pretty poorly (especially in the power department), Molina has really turned it around as of late. He’s gone over 3.5 Fanduel points in 5 of his last 8 games, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Tonight he gets Rubby de la Rosa, a guy who is not as bad as his ERA suggests, but still a below average pitcher nonetheless. I like d’Arnaud way more, but Molina is a relatively safe punt play if you want to spend up elsewhere.


First base

Early Slate
Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3100 DK 4600 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
I’m going to be writing about a whole lot of Dodgers, so I might as well get it out of the way now. Poor Anthony DeSclafani has been pretty below average is year to the tune of a 4.23 xFIP. It gets even worse for him when he pitches at home, where his ERA is 3.25 points higher. Great American Ballpark is a great place for power hitters, and Gonzalez certainly fits the bill. The guy has been absolutely abusing righty pitching this year with an OPS of .884 and a wOBA of .374. These are promising numbers for sure, but the real value comes from his batted ball stats. Against right-handed pitching, Gonzalez has a soft hit percentage of only 12.8%, meaning he usually makes very solid contact. Combine that with a favorable park factor and a bad pitcher and this has the makings of a big game for Gonzalez.

Justin Smoak - FD 2500 DK 2700 Victiv 3600
Opponent- Tex (Gallardo) R Park- @Tex
If you’re looking for a little salary relief in order to spend up on the big arms today, Justin Smoak is an interesting option. He’s been better against lefties this year, but he still has some decent power upside against righties. The true value of this matchup comes from who he’ll be facing in Yovani Gallardo, who sports a less than impressive 4.31 xFIP. I like Gonzalez A LOT more, but Smoak is a nice punt play if you need some wiggle room on salary.

Late Slate
Jose Abreu - FD 4200 DK 5100 Victiv 5700
Opponent- Sea (Elias) L Park- @Cws
We’ve suggested Abreu a few times over the past couple of days, and for the most part he’s paid off nicely. This looks like another one of those situations, as Abreu gets the luxury of hitting against a lefty in a park that favors right-handed power. The guy has a career OPS of 0.920 against southpaws, and Roenis Elias is no stranger to the long ball as his 1.46 HR/9 number suggests. This one has big game written all over it, and I really like Abreu in all formats tonight.

Also consider Mark Reynolds as an extreme punt play, but I have a feeling if you don’t roster Abreu you’ll regret it.


Second base

Early Slate
Chase Utley - FD 2300 DK 3200 Victiv 4400
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
Another position, another Dodger. Get used to it because there’s going to be a whole lot more coming. Since you already know how bad DeSclafani is, I’ll talk about how Utley has been lights out since the All-Star break. The guys line in the second half of the season is .354/.360/.563, and he’s got a wOBA of 0.390 (which is elite level stuff). In my opinion, Utley is a must play given his price and the fact that other than Kinsler, 2B is horrible. Just go with Utley.

Late Slate
Daniel Murphy - FD 4200 DK 3800 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Phi (Harang) R Park- @Phi
Pretty much the same story of what I wrote earlier about d’Arnaud, except that Harang is even worse against lefties. Like gets tuned up by them awful. Murphy isn’t cheap, but this is truly a great matchup in terms of him having a solid floor, as well as huge upside potential. I’m expecting the ball to be flying all over Citizens Bank Park tonight, and I’ve got a feeling Murphy could be a big part of that.

Brian Dozier - FD 3300 DK 4300 Victiv 5000
Opponent- TB (Smyly) L Park- @TB
Dozier is a great option at 2B because he provides just slightly lower upside compared to Murphy, but at a much lower price. He’s got an OPS of over 0.800 against southpaws on the year and has hit 6 HR’s in only 143 PA. Drew Smyly is an average big league pitcher, but he certainly isn’t someone who scares me too much. If you can’t afford to pay up for Murphy, Dozier is a solid play that still provides a good amount of upside.



Early Slate
Jimmy Rollins - FD 2800 DK 3600 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
This is getting a little ridiculous, I know, but just bear with me. I feel kinda bad attacking DeSclafani like this, but the guy has truly been that bad, especially at home. Rollins has been better against lefties this season, but DeSclafani can make even average hitters seem All-Star caliber. Mix in the lead-off value and the potential for him to score a whole bunch of runs and Rollins is the way to go.

Also consider Erick Aybar if you need a bit more salary relief.

Late Slate
Jhonny Peralta - FD 2500 DK 3900 Victiv 4800
Opponent- Ari (de la Rosa) R Park- @Ari
As long as his price remains this low on Fanduel, we’re going to keep recommending this guy. Where else are you going to find a SS who bats in the 3 or 4 slot with 16 HR’s on the season, for near minimum value? To put it simply, you’re not. While the power hasn’t really returned during the 2nd half of the season, Peralta does have an 8 game hitting streak going, and has turned out some pretty solid games over the past week. Keep throwing him out there until the price adjusts.

If you want to go against the grain, consider Jordy Mercer (but I don’t like him nearly as much as Peralta).

Third base

Early Slate
Manny Machado - FD 3500 DK 4400 Victiv 5200
Opponent- KC (Ventura) R Park- @KC
Another one of those weird reverse platoon guys, Machado hits righties significantly better than lefties, and he gets a great matchup against Yordano Ventura today. Ventura is erratic at best, giving up nearly 3 BB/9, and has a less than favorable xFIP of 3.87. Machado also has long-ball potential against righties, with an ISO of 0.225 on the year. Combine that with a lead-off position in the lineup and a favorable hitters park and Machado is a high floor guy who also has some serious upside if you can afford him.

Justin Turner - FD 3100 DK 3700 Victiv 3800
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
This is one of those slates where I wish I could just roster one team’s starting lineup and be done with it. I like Machado’s upside more than Turner’s, but Turner has a better points per dollar value. He’s been much better against righties this year, and again DeSclafani is just not very good. I especially like the park factor here, and wouldn’t be surprised at all if Turner hit for some power in this one.

Late Slate
Josh Harrison - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Mia (Nicolino) L Park- @Mia
Aramis Ramirez - FD 2800 DK 3400 Victiv 4500
Opponent- Mia (Nicolino) L Park- @Mia
Harrison hit lead-off last night against a lefty and turned in a pretty good game, particularly given his low price tag. Ramirez didn’t have a great game, but has been above average against lefties this year. Nicolino has an embarrassingly low K/9 ratio of 3.19 and an xFIP of 4.67, which makes this matchup even better than the one from last night. To me it’s honestly a coin flip given that they are both priced so low, but I tend to lean toward Harrison because of his lead-off spot and slightly lower price tag.



Early Slate
Mike Trout - FD 4500 DK 5100 Victiv 5700
Opponent- Det (Wolf) L Park- @Det
This shouldn’t come as any surprise given that he’s an MVP candidate and all, but I’m expecting Trout to be the highest scoring position player on the early slate. If you follow this site, you know that the dude crushes southpaws and righties alike, so let me introduce you to his newest victim. Randy Wolf is a journeyman pitcher in the winter of his career with a career ERA of 4.21 and a career of xFIP of 4.34. Neither one of those numbers bodes well when matched up with one of the best hitters in the game. If you can afford to roster him, Trout should be primed for a big time game.

Yasiel Puig - FD 2700 DK 4000 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
Andre Ethier - FD 2400 DK 3400 Victiv 4000
Opponent- Cin (Desclafani) R Park- @Cin
And we’re back to the Dodgers again. I know you can’t roster them all (although I wish you could), but I have to mention these two because the matchup is just that good. Both of these guys are coming at near minimum prices, and both have some serious upside potential. Either has 12 HR’s in just 288 PA against righties this year to go along with a 0.892 OPS. Puig has been solid against righties throughout his young career, and hitting near the top of the lineup only increases his value. If you haven’t already used up all your Dodger plays, both of these guys are great options against DeSclafani.

Also consider Rajai Davis and Marlon Byrd for more salary relief and because, hey you can’t roster an entire lineup of Dodgers.

Late Slate
Andrew McCutchen - FD 4900 DK 5000 Victiv 5900
Opponent- Mia (Nicolino) L Park- @Mia
Starling Marte - FD 3800 DK 4900 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Mia (Nicolino) L Park- @Mia
Another Pirates duo that you need to consider tonight is Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte. Cutch is truly one of the elite hitters against lefties, and Marte has been significantly better this season against southpaws. More times than not we recommend these guys against left-handed pitching and they normally deliver. Because Nicolino doesn’t strike anyone out, both of these guys will have plenty of opportunities to hit and run the bases tonight. It might be tough to roster them both, but I’d certainly make an effort to get at least one of them into your lineup.

Torii Hunter - FD 2600 DK 3200 Victiv 4400
Opponent- TB (Smyly) L Park- @TB
Byron Buxton - FD 2600 DK 2500 Victiv 3300
Opponent- TB (Smyly) L Park- @TB
This is your lower-priced value duo compared to the one above. Not as much upside as McCutchen and Marte, but they only come at a fraction of the cost. Buxton was hitting 0.400 in triple-A before being called up, and possesses truly elite speed that he has yet to show. Hunter has some upside against left-handed pitching, sporting a 0.725 OPS against that platoon, which quite honestly should be higher if it weren’t for some bad luck in the BABIP department. I don’t like them nearly as much as the pair above, but they do provide a solid floor while also giving you some salary relief to work in Cole or some bigger bats.

Curtis Granderson - FD 3300 DK 4600 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Phi (Harang) R Park- @Phi
A lead-off hitter who has an OPS of over .900 against the platoon he’s facing? Sign me up. His price has fallen a lot on Fanduel for some reason, and that’s the spot I feel he has tremendous value, although I wouldn’t blame you if you rostered him on other sites as well. Aaron Harang, as I mentioned earlier, is simply terrible against right-handed batters, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Granderson had a big game here.
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