Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Victiv 8/31/15

Ahhh, Monday. One of the oddest days of the daily fantasy baseball week due to the number of teams who get a day off. Still, though, there's a lot of money to be made on these smaller slates. The reason? Fewer guys to choose from means choosing the wrong players is a bigger mistake than it is on a deeper night. Even still, though, there's no way we could do a write-up for every single player, even on a short slate. If you want all of our projections? 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 and Victiv.


The big boys - should you play one?
A lot of people will grab Archer, Keuchel, or Price for their 50/50s today. I'll be cautious. Our projection system doesn't like any of them on a points per dollar basis in an absolute sense, but if it were forced to pick one, it would go with Dallas Keuchel. He's got a fantastic ground ball rate, a nice K rate, and a solid match-up with the Mariners (the owners of the 8th worst K% against left handed pitching in the majors). Still, it feels like a lot to pay, and on a short slate, it might be tough to get the money in good hitter-wise if you play him.

Tyson Ross - FD 8900 DK 9700 Victiv
Opponent- Tex (Lewis) R Park- @Sd
Stuff starts getting weird early. Ross is a tough guy to root for because of his absurd walk-rate. His 4.10 BB/9 is the worst in the majors among qualified pitchers. But the crazy thing? As you go down the BB/9 wall of shame, you have to get down to Jake Arrieta at 2.22 BB/9 before you guy who can outpace Ross' 3.13 xFIP. Even with his unorthodox approach, Ross has put together the 13th best xFIP in the major leagues. It all comes down to two things: his great K rate, and his absurd ground ball percentage. His 62.5% GB% is 3rd in the majors (just .1% behind Dallas Keuchel). That's pretty damned good. But again, Ross has warts. What it means for your purposes is that Ross often makes a great 50/50 play. He can erase walks with double-plays, and wiggle out of jams by striking people out. But it also means he doesn't pitch deep into a lot of games, limiting his upside. As for the match-up, the Rangers have a nice wOBA against righties this season, but they actually dip to a below league average team on the road. This is no average road match-up, either - Petco is the greatest pitcher's park on the planet. Wow, I've written a lot. You get the idea. The end.

Okay, let's go totally off board for a second.

Bartolo Colon - FD 7600 DK 6800 Victiv
Opponent- Phi (Eickhoff) R Park- @Nym
Right, I get it. Starting your lineup with Bartolo Colon feels more like starting your day by eating Dunkin' Donuts than a paleo muffin (linked to prove they're real), but hear me out for a second. First of all, Colon has a couple of fairly big games under his belt this season, including a 19 FanDuel fantasy point monster against these same Phillies two starts ago. He's got a low walk rate, which limits his downside considerably. He'll be pitching in Citi Field - a fine pitcher's park. And the cherry on top? Someone named "Jerad Eickhoff" (linked to prove he's real). The most noteworthy thing he's done is be traded for in the Cole Hamels deal. After that? His track record is pretty meh. Colon could definitely swing a win here. It's obviously a risky play, but on a short slate, he might have the highest points per dollar upside.



Buster Posey - FD 3000 DK 3800 Victiv 5000
Opponent- LAD (Anderson) L Park- @Lad
Our "must play" at the position yesterday, and Posey went ahead and delivered a 3/4 performance against a pitcher much in the same mold of Brett Anderson. At this point in his career, Anderson's a pitch-to-contact ground ball machine who can wiggle out of jams and fool weaker hitters. Posey ain't that. He's a career .940 OPS guy against left handed pitching - which is godlike for the position, and a ridiculous value at $3,000. He should be able to make lots of hard contact here, and the rest will be left up to the baseball gods.

Evan Gattis - FD 3100 DK 4300 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Sea (Nuno) L Park- @Hou
The upside monster to Posey's safety, at a very similar price. Gattis' 22 homers would be the best in the majors at the position if he qualified (but he doesn't play catcher often enough). But hey, getting a DH at catcher isn't so bad. He's been .020 OPS points better against LHP for his career, and has made his living crushing the ball against lousy pitchers. Enter Vidal Nuno. The journeyman lefty is taking his non-stuff for another tour around the majors, and this stop in Houston could be a bumpy one.

Yasmani Grandal - FD 2400 DK 2800 Victiv 4200
Opponent- SF (Peavy) R Park- @Lad
Grandal's slumping out of control, and it likely has something to do with this shoulder thing that's been bothering him. Shoulder injuries are not great for guys that derive a lot of their value from their power, for sure. But the thing here is the price. It's just dropped too far in accounting for this recent stretch, and now you're getting a young catcher with a career .850 OPS against right handed pitching and a great eye (15.7% BB rate against LHP in 2015) against a washed up once-ace who hasn't had an xFIP this low (4.45) since 2003. If you need to save up at the position, this looks like a high floor play.

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First base

Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3000 DK 3400 Victiv 5000
Opponent- SF (Peavy) R Park- @Lad
If our system likes Grandal, it loves Adrian Gonzalez. While Gonzalez has tailed off dramatically from his early season pace, he's still having a great season, including 21 homers and an .884 OPS in 391 PA against right handed pitching this season. If you'd like, there's a terrific article on how Gonzalez is getting it done this season, but primarily it involves transitioning from an opposite field approach to a pull heavy approach. What's left of Peavy's stuff is very pullable, and I love Gonzalez in any format today.

Albert Pujols - FD 3400 DK 4100 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Oak (Doubront) L Park- @Oak
Not a banner day for Pujols, yesterday, after we gave him to you as an upside play. Well, that's the thing with upside plays - sometimes they flames out. I suspect the same will be the case today. Pujols has literally his dream match-up. He's been decidedly better against lefties over his career (even if it hasn't played out that way this season - BASEBALL(!)), and Felix Doubront is the archetype of a below league average lefty. Oak-town is a tough place to hit, but Pujols' power plays anywhere. Love him as part of an Angels stack for big tournaments.

Prince Fielder - FD 2800 DK 3500 Victiv 4700
Opponent- SD (Ross) R Park- @SD
I like Ross, but if you go ahead and fade him today, this is a pretty ridiculous price. Fielder's got an .899 OPS against right handed pitching this season, and has walked as much as he's struck out. His value is also not driven as much by power as many first basemen. This means that his value is less affected by a place like Petco than some. It also means he's not a tremendous upside guy. Still, if you decide to pay up for Keuchel, Fielder is a very cheap high floor option at first base.


Second base

Jose Altuve - FD 3600 DK 5000 Victiv 5200
Opponent- Sea (Nuno) L Park- @Hou
He might be the only answer at the position today outside of super-cheap options. After an absolute monster yesterday, a lot of eyes will be on Altuve today. Yours should be, too. His 11 homers and 34 steals this season place him near the top of the 2nd base upside list, and all of his rates go sky high against lefties. He's blistered left handed pitching for a .941 OPS on the back of one extremely hard hit ball after another. And that's against lefties of all stripes - Nuno will have some of the most hittable stuff of any lefty he's faced. A great play for all formats, if you can afford him.

Starlin Castro - FD 2200 DK 3100 Victiv 4200
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Chc
The safe, super boring option. Castro also had a big night last night, but our system frankly doesn't even know about that. What it knows is that Castro is a high-contact guy against someone who should bat fifth against what might be the very worst pitcher in baseball. Oh, you aren't acquainted with David Holmberg's work? Let's get familiar. He was toiling in AAA to the tune of a 4.73 FIP until the Reds inexplicably called him up to take on abuse at the major league level. Well, abused he's been - to an incredible 6.06 xFIP in his 28 innings in the majors this year. Castro's no great shakes, but he can hit bad left handed pitching, and there should be counting stat opportunity galore. Update: Holmberg isn't going for the Reds. It's Michael Lorenzen who also struggles to get anyone out.

Also considered: Chase Utley.



Jimmy Rollins - FD 2700 DK 2900 Victiv 4400
Opponent- SF (Peavy) R Park- @Lad
Rollins has definitely lost a step when it comes to his speed, but he's also been the subject of some of the worst BABIP luck of the season. Still, J-Roll is leading off for the Dodgers, which gives him more opportunity for plate appearances atop a good lineup than basically any shortstop at his price. He's also got 13 homers and 9 steals - hardly chicken scratch for a shortstop. And, like the other Dodgers today, he'll face Jake Peavy. That's a very good thing. I think you can count on Rollins for double-ups, and dream on him for big tournaments.

Jhonny Peralta - FD 2200 DK 3300 Victiv 4300
Opponent- Was (Gonzalez) L Park- @Stl
Peralta is testing the patience of even those most grizzled and determined daily fantasy players, but our system calls for a steady hand. And you know what? It's seldom wrong about these things, at least in the long term. I've said it a million times, but here's 1,000,001 - Peralta has the 2nd most home runs and the 4th highest wOBA at his position. When he plays, he bats 3rd on a good hitting team. In this matchup, he'll be in a good platoon situation against a guy whose name outstrips his current production. If you want to save up at a pretty shallow position today, I can picture playing Peralta anywhere.

Third base

Evan Longoria - FD 2400 DK 3300 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Bal (Chen) L Park- @Bal
From last night's picks:

Our system has been giving us Longoria as the top play of the position against left handed pitching since his price dipped to these levels, and his OPS against lefties was .860. Well, it's climbed to .964, meaning there have been a lot of happy Longoria owners along the way.

Well, Longoria was fairly ordinary against Duffy, and he'll go against a better lefty tonight in Chen, but at these prices it seems like it would still be a crime to not grab him against a lefty here.

Kris Bryant - FD 3700 DK 5100 Victiv 5400
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Chc
One of the true 80 power guys in the league, Bryant's name is synonymous with top tier upside. And then you look at the 33% K rate against lefties this year, and you naturally crap yourself. But, you guys! David Holmberg! He's got a 4.79 K/9 for his career (which would be good for the 4th worst in the majors), and his 5.08 BB/9 would be the worst in the majors by a full walk per 9 innings. This is exactly the game Kris Bryant was born for. Not a double up play at this point, and maybe not ever. But upside? Oh, yes. Update: Holmberg isn't going for the Reds. It's Michael Lorenzen who also struggles to get anyone out.

Also considered: Our system is sticking with Todd Frazier, even though he's up against a right handed pitcher. Well, it's liked him each of the last two nights, and he's produced. It's betting on three nights in a row, and he's quite cheap.



Mike Trout - FD 4000 DK 4700 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Oak (Doubront) L Park- @Oak
I was out today, and when I saw the Angels' box score, I got sad. "Oh well, guess I picked the wrong day to play Trout! That's baseball." Then I opened up my lineups, just to be sure. Oh. He managed 8 fantasy points on FanDuel while being a part of just one run and not stealing a base. I can hardly handle myself with this guy. Anyway! Today he'll get a significantly better match-up than he had yesterday! Trout hits everyone, but he's come around on lefties better this year and ever before. And Doubront isn't an intimidating lefty. He's something of a must play, especially if you don't spend up at pitcher.

Carlos Gomez - FD 2800 DK 3900 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Sea (Nuno) L Park- @Hou
Another repeat from last night, but again, that will happen when teams are playing the same teams in the same parks. Gomez is just priced below what his decent power/sick speed combo can do, and batting 5th in the Astros lineup means lots of RBI opportunities. I've given the case against Nuno already - I think Gomez is a fine play for any format.

Dexter Fowler - FD 3100 DK 4400 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Cin (Holmberg) L Park- @Chc
A perfect guy to slide in next to Bryant if you decide to go that way in a big tourney, but really, Fowler fits into any lineup construction today. He's sort of a rich man's version of Carlos Gomez at this point (a little more power, a little less speed), and he's making the most of the piles of plate appearances he's getting right now. And by now I've written enough awful stuff about David Holmberg to go further. I mean, the guy has accomplished a ton by making the major leagues. I am sure he sits around wishing he was the 150th best pitcher in the world instead of the 250th or whatever. I get it. But man.. he can't get major league hitters out at this point. Picturing a huge day for Fowler and the Cubs. Update: Holmberg isn't going for the Reds. It's Michael Lorenzen who also struggles to get anyone out.

Jay Bruce - FD 2500 DK 3600 Victiv 4600
Opponent- CHC (Hendricks) R Park- @ChC
I generally leave our cheap value plays for our projection system to share with our subscribers, but I feel like I'd be doing you a disservice by not sliding Bruce into the picks here yet again. He didn't have much luck against Peralta, but he did hit a few balls pretty hard (including a double), and this will happen in BASEBALL(!) sometimes. Welp, I'm rolling Bruce and his bell tower power back against Hendricks, who's basically a clone of the two lousy righties Bruce has faced the last few nights. Don't get me wrong, Bruce has his own issues, but these prices are just absurd for a guy with 30 homer power. Not a safe play, etc, but don't be shocked if he's in tournament winning lineups.

Curtis Granderson - FD 3500 DK 4700 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Phi (Eickhoff) R Park- @Nym
It's a steep price to pay for someone so erratic, but the Grandy Man's numbers against right handers this season are pretty compelling. 21 homers and 10 steals in 435 plate appearances is something like 30/15 pace over the course of a season's worth of plate appearances, which is fantasy superstar territory. And again, there's Jerad Eickhoff. He's actually not as bad as some of the other guys I'm sure we'll see in September (also known as fantasy baseball Hell), but he doesn't have the stuff to take advantage of the holes in Granderson's swing. This could be a monster.

And infinity cheap guys - for those, grab a free three day trial of our projection system. Good luck out there!


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