Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Victiv 9/3/15

Oooooh, a juicy little short slate today. Some people are scared of short slates. "Where are all the options?" they say. "There aren't good enough players!" they say. Hogwash. We don't need great plays in a vacuum to crush a short slate - we just need plays better than the competition. In a lot of ways, that makes short slates some of the very most profitable. Even still - we'll never be able to give you every single play on even a short slate like this. If you want the rest of our top plays? 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.

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Jordan Zimmermann - FD 9300 DK 10400 Victiv
Opponent- Atl (Wisler) R Park- @Was
Well, it's a pretty short slate. Have I mentioned that? I waffled back and forth between Zimmermann and Liriano for the top slot here, and so I'll cop out on you a little bit. I like Liriano in terms of raw point-total upside, but actually prefer Zimmermann for safety. A few reasons. The first is price. On short slates, it's a heck of a lot tougher to find really good value at every price point. To that end, Zimmermann's relatively low price means greater flexibility for your other positions. The other big thing in play here is the match-up. The Braves don't strike out a ton, but they still have the third lowest wOBA in the majors against right handed pitching. And, frankly, Liriano has kinda sucked recently. For my cash game purposes, I'll be looking at the big Zimm.

Mat Latos - FD 6200 DK 7300 Victiv
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
Oh, baby. We're this far off board and it's only the second player recommended. So, in case it isn't obvious, Latos is probably not a guy I'd dive right in and start in a 50/50. But I mean, there is kind of a lot to like here. First of all, Latos himself has been better than his ERA suggests. His 3.71 xFIP is above league average, and his K% is approaching his 2013 levels. And then there's the match-up. This one is truly a dream - the Padres themselves have the 8th highest K% in the majors, and the 4th lowest wOBA against right handed pitching. That takes into account their whole track record - they're even worse at home. He's also up against Colin Rea, who just isn't a major league pitcher at this point. Latos has some bad games under his belt for sure, but on a short slate (drink), there's some upside here.

Considered: Taylor Jungmann, even though our system isn't a fan. He was pretty good against the Pirates last time, he has been better than projected this season, and again, Liriano has sort of been a mess. But it's a tournament play, to me.


Buster Posey - FD 4400 DK 5000 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Col (Rusin) L Park- @Col
If you save up on pitching today, Posey's a guy you're going to have to take an awfully close look at. First of all, Posey has a .934 OPS against left handed pitching for his career - an absurd number for any position, and downright incredible for a catcher. And that number takes into account playing the bulk of his major league games in the hitters' hellhole that is his (frequently renamed) home park. This game is in Coors Field. Coors Field! And if that's not enough, it's against Chris Rusin, who's really only known in the baseball community by daily fantasy baseball players who like to stack righties against him. This is one of those all-systems-go, anything is possible upside games.

Salvador Perez - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 4500
Opponent- Det (Boyd) L Park- @KC
Went back and forth between Perez and Grandal for this spot, but settled on Perez. The young catcher has a 5 game hitting streak right now (though he doesn't have a hit so far as of this writing), but really, who cares. This is a long game, Jo. Perez has got a .771 OPS against left handed pitching for his career, and his 18 homers are the second most in the majors at his position. AND! He's priced near the very minimum salary on FanDuel. As for Matt Boyd, he's having a heck of a time trying to keep the ball in the majors so far in his young career. His 5.18 xFIP would be the worst in the majors if he qualified, and home runs are flying out of the yard at 2.70 per 9 innings (awful, in case you didn't know). Love this as an upside play if you want to spend up elsewhere.

Considered: Yas-money Grandal.

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First base

Adrian Gonzalez - FD 3100 DK 4400 Victiv 4900
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
I recommended Gonzalez before Monday's game, when he scored 7.75 points on FanDuel (thanks to a homer). Here's what I wrote, since the case here is basically the same:

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.

Well, Rea is arguably a worse pitcher than even Peavy right now, and Gonzalez has shown that his power can play in Petco. Like this play for any format, but especially for 50/50s.

Pedro Alvarez - FD 2700 DK 3400 Victiv 4500
Opponent- Mil (Jungmann) R Park- @Mil
Arguably the highest points per dollar one-bagger on the slate today. 19 of Alvarez's 22 homers have come in his 359 PA against right handers this season, and he's nearly .180 OPS points better against right handed pitching over the course of his career. While Taylor Jungmann has a sparkling ERA, his xFIP is nearly 1.40 runs higher. The reason? A ridiculously unsustainable 3.8% HR/FB percentage. Here's to hoping Alvarez helps him bring that number back up to his previously established levels in Thursday's game!

Considered: Freddie Freeman, for safety purposes only.


Second base

Neil Walker - FD 2600 DK 3700 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Mil (Jungmann) R Park- @Mil
The upside guy at the position for the day. And that's weird, since he's not really a huge upside guy. I won't blame you if you want to stick your neck out on Kelby Tomlinson because of the whole Coors thing, but I might blame you if you pay more than $4,000 for DJ LeMahieu. Walker himself has 13 homers and 3 steals in 410 PA against right handed pitching this season, and while Jungmann is still one of the better pitchers on the board, he's really nothing to write home about. Really, the other high upside guys are simply too expensive, and there's too much upside from other positions to justify spending up here. You're going to take Ian Kinsler over Posey vs. a lefty in Coors? DJ LeMahieu? GMAB.

Chase Utley - FD 2500 DK 2900 Victiv 4200
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
While he hasn't played like the safest ever this season, I'm still going to submit Utley as the safest play at the second base position today. He's batting 2nd for a very good lineup against a very bad pitcher today. That's for starters. Yes, it's a bad hitter's park, but Utley doesn't derive a lot of his value from home runs anymore - most of his values just comes from the opportunity inherent in batting 2nd. But really, this is a straight up value play. Utley's .228 BABIP is EIGHTY POINTS off his career established levels. Some of that is a shifting batted ball profile, but most of it is damned bad baseball(!) luck. His price is consequently just too low for what he can do. He's still not King, he's walking plenty, and should have a great opportunity to put a solid total up today.



Jimmy Rollins - FD 2700 DK 3400 Victiv 4400
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
Well, you can only play so many Dodgers today. I get it. If you have to pick and choose, though, I am not sure Rollins would be the guy I'd leave off the list. The reason? This simply god-awful position. Like Utley, Rollins has been bit seriously hard by the BABIP bug this season. And, like Utley, Rollins still gets a ton of cuts atop a good Dodgers' offense. And really, 13 homers and 9 steals at this point in the season is what passes for upside at the position (especially in this price range). I could see Rollins getting to test his wheels out, too, if the Dodgers are nervous about Petco sapping some team power. All in all, I think this is a fine play (and a good value) for any format.

Alcides Escobar - FD 2200 DK 3600 Victiv 4400
Opponent- Det (Boyd) L Park- @KC
Your daily super-cheap double-up option, Escobar is still inexplicably batting lead-off for the Royals. He really doesn't do anything especially well, but where he bats in the line-up means he'll get 4-5 plate appearances a night easily. In a favorable platoon spot with in a less than stellar pitcher in Boyd, that should be in the 5+ range. Escobar has averaged 2 FanDuel fantasy points a game this season, making him one of the better points per dollar values at the position. Hardly any upside to be sure, but he's a good way to save up if you want to spend up for one of the Coors guys elsewhere.

Consider: Jose Reyes, if you can spend up for him. He might really have a monster against Vogelsong - it's a perfect match-up.

Third base

Justin Turner - FD 2700 DK 3500 Victiv 3600
Opponent- SD (Rea) R Park- @SD
For such a short slate (drink), there are actually a lot of nice options at third base today. I'm going to put Turner forth at the top of the class, though. Turner's been a clear reverse-platoon guy for his whole career, with an OPS .090 points higher against right handed pitching over the course of his career. Colin Rea has gotten butchered across 2 levels (AAA and MLB) this season, and is basically just helping the Dads pass time before season's end. The best part about Turner? He's batting clean-up around some guys who can really hit. And all this for $2,700 on FanDuel. Fantastic value, here.

Matt Duffy - FD 3100 DK 4800 Victiv 4400
Opponent- Col (Rusin) L Park- @Col
This might look a little weird since I've steered you away from some other guys in this game, in spite of the fact that these are two bad pitchers squaring off. But Duffy presents an interesting opportunity. He's batting 3rd right now, which means he'll bat behind Blanco and ahead of Posey and Byrd. That's not a terrible spot to be to generate some counting stats (runs and RBI) today. He'll be in a favorable platoon spot (though he's actually been better against righties - still a small sample though) against a below league average pitcher. And his price is pretty reasonable. He's not a world beating talent or anything, but this is a guy you can afford and potentially get lucky on if things break your way. If you want the full upside, though, you'll need to grab the guys who hit around him as well.



Too many cheap guys to count: It's definitely a fine day to go cheap on outfielder, but I don't want to bore you with 10 write-ups just like Alcides Escobar's. If you want to see those, grab a free trial of our projection system.

Bryce Harper - FD 4800 DK 5600 Victiv 5800
Opponent- Atl (Wisler) R Park- @Was
Incoming mandatory Bryce Harper stat-porn: His 1.143 OPS against right handed pitching is more than .100 points higher than second place Miguel Cabrera. And then there's the guy he's facing today - one Matthew Wisler of the Atlanta Braves. Wisler is basically the opposite of Bryce Harper, statistically speaking. His 5.04 xFIP would be the worst in the majors, if he had managed to accumulate enough innings to qualify. This is one of the bigger talent mismatches of the season, and I'll be disappointed if there aren't some fireworks. Yet another case against paying up for the Coors game, if you ask me.

J.D. Martinez - FD 3400 DK 5000 Victiv 5400
Opponent- KC (Volquez) R Park- @KC
JD Martinez has turned into one of the cooler hitters in baseball. During his red-hot streak in June/July, FanGraphs wrote an awesome article on his ability to go opposite field, and Martinez really hasn't let up on right handed pitching all season long. He's now got 26 home runs and a .911 OPS against right handed pitching in 410 plate appearances, and all the counting stats that come with such lofty production. And then there's Edinson Volquez. Don't let the smooth ERA fool you - Volquez's 4.27 xFIP places him solidly among the bottom quarter of starters in the league, and to that end, he hasn't managed an xFIP below 4 since 2010. Love Martinez for upside here, even if his K rate always makes him a risky proposition.

Ben Zobrist - FD 3600 DK 4300 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Det (Boyd) L Park- @KC
Lorenzo Cain - FD 3500 DK 5200 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Det (Boyd) L Park- @KC
Two fantastic high-floor plays, if Martinez's K rate scares you. Zobrist has walked more than he's struck out this season (part of a very short list of full time players to do so), and Cain is no easy K himself. Cain's 12 homer/26 steal profile also presents a nice combo of safety and upside - he can pile them all together in one big game, or get a steal or homer in an off game to bring his point total back to respectability. Love grabbing these right handed bats against the young, left handed Boyd. Okay, Zobrist is a switch hitter - but you get the drift.

Consider: Starling Marte.

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