Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Victiv 9/5/15

Well, well, well. It's a massive double-slate Saturday, which means an incredible amount of plays for us to choose from. I'll do my best to give you a couple of plays per position for each slate, but there's no way I'll be able to tackle every single guy that would be a good play today.

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Early Slate
Jake Arrieta - FD 11700 DK 13500 Victiv
Opponent- Ari (Ray) L Park- @Chc
For such a big day, there's precious little really safe pitching today. At least from our projection system's perspective. For the early slate, though, Arrieta is as close as it gets. First of all, Arrieta should need no introduction at this point. He's got a 2.74 xFIP over the last two seasons, which is good for the four best in the major leagues. He strikes out better than a guy an inning, and is a ground-ball machine. All good stuff. His match-up with the Diamondbacks is sort of a mixed blessing. One on hand, they've struck out at the 11th highest rate in the majors against right handed pitching this season. On the other, hand, they also have the 11th highest wOBA against righties. I'd say they're a net positive match-up when they're away from home, as is the case here. Arrieta is also facing off against Robbie Ray, a below league average pitcher with a 4.15 xFIP on the season. Arrieta's also been crushing recently - scoring an average of 20 FanDuel fantasy points per game in his last 3 starts. Love him for cash games, even at these prices.

Jaime Garcia - FD 9000 DK 9600 Victiv
Opponent- Pit (Morton) R Park- @Stl
If you want to stick your neck out a little bit, consider Jaime Garcia. He's sort of a poor man's Arrieta. He doesn't have the same K rate for sure, but his extreme ground-ball tendencies really raise his floor. Oddly, the Pirates are almost exactly the same against lefties that the D-Backs are against righties - they have the 12th highest K rate, and the 13th highest wOBA. Morton is very stinker prone, and it's a good spot for Jaime to grab a W. Still, Garcia is also somewhat blow-up prone as well. I like this play if you're trying to go against the grain in the early slate.

Late Slate
Felix Hernandez - FD 11000 DK 10700 Victiv
Opponent- Oak (Chavez) R Park- @Oak
It's been something of a rough patch for Hernandez, but I'd still put him forward as the safest FanDuel play of the day. First of all, we just saw him throw 8 innings of 3 hit ball against these same A's. He's also a ground-ball machine - posting the 4th highest ground-ball percentage in the majors. The A's themselves have been pretty lackluster against right handed pitching this season, posting a wOBA that's in the bottom third of the majors. The don't strike out a ton, but they also don't hit for any power. Throw in a nice pitcher's park, and I'd be surprised if Felix doesn't do a nice job anchoring your 50/50 lineups.

Tyson Ross - FD 9200 DK 10300 Victiv
Opponent- Lad (Wood) L Park- @Sd
We gave you Ross before his last start, and he wound up being the guy you would have needed to win a large tournament. This situation is not quite so clear cut. While the Dodgers are in the top half of the league in terms of K% against right handed pitching, they've also put together a fantastic .321 wOBA (good for 5th best in the majors). Ross himself is something of an enigma. There's really no pitcher like him in the majors. He's in the top 13 in the majors in K/9 and xFIP, but he also has the worst BB/9 in the majors among qualified pitchers. And! He has the 3rd highest ground ball percentage in the majors, fully 6% ahead of the fourth place King Felix. But hey, Ross makes it work. And Petco is a great place to make it work. I don't know that it's a 50/50 play, but I think there's serious upside potential here.

Potential home run play: Gio Gonzalez. Also a potential strike-out play! Be warned.


Early Slate
Russell Martin - FD 2700 DK 3800 Victiv 4900
Opponent- Bal (Wright) R Park- @Tor
I don't think I've ever recommended Martin against a righty before, but this projection comes squarely from the Mike Wright end of things. The young man hasn't shown any ability to pitch at the major league level, with his 5.58 K/9 just a tic higher than his awful 5.17 xFIP in an admittedly small sample size. I think the Blue Jays will absolutely dust the guy, giving all the Jays a lot of opportunity for extra plate appearances and counting stats.

Jonathan Lucroy - FD 3400 DK 4200 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Cin (Lamb) L Park- @Cin
Hopefully you kept a steady hand on Lucroy, like our projection system would have had you do. No? Ugh, me neither. I played him here and there, but definitely could have stuck with him more. Since he came back from injury, he's slowly rounded back into form, and now he's on a 9 game run where he's averaged a fantastic 5.3 FanDuel fantasy points per game in that time. And while he hasn't done it this year, Lucroy has been .100 OPS points better against left handed pitching over the course of his career. John Lamb is something of a wild card here. He didn't have much of a track record before this year, but he's been pretty good this year, and has had great success striking people out. Still, I like Lucroy here a lot.

Late Slate
Yasmani Grandal - FD 2200 DK 2800 Victiv 4200
Opponent- SD (Ross) R Park- @SD
The price is just stupid. Grandal has an .826 OPS against right handed pitching this season in spite of some lousy BABIP luck, and while he's on a pretty bad run recently, that's baseball, folks. Ross is a good pitcher, Petco's a bad place to hit, but Grandal just isn't a minimum priced catcher. Still, I don't necessarily love him for the upside here. For a huge ceiling, there's one pretty clear play.

Buster Posey - FD 4300 DK 5000 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Col (Bettis) R Park- @Col
Posey has been pretty great against right handed pitching this season. He's walked more than he's struck out against them, and has an .873 OPS. Not exactly worth $4,300, though, right? Enter Coors Field and Chad Bettis. Bettis is the rare pitcher who has been worse against hitters of the same handedness - he's allowed an amazing .872 OPS to righties of all stripes this season, and a .993 OPS against right handers at home. Yowza. Huge safety, huge upside. Play him in any format, if you can afford him.

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First base

Early Slate
David Ortiz - FD 4300 DK 4700 Victiv 5800
Opponent- Phi (Asher) R Park- @Bos
He loves it when you call him Big Papi, and so do I. Ortiz is the DFSR equivalent of a first born child off at college. Our system loved him while he struggled early on, and now he's priced out of playability on most nights due to some great performances against right handed pitching. Not so, tonight. He's now put together an astounding .988 OPS and 23 homers in 362 plate appearances against right handed pitching this season, and tonight, he'll have one of his very best match-ups. Alec Asher has been a huge disappointment since being acquired in the Cole Hamels trade, putting up a K/9 below 5 in 30 innings across AAA and MLB. And he was a disaster in his first major league start. Huge upside here for Ortiz.

Darin Ruf - FD 2600 DK 2200 Victiv 3200
Opponent- Bos (Miley) L Park- @Bos
Over in the other dug-out will sit Darin Ruf. Against all odds, Ruf has overcome not only a stupid name but a total inability to hit right handed pitching, and carved out a role for himself as a legit lefty-masher. He's got a 1.062 OPS and 5 homers in 89 plate appearances against lefties this season, and has hit home runs in 2 of his last 4 games. Today he'll face the solidly below average left-hander Wade Miley, and he should have plenty of opportunity to do his thing.

Late Slate
Jose Abreu - FD 3600 DK 4700 Victiv 5700
Opponent- KC (Duffy) L Park- @KC
Not a whole lot to say, here. Abreu's got a .919 OPS against lefties these last two years, and Duffy is a very bad left handed pitcher. His 4.93 xFIP would be the fourth worst in the majors among qualified pitchers, and his 5.68 K/9 the 6th worst, but he hasn't been able to stay on the mound enough to even qualify. Big mismatch here, and a great play in all formats.

Albert Pujols - FD 3500 DK 4200 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Tex (Holland) L Park- @ana
An interesting match-up, here. Pujols has had historically bad BABIP luck this season - his .204 number against LHP is .088 points below his career levels - and still remains a huge upside threat on the back of his home run power. Derek Holland has looked fantastic in his first 3 starts back this season (20 Ks against 1 BB!), but this game should be his biggest test to date. I'll take Abreu for safety, I think, but there's some chance Pujols helps Holland crash back down to Earth.


Second base

Early Slate
Starlin Castro - FD 2200 DK 3000 Victiv 4200
Opponent- Ari (Ray) L Park- @Chc
Kolten Wong - FD 2500 DK 3700 Victiv 4500
Opponent- Pit (Morton) R Park- @Stl
Two boring guys for a boring slate at the position. It's just one of those things, but our system only seems to like cheaper guys early, and prefers more expensive guys late. For the early slate, this is the best it could do. All you're seeing here is two guys who make a lot of contact that are priced below what their true value is because what they do is so boring. Both are in good platoon situations against below league average pitchers, and should be solid options for your 50/50 and double-up games. And, as you poke around on this shorter slate, you'll start to see that 2nd base is really shallow. I'm going to grab one of these two and try to escape the position cheaply.

Late Slate
Jason Kipnis - FD 3400 DK 5100 Victiv 5200
Opponent- Det (Simon) R Park- @Det
I'll have to play both slates just to get the stink of the early slate 2nd basemen out of my memory. Kipnis has blistered right handed pitching all season. His OPS vs. northpaws now sits at a lofty .947, and while he doesn't have big "upside" numbers in the homers and steals departments, his price is at a level where he doesn't really need to. Today he'll face Alfredo Simon, who's miraculously still in the majors in spite of throwing 676 major league innings at a below league average level. Kipnis can kill this guy if things break right.

Brian Dozier - FD 3100 DK 4600 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Hou (McCullers) R Park- @Hou
If you are okay with sacrificing a huge amount of safety in going from Kipnis to Dozier, you can get a heck of a lot more upside. Dozier has 11 more home runs than the next highest 2nd baseman's total, and 20 of those have come against right handed pitching this season. And, for good measure, he's thrown in double digit steals as well! Now, the big risk here is Lance McCullers. The young man has true swing and miss stuff, but like most young pitchers, he still makes mistakes in the zone. Could be a negative score, but could be a big one as well.



Early Slate
Jhonny Peralta - FD 2400 DK 3800 Victiv 4300
Opponent- Pit (Morton) R Park- @Stl
Another DFSR favorite makes good! Peralta's shown in the last three games why he just isn't a minimum priced guy. He bats in the heart of the order for a great line-up, makes plenty of contact, and has more than plus power for the position. There are other options at the position on this slate, but it's hard for me to imagine straying at this price.

The monster upside play: Tulo against Mike Wright. But the price? Blech. Big tournament play only, given the other big money options I like better.

Late Slate
Brad Miller - FD 2400 DK 3000 Victiv 3800
Opponent- Oak (Chavez) R Park- @Oak
Miller has been a fine value all season due to his absurd platoon splits. His OPS has been .350 OPS points (not a typo) better against right handed pitching this season, and this has driven his price down to the point where he's basically never priced properly. Jesse Chavez is a a good pitcher, but this is a simple case of value on a points per dollar basis.

Also considered: Jimmy Rollins. Arguably safer than Miller, just because he bats lead-off and his line-up is better.

Third base

Early Slate
Matt Carpenter - FD 3400 DK 4400 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Pit (Morton) R Park- @Stl
Carpenter has just gone ahead and done his thing so far this year - 20 homers, an .869 OPS against righties, and a solid approach that sees him getting him on base and scoring lots of runs. I've given the deets on Morton already - he's not a guy who should scare you - and if you want safety, he's your guy.

Todd Frazier - FD 2300 DK 4300 Victiv 5100
Opponent- Mil (Peralta) R Park- @Cin
I gave you Frazier the last time he faced Peralta, and he went 2/4 with a double. Frazier has 17 homers and 10 steals in 433 PA against right handed pitching this season, and while's he been better against lefties, he's still put up plenty of production against righties as well. I recommended him against Peralta last time for the simple fact that Peralta stinks. His 5.28 K/9 would be the fourth worst in the majors if he qualified, and his 4.31 xFIP is very solidly below average. The price is really good here, and I think I'd play Frazier in any format.

Late Slate
David Wright - FD 3500 DK 4800 Victiv 4800
Opponent- Mia (Hand) L Park- @Mia 
Wright has picked up where he left off before this season, destroying left handed pitching. He's got a 1.008 OPS against left handers for his career, and that includes all kinds of left handers. Brad Hand is well below the average fellow that Wright has faced. He's got a 4.49 xFIP in 276 IP in the majors, and has allowed an OPS .140 points higher against righties. I love Wright in every format, and it would be a huge sacrifice to play anyone else at the position.

Luis Valbuena - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 4200
Opponent- Min (Santana) R Park- @Hou
Just an off-beat upside play if you don't want to follow the masses and play Wright. Valbuena has 17 homers in 314 PA against right handed pitching this season, and he'll be facing Ervin Santana, who makes mistakes up in the zone and gives up homers about as readily as anyone.


Early Slate
Brandon Moss - FD 2800 DK 3400 Victiv 4300
Opponent- Pit (Morton) R Park- @Stl
It's been an odd set of picks today - all DFSR favorites who have been hitting well who also happen to have great match-ups today. As for Moss, he's got a pair of home-runs in September already, and he's had a hit in every game since coming into the starting line-up. He's batting 5th behind some real hitters, and as we've seen, can pile on counting stats in the right spot. Love him here.

Jay Bruce - FD 2400 DK 3600 Victiv 4600
Opponent- Mil (Peralta) R Park- @Cin
Bruce has been .100 OPS points better against right handed pitching over the course of his career, and he's got incredible upside in the right spot. Well, Bruce's Achilles Heel is the strike-out, and Peralta can't strike anyone out. This is a tremendous value, and you're getting arguably the highest upside play at the position for near minimum prices.

Dexter Fowler - FD 3100 DK 4400 Victiv 5000
Opponent- Ari (Ray) L Park- @Chc
Fowler is a lovely mix of safety and upside. He bats lead-off, giving him a wealth of plate appearances. He can hit for modest power and has above average speed. He has an OPS .065 points higher against left handed pitching over his career, and his walk-rate rises while his strike-out rate declines against southpaws. Robbie Ray is an interesting young prospect, but he's still got a below league average 4.15 xFIP, and is also worse against right handed batters. I like Fowler in all formats for the early slate.

Late Slate
Mike Trout - FD 4300 DK 4900 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Tex (Holland) L Park- @ana
Bryce Harper - FD 4600 DK 5400 Victiv 5800
Opponent- Atl (Miller) r Park- @Was
I don't think you can go wrong with either of these two fine fellows. Both have positive platoon situations, and while Harper's arguably the better pure hitter, Trout has a better match-up. Our projection system likes Trout better, but you can probably just play who you like best.

Carlos Gomez - FD 2900 DK 3800 Victiv 5300
Opponent- Min (Santana) R Park- @Hou
George Springer - FD 3900 DK 4300 Victiv
Opponent- Min (Santana) R Park- @Hou
Gomez has been pretty atrocious since arriving in Houston overall, but things are looking up after an 8 game hit streak. As for Springer, he's basically turning into a 25/25 guy who turns into something more against terrible pitchers who can't strike anyone out. And really, Ervin Santana is about as good a match-up as comes. His 1.52 HR/9 would be the 9th worst in the majors if he qualified, and his xFIP would be in the bottom 5 in the majors as well. This is a great spot to grab Gomez on the upswing.

A bunch of cheap guys: But it's late, and I simply can't keep writing them all. Grab a free trial of our system if you'd like to see the rest!

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