Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/30/16


Welcome back to weekend baseball! This lovely Saturday brings us a split slate with 6 games early and 9 games in the evening. We have some aces on the mound in decent spots as well as some gas cans in tough spots. Make sure to check out our updates article as well as our 2 brand new MLB articles. Those will touch on tournament stacks, some sneaky pitchers and any breaking news that you will need to know. Let's get into some analysis!

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A quick heads up - we post an updates article every day in the early afternoon, EST, to catch everyone up on how things are changing as a result of whatever news has come through. We also have great talks in the comments of that article. Hope to see you there!



Early Slate

Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 9900 DK 10800
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @NYM
FD - 32.95 DK - 17.37

deGrom enters this game coming off a start where he struggled against the Atlanta Braves. deGrom gave up 8 hits in only 5 and 2/3 innings. However, he was not fully healthy and was on a 85 pitch limit coming into the game. I look for deGrom to be unleashed here and while the match up isn't amazing, it is good enough. The Giants are a very talented team but at the same time have a lot of strikeouts in the lineup with Brandon Belt, Pagan and he pitcher. deGrom sported a 9.66 K/9 and a 2.777 xFIP last season. He will look to make his first quality start today of many this season. I am comfortable with deGrom in both cash games and tournaments as he will go deep and has 6 strikeouts locked u before the first pitch.

John LackeyJohn Lackey FD 9000 DK 9600
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @CHC
FD - 36.67 DK - 19.31

Last time out, lackey pitched extremely well and then got banged around in the 5th inning. Lackey is a veteran and will not carry over last week's poor performance over. The Braves are one of my favorite teams to target as they provide a ton of strikeouts without the power ceiling. Lackey has had a very interesting start to 2016 with an absurdly great 26% K rate and 15% swinging strike rate. If he can keep those numbers high and lower the 40% hard contact rate,he will be in for an exceptional year. I do prefer Lackey in tournaments as his numbers could go both ways this year.

Evening Slate

Yordano VenturaYordano Ventura FD 8300 DK 9500
Opponent - SEA (Miley) Park - @SEA
FD - 33.23 DK - 17.72

Yordano Ventura has a reputation of a guy that is either going to go out and dominate or get blown up. However, that is really not the case. Ventura has not given up over 4 earned runs in 15 starts and has pitched over 6 innings in 10 of those 15 starts. This is a guy you can rely on to go out and give you a safe 5 innings and 5 strikeouts with the upside for 8 innings and 10 K's. In 2015, Ventura delivered a .300 combined wOBA and had an above average strikeout rate of 9.0. The Seattle Mariners are a team that is very strikeout prone with Chris Iannetta, Marte, Lind and Cruz. I am comfortable with Ventura in both cash games and tournaments. The win should be safe as well as Wade Miley should get knocked around by the Royals.

Francisco LirianoFrancisco Liriano FD 9300 DK 9900
Opponent - CIN (Simon) Park - @PIT
FD - 39.83 DK - 21.69

Francisco Liriano has had a very rough start to the year with 3 starts where he struggled keeping the ball in the zone. However, you can't look at those and be any more worried than you normally are when rostering Liriano. Liriano is and always will be a strict tournament play for me as he is either on or not, and you will likely know after the first inning. That being said, Liriano is ready for some positive regression. His surface stats are way down from previous years although his underlying statistics are the same. What that is telling me is Liriano is about to have some great starts. The Reds are a team that has been struggling and has been even worse against lefties. Liriano is only a tournament play for me but if you want to go there in cash games due to positional scarcity I can't blame you.

DFSR 705x90


Early Slate

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 9.9 DK - 7.67

Victor Martinez is looking like his 2014 self where he hit righties to a .390 wOBA and .450 SLG. Martinez is seeing the ball tremendously and roved that with a huge night last night. Tyler Duffey is going to be one of the guys I target the most in the early slate as he has exhibited a very bad HR/FB percentage and has backed that up with a low K% in the high teens. I am a big fan of this offense and Martinez gives you a ton of upside at a position that lacks just that.

Consider - Stephen Vogt

Evening Slate

Jonathan LucroyJonathan Lucroy FD 2900 DK 3200
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIL
FD - 10.23 DK - 7.94

Lucroy and the entire Brewers offense disappointed last night in a game where Adam Conley almost threw a no hitter. That's baseball for ya. Tonight we will be targeting the Brewers some more against Wei-Yin Chen. Since 2013, Lucroy has obliterated lefties with a .367 wOBA and 34% hard contact rate. Chen on the other hand, has struggled mightily against righties and ave up the most home runs to them of all starters last season. That is all you really need to know. Make sure you have some exposure to this offense,especially in tournaments.

Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal FD 2900 DK 3200
Opponent - SD (Rea) Park - @LAD
FD - 10.4 DK - 7.87

As I was about to write this, I went to check the box scores and realized Grandal just hit one out against Cesar Vargas. You may wonder why that is relevant here. Grandal has not showed the same power ability that he has in previous years and him hitting one out just solidifies that his swing still has the same power it once did. Colin Rea is a pitcher that will likely be decent eventually, just not yet. In 2015, Rea exhibited an abysmal K/BB ratio of 7/3. This proves how bad Rea is struggling to locate his pitches and has left a ton of them over the plate. Grandal has a great shot of going back to back days with a homer.



Early Slate

Miguel CabreraMiguel Cabrera FD 3800 DK 4700
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 12.96 DK - 9.87

Here is another Detroit Tigers hitter that is in an amazing spot against Tyler Duffey. Cabrera, who also had a great game last night, will be hitting 3rd against the weakest pitcher on the slate. Cabrera has been the same hitter against both lefties and righties over the course of his career with a +.400 wOBA against both. While this is not an ideal ballpark, it is not a downgrade from Cabrera's usual stomping grounds. The Tigers stack is a tremendous one and I expect Cabrera to be the beating heart to the lineup.

Consider - Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman

Evening Slate

Jose AbreuJose Abreu FD 3300 DK 4400
Opponent - BAL (Gausman) Park - @BAL
FD - 13.03 DK - 9.9

While Abreu hasn't shown off the power bat in over 10 games, he has 7 hits in the last 4. The power will certainly come and we have to make sure we don't use a 20 game sample size over a 3 year one. Every peripheral stat suggest that the power will show itself and I will trust those a lot more than a small slump. Kevin Gausman will be taking the mound here and will likely struggle a bit. Gausman is a pitcher that has extreme reverse splits as evidenced by his horrid .350 wOBA and 12 home runs given up to righties last year in only 52 innings. This is a terrific spot for Abreu to finally show off his power we all know he possesses. I am comfortable with Abreu in both cash games and tournaments.

Albert PujolsAlbert Pujols FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @TEX
FD - 12.05 DK - 9.25

Pujols and the entire Angels offense disappoints up last night, I know. However, do we care what they did last night? absolutely not. We have to look at today's match up independently and not let yesterday cloud our judgement. Today the Angels will be seeing Derek Holland, a left hander who struggles at getting righties out. In 2015, Holland gave up a .350 wOBA, 10 homers and a 37% hard contact rate to righties. That is absolutely horrible and someone we should definitely be targeting. Although Pujols is an utter shell of himself, he still has 40 home run power and this a good spot for one of those to show up.

Consider - Paul Goldschmidt



Early Slate

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3200 DK 3700
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.56 DK - 8.3

Zobrist is one of my favorite players in the league to roster as he has the ability to score in so many different ways. Zobrist has an above average walk rate, below average strikeout rate and is in a lineup that is constantly producing runs. While Julio Teheran is a very controversial pitcher, there is no doubt that he struggles against lefties. With a career wOBA of .350 and a HR/FB at 13.5%, there is no disputing that. Zobrist has historically hit righties better than southpaws and is in a great spot to get involved today.

Consider - Neil Walker

Evening Slate

Chase UtleyChase Utley FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - SD (Rea) Park - @LAD
FD - 10.24 DK - 8

Chase Utley is another Dodgers bat that is firmly in play here against Colin Rea. Utley will likely be leading off here and will be protected by Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal. As mentioned above, Rea has had a tough time with lefties and should struggle to contain this lineup. Utley has hit righties well, even at his old age with a .333 wOBA over the past 3 seasons. I expect Utley to have a very nice season as long as he is batting leadoff for the majority of it.

Consider - Jason Kipnis, Brett Lawrie


Early Slate

Asdrubal CabreraAsdrubal Cabrera FD 2700 DK 3300
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @NYM
FD - 8.38 DK - 6.62

Talk about an ugly position, wow. Asdrubal Cabrera is going to be our top here and it is almost by default. The Mets offense is in a great position to succeed here and Cabrera should be hitting 7th behind Neil Walker and Lucas Duda. Matt Cain has been horrible this year with a .388 wOBA against lefties over the past 2 seasons. Surprisingly, Cabrera has been a good hitter against righties over the past 5 years with a .339 wOBA. I look for the Mets to have a great day at the plate and Cabrera should be able to get involved.

Consider - Carlos Correa

Evening Slate

Jean SeguraJean Segura FD 3500 DK 4400
Opponent - COL (Rusin) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.37 DK - 9.15

Jean Segura has been on fire to start the year and I personally don't think it is a fluke at all. Segura has all the peripherals to suggest reality with a 32% hard hit rate, .310 BABIP and .384 combined wOBA. Chris Rusin on the other hand, is not very good. In 2015, Rusin have up a .376 wOBA to righties. While you may think that is due to the Coors effect, he actually had a worse wOBA on the road. Segura will be leading off and I am expecting a big game here. Segura is a terrific play in both cash games and tournaments as he brings some speed and power upside.

Andrelton SimmonsAndrelton Simmons FD 2400 DK 2900
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @TEX
FD - 8.83 DK - 7.06

Don't get me wrong, I am not jumping up and down when clicking his name either. However, we gotta look at how good of a spot he is in. Simmons will be hitting 6th or 7th against a horrible lefty in a great hitters ballpark, while following a core lineup of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Simmons has hit lefties above average over the past 3 years with a .302 wOBA and 27% hard hit rate. Sure, the name isn't fun, but we don't care about the name. We care about fantasy points and Simmons is in a good spot to deliver some of those.



Early Slate

Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @TB
FD - 10.55 DK - 8.13

We are already at 3rd base and we have yet to pick on J.A. Happ. Let's get to it. Happ has been someone I love to pick on as he really gives it up to righties. Over the past few years, Happ has held a 4.61 xFIP against righties and has also given up over a home run per 9. On the contrary, Longoria is a guy who has smashed lefties over his entire career. Over the past 3 seasons, Longoria has smashed righties to a .398 wOBA and a 34% hard contact rate. This whole offense is in a nice tournament spot and Longoria is my favorite of the bunch.

Consider - Anthony Rendon

Evening Slate

Maikel FrancoMaikel Franco FD 3500 DK 3600
Opponent - CLE (Bauer) Park - @PHI
FD - 11.76 DK - 9.11

Maikel Franco has somehow continued to hit well while being surrounded by guys like Freddy Galvis and Ryan Howard. In 2015, Franco hit righties better than lefties with a .360 wOBA and .506 SLG. His peripherals suggest this is correct and we can expect it until he proves otherwise. Trevor Bauer will be making his first start of the year and while he is a good pitcher, he has struggled containing righties as evidenced by his .332 wOBA over the past 2 years. Franco makes a wonderful tournament play as he has a ton of power upside.

Derek DietrichDerek Dietrich FD 2100 DK 3500
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @MIL
FD - 10.64 DK - 8.21

Derek Dietrich is going to have a huge opportunity for about 79 more games with Dee Gordon testing positive for PED's. Dietrich has always hit righties very well as shown by his career wOBA of .341 and line drive rate of 22%. Chase Anderson is about as average as they come and in 2015 gave up a .325 wOBA to lefties. However, his peripherals suggest major regression. With a 4.28 xFIP and 37% flyball rate, the wOBA should be sitting somewhere around .360. Dietrich is a great play in all formats.



Early Slate

Justin UptonJustin Upton FD 2700 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.15 DK - 8.78
J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.56 DK - 8.9

Both of these guys are in similar great situations here against Tyler Duffey, a right handed pitcher who struggles against righties. Both Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez hit righties very well with a .362+ wOBA in 2015. I am expecting Martinez to hit 2nd and for Upton to hit 5th. Duffey is going to have some serious issues with this entire lineup as nearly everyone can hit righties for power. Duffey's peripherals suggest his home run problems will only get worse with a 40% flyball percentage and only a 8.8 HR/FB rate. Most sit around 12 which tells me Duffey is about to give up some homers. This entire offense is in a great spot and these 2 guys are right in the thick of it.

Jason HeywardJason Heyward FD 3400 DK 3900
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @CHC
FD - 12.43 DK - 10.15
Dexter FowlerDexter Fowler FD 4100 DK 4900
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.4 DK - 8.5

Here is a another combo of outfielders that are in an amazing spot against a bad righty. As mentioned, Teheran has struggled mightily against lefties with a career .350 wOBA and 13.5 HR/FB rate. Both Heyward and Fowler are very good against righties with Heyward holding a career .364 wOBA and Fowler a .336. If you have been watching the Cubs games you would know both of these guys are seeing the ball spectacularly. I am a huge fan of this offense as a tournament stack and these are 2 guys you have to include in that.

Consider - Michael Conforto, Josh Reddick, Steve Souza

Evening Slate

Domingo SantanaDomingo Santana FD 2600 DK 3200
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIL
FD - 11.57 DK - 8.97
Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 4500 DK 4800
Opponent - MIA (Chen) Park - @MIL
FD - 12.28 DK - 9.82

There is not too much to say about this one. These guys are going to be facing a horrible southpaw at home in Miller Park with the roof closed. Let's take a second and look at just how bad Wei-Yin Chen is. In 2015, Chen gave up a .348 wOBA and a league leading 25 home runs to righties. You will not find many numbers that bad of pitchers that are still in the league. Braun and Santana both smash lefties to a +.360 wOBA and every peripheral suggest Santana is a legitimate hitter. This match up sets up perfectly for these guys and you should take a long hard look a them in both your tournaments and cash games.

Mike TroutMike Trout FD 4900 DK 5200
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @TEX
FD - 15.1 DK - 11.77

Trout is the key part of the Angels I keep speaking of. Although Trout is being overshadowed by Harper, he is still certainly one of the best hitters in the game. In 2015, Trout destroyed lefties with a .384 wOBA and 219 wRC+. He added to those ridiculous stats with a 30% line drive rate and 32% HR/FB rate. As mentioned a few times, Derek Holland struggles mightily against lefties and will only decline as he ages. I look for the lefties to have a big day here and Trout will be a huge part of it.

Consider - Christian Yelich, Mookie Betts, Gregory Polanco, Lorenzo Cain

So yeah, baseball season! And we've got some goodies you can take with you. At the end of the post, we have our MLB eBook that you really ought to check out before setting even a single daily fantasy MLB lineup. It's free, below.



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22 Visitor Comments

    • The game isn’t in Detroit so why even bring this up?

    I cannot believe, actually I can, that he says it is against Alabama law to put money up for a game of chance, even if there is some skill involved. That back ass wards Redneck, oh yea..I said it, has 4..FOUR.. dog tracks that operate in this state. I am going to funnel all my anger and spite that I have towards him into beat the streak. Doug, I will be using your in depth analysis to help my daily picks. When I win, I will publicly thank you and put billboards, all around the capital and his office, mocking this Attorney’s General moronic decision and hypocrisy!
    Getting off my soap box now…..

    • Same here in Texas, for sure FD. DK says different. Did the same thing with Poker Stars. Greedy sons ‘o beaches don’t feel like they getting a fair share of our money. Bingo, Dogs, Horses. Going to open up a players market now that 2 more states are “getting forced” out. You can bet anytime I leave this state I’m going to play. 🙂 Good luck Thomas… Signing off in Texas….:(

  2. Does anyone know where i can find a tutorial on how to use the lineup tool and optimizer? I am trying to set a baseball lineup for the early slate and then the late.

  3. @Ray…good thing the Tigers are in MN, huh?

  4. my optimizer kept throwing this lineup at me
    P Francisco Liriano
    C Victor Martinez
    1B Paul Goldschmidt
    2B Jason Kipnis
    3B Evan Longoria
    SS Jonathan Villar
    OF Desmond Jennings
    OF Christian Yelich
    OF Domingo Santana

  5. Vogt out of lineup, Optimizer needs to be updated

  6. Hahn at all for a cheap pitcher option?

    • I actually don’t really mind it if you are on a 2 pitcher site.

  7. Can the optimizer be used on a 2 game slate?

    • Yes, but on DK you’ll likely need to uncheck “Disallow Hitters vs. Pitchers” in the “Hitters vs. Pitchers” drop down menu

  8. looking for a cheap 2B below $2400 cash game. thinking about J. Giavotella LAA any thoughts

  9. Fanduel Cash Game Lineup for tonight. Any Thoughts?
    P – Ventura
    C – Lucroy
    1B – Abreu
    2B – J. Giavotella
    3B – D. Dietrich
    SS – J. Segura
    OF – Trout
    OF – Braun
    OF – Cain

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