Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/16/16


Welcome to Monday baseball! We have an 8 game slate on our hands with a few pitchers in good spots as well as a few pitchers that will almost certainly struggle. Make sure to check out out 3 other articles as they will touch on some more pitching options, tournaments stacks and any weather/lineup news that is important.

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Kenta MaedaKenta Maeda FD 8800 DK 9700
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAD
FD - 33.92 DK - 17.85

Kenta Maeda is far and away my favorite pitcher on today's slate. This is one of the worst slates of the year if you want to talk pitching. There is nobody that I am completely comfortable with and everyone has a few flaws in their respective match up. Maeda is my favorite of the bunch for a few reasons. First of all, the Angels have been the 5th worst team against righties in the league as evidenced by their .287 wOBA and league worst 24.7% hard contact rate. Secondly, Maeda has pitched extremely well to start this season with 6 quality starts out of 7 total starts. Maeda has held both lefties and righties at bay with a combined wOBA of .267 and a 3.42 xFIP. To add on, Maeda is a highball pitcher which lessens the risk of Trout hitting one out as Trout is a lowball hitter. Maeda is far and away my top pitcher in both cash games and tournaments, especially on FanDuel where he is priced below Zimmerman and Smyly.

Adam ConleyAdam Conley FD 8300 DK 8200
Opponent - PHI (Eickhoff) Park - @PHI
FD - 31.35 DK - 16.7

Honestly, after you get past Maeda it is very difficult to find anyone else you are really comfortable with. The reason I went with Conley here is due to the match up and him being a lefty against a left handed heavy team. Conley has pitched much better than anticipated to begin the season with 34 strikeouts in 5 combined starts. He has held lefties and righties to a combined .312 wOBA throughout his career and his low xFIP suggests we may see some improvement on those numbers. The Philadelphia Phillies have been atrocious against lefties this year as evidenced by their league worst .275 wOBA and 68 wRC+. This ballpark sets up very well for Conley as it was ranked in the bottom third of the league last season for right handed power and wOBA. Due to the position scarcity tonight, I am comfortable with Conley in all formats, however, he is far from a safe option.

Consider - Rick Porcello, Jon Niese

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Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal FD 2900 DK 3400
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAD
FD - 9.43 DK - 7.13

Yasmani Grandal has turned it around recently with 2 home runs in the previous 4 games and has hit righties to a .347 wOBA and 36% hard contact rate over the past 3 years. Matt Shoemaker is a guy who has struggled against lefties with a .337 wOBA and 4.80 xFIP in 2015. I expect the Dodgers offense to get to Shoemaker and Grandal will be hitting in the heart of the order. While this stadium isn't a great hitters park, it is above average as evidenced by the top third power rating for lefties in 2015. Grandal is a great cash game and tournament option as the Dodgers team will put together a great performance as a whole which heightens his floor.

Josh PhegleyJosh Phegley FD 2100 DK 3100
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @OAK
FD - 10.3 DK - 8.06

Josh Phegley and the Athletics are taking on Derek Holland, a left handed pitcher that is due for some severe regression. That regression started over the last 2 games as he gave up 15 earned runs in only 5 innings of work. Every peripheral stat suggests Holland is going to have a horrible season and I look for that to continue here against the Oakland Athletics. Josh Phegley on the other hand, has smashed lefties over the course of his career. In 2015, Phegley sported a .341 wOBA and 39.2% hard contact rate against lefties. While this ballpark is not ideal, Phegley is not power reliant and relies on RBI's and runs to score fantasy points. I am comfortable with Phegley in all formats.

Consider - Brian McCann, Russell Martin



Adrian GonzalezAdrian Gonzalez FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAD
FD - 10.46 DK - 7.96

Adrian Gonzalez is another guy who has been on fire lately with 8 hits in the previous 5 games. As mentioned a few times, Matt Shoemaker is a really bad pitcher and has exceptionally struggled against lefties. Over the previous 3 seasons, Gonzalez has hit righties to a .360 wOBA and 37.1% hard contact rate. Shoemaker is a lowball pitcher which sets up very well for Gonzalez as he has a +.400 wOBA in the lower third over the course of his career. Gonzalez is my top option in both tournaments and cash games.

David OrtizDavid Ortiz FD 4300 DK 5300
Opponent - KC (Ventura) Park - @KC
FD - 10.86 DK - 8.2

How in the world is David Ortiz still doing this at age 40? Because he is one of the best hitters over the past decade, especially against righties. Over the past 10 games, Ortiz has hit 5 home runs and 15 hits. While Yordano Ventura is not a guy I love to target, this Red Sox team is just too hot to avoid. Ortiz will be right back in the middle of the lineup after getting yesterday off. In 2015, Ventura gave up a .336 wOBA and 32% hard contact rate to lefties and was much worse on the road. While this ballpark is not ideal, Ortiz has the power to get it out anywhere. Ortiz is a GPP play for me as this is not an ideal park and Ventura is not a horrible pitcher.

Consider - Miguel Cabrera, Mark Teixeira

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Starlin CastroStarlin Castro FD 2900 DK 3300
Opponent - ARI (Ray) Park - @ARI
FD - 9.06 DK - 7.25

Starlin Castro is going to be our 1st of 3 Yankee bats in this write-up as I love this entire offense in this match-up with Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks. Ray has been very bad against righties with a .355 wOBA over the last 3 seasons. While Starlin Castro is not a great hitter, he hits lefties well as evidenced by his .361 wOBA and 127 wRC+ in 2015. This ballpark ranked as the second best in the majors for right handed power in 2015. Castro is a great play in all formats due to the fact that he has the power upside and the high floor.

Chase UtleyChase Utley FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAD
FD - 9.04 DK - 7.06

The Dodgers are going to be a very common trend in this article as I am sure you have noticed. Matt Shoemaker is a pitcher that will be back to the minors very soon and we need to take advantage of him while we still can. Utley has been leading off and hitting the ball well against righties with a .386 wOBA and 34.4% hard contact rate. Utley is a great option in both cash games and tournaments.

Consider - Derek Dietrich, Daniel Castro



Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 3200 DK 3700
Opponent - TB (Smyly) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.64 DK - 7.33

Tulowitzki is finally over the Mendoza line! He has been on fire recently with 8 hits and 3 home runs in his last 5 games. Don't get me wrong, Drew Smyly is a very good pitcher and I certainly don't like targeting him. However, Tulowitzki has destroyed lefties over the course of his career and this position does not have a ton of depth on this slate. In 2015, Tulowitzki hit lefties to a .396 wOBA and an absurd 46.1% hard contact rate. Smyly on the other hand, has struggled with a .329 wOBA against righties over the last 2 years. I do prefer Tulowitzki in tournaments as he is power reliant and I don't expect this whole Jays team to go off.

Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 2400 DK 3800
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.3 DK - 7.48

Marcus Semien is a shortstop I love to roster as he has a ton of power at a very low price around the industry. In 2015, Semien hit 15 home runs and held a .377 wOBA against lefties. As mentioned, Derek Holland is going to have a very tough year and will struggle against righties especially. Holland has given up a .361 wOBA thus far into the year and I expect that to actually go down as he got lucky a bit at the beginning of the year with a low BABIP. Semien is a quality play in both cash games and tournaments.

Consider - Corey Seager



Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 3500 DK 4200
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @TOR
FD - 11.68 DK - 8.92

Evan Longoria and the Rays are taking on a weak left hander in J.A. Happ. Happ has been bad against righties for the past few seasons with a .317 wOBA and 35.8% hard contact rate. Evan Longoria on the other hand, has mashed lefties over the course of his entire career as evidenced by his .385 wOBA and 34.7% hard contact rate. Longoria is a consistent option against lefties which gives me comfort to roster him in both cash games and tournaments.

Danny ValenciaDanny Valencia FD 2600 DK 3300
Opponent - TEX (Holland) Park - @OAK
FD - 10.05 DK - 7.88

Danny Valencia went absolutely nuts yesterday with 3 home runs off of Matt Moore and the Tampa Bay Rays. He now faces an even worse left hander today in Derek Holland. I will not go into Holland and just how bad he is once again. Over the last 3 seasons, Valencia has destroyed lefties with a .388 wOBA and 37.2% hard contact rate. Valencia is a very close 2nd for me at the third base position behind Longoria, however, I would not blame you if you used Valencia in cash games.

Consider - Josh Donaldson, Maikel Franco



Carlos BeltranCarlos Beltran FD 2700 DK 3500
Opponent - ARI (Ray) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.42 DK - 8.01
Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 2500 DK 3900
Opponent - ARI (Ray) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.21 DK - 8.24

This outfield duo is going to be very under-owned and has a ton of upside in this stadium. The Yankees are facing off with Robbie Ray, a left hander who has struggled keeping the ball in play against righties. Over the last 2 years, Ray has given up a .355 wOBA and 38.7% hard contact rate to righties. Ray's peripherals suggest these stats are very accurate as he is holding a 4.55 xFIP and 9.4% HR/FB%. Aaron Hicks and Carlos Beltran have both hit lefties very well throughout their careers with a + .325 wOBA. Chase Field is the 2nd best overall hitters ballpark in the league and ranked 3rd in terms of power for righties behind Coors Field and the Rogers Centre. I am comfortable with these guys in all formats due to their high floor and high power upside.

Yasiel PuigYasiel Puig FD 2600 DK 3800
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAD
FD - 9.97 DK - 7.87

Yasiel Puig is once again in play here on FanDuel as he is extremely under priced at $2600. Puig is facing off with the below average right hander Matt Shoemaker who has struggled against both righties and lefties throughout his career. In 2015, Shoemaker sported a .337 wOBA and 34.8% hard contact rate to righties. Puig on the other hand, has exhibited reverse splits throughout his career with a .364 wOBA and 36.4% hard contact rate. Puig has also hit a lot better at Dodgers Stadium with a .394 wOBA compared to a .327 wOBA on the road. Puig is a great play in all formats on FanDuel and a GPP only play on DraftKings due to the huge price differential.

Gregory PolancoGregory Polanco FD 3500 DK 4500
Opponent - ATL (Perez) Park - @PIT
FD - 10.73 DK - 9.24

Gregory Polanco and the Pirates are taking on Williams Perez and the Perez in PNC Park. Polanco has hit righties very well over the course of his career with a .33 wOBA and will be taking on a very poor one tonight in Perez. Perez has exhibited very poor splits against lefties with a .373 wOBA and a 34.7% hard contact rate. Perez has also struggled holding runners and Polanco has great stolen base upside as evidenced by his 27 stolen bases in 2015. Polanco is more of a GPP play for me as there are plenty of safer options at the outfield position.

Consider - Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez

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44 Visitor Comments

  1. A question: You note that “Drew Smyly is a very good pitcher” and that outside of Tulo you don’t expect the whole Toronto hitting lineup to go off on him. So on a night that you you termed the worst of the year for pitching choices, what kept Smyly out of the 4 (of 8) pitchers that received any consideration? Thanks.

    • it is just due to the fact that the Blue Jays lineup is so lethal against lefties. A few guys get on and one swing can end his night.

  2. I couldn’t get the podcast to open. I’ll try again later

  3. Probably salary. Smyly, Happ, Porcello and Zimmerman are grossly overpriced on DK.

  4. That 4K guy pitching for the Yanks tonight was lights out in AAA…worth a flier in GPP’s?

  5. Thoughts on Jon Niese? I knos he’s struggling but he has historically pitched well against the awful Braves–and he’s racked up some Ks against them. Bargain-basement price.

  6. “How does Ortiz do it at age 40?” Well, after the long walk from the dugout to the box, he has added incentive to hit a dong so he can walk around the bases. A base hit that requires anything more than a lumbering gait requires a day off next game. Beyond that, only time and constantly improving testing will tell.

    • Ridiculous comment, accusing him of PEDs! How about the brutal state of pitching today and the fact that the Sox are loaded top to bottom and the pitchers can’t pitch around him anymore? It’s also his last year and he has said over and over that he wants to go out on top. Get a clue!

  7. Hey Nick thanks for the articles today. I was wondering what your thoughts on a Oakland Texas double stack. The pitching as you mentioned is ripe for Oakland but Texas looks promising as well. Any thoughts?

  8. Hoping this Boston game gets rained out thT game has me thinking to much

  9. Yes, I like the idea of stacking that game. Wonder how Texas will perform after yesterday! Haha

  10. Is Conley a good option for tornaments? Or should I go maeda? Any response would be awesome

  11. Maeda will be highly owned. More of a cash game option and Conley is a tournament option.

    • Thanks! How about stacking JD Martinez and upton?

    • Some experts suggest not worrying too much about chalk when it comes to pitching. This is especially true on FD where you need that win. Conley and Maeda appear to be the 2 best pitchers going tonight on paper. Both of them can throw gems and both can get touched up a little too. Maeda is the most heavily favored slinger tonight….so, he is VERY hard to get away from on FD in cash. Conley is a fine tourney option. Has the most upside.

      • Niese has about same ML as Maeda (-193 to -195). Run line favors Maeda, but cost easily counterbalances this. Niese recent game log looks rough but he had to pitch in Coors, v Cubs, in Great American and in Chase v Arizona. That’s a pretty brutal stretch.

  12. Haha thanks! that was a dirty slide though in my opinion. Hope everyone is taking pointers from Odor that is surely how to throw a right cross.

    • Dirty or not players have always slid hard at 2nd if chance is there after getting hit on purpose. Doubt anyone goes in hard vs Odor any time soon though

  13. Mayweather and Odor coming soon I heard…

    And yes, I love stacking the Tigers. Big upside.

  14. Are we sure Phegley is even going to play

    • Phegley has chance but wouldn’t roster on FD if lineups not released before lock

  15. I’m a Jays fan but Bautista is an asshole and he deserved every bit of that. Maybe now he will shut up and stop complaint about every pitch and every call and play baseball

  16. Phegley should play but I’m looking at other options but not until lineups are released . Pencil him in and worry about it when when the time comes

  17. Im watching the Red Sox score tons of runs each night and I am not seeing the players anywhere in the optimal lineups. Whats up with that?

    • It is due to the fact that they are moving to one of the worst hitters parks in the league and are facing an above average pitcher.

      • No. You don’t see Red Sox because that game is in severe danger to get washed out. Yordano Ventura does nothing to scare me off the Red Sox weather permitting and neither does the park.

  18. I was excited to see a podcast DFSR, but was disappointed… It’s the same exact thing of the article. Was hoping for a few guys giving advice, talking picks and strategy..

    • That will be happening soon. We wanted to get some audio material out on the site first.

    • Thanks for the feedback Jarred. We are going to rename these particular offerings just “MLB Picks” or something of the like so as to not give wrong impression. We are moving into more audio content and this is the first step.

  19. Thanks Aystun and Doug.
    Looking forward for the audios. Usually have to go to rotogrinders to listen to them but now it’s a one stop shop in this site. I’m excited.

  20. Yes and optimizer doesn’t care about hot streaks. Boston is on a roll but can be shut down very quickly by one decent pitcher in a pitcher friendly park. If their prices weren’t so high it may be better. We r gonna see their prices at Fenway go almost as high as Colorado players very soon I’m thinking

    • This is correct. Predicting streaks (both hot and cold) is impossible. We should only rely on base assumptions and move from there unless other information is available (injury, etc).

  21. Damn I didn’t know phegley is kinda hurt. He’s not very good anyways. Prob going somewhere else at C

  22. My MLB DK LU for tonight
    P Kenta Maeda P
    P Drew Smyly P
    C Russell Martin
    1B E. Encarnación
    2B Starlin Castro
    3B Josh Donaldson
    SS Troy Tulowitzki
    OF José Bautista
    OF Desmond Jennings
    OF Mike Trout

  23. A pitcher vs the Jays plus 5 Jays? Not good idea man. Study up on DFS first

  24. will u have a podcast daily?

    Talkin bbout each game or somethin

  25. A game play/tactical question:

    There are times – like today – when picking the top choices in the various positions actually brings you in well under the salary cap. Less frustrating than the days when it’s nearly impossible to make the jigsaw puzzle pieces fit for sure, but it raised the question of whether it’s better to look for higher priced (and maybe higher producing) choices in the “also consider” names to use up the salary.

    Do you generally like to leave it as is – even if your way under the cap? Or do you feel more comfortable looking to a higher priced (but maybe your 3rd or 4th choice) name?

    I’m probably overthinking this. It always just feels weird to end up way under – like I’m leaving money on the table or something.


    • This is an interesting piece for today. It is almost always correct to use your entire salary (for cash games, it’s different for big tournaments) because there enough expected average points to fill a whole roster. But today is a little different only because the better pitching options (imo Niese, Maeda and Conley) are all pretty cheap. On FD I think filling salary is no issue. But DK if you go with Niese then coming in under will happen.

    • One common mistake: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE UP THE SALARY! If you feel your lineup is optimal then leave the money on the table. Under $1000, not that big of a deal. Over $1000 usually means you can do better somewhere.

  26. i guess optimal didn’t include 80% of the picks above

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