Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Chris Durell

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/18/16

Note - We have added an audio version of this article! Make sure to check it out and let us know what you think below in the comments

Welcome to Wednesday baseball. We have four early games and 12 evening games due to the double header scheduled between the Red Sox and Royals. While most of the aces were on the mound on Tuesday, we are still left with some top options in great match ups today. Weather doesn't appear to be a concern today but keep your eyes open and be sure to check out our weather update article that is posted before lineup lock.

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Early Slate

Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander FD 8600 DK 9500
Opponent - MIN (Nolasco) Park - @DET
FD - 33.84 DK - 17.85

The early slate doesn't have a whole lot to like at the pitcher position so if you're playing go with the best situation. The Tigers are home favorites to the Twins who rank 27th in total runs scored and have struck out over 23% of the time vs. right handed pitching. Justin Verlander has pitched very well over his last two starts allowing just one earned run in 15 innings pitched and has struck out 17 batters while walking just four. He is safe in all formats in early only slates and worth a GPP shot in an all day scenario.

Late Slate

Johnny CuetoJohnny Cueto FD 10900 DK 11900
Opponent - SD (Pomeranz) Park - @SD
FD - 43.84 DK - 24.75

The Giants are playing terrific baseball right now winning six straight and seven of their last 10 games. On Wednesday they will turn to Johnny Cueto to keep the streak alive. He has been impressive to start the year with a 5-1 record with a 2.97 ERA while striking out over eight batters per nine innings. He gets a very favorable match up in a pitchers park vs. the Padres who rank 29th in team wOBA(.277) and 4th in strikeouts(25.2%) vs. right handed pitching.


Francisco LirianoFrancisco Liriano FD 10000 DK 10400
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @PIT
FD - 46.26 DK - 26.33

Liriano will be looking to rebound tonight after getting rocked by the Cubs for eight earned runs in his last start. The walks got him into trouble once again(5.22 BB/9 on the year) and the Cubs took advantage with three home runs. On a slate where he comes in as the second highest priced pitcher after a bad start, he makes a great GPP play that will be under owned. He has strikeout upside as he is currently sporting a 10.44 K/9 rate and faces the Braves who rank dead last in team wOBA(.245) vs. left handed pitching while striking out close to 26% of the time.



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Early Slate

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 3200 DK 3600
Opponent - MIN (Nolasco) Park - @DET
FD - 10.82 DK - 8.37

The Tigers are in a nice spot on Wednesday afternoon against Ricky Nolasco who has given up four or more earned runs in four straight and five of his last six games. Martinez has cooled off a bit with no hits in his last three games but is having an excellent start to the season hitting .338 with an impressive 156 wRC+ while striking out less than 9% of the time. He hits in a prime spot in the order and won't cost a fortune. He is safe in all formats today.

Late Slate

Evan GattisEvan Gattis FD 2300 DK 3800
Opponent - CHW (Latos) Park - @CHW
FD - 10.7 DK - 8.11

The Astros recalled Gattis on Tuesday after placing OF Carlos Gomez on the disabled list and he returned in a big way going 2-4 with an 11th inning, go ahead home run that would lead the Astros to victory. It is hopefully a kick start for Gattis who has been underwhelming to start the year hitting just .203 while striking out over 31% of the time. He has the power upside we like to see but with the inconsistency he can only be considered in GPP's today. His value is by far best on FanDuel, where he is just over minimum price.

Yan GomesYan Gomes FD 2700 DK 3100
Opponent - CIN (Finnegan) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.32 DK - 8.67

Gomes has been red hot lately with hits in four straight and has a home run in three of those games. It is a welcome site for fantasy owners who have rode him through the early struggles. He has positive splits vs. left handed pitching for his career and will face Brandon Finnegan who has really struggled with control(4.81 BB/9) and the long ball(17.8% HR/FB rate) this season. The early struggles have pushed the price down making him safe in all formats.


Early Slate

David OrtizDavid Ortiz FD 4300 DK 5400
Opponent - KC (Kennedy) Park - @KC
FD - 12.06 DK - 9.1

Ortiz has been absolutely dominant this year with a .477 wOBA and an absurd 50% hard contact rate. While those numbers are obviously unsustainable, it just proves to me that he still has it at age 40. Ian Kennedy on the other hand, has been struggling against lefties over the last few years with a .356 wOBA and 36.5% hard contact rate. While Kaufmann Stadium is not an ideal hitters park, there are no good parks in the early slate and Ortiz can hit it out anywhere. Ortiz is my number 1 option in the early slate in both tournaments and cash games.

Late Slate

John JasoJohn Jaso FD 2900 DK 3100
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @PIT
FD - 10.46 DK - 8.17

He is an excellent value option at the 1B position tonight hitting at the top of the Pirates lineup. He is coming off a big game on Tuesday where he picked up three hits with 2 RBI and a run. He has pushed his average over .280 for the season and is striking out less than 13% of the time. He will get a nice match up vs. Julio Teheran who has been decent to start the year despite the lack of run support but struggles with control and has given up a staggering.364 wOBA against left handed hitters.

Adam LindAdam Lind FD 2400 DK 3600
Opponent - BAL (Tillman) Park - @BAL
FD - 10.77 DK - 8.21

He is the highest projected(PTS/$) first baseman on the slate, according to the DFSR projection system. He has seen a dip in power numbers going to Safeco Field which has pushed his price tag down causing him to be a good value when the Mariners are on the road in a hitters park. He picked up a hit last night in a 10-0 blowout of the Orioles and has pushed his hit streak to five games. He will continue to get opportunities to  drive in runs hitting in the 6/7 hole behind Cano, Cruz, and Seager.

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Early Slate

Derek DietrichDerek Dietrich FD 3300 DK 3400
Opponent - PHI (Hellickson) Park - @PHI
FD - 11.48 DK - 8.85

Second base is a spot you can save on in the early slate for your cash games. Dietrich is an affordable mid tier option hitting leadoff for the Marlins who has improved almost every facet of his game in 2016. He is walking more(9.7%) and striking out less(18.4%) than his career numbers and it has shown up on the stat sheet as he is hitting .291 with an impressive 141 wRC+ for the Marlins. Jeremy Hellickson on the other hand, has struggled against lefties over the past few years with a .382 wOBA. Dietrich is a terrific option in both cash games and tournaments.

Late Slate

Robinson CanoRobinson Cano FD 4000 DK 5000
Opponent - BAL (Tillman) Park - @BAL
FD - 11.69 DK - 9.07

After the 13 game hit streak came to an end on Monday night he started a new streak on Tuesday picking up three hits(two doubles) in four at bats including 2 RBI and three runs scored. He has been very impressive in his third season as a Mariner hitting .290 with 12 HR and 34 RBI and his BABIP of .277(45 points lower than his career average) suggests there is room for improvement. He will face fly ball pitcher Chris Tillman tonight who has been lucky in limiting his opponents to a 2.1% HR/FB rate and 78.4% LOB rate. Look for the numbers to normalize and for a hot hitter like Cano to take advantage.

Chase UtleyChase Utley FD 2900 DK 3700
Opponent - LAA (Tropeano) Park - @LAA
FD - 9.06 DK - 7.16

The Dodgers are in a great spot to produce some offense tonight vs. Nick Tropeano. He is a fly ball pitcher(30% GB rate) giving up close to five walks per nine innings and a 13.2% HR/FB rate. While his ERA is respectable at 3.68, his xFIP of 4.96 suggests he is pitching much better than the peripherals suggest, especially against lefties. Utley is another affordable option who lacks upside for GPP's but has a nice floor hitting leadoff.




Early Slate

Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - TEX (Perez) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.95 DK - 8

After hitting just 15 home runs all of last season Semien has started the 2016 season with 10 long balls in just 39 games played. If you are playing the early slate you are going to want some exposure to this game as it could very well be the highest scoring game. The A's get a home match up vs. Martin Perez who has been getting away with some awful control(4.94 BB/9) and his 4.85 xFIP suggests that his 3.23 ERA is a little too good to be true.

Late Slate

Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 3500 DK 4100
Opponent - CIN (Finnegan) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.6 DK - 9.62

He continued his hot hitting last night with three hits in six at bats in a 13-1 route over the Reds in game two of the series. The Indians hot bats will look for the sweep on Wednesday evening after taking the first two games by a combined score of 28-7. They will face left hander Brandon Finnegan who I mentioned earlier struggles with control which gets him into trouble with an awful 17.8% HR/FB rate. Lindor is a switch hitter who is killing it from the the right side this season hitting an even .400 vs. left handed pitching.

Brad MillerBrad Miller FD 2700 DK 3300
Opponent - TOR (Dickey) Park - @TOR
FD - 10.01 DK - 8.06

The Tampa Bay Rays have really taken it to the Blue Jays in the first two games of the series outscoring them 25-4 and it does't look like the result will be much different on Wednesday. Although R.A. Dickey pitched well in his last start he is far from the streak stopper the Jays need right now. He can struggle with his knuckleball command at times and has given up a .343 wOBA against left handed bats. Miller has positive splits vs. right handed pitchers for his career and is coming in swinging a hot bat with four hits(1-2B,1-3B) and 3 RBI's in the series.



Early Slate

Maikel FrancoMaikel Franco FD 2800 DK 3900
Opponent - MIA (Koehler) Park - @PHI
FD - 12.38 DK - 9.58

Franco is very close to being on par with his numbers from a half season in 2015 except for a few glaring spots. His average is down over 30 points which can be attributed to his drop in BB rate and increase in K rate but he has also been a bit unlucky with a .261 BABIP which is close to 30 points lower than last season. He makes a great GPP play with big power upside vs. Tom Koehler who has been less than impressive this season walking over five batters per nine innings which has resulted in a poor 5.14 ERA.

Late Slate

Jacob LambJacob Lamb FD 3400 DK 3900
Opponent - NYY (Eovaldi) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.84 DK - 8.52

Lamb has been tearing the cover off the baseball in the month of May with 15 hits including five doubles, one triple and three home runs. He gets another favorable match up tonight vs. Nathan Eovaldi. Despite going 2-0 in his last three starts, Eovaldi has given up 11 earned runs including a home run in each of the three games. Lamb is a terrific play in any format, hitting in a prime spot in the order ahead of Paul Goldschmidt.



Early Slate

J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 3800 DK 4200
Opponent - MIN (Nolasco) Park - @DET
FD - 11.33 DK - 8.74

After a fairly slow start to the season Martinez has really picked it up lately with 12 hits(2 doubles, 5 home runs) in his last nine games. He is one of the best run producing outfielders in the American League and hits near the top of the lineup of one of the best offensive teams. Martinez is on pace in almost all categories to match the last two season except average. He has seen a drop due to his early struggles vs. right handed pitching. A match up vs. Ricky Nolasco who is giving up over a +30% hard hit ball rate should help to equalize those numbers.

Late Slate

Matt HollidayMatt Holliday FD 2600 DK 4000
Opponent - COL (Rusin) Park - @STL
FD - 12.67 DK - 9.77

He has seen a nice turn around in 2016 after an injury riddled 2015 campaign for the Cardinals. He has already hit six home runs with 19 RBI and 16 runs scored for the Cardinals who rank 3rd in the majors in runs scored. He has gone 0-12 in his last three games but will be in a great spot to get back on track tonight vs. Chris Rusin who has given up 23 hits and 11 earned runs in his last two starts for the Rockies.

Jason HeywardJason Heyward FD 3400 DK 3900
Opponent - MIL (Nelson) Park - @MIL
FD - 14.15 DK - 11.4

Much like J.D. Martinez(mentioned above), Heyward had a slow start to the year but has recently come on strong. He finally hit his first home run of the year last night and has picked up a hit in eight straight and nine of his last 10 games. Jimmy Nelson, however, has struggled against lefties last season with a .376 wOBA and 34.6% hard contact rate. The lack of power and run production is a bit concerning on a team ranked 2nd in runs scored. For this reason, I will limit my exposure to tournaments only.

Note - We have added an audio version of this article! Make sure to check it out and let us know what you think below in the comments


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28 Visitor Comments

  1. Yesterday was a day that makes one wonder if this is indeed a game of skill. The Cubs and Orioles stacks failed miserably. Chase “Gofer” Anderson almost pitched a no-hitter. Wade”Hit Me A” Miley looked like Jake Arrieta. The Braves scored more runs than their combined season total…hell, the only contest I cashed in involved a Tampa stack. Where does one go from here?

    • This is baseball. Not getting didactic of course. More in a “I’m with you” kind of way. Baseball is by far (and it’s not close) the most frustrating of all DFS sports for just this reason. Things that “aren’t supposed to happen” happen way more because of the nature of the game. It’s built on such a huge amount of variance that single days can feel crazy.

      • Well said Doug. Looking for that Padres stack tonight 🙂

  2. Anthony, I am there with you at times. Welcome to DFS. I had a lot of Twin and Tiger stacks that really didn’t work and I picked the wrong pitcher. I am learning to look at more advanced stats too like on Fangraphs.com. It’s just finding time to do it which I don’t have a lot of. Good days and bad days happen. I also realize that all these MLB players are professionals and the gas can pitchers can’t pitch terrible on every outing or they won’t be in the big leagues long. I also learning that everynight, it seems one low-ownership stack that no one talks about will win. It is just finding that right stack.

  3. Yeah, TB killed my Stroman LU’s. Salazar got a little back.

  4. You can’t win them all, definitely agree with doing additional research if you have time. I check close to 20 sites a day before making my decisions. Last night, I’m glad I went with Bum and Kershaw. They carried my Twins and Tiger stacks to victory. Sank and Mauer did hit homers!! Also, since I went high on pitchers, I was forced to play Joc Pederson and Orlando For KC. If only I had Davis for Oakland ???

  5. When in doubt always go all in for pitchers on DK.. If kershaw and thor get hammered, i lose. But I’ll take that chance

  6. I had 9 lineups yesterday.. one Bat shit crazy lineup trying to win a GPP and then my standard safe picks for gpp and double up. I won 8 and lost the BSC lineup. Previous 2 days i lost $20 I’m up about $23 in a little over a month of playing. Nothing spectacular but for a newb playing .25 $1 and $2 games, it is what it is.When my bank roll hits 100$ i’ll go in higher

  7. I love the audio version of the article. I listen on my way to wrk. Thanks DFSR team.

    • Thanks so much for saying this. We are slowly rolling in more audio features on the site. This kind of feedback is awesome.

  8. Won in my gpps but lost using the same lineup in all my 50/50’s! Lmao…I am not hating the optimal lineups one bit….they are the built to succeed…gotta roll with the punches…the optimizer will spit out a gem soon enough thatll more than make up for the losses.

  9. Anyone else have outfielders for cash games in early slate?

    • Hello, that would be me!
      If you have any questions or comments for me, my Twitter is @VarneyDFS. I appreciate the good feedback!

  10. what are your thoughts of a sneaky pitcher for tonight’s slate, trying to think of a 2nd option on DK? One that can give you some salary relief for big bats?

    • Bartolo or Bolsinger would be my choice. However, i am a fan of paying up at pitcher today.

      • My only concern is if he is limited in pitch count being he is coming off a rehab stint

  11. How crazy is it to think I could get 15 or so points out of Bolsinger? It would allow me to put Rizzo and Cano in the same lineup.

  12. “We’re optimistic that he’ll get us, for sure, through five (innings) and hopefully beyond,” manager Dave Roberts said. “At that point in time, it’s nice when you have Kershaw going the day prior.”

    Doesn’t sound like a pitch count, but it’s hard to tell much of anything from that.

  13. I like the audio version too. Could get some work done (at work, ha) and be productive doing two things at once. Keep up the good work!

    • Amazing to hear! Thanks a bunch!

  14. Jaso or teixeira? Cash game….?Thanks

  15. I can’t decide on which combo of 3 players to play. I can either play Goldschmidt, Lamb, and Harper(not sure on Harper yet, but if not someone similar) or Rizzo, Bryant, and Joc Pederson. What do you think?

    • first in cash, Second in tourneys

  16. Keep in mind that an MLB player will see 4-5 ABs a game. Couple that with a good hitter reaching base 30-40% of the time (BBs included), and you can easily see how baseball has the highest degree of variance.

    In NBA, when a player sees 38 mins of floor time there are far more opportunities to score DFS points and save a slow start etc… Such a buffer simply doesn’t exist in MLB DFS.

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