Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Shaun Ihasz

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/21/16

We have added an audio version of this article. Make sure to comment down below any thoughts or suggestions! Thanks for listening!

-Austyn Varney @VarneyDFS

It's a full Saturday slate as we head closer to Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer. But DFS baseball is already in high gear and there's too many interesting match ups and value plays to waste time with idle chit-chat. Let's get to the picks! OK, one quick public service announcement, when you're done reading the article be sure to check back for our secondary articles (Stacks, Pitchers, News and Weather Report) published throughout the day. Good luck!

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Early Slate

Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 10000 DK 11400
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @NYM
FD - 44.61 DK - 25.01

Even though deGrom is winless in his last three outings, he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start and takes on a Brewers team that racked up just three hits last night. The Brewers are also among the league leaders in K's and deGrom returns to Citi Field after three straight road starts. The Mets ace is 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in Citi and his team is the biggest favorite (-230) on Saturday. deGrom's biggest issue this season is the lack of K's. They are way down thanks to a dip in velocity. That's troubling and needs monitoring. It's the one thing making me a little skeptical going in to this matchup.


Jon NieseJon Niese FD 7100 DK 5100
Opponent - COL (Chatwood) Park - @PIT
FD - 31.77 DK - 15.48

The price is right on Niese, especially on DraftKings where he will cost you just $5,100. Niese has put up back-to-back solid outings and last time out he pitched six strong innings against the Braves en route to his fourth win of the year. The Rockies got to Niese back in April but that was at Coors Field. They are also riding a three game losing streak and appear to be an average team at best. However they struggle to be even that away from the high altitude in Colorado. Niese isn't going to get you many K's, though the Rockies, outside of Story and Arenado, don't have much in the way of righty bats. The ML tells the story here for the price.

Evening Slate

Jose FernandezJose Fernandez FD 10900 DK 12500
Opponent - WSH (Ross) Park - @MIA
FD - 44.47 DK - 25.38

Jose Fernandez has won all of his last four starts, including back-to-back 11 strikeout performances. One of those came last week in a dominant showing against the Nationals and Fernandez gets the chance to duplicate his success Saturday night. Even when Fernandez doesn't toss up gaudy numbers, he has been consistent all year and it's hard to justify an evening lineup without him. He's striking out an insane 13 batters per nine though the 4.34 walk rate is much higher than we'd like. He will have to live in and around the strike zone against a tougher Nats team. The DK price is a little steep for the risk, but FD more than works.



Early Slate

Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2100 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Dean) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.89 DK - 8.4

Martin enters Saturday on a three-game hitting streak and gets a juicy match up vs. Pat Dean. Martin is almost a must play on FanDuel at his near minimum $2,100 price tag as long as he's in the lineup. The Blue Jays scored plenty of runs last night and I'm trying to not let their horrid start to the season (so. many. failed. stacks.) deter me from what should be a another good day at the plate. Martin's hit to the tune of an .805 OPS over the last two seasons against lefties and isn't the only Blue Jay you're going to see on this list today.


Chris IannettaChris Iannetta FD 2500 DK 3800
Opponent - CIN (Lamb) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.11 DK - 7.65

Iannetta has been much better against lefties the last two seasons and Jake Lamb was absolutely rocked last time out. Iannetta is hitting .277 and has a wOBA of .377 against southpaws these last two years. Day game after a night game in an NL park is something to watch out for, however, our projection system loves Iannetta if he steps in against Lamb on Saturday.


Evening Slate

Evan GattisEvan Gattis FD 2900 DK 4200
Opponent - TEX (Ramos) Park - @HOU
FD - 11.56 DK - 8.79

Gattis has been hot as of late with hits in four straight games, six of his last seven, and two home runs in a four-game stretch. He'll see Cesar Ramos on Saturday, who has not been able to get out of the fourth inning in any of his previous three starts. This and Gattis' .447 SLG % against lefties since 2015,  leads me to believe Gattis and his glorious beard could have a huge night on Saturday with at least one extra base hit.



Early Slate

Ryan HowardRyan Howard FD 2300 DK 3700
Opponent - ATL (Perez) Park - @PHI
FD - 12.25 DK - 9.3

Howard took Williams Perez deep 10 days ago in Atlanta, so why not again today, especially in that tiny ballpark. It's common knowledge that he strikes out too much and barely walks but Howard still has a job because of how he handles right-handers. The big lefty should be on your radar because home run number nine of 2016 could be on tap for Howard.


Kendrys MoralesKendrys Morales FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - CHW (Gonzalez) Park - @CHW
FD - 11.89 DK - 9.05

Morales has had a slow start to 2016, hitting just .195 with a OPS of .588 but has started to show signs of life lately, including an RBI single last night. The match up is also favorable for Morales, who will bat from the left-side, where he has more pop, against Miguel Gonzalez. Facing Gonzalez should be good for Morales as he takes on a pitcher with an ERA over five and walks more than six BB/9.

Evening Slate

Prince FielderPrince Fielder FD 2700 DK 3300
Opponent - HOU (Fiers) Park - @HOU
FD - 10.74 DK - 8.13

Fielder is another guy off to a slow start in 2016, but the big man came through with an RBI double last night and now has a three-game (mini) hitting streak. His early struggles should keep him relatively low owned but I suspect the price on Prince (see what I did there) will slowly start to rise as the season goes on. Jump on Fielder now before before his numbers catch up to where they should be.



Early Slate

Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 2700 DK 3800
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.18 DK - 8.89

The twins are mixing up their lineup and Dozier was their lead-off man last night. He hasn't been setting the world on fire, but neither have the Blue Jays. J.A. Happ was miserable in his last start, but it was his only speed bump this season. The splits indicate Dozier is better against lefties with a .795 OPS and .341 wOBA versus southpaws. I like Dozier, especially on FanDuel, if he stays in the top spot of the order.


Neil WalkerNeil Walker FD 2700 DK 3600
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @NYM
FD - 10.43 DK - 8.03

Clearly Walker has cooled off since his torrid April, but you can't discount the season the Mets second baseman is having. Walker has a .791 OPS this season and has reached base in six of his last seven games. Seven of his 10 homers this year have come against righties and he has been the Mets' best hitter with RISP, hitting .320.


Evening Slate

Derek DietrichDerek Dietrich FD 3400 DK 3300
Opponent - WSH (Ross) Park - @MIA
FD - 9.98 DK - 7.83

The Marlins lead-off hitter sees Ross for the second time in a week after reaching base three times last night and raising his average to .305. Ross had a tough night against the Marlins last time out, allowing five runs in five innings of work. Dietrich excels against right-handers with a .373 wOBA and a .920 OPS.



Early Slate
Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 3000 DK 4800
Opponent - MIN (Dean) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.79 DK - 9.02

OK, I know I said that you have to trust the Blue Jays again at some point, but man it's not easy. Tulo wasn't part of last night's home run parade but he did go 2-for-5 with a double. He's shown power recently with three long balls in four games last week and Saturday could be his turn to go yard again as he steps-in against a bad lefty. Tulo's stock is on the rise, and I certainly like him in all formats today. Please don't let me down Toronto.


Brad MillerBrad Miller FD 2900 DK 3500
Opponent - DET (Fulmer) Park - @DET
FD - 10.48 DK - 8.5

If you want to stay away from the Jays, Brad Miller is where I would go for an early slate shortstop. Two of his last five games have provided huge pts/$ and Michael Fulmer is an above average match-up for Miller. The projection system loves Miller and with direct competition being called up from Triple A, it will be important for him to deliver on Saturday.

Evening Slate

Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 4300 DK 5200
Opponent - TEX (Ramos) Park - @HOU
FD - 12.23 DK - 9.95

Correa has been doing it all lately, hitting homers and stealing bases to rack up tons of fantasy points. Correa has a .835 OPS vs. lefties over the last two seasons. On top of that, he sees Cesar Ramos and his 1.80 WHIP on Saturday. Well for as long as Ramos stays in the game anyway, he's made it into the fifth just once in 2016. His opposition, form, and stats will make Correa a popular target on Saturday.



Early Slate
Maikel FrancoMaikel Franco FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - ATL (Perez) Park - @PHI
FD - 12.25 DK - 9.49

It's fun to pick on the Braves. Franco is already halfway to his home run total from last season and leads the Phillies with 23 RBI. It's pretty simple, I don't expect Perez to fair well (again) against the Phillies so you should strongly consider their two biggest RBI threats this year. Franco was 1-for-4 with a double last night and looks poised for a big game on Saturday.


Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 3700 DK 5500
Opponent - MIN (Dean) Park - @MIN
FD - 14.68 DK - 11.2

More Blue Jays! OK, I won't keep repeating it. Donaldson had a double and a homerun last night in Toronto's 9-3 win. Donaldson has a . 316 batting average vs. lefties and monstrous stats that include a .443 wOBA and 1.064 OPS. Donaldson does have 10 homers this year and Saturday offers him the same thing it does to most of the Jays' - an opportunity for back-to-back big games.


Evening Slate

Justin TurnerJustin Turner FD 2300 DK 3100
Opponent - SD (Vargas) Park - @SD
FD - 9.73 DK - 7.68

Oh man, things have been bad for Turner this year...especially compared to his 2015 numbers. Over the last two years he has a .813 OPS and .354 wOBA against right-handers. For as bad as Turner's stats have been, he actually hasn't put up a bagel in terms of fantasy points in over 15 games. At the low price tag, he provides at least some type of floor and our projection system indicates a decent ceiling.



Early Slate

Jose BautistaJose Bautista FD 4200 DK 5200
Opponent - MIN (Dean) Park - @MIN
FD - 15.29 DK - 11.53

I don't know who's writing the stacks article tomorrow but I have a hunch the Jays will be featured. Bautista launched a three-run homer last night and has at least eight hits in his last nine games, including five extra base hits. Bautista has a 19.4% walk rate against lefties and like the rest of the Blue Jays order all things appear to be trending upwards. (I'm praying against a jinx, trust me.)

Matt HollidayMatt Holliday FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - ARI (Ray) Park - @STL
FD - 11.8 DK - 9.09

Matt Holiday went 0-for-4 last night, but that shouldn't discourage you. His two HR outburst last week came after an 0-fer and he's still a great value at $2,700 on FanDuel. Holliday has been inconsistent in 2016, however, he has certainly showed flashes of his peak form and the opposing starting pitcher, Robbie Ray, did give up four homeruns in one game this year (vs. Colorado in ARI).


Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @NYM
FD - 11.15 DK - 8.69

Granderson, and most of the Mets, are off to a slow start but the veteran has been so good against right-handed pitching over the last two years. In that span, he has 29 homers from the leadoff spot to go along with a .487 SLG %, .860 OPS, and a .372 wOBA. New York is back home after a long trip and won yesterday against the Brewers, Granderson and the Mets offense should be coming around any time now.


Evening Slate

George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 4000 DK 5400
Opponent - TEX (Ramos) Park - @HOU
FD - 13.03 DK - 10.34

Springer's nine game hitting streak has included three homeruns and just like Carlos Correa (see above) he gets the pleasure of facing Cesar Ramos on Saturday. In his short time in the league, Springer has feasted on lefties with a .533 SLG %, .403 wOBA, and 159 wRC+. Personally, if I had to pick one person to go deep on Saturday, sign me up for George Springer.


Adam JonesAdam Jones FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAA
FD - 9.44 DK - 7.41

We finish things out on Saturday with Adam Jones who sees Matt Shoemaker and his 8.49 ERA on Saturday night. When Shoemaker has been bad this season, it's been pretty severe. In the last two years, Jones has homered once every 20 plate appearances against right-handers. Rickard and Machado continue to set the table for Jones, giving him a chance to score points every night.

We have added an audio version of this article. Make sure to comment down below any thoughts or suggestions! Thanks for listening and reading!


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.



28 Visitor Comments

  1. Gerritt Cole pitched what has to be the ugliest 2-1 win in fantasy baseball history. I don’t think even Greg Maddux ever pulled one of those off without a single K.

  2. He went 7 innings, gave up only 1 earned run, got the win and came away with only 11.15 points on DK, It was brutal.

  3. I kept seeing my line not moving and was afraid to look because I was afraid he was getting shelled. Maybe DK was onto something with that low salary. It was like…he will get you the win alright, but …..

  4. Late slate advice for FD anyone?

    • What do you mean exactly? Anything specific?

  5. I’m looking at Vargas as pitcher. Thoughts?

  6. Joe Kelly is the probable pitcher for Boston, not Porcello. Can you correct that in the optimizer?

  7. How many zeroes does Granderson have to put up before he stops getting recommended?

    • Ha I know it’s frustrating. But this is the wrong way to look baseball projection. Basing a future opinion on a short term poor result can miss the forest for the trees. Grandy running terrible in BABIP right now. But still hitting leadoff in a solid lineup. Until that changes, I’ll happily play him against weaker arms.

  8. Granderson is historically a very streaky hitter. He is obviously on the negative side of that right now. Maybe he will come around soon, but like Stanton in Miami and Martin in Toronto, he is just not seeing the ball well right now. I am avoiding all of them until signs of life. There are plenty of more valuable plays at cheaper salaries.

    • Right. This basically comes down to how one views “streaks”. Personally, I believe (and I suspect the data more than proves this) that predicting when a streak starts and stops is next to impossible. I would suspect a hitter is more likely to come out of a slump against a weaker arm. Because the linear start and end points on a streak are basically unknown, it’s best to target price points and historical averages.

  9. That’s how I feel too Anthony, besides it hard to wait for a guy to break out a slump when you got money on the line every night.

    • Right which typically makes guys in “slumps” excellent value targets because the price is depressed in the short term coupled with negative public perception. It’s the exact time to buy low.

  10. What r ur thoughts on dae ho lee?? Have smoak at first but dudes 2k with good matchup.

    • I like him a lot. I updated his projection and he’s actually showing up in top FD lineup now. Feels right at that price.

  11. Degrom Fernandez or Hernandez for cash? Can work any of them in. Thanks

  12. Well I was wrong, there goes the Grandy man

  13. Another failed pitcher prediction, seems like every day. I am tempted to pay for optimizer peeps raving about here but maybe half of the advice is good. My mother picked better lineup guys just by the pretty names, didnt win tourney but better than the pro picks. She picked Granderson and he did good today like the pick here but if you play the same dog for days on end he has to get a bone some day.

    • Yeah I mean deGrom an 80% play on FD today. Chalk all the way. Wrong spot to consider going away from him in cash. Ran a bit bad. Only two xbh’s in 5 IPs with 7 K’s. Walks a problem, elevation PC.

      Niese was great at his pricepoint and as of this post Fernandez dealing. Stand by the SP picks for sure.

    • These guys are experts at picking failures. The only pitcher I would listen to them on is the chalk play of the night which everyone already knows anyways. Then they say, “Hey look, we were right! Bautista and Machado homered!”. Great. When you pick the most obvious big bats of the night, you’re going to get it right sometimes as would anyone with a pulse. Let’s be real, these guys frequently tell you to play Russell Martin (two days in a row now) and probably will keep recommending him until he does something come 2019 so they can say they were right. Martin is batting .175 with no homers and zero upside. Next time I’m hard up for a guy that’s going to get me between 0 and 3 points, I’ll check back here for advice.

  14. I’ve gotten raped 2 days straight using the optimizer. It’s a flip of the coin on if u will get a decent lineup. DFS is becoming impossible to win money unless u play 200 lineups. My high score today was an 88 using the optimizer on FD for 3 different slates of games. Hoping Tommrow they get back on track !

  15. The optimizer is only as good as the projections. If you are using their projections, you are going to lose more often than not. You need to adjust all the projections and eliminate boneheaded advice like playing Russell Martin before you create lineups. Remove the obvious failures right away and you’ll have better luck.

  16. There has yet to be a write up on any member of the red soxs and yet they score run after run each night. I finally got tired of not having them and loosing so I forced them into my lineup. Meanwhile, The astros score 1 run and they are the must have stack of the early slate??? Would it be possible for some info on why the machine hates the red sox but likes these other BUMS nightly? A premium paying customer would like to know?

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