Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/26/16

Short slates make for weird DFS. Today we've got an early three-gamer and five-game night slate, and for the second straight day, the pitching heavyweights are slated for the day games. It's these kinds of days (and the presence of Wily Peralta) that lead us to recommend a hitter from the Atlanta lineup. Be careful out there today, folks.


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Jose FernandezJose Fernandez FD 11000 DK 13200
Opponent - TB (Smyly) Park - @TB
FD - 45.83 DK - 26.57

For the second straight day, the split slate is resulting in a pretty wide disparity of pitching riches. Again, the early slate holds the better arms, but even so, the projection system has Fernandez pegged as the go-to guy by a wide margin. He'll be going against the Rays, a surprise source of ample power through the first two months. Less surprising is the fact that they also strike out a ton. In fact, only the Brewers fan more against RHP this year (more on that in a minute). Meanwhile, Fernandez is posting absurd K numbers through nine starts. He's whiffed 31 batters in his last three starts, bringing his season total to 13.08 per 9 IP. While his control has been spotty, his upside in this one is unmatched, especially when you factor in the offense-suppressing properties of Tropicana Field. Play him everywhere today.


Matt WislerMatt Wisler FD 6500 DK 9100
Opponent - MIL (Peralta) Park - @ATL
FD - 31.87 DK - 16.4

Your options are much more limited tonight, but we keep recommending Braves pitchers at home against the Brewers and they keep delivering. Unless you need a win, then not so much. The Atlanta offense is gonna make Ws tough to come by for Braves starters all season, and that stings on sites like FanDuel, where wins are highly valuable. But it's hard to argue with what we've seen from the Braves pitching so far in this series. Julio Teheran struck out 12 in 7 IP while allowing just one run on Tuesday, and bargain-priced Mike Foltynewicz struck out 7 and gave up one run in 5.2 IP on Wednesday. Like we said earlier, Milwaukee strikes out more than any other team in MLB against RHP, and Turner Field is a solid pitcher's park, and as it was for his teammates, that's a big part of the attraction with Wisler. The 23-year-old has been pitching well lately, going at least 6.2 innings in each of his last four starts and striking out seven in each of his last two. The underlying numbers suggest he's due for some regression, but a big part of that is due to home run expectancy, and the park should help him out there tonight. It'll be tough to lean on him in cash games on single-pitcher sites, but as an SP2 or a tournament play, the value is there.

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Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2000 DK 3200
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @NYY
FD - 8.67 DK - 6.67

Yeah, I know. Martin has been terrible this year. That's why he's coming in at a low price. He's striking out more than he ever has before and his power has disappeared. So, if you've sworn off Martin forever, I get it. But here's the deal: If you're paying up for pitcher, which we strongly recommend on the early slate, you're gonna have to punt somewhere, so why not punt at minimum prices ... at a pretty terrible position ... against CC Sabathia ... in a good hitter's park. The Blue Jays should be putting up some runs in this one, and maybe Martin gets in on some of that action. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but that's all we've got, folks. If you want to pay up for Brian McCann against a lefty, we won't argue against it, but just know that it's going to put you in a tight spot at some other, better position.

Edit: Wait a second. Martin just hit his second home run of the night! He's clearly back! Play him everywhere! Yippee!!!


Salvador PerezSalvador Perez FD 3200 DK 4100
Opponent - CHW (Gonzalez) Park - @KC
FD - 9.86 DK - 7.7

You should have a little more breathing room under the cap on the night slate, so feel free to spend here on the relative safety of Perez. He's been on a tear lately, with hits in 10 straight games and 14 of his last 15. More importantly, tonight he draws Miguel Gonzalez, a guy who's never had a season in bigs with an xFIP better than 4.31. He's got the mediocre strikeout numbers, walk rates, and home run tendencies you'd expect, and the command is trending in the wrong direction. He posted a career high 3.17 walks per 9 last year and he's averaging 4.15/9 through four starts in 2016. Meanwhile, Perez is hitting out of the five or six hole on most nights and should get his share of RBI opportunities in this one.



Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3500 DK 3700
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @NYY
FD - 11.88 DK - 8.88

It's not exactly a secret that the Blue Jays offense has failed to live up to its potential, and Encarnacion deserves his share of the blame for that. But it's going to take more than a few weeks of unmet expectations to turn the projection system off of a date with Sabathia in Yankees Stadium. Don't be fooled by the respectable surface stats, the Yankees' southpaw remains in decline. That 3.41 ERA is propped up by a wholly unsustainable 2.9% HR/FB rate, and for a pitcher due for home run regression, Toronto's park is among the worst places in the league to draw a start. We're not suggesting that Russell Martin's going to get into one, but it's a good bet that somebody (or somebodies) will, and don't be surprised if it's Encarnacion. Like most of his teammates, his 2016 numbers are far off his career marks, but he's still getting it done against lefties, entering the series with a .396 wOBA and .918 OPS in the split this season.


Freddie FreemanFreddie Freeman FD 3100 DK 4200
Opponent - MIL (Peralta) Park - @ATL
FD - 12.32 DK - 9.39

You know it's a weird slate when a Braves hitter shows up in the picks column. Blame Wily Peralta. He's one of the few dudes who could bring about such an occurrence outside of Coors Field. Freeman shook off a bad start to the season and is now pacing toward the same sturdy output he's known for. Of course, his runs and RBI's will be muted by the ineptitude that surrounds him, but the Peralta factor should ease some of those issues tonight. So, let's talk about Wily. He's a full-scale buffet of pitching badness and has been for going on two years now. He got rocked for a 4.57 xFIP last season and has been marginally worse in 2016. That 6.99 ERA you see is back up by a 5.46 FIP and 4.77 xFIP. He doesn't strike guys out, struggles with command and gives up too many home runs. Turner Field isn't a great venue for power, but for a pitcher with 36 percent hard-contact rate, park is no obstacle.

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Starlin CastroStarlin Castro FD 2800 DK 3000
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @NYY
FD - 8.98 DK - 7.17

Second base is kind of a mess on the early slate, with bad match ups and injury concerns plaguing some of the better talent. So we land on Castro almost by default. He's cooled off considerably since a nice start to the season, but still brings solid upside for the position, which is boosted by the park and, to a slightly lesser extent, by J.A. Happ. Happ has been serviceable for the Jays this year, but his underlying numbers don't support the 3.43 ERA. He's never been a big-time strikeout guy, but his rate is down quite a bit this year to 5.77 per 9, and he should be giving up more long balls, which is the reason for his 4.46 xFIP. Meanwhile, Castro remains much more dangerous against lefties; he owns a .341 wOBA in the split this season, which is going to be tough beat at these prices, especially on this slate.

Consider: Devon Travis. The Blue Jays 2B made his season debut Wednesday and is coming at a discount. He was slotted eighth in the order, but if he slides up to the top against the lefty, we're all over him.


Scooter GennettScooter Gennett FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - ATL (Wisler) Park - @ATL
FD - 10.23 DK - 8.3

If you've got some salary to spend, consider paying up a little for Jonathan Schoop, or a lot for Dustin Pedroia (especially if you're using Wisler). But from a value perspective, the projection system prefers Gennett over both. He'll likely be near the top of the order, which always helps, and he's been a pretty solid producer against RHP over the course of his career. A .340 wOBA and .788 OPS is a nice find at these prices.



Jordy MercerJordy Mercer FD 3100 DK 3300
Opponent - ARI (Corbin) Park - @PIT
FD - 8.42 DK - 6.64

Three-game slates are rough, man. There's hardly anything out there at SS today, especially if Troy Tulowitzki remains sidelined. Mercer isn't a guy we'll often tout; he brings very little power or speed to the table and he's typically buried in the bottom third of the order. So, that's kinda gross. But he's actually producing OK this season, with more walks than Ks and a .307 batting average leading to a .391 OBP. That's cash game playable on a slate like this one, especially against a lefty, as Mercer owns a career .372 wOBA in the split.


Manny MachadoManny Machado FD 4000 DK 4100
Opponent - HOU (McCullers) Park - @HOU
FD - 12.19 DK - 9.65

You've got a lot more to choose from tonight at SS, but Machado gets the nod from the projection system in terms of both raw points and value over Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa and Trevor Story. Aside from Machado's obvious greatness, we've got a pretty good park for power, and while Lance McCullers has been solid in his first year or so in the bigs, we're not ducking him. Back to Machado's greatness. He's an absolute stud, yet for some reason isn't priced like one. His wOBA in 2016 sits at .414 (that's Trout territory) and is even better (.420) against RHP. Feel free to spend some of that excess salary here.



Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 3600 DK 4400
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @NYY
FD - 12.17 DK - 9.31

You probably know us well enough by now to realize we're not going to let a soft southpaw match up in Yankees Stadium go by without recommending Donaldson. That .250 batting average is no doubt disappointing in your season-long league and probably every DFSer in the universe has been burned by a Donaldson 0-fer this season, but don't waver. He's still mashing lefties (.478 wOBA, 1.150 OPS). Granted the sample size is small, but it only serves as confirmation for what Donaldson has done throughout his career. Take advantage of the discounted prices and play him at will today.


Pedro AlvarezPedro Alvarez FD 2800 DK 2800
Opponent - HOU (McCullers) Park - @HOU
FD - 11.08 DK - 8.4

Fittingly, we're swinging for the fences with this pick. You probably know what you're getting with Alvarez: double home run upside with a Golden Sombrero floor. What's interesting in his 2016 numbers is that he actually seems to be curbing the free-swinging tendencies we grew to love/hate when he was with Pittsburgh. His strikeout rate is down, and he's walking significantly more. Unfortunately, it hasn't translated into production, mostly because he's popping up a ton, which is also something new. Otherwise, his batted ball profile falls right in line with his career numbers. If the infield flies continue to be a problem, we could be looking a long season, but for now, we're still bullish on the power stroke and the projection system likes his chances to break out in Houston tonight.



Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 4200 DK 4300
Opponent - ARI (Corbin) Park - @PIT
FD - 12.44 DK - 9.71

Cutch gets the slight edge over Jose Bautista here, and that isn't even taking into account the Pittsburgh center fielder's moderate hot streak. He's got hits in six of his last seven games and multiple hits in three of those, which has his average on the rise. More importantly, the projection system likes his match up against southpaw Patrick Corbin, who has struggled some with command and containing the long ball this season. His numbers are especially rough against righties in 2016 (4.36 K/9, 4.59 xFIP). That sets up nicely for McCutchen, who owns a .416 wOBA and .239 ISO against lefties in his career.

Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 2400 DK 3100
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @NYY
FD - 7.96 DK - 6.37

We're going to like this pick a lot more if Hicks finds his way into the middle of the order, as he sometimes will against lefties, but what we're looking for here is value and at these prices it won't take much to get it. While Hicks hasn't built on last year's progress, he is much better from the right side of the plate. That .333 career wOBA against lefties might not get your blood pumping, but it's fine, and it's his awful stats against RHP that has his prices as low as they are. Like we said earlier, if you're not punting catcher, you're probably going to have to here.


Carlos GonzalezCarlos Gonzalez FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - BOS (Buchholz) Park - @BOS
FD - 13.26 DK - 10.21

Gerardo ParraGerardo Parra FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - BOS (Buchholz) Park - @BOS
FD - 10.55 DK - 8.78

A couple of things here. 1) CarGo had three more hits Wednesday and his price is already rising. Go ahead and get him now at a bargain, because ... 2) Clay Buchholz. He's just as bad as you think he is. That 5.92 ERA is exactly what he's deserved this season, as his strikeout rate is down to 6.10/9, his walk rate has ballooned to 4.18/9, he's not getting ground balls, and the ones that get in the air are often leaving the yard. Bonus badness: He's even worse against lefties, with a 6.16 xFIP in the split. Fenway isn't a good park for left-handed power, but so what. We're playing all the Rockies lefties we can get our hands on, and that starts with the two outfielders hitting in the heart of the order.

Adam JonesAdam Jones FD 2700 DK 3300
Opponent - HOU (McCullers) Park - @HOU
FD - 10.6 DK - 8.23

Man. The ol' projection system is really not impressed with Lance McCullers, I guess. A big part of that likely has to do with his command. His 3+ walks per nine last year were troubling, and he's already walked six guys in 10.2 innings this year, so that's a problem. Also factoring into the equation is the fact that Adam Jones owns reverse splits over the course of his career. Even as he's struggled for prolonged stretches in 2016, he owns a respectable .752 OPS against righties. Put that in between Machado and Crush Davis in a good home run park, and you've got a solid bargain play.

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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14 Visitor Comments

  1. Blue jays @ Yankees….not at Roger’s Centre….still a good hitting Park though.

    • Thanks Jerald for the heads up. All fixed!

  2. Two days in a row that the top pitcher on the slate got lit up like a Christmas tree. I have a feeling that Fernandez stops the streak today so cooling on the Tampa stack. Out of Sale, Arrieta and Fernandez I would have picked Fernandez as most likely to enter Alfredo Simon land, but he has a great ballpark advantage and the Rays have been hitting over their heads.

    • Man…Arrieta single handedly took me out of cash yesterday. Kicking myself from changing my initial lineups that faded Arrieta in favor of Cluber. Lesson learned is the ol cliché: Follow your first mind.

  3. If you think Buchholz is going to get the crap beat out of him by left handed Rockies batters (and I agree it’s a strong possibility) why does the projection system have him at 18.06 points?

    • My guess is the system is drawing more heavily from Buchholz’s long-term history than his recent track record. That’s probably why you don’t see a column full of Rockies; the system is really only high on the Colorado lefties. Personally, I think Buch is trash and I’ll have at least one Colorado stack today. That said, the projection system is smarter than I am, so take that FWIW.

    • Because he will get strike outs as well as give up a few runs.

  4. I remember when some of these Pitchers we target used to be good.

  5. Buchholtz has the stuff, We’ve seen those flashes of brilliance. But he’s a head case. The only thing predictable about him is hi unpredictability. He seems to be on a long downhill slide.

    • Bucholz problem is in his head. He shakes off every pitch and game comes to a stop as soon as men on base. A guy hit ball 500 feet off him and says he executed pitch exactly how he wanted to and I get the pleasure of watching him live for 2nd time in 3 weeks.

      • I think you guys are exactly right re: Buchholz’s mental toughness. I don’t see all his starts, but I’ve had that same thought when I’ve watched. My un-scientific take is that’s why he’ll breeze through four innings and then suddenly give up 7 in the fifth.

  6. Ok so who’s your 3 base pick for DK? Alverez is a 1st baseman there. Machado can play SS or 3rd…..and Freeman is your 1st base pick. So any other ideas for SS or 3rd for the late slate?

  7. Got that gut feeling that Harper is gonna bash one tonight.

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