Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel & DraftKings - 7/2/16
We've got a true split-slate Saturday ahead, with a little bit of everything available (including some underpriced Blue Jays) and loads of action. Read on for our recommendations.
Now’s your chance to get DFSR Pro with MLB Optimal Lineups, Projections and Player Cards. Or try a free trial of our base package with projections for every player. While the seasons overlap, you'll get access to our tools for the NBA and NHL as well! Get started for free by clicking the button below.
First time with MLB? Be sure to read our free MLB Ebook on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.
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!
Nearly every game on the early slate features at least one usable pitcher, but as long as you don't mind spending, Fernandez stands out. It's a rare occasion when we don't feel pretty good about using the Marlins ace, and when he faces one of the worst offenses in baseball, he's a near-automatic choice in cash games. The Braves' struggles vs. LHP is well-known, but they've been nearly as bad against righties. They rank last in MLB in both wRC+ and ISO in the split, and while they don't strike out quite as much as we might like, Fernandez doesn't need much help in that department. He's fanning more than 13 per 9 this season, giving him the kind of upside that's worth paying for on any slate.
Consider: Adam Wainwright
Arrieta hasn't been at his best since whiffing 11 Pirates in six innings three starts ago, but we're not scared off by a couple of so-so outings. Even with a walk rate that's coming dangerously close to doubling last year's mark, Arrieta's production has been elite this season. That said, he'll need to recapture his command if he hopes to holding onto that 2.10 ERA through the summer. But at Citi Field, we're not too worried. The Mets went into a serious offensive funk about a month ago and haven't yet climbed out. In June, they ranked 29th in MLB in wRC+, wOBA and ISO against righties, while striking out nearly 22 percent of the time. Top that off with the offense-suppressing properties of their home park, and Arrieta is our go-to option tonight.
Consider: Joe Ross
You ever walk into a restaurant, take a look at the menu, and turn around a walk out? That's where the projection system is when it comes to catchers on the early slate. The non-punt guys we typically look to either cost too much or they're stuck in bad matchups, bad parks, or both. At least Russell Martin will have the Rogers Centre working in his favor. He'll also be facing a spot starter after Trevor Bauer was called on to throw five innings in Cleveland's marathon win on Friday. That's if Martin plays, of course. He didn't squat all 19 innings yesterday, but he may have logged enough to warrant a rest day. If he's out, it's probably a punt-and-pray day at catcher.
Consider: Robinson Chirinos
Stephen Vogt FD 3100 DK 3600
Opponent - PIT (Kuhl) Park - @OAK
FD - 10.02 DK - 7.75
Some guys make you feel like you just outsmarted the whole DFS universe from the moment you stick them in your lineup. None of those guys are named Stephen Vogt. But you don't have to get cute to turn a profit, and the A's backstop is a prime example. He typically has favorable lineup spot and that makes him a solid bet to return value in the right matchup. Tonight's qualifies, as the Pirates are sending the even-less-exciting Chad Kuhl to the mound for his second career start. The book on Kuhl isn't a thick one, but what we know isn't all that impressive. He had never posted better than 6 Ks/9 until 14 starts in Triple-A this season, and scouting reports peg him as a fringy starter/bullpen arm. And while Vogt might not get your juices flowing, he's got more than just a spot in the middle of the order going for him, including decent pop and very good contact-hitting skills. Yeah, you might be better off going for a punt play with upside in tournaments (especially if you're spending on SP), but Vogt is a solid pick for production.
Prince Fielder FD 2600 DK 3700
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.37 DK - 8.62
Any time you're paying up for pitcher, finding the right salary relief is critical. It doesn't often come from your 1B slot, but we like the spot Fielder is in against Minnesota's Tyler Duffey today. After looking solid in 10 starts last season, the right-hander has been hurt by homers this year. Meanwhile, Fielder is showing signs of life lately after a brutal first couple of months. He finished June with a .348 wOBA and an OPS north of .800 for the month, but his April and May numbers were so ugly, that the recent output remains hidden in the full-season stats. That's part of the reason he's still coming at a deep discount, and when he gets the right matchup, we're happy to take advantage.
Consider: Edwin Encarnacion. He's priced like he's facing Bauer, so he could return nice value on his salary today.
Adam Lind FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - BAL (Wilson) Park - @SEA
FD - 10.55 DK - 8.11
Another moderately priced source of power, we like Lind's upside against Baltimore's Tyler Wilson. Lind hasn't been great this year, but even as his stats have tailed off elsewhere, the solid power against righties remains (.198 ISO vs. RHP in 2016). And while we're not thrilled with the fact that he's striking out more and walking substantially less than in previous years, it's less of a concern against Wilson and his 4.73 Ks/9.
Consider: Hanley Ramirez. This would actually be the projection system's top choice for value if he's back in the lineup, but he sat out Friday with an side injury, and details are sketchy at this point on how long he might be out.
Derek Dietrich FD 2500 DK 4000
Opponent - ATL (Norris) Park - @ATL
FD - 8.65 DK - 6.67
This one's more of a FanDuel pick, but Dietrich's in play on DraftKings today as well, especially if he's at the top of the order. The Marlins second baseman is a noted righty masher with some of the more extreme splits you'll see. Against RHP this season, he's holding a .388 wOBA and an OPS near .900 over more than 150 plate appearances, and the fact that he'll be facing a fill-in only makes him more enticing. There was a time when Casey Kelly was a well-reputed prospect, but injuries have taken a toll on the 26-year-old and his stock has dropped dramatically in recent years. Taking the place of the recently traded Bud Norris, he'll be making just his second start of the season for the Braves, and if it resembles what we've seen out of his previous 33 innings in the bigs, the Marlins should be putting up some numbers in this one.
UPDATE: Casey Kelly pitched in relief last night as the Braves and Marlins went into extra innings. We don't yet know who will get the start for Atlanta today, but there's a decent chance we could see a call-up.
Dustin Pedroia FD 3800 DK 4500
Opponent - LAA (Santiago) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.27 DK - 9.7
We like most of the Red Sox righties against Hector Santiago; the trick will be choosing the right ones to squeeze in. Not many bats in this lineup come cheap, and you're not going to find them discounted due to matchup tonight. After a nice start to the season, 2016 has gotten ugly for Santiago. His ERA and xFIP have ballooned to higher than 5.00, spurred by an increasing inability to keep the ball in the park. We're not necessarily turning to Pedroia for bombs, but the potential he has is bolstered by matchups like this one. And he's not the kind of guy who depends on power for fantasy production, anyway. He almost never whiffs, draws more than his share of walks, and owns a .366 wOBA against RHP this season, all while hitting out of the No. 2 hole for one of baseball's best offenses. He's probably more of a cash gamer due to the absence of big-time power we usually like to get at these prices in GPPs, but he's playable in all formats, especially if you're stacking Boston tonight.
Consider: Robinson Cano
Troy Tulowitzki FD 3000 DK 2900
Opponent - CLE (Bauer) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.13 DK - 6.95
Sharp players are going to be all over the Blue Jays today, because regardless of who the Indians settle on as their starting pitcher, he won't be as good as Bauer, and that means the Toronto bats are discounted across the board. Our enthusiasm for Tulo isn't yet whole-hearted, but it is growing every day. Since coming off the DL a couple of weeks ago, he's finally starting to look like the guy the Blue Jays thought they were trading for last season. And while his best days are likely behind him, we still think he has plenty in the tank to return great value on these prices, especially when he's hitting in one of the best parks in baseball. As with all the Toronto hitters today, a lineup warning applies. A few of the guys are likely to get a day off after essentially playing a two-for-one on Friday, and given Tulo's injury history, we wouldn't be surprised to see him get a breather.
Xander Bogaerts FD 3300 DK 5000
Opponent - LAA (Santiago) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.91 DK - 10.36
Of all the Red Sox we like today, Bogaerts might be the toughest to pass up on, at least on FanDuel, where his price is mysteriously depressed. I guess you could point to a recent downturn in power output if you're looking for reasons to be skeptical, but that feels a little nit-picky given that he's now reached base safely in each of his last 13 games and his slugging percentage is still hovering in the .500 neighborhood. And he's especially dangerous at home and against lefties, so we see no reason not to roll him out in all formats tonight.
Adrian Beltre FD 3500 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Duffey) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.96 DK - 8.46
Consider Beltre the Stephen Vogt of the hot corner. All the sexy is gone from his game as he inches closer to 40 years old, but he continues to produce at a more than respectable rate. The power isn't what it once was, but we've got no problem paying for an OPS in the .800 range when the matchup is solid. For Beltre, that usually means a southpaw is on the mound. He's long been (and continues to be) a favorite of ours when he's facing a lefty, but it's pretty rare when the projection system is this high on him against a righty in a neutral park. You don't have to look any further than Tyler Duffey if you're investigating why. He's a pretty dramatic reverse-platoon pitcher, and righties have posted a .374 wOBA against him this season.
Jacob Lamb FD 3300 DK 5400
Opponent - SF (Samardzija) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.04 DK - 7.85
We've got another instance here where the pricing algorithms at FanDuel and DraftKings don't see eye-to-eye, and we're jumping on the relative bargain from the former. While Samardzija is a fine pitcher, we're not ducking him with Lamb when he's affordable, as the Arizona youngster is in the midst of a breakout season, primarily due to his success against righties. He has scorched against RHP all season, putting up a .412 wOBA and 1.009 OPS. Those are elite numbers, and Chase Field will only help his cause tonight. The price on DraftKings will make him a tough play where you're paying up for pitchers, but he's a solid option in all formats where you can fit him in.
Miguel Sano FD 3000 DK 4600
Opponent - TEX (Gonzalez) Park - @MIN
FD - 12.66 DK - 9.57
Robbie Grossman FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - TEX (Gonzalez) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.22 DK - 8.19
While we like both of these Minnesota bats, this recommendation is more about Rangers starter Chi Chi Gonzalez. The former first-round pick probably has a future somewhere in the Texas rotation, but at this point in his career, he hasn't shown the potential that scouts see. In his first 72 big-league innings, he's walked more guys than he's struck out and just about the only thing we don't like about picking on him is the fact that he does a good job of limiting home runs. But the underlying numbers say he's due for some regression there, and we're never afraid to target a guy with a career 5.26 xFIP. With Sano, we're hunting homers. The touted young slugger is fresh off the DL and coming at a very affordable price on FanDuel, which makes him a decent option for all formats. And while Grossman has done most of his damage against lefties this season, there's nothing wrong with his .350 wOBA against RHP. Keep an eye on the batting order in this one, though. Grossman got bumped back Friday night with Sano's return to the lineup, and we'll be much higher on him if he returns to the top half.
Bryce Harper FD 4200 DK 5100
Opponent - CIN (Straily) Park - @WSH
FD - 15.66 DK - 12.05
In case you hadn't noticed, it looks like Harper is heating back up, reaching base at least twice in each of his last four games. Of course, his price is climbing too, but when Harper is doing his thing, he can pay off at nearly any salary. We like his odds to do so tonight against Dan Straily and the Reds' league-worst bullpen. Straily's given up 17 runs in his last three starts, pushing his xFIP up to 4.96 on the season. And he's even worse (5.96 xFIP) against lefties. Meanwhile, Harper's ho-hum batting average is covering up the fact that he's walking more than ever, striking out less than ever, and has swiped 10 bags. He's also got a .381 wOBA and an OPS north of .900 against RHP this season, and with a BABIP about .70 points lower than his career number, the batting average should be on the rise, too. In other words, he's still pretty good at baseball. The fact that he's not seeing as many pitches to hit lowers his ceiling a bit, but we feel fine with him in all formats tonight.
Josh Reddick FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - PIT (Kuhl) Park - @OAK
FD - 11.4 DK - 8.96
Reddick hasn't yet done much since coming off the DL earlier this week, so if that gives you pause, I get it. The projection system, on the other hand, is less understanding, because the price and opportunity here are going to make this tough to pass up. Reddick was smoking before he went down this year, posting a wOBA over .400 and an OPS closing in on 1.000 against RHP, while continuing his transformation from a high-K power guy into an on-base machine with pop. His 11.2 strikeout percentage last season was exactly half of what it was three years prior, and he's kept it up in 2016 while also increasing his walks. That made him one of our favorite cash game plays during the first two months of the season, and though his pitcher-friendly home park dings his value some, the soft matchup with Chad Kuhl should more than make up for what Oakland Coliseum takes away. He's affordable across the industry, but we really like his price on DraftKings tonight.
Consider: Mookie Betts
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.
GRAB A FREE TRIAL OF OUR PROJECTION SYSTEM, AND CHECK OUT DFSR PRO!
GET OUR FREE EBOOK ON DAILY FANTASY MLB!
- Jose Fernandez: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)