Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel & DraftKings - 8/11/16

We've got a pair of light slates on tap with six day games followed by four more tonight, and each come with their own set of challenges and opportunities. Let's get to it.


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Noah SyndergaardNoah Syndergaard FD 10500 DK 11800
Opponent - ARI (Shipley) Park - @NYM
FD - 40.07 DK - 26.06

He's on a string of so-so starts, but on the early slate, he's still the clear choice today. Such is the power of the strikeout in DFS. And even though Syndergaard has been less than dominant lately, he continues to fan guys at an elite rate, which serves to raise both his floor and his ceiling. Meanwhile, even though the results haven't been quite what we've hoped for recently, the peripheral stats are still nice. In addition to missing bats, he continues to limit hard contact and coax a solid ground-ball rate, while only giving up a homer about every other start. That's about as good as you can ask for. The one area of concern is his elevated walk rate in his last five starts. But that's kind of the thing. It's five starts, and his control has been so stellar otherwise, he's still surrendering fewer than two walks per nine on the season. Maybe he's lost his command, maybe he's showing signs of fatigue, maybe he has some nagging injury we don't yet know about. Or maybe it's just five so-so starts. Whatever the case, we like his odds to return value today against a Diamondbacks team that ranks 23rd in MLB for wRC+ while striking out more than 23 percent of the time against RHP.

Jon LesterJon Lester FD 10200 DK 10300
Opponent - STL (Martinez) Park - @CHC
FD - 36.32 DK - 23.85

By comparison to the early slate, we're sitting on a mountain of pitching riches tonight, with usable dudes going in every game. Lester gets the edge for us for a few reasons, including the fact that Danny Duffy is priced through the roof on DraftKings. But even on FanDuel, where Lester will cost you more, we've got him as our top guy for raw points, largely due to the fact that the Cardinals aren't actually very good against LHP. The return of Matt Carpenter and the injury to Aledmys Diaz means St. Louis is pretty lefty-heavy right now, but even when they were trotting out six or seven righties every day, they weren't doing much against southpaws. Stephen Piscotty is the only righty who really scares us against lefties, as Matt Holliday and Jedd Gyorko are posting reverse splits, and we refused to be pushed off of a pick by the presence of Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina. So, anyway. The Cards aren't good against lefties. They rank 23rd in the league in wRC+ and strike out enough to make them a viable target to pick on. As for Lester, he hit a bit of snag around the All-Star break, but has been better as of late with three nice starts out of his last four, dropping his ERA back below 3.00, while his xFIP hovers in the 3.50 range.

Consider: Jameson Taillon, if you're going to pivot off of Syndergaard on the earlier slate.

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Jonathan LucroyJonathan Lucroy FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - COL (Bettis) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.07 DK - 8.64

Y'all ready to talk about some Rangers? The projection system is really high on the combo of the revamped Texas lineup, an Arlington day game, and the chance to pick on Chad Bettis. Before we get carried away, let's point out that Bettis hasn't actually been terrible this season. But he's a pretty average dude going in a good hitter's park in what should be a hot Texas afternoon, and that's enough to make him a juicy target today. Righties have also fared better against him, pretty much across the board, so don't let the split scare you off of the guy who has been one of the few legitimate offensive threats at catcher this season. Lucroy is having an excellent year, and has done most of his damage against righties, against whom he's posted a .371 wOBA and .192 ISO.

Evan GattisEvan Gattis FD 3000 DK 3400
Opponent - MIN (Berrios) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.12 DK - 7.65

We probably don't yet have a clear read on exactly who Jose Berrios is going to be, but we've seen enough of the rookie to feel fine picking on him with a power bat or two until he proves he can keep the ball in the yard. He's giving up more than 2 HRs per 9 through his first six MLB starts, which is what happens when you surrender this many fly balls and this much hard contact to big-league hitters. Gattis is always kind of a boom-or-bust guy, but that's especially true against RHP, so think of him more as a GPP option, but Berrios has been getting absolutely hammered by righties this year, so he's at least worth a flyer.

Consider: Brian McCann


David OrtizDavid Ortiz FD 4200 DK 4800
Opponent - NYY (Pineda) Park - @BOS
FD - 14.33 DK - 10.78
Opponent - NYY (Pineda) Park - @BOS

Though he's cooled off over the last couple of weeks, we're still of the opinion there's almost never a bad time to play Papi. He's among the league leaders in virtually every offensive category that matters against RHP this season, and though Fenway Park tamps down left-handed power, Ortiz has the kind of numbers at home that would make you turn up the difficulty level if you got them on a video game (.475 wOBA, .373 ISO, .353/.449/.725). So yeah, we're not terribly concerned about a relative dry spell. He'll be facing the enigmatic Michael Pineda tonight, who for the second straight year has the K:BB ratio of an ace and the results of a Quad-A guy. His most quantifiable weakness is the long ball (1.51 per 9), which serves our purposes well with this pick.

Freddie FreemanFreddie Freeman FD 3400 DK 5000
Opponent - MIL (Garza) Park - @MIL
FD - 11.2 DK - 8.6

Freeman is a serviceable dude in all splits and most venues, but he's in an especially nice spot tonight going against the poorly disguised corpse of Matt Garza. Where to start with this guy? He's giving us practically everything we could ask for against lefties this year, with a 4.81 xFIP and 1.42 HR/9. The numbers are unsurpisingly worse at Miller Park, which provides a substantial boost to power. Sure, the sample size is limited in 2016, but it's merely a continuation of what we've seen since the beginning of 2015. Back to Freeman, even prior to last night's double-HR breakout, he's been getting the job done despite having little-to-no support from his surrounding cast for most of the season. He owned a .352 wOBA and .234 ISO against RHP leading into last night's game, and while we haven't seen enough yet to obtain reliable empirical evidence, he should be seeing better pitches these days hitting in front of Matt Kemp.

Consider: Hanley Ramirez, Chris Davis

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Rougned OdorRougned Odor FD 3500 DK 4100
Opponent - COL (Bettis) Park - @TEX
FD - 12.05 DK - 9.76
Opponent - COL (Bettis) Park - @TEX

We mentioned earlier that Chad Bettis is posting reverse splits this season, but that doesn't mean we don't like lefties against him today. He holds a career xFIP north of 4.00 in the split, and that's not just a product of pitching approximately half of his games in Coors Field. In fact, he's actually been better this year pitching at home. Go figure. At any rate, we're always happy to target Odor in a good offensive park against a righty. He comes with elite upside for the position, with a .223 ISO in the split.

Jonathan SchoopJonathan Schoop FD 3000 DK 3800
Opponent - OAK (Triggs) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.42 DK - 7.29
The park suppresses Schoop's carrying tool, which is big-time power, but at these prices, we're OK with that. We'd be more OK with it if he were to find his way into the top half of the order, but whatever. A low lineup spot might take him out of consideration for cash games, but it typically leads to low ownership rates, so he remains a solid option in GPPs, regardless. And like seemingly everybody in the Baltimore lineup, he's at his best against RHP, with a .343 wOBA and .203 ISO in the split. So despite the park cushion, that could spell trouble for Oakland's Andrew Triggs, who has spent most of his rookie season in the bullpen and will be making just his second career start.

Consider: Ben Zobrist


Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 3900 DK 4700
Opponent - MIN (Berrios) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.41 DK - 9.16
Opponent - MIN (Berrios) Park - @MIN

Speaking of reverse splits, what's up with Correa? His mildly disappoint sophomore season is largely a byproduct of the fact that after raking on everybody last year, he suddenly can't do anything with lefties. Obviously, that's not our concern today, as he takes on Jose Berrios. Remember how we said he was getting crushed by righties? Yeah, about that: he's given up six homers with just 58 righties faced this season. The sample is of course laughably small, but we're willing to bet he hasn't suddenly solved the problem after giving two bombs in five innings (at Tampa Bay, no less) just five days ago.

Addison RussellAddison Russell FD 2500 DK 3300
Opponent - STL (Martinez) Park - @CHC
FD - 8.52 DK - 6.67
Opponent - STL (Martinez) Park - @CHC

If you watched last night's game and saw about five would-be Cubs homers die on the warning track last night, you know how much weather conditions at Wrigley can effect offensive production. So keep an eye on that. Coincidentally, though, Russell was the one guy who was able to muscle one through last night's inward breeze and come away with his 13th homer of the year. Slowly but surely he's becoming the hitter he was expected to be as a prospect, and he's been far better in his first two seasons against RHP. Carlos Martinez is no pushover, but as the Braves and Marlins have shown in consecutive starts, he's not a guy we have to duck either.

Consider: Xander Bogaerts


Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 3900 DK 4900
Opponent - STL (Martinez) Park - @CHC
FD - 12.91 DK - 9.91

Bryant tends to go underowned when he's facing a righty, and we think that's a mistake. I mean, it's understandable. His numbers against lefties (.441 wOBA, .325 ISO) are bonkers, while against righties, he's merely really good (.374/.235). But that'll get the job done. And while Carlos Martinez's home-run suppression against righties means Bryant probably won't be an every-lineup guy for us, the projection system has him pegged as the top overall producer at 3B today, and he's a fine play in all formats.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD 2600 DK 3800
Opponent - MIN (Berrios) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.6 DK - 8.45

It's actually not a bad day to seek some salary relief at 3B, so if that's the route you choose, don't be afraid to dip back into the Berrios vs. a righty pool. And don't sweat Bregman's ridiculously slow start. He's a top-shelf prospect and his ugly run at the start of his MLB career looks like product of bad BABIP luck more than a guy who was simply overmatched by MLB pitching, and recent results seem to bear that out. Prior to last night's day off, he had hits in four straight games, and extra bases in three of those. If he's back near the top of the lineup, he'll be a solid bargain option today.

Consider: Adrian Beltre


Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3600 DK 4400
Opponent - COL (Bettis) Park - @TEX
FD - 14.36 DK - 11.25

Carlos BeltranCarlos Beltran FD 3500 DK 0
Opponent - COL (Bettis) Park - @TEX
FD - 12.67 DK - 9.72

More picking on Chad Bettis here. And again, we should point out that the projection system's love of the Rangers bats today is as much about the park as it is the pitcher. As far as offensive-boosting venues go, your options today are Globe Life, Miller Park and too a lesser extent Progressive Field in Cleveland, and that's about it. The Texas park ranks fourth in overall park factors according to ESPN's 2016 calculations and second on FanGraphs', which is regressed over a three-year period. In case it wasn't clear, this is a great place to hit. Choo's frequent DL stints have made it difficult to get much out of his 2016 stats, but he's had hits in every game that he's started since his most-recent activation and that gives us confidence that he's not much different from the guy he was last year when he posted a .396 wOBA and .216 ISO against RHP. As for Beltran, he's showed all season that he still has plenty in the tank. He's done his best work against lefties, but we're happy to take his .342 wOBA and .221 ISO against RHP, as well.

Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 3600 DK 4000
Opponent - SD (Friedrich) Park - @PIT
FD - 13.34 DK - 10.43

Listen, we're not sure what in the world is going on with Cutch, but we're willing to hear your theories on how a 29-year-old guy has seen his wOBA plummet .100 points in two years while his K rate climbs and his walk rate craters. On the bright side, he's still hitting homers at a respectable clip. That, and the fact that we can't list "Christian Friedrich" as an outfield option is a big part of the reason why he's showing up here today. Friedrich has an xFIP north of 5.00 against righties this season, so it's probably be a good idea to get exposure to some Pirates on that side of the plate, even though the park suppresses offense. If you'd rather pay up and get that from Starling Marte, nobody would blame you, but the projection system has the cheaper McCutchen as one of the top value options available in the outfield today.

Consider: Jason Heyward, if you've got the stomach for it.

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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image sources

  • Noah Syndergaard: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Noah Syndergaard) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

2 Visitor Comments

  1. Re: Syndergaard

    He does have an injury we know about. He’s got a bone spur in his elbow.

  2. Don’t think Ortiz will play tonight. Drilled himself in the shin and limped off last night. Betts also may be out, tight calf.

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