Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel & DraftKings - 8/18/16

We've got 11 games ahead today, including a pair of early ones followed by a more robust nine-game slate tonight. The division means pitching is pretty thin, but we've still got some choices to make among aces, along with an intriguing cheaper option or two. Let's get to it.


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Jose FernandezJose Fernandez FD 11000 DK 11900
Opponent - CIN (Straily) Park - @CIN
FD - 38.63 DK - 25.26

Yeah, the park isn't the best for pitchers, and if you want to pay up for Madison Bumgarner, you probably won't be alone. But given the win probability and Fernandez's elite upside, he's our top choice when it comes to value on elite pitching tonight. He leads baseball (by a lot) with nearly 13 Ks/9 innings, and he's second only to Clayton Kershaw in xFIP. Meanwhile, the Reds limp in ranked 22nd in wOBA and 19th in ISO against righties, despite playing half their game in one of the most homer-happy parks in MLB. Also consider that now-departed Jay Bruce lifted those numbers and Adam Duvall is expected to miss at least another game with a foot injury, and you've got a lineup ripe for the picking.

Archie BradleyArchie Bradley FD 6300 DK 6500
Opponent - SD (Clemens) Park - @SD
FD - 30.53 DK - 20.06

If you'd rather spend big on bats, we suggest crossing your fingers and plugging in Bradley. First the positives: Bradley is a former early first-round pick, and through he's not considered the uber-prospect he once was, he's a talented young arm. He's flirting with a K per inning in his first full year in the bigs, and the Padres will elevate that upside, striking out more against RHP than every team in the bigs outside of Milwaukee. That's about it for the good stuff, but at these prices, that's enough for some serious GPP consideration. Now, the bad stuff: The dude has serious control issues (4.5/9) and gives up more than his share of homers (1.32/9) and hard contact (37.8%). That's a bad combo at Chase Field, which has ranked as the fourth-best park in the majors for overall offensive factors over the last three years. And then we've got the Padres. It's hard to read too much into their season-long stats due to the volume of turnover in this lineup from April to August. Notably, Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton are gone from the middle of the order, and while both put up good numbers in San Diego, they weren't exactly lighting up the league's righties. Meanwhile, lefties Travis Jankowski, Ryan Schimpf and Alex Dickerson have taken on key roles in the offense recently and have produced pretty well. That's changed the Padres' profile from sneaky lefty killers to ... well, we're not quite sure yet. But we do know that we're not yet scared of this lineup. I mean, read those names again. The '27 Yankees, they ain't. They're still striking out a ton, and though the offense has been better in recent weeks, it still ranks near the bottom of the league in the last 30 days in most metrics.

Consider: Jake Arrieta. If you include the two early games, he's the projection system's top choice by a substantial margin.

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Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 3300 DK 4400
Opponent - BOS (Buchholz) Park - @DET
FD - 11.04 DK - 8.45

If you end up with enough salary cap breathing room that you don't have to punt catcher, V-Mart is almost always a sound place to invest. The 37-year-old is doing his thing again this season, with a .303/.356/.499 triple slash and a.360 wOBA, and he's nearly split-neutral. Tonight, he'll get the pleasure of facing Clay Buchholz, who remains a meltdown waiting to happen. He's rocking a smooth 5.51 xFIP in 2016, thanks to an inability to throw strikes or miss bats, while giving up 1.6 HR/9. The bigger power numbers are coming from right-handed bats, but that serves to increase Martinez's chances for run production, because lefties are also killing him (.387 wOBA, 36% hard contact), and the right-handed bats at the top of the Tigers order have crushed weak RHP this season. For a catcher, Martinez isn't cheap, but you won't find many guys at the position who are a better bet to put up points.

Wilson RamosWilson Ramos FD 3300 DK 4700
Opponent - ATL (Whalen) Park - @ATL
FD - 10.61 DK - 8.18

You know what I just said about production at the catcher position? Here's one of the guys you can file as an exception. Ramos has been excellent by every offensive metric in 2016, nearly cutting his K rate in half, while posting career highs elsewhere across the board. And while he's been best against lefties, we're fine with a .380 wOBA and .176 ISO against RHP, too. Especially against a nondescript rookie like Rob Whalen. You might remember Whalen as the dude who came in a $3K on FanDuel in his debut a couple of weeks back and sneaked away with a win, despite getting blown up in the first inning. His MLB track record is just 16 innings long, so we're not drawing any hard conclusions from that, but we will say that we're not believing the 9.56 K/9. That's a better number than he ever put up in a full season in the minors, and if the strikeouts start to regress, his xFIP (4.20) is probably going to start moving in the direction of his ERA (7.31).

Consider: Willson Contreras


Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4200 DK 5400
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @CHC
FD - 14.25 DK - 10.88

You're gonna be seeing a lot of Cubs here today. I thought about leaving them off since they're playing one of only two early games, but the projection system's enthusiasm was too much to be ignored. Zach Davies hasn't been terrible or anything in his first 27 big-league start, but that said, he hasn't been very good against lefties, with a 4.57 xFIP in the split. That's enticing for a guy like Rizzo, who's destroying RHP this year (.417 wOBA, .280 ISO).

Miguel CabreraMiguel Cabrera FD 3900 DK 5300
Opponent - BOS (Buchholz) Park - @DET
FD - 13.46 DK - 10.23

Like his teammate Victor Martinez, Cabrera just keeps churning out excellent numbers. He's no longer a perennial Triple Crown threat like he was in his prime, but his power has returned in 2016 and with a .390 wOBA, he's still an elite hitter at 33 years old. Here's the weird thing about Miggy this season, though: he's doing most of his damage against righties. Back in June, no hitter in baseball had a bigger gap in their platoon splits, and Cabrera was the only guy among the top five who hit from the right side. Things have evened out quite a bit since then (and platoon splits take a really, really long time to stabilize), but still. We think Cabrera is a guy we can confidently play against righties, especially righties named Clay Buchholz, who has been terrible against pretty much everybody this year.

Consider: Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Davis

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Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3200 DK 4200
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.85 DK - 8.41

As mentioned in the Rizzo write-up, lefties can do damage against Zach Davies, and Zobrist is a proven producer from either side of the plate. His numbers are slightly better this year against righties, with a .361 wOBA and .174 ISO in the split, and we love his spot in the middle of the Cubs order. And as always when we're talking about Wrigley, it's important to pay attention to the wind. Zobrist isn't a guy who depends on the long ball to return value, but if he gets a breeze at his back, we'll like him even more.

Chase UtleyChase Utley FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - PHI (Eickhoff) Park - @PHI
FD - 10.11 DK - 7.94

The projection system is loving the positive park shift the Dodgers have gotten during this season in Philadelphia, and so are the DFS guys who have rostered them as they put up 22 runs in the last two days. This is a dangerous lineup against righties, and that makes Utley's spot at the top of it quite valuable. Playing on the road, he'll also have a better chance for an extra at-bat, and that shouldn't be overlooked. Utley's overall numbers aren't going blow anybody away, but he's much better against RHP, and we love leadoff guys who are coming at a discount. He's a better value on FanDuel, but he's in play on DraftKings, too.

Consider: Robinson Cano, Jonathan Schoop


Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3600 DK 4300
Opponent - DET (Boyd) Park - @DET
FD - 11.02 DK - 8.85

It's been a rough month for Bogaerts, and he's cooled off considerably in the second half of the season, but we're not hesitating to using him when the right matchup comes along, and we like the spot he's in today. The Tigers are rolling out Matt Boyd, a sub-par lefty with a 4.72 xFIP, fly-ball tendencies and home run problems. And while homers aren't the primary attraction with Bogaerts, a little bump in the likelihood of getting one is always welcomed. What we're really paying for, though, is Bogaerts' all-around production and prime spot in the Red Sox potent lineup. He owns a .330/.396/.457 triple slash against lefties this season, which is only slightly off of last year's stellar line.
Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 3500 DK 4800
Opponent - CHW (Rodon) Park - @CLE
FD - 10.68 DK - 8.87

Other than the fact that he's a switch-hitter, Lindor's numbers are strikingly similar to the ones we just talked about. He's more than proved that last year's breakout was no fluke, putting up a .348 wOBA with 14 homers and 15 steals in the second season. He also shows little regard for which batter's box he's standing in; a lower walk rate against southpaws is just about the only thing keeping from perfectly neutral splits. Carlos Rodon's lack of control should help in that regard. To be fair, Rodon has improved his command quite a bit this year, and he's still a high-upside young guy. But he's also inconsistent, as a quick glance at the game log will tell you. And, not surprisingly, most of his struggles have come against righties, who are putting up a .365 wOBA and 1.68 HR/9 against his this season.

Consider: Corey Seager


Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4200 DK 5200
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @CHC
FD - 14.21 DK - 10.92

Bryant has moved much closer to a typical split differential in his second year in the bigs, but he's still plenty capable of making noise against RHP, with a .378 wOBA and .231 ISO in the split in 2016 and nearly identical numbers in his first 868 career plate appearances vs. righties. That's plenty to get the projection system on board, despite Zach Davies' solid work in the split. He's the top pick for points and value at 3B today, and one of the top offensive options regardless of position.

Justin TurnerJustin Turner FD 3400 DK 5000
Opponent - PHI (Eickhoff) Park - @PHI
FD - 11.04 DK - 8.6

There's been some compelling research that suggests that reverse splits don't last. I'm sure the work is all mathematically sound, but Turner appears to be on a one-man debunking mission. He's always fared better against righties, and he's taking it to the extreme in 2016, with a .376 wOBA and .241 ISO in the split, despite an ugly first couple of months. Going against Jerad Eickhoff, who has been the epitome of average in 2016, and surrounded by lefties in all directions, the projection system sees big things for Turner and the Dodgers in this one.

Consider: Manny Machado, Jake Lamb

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Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 4000 DK 5100
Opponent - ATL (Whalen) Park - @ATL
FD - 15.26 DK - 11.77

The world has known few loves greater than the affection our algorithm holds for Bryce Harper. As we've talked about often here, that affinity is based on a couple of things: 1) Baseball players tend to remain the guys they've proven themselves to be for a good long while. And Harper has proven himself to be elite. 2) Harper is still really good at baseball, and that shouldn't be sloughed off due to a three-month span in which he was less than excellent. He still owns a .352 wOBA and .214 ISO this season, and with 21 HRs and 15 SBs, that's enough to get us excited about 95 percent of guys in the league. So don't let the fact that he's burned you before or that his .241 batting average is killing your season-long team blind you. And while we don't usually get carried away about hot streaks, I'm more willing to pay attention when we've been expecting them, and Harper looks like he's on one right now. He's reached base in 11 of 18 PAs since taking a week off to heal an ailing neck, with four extra-base hits in four games.
Adam JonesAdam Jones FD 3400 DK 4900
Opponent - HOU (Musgrove) Park - @BAL
FD - 11.28 DK - 8.76

Astros starter Joe Musgrove is an interesting case. A first-round pick in 2011, in languished in rookie leagues until 2014 and didn't reach Triple-A until earlier this year. Somewhere along the way, he apparently figured something out, because his K:BB ratio in the minors was excellent and he's carried that over in his first 18.1 innings of big-league work. But the projection system isn't ready to buy in yet. Maybe because it's only 18.1 innings, or maybe because despite an excellent K/command combo, Musgrove also has a history of home run trouble. That could be trouble in Camden Yard against a guy like Jones, who has a .215 ISO against righties this season and a history of on-again, off-again reverse splits. And while the Baltimore park is well known of boosting lefty power, it also ranks eighth in the majors for right-handed HR factors over the last three years.

Josh ReddickJosh Reddick FD 3400 DK 3700
Opponent - PHI (Eickhoff) Park - @PHI
FD - 11.27 DK - 8.8

It's probably clear by now that we've got no fear of Jerad Eickhoff tonight. The Dodgers were already a capable offense against righties before adding Reddick, and his .364 wOBA in the split only amplifies their potency. Meanwhile, Eickhoff has a 4.73 xFIP against lefties while giving up 1.43 HRs/9. Add in the fact that Citizens Bank Park is a top 5-ish venue for left-handed HR factors, and Reddick's home in the heart of the Dodgers order is looking like a good place to find an all-format play tonight.

Consider: Seth Smith, Jason Heyward.

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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6 Visitor Comments

  1. Okay, what this writer is basically saying: Purchase all the top $ guys.

  2. it’s a weird slate and weird options. start whoever you like at pitching, play yelich, and go for the multiple homer guys you think can do it. I’d go not mainstream hitters today.

  3. Nice call on Bryant & the Cubs bats today! I still think your a true Cubs fan & it influences your picks at times. And I know I know it’s the projection system. But I’m not buying it. ? Still love the articles keep up the good work! Maybe if win if I jumped on the band wagon? Go O’s!!!!!!! 4 Life

  4. Maybe I’d win. Hate these phones!

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