Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/29/16

We're hitting the home stretch in earnest now, but there's still meaningful baseball to be played and that includes a hearty 10-game slate tonight, as well as a pair of early games. Read on as we break it all down position-by-position.

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Johnny CuetoJohnny Cueto FD 9900 DK 11200
Opponent - COL (Gray) Park - @SF
FD - 39.16 DK - 25.95

Tonight's pitching slate skews toward the upper-middle class of arms. A few good ones, some interesting upside guys, but no lock-and-load stud. With due respect for Danny Duffy's work in 2016, Cueto is probably the closest thing we've got to an established ace, and with a home game tonight, he's our clear choice for cash games. If you've been paying attention, you're probably aware by now that no place in baseball has been friendlier to pitchers over the last three years than AT&T Park. Cueto has taken full advantage in his first full season in San Fran's comfy confines, yielding a wOBA of just .259 at home in 2016. And while the Rockies have some considerable punch in their lineup, away from Coors Field, they're a below average offense, ranking 16th in wRC+ (which is adjusted for park factors) against RHP.

Julio UriasJulio Urias FD 7500 DK 8700
Opponent - SD (Friedrich) Park - @SD
FD - 34.45 DK - 22.43

Ugh. I'm gonna be honest, I don't feel great about this one. Not because Urias isn't good; he is, and he might be really, really good. But the innings, man. I just don't know about the usage. The Dodgers are bringing the 20-year-old along slowly, which is wise, but when his command gets a little loose, it means he may not be getting out of the fifth inning. That lowers his floor and his ceiling to some degree, because shortened outings decrease the chances of picking up the win, and if you're playing on FanDuel, getting the win is crucial. All that to say, this is a tournament-only play. But in that format, it makes sense to take a flyer on the young lefty. He's shown glimpses of matching the hype, with 79 Ks and a 3.75 xFIP in 74 innings this season. He's also in consideration for a spot at the back end of the Dodgers' playoff rotation, so maybe there's some incentive to get him stretched out. But speculation aside, it's hard to hate anybody going against the Padres, because they're not good. Yeah, they've somewhat less terrible against LHP, but those numbers include significant contributions from departed right-handed bats, and they're still nothing special.

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Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - CLE (Merritt) Park - @DET
FD - 11.37 DK - 8.7

You know you're deep in September when unfamiliar names become a common occurrence among each day's pitching probables. It presents an interesting break from the routine for DFS, because it means we've got a larger ratio of hitters in favorable, but also less-predictable spots. The Tigers taking on Indians rookie Ryan Merritt would certainly qualify as both, and while we don't have much of a major league track record for Merritt, we feel pretty good about picking on him based on what we've seen in the minors (5.78 Ks/9 in Triple-A this season). And if you're going to target some Tigers bats, it's never a bad idea to start with the catcher-eligible guy (at least on FanDuel) sitting in the heart of the order. Martinez has enjoyed a renaissance in 2016, slugging 27 homers with a .353 wOBA. And while he's been virtually split-neutral this year, he's shown a slight preference for lefties over the course of his career.

Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2900 DK 3300
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @TOR
FD - 10.08 DK - 7.73

If you're avoiding the two early games or playing on a site where V-Mart isn't eligible at catcher, Martin's our top choice. He's coming at a nice price, in a good park, against a pitcher with the capability to blow up in spectacular fashion. Ubaldo Jimenez does a solid job of limiting home runs, but his inability to hit the zone with any consistency leads to loads of base runners, and often crooked numbers. Holding down the fifth spot in the order, Martin is in prime real estate for RBIs and looks like a good bet to return value at a relatively thin position.

Consider: Brian McCann


Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 4000 DK 4600
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @TOR
FD - 13.52 DK - 10.12

Everything we just said about Russell Martin also applies here, and is amplified by the fact that Encarnacion is a far superior hitter. He's tied a career high with 42 home runs this season and has shattered his previous best mark for RBIs with 126. He's also a patient hitter with strong command of the zone (12.2% walk rate), making him precisely the kind of guy who can give Jimenez fits.

Chris DavisChris Davis FD 3000 DK 3200
Opponent - TOR (Stroman) Park - @TOR
FD - 11.03 DK - 8.25

The upside for Davis is just as high as Encarnacion's, but the floor is also considerably lower and the matchup is tougher. Of course, all that is baked into the price, making him a steal if he booms and a little less costly if he busts. And the latter is always a significant risk when we're talking about a guy in fans in 1/3 of plate appearances. Marcus Stroman won't make things easier; he comes in with a ground ball rate over 60 percent and gives up less than 1 HR/9. Of course, nobody rosters Crush because they're seeking safety, so you know what you're getting into here. The power is prodigious, and if he gets into one there's little chance the Rogers Centre will hold it.

Consider: Miguel Cabrera

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Matt CarpenterMatt Carpenter FD 3900 DK 4100
Opponent - CIN (Straily) Park - @STL
FD - 12.15 DK - 9.34

We've gone after Dan Straily often this season, with mixed results. But our faith in the numbers is abiding, and we're not gonna stop targeting the dude with an xFIP over 5.00 just because he weaseled his way to a respectable ERA this season. He's due for regression across the board (BABIP, home runs, strand rate) and when it comes, we're gonna be there to collect. If you're looking for candidates to make him pay tonight, start with Carpenter. The Cardinals leadoff man enters with a .387 wOBA and .268 ISO vs. RHP. Those are middle-of-the-order, corner infield kind of numbers; not the kind of thing you typically get from a leadoff hitter at 2B.

Robinson CanoRobinson Cano FD 3300 DK 5500
Opponent - OAK (Graveman) Park - @SEA
FD - 11.46 DK - 8.91

We can't see using Cano over Carp on DraftKings; the projected production is fine, but that DK tag is just too steep. But on FanDuel, we might actually prefer to save a few bucks and roll with him. With 35 HRs on the year, Cano has already set a career high while maintaining excellent contact numbers (13.9% Ks). He's also punishing righties, with a .389 wOBA and .250 ISO. He'll be facing Kendall Graveman tonight, who makes a fine punching bag. He doesn't give up loads of homers, but he atones by not striking anybody out (5.09/9). It adds up to a 4.43 xFIP, which is intimidating to exactly nobody.

Consider: Ben Zobrist


Aledmys DiazAledmys Diaz FD 3300 DK 4300
Opponent - CIN (Straily) Park - @STL
FD - 10.59 DK - 8.4

Ok. So we're not super excited about the fact that Diaz has been dropped in the order recently, and if he remains in the bottom third , we'll be decreasing our exposure. But just looking at the matchup, there's a lot to like. First off, Diaz has handled RHP exceedingly well in his rookie campaign, posting .396 wOBA and .244 ISO in the split. Second, Dan Straily isn't good, as evidenced by the fact that he's giving up a 4.69 xFIP and 1.7 HRs/9 vs. righties this season.

Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 3200 DK 3700
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.92 DK - 7.56

Pick on Straily, pick on Ubaldo. Wax on, wax off. Spit, shine, rinse, repeat. We'll break away from the cycle in a minute, but for the expected production/value combo, it's tough to get away from these two at SS tonight (at least on FanDuel). Tulo obviously isn't the guy he once was, but he still comes with nice pop for the price, knocking 24 homers this season with a .192 ISO.

Consider: Francisco Lindor, especially on DraftKings.


Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4200 DK 5000
Opponent - PIT (Nova) Park - @PIT
FD - 12.63 DK - 9.7

Ok, so we're not exactly stepping out on a thin limb here as we move briefly away from the Blue Jays and Cardinals, because as you've probably heard, Kris Bryant hits baseballs hard. After a nice rookie year in 2015, the monster power scouts had touted surfaced in a big way this season, as his 39 HRs rank second in the NL while his .401 wOBA and .268 ISO both rank fourth. He's also benefiting from the excellence around him with 101 RBIs and a league-leading 120 runs. Those are MVP type numbers, folks, and they don't dip much vs. righties (.387 wOBA, .247 ISO). We tried to tell the projection system about Ivan Nova's solid work since coming over from the Yankees, but it basically gave us a "cool story, bro," and then a wedgie. Metaphorically speaking.

Maikel FrancoMaikel Franco FD 2800 DK 4800
Opponent - ATL (Collmenter) Park - @ATL
FD - 9.83 DK - 7.59

If you're looking to save a little salary, you could do worse than Franco. The Phillies second-year slugger has shown moderate regression in his first full season, but the power/contact skills are still there, and much of the sagging numbers elsewhere are at least partly driven by a bad BABIP. We're expecting some improvement there given the amount of hard contact Franco is making, and the matchup against Josh Collmenter (4.59 xFIP) should provide opportunities.

Consider: Kyle Seager


Jose BautistaJose Bautista FD 3700 DK 4500
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @TOR
FD - 13.17 DK - 9.94

We're not done with Ubaldo quite yet. Like Encarnacion, Bautista is an excellent patience/power guy, and that 16.3% BB rate is no small part of the reason his wOBA is still solid (.353), even has his batting average has fallen to its lowest point in seven years. For raw production, he's our top OF on the board tonight, and the prices aren't bad either.

J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 3400 DK 5100
Opponent - CLE (Merritt) Park - @DET
FD - 12.76 DK - 9.76

Injuries have prevented Martinez from duplicating last year's counting stats, but otherwise, not much has changed. His .392 wOBA and .234 ISO are right in line with what he's done since his breakout season in 2014, and he continues to treat lefties and righties with more or less equal disdain. Facing a rookie southpaw who lacks the ability to miss bats, we like his chances for a big game today.
Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 3100 DK 4700
Opponent - CHC (Zastryzny) Park - @PIT
FD - 12 DK - 9.46

After apparently forgetting how to hit for the first four months of the season, the McCutchen we've known and trusted has returned with a revamped approach at the plate. He spent much of 2016 floundering with nearly five times as many Ks as walks, but after a three-day benching in early August, he stopped chasing bad stuff and has since walked more than he's struck out. The production has cascaded from the there, leading to a .292/.392/.495 triple slash in August and September. Funny how that works, isn't it? He'll be facing Cubs rookie Rob Zastryzny (brought to you by copy/paste), a lefty with solid stuff and decent results in 12.1 bullpen innings, but no big-league starts to his credit.

Consider: Bryce Harper, Michael Saunders

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1 Visitor Comment

  1. inconsistency with Straily’s xFIP. You pointed out
    it’s over 5 & when I get to Diaz’s recommendation, it says 4.59. Which is it?

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