Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/12/2017
Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/12/17

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Pitcher

Early

Max ScherzerMax Scherzer FD 10900 DK 12600
Opponent - STL (Leake) Park - @WSH
FD - 43.17 DK - 28.46

Outside of rare circumstance, you can expect Scherzer to be here every time he pitches. He's a top 3 DFS pitcher and will often be a cash game king. Today, he faces the Cardinals on the 4-game early slate. This Cardinals lineup is extremely underwhelming and it's hard not to love Scherzer when you look at it. They lead off with a solid 4 in Fowler, Diaz, Carpenter (DTD), and Piscotty. While none of those guys are 25+ HR locks, they do hit well for contact and don't often get shut down. However, once you move past the core 4, it gets ugly against righties. Yadier Molina, Randal Grichuk, Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong and the pitcher spot will follow. Everyone outside of Kolten Wong held a 23%+ K rate against righties in 2016 and Wong joined in with a putrid .302 wOBA. If Scherzer is effectively able to contain the top 4, he will be in for a tremendous outing. I would say 8 strikeouts is close to a guarantee with the upside for 12-14. Scherzer went 6 2/3 last time out and I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit 100 pitches here. He is an elite option in both cash games and tournaments.

Danny SalazarDanny Salazar FD 9400 DK 8700
Opponent - CHW (Holland) Park - @CLE
FD - 37.86 DK - 24.76

The Sox and Indians will face off at 6:10 PM, so this game isn't on either of the main slates on FanDuel or DraftKings. If you're playing the all-day slate, play him. He and Scherzer are far above the rest and will be hard to get off of in cash games. Salazar is a high-strikeout, high-upside pitcher. He does have the downside but I'm not sure how much I'm worried about it with the other options at pitcher. Even if Salazar has an off night, he has 5-6 K's built in and you can't say that about anybody on the 7 PM slate. Once again, play Carrasco and Scherzer if you can.

Main

Sorry? It looks like we have finally run into a slate with 0 pitching. Sure, someone is going to have a good game. If you can figure that out, you are locked into a tournament cash. In cash games, I may end up settling on John Lackey. Lackey is a veteran without a pitch count and Maddon has a long leash on him. The Dodgers are good against righties but not great. Lackey has a little bit of strikeout upside with Joc Pederson, Puig, and McCarthy in the lineup. Marcus Stroman is the other "expensive" arm I like on this slate in tournaments. The Brewers toss out a primarily right-handed lineup and are MUCH worse against righties. In 2016, they held the 7th worst wOBA in the league against righties at .306. Stroman has the K upside (7.32 K/9) but does struggle with walking batters (2.36 BB/9). If he's able to stay away from the big inning, he should be on his way to a very productive night. Stroman is more of a tournament option, though I see the merit in cash games on such a putrid slate. Moving down in price, I could see some exposure going to Jaime Garcia. Garcia always has the upside but struggles against righties and this Marlins team is swinging the stick well early on. I'll hold back on him with increased ownership.

Andrew Triggs is the next guy I have any interest in. He is actually a pretty good pitcher who keeps it on the ground. Kaufmann Stadium is ginormous and Triggs should be able to keep the ball in play all night. He has pitched well dating back to last season and I don't hate taking a flier on him against a weaker Royals team. Lastly, we have Zach Wheeler. As a note, he's far more expensive on DraftKings than he is on FanDuel. On FD, wheeler is priced at $6,200, which is above just 3 guys. Wheeler absolutely has a to 3 ceiling on this slate when his stuff is working. While it may not be there now with the pitch count, we don't need anything crazy. We need him to strikeout 5 or 6, give up 1 or 2 and pick up the win. He helps you pay up elsewhere and on a slate without any concrete options, he may be a fantastic idea. To be clear, nobody on this slate it safe. At all.

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Catcher

Early

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 2700 DK 3500
Opponent - MIN (Gibson) Park - @DET
FD - 9.23 DK - 6.81

On FanDuel, you just keep plugging in V-Mart at catcher. He's too cheap and hits 4th in one of the top MLB offenses. While he's not the same power bat he used to be, he's just as good of a contact hitter. He has spread the ball around to start the season and has already spoiled a few shifts. The Tigers face off with a righty in Kyle Gibson, who is very average. He lacks movement on his pitches and doesn't have the speed nor control to make up for it. In 66 innings against lefties in 2016, Gibson posted a putrid .380 wOBA. Yes, you read that right. Martinez hits right-handers better and he's a cash game lock for me on FD at just $2700. Coors Field is on this early slate and Martinez actually helps you do that, even though he's the best catcher on the board. If you need to go elsewhere at catcher on the early slate, Hedges and Avila are my favorites

Yan Gomes is a good play on the all-day slate. Derek Holland struggles with the longball and Gomes is cheap across the industry.
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Main

Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2500 DK 3800
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.27 DK - 6.79

The Blue Jays are going to be one of the teams we target most on this slate. While there are no great pitchers, there also isn't any one spot like yesterday with Coors Field. Instead, there's are about 5 or 6 weak pitchers that will get the most attention and Chase Anderson is definitely one of those guys. The Jays currently hold the highest projected team total on the slate at 5.27. The Rogers Centre plays favorable to hitters and they have been closing the roof on cold days. Russell Martin is no longer the same hitter he was a few years ago with the Pirates. He is now trying to drive the ball into the gaps and will occasionally run into a homer. He hit righties better than lefties in 2016, sporting a .325 wOBA and a .700 OPS.  Catcher is pretty horrible on this slate. At the top, you have nobody. Martin is probably the safest option on the board and his price is pretty fair, especially on FanDuel. Martin will be my cash game catcher as I will have a lot of Blue Jays and would rather go with some correlation than a random catcher in a similar spot.

Francisco CervelliFrancisco Cervelli FD 2300 DK 3200
Opponent - CIN (Garrett) Park - @PIT
FD - 7.9 DK - 6.06

If you want to pay down a bit, Francisco Cervelli is a great way to go. Amir Garrett was definitely impressive in his first start last week but we have to remember this is still a rookie and one that isn't supposed to be amazing at that. He will run into a lot of bumps and I don't think you need to go out of your way to avoid the Pirates bats. Cervelli has been absolutely ridiculous against lefties in each of the last 2 seasons, putting up wOBA's of .410 and .375. He's 31 years old and supposedly saw a slight muscle up in the offseason, hopefully resulting in some more power this year, which is his 1 missing piece, albeit a big one. Cervelli is a fine way to pay down and you can likely count on a base knock or two. In tournaments, I'm not sure he's worth it. He will have an incredibly tough time getting it it out of PNC Park and a guy like Russell Martin has much more upside.

First Base

Early

Miguel CabreraMiguel Cabrera FD 3800 DK 4700
Opponent - MIN (Gibson) Park - @DET
FD - 11.24 DK - 8.18

Miguel Cabrera started off the season cold and according to some, he sucks. In reality, he's great. He's Miguel Cabrera. We talked about Victor Martinez at catcher and this entire Tigers team is in play as a stack. With Coors Field looking to be the popular place to go, a solid Tigers stack will go very low-owned. Cabrera is just as good against righties as he is left, which is phenomenal. Over the past 3 seasons, Miggy has held a .370+ wOBA against righties followed up by some of the best batted-ball rates in baseball. He continues to hit the ball hard and they will eventually end with fantasy points. Kyle Gibson is definitely worse against lefties, though he's not good in any sense against anyone, especially Miguel Cabrera. With most on Wil Myers, Cabrera is a tremendous option in all formats.

Wil MyersWil Myers FD 4100 DK 5300
Opponent - COL (Freeland) Park - @COL
FD - 11.01 DK - 8.65

Speaking of Wil Myers, I have to mention him in Coors against a lefty. Kyl Freeland is a somewhat decent prospect, though he has literally no upside. Holding a sub 6.00 K/9 in double AA, I can only imagine what the number will end up in the majors. His first game looks to be an anomaly, so make sure you don;t let 1 start cloud your judgment. Michael Pineda showed us what 1 start means, tossing a -5 and a 65 against the same opponent in the same week. Myers hits both righties and lefties well and although he's more expensive than Miggy, I think the ownership will still be there. This does give us merit to fade in tournaments, but I don't know if I'll be able to fully in cash games. He raked lefties to a .350 wOBA in 2016 and that was at Petco Park. Myers hit for the cycle 2 night ago and hit a triple in his first at-bat last night. Coors Field is by far the best park in the league and you can bet Myers plans on having some more fun before he goes back to spacious San Diego.

Main

Brandon BeltBrandon Belt FD 2900 DK 3800
Opponent - ARI (Miller) Park - @SF
FD - 9.78 DK - 7.16

First base is not as great as it usually is on this main slate. Luckily, there is 1 tremendous spot. Brandon Belt against Shelby Miller. Miller is one of my favorite pitchers to target as he is just awful against lefties. In 2016, Shelby Miller exhibited a .400 wOBA against lefties while allowing 9 homers in just 55 innings. He is not a good pitcher and that won't change until he adds a new pitch or makes one of his 2 "good" pitches great. Belt is a stud against righties and held a +.360 wOBA against them in 3 straight seasons. He also hits better at home, though it's an extreme pitchers park. Belt is too cheap on both FanDuel and Draftkings, sitting around guys like Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland. Belt is far better than his price and I'll keep plugging him into these plus match-ups. Personally, I think Belt will be in 100% of my cash games. If you do want to pivot, it's first base and there are plenty of ways to go. Kendrys Morales and Anthony Rizzo are the 2 I like most after Belt, with Tommy Joseph being a great punt play on FanDuel. As for Belt, get him in your cash games at this price.

Second Base

Early

DJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu FD 3400 DK 4800
Opponent - SD (Lee) Park - @COL
FD - 10.74 DK - 8.79

A ton of people ran out stacks of Cargo, Blackmon, Arenado, and LeMahieu last night. All but LeMahieu hit a home run. He went 0-for-4. Hopefully, that leaves a sour taste in people's mouth as he was literally 8 inches away from a home run in the 4th inning. Luis Perdomo was originally scheduled to pitch here but coincidentally got scratched 5 minutes after I finished writing about him. Zach Lee will get the call-up to the rotation and do his best to fill u as many innings as possible. Lee saw his only MLB action in 2015, pitching 4 innings and giving up 7 earned runs. He then went 0-9 last year in AAA with a 7.32 ERA and only struck out 6 batters per 9 innings. Zach Lee is definitely the worst pitcher the Rockies have faced this season and I would be surprised to see him last past the 3rd. I think the Rockies started hitting their stride last night and I expect them to take off in Coors Field in the coming weeks. here will be no better spot to play them than here against an atrocious right-hander who has no idea what Coors has for him. LeMahieu hits righties extremely well in Coors Field and you can play him in all formats. The price is up there but so is every other price in Coors.

Main

Devon TravisDevon Travis FD 2400 DK 4000
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.72 DK - 7.49

Travis hit leadoff last night and disappoint nicely, finish 0-for-4 against Wily Peralta and crew. He will look to bounce-back against an even worse pitcher tonight in Chase Anderson. Anderson is not good against righties. Not remotely, he's ATROCIOUS. In 81 innings last season, Anderson allowed righties to put up a .394 wOBA and a 40% hard contact rate that explains the 17 homers. He's not good against lefties either, seeing a .211 BABIP against them in 2016. Anderson is going to have a lot of trouble with this right-handed heavy Blue Jays lineup that can hit righties pretty well. Devon Travis doesn't really have a preference and has a better chance to steal a bag against righties. Travis is a bit too expensive for my taste on DK but makes all the sense in the world on FanDuel. Make sure he is in that lead-off spot again as the Jays can mix up the lineup on occasion. With Travis struggling yesterday, it's certainly possible the "genius" John Gibbons will put him in the 8 hole.

Dustin PedroiaDustin Pedroia FD 3000 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @BOS
FD - 9.86 DK - 7.59

Pedroia and the Sox returned to Fenway last night and regained their swagger. They put up some runs on Dylan Bundy and the whole lineup got involved for the most part. Dustin Pedroia has looked great and he looks like he's about to back up his amazing 2016 campaign. The Sox will match-up with Ubaldo Jimenez, who is another sub-par pitcher. While worse against lefties, his 4.68 xFIP against righties is nothing to be proud of. Pedroia had a career-year in 2016, finishing against righties with a .360 wOBA to go along with some impressive peripherals. Vegas thinks Jimenez is going to have a bit of trouble here, as the Red Sox have the 2nd highest team total on the day at 5.10. Jimenez is going to have a lot of trouble with this offense and the bullpen won't have much fun either. This SIx tam is a real problem in Fenway and tonight should be no different.

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Shortstop

Early

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 4100 DK 4700
Opponent - SD (Lee) Park - @COL
FD - 2.73 DK - 2.11

Trevor Story took the day off yesterday and was unable to join the solo-HR party with Blackmon, Cargo, and Arenado. Instead, he will be rested against Zach Lee, who is worse than Weaver. Lee might not throw as slow, but he doesn't have any movement and gave up a worse xFIP in AA than Weaver did in the MLB.  I do think the Padres pull him quickly and turn this into a bullpen game, which I'm fine with. The Padres have a league-average bullpen and their long relievers are no good. Story held a 57% hard contact rate in Coors Field against righties last season, which was easily the highest of any player at home. He may not be able to sustain that level of play but I think the HR's were definitely real. The power is built into his swing and that will never change, making him the perfect fit for the Rockies and Coors Field. If you are insistent on paying down at SS on the early slate, Starlin Castro and Wilmer Difo are decent ways to go. Personally, Story is a priority.

Main

Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3300 DK 4700
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @BOS
FD - 9.19 DK - 7.07

Xander Bogaerts returned from injury and looks fully healthy. Shortstop is pretty nice on this slate, with Bogaerts and Tulowitzki being the top 2 options. Bogaerts, like Tulo, does prefer the southpaws. Still, he hit righties to the tune of a .340 wOBA and a .140 ISO to match. Bogaerts is still just 24 years old and will be improving for at least a couple more years. Bogaerts will cement his name with the top SS's in the league as he deserves to do. He has a great bat for Fenway and has plenty of upside in tournaments. With that being said, Bogaerts is very expensive on DraftKings. In tournaments, you can easily fade for a guy like Tulowitzki with similar upside. Ubaldo Jimenez has been around for what seems like 40 years now and is he's only getting worse with age. The Red Sox should give him a ton of trouble in Fenway and the heart of the order will be involved.

Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.63 DK - 7.07

On FanDuel, I'm simply going nowhere else in cash games. While hot streaks aren't predictable, this is a guy you always like to see swinging well, for a multitude of reasons. One, he's injured about 99% of the time. When he's ripping the ball all over the place, it's a bit safer to think he's playing fully healthy. Secondly, this is a guy who goes on power tears. If you remember back to his Colorado days, he was known as one of the streakiest players on the planet. Tulo was pretty good against righties in 2016 with a .326 wOBA and a 34.5% hard contact rate. Chase Anderson, as mentioned, is bad against righties, allowing a .394 wOBA to them in 2016. These Blue Jays are a pristine stack and have plenty of guys you can play as 1-off's as well. Tulo is far too cheap on FanDuel and is still in consideration over on DraftKings but a little pricey for my taste.

Third Base

Early

Yes, Nolan Arenado is really good. I just wanted to touch on a few other teams on this small early slate

Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 3300 DK 4400
Opponent - NYY (Montgomery) Park - @NYY
FD - 9.37 DK - 6.85

We all know Evan Longoria loves to hit against lefties. He definitely took a step back in 2016 though, sporting a .308 wOBA. However, none of his peripherals really changed, besides his BABIP. While he may not be as good of a hitter as he was in 2013 or as bad as he was last year, I think he's somewhere in the middle. Jordan Montgomery was called up by the Yankees and will see his first ever MLB action at home against the Rays. Montgomery wasn't bad in the minors, sporting an 8.76 K/9 last season. There are some obvious signs of trouble with Montgomery. For one, he walked nearly 3 batters per 9 innings in AA. He also had a LOB% (left on base) of 90% last season, which is just insane. His numbers should normalize a bit and you can almost guarantee a few hiccups here. I personally expect Longoria to have a lot to do with that. To be clear, I do prefer Nolan Arenado. He is an absolute stud and makes for one of the top overall options on the early slate.

Main

Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - OAK (Triggs) Park - @KC
FD - 9.43 DK - 6.95

On a slate without much pitching, third base sure is lackluster. Sure, Kris Bryant can run into one on any given night. He's always a great tournament option and tonight is no different. Moving down from him, there isn't too much to love. Mike Moustakas has been a guy who hits righties well for about 3  years now and his peripherals say it's the real deal. While we haven't been able to prove that just yet, I think we see that this season. Andrew Triggs really isn't the worst pitcher but he struggles against lefties and is a big groundball pitcher. Moustakas is better against GB pitchers and actually held a .361 wOBA on pitches in the bottom third of the zone in 2015 (last full season). Moustakas may not have as much HR upside in KC but he's safe as can be.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - SEA (Gallardo) Park - @SEA
FD - 9.46 DK - 7.19

Alex Bregman has started off the season cold and finally got 2 hits in a game for the first time last night. Bregman, who was drafted just a year, ago, is extremely advanced for his age. He has a pretty good eye and won't be a guy who swings at everything and strikes out. He has a bit of plate discipline and should have no issue seeing the ball out of Gallardo's hands. Gallardo, like many pitchers on this slate, is bad. He gave up a .349 wOBA to both sides of the plate in 2016 and also gave up a ton of homers. While that's not as big of a problem in Safeco, Bregman does have the power to hit it out. Moustakas is a bit safer and makes more sense in cash games. Bregman, on the other hand, is a bit more boom or bust. Bregman is a bit more expensive on both sites and I think he will be very low-owned.

Outfield

Early

Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 4800 DK 5000
Opponent - STL (Leake) Park - @WSH
FD - 11.23 DK - 8.44

Harper has been everything he's supposed to be in 2017 and more. Through 8 starts, he has 11 hits, 9 walks, and 2 homers. Opposing pitchers have been unable to pitch around Harper with Daniel Murphy looming behind. Harper and the Nats will host the Cardinals and take on Mike Leake today, who is as average as it gets. Against lefties in 2016, Leake sported a .324 wOBA and gave up 13 homers in less than 85 innings. Harper on the other hand, held a .352 wOBA that was held down by a .271 BABIP. Harper is one of the top hitters in the league against righties and Mike Leake is the type of pitcher he likes. He's on the faster side of the spectrum and lacks movement on his off-speed pitches. Harper is the top option n the early slate in the outfield. With that being said, there are plenty of other ways to go. Everyone in Coors Field is in play and 2 other guys I like a lot are Steven Souza Jr. and Aaron Judge.

Main

Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - LAD (McCarthy) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.98 DK - 8.02

Kyle Schwarber is the man. He hits both lefties and righties extremely well and hits leadoff for the best offense in baseball. I can't even express how bullish I am on Schwarber for this entire season. I think he's a top 10 hitter from the left side and expects him to show that. He's already begun, hitting 2 homers so far and putting up some of the best at-bats you will see. He has worked starting pitchers over 9 pitches in the 1st AB of the game on multiple occasions already, which has to be a huge mental block for that pitcher. Brandon McCarthy is a self-proclaimed "bad" pitcher, though he's really not that bad. He does struggle with lefties however, allowing a .341 wOBA over the last 2 seasons. Wrigley Field is heavily influenced by wind speed and direction, so make sure to keep an eye out as the day moves along. Schwarber is a fantastic way to go in all formats on both sites.

Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton FD 3600 DK 4700
Opponent - ATL (Garcia) Park - @MIA
FD - 12.58 DK - 9.02

Stanton against a lefty. Can I stop? I'm at the point where I don't think Stanton is ever going to change. He's going to swing for the fences every single time and usually miss the ball by about 2 feet. When he guesses right, however, the ball doesn't land. Stanton actually sees the ball out of lefties hands and makes hard contact over 50% of the time, which is absolutely nuts. Jaime Garcia isn't a bad pitcher, but he does struggle with the HR ball and isn't the greatest with control. If Garcia falls behind to Stanton with a guy on 1st, I would say a HR is pretty likely, which is crazy in general to say. Stanton is the best power hitter in baseball when fully healthy and there is nothing better than watching him hit a homer when you roster him. Tonight, he's a tournament play. He's far from safe and nobody will be surprised if he strikes out 3 times and goes 0-for-4. On the other side, he could hit 3 homers and we would be just as surprised.

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