Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/14/17

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Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw FD 12600 DK 13500
Opponent - ARI (Greinke) Park - @LAD
FD - 46.29 DK - 30.55

Kershaw almost has to be here every time he pitches. He's the best pitcher in baseball and has an advantage over any lineup in the league. The Diamondbacks are good against lefties, so Kershaw will definitely see some challenging at-bats. Paul Goldschmidt is a top 3 hitter against lefties and sports a +.420 wOBA against southpaws in most years. Kershaw blows away those numbers, however. In 2016, he held righties to a ridiculous .227 wOBA. Against lefties, it's pure domination with a .137 wOBA and an 11.51 K/9. While the D-Backs can hit righties well, they do strikeout a lot. In 2016, they held the 7th highest K rate at 22.8%. Vegas has the D-Backs slated at a projected team total of 2.25, which is by far the lowest on the slate. Kershaw is definitely going to cost you a pretty penny on both sites and rightfully so. This is a guy who gave up over 2 runs just twice last season and struck out 10 batters 9 times last season. Kershaw is going to be very highly-owned and I will be part of the group in cash games. In tournaments, there are definitely some other ways to go that help you pay up in other spots. Let's take a look at a few cheaper options.

Julio TeheranJulio Teheran FD 8500 DK 8500
Opponent - SD (Chacin) Park - @ATL
FD - 36.78 DK - 24.16

Julio Teheran gets the nightly honor of facing off with the Padres. The Padres sport the league's worst lineup and it's not too close. Wil Myers has been on a roll and he's really the only guy to be scared of. Janikowski and Margot are both fast but aren't great hitters and struggle to get on base. The rest of the order is filled with strikeout-prone hitters and guys with no pop. Teheran is much worse against lefties, so Ryan Schimpf could be the only guy I have some worries about. Still, this ballpark is big and Teheran has pitched well at home over the years. In 2016, Teheran sported a .243 wOBA against righties and a .323 against lefties. He held an average 7 K per 9 and walked nearly 3. The run support should be there Teheran as Chacin is far from a good pitcher and the braves should be able to put up some runs. Teheran is $8500 on both sites and I like him in all formats.

Johnny CuetoJohnny Cueto FD 9000 DK 11600
Opponent - COL (Anderson) Park - @SF
FD - 36.39 DK - 24

If you want to roster an elite pitcher and don't want to go with Kershaw for whatever reason, Cueto is a great alternative. He is much cheaper and might actually have a similar floor. Maybe not exactly, but Cueto has one of the best floors in baseball, especially against a Rockies team that strikes out a ton on the road. The Rockies are a bottom 5 lineup hen on the road and only have a few true + hitters (top 4). AT&T Park is a bottom-3 hitting ballpark in baseball and Cueto has held a .251 wOBA there in the last 2 seasons. Cueto has dominated both sides of the plate for years now and remains one of the hardest pitchers to steal bases on. Cueto does a great job of limiting damage and will often be a cash game gem. I definitely prefer Kershaw but can see the merit in the pivot.




Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2400 DK 3600
Opponent - BAL (Miley) Park - @TOR
FD - 8.32 DK - 6.09

The Blue Jays are going to be an offense we target a lot on this slate. Wade Miley is a guy who is absolutely horrible against lefties. In 2016, he sported a .360 wOBA that was held up by his peripherals. Russell Martin is no longer the hitter he was 3 years ago in Pittsburgh. He hits for a bit less power at this point and tends to spread the ball around more. He held an average .312 wOBA against lefties in 2016, though it looks like he got a bit unlucky.  The Rogers Centre is a top 10 ballpark for right-handers and Martin has been much better there. Catcher isn't a great position tonight and Martin is smack dab in the middle of the top offense of the night. In cash games, I won't get cute.

Mike ZuninoMike Zunino FD 2100 DK 3000
Opponent - TEX (Perez) Park - @SEA
FD - 8.1 DK - 5.84

Like I said, catcher isn't great. We do have some great tournament options and Mike Zunino is one of them. He's a pure power hitter that has struck out 32% of the time in his career. When he hits the ball, he hits t hard and he hits it far. Zunino does hit southpaws better and Martin Perez is a great one to target, especially if you're looking for a homer. Perez has been bad against righties for a while now and gives up a ton of homers (1.35 HR/9). If you don't like anyone at catcher, I'm fine paying down for Zunino who has inherent upside. He's very cheap and can put you over the bump in tournaments. In cash games, I wouldn't be anywhere near Zunino.

First Base

Eric ThamesEric Thames FD 2500 DK 4000
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.25 DK - 7.78

Good ol' Scott Feldman. I applaud Feldman for continuing to get contracts, even though he could be the most useless pitcher in baseball. Not only does he have 0 potential but he's horrible. At 34 years old, his fastball has dropped 5 MPH and the movements on his off-speed pitches are nowhere near what they used to be. His numbers against lefties are atrocious and we will get to this later. Thames, a guy who failed in the MLB a few years ago and then went to Japan to figure things out. Thames developed a great power swing over in Japan and finished as the league-leader for 2 years in a row. he now gets to face "real" competition. He has done quite an amazing job adjusting so far, getting a hit in every start so far and hitting 2 homers. Great American Ballpark is a huge upgrade from Miller Park and Thames will look to take advantage. He is far too cheap on FanDuel and I'm gonna have a hard time avoiding him in cash games.

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3400 DK 4600
Opponent - DET (Norris) Park - @CLE
FD - 10.35 DK - 7.42

Encarnacion has started the season pretty cold for the Indians, only hitting 1 homer and 2 extra-base hits on the season. Encarnacion is still the same hitter he always has been and the power will come. He has missed a few on the warning track and this wouldn't be a discussion if the wind was blowing a little harder. Go ahead and trust the 5-year sample size. Daniel Norris is a good prospect and will probably be a good starter one day. Right now, he struggles against righties. In 2016, he allowed a .351 wOBA and gave up 8 homers in just 50 innings. Encarnacion will certainly be aiming for the fences on every swing and he should be able to make contact against Norris. Encarnacion makes a bit more sense in tournaments but I don't hate it in cash either.

Kendrys MoralesKendrys Morales FD 2900 DK 3700
Opponent - BAL (Miley) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.84 DK - 7.15

Morales was my pick for breakout player of the year. He's 33 years old and this is the first time his home ballpark is favorable to hitting. He's also hitting 3/4 in the best lineup he's ever been in. He's seeing a ton of pitches to hit and capitalizing on what seems like every night. Morales is a switch-hitter and is much better against lefties, which is rare. In 2016, Morales sported a .392 wOBA against lefties. As mentioned, Wade Miley struggles against righties and gives up plenty of long-balls. Morales is a moderately priced option with a solid floor and ceiling. Morales will also always have the platoon advantage, which will often come into play in the later innings. I will definitely make sure to have exposure in one way or another. With DraftKings pricing up a ton of 1st baseman, it looks like Morales is one of the guys who is cheaper than he should be.

Second Base

Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 3700 DK 4700
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.59 DK - 8.06

Second base is pretty ugly tonight. I will be using 2 guys and don't see anything in the rest. Dozier is my favorite of the two, facing off with a rookie at home in Target Field. Dylan Covey is a 25-year old that has never pitched higher than AA and had a 5.22 BB/9 rate in 2016. Covey held a 4.84 FIP in AA, which is atrocious. Dozier is a guy who hits both sides of the plate well and probably has more versatility against righties. In 2016, Dozier sported a .356 wOBA against righties and also hit 31 home runs. Target Field is pretty neutral but Dozier has done well there all career long. At such a horrible position, I will have a ton of Brian Dozier. There is a bit of weather concern but make sure to stay on twitter to keep updated. If this game is a full go, Dozier is the top 2nd base option on the board.

Jonathan VillarJonathan Villar FD 3500 DK 4700
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @CIN
FD - 8.61 DK - 7.83

Villar is a fantastic leadoff batter, hitting for plenty of power and swiping the most bags in baseball. He will start hitting better this season and even though he's been somewhat cold, he already has 3 homers and an SB. Scott Feldman is absolutely atrocious against left-handers. In 2016, Feldman sported a .377 wOBA and a putrid 12% strikeout rate. The Brewers are a team who strikeout a lot and have a lot of success against guys who don't have a "put away pitch" Feldman certainly fits that description and I don't see him escaping this one clean. The Brewers are going to score some runs and I really think Villar has a lot to do with it. Feldman is also atrocious at holding runners and all the Reds catchers can't throw, so he should be running if he's on.

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Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 3300 DK 3900
Opponent - BAL (Miley) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.49 DK - 6.97

Troy Tulowitzki is a bit too cheap on both DraftKings, sitting at $3.3k and $3.9k respectively. Tulo has been swinging the bat well so far this year and I see no reason for his price to be where it is. Tulowitzki is a guy that has dominated lefties for his whole career. H took a small dip last year dealing with injuries all season long. When healthy, Tulo is a .380 wOBA hitter against southpaws. Wade Miley is a lefty that Tulo should be able to take advantage of. He throws pretty soft and won't overwhelm anyone with movement. Miley is only getting older and his velocity is only dropping. Tulowitzki is a guy I will play a lot this year as he's in a great lineup spot and seems to be fully healthy. Tulo is far and away my favorite cash game SS option. I will have plenty of exposure in tournaments as well as Tulo has some of the most power of anyone at the position.

Tim AndersonTim Anderson FD 2400 DK 3800
Opponent - MIN (Mejia) Park - @MIN
FD - 8 DK - 6.79

Mejia already started once this season against the White sox, going 1.2 innings and allowing 2 runs and 2 walks. He couldn't find the strike zone and when he did, it was getting hit. Mejia hasn't shown any signs of promise in the minors and I see no reason not to target him. Anderson is a bit too cheap on FanDuel for a guy who can hit homers and steal bases with ease. Mejia is a southpaw and Anderson destroyed them in 2016 with a .342 wOBA and a .326 average. Shortstop is all over the place and I don't think anyone comes in too highly owned. Anderson is not a flashy name and I look forward to getting him around 3% in tournaments.


Third Base

Wilmer FloresWilmer Flores FD 2600 DK 3100
Opponent - MIA (Conley) Park - @MIA
FD - 8.32 DK - 6.24

When you find yourself hitting cleanup in a great lineup behind Yoenis Cespedes, you draw some attention. Wilmer Flores is a serious problem against lefties and I'm glad the Mets are willing to embrace that. In 2016, he sported a ludicrous .455 wOBA. In a little over 100 at-bats, he hit 11 homers and drove in 28 runs just against lefties. The opposing pitcher, Adam Conley, is nothing to be scared of. While he held a decent wOBA against righties, he gave up 13 homers in 102 innings and had a low .283 BABIP. Conley is a decent pitcher but a guy with Flores' skill will have no problem hitting him. Flores is a solid option in all formats at his price and I'm hoping he goes somewhat unnoticed. He has a good shot of having a big game tomorrow.

Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.27 DK - 7.39

Miguel Sano has been hitting the daylights out of the ball lately. Every pitch he touches is a rocket and it's just a matter of whether it's far enough or not. Dylan Covey is the last guy I would be afraid of for Sano. He doesn't strike anyone out and lacks the ability to draw ground balls. Sano has an unlimited amount of upside in this matchup and his price is pretty fair. In 2016, Sano held a .330 wOBA against righties but also hit 19 homers. He is an elite tournament option at #B and I don't hate him in cash at a rough position. The Twins should be able to get to Covey and I see Sano having to do with it.

Josh Donaldson re-injured his leg last night and looks doubtful to play tonight. If Donaldson is in the lineup, he's a tremendous play against Wade Miley. Tremendous as in one of the absolute best plays on the slate.


Jose BautistaJose Bautista FD 3300 DK 4500
Opponent - BAL (Miley) Park - @TOR
FD - 11.38 DK - 8.19

Yep, another Toronto Blue Jay. We expect Wade Miley to have a lot of trouble tonight and we have a good idea of where the production will come from. This offense is pretty concentrated and if Donaldson doesn't play, that reigns especially true. Bautista has swung the bat well to start the year but the power hasn't been there. While being "due" isn't a thing, Bautista is going to hit a lot of home runs. This is probably the best spot of the year so far for him and he is my pick for HR of the night. Bautista has raked lefties for his entire career with a .360+ wOBA and there are no signs to be worried. Miley is a perfect match-up for Bautista and he should be able to take advantage. Go ahead and play Joey Bats in cash games and tournaments. His price is too low and this match-up is phenomenal.

Alex GordonAlex Gordon FD 2600 DK 3800
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @KC
FD - 9.22 DK - 6.97

J.C. Ramirez has been a reliever for most of his career, so we really don't know what to expect here. We do know the Angels will keep it light on him and this will turn into a bullpen game. Alex Gordon is dominant against right-handers and is one of the most consistent bats in the game. At his price, he should be very highly-owned. I don't think he will be, however, as Gordon isn't a guy who gets much love in tournaments. Gordon is going to start hitting soon and the hits will come in bunches. J.C. Ramirez is as good of a guy to start off against as anyone else. Gordon is obviously a bit more expensive on DraftKings and way too cheap on FanDuel, like a lot of plays nowadays. This entire R0yals team stack is in play and Gordon is the core of it all.

Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 3400 DK 4500
Opponent - PIT (Cole) Park - @CHC
FD - 11.46 DK - 8.37

Yes, Gerrit Cole is a good pitcher. He's almost great, some may argue. Argue what you want, he's not good against lefties. Just look at the numbers. In 2016, lefties destroyed Cole for a .371 wOBA. He backed that up with an insane 29% line drive rate. While I do expect Cole to come down a little bit against lefties there, I don't think by much. He doesn't have an effective changeup just yet and has trouble fooling lefties. Schwarber is an absolute beast and almost a must play if you're on that early slate. He's proving himself as a top hitter in this league and will continue to do so all season long. He makes for a great cash games and tournament play today, assuming he hits leadoff.




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image sources

  • NLDS Mets Dodgers Baseball: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

6 Visitor Comments

  1. Volquez is pitching for MIA tonight, not Conley.

  2. So thoughts on the tired Mets v. Volquez?

  3. it’s Conley actually

    • they used Conley last night in the 16 inning marathon. They announced Volquez to pitch v. the Mets tonight.

  4. It’s actually Volquez, Conley pitched last night WHOOOO!!

  5. Any late night information?

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