Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/19/17

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Kyle HendricksKyle Hendricks FD 9300 DK 10200
Opponent - MIL (Milone) Park - @CHC
FD - 34.25 DK - 22.45

While only 4 games, this early slate is a pretty interesting. We have a clear top offense and a few others who have a lot of potential. On the pitching side, we do have a few options. Felix Hernandez, Kyle Hendricks, Gerrit Cole, and Michael Wacha are all worthy of consideration. With that being said, Hendricks is my clear favorite in cash games. He has been a very consistent arm for 2 years now and the Bucks are one of the best possible match-ups on paper for Hendricks. The Brewers offer up a lot of righties that have high K rates and only a few lefties who can hit right-handers well. After the top 4, this Brewers team is extremely unintimidating. The Brewers also put up 7 runs last night and roughed up Lackey the night before, so people may be burned off of targeting the Brewers offense. Yesterday has nothing to do with today and this is the same team that was shut down by the Rockies just over a week ago. Don't let recency bias get the best of you. Hendricks was great against both sides of the plate (.256 wOBA) in 2016 and held a solid 8.05 K/9. Hendricks doesn't have the upside of Felix Hernandez. He can't strike out 12 batters and go 8. It's early in the season and you're looking for 7 innings, 6 strikeouts, and a win. Hendricks is the top pitcher on this early slate and an arm I will look to have a lot of exposure to. On FanDuel, it does become tough as you can only play 4 Cubs.


Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw FD 12900 DK 13800
Opponent - COL (Anderson) Park - @LAD
FD - 47.48 DK - 31.38

I know, very contrarian. The truth is Clayton Kershaw has to be here. Kershaw is easily the best pitcher in the league and is the top cash game option on 90% of the slates he pitches in. Tonight, he gets a very strong match-up with the Rockies in pitcher-friendly Dodgers Stadium. The Rockies are one of the absolute worst teams in the league when outside of Coors Field. In 2016, they sported a team wOBA of .301 and an even worse .289 against lefties, ranking 2nd to last. Kershaw on the other hand, only had the best numbers in nearly every category in baseball. From his 11 K/9 and .139 wOBA allowed against righties, he has nothing to exploit. The only way to hit Kershaw is for him to make a mistake. This Rockies team has a lot of strikeout-prone hitters that won't see the benefit of the elevation in Coors, removing the only upside in their game. You don't need to be schooled on just how good Clayton Kershaw is. The Rockies are projected for the least amount of runs on this slate and a win should be a lock for Kershaw. He is the top option in every format on this main slate.

Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka FD 8600 DK 9000
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @NYY
FD - 34.9 DK - 22.88

If you would rather not spend $13k on a pitcher, there are some other ways to go on this slate. Masahiro Tanaka is coming in fantastic o=in the projections and it makes sense. He's priced below all of the top arms and is in a better spot than most of them. While Tanaka has stumbled out of the gate, my guess is the .474 BABIP is to blame. The ball will start finding gloves and the hits will stop adding up. Tanaka has been an efficient pitcher since entering the majors, so there's no reason to believe this 3 game sample as gospel. The White Sox struggle mightily against righties and we saw Luis Severino work his magic just last night. The Sox have a lot of free swingers and only 2 guys with BB rates over league average. Todd Frazier is also likely out, which is a big power bat out of the mix. I do think Tanaka is safe here, albeit the 3 rocky match-ups to start the season. The Yankees will put up runs against Dylan Covey and the win should be up for grabs. Expect Tanaka to feed the strike zone and make these hitters make contact. If he's able to work around Abreu, expect a solid outing out of Tanaka.




Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - MIL (Milone) Park - @CHC
FD - 8.21 DK - 6.21

There are a couple positions on this early slate that are that cut and dry, with catcher being one of them. While Jonathan Lucroy has a lot of talent, Hahn has been good against righties and Lucroy is much worse against righties. That leaves us with Willson Contreras. Contreras and the Cubs are going to be our top offense of the slate facing off with southpaw Tommy Milone. Milone is a bad pitcher in general and especially horrid against right-handers. In 2016, he allowed a .362 wOBA and 11 homers to them in less than 50 innings. With Wrigley blowing out yesterday, we saw what the ballpark has the potential to turn into. Contreras is too cheap on FanDuel and I figure he'll be at least 65% owned in cash games. This isn't a spot where I will be getting too cute. Contreras hits lefties well. Milone is bad against righties. Contreras is also the only catcher you can say that about on the slate.


Buster PoseyBuster Posey FD 3900 DK 4000
Opponent - KC (Vargas) Park - @KC
FD - 9.92 DK - 7.37

Posey finally returned last night and looked fully healthy, going 3-for-5 and making solid contact on 4 different balls. He gets a lefty tonight and therefore automatically jumps to the top of the catcher board. Posey has been an elite bat against southpaws for the better part of 8 seasons. Last year was no different, sporting a .381 wOBA and a 37% hard contact rate. While Kaufmann Stadium is a horrible hitting ballpark, Posey is coming from the absolute worst in AT&T Park. Jason Vargas is a 34-year old veteran who hasn't pitched any real innings since 2014. He struggled against righties 3 years ago ith a .331 wOBA and now that he's 3 years older and a lot more rusty, expect that number to rise. Vargas has nothing to overwhelm hitters with and he'll have a tough time hitting 5 K/9 by the end of the season. Posey is an elite cash game option, though we do need to pay down in a few spots. Let's take a look at a cheaper option.

Brian McCannBrian McCann FD 3000 DK 3500
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @HOU
FD - 8.65 DK - 6.3

While McCann isn't too cheap, he's fairly priced on both sites and has a great match-up. The Angels will continue to start J.C. Ramirez, even though he is absolutely horrible. Ramirez is the arm we would root for to come in when facing the Reds bullpen last season. Think about that for a second and now think about how he's a starter in the MLB. Ramirez is 28 years old and still hasn't figured much out. With a 6 K/9, 3 BB/9, and a 34.6% hard contact allowed, Ramirez not only can't miss bats but he can't miss barrels. McCann is a guy who you get scared off of due to strikeouts. With Ramirez striking nobody out, McCann should at least put the bat on the ball. With Brian McCann, that's a big part of the equation. While always more of a tournament option, I don't mind McCann in tournaments here as long as he's higher than 7 in the order.

First Base


Ryon HealyRyon Healy FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - TEX (Perez) Park - @OAK
FD - 8.87 DK - 6.6

As long as Martin Perez is pitching, be prepared to play some righties. He allowed a .341 wOBA to righties in 2016 but also gave up 16 homers with a .262 combined BABIP. Perez is far from a good pitcher and while he will usually limit the damage, he will give up a homer or two. As for Ryon Healy, we don't too much about him. He only has 84 at-bats in the majors against lefties, though his minor league numbers were great. In those 84 AB's, Healy has 5 home runs and a .364 wOBA. He makes a ton of hard contact(34,4%) and should be in the 3 or 4 spot. Healy shouldn't be too highly owned, either. There are some other good options at 1B and I wouldn't be surprised to see Healy come in around 15-20% owned. In cash games, I think he's a great option. He spreads the ball to all fields and will hit a home run if Perez makes a mistake.


Gregory BirdGregory Bird FD 2700 DK 3500
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @NYY
FD - 9.35 DK - 6.79

Greg Bird has gotten off to a sluggish start. Luckily, we don't care and neither does FD when they count stats. Bird is a very good hitter and should be smack in the middle of the order. In 2015, his last full season, Bird was a menace against righties, holding a .387 wOBA and hitting 9 homers in 110 at-bats. He was just 22 years old in 2015 and is now entering his prime. If Bird can stay healthy, he should be a premier bat for the Yanks. Dylan Covey is another youngster we don't know too much about. In the minors, he walked nearly 6 batters per 9 innings. No, that's not a misprint. He countered the erraticness with a subpar 7.9 K/9. If those are the numbers you are working with at AAA, you should probably stay. The White Sox have been forced into throwing him into the rotation and we will gladly take advantage.Yankee Stadium is also a top 3 stadium for lefties if you happened to forget that. Bird is far too cheap on both sites and the top cash game option at first if in the lineup.

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3400 DK 4400
Opponent - MIN (Mejia) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.4 DK - 7.46
Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana FD 3700 DK 4500
Opponent - MIN (Mejia) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.76 DK - 7.87

Adalberto Mejia isn't a gas can. He's a pretty solid prospect with decent strikeout numbers and average control. That's not to say he's great, however. He did allow close to 1.5 HR per 9 innings in AA and struggled to keep his pitch count down in AAA. As a 23-year old, you can expect the transition to the majors to be full of issues. He faces off with the Indians tonight in his second ever start. The Indians are one of the toughest offenses in baseball and he should have trouble dicing it up. Both Encarnacion and Santana are integral parts of the offense and both are in play. Santana is a bit safer, hitting 1st and holding a better OBP than E5. Encarnacion has a bit more power but also strikes out a lot more. Target Field is very average for right-handed power and somewhat negative for lefties. With Encarnacion cheaper on both sites, I do expect people to flock to him. Santana could end up being 1/2 as owned and they have a very similar projection.

Cheap - Jason Castro

Second Base


Robinson CanoRobinson Cano FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - MIA (Volquez) Park - @SEA
FD - 9.36 DK - 6.98

Second base is definitely the best position on this early slate. With plenty of solid options, we should be able to get Robinson Cano relatively low owned. Against Edinson Volquez, yes, please. Cano already has 2 HR's this year after hitting 28 against righties in 2016 to go along with his .393 wOBA. Edinson Volquez, who used to be a decent ace, is no longer anywhere near that. Volquez struggles to put away hitters and has struggled to keep the ball down this season. If he makes mistakes to this lineup, they will take advantage. Cano is fairly priced though expensive on both sites, making him a solid cash game play that shouldn't be too popular. On s slate where you can easily find money, I don;t mind paying up a bit for a superior match-up. In tournaments, feel free to go to Dee Gordon or one of the other high-upside options at 2B.


Dustin PedroiaDustin Pedroia FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - TOR (Liriano) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.3 DK - 7.15

This main slate is pretty weird. With 11 games on the slate, you would expect 1 o 2 offenses to stand above the rest. Tonight, that's not the case. We can't be picky with our hitters and have to target guys with high floors and high ceiling in general. Francisco Liriano and the Jays will host the Red Sox here in what figures to be a pretty exciting series. While the Rogers Centre doesn't play nearly as well for righties as Fenway, it's still a positive park. While Liriano can be dominant 3 or 4 times a season, he's usually very poor. In 2016, he allowed a .339 wOBA to righties and often fell behind 3-1. He then allowed a .429 wOBA and a 61% walk rate. Liriano can turn into a mess on the mound and Pedroia will be a part of anything the Sox get going.

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4200 DK 5100
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @HOU
FD - 9.65 DK - 8.18

If Altuve was just a bit cheaper, he would be a cash game lock here. J.C. Ramirez, as mentioned, is not a good starting pitcher. He's an average bullpen arm who struggles locating pitches and doesn't have a put-away pitch. Altuve is an extremely dangerous hitter at home when you add the Crawford Box effect. Altuve destroyed righties in 2016, sporting a .395 wOBA with 19 homers and 30 stolen bases in 160 games. Altuve is a lock for fantasy points in this match-up and I can't blame you for paying for the safety. The Angels have added a few arms to the bullpen, though they still won't be any good against righties. The 'Stros have a real shot of going off here and I love them as a stack. With a lack of options at nearly every slate, you will have to choose your star(s) wisely.

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Addison RussellAddison Russell FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - MIL (Milone) Park - @CHC
FD - 8.42 DK - 6.26

Like catcher, this is a spot where I personally have an interest in no other shortstop. Russell has far and away the top match-up on the board and isn't priced like it. Though Russell is known for his glove, his bat against lefties is legitimate. In 2016, he held a 23.6% LD rate on his way to a .353 wOBA. He also hit9 homers against southpaws, which is elite for an SS. Tommy Milone is easily one of the worst pitchers on the entire day and not a guy you want to run away from. He gives it up to both sides of the plate and also doesn't walk anyone. The Cubs should have some fun in this one and Russell will be in the heart of the lineup. Russell is an easy choice at SS for the early slate and not a guy I'll be looking to fade in any format.


Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - TOR (Liriano) Park - @TOR
FD - 9.52 DK - 7.33

Shortstop is very ugly. While we have a few expensive guys to lean on for a solid floor, there isn't much in terms of FP per dollar. Xander has hit leadoff against lefties recently and makes for the top option on the board if doing so again. We touch on Francisco Liriano a ton. He's a very inconsistent lefty who you really have no idea about until he starts pitching. Bogaerts has a great eye and if Liriano falls behind, you better bet X-Man will try to turn on the grooves fastball. Bogaerts held a .378 wOBA against lefties in 2016 and displayed his power and consistency. He is fairly priced don both sites and sits with me as a solid cash game option, though only because of the other options.

Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 4100 DK 4600
Opponent - MIN (Mejia) Park - @MIN
FD - 9.58 DK - 7.69

Lindor is going to be the 2nd expensive option we take a look at with SS being horrible. I do not mind the idea of waiting for lineups to come out and seeing if a cheap SS makes a lineup or moves up in the order. If everything stays put, Lindor is my 2nd favorite option. He faces off with Adalberto Mejia, a southpaw rookie who has been pretty good in the minors. Lindor is one of the best hitting SS's in the league, proving his worth almost every single night. The high price has been worth it lately and I'm willing to pay for the consistency at a position that has none. If you have the extra money to spend up from Bogaerts, go ahead and do it in a tournament. He should be lower owned and has just as much upside.

Cheap - Wilmer Difo

Carlos Correa is an extremely strong play if in the lineup. he has sat out the last two with a knuckle injury.

Third Base


Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 3900 DK 5200
Opponent - MIL (Milone) Park - @CHC
FD - 11.72 DK - 8.72

If you're able to fade Kris Bryant on this slate, you have more guts than me. Sure, there are some other options, that's not the point. The point is Bryant is one of the top 5 hitters in baseball and a top 3 hitter against lefties. He faces off with an absolutely atrocious one at home in Wrigley. While not necessary, let's take a look at some numbers Bryant put up in 2016. Against lefties, he hit the ball hard 40% of the time and sported a .438 wOBA with 9 homers. The Brewers obviously can't pitch around Bryant, either, as Rizzo destroys lefties and so does Zobrist. KB is definitely my pick for an HR and I will have 100% exposure. With all of that being said, this is baseball. Some random 3rd baseman can hit a homer at 5% owned and anyone that is going to be over 70% is pretty worth fading in tournaments. However, with Seager in a pretty decent spot, I don't think we need to worry about Bryant's ownership being over 60%.


Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - CLE (Bauer) Park - @MIN
FD - 9.61 DK - 6.91

Miguel Sano has been absolutely demolishing the baseball. He currently holds a 61% hard contact rate against righties. While surely unsustainable, it shows how good Sano can be. He is looking good this season and I wouldn't be surprised to see 40 home runs if he stays healthy. The Twins face off with Trevor Bauer, a very average righty. He struggles with the longball and even though is wOBA came up last year, the overall production didn't. Sano hits righties better than he does lefties with a .364 career wOBA against. Third base is another pretty tough position and Sano has the type of upside to lift your team. He's priced pretty well on both sites and is a guy I don't mind in cash games either. Target Field has played well for Sano and it doesn't really matter what park he's in when he makes contact.

Manny MachadoManny Machado FD 3900 DK 4700
Opponent - CIN (Garrett) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.61 DK - 7.96

Amir Garrett has jumped on the scene for the Reds and impressed a lot of people, including me. With that being said, he is a youngster that isn't acclimated into the MLB. He's also facing one of the most lethal offenses in the game tomorrow night. You have to expect some growing pains for Garrett as he matures and learns to control his pitches better. Until then, I'm willing to target elite righties against him. Machado certainly fits the mold, hitting nearly .400 wOBA against lefties in 2016. Great American Ballpark is very similar to Camden yards and Machado will take advantage of any mistake made over the plate. He was seeing the ball very well yesterday and hit about 3 foul 500-foot homers. Let's hope he's able to straighten those out tonight. Machado makes for a solid cash game and tournament option.

Cheap - Yandy Diaz



Khris DavisKhris Davis FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - TEX (Perez) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.9 DK - 7.19

Kris Bryant and Khris Davis are my favorite two plays on this early slate. Davis is a guy that not only destroys lefties, but absolutely DEMOLISHES flyball pitchers. Looking at a heatmap, Davis held a .463 wOBA against pitches in the upper third thrown by left-handers in 2016, which wasn't a fluke. His swing is pretty abnormal and he capitalizes on the lift. While Martin Perez doesn't try to be a flyball pitcher, he is. He held a 47% GB rate in 2016 and allowed an astronomical amount of HR's. O.Co is a big park but it can't hold Khris Davis. He mashes in the coliseum and will look to add onto his numbers in this one. The outfield is actually pretty brutal on this slate and Davis is a guy I will have a hard time getting away from, especially with no opportunity cost.


George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 4100 DK 4700
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @HOU
FD - 10.8 DK - 8.21
Josh ReddickJosh Reddick FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @HOU
FD - 9.79 DK - 7.48

Like I've mentioned, J.C Ramirez is probably the worst pitcher on this slate. He is a bad bullpen arm who has somehow gotten lost in a starting rotation. It won't last long at all and we need to take advantage while we can. Both George Springer and Josh Reddick hit righties well. As for Springer, he hits them more for power. With a .336 wOBA and 17 homers, the pop is there. He also steals bags and manufactures runs like a "true" leadoff mean. Reddick was brutal against righties in 2016, sporting a .371 wOBA and a 24% line drive rate. Redick is way too cheap on both sites and if he's hitting 2nd again, a near lock in cash games. He's great in tournaments as well, as he can hit 2 homers in any game with no surprise. Both of these OF's have a ton of safety and upside on a slate that lacks both. You can target either of them in any format.

David PeraltaDavid Peralta FD 3100 DK 3600
Opponent - SD (Chacin) Park - @SD
FD - 8.17 DK - 6.25

There are some more obvious outfield bats at the top but I thought I would touch on an offense we haven't looked at. Peralta will face off with Jhoulys Chacin and the Padres. Chacin is a very boring righty who offer little to no upside at any point in the game. He holds a low 6 K/9 and a hard contact rate of 36% at home. David Peralta on the other hand, is a righty that smacks around southpaws. While he saw a dip in 2016, he pointed to his injury as an excuse. He is supposedly fully healthy now and it looks like he's telling the truth. When Peralta was last fully healthy (2015), he sported a .397 wOBA against southpaws. Let's hop on the Peralta train before people realize how good of a hitter he is. Also, Petco Park isn't as bad for lefties as it is for righties. Peralta certainly has the power to hit it out of Petco and maybe PetSmart too.

Cheap - Chris Young, Craig Gentry




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1 Visitor Comment

  1. I would be careful playing people in the CLE/MIN game as it is most likely to get postponed due to thunderstorms.

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