Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/20/17

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Lance McCullersLance McCullers FD 8900 DK 9800
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @HOU 
FD - 31.92 DK - 21.04

This early slate is a very intriguing one. While we only have 4 games on the docket, they are 4 good match-ups. Without any true dumpster fire pitcher, there's no stack that will be insanely heavily owned. Because of that, there will be spots where we ant to pay up for talent. Chris Sale is very expensive and restricts a lot of that flexibility. The Blue Jays are also a good team on paper against lefties. Sale is a fantastic tournament play and if some value does arise, I don't mind him in cash games. Our favorite on this slate is Lance McCullers. McCullers is just as good at striking out batters as Sale, if not better. He has historically struggled with control and staying away from the "big inning". This year has been a different story. He's walked only 3 batters in 3 starts and has 23 K's. While the inconsistency will remain to a degree, he looks to have a better hold on his fastball. Even in the start where he gave up 5 earned runs, he walked just 1 batter. This Angels team is one I will look to target a lot this season with righties. Outside of Trout and Calhoun, nobody scares me. Yunel Escobar and Albert Pujols are complete jokes against righties and strikeout 24% of the time each. In the bottom of the order, you have more of the same. McCullers has a ton of upside in this match-up and I like him in all formats.


Noah SyndergaardNoah Syndergaard FD 11200 DK 11800
Opponent - PHI (Nola) Park - @NYM
FD - 41.62 DK - 27.31

Syndergaard suffered a torn fingernail against the Marlins last week. He is now using a fake nail, which is supposedly working just as well. As long as Syndergaard is comfortable enough to pitch, I'm going to trust he's capable. This also isn't a slate where you have a bevy of elite options. Syndergaard is easily the best pitcher in the best spot. Syndergaard is a top 3 pitcher when pitching well and he dominates every type of batter. In 2016, he held a combined .278 wOBA and a 10.47 K/9. While this Phillies team is a little bit better than it was last year, it's by no means a lineup we should be avoiding. They hold a 24% K rate against righties and move into a stadium that's tough to hit in. Syndergaard will cost you a pretty penny and there is always a viable reason to fade. For me, Syndergaard will be a mainstay in my cash games. If you need to pay down, Patrick Corbin could be interesting against a Padres team that profiles horribly against southpaws.

Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 10600 DK 11100
Opponent - ATL (Dickey) Park - @ATL
FD - 37.74 DK - 24.72

Outside of Corbin, there is nobody I'm willing to even look at down low. Strasburg is a step down in price from Syndergaard and holds an even ceiling. Strasburg held a combined 11.16 K/9 and also sported an even better wOBA (.271) in 2016. This match-up with the Braves is a very interesting one. They have been hitting pretty well and I think a common belief is that they are good. They're not good. Inciarte and Freeman are the only 2 guys to worry about here as they do hit righties very well. The rest of the lineup is filled with bad hitters. Dansby Swanson and Nick Markakis are the other 2 guys who the Braves lean on for production. Neither of which are good against heaters and should struggle here. Looking towards the bottom of the lineup, you have to like the upside. Brandon Phillips, Anthony Recker, Adonis Garcia, and Julio Teheran are all VERY BAD hitters against righties. Strasburg could easily hit 10 K's here and nobody would flinch. With all of that being said, Strasburg always holds some risk.He can get wild at times and give up the longball. As for today, he is currently my favorite GPP option.




Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 2600 DK 3600
Opponent - TB (Ramirez) Park - @TB
FD - 8.63 DK - 6.37

On FanDuel, don't get cute. V-Mart is far and away the top option at the position and is also way too cheap. Martinez and the Tigers are an offense we will target a lot on this early slate. Erasmo Ramirez was extremely bad in 2016 against righties, posting a .374 wOBA and a pitiful 5 K/9. Martinez holds one of the lowest K rates in the league and you can be sure Martinez will put the ball in play here. With Miggy and Kinsler hitting before him, you can also expect at least one RBI opportunity. Martinez has hit righties well for 15 years now and last season was no different. He remains an elite cash game and tournament play as usual on FanDuel. Martinez is going to be hitting singles until he's 60 and I'll keep rostering him until FanDuel fixes his position. It's only been like 3 years.


Salvador PerezSalvador Perez FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @TEX
FD - 8.47 DK - 6.28

We start off with a pretty rough position for the main slate. There are a few options with some upside, though. Sal Perez has been on a tear to start the season, already hitting 5 homers against righties. While he's definitely been outperforming his true talent, he is a good hitter against right-handers. He did see a dip to .308 wOBA in 2016 after topping .330 for 3 straight seasons. He battled injuries all through the year and it looks like he's fully healthy now. Andrew Cashner is still floating around the majors as a guy who is absolutely awful. He's allowed a .341 wOBA over the last 2 seasons to righties and 1 of those was in San Diego. He is now pitching in Globe Life Park, which is one of the top tier hitting parks. Perez is obviously not a guy you get excited about rostering, but he has the upside and sits in a lineup that should produce. Perez is the top option in cash games and tournaments.

Welington CastilloWelington Castillo FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @CIN
FD - 7.3 DK - 5.41

When catcher is barren, I tend to look towards offenses I like. The Orioles are one of the top offenses of the night and Castillo will be hitting right behind the heart of the order. While he hits lefties better than righties, he's still a good hitter either way. He posted a .317 wOBA over the last 2 seasons and added 33 homers. The Orioles will face off with Scott Feldman. Feldman is a veteran who has numbers that bounce around. In 2015, Feldman sported a .360 wOBA against righties and then improved to a .309 in 2016. Like I said, this isn;t the greatest possible match-up. We're looking for Castillo to get up with some runners on-base. He is a solid hitter and Feldman will not be able to overwhelm him. In tournaments, he is an elite option.

First Base


Miguel CabreraMiguel Cabrera FD 4100 DK 4700
Opponent - TB (Ramirez) Park - @TB
FD - 10.51 DK - 7.66

Even on such a small slate, there are some options at first base. Miguel Cabrera leads the group against Erasmo Ramirez and bullpen. First of all, to the people who said he was a bad hitter and old because he had 2 bad weeks, you're not allowed to roster him. I still think Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball and a guy I roster at every opportunity. He has been destroying the ball as of late and the Tigers offense has followed. Erasmo Ramires is better against righties but by no means great. He has a low K rate and struggles to keep his fastball down. With a 1.95 HR/9 in 2016, Ramirez allowed 14 homers in less than 80 innings. Cabrera consistently holds a .380+ wOBA against righties and you don't need to worry about his ability. Miggy is the top 1B option on the board and a guy I would recommend getting exposure to if possible. If you're paying up for Chris Sale and want to pay down here, I like Pujols for the HR upside.


Chris DavisChris Davis FD 3500 DK 4800
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.43 DK - 7.43

We just talked about Feldman and his numbers against righties. Well, against lefties, they are MUCH WORSE. In 2016, Feldman posted a putrid .377 wOBA against lefties. He basically stopped throwing his changeup because it was so bad and started relying on his fastball more. As a 34-year old without much velocity, that doesn't work too well. Chris Davis is still one of the premier power bats in the league and he demolishes righties. He held a 42% hard contact rate followed by a .353 wOBA and 30 homers against righties in 2016. Great American Ballpark is a top 5 lefty park and a park Davis has historically hit well in. 1st base is actually kind of thin on this slate, so Davis could end up being highly-owned. In tournaments, Davis is always worth a fade. He strikes out a ton and can be pitched around if a base is open. Paul Goldschmidt is my favorite way to differentiate and have HR upside.

Matt CarpenterMatt Carpenter FD 3000 DK 4800
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @MIL
FD - 9.29 DK - 6.77

Zach Davies looks to be the same exact guy he was last year. He struggled against both sides of the plate and especially with the long ball against lefties. He strikes out only 6 batters per 9 innings and allows a 34% hard contact rate. When your hitting barrels and never missing bats, the hits are going to rain in. Carpenter is one of the best contact hitters at first base and arguably one of the best lefty bats in baseball when healthy. He's sported a .370+ wOBA against righties over the last 3 years and hasn't seemed to miss a beat this season. With Chris Davis being a tournament style hitter, I may end up on Carpenter in cash games for a bit cheaper. Miller Park is a strong hitters yard and it ranked top for lefties in 2016.

Second Base


Dustin PedroiaDustin Pedroia FD 3000 DK 3800
Opponent - TOR (Estrada) Park - @TOR
FD - 8.54 DK - 6.57

There are 4 real options at 2nd base; Jose Altuve, Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler, and Dustin Pedroia. Altuve is way too expensive for this match-up and I have to use my money elsewhere. Kinsler is a solid GPP option as he always has HR upside, though he's far better against lefties. Dozier faces Trevor Bauer, who is very solid against righties. That leaves us with Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia and the Sox face off with Marco Estrada, the ever inconsistent pitcher. Estrada is very unpredictable and we really don't know what pitcher is taking that mound. We do know he's pretty balanced in terms of splits and righties hit 12 homers in 90 innings in 2016. The Rogers Centre is a solid hitters ballpark to all fields and Pedroia should be able to have success. He's hit righties well in his career and even more so last year with a .360 wOBA. Pedroia isn't in a fantastic spot but neither is anyone else. With FD and DK forcing me into someone, Pedroia will be the guy.


Robinson CanoRobinson Cano FD 3400 DK 4400
Opponent - OAK (Valdez) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.78 DK - 7.29

The Mariners come into this game hitting the ball well against the Marlins. They move into the O.co and will look to keep it up. Cesar Valdez is a guy who is a real mystery. While we have a lot of numbers on the guy, they are all pretty misleading. He's 32 years old and hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010. He went to the Mexican league and has now worked his way back up through the minors. He pounds the strike zone and looks for contact. Heading back to the MLB, I do expect the good hitters to give him problems. He might not be as big of a gas can as some may think but I also don't thnk he;s any better than average. Cano is still an elite bat against righties and sported a .396 wOBA in 2016. He is an elite cash game option at a position that doesn;t have much safety on this slate.

Brandon DruryBrandon Drury FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - SD (Richard) Park - @SD
FD - 6.85 DK - 5.19

Clayton Richard struggles against righties and Brandon Drury hits lefties well. At this position on this slate, that statement alone is a huge deal. Drury entered the majors last year and put on a show against lefties and hit the ball hard 37% of the time on his way to 16 homers in less than a full season. He has a ton of power for a 2nd baseman as will be a guy we target a ton at his price. The big issue her is the ballpark. Petco Park is a menace for right-handed power and Drury will have trouble hitting one out. He does have the power with that being said and the upside is still there. Personally, I will do my best to have Cano in all of my lineups. He has a great match-up and is fairly priced. Save Drury for a tournament.

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I know I said this early slate was fun. You can omit that statement when talking about this position. There is nobody in a favorable spot and the only guy who's in an average spot is insanely priced. Francisco Lindor is the top option if you have the money, somehow. Looking down Xander Bogaerts is really the only way to go. He faces off with Marco Estrada and is fairly priced around the industry. With that being said, I wouldn't play him on a regular slate. If you are paying up for pitching like I am, you can punt this position. I will be waiting for lineups to come out and looking for a cheap option that finds his way into the top of an order. With this slate being early in the day, we should see some starters rest and some bench guys get an opportunity. All in all, shortstop is a dumpster fire and you can really go anywhere without an opportunity cost. Take a shot.


Aledmys DiazAledmys Diaz FD 2900 DK 4500
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @MIL
FD - 8.97 DK - 6.83

Welp, shortstop is really bad. Go ahead, look for yourself. With no lineups out as of now, I'm writing this with the assumption of no random $2.2k guy getting a start in the 2 hole. If these teams run out the starters, Diaz is the only real option we have. Zach Davies isn't a good pitcher at all and the Cardinals offense is a pretty consistent one. Miller Park is a very + park for right-handed power and Davis struggled with HR's against righties in 2016. He absolutely killed righties in his rookie season (2016), sporting a .393 wOBA and a 41% hard contact rate. Diaz is pretty cheap on FanDuel and priced up a bit on DraftKings. He is the only guy I plan on playing in cash games. However, let's hope a cheap SS gets a start against a bad pitcher. Keep an eye out for lineups as the day moves along.


Third Base


Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 3000 DK 4200
Opponent - DET (Norris) Park - @TB
FD - 9.63 DK - 7.04

Surprise, Daniel Norris is still bad against righties. While the surface stats don't show so, it doesn't take a detective to see the truth. With a .200 wOBA against and a 43% hard contact rate, Norris will begin giving up the hits in bunches. He sported  a.341 wOBA against righties in 2016 and gave up 8 homers in 50 innings. Longoria is a notorious lefty masher and already has an HR and 2 doubles this season. His numbers did drop slightly last season, so it will be interesting to see how he responds this season. Third base is pretty weak and Longo is the only guy who has an ideal splits match-up. Longo is cheap enough for cash games and tournaments. Looking cheap, feel free to roster Yandy Diaz.


Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 3200 DK 3700
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @TEX
FD - 9.85 DK - 7.26

This Royals team is one we are looking to play a lot of on this main slate. Andrew Cashner is absolutely awful and he has shown no signs of life. Against lefties, he held a .380 wOBA in 2016. He is now in a bad ballpark and should struggle all season long. Mike Moustakas and the Royals move from one of the worst parks in the league to one of the best. He's priced too low on both FanDuel and DraftKings and sits at a position that doesn't offer much safety. Moustakas has beaten up righties over the course of his entire career. Over the last 3 seasons, he sported a .361 wOBA and actually showed strong power numbers. On a slate without much to fall in love with, Moustakas is a guy I love in cash games. With that being said, this is baseball and there are guys with upside at the position. Let's take a look at one.

Kyle SeagerKyle Seager FD 3700 DK 4100
Opponent - OAK (Valdez) Park - @OAK
FD - 9.25 DK - 6.83

While Moustakas is the guy I will have in cash games, Seager is a fantastic tournament option that I will have tournament exposure to. Cesar Valdez, who we just talked about, is a 32-year-old vet ho is coming back for this first time in 7 seasons. He's obviously not that good and the Mariners should be able to have success. Seager is swinging the bat well and has always demolished righties. In 2016, he sported a .390 wOBA that stood top 12 in the majors. While the O.Co is a big ballpark, it's no bigger than Safeco, where Seager has hit plenty of homers. Seager is a bit more risky than Moustakas but also ha smore upside and will be slightly lesser owned.



Josh ReddickJosh Reddick FD 2700 DK 3600
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @HOU
FD - 9.69 DK - 7.41

We haven't touched on the Astros just yet. They face off with Matt Shoemaker, who is a slightly above average pitcher. He has struggled early on this year to lefties without his changeup working. If he's unable to locate his changeup today, these Astros lefties will take advantage. Reddick is an absolute menace for right-handed pitching. In 2016, he's posted a .371 wOBA and a 33% hard contact rate. He's been swinging a bat on fire as of late and is hitting the ball hard to all fields. He's still too cheap across the industry and a guy that will be hard to avoid on a slate without any standout offenses. Reddick is an elite cash game and tournament option in the OF. Looking elsewhere in the OF, I like Brantly and Benintendi against average righties. On the uber-cheap end, Rickie Weeks is a solid punt option.


Alex GordonAlex Gordon FD 2700 DK 4200
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @TEX
FD - 9.36 DK - 7.08

On DraftKings, this is more of a discussion. He is still a guy I like in cash, though the fade is reasonable. On FanDuel, you have to play Alex Gordon if hitting leadoff. He's just $2700 and faces off with the worst pitcher on the slate. Andrew Cashner is not a good pitcher and I think the Royals toss him out of the game by the 5th inning. He gave up a .380 wOBA to lefties in 2016 and doesn't offer much upside. As for Gordon, like Moustakas, he has always hit righties well. Dating back to 2012, he's posted a .361 wOBA and his batted ball rates are phenomenal. He is stuck in Kaufmann Stadium and has much more power potential in Globe Life Park. Gordon is my top option in the outfield and he shouldn't be too highly owned.

Dexter FowlerDexter Fowler FD 3000 DK 4900
Opponent - MIL (Davies) Park - @MIL
FD - 8.98 DK - 7.01

Fowler got on the board yesterday with 2 bombs. He's a very electric leadoff hitter and can score fantasy points in a ton of different ways. Fowler is a switch-hitter who hits righties better and has a lot more power from the left side. Miller Park is a lot more hitter-friendly than Busch Stadium and the ball finds the seat far more often. Davies, as mentioned a few times, is a very below average, boring pitcher. He throws fast but lacks movement and has trouble controlling his fastball. This Cardinals team will make him pay if he falls behind in the count. Fowler and the rest of these Cards are pretty solid options in all formats. Fowler as a stand-alone is probably my favorite Cardinal on the board.




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image sources

  • Noah Syndergaard: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Noah Syndergaard) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

3 Visitor Comments

  1. Hey did you mean to mention Teheran in Strasburg’s breakdown? He’s a pitcher, not sure it’s fair to include him when talking about the Braves’ hitting struggles. And he’s not pitching today.

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