Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/21/17

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Corey KluberCorey Kluber FD 9900 DK 10800
Opponent - CHW (Quintana) Park - @CHW
FD - 38.35 DK - 25.19

With a full 15 game slate on our hands tonight, there are a lot of different ways you can approach pitching. There are some elite pitchers at the top and that's who we're interested in. Starting off with Corey Kluber, he faces off with the White Sox. They are an extremely underwhelming offense against righties. Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier are really the only guys to be scared of and they both strike out a ton. The bottom of the order is absolutely atrocious and most of the guys have no upside and a lot of K potential. Tim Anderson and Tyler Saladino are also very impatient hitters and K a lot more than most speedsters. Kluber is dominant against both sides of the plate and struck out nearly 10 batters per 9 innings in 2016. Kluber has the best curveball in baseball and while the sample size is small, this White Sox team have a swinging strike rate of 54% against the curve so far. Kluber has a ton of upside to match is great cash game floor. His price is fair on both sites and I don't see a need to get off of Kluber. If you do want to go way down in salary, there are a few guys who are interesting on DK. Alex Wainwright and Alex Meyer are both pretty high in the optimizer right now and could be interesting GPP options. With so many offenses to choose from, there are countless GPP options on this slate.

Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander FD 9400 DK 10300
Opponent - MIN (Santiago) Park - @MIN
FD - 36.95 DK - 24.29

If you want to stay at the elite end and save a bit of salary, Verlander is your guy. He struggled last time out against the Indians, giving up an insane 9 earned runs in just 4 innings. He was simply not on his game and Asmus left him out for the wolves. He should be back to his normal self tonight when the Tigers head into Target Field. The Twins offense is one with a lot of strikeouts and very few scary spots. San and Kepler are definitely scary, but once you get past them, I think Verlander dominates. We also have a whole lot of strikeout potential from Verlander here. The only hitters in the lineup who have a below league average strikeout rate are Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario. Neither of which are great hitters and won't be a reason I avoid Justin Verlander. Verlander was dominant in 2016 with a .270 combined wOBA and a 10.04 K/9. His price is fair on both sites and I like him in both formats. the upside is there and I think he has a solid floor as well. The Tigers will score against Hector Santiago and the win should be rather easy.


Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - ARI (Walker) Park - @ARI
FD - 9.24 DK - 6.64

We start off at catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Yasmani Grandal, moving into hitter-friendly Chase Field. You will see an excess of Dodgers here and you can blame the ballpark upgrade, along with the solid match-up. On the surface, you may think Taijuan Walker is good against lefties. The truth is he was VERY lucky in 2016 with a .200 BABIP, which was by far the lowest in baseball. BABIP is a normalizing stat and there is nothing a pitcher can do to sustain a .200 BABIP. The numbers will come up against lefties and in Chase Field, they will come up soon. Yasmani Grandal is a pinch-hitting catcher who hits better from the left side of the plate, sporting a .342 wOBA over the last 3 seasons. Hitting in Dodgers Field for 50% of those games, go ahead and bump that number up a bit. At a position that lacks both safety and upside, Grandal fits the bill as a guy you can rely on at a fair price.

Jacob RealmutoJacob Realmuto FD 2600 DK 3500
Opponent - SD (Cahill) Park - @SD
FD - 6.87 DK - 5.44

The Marlins offense heads to Petco Park, which is a huge issue for guys like Stanton and Ozuna. For Realmuto, it doesn't matter at all. He's far from a power hitter and has actually stolen more bases each of the last 2 seasons than he has hit homers. For a catcher, that's a bit crazy. He's also a huge reverse splits guy, sporting a .348 wOBA to righties and .269 to lefties. Realmuto is mashing the ball to start this season and hasn't even been too lucky. While I doubt he keeps up this level of hitting, he is a solid bat. Trevor Cahill is a very below average pitcher and another guy who saw some BABIP-luck in 2016, with a .255 against righties. Those numbers will even out as there are no signs in the past that he's a guy who holds a low BABIP. Realmuto is very safe in cash and does have upside to a degree. On FanDuel, he's far too cheap and makes for a great way to go.

First Base

Brandon BeltBrandon Belt FD 3900 DK 5000
Opponent - COL (Chatwood) Park - @COL
FD - 11.43 DK - 8.37

Usually, we are all over Coors Field. It's easily the best stadium in baseball and every single batter is a tremendous GPP option. With that being said, they can't be the top cash game options on the board with 15 games and some solid pitching. Cueto is pitching for the Giants and isn't a guy I will be targeting. He will give up a homer or two but I'll let the rest of the field try to guess. The Rockies throw out one of their top youngsters in Tyler Chatwood. He throws hard and relies on his changeup against left-handers, which is often weak due to the elevation. Belt has demolished righties for years now and posted a .370 wOBA last season. In Coors Field, he has to be the top option on the slate. That's not to say there aren't some other great ways to go. Let's take a look.

Adrian GonzalezAdrian Gonzalez FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - ARI (Walker) Park - @ARI
FD - 9.67 DK - 7.06

If you're fully buying into Tyler Chatwood and avoiding the Giants as a whole, there are some other options at first base. Adrian Gonzalez and aforementioned Dodgers will head to Chase Field, which ranked as the 2nd best hitters ballpark in 2016, behind just Coors Field. Gonzalez is still an extremely solid hitter against righties and he didn't miss a beat in 2016, posting a .362 wOBA in 400 at-bats. He may not have the same power upside as once but Chase Field gives him that back. He is fairly cheap on both sites and makes a lot of sense as a pivot off the expensive options. In tournaments, I definitely prefer Brandon Belt. You can't forget just how much Coors Field can affect things. All in all, Agon is a very consistent hitter who is a viable option in all formats.

Matt CarpenterMatt Carpenter FD 2900 DK 4700
Opponent - MIL (Peralta) Park - @MIL
FD - 9.51 DK - 6.93

The Cardinals had a pretty decent night last night and Carpenter came through with a homer against Zach Davies. I touched on him yesterday against Davies and he's now in a better spot against Wily Peralta. Peralta was horrible in 2016 against lefties with a .374 wOBA to match his horrid peripherals. Carpenter on the other hand, held a .386 wOBA against righties that was actually held down by a low BABIP. The Cardinals are one of the top offenses to look at on this slate and Carpenter is the key hitter in the lineup. As Carpenter goes, as do the Cardinals. He's a solid cash game option and obviously does have the upside. I'm not sure of his ownership, though it should be low at a stacked 1st base position.

Second Base

Rougned OdorRougned Odor FD 3100 DK 4500
Opponent - KC (Karns) Park - @TEX
FD - 9.5 DK - 7.33

Rougned Odor has expectedly slowed down from his torrid start. He is still hitting the ball hard against righties and finding gaps. Even though he doesn't look the part, Odor is a guy with a lot of power. At a second base position that often lacks elite options, Odor is close tonight. He hit righties to a .340 wOBA mark in 2016 and backed that up with a 36% hard contact rate and a 17% HR/FB rate. He was also much better in Globe Life Park, as it plays lefty power well. Nate Karns appears to be a big reverse splits pitcher, though that's not quite the case. He has a similar xFIP against both sides of the plate and actually holds worse batted ball rates against lefties. He's used to pitching in Kaufmann Stadium, which is nearly opposite of Glove Life Park. Glove Life is one of the toughest parks to pitch in and the Rangers should take advantage. Odor has a pretty nice floor and coupled with his inherent upside, he makes for a great play in all formats. With that being said, you can get a guy on FanDuel for cheaper that has a higher floor. Let's take a peek.

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 2800 DK 4600
Opponent - CIN (Adleman) Park - @CIN
FD - 9.3 DK - 6.96

We haven't touched on the Cubs just yet, but don't worry. We're gonna get there. Zobrist is the first of the bunch and has an extremely cheap price on FanDuel. Tim Adleman is a young righty with a very underwhelming arsenal. He had trouble against lefties since entering the league and we'll touch on him a bit later. Zobrist is a switch-hitter who hits better against righties in terms of both contact and power. He's been hitting in the 4 spot as of late and will have multiple RBI opportunities. He sported a .357 wOBA in 2017 and has been hitting the ball hard to start this season. The Cubs are in a fantastic spot here and we will get to a few more of them. 

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Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - ARI (Walker) Park - @ARI
FD - 10.42 DK - 7.77

Has anyone else missed Seager? With the Dodgers facing off with some lefties over the last week, Seager hasn't been in too many great spots. He hops back into consideration as the Dodgers travel from one of the worst to one of the best lefty ballparks. He faces off with Taijuan Walker, who is admittedly a solid youngster. He profiles to have a solid season and is a guy we will probably target on the other side as the year moves on. However, that's certainly not today. Walker is due for a lot of regression against lefties and the Dodgers seem like a team to get that over with. Seager is the kind of the squad against righties, sporting a stupid .400 wOBA against righties at just 23 years old in 2016. He backed that up with an elite 40% hard contact rate and 26% line drive rate. Seager is a strong option in all formats against a righty in an elite ballpark. Make sure you don't ignore this Dodgers squad getting a humongous bump in ballpark factor.

Aledmys DiazAledmys Diaz FD 2800 DK 4500
Opponent - MIL (Peralta) Park - @MIL
FD - 9.18 DK - 6.99

Diaz was our only SS recommendation last night on a very ugly slate and he came through quite nicely, finishing with 15 fantasy points on a double and SB. He moves into this slate in a very similar match-up, if not better. Wily Peralta has a big HR problem against righties that can hold off of his slider. Diaz has an elite eye against righties and was a huge reverse splits hitter in '16. In over 300 at-bats, Diaz sported a .393 wOBA against righties and hit 14 home runs. Miller Park is a big upgrade from Busch Stadium and the Cardinals should put up some easy runs. Diaz is just so consistent against righties and this is a position that lacks solid floors. He will be hitting 2nd or 3rd in the order and makes for a very solid option in all formats. With that being said, Corey Seager is a guy I love in cash games. We will have to see how the rest of the slate breaks down.

Addison RussellAddison Russell FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - CIN (Adleman) Park - @CIN
FD - 8.78 DK - 6.53

Russell paid off for us on Wednesday, hitting a 3-run walk-off in the bottom of the 9th. He was already having s solid game before that and that HR gave him 47 FanDuel points. Russell and the Cubs will head into one of the top ballparks in baseball and face off with a subpar pitcher. While Russell didn't hit righties as well as he hit lefties in 2016, he still held a .320 wOBA and hit 12 home runs. He's still just 23 years old and will get better for another 2 or 3 seasons. Adleman is extremely weak and Russell makes for a fine target in all formats. With that being said, shortstop is one of the deeper positions on the slate. For that reason, Russell will be a guy I target in Cubs stacks. 

Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4100 DK 5200
Opponent - CIN (Adleman) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.52 DK - 8.57

We've already touched on Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell from the Cubs, so there's not too much more to add. Adleman is nearly as bad against righties as he is against lefties and has a big HR problem. Bryant is one of the top guys in the league to take advantage and he dominates righties himself. In 2016, he sported a .382 wOBA and hit 25 homers against them. The move from Wrigley Field to Great American Ballpark is a + as It's ranked top 6 for 3 straights seasons for righty power. Bryant has one of the top ceilings on the slate and is at one of the weaker positions on the slate. Bryant is my favorite hitter on the slate and I will have a ton of exposure. He is my pick for HR of the night.

Maikel FrancoMaikel Franco FD 2800 DK 4200
Opponent - ATL (Colon) Park - @PHI
FD - 8.84 DK - 6.52

Third base isn't a spot that stands out tonight. Outside of Bryant, there is nobody I fully trust in cash games. Maikel Franco is always one of the best GPP options at third and he gets a pretty solid match-up here. On the surface, it isn't that great. Colon is solid against righties and Franco hits lefties better. While both are true, Franco sets up well for what Colon has to offer. Franco struggles against sharp sliders and elevated fastballs. Colon is a pitcher who tries to keep his elevation down as his velocity has dropped and his movement isn't as predictable. When looking at heatmaps, Franco held a .387 wOBA in the bottom third against righties, where Colon threw 72% of his fastballs. Franco is a pure power hitter and Citizens Bank Park will only help. While he's certainly a tournament option, he's a great one. His price is way down on FanDuel and this is a guy who can hit 2 homers on any night.


Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 3600 DK 4900
Opponent - CIN (Adleman) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.73 DK - 8.56

Yep, it's the last Cubbie. While we have a huge slate, there are not many guys that stand out as being horrible at pitcher. Tim Adleman is certainly one of the worst and faces a top MLB offense in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Schwarber will be manning the leadoff spot against the right and he has a ton of versatility. He's going to hit st least 35 homers this season and establish himself as an elite OF bat. His price is still a bit low on FanDuel and he's a cash game lock for me. Tim Adleman is an extremely underwhelming pitcher that has a very basic arsenal and delivery. He struggled against righties in 2016 and his peripherals showed nothing but bad things to come. In his last season (2015), Schwarber posted a  .407 wOBA and a .537 SLG against righties. There is a chance he's close to that caliber of a hitter and I'll have close to 100% here. 

Mike TroutMike Trout FD 4900 DK 5300
Opponent - TOR (Latos) Park - @LAA
FD - 12.76 DK - 9.74
Kole CalhounKole Calhoun FD 2600 DK 3700
Opponent - TOR (Latos) Park - @LAA
FD - 9.91 DK - 7.37

Surprisingly, we haven't picked on Mat Latos just yet. Latos is a below average arm against both sides of the plate and doesn't strike anyone out. Both Calhoun and Trout, along with many others on the Angels, rely on putting the ball in play as half of the battle. Trout and Calhoun see increased HR odds when a K isn't as likely and so does Pujols, who is an interesting option in tournaments at 1B. There's no point of me sitting here and telling you how good Mike Trout is against righties or whoever else. He's the best player in baseball and you play him if you can afford him against Mat Latos. Kole Calhoun isn't as dominant against righties as Trout, but still posted a solid .334 wOBA in 2016. This entire Angels lineup is in play in tournaments and I like these 2 guys in cash games. With so many options on the slate, the Angels are a team that will go low-owned with a whole bunch of upside. Trout and Calhoun in patricular are fantastic options.

Dexter FowlerDexter Fowler FD 3300 DK 4800
Opponent - MIL (Peralta) Park - @MIL
FD - 9.19 DK - 7.17

Fowler was part of my main GPP lineup that ended up bubbling tournaments by 1 point on Fanduel. He put up a solid 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts, so I don't like the guy at all right now. Not at all. Fortunately, I've conditioned myself to be smart. Last night has nothing to do with tonight and I'm much more focused on the individual match-up than what he did against a separate pitcher the night before. I'm sure Fowler is a tad bit more upset than I am and he'll be looking to get back strong tonight. Narratives go both ways. Historically, Fowler hits much better from the left side in terms of both power and OBP. He also holds more stolen base upside when a righty is on the mound. Wily Peralta had huge struggles against lefties in 2016 and ended up finishing with a .374 wOBA. He also struggles with the long ball and the Cardinals can take advantage in hitter-friendly Miller Park. Fowler is pretty cheap across the industry and a solid option in cash games and tournaments. Don't let last night blur your vision. Yes, I'm talking to myself.




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4 Visitor Comments

  1. Hi do I use the mob optimizer

  2. You want me to try you free and then you’ll pick so many players it’s very hard to know how good are you with your pics.

  3. Just a heads up, we have a serious high pressure system that arrived today here in San Diego. So low humidity and high temps might see the ball go out easier than normal.

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