Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/7/17
Sunday baseball is here! We've got our standard Sunday all day slate here, but some of these games are a little bit up in the air thanks to potential weather concerns while I'm writing this. Hopefully you'll forgive me if I mention a pitcher that got rained out or whatever - but in the meantime, I'm going to do my damnedest to turn up all the value I can. Onward!
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Chris Sale FD 11900 DK 12600
Opponent - MIN (Santana) Park - @MIN
FD - 40.25 DK - 26.67
On a day that features precious little in the way of top tier pitching, Chris Sale is a breath of fresh air. He's solidified himself in the "just below Kershaw" tier, and seeing his name pop up as I scrolled down the list of bums today simply felt amazing. Sale's pedigree at this point sort of goes without saying, so let's focus in on the match-up and figure out if this is all worth it. The Twins have been a solid offensive team this season to be sure, but have actually struggled a great deal against left handed pitching. The haven't been striking out a lot, but they've posted the 8th worst team wOBA against lefties this year, and that should give Sale enough wiggle room to perform. I'll touch on Santana later, but I'm not concerned about him as a potential opposing pitcher regardless of what his ERA would suggest. It's also nice that Sale can get out of the potentially problematic Fenway - I'm a buyer all around here.
Trevor Cahill FD 7200 DK 7400
Opponent - LAD (Undecided) Park - @SD
FD - 27.86 DK - 18.37
After Sale we see a pretty steep drop-off in terms of potential pitcher options, particularly in the safety department (unless James Paxton winds up starting - see the note below). So let's talk about some big upside options, shall we? The first one that springs to mind for me has to be Trevor Cahill. If you're unfamiliar with Cahill's work, I suppose I can't blame you. He was a big prospect in the A's (and then D-Backs) system that never seemed to be able to get his excellent stuff in the minors to translate to the majors, but this season he seems to be getting things together a bit. He's pairing his always-terrific ground ball rate with real strike out stuff for the first time in his career, and there were signs that this is the direction he was heading last season with the Cubs. While I'll eat my hat if he maintains an 11+ K/9 for the whole season, he's still offering a ton of upside for a pitcher that was looking like a never-will-be not too long ago. While a small sample might not be enough to tip the needle for us overall, the combination of his recent improvement the fantastic home pitcher's park is a good start. The only cloud over this one is the match-up - the Dodgers can hit RHP - but he's cheap enough that he's firmly in big tournament/DK SP2 consideration for me.
Luis Severino FD 8200 DK 8300
Opponent - CHC (Lester) Park - @CHC
FD - 32.54 DK - 21.56
Strictly an upside play, but you should be able to get considerable separation here. Let's lay the ground-work for what we look at for a big tournament play, and why some of the potential concerns here shouldn't bother us. Yes, Lester is a good pitcher, and this will hurt Severino's chances at a win. But since only 1 player per game can get a win, we only care that Severino can get a win for our big tourney purposes. He can, so we don't care what the money line is here. The next is the Cubs themselves. Yes, they have a very tough line-up, and can do some big time damage when they get rolling. For big tournament purposes? Who cares? The Cubs have off-days too, and their general wOBA isn't something we're going to obsess over. We're looking primarily at their K rate here, and since they strike out slightly more than league average vs. RHP, they're an acceptable match-up.
So now that the bad stuff is out of the way, let's talk about what we actively like about Severino here. First of all, he's a grade A prospect whose upward trajectory is utterly believable. At just 23 years old, most major league teams haven't seen him - and the electric stuff he brings to the table could absolutely be worth double-digit Ks/9 before the league gets good scouting reports on him. Another sneaky thing to consider with Severino here is that he's an American League pitcher pitching in a National League park, here. 11% of his opposing hitters being pitchers instead of DHs is a big deal, and offers him even more K and IP upside. I actually can't wait to get him in, here, and would like to stack him and Cahill in a DK GPP.
A quick note on Ervin Santana: Wtf? That's pretty much all I've got there. It legit blows my mind to watch his start to the season, and while the peripherals don't match the performance, he does look quite a bit improved here. Still, I ain't fooled, and no way I'm touching him at these prices. If only we could short DFS players, I'd be all over this.
Keep an eye on who starts for Seattle and the Dodgers. If Seattle starts James Paxton, he's a terrific alternative if you think Sale is too pricey. Great park, reasonable match-up. I would also be pretty into McCarthy if he starts against the Padres, but that news isn't out when I'm writing this.
Yasmani Grandal FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - SD (Cahill) Park - @SD
FD - 8.51 DK - 6.4
I like Cahill today, sure, but let's not get too carried away. Grandal has had some looks out of the cleanup spot with Gonzalez sidelined, and that provides just enough extra juice that he's a great play even in a bad park and a medium match-up here. Batting 4th as opposed to 5th (or later) is a huge boost to his value not just for the extra plate appearances, but the dudes he's batting around as well. I'm forecasting a 10% price increase on Grandal if he stays in the clean-up spot, and if that's the case, he's a reasonable value here and a great value in better parks in the future.
Gary Sanchez FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - CHC (Lester) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.33 DK - 8
The Sanchize is back, baby! And he's very affordable for what we're getting here. It's hard to say that he'll be the safest play in a tough match-up with Lester, but there's a lot to like here. First of all, Lester's peripherals have all taken a step in the wrong direction this season, making him a lot scarier by name than he has been by performance. Sanchez has actually been a reverse platoon split guy in his brief time in the majors, but that looks more like a sample size issue than anything else. His K/BB against LHP is still excellent (21:9), and the .364 ISO tells you all you need to know about how capable he is of barreling up a lefty fastball. Throw in a solid park, and I'm happy to buy Sanchez at what might be season-low prices going forward.
Edwin Encarnacion FD 3100 DK 4400
Opponent - KC (Duffy) Park - @KC
FD - 10.9 DK - 8.16
E5 hasn't exactly lit the world on fire for his new team, but I have to think the guy who posted a .902 OPS against LHP last season in spite of some bad BABIP luck is in there somewhere. The issue with Enarnacion from a safety perspective is obviously the strike-outs, but he's always had a dramatically better approach (walking 5% more) against lefties over the course of his career. Duffy also seems to have reverted to his 2015 self, posting nearly identical (and uninspiring) peripheral stats in both seasons. A 6.57 K/9 and and 3.41 BB/9 means Encarnacion should be in a better position than usual, and if he's anything like the same true talent level he had in Toronto last year he's an excellent buy on these FanDuel prices.
Brandon Belt FD 3200 DK 4200
Opponent - CIN (Feldman) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.62 DK - 8.15
If Encarnacion is a little too erratic for your tastes, I present to you Mr. Brandon Belt. The Giants' first baseman is a hard-contact machine, perennially being among the league leaders in LD%, hard contact %, and summarily BABIP. He's posting a career high (and absurd) 18.3% BB rate this season, and while the K rate is pretty high as well, he's still a juicy high floor option. Today he'll go up against right hander Scott Feldman, who incidentally is completely terrible. His career 5.62:2.89 K:BB is bad to begin with, and it stands to reason he won't be improving in his age 34 season. Throw in a dream ballpark in Cincinnati and you've got yourself a hell of a cash game play, here.
Dustin Pedroia FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN (Santana) Park - @MIN
FD - 9.79 DK - 7.74
Pedroia vacillates between being way too cheap (when he leads off or bats 2nd) or way too expensive (when he bats 6th or later), so you'll obviously want to pay pretty close attention to that before slotting him into your lineup. But still, this is a great price for a hitter of his pedigree in a lineup like Boston has. Don't be spooked by Santana here, please - the .69 ERA is a heck of a lot shinier than the 4.11 xFIP, which is basically in line with his career averages. Santana is still a below average pitcher, and I'm expecting Pedroia to be featured front in center in a little beat-down today.
Ben Zobrist FD 3200 DK 4100
Opponent - NYY (Severino) Park - @CHC
FD - 9.74 DK - 7.54
Grabbing the clean-up man in an elite line-up against a young pitcher in a good hitters' park for $3,200 sounds good to me, how about you? Zobrist is off to a slow start this season, but as someone who beat his drum all throughout his slow start to 2016, I assure you there's nothing to be concerned about. His 13% walk rate is still elite, and the 16% K rate is nothing to concern yourself with whatsoever. He's still batting around a bunch of elite hitters, and when his .257 BABIP climbs to his career .291 levels he'll be 10%-20% more expensive. I recommend being a buyer while he's still a bargain. As for Severino, he's a great young pitcher with lots of upside here to be sure, but that doesn't mean he's invincible. I'd be happy with Zobrist in any format.
Also considered: LeMahieu in Coors, and Whit Merrifield as a high floor option assuming he's at the top of the Royals' lineup once again.
Aledmys Diaz FD 3100 DK 3800
Opponent - ATL (Dickey) Park - @ATL
FD - 9.43 DK - 7.47
I don't suspect you need a lot of convincing on this one, but you came for words, so words you shall have. Diaz has been on an absolute tear recently, scoring 15+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games. He bat 5th when Gyorko was a last second scratch on Saturday, and has an even better match-up with what's left of RA Dickey today. And he's just $3,100. Yeah, what more do you need here? He's a shortstop that almost touched a .900 OPS last season batting in the heart of his team's order against a bad pitcher for $3,100. Just play the dude already.
Addison Russell FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - NYY (Severino) Park - @CHC
FD - 9.05 DK - 7.02
First things first, I'm pretty unlikely to play Russell over Diaz in 50/50s and double-ups. It's a worse match-up, and Russell is probably just a weaker fantasy player overall. Like Diaz, though, he'll probably be batting near the middle of a very explosive lineup in a good hitter's park. I think there's quite a bit of downside here, but if you wanted to include Russell as a part of a more off-beat Cubs stack (maybe with Zobrist?), I'm listening.
Also considered: The guys playing in Coors, of course, but that ain't new.
Anthony Rendon FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - PHI (Hellickson) Park - @PHI
FD - 10.01 DK - 7.88
Oh, how I love stacking teams against Jeremy Hellickson. I still literally die laughing (literally) every time I remember him being interviewed after his first couple of seasons regarding his low K rate. He responded by indignantly saying it was his job to get outs, not strike-outs, and that nerds who think Ks are better than fly outs could take a hike. Well, surprise! The nerds were right, and Hellickson never built upon what appeared to be promising early seasons. He's leveled out into a worse than generic innings eater, and has somehow managed a 3.44 (!!!) K/9 this season through 34 innings. I like the 1.32 BB rate, but those stats are what you would actually expect from your batting practice pitcher, not someone who was trying to get you out. As for Rendon, he's on a nice little hot streak himself, and I suspect that continues against one of the majors' most hittable pitchers.
Evan Longoria FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR (Biagini) Park - @TB
FD - 10.34 DK - 7.92
Hot damn has Longoria been terrible this season, and while the BABIP is likely due to luck, we can't be too happy about the dip in power numbers either. But, but! Joe Biagini, you guys! Biagini's last start with in AA ball 2 years ago, and he finished that season with fewer than 6 Ks per 9. I love sneaking in a little Longoria here to see if he can bottom-feed off of a non-Major League starter like Biagini. After that you can put him back on the shelf for a while, because his goose just might be cooked.
Also considered: When it's all said and done, Nolan Arenado might be a guy we wind up paying up for, even in cash games. Taijuan Walker is very reliant on his pitch movement, which can be greatly hampered by pitching in the thin Coors air. Keep an eye on whether or not you can afford him, because if you can, I'm expecting some beat downs.
Kole Calhoun FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - HOU (Fiers) Park - @LAA
FD - 10.6 DK - 8.21
It's actually kind of irritating when the system picks up on a guy who's on a bit of a heater, and that seems to be a trend in this article. The reason it's annoying is because the projection system is seeing a player's body of work rather than the last week or whatever, and while their recent performance means something, I'd just as soon get my sick plays in under the radar. Well, Calhoun homered in 3 straight games last week, including 2 in a hitter's abyss in Seattle. Anaheim is no hitter's paradise, but what is a paradise is hitting against Mike Fiers. Fiers is best known for his ability to give up the long ball, something he's managed to do at the world record shattering pace of 4.26/9 IP this season. While there's no way that will continue, this seems like a great spot for Kole to keep grinding.
Kyle Schwarber FD 3100 DK 4400
Opponent - NYY (Severino) Park - @CHC
FD - 11.78 DK - 9.07
Another guy our system is just going to keep recommending until he rights the ship. But here's the funny thing about baseball, guys - it's a crazy game. Hot and cold streaks can last seemingly forever, but players by and large tend to follow relatively predictable arcs throughout their career. There is no question that Schwarber is in a lull right now, but have you noticed that the smartest front office in baseball keeps batting him leadoff? That's because he has real skills. He's still walking at an excellent 13.3% rate, and his 30% strikeout rate (while concerning) is not far off last year's number. The .050 dip in BABIP can be chalked almost solely up to luck. At this point he's just too cheap, and while Severino could give him problems, you're going to wish you bought too early on Schwarber rather than too late.
Josh Reddick FD 3000 DK 3200
Opponent - LAA (Shoemaker) Park - @LAA
FD - 10.44 DK - 8.2
A fairly obvious play by now, but I don't know why the sites aren't picking up on how the 'Stros are deploying him. He's batting leadoff against right handed pitching, and he's been serviceable enough against southpaws that he's occasionally not losing his late inning PAs to opposing LOOGYs. He's also bruising, crushing homers in 2 of his last 3 games, and maintaining the reduced K rate he flashed in Oakland. Today he'll face Matt Shoemaker, who has succeeded in making himself less hittable (as his 8.44 K/9 rate would attest) at the expense of his once great control (as his 4.22 BB/9 would attest). He's also still giving up a ton of bombs, which plays right into Reddick's upside. All in all, I suspect Reddick to be one of the highest owned outfielders on both FD and DK assuming he's batting leadoff again.
The Baltimore guys - because it's a day ending in "Y" for our system, apparently. The system just sees the whole lot of them as too cheap, so grabbing them against the struggling Jose Quintana could be a pretty juicy spot in a nice hitters' park.
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- Dustin Pedroia: (AP Photo/Ben Margot)