Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/10/17
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Yikes. If you're looking for an elite arm or two to pair with some safe bats, move on to the late slate. On this early slate, our top options consist of Joe Musgrove, Andrew Triggs, and Jesse Chavez. First of all, I'm really not endorsing any of these guys. On a normal slate, none of them are in play. At all. We have to take what we can get here and all 3 of these guys have the upside to get it done. Starting with the most expensive option, Andrew Triggs has had some quality games this season. Triggs has held a .278 wOBA in over 80 innings of work since last season, so maybe there is something to this guy. The Angels could also be without Mike Trout, who has missed a few games with a hamstring issue. If Trout is out, Triggs moves into my top cash games play on this early slate, which is currently held by Joe Musgrove. While Musgrove hasn't been great to start the season, he should see his K/9 rate go up and his wOBA go down as the season progresses. He's getting a bit unlucky and I think this is a guy who will be a quality starter for a long time. He faces off with the Braves, who are a very weird match-up, especially this season. Freddie Freeman is obviously dangerous, but outside of him, nobody at all stands out. The bottom of the order is absolutely pitiful and Musgrove should be able to grab a few strikeouts each time around. While he's far from safe, he's the biggest favorite on the slate and is priced very fairly. Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone are two other cheap options who may deserve some consideration. Milone is a home favorite against a struggling Giants lineup. Chavez faces one of the more inept offenses in baseball in one of the most spacious parks around. if he's going to have a good game, this should be it. If you want to get crazy, Kyle Kendricks is the most talented pitcher on this slate, easily. We have seen plenty of quality games in Coors Field and I don't hate going there in tournaments with such low ownership.
After dealing with that early slate, let's appreciate these strong arms on this night slate. Yu Darvish heads the crowd as the top option on the board, facing the Padres at home. The Padres hold the 3rd lowest implied team total on the board and strikeout more than enough for Darvish to hit his ceiling. Darvish has been pretty good to start the year, though there are a few things he needs to iron out. He's walking over 4 batters per 9 innings and getting his pitch count up way too early. On the contrary, he's allowing basically n0 hard contact and striking out 0ver 1 batter per inning. The Padres are easily one of the worst offenses in baseball and I have no problem targeting them. Everyone in the lineup is either strikeout prone or doesn't have the power to do real damage. Spangenberg and Schimpf are the only two lefties who do scare me a tiny bit, so as long as he gets around those guys, I see no reason not to expect a dominant outing. We have some bats to pay down for, so don't feel pressured to pay down for an arm. Darvish is extremely safe and makes for an elite cash game play. The K's are locked in and the Rangers should have no problem getting him plenty of run support against an inept Luis Perdomo. Where Darvish is cheaper than Archer, I lean Darvish.
Chris Archer against the Royals is something we wouldn't have done 2 years ago, or even last year. The Royals had a reputation of being a team that never struck out and they sported league-low K%'s and high contact rates. This year, not so much. They have struck out at a league-average 22% rate and haven't hit righties all that well either. They added a couple power bats and the numbers don't look fraudulent. They have some very tough competition in the form of Chris Archer at home. Archer is easily one of the best pitchers in baseball when in Tropicana Field, sporting a .276 wOBA in 2016 backed up by elite peripherals and batted-ball rates. He strikes out over 10 batters per 9 and has as much upside as any pitcher in baseball. The Rays have fully trusted him this year and have let the pitch count go over 100, which is pivotal for a guy that can sometimes run into a high pitch-count. This Royals lineup is extremely weak and I think Archer will have no problem finding the strikeouts in it. Jason Hammel is an average pitcher and while Archer rarely gets it, the Rays should be able to give him some run support here. Archer is a guy I like in all formats and is right up there with Darvish in terms of ceiling and "floor".
As of writing this article, the Cubs lineup isn't out. With that being said, everything points to Montero getting the start. Contreras played a late game last night and the Cubs will bounce-back with an afternoon game against a right-hander. As long as Montero is in there, he's the top option on the slate. He rakes righties (.346 wOBA last 2 years) and gets the biggest bump in baseball, Coors Field. Montero is a guy who usually hits in the 6 or 7 hole, which gives him a ton of RBI opportunities. He's a very smart hitter and can spread the ball around the field to move runners over, sacrifice, etc. Finding a catcher that can manufacture runs like Montero in Coors Field is rare. He faces a young righty who has been awful to start his career, with minimal signs of life. This entire Cubs lineup is in play and catcher is obviously one of the weaker positions on the slate. Without any elite pitchers to pay up from, I haven't found it necessary to punt anywhere on this early slate. Montero is priced up a bit due to being in Coors Field, which is fine. Hopefully, he sees depressed ownership because of it.
Jonathan Lucroy FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @TEX
FD - 10.16 DK - 7.88
It looks like we can officially say Jonathan Lucroy is a better hitter against righties than he is against lefties. In 2014, he was an elite hitter against lefties. Since, he's sported a .351 wOBA against righties compared to a .328 against lefties. Perdomo on the other hand, is not good against righties. He has allowed a .333 wOBA against righties in 95 innings and there aren't many signs of promise. He moves from Petco Park (best ballpark for pitchers) to Globe Life Park, which is one of the best environments in baseball for hitting. Lucroy has been seeing the bottom of the lineup, which isn't great. However, his price matches that and he will certainly see an RBI opportunity or two. Lucroy is a fantastic cash game play and makes a lot of sense in tournaments as well. This entire Rangers lineup is going to be one we target a ton here on a slate with expensive pitching. If you must go elsewhere, Victor Martinez is a solid way to go on FanDuel.
Anthony Rizzo FD 4700 DK 5800
Opponent - COL (Marquez) Park - @COL
FD - 14.63 DK - 11.15
The Cubs are obviously going to be our top offense on this early slate. They face a 22-year-old German Marquez in Coors Field. The same Marquez who has given up a .400 wOBA to both sides of the plate in 40 innings. While the .341 BABIP hasn't helped Marquez, he can by no means blame his struggles on it. He's fallen behind early in the count and has been forced to groove pitches in an attempt to get back in at-bats. It's left him susceptible to the long ball and the big inning, walking over 3 batters per 9 and giving up 1.89 HR/9. He's going to have a hard time staying in this game as the Cubs are one of the most dynamic offenses in baseball. Rizzo embodies that like nobody else in this lineup. For a guy who has hit 30 homers in 3 straight seasons, Rizzo is as safe as you can get at the 1B position. He strikes out just 14% of the time and has a "successful" at-bat nearly 43% of the time. In Coors Field, you can go ahead and inflate those numbers x10. Against righties, in particular, Rizzo sported a .404 wOBA in 2016 backed up by plenty of strong peripherals and batted ball rates. He's the top option at first and it's not really too close on this early slate.
Eric Thames FD 4100 DK 4600
Opponent - BOS (Kendrick) Park - @MIL
FD - 12.55 DK - 9.97
It looks like Kyle Kendrick is still REALLY BAD. After being the worst pitcher in baseball during the 2015 season, the Red Sox expected the 32-year-old to bounce back after 2 years off of major league competition. Instead, the Orioles demolished him for 6 earned runs in just 4 innings. He now travels to Miller Park and faces a red-hot Brewers team that is very good against righties. Thames, who we obviously have a very small sample size on, is quite a good hitter from what we've seen. He already has 13 homers and 8 against righties, which is absolutely insane at this time. Kyle Kendrick sported a .413 wOBA against lefties in 2015 and has shown absolutely no signs of life. This Brewers team should be able to have a load of success here and Thames will be right in the heart of it all. First base is one of the deeper positions on the slate, so let's hope that keeps Eric Thames' ownership down.
Edwin Encarnacion FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR (Liriano) Park - @TOR
FD - 10.94 DK - 8.19
While we typically regard Liriano as a boom-or-bust option, he's just simply not that good against righties. Dating back to 2015, he's sported a .341 wOBA and allowed 24 homers in 140 innings against right-handers. Encarnacion and the Indians return to Rogers Centre and I definitely expect some HR power to come from him in his return. Encarnacion sported a .385 wOBA against lefties in 2016 and saw elite batted ball rates through the last 5 seasons. He always has 2 HR upside and should see very low ownership on a slate with a lot of offense. He is way priced down on both FanDuel and DraftKings and he doesn't force you to pay down anywhere else. If you don't want to go with the chalk in Eric Thames, Encarnacion gives you a terrific pivot at a fair price.
Jose Altuve FD 3900 DK 5300
Opponent - ATL (Garcia) Park - @HOU
FD - 12.42 DK - 10.55
On this early slate, we're going to be on the Cubs and Astros. While the Cubs are the top offense, the Astros have a few fantastic match-ups. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, along with a couple outfielders, are phenomenal against lefties and you have to take notice when this offense is hitting consistently. Altuve has held a +.400 wOBA against lefties since 2015 and his speed + power is matched by very few, if any. The opposing pitcher, Jaime Garcia, is a bit more of a mystery. His K rate has fluctuated over the last few years, along with his .wOBA against and xFIP. Over the last 2 seasons, he has been bad against righties, allowing a .342 wOBA in in over 130 innings. The Astros are at home with the Crawford boxes in short left field, which always gives Altuve a bit more upside. On FanDuel, you just lock him in. On DraftKings, you can consider paying down. He is expensive and you may not be able to spend up at every single position. With that being said, Altuve has as much upside as anyone on the slate while being rather safe as well.
Jonathan Villar FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - BOS (Kendrick) Park - @MIL
FD - 10.13 DK - 9.28
Ah, I'm pretty excited about this match-up. As far as we know, Kyle Kendrick is as bad as it gets for a pitcher in the majors right now. He can't stop lefties nor righties and hasn't been able to hold runners either. Villar was an elite hitter in 2016, sporting a .341 wOBA against righties while also 11 homers. To top it off, Villar stole 62 bases! This is a guy with a ton of upside and a fantastic "floor" against Kyle Kendrick. I don't see Kendrick lasting more than 5 innings here and you can basically lock in 5 at-bats for Villar. His price is fair on both sites and I see no reason to go elsewhere in cash games. He's hitting lead-off for the top offense of the night on a slate with expensive pitching. He will be very popular and in cash games, I'm willing to just go with the chalk here. In tournaments, there are definitely other options. However, that's not to say you should get off of Villar just to be different.
Rougned Odor FD 2900 DK 4300
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.2 DK - 8.98
Rougned Odor is almost always in play when facing off against a righty. When that righty is in Luis Perdomo in Globe Life park, sign me up. Odor is certainly one of the more powerful 2nd basemen in baseball, already hitting 6 homers against righties on this short season. Odor has sported a .340 wOBA against righties since entering the league and his power is certainly real. We talked about Luis Perdomo and just how average he has been. Against lefties, he's allowed 16 homers in just 74 innings. Remember, half of those games are played in Petco Park, where homers are very tough to hit. Globe Life Park is quite the opposite and those balls that fall on the warning track in Petco, will be way in the seats in Arlington. I expect at least one of these Rangers lefties to hit an HR here and it could very well be Rougned Odor. He may not be nearly as safe as Jonathan Villar, though his upside is probably a little higher. On FanDuel, they are both amazing plays. I really don't think you can go wrong either way with Odor or Villar.
Carlos Correa FD 3700 DK 5000
Opponent - ATL (Garcia) Park - @HOU
FD - 11.66 DK - 9.26
In 2016, Carlos Correa was actually slightly better against righties than he was against southpaws. However, he was really good against both, sporting a .340 wOBA backed up by great peripherals and dominant batted-ball rates (40.7% hard contact). He faces off with Jaime Garcia, who is a below average lefty against right-handers. He allows a ton of hard contact and has played in pitcher-friendly ballparks for most of his career. Minute Maid Park should be a bit of a challenge and this lineup can certainly do damage. Correa is the top cash game SS on the slate and will be my highest owner guy in each format. With that being, SS is a bit more wide-open than some of the other positions. Jean Segura has been great and sees a good match-up against Zach Eflin, all the while being over-priced and likely drawing low ownership. Addison Russell also finds himself in Coors Field against a guy who hasn't been able to miss bats. All in all, Correa is the top guy, closely followed by a few contenders.
Tim Anderson FD 2400 DK 3300
Opponent - MIN (Hughes) Park - @CHW
FD - 9 DK - 7.76
While we haven't touched on this White Sox offense against Phil Hughes, they are definitely in play. Hughes has been horrible for a while now and this White Sox offense is implied for well over 4 runs. Anderson is too cheap on both sites and makes for an elite cash game play. Anderson isn't great against righties, but does have plenty of upside. He belted 11 homers against righties and swiped 21 bags when you take AAA as well. U.S. Cellular Field is a very hitter-friendly ballpark and both of these offenses are firmly in play. Anderson should be hitting at the top of the order and have plenty of RBI opportunities. In cash games, I love paying down at shortstop. There is nobody I need to pay up for and there are definitely other priorities at other positions. With that being said, there are definitely some other ways to go. Let's take a look at the other side of the diamond.
Jorge Polanco FD 2600 DK 3400
Opponent - CHW (Holland) Park - @CHW
FD - 8.26 DK - 6.8
Polanco isn't a guy who makes a lot of noise. At just 23 years old, he's one of the most promising players in the game. He's a switch-hitter with power and speed, who hits better from the right side. Against lefties, Polanco sported a .356 wOBA in 2016. Derek Holland is not a good pitcher and has a lot of trouble keeping the ball inside the park. In 2016, Holland allowed a .346 wOBA to righties and 14 homers in less than 90 innings. U.S. Cellular Field is a big upgrade from Target Field and this entire Twins lineup has tournament appeal. Miguel Sano will return from his suspension tonight and should provide the order with much more protection. Polanco will likely be in the 2 or 5 hole, where I love to see SS's. He has a ton of upside here and shouldn't be too highly owned. Both Anderson and Polanco hold a ton of appeal tonight in U.S. Cellular.
Kris Bryant FD 5000 DK 5700
Opponent - COL (Marquez) Park - @COL
FD - 14.64 DK - 11.29
With the Cubs and Astros being so expensive, it's kind of a good thing we don't have to pay up for pitching. It allows us some financial freedom with our bats, which should be fun on this early slate. The Cubs currently hold an implied team total of 6.14 and find themselves in one of the best match-ups they will see all year. German Marquez, who could end up being a good pitcher, is not there yet. He doesn't get enough whiffs on his fastball and his off-speed pitches don't break enough in Coors Field. He's allowed a .389 wOBA to righties and 4 HR's in just 17 innings. While the sample size is clearly too small, I think it's fair to say Marquez is not very good. Not yet at least. Kris Bryant is undoubtedly a top 5 bat in baseball and is a guy who is tailor-made for Coors Field, hitting a ton of flyballs to the outfield. He is plenty good against righties and still drives the ball hard almost 50% of the time. The price is up and rightfully so. Along with Anthony Rizzo, nobody holds higher priority on this early slate.
Anthony Rendon FD 3400 DK 4600
Opponent - BAL (Miley) Park - @WSH
FD - 10.39 DK - 8.17
Even when Wade Miley gets lucky, he struggles against righties. Remember, Miley is a guy we targeted every single start last year with righties. He allowed a .360 wOBA and 22 homers in just 129 innings. The Nationals right-handers are all in play tonight, starting with the best of all, Anthony Rendon. Rendon is a notorious lefty masher when healthy and there is a complete confidence in him by this Nats team. They look at Rendon as a star and will have him 2nd or 5th in the order. He's sported a .355 wOBA or better against leftie sin every season since 2015. He's been on fire to start the year and I think we may see Rendon round into the player we have been looking for. He is just 26 years old and still very raw with all of his lingering injuries. Miley is not a good pitcher agianst righties and Rendons hould be able to hit a few balls very hard. If he can elevate them, I like Rendon hitting one out.
Travis Shaw FD 3600 DK 3500
Opponent - BOS (Kendrick) Park - @MIL
FD - 9.82 DK - 7.6
If you don't feel like targeting Wade Miley, you can take comfort in targeting Kyle Kendrick. The Red Sox are giving this guy at least 1 more start and I'm definitely going to be all over the Brew Crew. Shaw has been dominant against righties so far this year, already hitting 6 homers and sporting a .339 wOBA. Kyle Kendrick, as mentioned plenty, is absolutely horrible against both righties and lefties. There isn't much else to say about this Brewers lineup. Shaw will be hitting clean-up behind Thames and Braun, who will get on-base more than once and give Shaw the opportunity to drive them in. He's $3.5k on both sites and makes a lot of sense in both cash games and tournaments. Miller Park is extremely friendly for left-handed hitting and Shaw has shown his ability to take advantage early. If you don't want to roster Rendon, Shaw is a perfectly fine pivot. His ownership will be around 20% and he has more than enough upside for that tag.
Continuing with the Cubs/Astros theme of this early slate, we'll take a look at George Springer and Carlos Beltran. Springer is the clear option here and the guy you can just plug into your cash games on both FanDuel and DraftKings. He demolishes lefties for power and sees a phenomenal match-up against an HR-prone Jaime Garcia. Springer held a .400 wOBA against lefties in 2016 and backed it up with more than enough peripherals. He hits the ball hard on a consistent basis and does a fantastic job of providing power and safety at the top of the order. As for Beltran, he's a switch-hitter who hit lefties much better than righties at the ripe age of 40. In 2016, he sported a .407 wOBA against left-handers and will likely draw much lower ownership than Springer. Both guys are firmly in play for all formats and I see no reason to avoid either. Outside of these guys, Kyle Schwarber and Michael Conforto are my 2 favorite options in the outfield.
Yasmany Tomas FD 3500 DK 3700
Opponent - DET (Boyd) Park - @ARI
FD - 11.94 DK - 9.36
Yasmany Tomas is great against lefties. In 2016, he sported a .460 wOBA against lefties and held a 50% hard contact rate, which is more than elite. He has 2 HR power against lefties and I see no reason to avoid Tomas here. He should be pretty low owned and while we typically stay away from "boom-or-bust" in cash games, I don't think Tomas is all that risky. He's in one of the best ballparks in baseball and gets to face-off with a subpar lefty pitcher. He's going to hit the ball hard at least twice and if he finds some open green, we're in luck. If he can find the seats, he can lead you to the top of a tournament with ease. This entire D-Backs lineup has upside against lefties and Tomas+Goldy is a fantastic cash game/GPP combo. Matt Boyd gave up a .341 wOBA to righties in 2016 and moves into one of the absolute worst ballparks to pitch in, Chase Field. Tomas is a guy I will have exposure to in both cash games and tournaments. His price is far too low for the match-up.
Luis Perdomo is quite bad against both righties and lefties. He has serious HR problems and sees an absolutely atrocious ballpark downgrade from Petco Park to Globe Life. The Rangers are clearly one of the top options on the slate and both of these OF's are firmly in play. Carlos Gomez has struggled over the last year against righties, but he looks to be turning it around this year. He's holding a .357 wOBA against them this season and the power has been there on a consistent basis. Shin-Soo Choo on the other hand, has always been good against righties. He's held a .349 wOBA against righties since 2014 and has the XBH upside like no other OF when healthy. He spreads the ball around the outfield and Globe Life is a terrific environment for him to excel. If you made me choose, I would go with Choo. He should be lesser owned and has just as much upside as Gomez.
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