Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Chris Durell

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/18/17

Welcome back for another split-slate Thursday with DFSR. After a day where we had some high-end pitching options, we get a less than impressive selection on Thursday. This gives the entire day a GPP feel overall with the opportunity to absolutely load up on bats and there are a ton in great spots. Let's dive in and take a look at some of the top players at each position on both the early and main slates.


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Early Slate

Jon LesterJon Lester FD 10500 DK 11300
Opponent - CIN (Garrett) Park - @CHC
FD - 37.73 DK - 24.76

Lester headlines the early slate at the pitcher position as the Cubs open as big -200 favorites as they try to sweep away the Reds on Thursday. Lester has been up and down to start the year but the good news is that his off games have all come on the road.  At home in Wrigley Field, he sports an elite 1.44 ERA while limiting opponents to a .165 average and .237 wOBA. He has also seen an uptick in his K rate recently as he has struck out nine batters in each of his last two starts. He is safe in all formats whether you are playing the early or all day slate.


Main Slate

Hyun-Jin RyuHyun-Jin Ryu FD 7100 DK 9100
Opponent - MIA (Volquez) Park - @LAD
FD - 30.24 DK - 19.79

Pitching on the main slate is a bit more tricky so I will put my full trust in the system and the process. The Dodgers enter Thursday as the second biggest favorite(-180) of the day putting Ryu in a great spot to pick up the win and earn us fantasy points. He has been anything but consistent in his full return to the Dodgers after missing the entire 2015 and most of the 2016 season but is showing signs of getting back into his pre-injury form. The control is what has hurt him the most(4.11 BB/9) but the good news is that he is posting a career high 9.68 K/9 rate and 11.4% swinging strike rate. Even his xFIP(3.92) that sits a full run lower than his ERA suggests that positive regression is coming. On a small slate, his price is probably closer to fair on DraftKings but on FanDuel he is an excellent value at just over $7K tonight and allows you to stack all the bats.


Early Slate

Welington Castillo

Welington Castillo FD 3200 DK 3500
Opponent - DET (Zimmermann) Park - @DET
FD - 4.78 DK - 3.69
Caleb JosephCaleb Joseph FD 2600 DK 2800
Opponent - DET (Zimmermann) Park - @DET
FD - 7.05 DK - 5.54

I list both catchers as whoever gets the start will be in a great spot today vs. Jordan Zimmerman who has been getting hit hard all season. Castillo looked good going three for six in his return from injury on Tuesday night and already has a hit early in Wednesday night's game. Chances are that he will get the day off after a night game which opens up a spot to take a big salary relief at the position. Joseph may lack overall upside but he has been consistent lately with hits in five straight starts including three multi-hit games. If you're looking for savings at one spot to go with the value at pitching, make it catcher and load up elsewhere. If you are looking to pay up at the position, Jonathan Lucroy is in play at home vs. Nicholas Piveta.


Main Slate

Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal FD 3000 DK 3800
Opponent - MIA (Volquez) Park - @LAD
FD - 10.05 DK - 7.56

On the main slate, you can pay up for Gary Sanchez but beware as he has shown heavy reverse splits through his career. I prefer switch-hitting Yasmani Grandal who ranks higher from a PTS/$ perspective with his big discount. He doesn't quite have the power upside as Sanchez but has hits in 10 of his last 11 starts with seven doubles, a home run and 13 RBI. Grandal and the Dodgers get a great matchup vs. Volquez who is walking over six batters per nine and sits with 4.57 xFIP and is giving up nearly 40% hard contact. Grandal is safe in all formats.

First Base

Early Slate

Chris DavisChris Davis FD 3800 DK 4600
Opponent - DET (Zimmermann) Park - @DET
FD - 12.16 DK - 9.05

As you can see, I am heavy on the Orioles in the early slate and the projections agree as Crush Davis sits as the top overall projected first basemen from a raws points perspective. We get a hitter who has found his power stroke with four home runs in his last three games(8 for the season) vs. a pitcher who is not striking anyone out(5.12 K/9 rate) and has given nine home runs in his last six starts. Davis isn't normally the safest play at the position as he sits with a very high 33% K rate but the power upside in this matchup makes him a play in all formats tonight, especially arcade mode on DraftKings.


Main Slate

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3500 DK 3900
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @ATL
FD - 8.76 DK - 6.62

With the lack of options at the pitcher position, there will be a lot of people paying right up for Freddie Freeman tonight. I don't think that is a bad play at all as he even ranks up there in raw points on the projection system. If you are looking to separate a bit in GPP's or maybe loading up at other positions, consider Justin Smoak. He has been one of the bright spots for the Jays in an injury-riddled start to the season. He hit another home run last night, his ninth of the season with 25 RBI and 19 runs scored. He hits right in the middle of the order and comes in under $4K on both sites. Safe in all formats.


Second Base

Early Slate

Rougned OdorRougned Odor FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - PHI (Pivetta) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.87 DK - 9.52

While it has been a rough start to the season for Odor, he sits as the highest ranked second basemen all day from a raw points perspective. It has everything to do with his matchup vs. rookie Nick Pivetta who is having a rough start to his career. Through three starts and 14.2 innings pitched he has allowed 23 hits including five home runs and has given up a whopping 45.8% hard contact. Odor does strikeout over 20% of the time but has the power upside we are looking for and is coming off a career-high 33 home run season. The .200 average has a lot of room to grow and his career low .219 BABIP suggests the positive regression is coming real soon.


Main Slate

Starlin CastroStarlin Castro FD 3700 DK 4300
Opponent - KC (Duffy) Park - @KC
FD - 8.67 DK - 6.84

If the wind is blowing anything like last night we are going to want exposure to the Yankees once again. Although they have only hit one home run so far on Wednesday, they have put up 10 runs through five innings and are threatening for more. The system loves the Yankees this season and it makes sense as they rank 2nd in wOBA(.351) and 1st in wRC+(123) and have scored the third most runs behind only the Nats and Brewers. Castro is a perfect fit at second base as he hits in the middle of the order and is slashing .340/.373/.527 on the season with seven home runs, 25 RBI and 27 runs scored. He has been slightly better vs. right-handed pitching this season but still has a .339 wOBA and 115 wRC+ vs. southpaws. He is safe in all formats.



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Early Slate

Trea TurnerTrea Turner FD 4000 DK 4800
Opponent - PIT (Glasnow) Park - @PIT
FD - 11.47 DK - 10.24

The projections love paying up for shortstop and it is no different today. Topping the ranks on the early slate is Trea Turner who despite showing some early season struggles, sits in a prime spot hitting leadoff for the #1 scoring offense in baseball. He showed us his upside last season where he slashed .342/.370/.567 with 33 stolen bases and 53 runs scored in 73 games played. So far in 2017, he has nabbed seven bags and already hit four runs. Once he gets those strikeouts back down and starts making more solid contact we should see numbers that closer reflect his 2016 season, especially if the Nats keep crushing at this rate.


Main Slate

Jean SeguraJean Segura FD 4100 DK 4800
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @SEA
FD - 10.31 DK - 8.86

The projections not only like paying up at shortstop tonight, they are also in favor of the Mariners as a whole. They currently sit as huge -170 favorites in a game with a 9.0 Vegas total. Segura has impressed in his first season with the Mariners slashing .363/.402/.500 with 24 runs scored. He and the M's gets one of the top matchups of the night vs. the White Sox and rookie Dylan Covey who enters tonight's matchup with a 7.98 ERA and he has also given up multiple home runs in four of his last five starts. Lock in Segura in all formats tonight.



Third Base

Early Slate

Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 3800 DK 4700
Opponent - COL (Marquez) Park - @MIN
FD - 10.86 DK - 8.16

Sano is listed in the early slate today but with the doubleheader, he can be used in either slate on Thursday. While the K rate has remained in the ugly 30%+ territory in 2017, Sano has impressed in all other areas. He is hitting .283 with an elite .443 wOBA and 186 wRC+ and has already hit 10 home runs and driven in 30. These numbers are not going to be sustainable all year and he is probably somewhere in between but makes a high upside play today. His opponent German Marquez has been either really good or really bad through four starts. Twice he has held opponents to no earned runs and struck out eight but in the other two starts he has allowed 13 earned runs and struck out just five while walking six. We will find out early how he adjusts to the game being called last night and rescheduled for the next afternoon. Look for the Twins to come out swinging and get to him early and often.
Joey GalloJoey Gallo FD 3000 DK 4200
Opponent - PHI (Pivetta) Park - @TEX
FD - 10.74 DK - 8.07

If you are looking for a little savings at the position on the early slate, consider Gallo who is much like Sano in that he strikes out a ton(38.5%) but comes with big power upside. He has already hit 12 home runs in 2017 to go with 27 RBI and 26 runs scored forcing the Rangers brass to keep him in the big leagues to hopefully work out some of those swing and miss issues. If you roster him, you are more than happy if he connects for one big hit and should get multiple opportunities today facing Nick Pivetta and his 45.8% hard contact rate against.
Main Slate

Kyle SeagerKyle Seager FD 3600 DK 4200
Opponent - CHW (Covey) Park - @SEA
FD - 11.16 DK - 8.57

Of all the Mariners in a great spot tonight, Seager ranks the highest from a PTS/$ perspective. With Robinson Cano out of the lineup and on the 10-day disabled list, Seager has moved up to hit cleanup and has hits in seven of nine games including home runs in back to back games on Monday and Tuesday. He isn't a high average hitter but for DFS that is not an issue as we are looking to take advantage of the matchup and get a piece of his power upside. Tonight is one of those spots facing Dylan Covey who I mentioned earlier has given up multiple home runs in four of his last five starts.




Early Slate

Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 5200 DK 5600
Opponent - PIT (Glasnow) Park - @PIT
FD - 13.22 DK - 10.29

Whenever we get a slate with less than intriguing pitching options it means we load up on bats and no better place to start than the best fantasy player in baseball. Now I realize that is somewhat controversial but I am going with the daily fantasy narrative. First of all, Harper has a much better offense around him and looking at the numbers, has bested Trout in almost every category this season. Harper comes in with a league-leading .388 average, amazing .517 wOBA and 220 wRC+. He has more home runs, RBI and runs scored than Trout and is walking more and striking out less. If you are paying up for one player today, make it Harper as he gets another plus matchup vs. struggling Tyler Glasnow and his 7.98 ERA and 5.29 xFIP.
Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3600 DK 4100
Opponent - PHI (Pivetta) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.16 DK - 8.7
Nomar MazaraNomar Mazara FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - PHI (Pivetta) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.81 DK - 9.15

If paying a mid $5K price tag for Harper isn't up your alley take a long look at stacking the Texas Rangers outfield today. As a team, they have the highest implied run total of any team in the early slate at home in a great park vs. a struggling Nick Pivetta who has been getting crushed early in the season. Choo is currently making the adjustment to the leadoff role where he has spent six of the seven games and is coming off a three-hit, three RBI night on Wednesday. Mazara sits in the same mid-tier price range as Choo and has been hitting out of the three-hole for the Rangers. After a slow start to the season, he has started to heat up with hits in seven straight games including three multi-hit games and six runs batted in.


Main Slate

Aaron JudgeAaron Judge FD 4400 DK 5100
Opponent - KC (Duffy) Park - @KC
FD - 10.39 DK - 8.03

Matt HollidayMatt Holliday FD 3500 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Duffy) Park - @KC
FD - 11.11 DK - 8.46

While the winds are not expected to be blowing near as much as last night in Kansas City, the Yankees are still in a nice spot to put up runs. They are the third highest scoring team in the league and rank 7th when looking at their splits vs. left-handed pitching. Stacking their outfielders is one to go and Judge and Holliday have led the way all season when facing southpaws. Both have a wOBA around .500 and wRC+ above 220 and they sit tied on the team with three home runs. With the Red Sox looking like the chalk play on the main slate, the Yankees could also come with a nice ownership gap which is perfect for you GPP players.







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9 Visitor Comments

  1. Does anyone have any thoughts on E. Santana? I know its the rockies and i havent dont much research yet but it seems like they never play good away from home and santana has been solid beside the Sox. And i doubt he will be highly owned. I usually dont ask for advice but ive been strugglin!!

  2. Also, i know the rangers park is a hitters park but jow much does the wind factor there?

  3. I have ab opinion. Everyone says Santana doesn’t have the peripherals to support his performance an yet he goes out and has one good game after another. I will likely play him today.

    • Thats what i was thinking. On the other side though marquez looks pretty tempting now. I mean he threw up 53 against the cubs at coors!!! And me personally, paying up for john lester is insane. 20 mph winds blowing out? Im not criticizing bc its just opinion but doesnt seem alot of thought was put into that pic. I could be very wrong, like i said im in a slump

  4. There was thought put into the pick. I wasn’t 100% on the wind last night when writing and Lester is the most talented pitcher on the slate and projected for highest raw points in the projections.

  5. The system is favoring Marquez as a punt today at $5K on DK as SP2. Gets all the bats you want for sure.

  6. I gotcha. I wasnt trying to be a smart ass, i hate people that bitch. I think you guys do a great job and i appreciate the help.

  7. I am one of those talking about Santana as it is just not sustainable what he is doing. Career low .128 BABIP when his career average is .283 and a K rate that has dropped below 7 per nine. xFIp that is 3 runs higher than ERA. It may not be today, not next start but his regression is coming.

  8. Thanks for reading. Appreciate it and love to talk baseball and stats.

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