Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/21/17

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Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 10100 DK 11300
Opponent - ATL (Garcia) Park - @ATL
FD - 37.41 DK - 24.67

With a few solid options to choose from yesterday, we see a dip in choices today. We do have couple solid options, but nowhere near the same amount of options as yesterday. Starting us off, we have Stephen Strasburg against the Braves. While the Braves have seemed to "get it done", the numbers say they are horrible against righties and should be targeted in this match-up. They do only hold a 3.89 implied team total, which is a lot lower than the average team on this slate. The Braves are really horrible right now and without Freddie Freeman, they will be shut down more often than they dominate. The entire lineup is filled with horrible hitters and even though they keep getting lucky, that will stop. The bottom of this order is pitiful and has a couple guys who should not be in the MLB. Strasburg has actually started the season a lot worse against righties. His numbers should normalize and as a guy who has dominated righties for his entire career, the numbers should come back. We took a look at this match-up yesterday with Max  Scherzer. He ended up only going 5 innings and not having a very great start. This should keep a lot of people off of Strasburg, who is a worse pitcher in the same match-up. Fortunately for us, what Scherzer did yesterday has no impact on Stephen Strasburg and his current production. Strasburg has a ton of upside here and in cash games, he makes a ton of sense. You can chalk in 6 or 7 strikeouts here and against the Braves, I think 'Stras goes 7 or 8 innings. Either way, this is a slate without too many options and you do have to take it here you can get it. SunTrust Park has been a friendly hitter haven, but let's see if Strasburg can shut them down for a day.

Chris ArcherChris Archer FD 10100 DK 10800
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @TB
FD - 36.7 DK - 24.15

Staying in the same price range as Stephen Strasburg, we have Chris Archer facing off with the red-hot New York Yankees. While the Yankees do hold the highest wOBA in the MLB against righties, they also hold the highest BABIP and the 5th highest K rate. This is a team that has gotten a bit lucky to start and they won't be a team that rakes all year long. Archer is usually a pretty good candidate for shutting down an offense, as his "stuff" can put an entire team on their heels. Archer has held a .291 combined wOBA since the start of the season, which looks just about right. Last season, Archer gave up a .304 combined wOBA and a 3.12 BB/9 against righties. He is slowly getting better and at this point, the upside is unlimited. Archer can easily throw a CGSO or get rocked in the 3rd inning. I will say, I don't think Archer is a guy I will find in my cash games. He is very volatile himself and when you combine that with the volatility of the Yankees lineup, you're pushing it. Again, Archer will be overlooked and has as much upside as anyone on the slate. We are pretty limited at pitcher, so don't be surprised to see some guys rostered without much promise. Looking lower in the pricing range for a pitcher, there isn't much to love. I figure some will be on Adam Wainwright, who is a decent arm at home against the Giants. Jake Arrieta and Chad Kuhl are also somewhat interesting, but both have a lot of things that can wrong around them (match-up, weather).  All in all, Strasburg and Archer are both great options with a lot of upside and a whole lot less of a floor.


Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 2900 DK 3600
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @CHC
FD - 9.41 DK - 7.34

When we have a "weird" slate like this, it's a good idea to look at a few offenses and focus on them. The Cubs are one of those few offenses on the slate. Chase Anderson is still horrible and I don't see any reason to expect improvement. He allowed a .394 wOBA to righties in 2016 and never struck out more than 7 per 9. Wrigley Field is looking a bit rough, so keep an eye out on Twitter as news should be dropping as lineup lock approaches. Contreras holds a .335 wOBA against righties, which is more than serviceable at a position where Contreras is one of the top talents. He's fairly priced across the industry and makes for a great play in all formats. The Cubs as a whole are firmly in play and should be able to get to Chase Anderson. They have seen him plenty and when a guy is that bad, there has to be something to seeing everything he has. Contreras may be popular, but that's fine. He's a very good hitter and does a good job of calling the game. In cash games, I'll probably just settle for Contreras and his $2.9k price tag. In tournaments, there are always a few different options.

Jonathan LucroyJonathan Lucroy FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - DET (Boyd) Park - @DET
FD - 9.56 DK - 7.41

Matt Boyd is a pretty straight-forward pitcher to target. He's good against lefties and horrible against righties. Always. It won't change unless he completely changes his repertoire and learns how to throw a changeup that isn't just a slow fastball with no movement. Boyd has been a guy thats very easy to target since he entered the league, and he's never changed. He's always been very bad against righties and good against lefties. Hence why the Texas Rangers righties are squarely in play here. They are going to hit the ball hard off of Boyd and while Comerica Park is slightly tougher than average, this team has the power. Lucroy, in particular, has been up and down against lefties over his entire career. He's posted a .396 wOBA against them so far this season and is his hitting the ball as hard as he ever has. He's about the same price as Contreras and it will be a pretty tough choice. Contreras may have a bit more upside if weather permits in Chicago, though Lucroy may be a bit safer. Boyd is simply BAD against righties and they have no problem seeing everything out of his hand. Either way, I don't think you can go wrong at the position with either one of these guys. Take your choice.

First Base

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4200 DK 4900
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @CHC
FD - 12.76 DK - 9.74

Chase Anderson held a .211 BABIP against lefties in 2016, so throw those numbers out. Lefties were hitting the ball right at people and we have seen what happens when that ceases. Anderson has allowed a .346 wOBA this season against lefties and it's only getting worse. He's allowing a 43% hard contact rate and is only striking out 7 per 9. Anthony Rizzo on the other hand, is elite as it gets. He's posted a .380+ wOBA against righties for the better part of 5 years now and will keep it up for another 5 or 10 more. He has one of the lowest K rates of all 1B and is typically very safe. He will cost you, and rightfully so. He's the best option at the position and if you have the salary, go for it. However, there are definitely some other ways to go. This is first base, which is always one of the deepest positions on the slate. With Rizzo being expensive and pitching being a bit tough, he may be lower-owned. In tournaments and cash games, I will make sure to have some solid Rizzo exposure. He can hit 2 HR at any time and faces a guy who is very HR-friendly. Rizzo is the top option in cash games, and may still be overlooked by the general public.

Matt CarpenterMatt Carpenter FD 3800 DK 4100
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @STL
FD - 11.22 DK - 8.56

There are a lot of pitchers in baseball who are living off of their name alone. None more so than Matt Cain. Boy, he is REALLY BAD. Against lefties, it's almost sad this guy has a job. He's walked 18 lefties in as many innings, on his way to a .372 wOBA and crazy 37% hard contact rate. Lefties are getting u and either walking or slamming the ball. When you take Matt Carpenter and throw him in Busch Stadium against Matt Cain, I like my chances. Carpentier is going to nail the ball a time or two here, and if he hits them to open field, we're in business. Carpenter has been one of the more solid options around at any position, especially against righties. He held a .386 wOBA against righties in 2016 and seems to be the same guy, if not better. Carpenter also comes in a bit cheaper than Rizzo, which could actually inflate his ownership a bit. While first base is pretty deep on this slate, nobody stands out way above the rest. If you have the funds to pay up but can't or won't reach for Rizzo, you can do a lot worse than Matty Carp.

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3200 DK 3800
Opponent - HOU (Musgrove) Park - @HOU
FD - 10.37 DK - 7.72

Looking a bit cheaper, Edwin Encarnacion definitely stands out. No matter what, Encarnacion should not be priced at $3200 on FanDuel. He's one of the best first basemen in baseball and is absolutely dominant against both righties and lefties. He moves into Minute Maid Park today, which should be very interesting with the short porch in left field. Encarnacion has 40 HR power and while he's been up and down this year, that's who he is. He goes in and out of cold and hot streaks like its nothing and you can never predict what today is going to be. He faces off with Joe Musgrove, who does have a lot of potential. He's just not there yet. Though a small sample size, Musgrove has allowed 5 homers and a .367 wOBA to righties in just 20 innings this season. He hasn't been able to locate his fastball, which has resulted in Musgrove being forced to groove pitches. If you groove one against Encarnacion, you might as well wave it goodbye. Encarnacion was better against righties over the last 2 years, posting a .367 wOBA and hitting 72% of him homers. He may not be as safe as Rizzo or Carpenter, but the upside is there and the ownership might not be. Take a shot.


Second Base

DJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu FD 2900 DK 4400
Opponent - CIN (Arroyo) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.06 DK - 8.25

Yippee, Bronson Aroyo is pitching. While I'm not at all sure why he is still in the major leagues, the Reds are still starting him. He is easily one of the worst 3 pitchers in baseball and has absolutely nothing working for him. He throws like a stiff board nad has no movement on anything. He's allowed 11 homers and a .370 wOBA in just 40 innings. Yes, really. He hasn't been able to get righties or lefties out on a consistent basis. He's allowed at least 2 runs in every start and this Rockies lineup is extremely safe. D.J. LeMahieu, while slightly better against lefties, has posted a .341 wOBA against righties over the last 2 seasons. He may not be a power hitter, but he's shown it lately and is in a ballpark where it can fly. His price is super cheap on FanDuel and I have no desire to go elsewhere. On DraftKings, there are a few guys you can take a look at. All in all, you want to make sure you get exposure to this Rockies lineup.

Jason KipnisJason Kipnis FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - HOU (Musgrove) Park - @HOU
FD - 8.28 DK - 6.63

At the start of this season, Joe Musgrove isn't a guy we wanted to target a ton. He was average in 2016, but it looked like he was a youngster that was making some progress. Instead, he's horrible. He needs to go back to this minors and work on some things before coming back. So far in 2017, Musgrove has posted a .354 combined wOBA and hasn't been able to string together any consistent starts. In case you may have forgotten, Jason Kipnis is a monster. He is one of the most underrated speed + power combos in baseball that seems to always go underlooked. In 2016 against righties, Kipnis sported a .353 wOBA along with hitting 16 homers and stealing 15 bags. While D.J. LeMahieu is cheaper and safer on FD, the opposite can be said of DraftKings, where Kipnis is cheaper. Joe Musgrove is not a good pitcher right now and this Indians lineup should be able to put some immense pressure on him. Expect some production from Jason Kipnis in this spot.

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Aledmys DiazAledmys Diaz FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @STL
FD - 10.58 DK - 8.43

We touched on Matt Carpenter against Matt Cain, who is a lefty. Luckily for us, Matt Cain is bad against everyone. He allowed a .353 wOBA to righties in 2016 and while it's not the preposterous .386 against lefties, it's not good. He also moves out of AT&T Park, which is the friendliest park in baseball for pitching. Aledmys Diaz, who is just in his 2nd year, has dominated righties. Last season, he held a .393 wOBAand hit the ball hard almost 40% of the time. He's a very good fastball hitter and is actually one of the more consistent bats at the SS position. The price is fair across the industry and I don't see many reasons to stray from Diaz at SS for cash games. The Cardinals are one of the top cash game offenses of the day as Matt Cain is going to get blown up all season long. Personally, I don't see the point of holding onto a 32-year-old Matt Cain who is useless to baseball forever. But, as long as he's pitching, we'll roster guys against him and rake in the monies.

Elvis AndrusElvis Andrus FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - DET (Boyd) Park - @DET
FD - 9.87 DK - 8.44

Like I said, Matt Boyd is a pretty easy one to figure out. He's a bad pitcher, to start. Secondly, he's a lot worse against righties, posting a .353 combined wOBA dating back to the start of the season. Boyd has trouble keeping the ball in the park and while this Rangers team isn't super powerful from the right side, they can put together runs with the best of them. Elvis Andrus posted a .395 wOBA against lefties in 2016 and backed it up with some super solid peripherals (26.3% LD, 47% pull). He's always been much better against lefties and is now a guy who goes completely overlooked on a daily basis. While I do prefer Aledmys Diaz in a prime match-up with Matt Cain, you can't go wrong with Elvis. He's a lefty masher, facing a lefty who can't get righties out. All of the Rangers righties are in play and you can get exposure to lefties as well, but only if you expect Boyd to be out of the game quickly and a righty to come out of the bullpen. Either way, the bullpen is bad and this team should be able to execute. Don't ignore the Rangers.

Zack CozartZack Cozart FD 3400 DK 4500
Opponent - COL (Freeland) Park - @CIN
FD - 9.97 DK - 7.88

Since entering the majors, Kyle Freeland has been pretty good against both righties and lefties. As a young lefty, you expect him to have some trouble with righties. He currently holds just a .250 BABIP against them, so the damage should be coming very soon. It could begin today. The Reds have a few guys who are very good against lefties, with Zack Cozart being one of them. Cozart has held a .352 wOBA against lefties since 2014 and he is definitely a legitimate lefty masher. As a Cubs fan, I hate to admit that Cozart os one of the more under-rated middle infielders around. He hits the ball hard (33%) and rarely has a game you are disappointed with. Against Kyle Freeland, the upside is limitless. He's also pretty safe, or at least however safe a baseball player can be. While Diaz and Andrus are a bit safer, I think their ownership %'s may reflect that. Cozart will be under-owned and has just as much upside as the field at SS.

Third Base

Eugenio SuarezEugenio Suarez FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - COL (Freeland) Park - @CIN
FD - 10.18 DK - 8.03

Talking about guys who are underrated, let's look at Eugenio Suarez. Suarez is quietly one of the top 25 best hitters in baseball against lefties. He's been amazing and he's done it very consistently, which is hard to find out of a young guy like Suarez. He's posted a.380 wOBA against lefties since 2016 and in Great American Ballpark, it's sitting at .403. As mentioned, Kyle Freeland is due for some regression. He's been a bit lucky against lefties and will start seeing his wOBA, along with his BABIP, rise. Both sites have priced up Suarez a bit, though he's still a bit too cheap on FanDuel. Suarez is one of my top overall bats on this slate and holds priority over everyone that's not a pitcher. He is going to be under 25% owned here and I really think he is in just as good of a spot as anyone. If Carlos Gonzalez wasn't on this slate, Suarez would be my pick for HR of the night. Either way, Suarez is in play in all formats and makes a lot of sense at a position without much cheap depth.

Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 2800 DK 3600
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @TB
FD - 11.05 DK - 8.43

This is a pretty classic match-up. These guys have been going at it for a while now and as the math would suggest, Longoria has gotten the better end of the deal. He also has a reputation of hitting lefties extremely well and while that hasn't been entirely true this season, his numbers should start to regulate. He has shown the power as of late and I don't think he will struggle for much longer. Sabathia has actually done a pretty good job of limiting the damage this year, though his troubles do still come from righties. He's allowed a .331 wOBA to righties over the last 3 years and has consistently allowed a higher hard contact rate. While Eugenio Suarez is certainly my favorite option at 3rd, Longoria is a strong way to go. On FanDuel, he's far too cheap, though that can be said for a few different guys at 3rd. All in all, Longoria can be played in all formats. He's a lefty masher facing off with one of the guys he has the most experience against. Some may also mention his BvP, but it doesn't really matter. They were far different players just 3 years ago and you can't use that to predict today.


Carlos GonzalezCarlos Gonzalez FD 2800 DK 4200
Opponent - CIN (Arroyo) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.13 DK - 8.52
Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 4300 DK 5500
Opponent - CIN (Arroyo) Park - @CIN
FD - 11.49 DK - 9.53

While the Rockies would be 40% owned if this was in Coors Field, they will only be around 20% here in the Great American Ballpark. They still have the same upside here and while not as safe, fantasy points count the same no matter the park. Bronson Arroyo is absolutely atrocious and I see no reason to avoid anyone against him. He's allowed a .370 wOBA and has had 0 good starts. He will continue to give up runs and I think he gives them up in bunches to the Rockies. They are finally swinging the bat well as a team and have been rocking righties as of late. Both Carlos Gonzalez and Blackmon have held .367+ wOBA's against righties and both have a lot of upside. CarGo obviously has a bit more power, but Blackmon makes up for it with his stolen base upside. Both of these guys are in play in all formats and while they will be slightly popular, I'm perfectly fine with that. On FanDuel, Carlos Gonzalez is as close to a must play as you can have in baseball. He's $2800 and should be at least $1500 more expensive. Make sure you don't make a mental error and skip over him when building lineups. CarGo is my pick for HR of the night.

Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @CHC
FD - 11.89 DK - 9.06
Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - MIL (Anderson) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.17 DK - 7.83

Chase Anderson was originally slated to pitch yesterday, so Jerry touched on Schwarber and Zobrist in last nights' picks. They both remain strong options tonight for the same reasons. Anderson was extremely lucky against lefties in 2016 and is now seeing what regression looks like. Allowing a .346 wOBA so far on average peripherals, e want to target the Cubs here. The ball typically flies in WrigleyFieldd and this offense has more than enough upside. Schwarber has been great lately, though he's still the high-upside player who can K 3 times of hit 2 doubles and a homer. Zobrist, who is much safer than Schwarber, is a switch-hitter, who will always hold the platoon advantage. Wrigley Field is looking ok weather-wise as I type this and as long as the rain holds off, there are a lot of ways to go. The entire Cubs lineup is in play for tournaments and shouldn't be one of the higher owned stacks of the day. We all know they can put up 15 runs in a jiffy and be on the way to a monstrous performance. Anderson is just as bad against lefties as he is against righties and I'm fine with all 8 of the hitters here. With that being said, you don't have to overdo it in cash games. There are some very nice offenses we will touch on that have under-owned studs.

Mike TroutMike Trout FD 5200 DK 5500
Opponent - NYM (Milone) Park - @NYM
FD - 13.51 DK - 10.69

As for the optimizer, it's tough for it to spit out a Trout or Harper as one of the top OF's. They are just so utterly expensive and at a position with so many options, you almost have to have a lot of guys with higher Pt per $ than Trout. However, he's still projected for the most points at the position, and rightfully so. He's the best player in baseball and has kind of distanced himself from the field in this short season. He seems to hit  HR or make some other kind of huge impact almost every single night. It's very rare to see a guy like this and he may be the best we see for another 15 years. As for tonight, he faces off with a bad lefty. That simple. Tommy Milone has allowed a .361 wOBA against righties since 2015 and things don't look to be on the up. As for Trout, he has held a .400+ career wOBA against lefties. Citi Field is a better hitters park than Angels Stadium and he'll have no problem getting one out of the park if he makes solid contact. With all of that being said, pitching is still the priority. I would like to make that clear. Trout is great, but I'm never going to pay down at pitcher so I can reach him. If you have the funds, don't be afraid. This is a terrific match-up for a guy who is in play against anyone.




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8 Visitor Comments

  1. Took down an afternoon tournament yesterday, THANKS GUYS!!!

  2. Wow are you kidding me get a life go find something real to complain about their not saving lives it’s baseball I read their articles jost fine yea did that on purpose

    • It was a compliment. Finished #1….. the winner, beat 2000 other people…. need I go on???

  3. Always Cubs & Cardinals…Cargo & Trout…

  4. They lost me last week when they mentioned a Derek Holland had trouble pitching against one of his own team mates.

  5. Man! You wasted all that time typing that bs when you could have been reading more of the content. These guys put me in the win spot 6 of 7 days a week, grammar and all! They prob won’t hire you to edit. They are doing just fine. 😂Thanks fellas.

  6. What a write up this was! You guys nailed it!!!!!

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