Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/4/17

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Chris ArcherChris Archer FD 9900 DK
Opponent - CHC (Lester) Park - @CHC
FD - 34.12 DK - 22.7

We're not totally accustomed to recommending pitchers against the Cubs in cash games, but that's the world we're living in midway through 2017. The Cubs have been dreadful against RHP, and while there's still enough talent in the lineup to conjure a dramatic turnaround, until it manifests itself, we're gonna have to treat them like the team they've been -- one ranked 24th in the league in wRC+ vs. RHP. Meanwhile, Archer just keeps doing his thing. He's fanned better than 10 per 9 IP since the beginning of 2015, and with the exception of a hiccup last season, he does a great job of limiting the long ball. That can be tricky in Wrigley, and you'll need to check wind conditions before using Archer with confidence, but assuming something in the neighborhood of neutral, Archer looks like a strong play on the early slate. He's coming off a couple of subpar outings, but we're not concerned. His ability to miss bats covers a lot of mistakes, and no other arm on the slate can match his upside (five double-digit K games this season).

Consider: Jon Lester. As of Monday night, both sites have John Lackey tabbed as the Cubs SP, but every other source of record has Lester going Tuesday, followed by Lackey on Wednesday. If DK and FD get Lester added to the slate, he might edge out Archer as our favorite play among the early games.

Corey KluberCorey Kluber FD 12000 DK
Opponent - SD (Cahill) Park - @CLE
FD - 47.06 DK - 0

We're going ever so slightly against the grain with Kluber over Kershaw, but really, it's hard to say there's a wrong answer here. Kluber has a marginally better matchup, is slightly cheaper, and actually has better advanced numbers. Kershaw gets the better park and also is Clayton Kershaw. Both guys are studs, and exposure to both is recommended in some form or another. Really, we're choosing to write up Kluber for just a couple of reasons: 1) the projection system is giving him a narrow edge in terms of value, and 2) it seems like his dominance needs more attention. There's literally nothing we could tell you about Kershaw that would be the least bit surprising. But did you realize Kluber actually has the 2nd best xFIP among SPs this season or that he's also top five in FIP and Ks/9? And if you're into hot streaks, you'd probably be interested in the fact that he's fanned at least 10 guys in each of his last four starts and five of six since coming off the DL in early June. CK might be the safer play, but if you feel like you need that extra couple hundred bucks in salary, don't hesitate to turn to Kluber.

Consider: Clayton Kershaw. Duh.


Alex AvilaAlex Avila FD 3000 DK
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @DET
FD - 12.12 DK - 9.12

To no one's surprise, Matt Cain is still garbage. To everyone's surprise, Alex Avila no longer is. We need to dig into this. In a lot of ways, the 30-year-old looks a lot like the hitter he used to be. He still strikes out too much and draws a lot of walks, but with one major difference this season: he's knocking the bleeding crap out of the ball, which, as you might have guessed, is a cool thing to do if you're a Major League Baseball player. Really, these numbers are ridiculous. Normally, we'd look at a guy with a BABIP 100 points over his career average, stamp him with looming regression, and move on. Can't do that here, because Avila has an absurb 57% hard contact rate, compared to just 3% soft contact. His 93.5 mph average exit velocity puts him at No. 3 in baseball this season behind only Aaron Judge and Miguel Sano, and according xwOBA, he's actually underperformed (.423 wOBA/.465 xwOBA). Can he keep it up? We're to the point that we don't even care. Just be glad that he's still moderately priced and enjoy the ride.

Evan GattisEvan Gattis FD 3000 DK
Opponent - ATL (Newcomb) Park - @ATL
FD - 11.53 DK - 0

Gattis' playing time hasn't been steady enough to draw sound conclusions from his 2017 numbers, but there's enough of a track record here to know that we like him against most southpaws. Since the beginning of last season he's got a .353 wOBA and .257 ISO vs. lefties, and while Sean Newcomb has been good in his first four starts, we're not backing down from a rookie with a history of control issues quite yet.

First Base

Eric ThamesEric Thames FD 3400 DK
Opponent - BAL (Jimenez) Park - @MIL
FD - 13.9 DK - 0

Ok, so Thames hasn't been the second coming of Barry Bonds like his first month back in the bigs might've led us to believe. Since missing some time in mid-May, he's actually been pretty average. Arguably, that's at least partly due to the fact that he hasn't had the opportunity to take all of his at-bats off of Ubaldo Jimenez, but we'll come back to that. Even though the pace has dropped off, there's still plenty to like about Thames in the right matchup. Even since that point in the middle of May, he's still putting up nice numbers against RHP (.367 wOBA, .287 ISO). That'll work, especially in Miller Park against a guy like Ubaldo who has major issues getting lefties out. Since the beginning of 2016 he's yielded a .388 wOBA with 2.1 HRs/9 in the split. So like we were saying, don't hesitate to roll Thames out there in the right matchup, and this one certainly qualifies.

Consider: Victor Martinez, Albert Pujols

Mark ReynoldsMark Reynolds FD 3700 DK
Opponent - CIN (Bailey) Park - @COL
FD - 14.63 DK - 0

Ok, I know it's only been two starts, and one of them was against the Nats and the other was in the Great American Smallpark. But yikes. Homer Bailey, you guys. No bueno. Injuries have kept him sidelined for the vast majority of the last three years, and while he had some nice rehab outings down on the farm, there's just no getting around this: 4.2 IP, 33 batters faced, 14 earned runs. At one time he was a decent arm. Before that, he was a big-time prospect. So maybe he'll rediscover his previous form and be an OK starter again, but until he does, we're loading up against him. As for Reynolds, he's been crushing righties since coming to Colorado. Since the start of last year he's got a .394 wOBA and .238 ISO, and sitting in the middle of the Rockies' order he's holding down prime run-producing real estate tonight.

Second Base

Ian KinslerIan Kinsler FD 3200 DK
Opponent - SF (Cain) Park - @DET
FD - 12.2 DK - 9.75

Let's talk about Matt Cain. We touched on him earlier before getting sidetracked by the blistering enigma that is Alex Avila, but basically, what we need to know about the veteran Giants starter boils down to this: he's not good at throwing baseballs professionally. When he's at home, backed by offense-sapping AT&T Park, he's (sometimes) passable. When he's pretty much anywhere else, he's a disaster. To wit: 5.69 xFIP, 6.02 FIP, 1.9 HRs/9, .395 wOBA allowed on the road since 2016. It really doesn't get much worse than that. Meanwhile, Kinsler has been handling righties pretty well for a while now and has actually crossed over into reverse-splits territory this season. The sample size on that is still relatively small, so we wouldn't read too much into it, but the fact that he's got a .340 wOBA vs. RHP since last year is certainly relevant. That might not be the kind of number that blows your hair back, but it'll work in this matchup.

Consider: Brian Dozier, if he's back in the lineup. If he's out again, I reckon you can go ahead and fade. Bold calls. It's what we do.

DJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu FD 3600 DK
Opponent - CIN (Bailey) Park - @COL
FD - 13.27 DK - 0

We usually prefer LeMahieu against lefties, but he's a moderately priced Coors bat, and we're taking every chance we can to pick on Homer Bailey. The fact that he's hitting second in a lineup that has an implied total over 7 as of Monday night is a huge part of the attraction here, but it's also worth noting that LeMahieu has done solid work against RHP in the past. He doesn't have a lot of pop, and the numbers in the split are down this season, but he's a career .297 hitter against righties, and dating back to last year, he's got a .356 wOBA (.399 at Coors) in the split.

Consider: Jason Kipnis.


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Troy TulowitzkiTroy Tulowitzki FD 2800 DK
Opponent - NYY (Sabathia) Park - @NYY
FD - 10.18 DK - 7.78

Apparently Tulowitzki can't hit anymore. He doesn't strike out, but he's grading out with soft contact almost as often as hard contact, and his xwOBA tells us that his .282 actual wOBA this season is pretty much exactly what he's earned. Not exactly a rousing start to this recommendation, but we're kinda stuck with the lesser of 16 or so evils at shortstop on the early slate, so unless you just want to go full punt (not a terrible idea) and grab some Jose Igelias type who's marooned in the 9-hole, the projection system thinks Tulo vs. a lefty in a good hitter's park is about the best deal you're going to get.

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 3600 DK
Opponent - CIN (Bailey) Park - @COL
FD - 12.89 DK - 0

Even though he's a completely different type of hitter, the book on Story is extremely similar to LeMahieu when it comes to L/R and home/away splits. Both guys kill lefties and struggle vs. righties, but the numbers don't look so bad when you drill down to see what they do vs. RHP at home. In 231 career PAs vs. RHP in Coors, Story holds a .388 wOBA and .279 ISO, which is great. Of course, most of that damage was inflicted while he was tearing up the league in the first half of last year, but that's fine. The projection system still likes Story better than Cozart and every other SS on the slate in terms of raw points, so we're good with betting on his upside in this matchup.

Consider: Francisco Lindor

Third Base

Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 3700 DK
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @MIN
FD - 13.53 DK - 10.11

Miguel Sano might be the living epitome of the "three true outcomes" hitter. Walk, whiff and hit bombs. The dude doesn't do much else. That's actually not entirely true this season -- some clear the fence and some don't, but he's spraying lasers all over the yard when he makes contact. That's resulted in a .272/.371/.548 triple slash, which is only slightly better against lefties. That's the good news. The bad news is that he's striking out in 34% of PAs, so the threat of a goose egg is ever present.

Consider: Josh Donaldson, Luis Valbuena

Eugenio SuarezEugenio Suarez FD 3400 DK
Opponent - COL (Freeland) Park - @COL
FD - 12.05 DK - 0

In a vacuum, we like Arenado more, but with Kluber/Kershaw eating up salary, we're gonna have to be cost-conscious, and the prices on Suarez are totally doable. He's been in a pretty horrendous funk lately (3 for his last 41), and while we'd rather play a guy on a roll than one who's slumping, we're not putting too much stock in streaks. They begin and end without rhyme or reason more often than not, so we'll happily take the discount on a guy with a .382 wOBA and .238 ISO vs. LHP since the start of last season.

Consider: Nolan Arenado. You'll have a hard time fitting him in with stud SPs, but if you can find a way to squeeze it, he's got the highest projected total of any hitter on either slate.


Max KeplerMax Kepler FD 2600 DK
Opponent - LAA (Ramirez) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.57 DK - 9.09

Since getting recalled in June 2016, Kepler's make a couple of things abundantly clear -- he can't handle lefties, but when he's cheap and has a nice matchup against a righty, he's almost always in play. He owns a .344 wOBA and .217 ISO against righties since June 1 of last year, and JC Ramirez is precisely the kind of guy we're looking to deploy him against. Ramirez has been more or less league average since moving into the rotation this season, but he's getting hammered by lefties, yielding a .395 wOBA and a whopping 2.96 HRs/9.

Kole CalhounKole Calhoun FD 3100 DK
Opponent - MIN (Gibson) Park - @MIN
FD - 11.45 DK - 8.83

Even though the Angels don't offer much in the way of attractive bats, it'd be a crime to let a Kyle Gibson day slide by unmentioned. He's been on a steep downward trend for the last year and a half and it doesn't look like he's hit bottom yet. His walks are up, his Ks are down, and he's struggling to get anybody out consistently, yielding a .390+ wOBA vs. righties and lefties this season. Calhoun hasn't done an awful lot this season to get us excited, and he's been flirting with reverse splits for the last couple of years, but we're looking for a chance to pick on Gibson and he might be our best bet. He's got a .331 career wOBA vs. righties, and given the matchup, that's good enough.

Consider: Jose Bautista, Adam Jones, Seth Smith

Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 4500 DK
Opponent - CIN (Bailey) Park - @COL
FD - 15.41 DK - 0

Yet another Rockies bat, and though the prices could be worse, it's still going to be tough to fit him in if you're paying up for SP. That said, on a slate somewhat lacking of elite OF hitters in decent spots, Blackmon stands out. Following up on last year's career year, he's putting up another monster season. The steals look like they're fading as part of his arsenal, but he's more than making up for it in every other facet with a .401 wOBA and .272 ISO vs. RHP since 2016.

Chris TaylorChris Taylor FD 3100 DK
Opponent - ARI (Corbin) Park - @LAD
FD - 10.14 DK - 0

The sample size is still limited for Taylor's 2017 breakout season, but it's hard ignore what we've seen from the 26-year-old against lefties this year. He's got a .400 wOBA and 15% walk rate and has been holding down the leadoff role lately when the Dodgers face a lefty, and that (along with 10 HRs and 10 SBs) is enough to pique our interest -- at least at his FanDuel price. It also doesn't hurt that he'll get Patrick Corbin, who since the start of last season is giving up a .364 wOBA with a 4.57 xFIP vs. righties.

Consider: Carlos Beltran, Matt Kemp




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3 Visitor Comments

  1. Always love these articles, and reading you elaborate further on what the system is giving out. However, on this one… I have to admit. In the night slate, you recommend Kluber/Kershaw, both at 12k+ on FD. Then, go on to recommend mostly Coors bats, all priced at 3500+. Not a single player given out on the slate, under 3000. One of my favorite parts about this article, is that it helps me greatly find the best value/punt plays when I’m rolling out Kershaw, Sale, Scherzer Kluber… etc… However, even if you plug-in Gattis and just one of the Coors guys. It’s nearly impossible to fit most of these guys in on FD. Even Taylor at 3100 is tough, unless you punt with a guy like Owings with his super-low Kershaw price. Anyway, keep up the good work man. You guys do a great job. Just a little constructive criticism. I think I can fit a right-handed Dodgers stack in against Corbin. To go with Kluber, Matt Reynolds and Gattis on FD.

  2. Has anyone noticed the crazy pricing on anyone facing Kershaw or Kluber? Which of these would you play?

  3. ALL of these DK prices are wrong

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