Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/17/17
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Lance McCullers Jr.
To put it simply, this is a bad pitchers slate. We don't have many good options and the options we do have come with plenty of risk. First, we'll take a look at Lance McCullers. He's at home in Minute Maid Park, facing the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are a pretty average offense and are heavily dependent on 2 or 3 bats for production. He has started against these guys twice this season, going for a total of 11 innings, 15 strikeouts, and 2 earned runs. He's done pretty well against them and if he can reach his typical 7-8 innings, the upside is tremendous. McCullers has turned a huge corner in 2017, jolting himself into the elite top 10 in baseball. He's striking out 10.5 batters per 9, walking just 2.5, and maintaining a sub 3.00 xFIP. He's also holding righties to a .294 wOBA and lefties to a .250. He's elite, at home, and facing an average offense. On a slate without much safety, he comes in as the top option in both cash games and tournaments. McCullers is only 23 and the risk will always be there, but it's not like you have a safe pivot to turn to.
Jon Lester is always a tricky pitcher to target. We all know he's super talented and has the ability to pitch a CGSO every time he takes the mound. He also seems inherently more risky than other aces, due to his inability to slow down the running game. While he has shown strides in throwing to 1st, teams have still been able to run with ease. However, it's tough to run when you can't get to 1st. The Braves only real running threat, Ender Inciarte, hits from the left side. Lester has always dominated lefties and this year has been no different, posting a .218 wOBA and striking out over 11 per 9. The Braves will be forced to throw at least 3-4 lefties in the order, who will only slow things down. The righties do have potential to do damage and SunTrust Park has played towards the bats. All in all, Lester is one of the top 2 arms on the slate and there isn't much arguing it. The matchup is good and the price is fine across the board. While I do prefer McCullers, I see nothing wrong with the pivot to Lester who will be much lesser owned.
We won't look at the Astros a ton tonight, but they do have some appeal. Any time a team comes in with an implied team total over 5, you have to pay attention. With that being said, it's always tough to pick on a talented pitcher like Ariel Miranda. Miranda, a southpaw, has allowed righties to sport a .304 wOBA against him. He's also allowed 18 homers against them in just 85 innings, which is the much bigger issue here. The 'Stros are a power hitting team and Gattis, in particular, is very boom or bust against lefties. He held a .365 wOBA in 2016 and hit 10 of his 32 homers against them. Minute Maid Park is obviously very friendly for righties and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gattis send one deep tonight. His price is down on FanDuel and he makes for a very solid option at a weak position. On DraftKings, we'll take a look at a guy who is just criminally underpriced.
I guess the Orioles are going to keep throwing Chris Tillman out there, even though it's pretty clear something isn't right. Tillman is getting absolutely obliterated from both sides of the plate and has been one of the top 3 worst pitchers in all of baseball. It also doesn't help to have Camden Yards as your home park. We'll dive deeper on Tillman a bit later. The Rangers travel to Baltimore tonight and hold the slates 2nd highest implied team total outside of Coors at 5.37. The Rangers should put up plenty of runs and you can guarantee Lucroy will get numerous opportunities to drive in runs. He has struggled as a whole this season, but posted a .371 wOBA against righties in 2016. He is far too cheap on both sites and should end up being the most popular catcher because of it. Lucroy still has as much upside as anyone at the position and Camden Yards has never hurt.
Anthony Rizzo FD 4100 DK 4800
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @ATL
FD - 13.98 DK - 10.66
I don't think the Cubs are one of the top stacks tonight, but I do think they have some of the best plays on the board. When looking at Julio Teheran, we know exactly what to expect. Since his entrance into the minor leagues, Teheran has dominated righties and mightily struggled against lefties. He has never controlled it and it looks to be who he is at this point. So far in 2017, Teheran has held a .343 wOBA against lefties while allowing 12 homers in just 57 innings. He doesn't strike any lefties out and seems to be a completely different pitcher every time a lefty gets up. Rizzo on the other hand, has always dominated righties. Since the start of 2016, he's held a .373 wOBA. SunTrust Park has also played well for lefties and it doesn't look to be a fluke. As someone who is going to this game and rostering a whole bunch of Anthony Rizzo, I'm hoping for a dinger or two.
Chris Davis FD 3000 DK 3500
Opponent - TEX (Cashner) Park - @BAL
FD - 12.95 DK - 9.63
Now to go from one of the safest daily options at 1B in Rizzo to one of the riskiest in Chris Davis. While the risk is still imminent and it always will be with Davis, this match-up is exceptional. The Orioles are actually favored against the Rangers, which means this game should have some crazy fireworks. It's very rare to see an 11 over/under anywhere outside of Coors Field. The Orioles face off with Andrew Cashner, who is a very odd pitcher. Once a prospect with plenty of potential, he's now a worn down arm with depleting velocity that doesn't have much to offer. He strikes out just 4 lefties per 9 innings and walks just as many. Cashner is going to have some real trouble in Camden Yards and I doubt he lasts more than 5 innings. Chris Davis is much better against righties, sporting a .372 wOBA since 2015. He's also hit about a million home runs, which always helps. All in all, this is one of the best matchups of the season so far for the Orioles and you have to consider the elite bats. Chris Davis has a bit more upside tonight than in most nights and is one of the surefire favorites to hit an HR.
Rougned Odor FD 3200 DK 3900
Opponent - BAL (Tillman) Park - @BAL
FD - 11.59 DK - 9.29
Sorry Chris Tillman, but you're bad. When a guy is allowing a .410 wOBA to righties and a .430 to lefties, you have no option but to target opposing hitters with aggression. Second Base is always going to be one of the weaker positions on the table and as we know, Odor has plenty of power. He hit 33 homers last year and is already at 17 to start this season. He is a free-swinger however, striking out 24 % of the time and walking just 4%. If you're looking for a sturdy cash game play, Odor will never be that guy. He's a strict GPP option or a cash game option if you're stacking the Rangers. Odor has hit righties much better than lefties in his short career with a .352 wOBA dating back to 2015. odor has struggled this season, but the power is still there and h looks to be the same hitter. Against Chris Tillman in Camden Yards, I'll take my chances with Odor.
Starlin Castro FD 2900 DK 3500
Opponent - MIN (Mejia) Park - @MIN
FD - 8.72 DK - 6.82
Starlin Castro is one of those guys who doesn't get much attention in DFS, but seems to be always producing. He does a good job against both sides of the plate and is never really at a huge platoon disadvantage, which is always comforting in cash games. Tonight, the Yankees take on Adalberto Mejia. Mejia, a southpaw, has been pretty blah to start the season. He's posted a .327 wOBA against righties and walking nearly 5 of them per 9 innings. He's given up 8 homers in 54 innings and is clearly not a pitcher to write home about. Castro, while better against righties this year, has been good against lefties with a .331 wOBA. It's likely being held down by his unluckiness. Castro has hit 4 warning track fly balls against lefties, with 0 homers. The power is there and he will hit a few of them by the time the season is over. If you don't feel like paying up for the risky Rougned Odor, grab a cheaper, safer alternative in Castro.
Troy Tulowitzki FD 2900 DK 3400
Opponent - BOS (Rodriguez) Park - @BOS
FD - 10.07 DK - 7.7
Tulo has missed a lot of this season, so go ahead and ignore his numbers against lefties. He's holding a .156 BABIP for god's sake. Tulowitzki is a veteran and dominant hitter against lefties and one that can always be targeted in cash games at this price. Remember, Tulowitzki was the lead dog for MVP just 2 seasons ago at this point. He has insane upside and in Fenway Park, it won't take much to put one over. The Jays face off with Eduardo Rodriguez, who is a pitcher nobody can really figure out. He was showing his pitches last year, which was thought to be the problem. He supposedly fixed it, but it didn't do anything. It looks like he has worked on the K pitch in the offseason and has it around 10 K/9 at this point. With the strikeouts, come walks and high pitch counts. Righties have posted just a .240 BABIP against lefties and have 8 homers in just under 50 innings of work. I expect Rodriguez to have some trouble with the Jays here and Tulo offers a very solid option for an even better price. He's a great way to go in both cash games and tournaments.
Jordy Mercer FD 2700 DK 3600
Opponent - MIL (Suter) Park - @PIT
FD - 10.21 DK - 8.02
If you want to go down a bit further at SS, the Pirates are facing a lefty. What does that mean? Jordy Mercer! Mercer is probably my favorite platoon guy in the league, mostly due to his consistent production and usual price savings. He posted a .357 wOBA against righties in 2016 and had 26 XBH in 120 games. He faces off with Brent Suter, who has bounced around for quite a while. He's worse against lefties and is going to struggle overall for at least a few games. Mercer is a specialist in a perfect spot and if you need the savings, he's a great option.
Adrian Beltre FD 3700 DK 4100
Opponent - BAL (Tillman) Park - @BAL
FD - 12.37 DK - 9.51
We ignored the Rangers for a solid 1 position before jumping back on board. We could have touched on Elvis Andrus there, but let's not go overboard. Instead, we'll start at third base with the aging, yet still great Adrian Beltre. Beltre, at 38 years old, is hitting like he's 25. He's holding a .381 wOBA against righties and has already hit 8 homers off of them. He's also striking out just 10% of the time and walking nearly 15%. He's still one of the elite 3rd basemen in baseball and in Camden Yards, is undeniable. Chris Tillman has posted a crazy .410 wOBA against righties, allowing 8 homers in just 28 innings of work. The Rangers are one of the more dynamic offenses around and Beltre will be in the 3 or 4 hole. If you have the funds, Beltre is a very elite option at a lucrative position.
Mike Moustakas FD 3200 DK 4400
Opponent - DET (Zimmermann) Park - @KC
FD - 11.1 DK - 8.49
There's obviously a lot of different ways I could of went at 3B, but you have to love Mike Moustakas. As someone who isn't a big fan of the Royals, Moustakas is one of the more likable players in the game. A lot of it has to do with his mashing of right-handed pitching. He's sported a .368 wOBA and already has a whopping 18 homers against them. He'll face off with the lifeless Jordan Zimmerman tonight. You know a pitcher is atrocious when the Royals are projected to put up over 5 runs in Kauffman Stadium. Jordan Zimmerman is actually a guy who was elite at one point. He's now one of the literal worst pitchers in baseball. He's posted a .375 wOBA against both sides of the plate and has struggled to get anyone out. The Royals are a fine stack tonight, but I prefer Moustakas and Hosmer as 1-offs. With so many options at third, you may be able to get an under-owned Moustakas in one of the best spots all year.
I obviously could have filled the entire article with these Rockies bats, but what's the point? You shouldn't be reading this if you don't know what Coors Field does and how it affects games. If you're still playing DFS MLB at this point, I don't need to reiterate 6 times that the Rockies are in play. Instead, we'll tie it all up and look at them here. The Rockies will face off with Luis Perdomo, who is used to pitching in the pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Perdomo is also just not very good, sporting a .392 wOBA against left-handed batters. The Rockies lefties should absolutely destroy tonight and both of these guys are elite options. Any other lefty that finds their way into the lineup deserves some consideration as well. All in all, the Rockies are projected to put up nearly 7 runs and these 2 guys should play a huge part.
W can't forget about these Texas Rangers facing off with Chris Tillman. Tillman has about 3 starts to turn it around, before I suspect the Orioles either send him down or to the bullpen for the rest of the season. For that reason, I'm doing my best to capitalize while he's still out here. Tillman has posted a .410 wOBA against righties and a .440 against lefties, allowing 11 total homers in just over 40 innings of work. He's also giving up a 37% hard contact rate and a 26% line drive rate, which are 2 of the bigger numbers you will find. Nomar Mazara and Shin-soo Choo are both lefties who are very good against righty pitching. Mazara and Choo both posted a .380+ wOBA+ over the last 2 seasons and make for elite options in Camden Yards. If you're looking for a team to stack, make sure you give the Rangers a long hard look. As a note, both of these guys are a bit too cheap on FD and I will have a tough time staying away in cash games.
Kyle Schwarber FD 2700 DK 4100
Opponent - ATL (Teheran) Park - @ATL
FD - 9.2 DK - 7.02
Schwarber was one of the lead candidates for midseason bust of the year, so it's pretty hard to say he is an elite play so early on. However, we know who Kyle Schwarber is. There is no denying how damn good of a hitter the kid is. When his focus is on, he's one of the most dangerous bats in the league. It's undeniable. With that being said, he's a completely different player when off his game. While most players will simply struggle for a few weeks, Schwarber loses it all. He strikes out half the time and can't see the ball out of lefties or righties hands. Even with Schwarber struggling so much this season, he's sitting at 14 homers. The kid can hit and his numbers against righties have been far better in his short career. We touched on Julio Teheran earlier and we know exactly what we're getting with him. He'll struggle against lefties for the rest of his career and against the Cubs in hitter-friendly SunTrust Park, expect some fireworks. Also, make sure Schwarber is in the lineup as things can always get funky with the Cubs.
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