Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/05/2017
Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/5/17

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Pitcher

Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 10100 DK 12600
Opponent - PHI (Lively) Park - @NYM
FD - 41.57 DK - 27.37

We've got a few ace types to choose from on tonight's 15-game slate, but as far as we're concerned, deGrom is the runaway choice for SP1 in cash games. Not to oversimplify it, but of the four biggest guns going -- including Strasburg, Verlander and Greinke -- he's got the easiest matchup by a solid margin. The Phillies rank 26th in the league in wRC+ vs. RHP this season, and while the recent addition of Rhys Hoskins has helped, he's still the only guy among the regulars with a wOBA over .350 in the split. Of course, deGrom hasn't been at his best lately, but we're not overly concerned. He's still missing bats, and outside of back-to-back rough outings at Yankee Stadium and against the Marlins in the middle of their August hot streak, there's really not a lot here to quibble with. On the season he's compiled 10.38 Ks/9 with a 3.43 ERA and 3.32 xFIP with nearly 8 Ks per start. That's not at the Sale/Scherzer/Kershaw level, but it's good enough to provide the high floor/high ceiling combo we're looking for in cash games.

Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 10600 DK 12500
Opponent - MIA (Despaigne) Park - @MIA
FD - 36.61 DK - 24.06

If you're moving away from deGrom for whatever reason, the choice gets quite a bit tougher. We're not all that enthused about Greinke against the Dodgers, but Verlander's FanDuel price is going to make him really interesting in his first start with the Astros. Ultimately, we're giving a slight edge to Strasburg, though, based again on matchup. The Marlins have come back down to earth over the last week or so, and are performing much more like the team they were for the first four months of the season. It's not a terrible lineup -- and the prospect of facing Giancarlo Stanton 3 to 4 times is always daunting, but we'll take the opportunity to pick on the Marlins (18th in wRC+ vs. RHP) over the Mariners (5th in wRC+ vs. RHP). Meanwhile, Strasburg is having one of his best seasons. His 2.90 ERA represents a career best, and it's supported by a 2.94 FIP thanks to his typically healthy K rate (10.35 Ks/9) and excellent HR suppression (.82 HRs/9). And if this is the kind of thing that matters to you, it's worth noting that he hasn't given up a run in his last two starts, including a complete game shutout of this same Miami team last week.

Michael WachaMichael Wacha FD 6900 DK 6900
Opponent - SD (Wood) Park - @SD
FD - 31.34 DK - 20.68

Y'all probably know this, but just to be clear, nobody is suggesting you roll Wacha out there in your FanDuel cash games. Not a +EV move. But for SP2 value, he's looking like the chalk, and obviously, the Padres have a lot to do with that. They have the second-highest K% and the fourth-lowest wRC+ vs. RHP this season, and while the rag-tag lineup of no-names they're rolling out there these days has actually been marginally better, as a matter of policy, we don't duck the Jose Pirelas of the world. A man's gotta have a code. You probably have some preconceived notions of mediocrity about Wacha, and the thing is, they're mostly accurate. He's not exciting by any means, but he's also not bad. The ERA has bounced around a bit year over year, but the underlying stats are a picture of consistency: 3.87, 3.91, 3.75 FIP over the last three season. Those numbers are totally fine, so when he's coming at this kind of price tag in a pitcher-friendly park, we're happy to take the value, no matter how boring it is.

Catcher

Buster PoseyBuster Posey FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - COL (Senzatela) Park - @COL
FD - 11.72 DK - 9.08

Hey there, FanDuel pricing algo. Did we wake you? The Giants are in Coors Field, you know. Where the Rockies play. Denver, thin air, massive gaps, lots of runs, all that. Just thought you'd want to know. We saw that price on Posey and figured you must've been asleep or thinking about the NFL or something. We know the Giants lineup is awful, and Posey's run production has suffered some because of it, but still. He's going .298/.381/.413 vs. RHP this season (much better vs. lefties), and that's playing half his games in the worst hitter's park in baseball. We'd have to think the power numbers will get a boost from the biggest park shift possible, so I don't know, maybe you oughta price him somewhere north of Dustin Garneau. Just a thought.

Chris IannettaChris Iannetta FD 2800 DK 3300
Opponent - LAD (Ryu) Park - @LAD
FD - 9.88 DK - 7.35

Ok. So, Posey is looking like the chalk at catcher on FanDuel, but he's priced much more reasonably on DK and isn't an automatic plug-and-play there. In fact, you'll probably want to save a bit and we like Iannetta for those purposes. He's been getting great lineup slots lately -- primarily the No. 2 hole, with one cleanup spot over the weekend -- and since he was off Monday, we figure he should be back near the top of the order tonight. That makes him super interesting against Ryu (and pretty much any other lefty). He hasn't had a ton of opportunities vs. southpaws this season, but it's hard to find fault in what he's done with them (.419 wOBA, .233 ISO). And while he hasn't always been this good, he's always been a tough out, especially for a catcher, against lefties. Dating back to 2013, he's got nearly 600 PAs in the split with a .362 wOBA and a .184 ISO. It'll be tough to beat those numbers in this price range.

First Base

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 4200 DK 4800
Opponent - CHW (Holmberg) Park - @CHW
FD - 14.14 DK - 10.56

Fun factoid: David Holmberg is a Major League Baseball pitcher. I'm sure his friends and family will be pleased to learn the news and likely shocked when they find out he's actually appeared in more than 30 games this season. Most of those games have been in relief, but we've seen enough to know what to expect from Holmberg. That is to say, not much. He's walking and whiffing guys in virtually equal measure, and though he's been able to prevent runs at a respectable rate, we don't expect his good fortune to continue (3.55 ERA, 6.17 xFIP). As for E-5, he's still doing his thing. His .372 wOBA in 2017 is almost identical to last year's mark, and the power numbers are down only slightly. One quirk: he's actually been better against righties this season, but we wouldn't read too much into that. R/L splits take a really long time to stabilize, and over the course of his career, we're talking about a guy with a .376 wOBA/.232 ISO vs. LHP.

Eric HosmerEric Hosmer FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @DET
FD - 12.44 DK - 9.6

Hosmer isn't the kind of guy we turn to looking for multiple home run upside, which means he's often an overlooked source of reliable production in DFS. So in case you've missed it, dude has been really good this season (.317/.383/.498). Those numbers are even sexier vs. RHP (.389 wOBA), and that sets up him well against the remains of Anibal Sanchez, owner of a 6.95 ERA and .416 wOBA/.289 ISO allowed vs. righties in 2016.

Consider: Logan Morrison

Second Base

Jose RamirezJose Ramirez FD 3500 DK 5400
Opponent - CHW (Holmberg) Park - @CHW
FD - 13.16 DK - 10.76

That DK price is gonna be tough to pull off in lineups where you're paying up for pitching. Apparently the DraftKings algorithm is as skeptical about Holmberg as ours is. But the FanDuel price is definitely doable, and Ramirez is our top play for overall production at 2B. He owns a .379 wOBA and .216 ISO vs. LHP this season and he should be sitting pretty in the heart of the Cleveland order -- Vegas has the Indians as the highest non-Coors run total on the board.

Eduardo NunezEduardo Nunez FD 3300 DK 4300
Opponent - TOR (Estrada) Park - @BOS
FD - 12.22 DK - 10.48

So it turns out Eduardo Nunez wasn't a one-year wonder after all. The 30-year-old journeyman who broke out last season has been rejuvenated since coming to Boston just before the deadline, hitting eight of his 12 HRs with a .370 wOBA and .240 ISO in that time. We still don't fully trust those power numbers (career ISO .134), but facing extreme fly-baller Marco Estrada, it wouldn't be a shock to see him pop one over the monster. He's always handled righties well, and the reverse splits have been heightened over the last month or so. Of course, the sample size is pretty tiny, but Estrada probably won't do much to keep them in check -- righties are posting a .360 wOBA and .202 ISO against him this season.

Shortstop

Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 3600 DK 3800
Opponent - SF (Blach) Park - @COL
FD - 12.87 DK - 10.01

If you're a regular reader here, you know there's no venue in which we won't play Trevor Story against a lefty. And in the best hitter's park in baseball it's gonna take prices a lot higher than these to dissuade us. Story owns a .432 wOBA and .373 ISO against southpaws this season, improving on the already monster stats he put up in the split last season. He still strikes out a ton, so there's always the risk of a goose egg, but we're not as worried about that against Ty Blach, who has one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball (4.5 Ks/9, 11.8 K% vs. righties).

Jose ReyesJose Reyes FD 3100 DK 4000
Opponent - PHI (Lively) Park - @NYM
FD - 10.66 DK - 8.92

Apparently, Jose Reyes still has some life left in his bat. The overall 2017 numbers aren't great, but they're a lot better than they were a couple of weeks ago. Not including his 2-for-3 night with a homer and two walks on Monday, he's slashing .424/.525/.545 since Aug. 13 and he's still got enough pop (10 HRs) and speed (18 SBs), to make him dangerous. We don't typically like to pay up for a hot streak -- and this one seems more likely than most to crater at any time -- but we're not getting taxed too hard at these prices, so he's worth considering in a soft matchup. And we feel pretty good about picking on Ben Lively (.381 wOBA, .222 ISO vs. lefties).

Third Base

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD 4300 DK 5200
Opponent - SF (Blach) Park - @COL
FD - 17.75 DK - 13.56

We saved all the exclamation points we could've used on Trevor Story's splits vs. LHP for this, because here's what Arenado is doing against southpaws this season: .407/.443/.837 (!), .522 wOBA (!!), .431 ISO (!!!). There's really nothing more I can add that would make the case for Arenado any clearer, but just for good measure, consider the fact that while Blach has been pretty tough on lefties this season, righties are still getting to him (.347 wOBA, .199 ISO). Also, Coors Field. Can't forget that. Arenado won't come cheap, but all things considered, these prices aren't bad at all.

Evan LongoriaEvan Longoria FD 2800 DK 3100
Opponent - MIN (Colon) Park - @TB
FD - 11.95 DK - 9.2

If you find yourself unable to fit Arenado, it's rarely a terrible idea to go looking for salary relief against Bartolo Colon. The 44-year-old has been marginally better since joining the Twins, but that 4.08 ERA doesn't seem trustworthy based on his underlying numbers (1.8 HRs/9, 5.25 xFIP). Of course, Longoria's no sure thing either. He's regressed badly after last year's big season, but much of that is due to his uncharacteristic struggles with lefties. Against RHP, he's still doing solid work: .282/.325/.450. Those aren't stud numbers or anything, but at these prices and in this matchup, they're not bad.

Outfield

Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @DET
FD - 11.58 DK - 9.57
Melky CabreraMelky Cabrera FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @DET
FD - 11.55 DK - 9.08

As mentioned earlier, Anibal Sanchez is getting worked over by pretty much everybody this year (.416 wOBA vs. R, .370 vs. L), so a short stack of affordable Royals hitters is looking like a good way to take advantage of a weak pitcher and get some upside via positive correlation. Neither Cain nor Cabrera are putting up monster numbers in the split or anything, but with .346 and .334 wOBA vs. RHP, they're both comfortably above average and they're both pretty good at getting on base (.366 and .344 OBPs, respectively), so they could get a boost if the heavier hitters behind them come through. Also, we have to mention the horrid Detroit bullpen anytime we're picking on a Tigers starter. They rank dead last in ERA, FIP and xFIP, and that little bonus never hurts.

Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - CIN (Stephenson) Park - @CIN
FD - 12.04 DK - 9.55

A dry spell in late August has driven Braun's price down (especially on FanDuel), and now looks like a great time to take advantage of the value opportunity. He's not the MVP type of talent he used to be, but this is still a legitimately good hitter regardless of the split (.225 ISO, .354 wOBA vs. RHP this season). And while Robert Stephenson has shown some nice flashes lately, we're gonna need to see more before we back off of a good hitter/park combo, because he's still giving up a .356 wOBA and .225 ISO to righties this season. And if you're the type of cash gamer who's spooked by slumps, you've got nothing to worry about here. After collecting just three hits from Aug. 23 - Sept. 2, Braun has gone 5-for-8 with a double and homer in his last two games.

Brandon GuyerBrandon Guyer FD 2300 DK 3300
Opponent - CHW (Holmberg) Park - @CHW
FD - 10.78 DK - 8.17

This one is pure punt based on A) Guyer's history of lefty mashing, B) David Holmberg's badness, and C) the underrated hitter friendliness of US Cellular Field. Guyer has fallen off a bit this season, but he's still getting the ABs vs. lefties, and over the course of his career, he's got a .366 wOBA in the split. That puts him in good position against Holmberg (career .380 wOBA vs. righties), but we do have to worry about the possibility of a pinch hitter. Holmberg hasn't started a game in over two months, so if this turns into a bullpen game, there's always the chance Guyer could get yanked if he's facing a righty in a key spot. That's a real risk here, but at these prices, we're OK yielding one at bat -- we just hope it isn't two.

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image sources

  • Nolan Arenado: By Keith Allison (Flickr: Nolan Arenado) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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