Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/09/2017
James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/10/17

So you're reading a daily fantasy baseball article on the opening day of the NFL season, eh? I see you, DFS MLB grinder. And I'm here from you. While typical Sunday MLB writer Austyn is escaping hurricane Irma, Doug and I are piecing together a little MLB picks article from our hotel room at the DraftKings VIP get together for opening weekend. So, we'll do our best between beers. Here goes!

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Pitcher

Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 10000 DK 12700
Opponent - PHI (Lively) Park - @WSH
FD - 44.15 DK - 29.07

Strasburg gets a relative dream matchup here against a Phillies team that’s fielded a AAA squad for most of the season. Sure they’ve had a huge upgrade in the cleanup spot with Hoskins and have some young guys in Williams and Herrera who aren’t bums, but by and large this team is pretty bad. They’ve been striking out at the 5th highest rate in the majors against righties this season and are a bottom five team in terms of wOBA. Stras is a huge -290 favorite going in and is striking out batters at a better than 10 K/9 clip this season (even with some of the injury stuff). I suspect he’s a pretty chalky play across the industry especially on FanDuel for the 1PM main slate where he’s clearly in the best spot. Strasburg starts can always be a rollercoaster, but the stars are somewhat aligned for him to turn in a quality performance here.

Robbie RayRobbie Ray FD 10000 DK 12500
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @ARI
FD - 39.49 DK - 26

He isn’t anything close to safe considering the walk rate is up and over 4 BB/9 for the season, but man that K rate (12 K/9) s nearly unmatched in baseball. Chase Field is a hitter’s park, but the Padres are straight up awful. They’ve had very little lineup turnover over the course of the season and rank second to last in wOBA against lefties and are striking out 25% of the time. They stink. Ray is a -230 opening favorite and the Padres are projected for somewhere around 3.5 runs. I’m willing to live with the walk rate on Ray in this matchup simply because the K potential is so high. He’s the easy cash game starter for the later afternoon slate of games.

Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 9700 DK 11600
Opponent - CIN (Romano) Park - @NYM
FD - 37.25 DK - 24.59

deGrom is coming off a nightmare of a performance against the Phillies in his last time out. He only lasted 3.2 innings allowing 6ER on 10 hits. It was a complete and utter disaster including allowing 4 RBIs to Ben Lively out of the pitcher slot. I really can’t understate how bad of a game he had. But man was there a lot of bad luck involved too. His BABIP against in that one was .643 and 8 of the 10 hits were singles. While he wasn’t sharp, he also had a lot of things going against him. I see this as a fantastic time to buy low on a guy who’s been K-ing batters at a career best 10.42 rate with an xFIP of 3.31. Cincy isn’t a great matchup and I much prefer Strasburg for cash games on the 1PM slate, but deGrom has elite K upside and he’s coming cheaper thanks to the poor performance last time out.

Michael WachaMichael Wacha FD 7000 DK 7900
Opponent - PIT (Nova) Park - @STL
FD - 30.84 DK - 20.31

I’ve lived through all of his performances this season, the good ones and the not so much. Such is life for a a mid-tier DK SP2 like Wacha whose bad games keep the price low. By and large, he’s been an above average pitcher this season with a 3.90 xFIP and a career best 8.43 K/9. The Pirates don’t K a ton, but they’ve been playing some young guys like Moroff and Luplow who are more prone to the strikeout. I’m really only interested in playing him as salary relief on DraftKings if rostering Stras on the main slate.

Catcher

Gary SanchezGary Sanchez FD 3600 DK 4900
Opponent - TEX (Griffin) Park - @TEX
FD - 13.12 DK - 10.08

He’s the best hitting catcher in baseball so it’s not exactly going out on a limb to recommend him, but night and night out he’s a cash game play (outside of facing elite arms) because he’s so far ahead of the rest of the catcher pack. Sanchez is mashing to an .880 OPS this season and closing in on the 30 home run mark. His .249 ISO makes up for the lack of walks and AJ Griffin isn’t missing a whole lot of bats this season. Griffin brings in a 5.90 xFIP and the Yankees have a chance to put up a lot of runs. Sanchez is expensive but considering most catchers aren’t anywhere close to his offensive pedigree, he’s worth it.

Salvador PerezSalvador Perez FD 2600 DK 3400
Opponent - MIN (Colon) Park - @KC
FD - 11.15 DK - 8.51

Perez is a cheaper option if you’re paying up for pitching or in other parts of your lineup. He’s basically locked into the five hole when he plays and while he doesn’t completely mash, the 24 home runs this season are nothing to just dismiss. His mid .700s OPS is fine enough for the position and he’s coming rather cheap on both sites. Perez’s big issue is the strikeout but that’s less in play when facing Bartolo Colon who’s striking out less that six batters per nine this season.

Buster PoseyBuster Posey FD 3300 DK 3900
Opponent - CHW (Fulmer) Park - @CHW
FD - 11.92 DK - 9.23

Posey is in a great spot here against Carson Fulmer. While Posey’s true strength is against lefties, going reverse platoon on the guy in fine when you when he’s facing a dude in Palmer who couldn’t strike out anyone in the minors and isn’t a favorite to just start the practice now that he’s in the show. Posey’s put up a respectable .868 OPS this season (with half his games in an extreme pitcher’s park) and is walking as much as he’s striking out (11.5% for both). That’s great news when facing a low K guy like Fulmer because he’s nearly guaranteed to get the ball in play in a hitter’s park.

First Base

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3400 DK 4800
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @TOR
FD - 12.84 DK - 9.57

Kendrys MoralesKendrys Morales FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @TOR
FD - 12.09 DK - 9.09

The only downside to these guys is they both qualify at the same position and you can’t play them both. Smoak and Morales will slot into the middle of the order against Anibal Sanchez on a day where we could see a bunch of Jays’ runs. Now Sanchez isn’t as bad as the 7.07 ERA would suggest (4.78 xFIP) but he still isn’t all that good. The K rate is under 8 K’s per nine and he’s getting bombed on the long ball (22% HR/FB). That latter stat isn’t sustainable, but he’s been giving up the dong over the last three seasons. Smoak’s been fantastic this season with a mid .900’s OPS and is pushing close to 40 home runs. This is his breakout season and it’s been a long time coming. Morales has continued his power ways though he’s a little more reliant on the long ball than Smoak. Both make for excellent cash game plays though they are a little expensive on DraftKings.

Mike NapoliMike Napoli FD 2900 DK 3300
Opponent - NYY (Montgomery) Park - @TEX
FD - 11.66 DK - 8.77

Napoli is basically a two true outcomes kind of guy which makes him an extremely volatile roster candidate in DFS. He’s striking out 1/3 of the time this season but also have 29 home runs and a .239 ISO. The K’s keep the salary in check so we can wait to target him against lefty arms. He’s much better against southpaws with a .382 career wOBA and 138 wRC+ in that split. While Jordan Montgomery looks better on paper against righties this season, that’s mostly because he has an insane .195 BABIP v lefties. It’s not a perfect matchup for Napoli but the park helps and the Rangers do project for some runs in this one.

Second Base

Robinson CanoRobinson Cano FD 3500 DK 4600
Opponent - LAA (Bridwell) Park - @SEA
FD - 12.18 DK - 9.29

He’s not eligible for the main slate of games, but makes for a chalkier play in the later afternoon. This hasn’t been Cano’s best season with the .800 OPS, but it’s respectable considering his 2016 campaign was something of an outlier. He rarely strikes out (11.5%) and rarely walks (8%) meaning the ball is in play a lot. That’s good news against a guy like Parker Bridwell who pitches almost solely to contact. Bridwell is striking out less than 6 per nine and walking only two. That means it’s all in play all the time and his 4.91 xFIP means it’s usually going in the wrong direction for him. Cano makes a fantastic late afternoon play at a shallower position.

Joe PanikJoe Panik FD 3100 DK 4000
Opponent - CHW (Fulmer) Park - @CHW
FD - 10.45 DK - 8.35

Speaking of guys who rarely strike out, Panik brings in a low 10.4% k rate into this matchup with Carson Fulmer. Like I said with Posey, this is a solid matchup for the Giants’ bats and it’s a huge park upgrade for them leaving San Fran and going to U.S. Cellular Field. Panik’s been hitting out of the second hole and should see plenty of plate appearance expectation in this game. You don’t often see the Giants coming into a game with more than 5 implied runs (5.17 by our system) but this is just one of those matchups. Panik is a little more expensive than I’d like but he’s still a good cash game play considering who’s taking the bump for the Pale Sox.

Consider Jose Ramirez if he’s back in the lineup.

Shortstop

Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 3400 DK 4600
Opponent - OAK (Graveman) Park - @OAK
FD - 12.93 DK - 9.79
If Correa qualified, he'd have the highest batting average, OBP, SLG, and wOBA among shortstops in the majors this season. He's 5th place in the league in home runs among short stops in spite of having played 40 fewer games than league leader Francisco Lindor. He's quite simply the best hitting shortstop in the majors, hitting on one of the best overall offenses in the majors, and he's up against a shell of a pitcher in Kendall Graveman. The A's righty is sporting a 4.57 xFIP on the back of a paltry 6.3 K/9, and even the tough hitters park here isn't enough to keep Correa off the top of our SS list.

Paul DeJongPaul DeJong FD 3100 DK 4000
Opponent - PIT (Nova) Park - @STL
FD - 10.64 DK - 8.26
DeJong doesn't bring you the safety that Correa does, but he does bring similar upside at a cheaper price and lower ownership. DeJong's SLG would also be the best in the majors at the shortstop position if he qualified, though it is a couple of points below Correa's lofty figures. Still, with 21 homers in 360 plate appearances, he's out-homering every other shortstop in the major leagues this year. It's not all gravy, of course. DeJong never walks, and strikes out in 29% of his plate appearances, so the .284 batting average will probably come down. Nova is actually a great match-up for DeJong specifically because he doesn't strike many guys out. If you take strikeouts off the table to some degree, DeJong has the potential to really go off.

Jean SeguraJean Segura FD 3000 DK 4000
Opponent - LAA (Bridwell) Park - @SEA
FD - 10.43 DK - 8.96
A high floor alternative to Correa, Segura should provide plenty of plate appearances out of the leadoff spot against a pitcher in Parker Bridwell that doesn't really strike anybody out. With a 5.9 K/9, Bridwell is sporting a 4.91 xFIP this season, which is well below league average. Segura's combination of a plus AVG and OBP with very solid steals should make him a nice cash game option in spike of a pretty lousy hitter's park.

Third Base

Jake LambJake Lamb FD 3000 DK 5100
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @ARI
FD - 12.75 DK - 9.71
Lamb has been an overwhelming chalk play when facing right handed pitchers recently, and with good reason - he's been a god against right handed pitching this season. His .958 OPS and .393 OBP are superstar tier, and you're paying far less than superstar prices for him on FanDuel. Today he'll be facing the less-than-stellar right hander Luis Perdomo, who has suffered the indignity of a 4.62 ERA in spite of pitching half of his games at Petco. Well, Perdomo will attempt to ply his trade against an Arizona team that has crushed righties at home. Look for Lamb to be one of the highest owned cash players.

Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Colon) Park - @KC
FD - 12 DK - 9.07
A little off-beat upside play to get some separation in big tournaments. In his age 44 season, Colon is at his all time worst. His 5.78 K/9 are terrible, his 1.66 HR/9 are laughable, and his 6.06 ERA leaves opposing offenses salivating. Moustakas, meanwhile, has turned into one of the higher upside third basemen in the league. His 36 homers are second in the majors among third basemen, and thanks to his low BABIP and walks, he remains underpriced compared to what he can produce in any given game. I like him for big tournaments on both FD and DK.

Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 3700 DK 5000
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @TOR
FD - 13.9 DK - 10.45
I'd rather have Lamb for cash games, and Moustakas for big tournaments, but I suspect a lot of people feel the same way. If you want to get some separation from the field and go for a Blue Jays stack, Donaldson seems like a pretty obvious inclusion. Donaldson has cured some of his platoon ails from the past, tagging righties to the tune of a .904 OPS this season, so that doesn't appear to be much a worry. Anibal Sanchez, meanwhile, is at his all time worst. Donaldson just seems great here.

Outfield

Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 2800 DK 3600
Opponent - COL (Chatwood) Park - @LAD
FD - 12.53 DK - 9.64
It's a simple math problem with Granderson. He's priced far below a guy who is batting 2nd on one of the best offenses in baseball, and he's further dinged by his dramatic platoon split. In a favorable lefty/righty match-up at the top of that order, these price tags make him an incredibly high floor cash game option. Chatwood has added a litle bit of strikeout stuff to his repertoire this season, but his 5.01 BB/9 makes him a very beatable arm for a patient hitter like the Grandy Man. Love him in every format.

David PeraltaDavid Peralta FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - SD (Perdomo) Park - @ARI
FD - 12.78 DK - 10.22
Like Lamb, Peralta continues to show up in optimal lineups whenever the D-Backs face right handed pitchers at home. He's simply too cheap for what he can produce atop that lineup, and his splits (and position in the order) are such that he's too pricey against lefties but a great play against righties. I won't run down all of Perdomo's issues again, I'll just say that Peralta is a great fit for any type of contest.

Jose BautistaJose Bautista FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @TOR
FD - 12.74 DK - 9.56
Joey Bats won't be a popular name to see here, but there's some evidence that he's digging himself out of his mid-season slump. He's got a 1k OPS, is hitting for plenty of power, and regaining the trust of his coaching staff. As with Donaldson, Bautista is plenty competent against bad right handed pitching as well. He's an easy play for me against the flailing Sanchez, but possibly not for cash games.

Jay BruceJay Bruce FD 3500 DK 4000
Opponent - BAL (Hellickson) Park - @CLE
FD - 12.22 DK - 9.28
Bruce is sitting on back to back 33 home run seasons, and he's still got 3 weeks left in this one. 25 of Bruce's home runs have come against right handed pitching this season, and his OPS is .184 higher against Northpaws this year as well. Today he'll be up against the hapless Jeremy Hellickson, whose 5.49 xFIP is one of the very worst in the majors (and the worst of his largely forgettable career). Hellickson doesn't strike anyone out, gives up home runs in spades, and can barely even generate ground-balls. Bruce seems like a great play in any type of contest on both sites, particularly on DK where he's relatively cheap for his production.

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