Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/13/17
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When I think of the word consistency, Max Scherzer is the first pitcher who comes into mind. While he'll still have the occasional rough starts that all pitchers do, they're often tempered and far less frequent. For example, one of his worst starts of the season was last time out against the Phillies. He gave up 4 runs, but still went 6 innings, struck out 7 and got the easy win. He'll far more often go 7-9 innings, allowing a run or two and striking out close to 10. He's held both sides of the plate to a .264 combined wOBA and a 12.06 K/9. He faces off with a putrid Braves lineup tonight and we see what they have done against righties, sporting a .308 wOBA over the last 30. They still have the obvious threat with Freddie Freeman, but it's nothing Scherzer can't handle. The Nationals are the biggest favorites on this later slate and it stands to reason with Scherzer being on the mound. He's the top play in both cash games and tournaments. Don't get cute.
We do have a pretty healthy drop from Scherzer to the field here. While we have plenty of guys with upside, none of them match the safety Scherzer brings. We'll be looking at Jon Lester, who faces off with the Mets in Wrigley Field. It's go-time for the Cubbies, who are just 2 games ahead of the Brewers for the division lead. You can expect Lester to start turning the corner into playoff mode and we know his pitch count will start to rise. He's dominated lefties this year to a sub .220 wOBA, and contained righties to a .289. This Mets team is far from dangerous and arguably the worst team in baseball at this point. Asdrubal Cabrera and Jose Reyes are carrying the lineup. It can't get worse. We saw Quintana and the Cubs handle business last night and I expect more of the same against a team who just wants the season to end.
Catcher is our most barren position of the night. No matter how you chop it, there isn't anyone that you're overly excited to play. Tasmania Grandal against a bad righty at home is fine, but he's not hitting well and Dodger Stadium is no place to get it going. Still, he's one of the few quality hitters at the position and he has posted a .337 wOBA against righties. He has 19 homers on the season (all against righties) and is one of the only catchers you can rely on to be in the heart of the order. He sees pitches to hit and has shown the ability to capitalize with upside. I'm certainly fine with waiting for lineups and picking someone who sees an upgrade, but I still don't think they have the upside of Grandal. With that being said, if you NEED to pay down, Grandal is a guy I'm willing to pass on for Scherzer. You can always find a punt catcher with some safety in a good order.
Mike Zunino FD 2600 DK 3400
Opponent - TEX (Perez) Park - @TEX
FD - 10.85 DK - 8.11
If you're looking for the best shot at an HR for the price, it may be Mike Zunino at catcher. He's a lot better than a lot of people give him credit for, sporting a .357 combined wOBA and jacking 6 homers against lefties in under 90 at-bats. He may very well go 0-for-4, but he can also hit a double and HR, leading you to the top of a tourney at just 5% owned. Martin Perez is one of our favorite lefties to pick on, as he is just bad against righties and gives up a lot of home runs. The Mariners move from Safeco Field to Globe Life Park, which is one of the friendlier power parks during the summer months. This lineup has a lot of guys that hit lefties well, so I'm expecting a bunch of RBI opportunities for Zunino. He's as risky as you get, but the upside is there and the opportunity cost at catcher is minimal.
Early - Wilson Ramos
Ryan Zimmerman FD 3200 DK 4300
Opponent - ATL (Gohara) Park - @WSH
FD - 13.68 DK - 10.5
As always, there are plenty of different ways to go if you're paying up at first base. Even against elite arms, a lot of these guys have the advantage. Our favorite of the bunch is Ryan Zimmerman, facing off with a lefty at home. The Nats are one of the top stacks of the night and we'll be looking at them plenty in this one. Luiz Gohara is just 21 years old and while he looks to have plenty of potential in the future, he is nowhere near ready. The Braves have hurried him for A+ ball and I'm not expecting any more than 3 or 4 innings, and that's if things go perfectly. As a lefty, the Nationals should do a lot of damage. Starting with Zimmerman, he's plastered lefties to .420 wOBA and 9 homers in just over 100 AB's. He will hit behind Anthony Rendon and have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. The Nationals are clearly one of the top offenses of the night and Zimmerman is a big reason why.
Mitch Moreland FD 3000 DK 3800
Opponent - OAK (Cotton) Park - @BOS
FD - 10.84 DK - 8.15
Zimmerman is definitely one of the safer options on the entire slate, but there's a lot of different reasons to pivot cheaper. One, Zimmerman will be popular, as will a few of the other expensive options. That leaves guys like Mitch Moreland far lesser owned with nearly the same chance to hit one out. The other guys have a far higher expectation of points, but the AB/HR number wouldn't be far off if we ran these games a million times. Moreland has tanked 18 homers on the season and faces a pretty horrible pitcher in Jharel Cotton at home in Fenway Park. Cotton has stunk against both sides of the plate, but let's just focus on the .359 wOBA against lefties for now. He's also allowing 36% hard contact and striking out just over 6 per 9. The Red Sox should put up a few runs tonight and I wouldn't be surprised to see Mitch Moreland get involved.
Ian Happ FD 3000 DK 4400
Opponent - NYM (Harvey) Park - @CHC
FD - 10.46 DK - 8.29
Second base is pretty ugly tonight, so we'll look for some power in lineups that are expected to put up some runs. Ian Happ is in the perfect spot against Matt Harvey, who's just an average pitcher at this point. I'm not doubting his ability and the potential for him to pick it up in years to come, but the .391 wOBA against lefties is far more telling at this point. He's getting smacked around by everyone from the left side and his 2.36 HR/9 against them is just pitiful. Ian Happ may not be the most efficient swinger (30% K rate), but he can hit the hell out of the ball. He has 17 homers against righties in just over 200 at-bats, backed up by a 36% hard contact rate and 26% LD. The Cubs are expected to put up over 5 runs tonight and Happ has been plugged into the top 5 against right-handlers. If he's in there again, he makes for a viable option in all formats. You can't ignore the Cubs because of name value alone.
Rougned Odor FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - SEA (Leake) Park - @TEX
FD - 10.57 DK - 8.51
We are looking at 2 guys here with some insane power, and Rougned Odor may hold the belt based on his punching alone. He's also hit 33 and 28 homers in each of the last 2 years at a 2nd base position that lacks power. He stays home in Globe Life Park to face off with Mike Leake, who's a new arrival to the Mariners rotation. Leake is a pretty average pitcher, but he's struggled against lefties with a .339 wOBA. Odor is pretty cheap on both sites and I really don't think he will be very popular. This is one of the best parks around for lefties and we will touch on another one with even more power in a bit. If you're looking for a bit more safety at 2nd, you can wait for lineups to come out and look for a cheap option in the top of an order. With Rougned Odor, you know what you're getting. Home runs and strikeouts.
Early - Alen Hanson
Shortstop is often quite similar from night to night. Gone are the days of a complete dominator, whether it be Tulo in Colorado or the stretch Trevor Story had last year. While we'll have some more guys come and go, Turner is going to be in that upper-tier for quite some time. It's weird to say, but his value shows when he isn't swinging the bat well. Only a player with his skill set can still make such a dramatic impact going 0-for-3 with a walk. When he does swing the bat well, that's when you see the insane 20+ FDP games. He does face a lefty tonight, who he's admittedly worse against. However, he can still get on-base and the guys behind him should have no trouble driving him in. You also have Wilmer Difo in the 2 hole, who's posted a .405 wOBA against lefties. He nowhere near the player Turner is, but he should get on the bags a couple times and makes for a safe cash game play. Both of these guys deserve consideration, depending on how your roster construction is going.
Trevor Story FD 3000 DK 4300
Opponent - ARI (Corbin) Park - @ARI
FD - 9.36 DK - 7.27
I rarely target Trevor Story outside of Coors Field, but I guess this is as close as you can get. Chase Field has ranked 2nd for power behind Coors for many years and despite rumors of messing with the balls, 2017 has been no different. As for Story and why he's on our radar, it comes down to his HR upside against lefties. He does K a ton, but he also holds a .458 wOBA and 50% hard contact rate. Even when Story is struggling, he consistently produces against left-handers. His power is undeniable and he has been picking up some confidence with the Rockies management. His price is fine on both sites and I don't think he's out of play in any format. Patrick Corbin is a fine lefty, but he's allowed a .350 wOBA and 17 homers to righties in just under 130 innings. He should have some trouble with the power righties here and Story should go mostly ignored.
Early - Francisco Lindor
Anthony Rendon FD 3600 DK 4900
Opponent - ATL (Gohara) Park - @WSH
FD - 12.77 DK - 9.88
If you've been reading this article all-year long, you should know by now how much I love Anthony Rendon against lefties. Josh Harrison and Anthony Rendon are my 2 favorite bats that dominate lefties and somehow fly under the radar while doing so. Rendon is one of the best hitters in the league against southpaws, sporting a .455 wOBA against them. He now faces off with a 21-year-old who was walking 3 batters per 9 innings in A+ a few months ago. I know he's moved up the ranks quickly, but it speaks more to the ineptitude of the Braves starting rotation and the intrigue to see what they have in the farm system. The Nations will do damage to Gahara and then see the Braves bullpen for the remainder of the game. Rendon is the top play at 3rd base and there's a solid chance I end up with 100% in cash games.
Joey Gallo FD 3900 DK 3800
Opponent - SEA (Leake) Park - @TEX
FD - 13.03 DK - 9.82
Personally, I may not have anyone other than Anthony Rendon. He's probably my favorite play on the slate and I may just plant my flag with him. With that being said, there's no denying the upside Joey Gallo and the Rangers have against Mike Leake in this ballpark. Leake, who's held a .339 wOBA against lefties on the season, moves into Globe Life Park and faces off with one of the more powerful lineups in the game. Joey Gallo, heads the bunch with 37 homers and a .365 wOBA. He is always one of the top picks to hit an HR for the night and tonight is certainly no different. His price is a bit low on both sites and in tournaments, a 2 HR performance is what you need to win it. This is one of the few guys where that is a real possibility.
Early - Jose Ramirez is still the safest play, but this is a good spot to be different. Evan Longoria, Trevor Plouffe, Mike Moustakas, and Todd Frazier all have immense upside and could end up being the difference.
We touched on the Red Sox earlier with Mitch Moreland, but they're definitely one of the better stacks on this slate. Let's highlight them here in the OF, where they deserve a ton of consideration. Both Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are equally elite options and I'll end up going with the cheaper of the two in cash, if not both. They're both better against righties, holding respective .386 and .404 wOBA's. They also both hit better at home, so I don't see much of a discrepancy between the 2. Jharel Cotton has been just as bad against righties (.357) as he has been against lefties (.359). He has a huge HR issue and is now moving from the Oakland Coliseum to Fenway Park. That's only one of the biggest possible downgrades a pitcher can make. Expect the Red Sox to put up runs tonight and for the OF to play a healthy part. They may be popular, but not to the point where I think a fade needs to be considered. Jharel Cotton is still decent enough in a lot of people's minds.
Kyle Schwarber FD 3600 DK 3900
Opponent - NYM (Harvey) Park - @CHC
FD - 11.9 DK - 8.93
I think the Cubs will be a bit under-owned tonight. I do believe people are off of Matt Harvey as a pitcher, but I'm not sure they're ready to jump against him either. You can't blame people for staying away from a guy who looked like the best pitcher on earth just 2 years ago. We just have to realize those days are long gone and focus on the .391 wOBA against left-handed bats. His HR issue is the Achilles heel and we know what Kyle Schwarber does best. We never have any idea of where he will end up in the lineup, but I'd expect a top 5 hole. Schwarber has 23 homers on the season against righties and I like him to pick up number 24 against the Dark Alright.
If there's a guy who should have slown down by now, it's Nelson Cruz. While he did test positive for PED's in the past and some may point to that, I don't think he's been on those since he put on muscle in '10. I think he's lasted so long due to his simple swing and immense power. He barely uses his legs and is able to maintain his power throughout a season because of it, despite his body type. He has held a .389 wOBA on the season against lefties and that's actually a downgrade from seasons past. He moves into one of the best parks in the league, where he may put up 50 homers a year if it was his home. You also have Mitch Haniger, who's far cheaper and a much lesser power threat. He is still a phenomenal bat against lefties and he has a great chance to do damage against Martin Perez. A .356 wOBA against lefties isn't crazy for Haniger, but it is when you combined it with the .359 Perez has held against righties. I think the Mariners are an extremely interesting stack tonight and the OF is a bit sneaky.
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg