Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/26/2017
Brent Holloway

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/26/17

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Pitcher

Chris SaleChris Sale FD 11800 DK 13400
Opponent - TOR (Happ) Park - @BOS
FD - 44.37 DK - 29.28

The season's winding down, so we're not breaking any new ground here. Every time Sale gets the ball, he has to be among the first guys we look at in cash games. Other than a rough start here and there, he's been dominant all season long and is putting up the kind of strikeout totals we rarely see these days. And, of course, Ks are crucial to DFS success, not only for the upside they bring, but for the cushion they provide in case a couple of runs get across. And in that regard, Sale has been incredibly consistent -- he hasn't had a start without at least a K per inning since May, and he became the first AL pitcher to reach 300 in a season since Pedro Martinez did it in 1999. And while Sale is virtually matchup proof, it never hurts to face a lineup with as much swing-and-miss as Toronto brings to the table -- the lineup they rolled out Monday night has a 24.1 K% vs. LHP this season.

Alex WoodAlex Wood FD 9400 DK 9700
Opponent - SD (Lamet) Park - @LAD
FD - 37.97 DK - 24.78

Wood is kind of a poor man's version of Sale, and while we typically prefer to just pay for the real thing in cash games, the savings you'll get make Wood pretty enticing against a weak Padres lineup. They rank 26th in team wOBA vs. LHP this season with a hefty 25.1 K%, so the matchup is nice. And while Wood has stumbled some down the stretch, he appears to have regained his form with back-to-back strong starts coming into this one. That puts his season numbers at an impressive 2.71 ERA/3.14 FIP with 9.23 Ks/9. The upside is undercut, however, by the fact that he rarely works beyond the sixth inning (just five times in 24 starts), and he hasn't hit double-digit Ks since before the All-Star break. Of course, that's baked into the price, so while you'll probably need some big production from your bats in order to keep pace with the field, you'll have significantly more to invest.

Jake ArrietaJake Arrieta FD 8800 DK 7800
Opponent - STL (Martinez) Park - @STL
FD - 26.13 DK - 17.34

We won't be playing Arrieta on FanDuel, but that DK price is really interesting. Sure Arrieta has backslid a couple of steps since his remarkable 2015 campaign, but $7.8K is still a bargain for a better-than-average arm (3.43 ERA/4.04 FIP) with decent strikeout stuff (8.66 Ks/9). And while the Cardinals aren't a pushover, they don't exactly scare us, either. They're slightly above average vs. RHP this season (101 wRC+), and they're 20th in ISO in the split. None of this may sound terribly exciting, and there are other, sexier names out there around this price point. But we're not necessarily shopping for sexy in our cash game SP2. We'll take sturdy and reliable, and Arrieta has definitely been that, yielding more than two runs in just one start since the All-Star break.

Catcher

Chris IannettaChris Iannetta FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - SF (Moore) Park - @ARI
FD - 12.31 DK - 9.15

If you guys don't like reading about Diamondbacks righties, we can go ahead and part ways here. No hard feelings. There's just really not much we can do to convince the projection system to look elsewhere when Arizona is getting a lefty at home. Chase Field remains one of the best overall hitting environments in baseball, and that's bad news for Matt Moore, who's giving up a 6.51 ERA and .387 wOBA away from the forgiving confines of AT&T Park this season. Meanwhile, Iannetta has been studly against southpaws (.397 wOBA, .234 ISO), and perhaps equally attractive is the fact that you won't have to pay stud prices. He's especially cheap on FanDuel and is an every-lineup candidate for cash games there.

Salvador PerezSalvador Perez FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @KC
FD - 11.86 DK - 9.05

Ok, so Anibal Sanchez is coming off his best two starts of the season, and we probably shouldn't ignore that completely. But we also can't pretend like the last six months didn't happen. After all, there's a reason why he's entering Tuesday with a 6.68 ERA/5.74 FIP. A lot of that has to do with HRs (2.48 per 9 IP), and while a 20% HR:FB rate tells us he's probably been a least a little unlucky, homers are gonna happen when you're surrendering 37% hard contact and 41% fly balls. It adds up to favorable long ball expectancy for Perez, who's been one of the baseball's best power-hitting catchers with 27 HRs and a .229 ISO vs. RHP in 2017.

First Base

Paul GoldschmidtPaul Goldschmidt FD 4500 DK 5400
Opponent - SF (Moore) Park - @ARI
FD - 14.9 DK - 11.73

Back to picking on Moore. But really, Moore's ineptitude is only a part of the equation, because while he hasn't been good against anybody outside of San Fran, he's actually been less bad against righties (.318 wOBA, .180 ISO). But whatever. We're treading into shallow sample territory, so let's focus on what's well-established, like Goldy mashing southpaws. He's posted a +.400 wOBA and +.200 ISO vs. LHP in every full season he's played, so that .414/.287 in the split this year is fully believable. Obviously, the cost may present a hurdle, depending on how much you spend at SP and where you prioritize Goldschmidt in the pecking order of elite hitters tonight. But he's our top expected producer at a marquee position, so he deserves a long look in any lineup you can wedge him into.

Mark ReynoldsMark Reynolds FD 3800 DK 3800
Opponent - MIA (Urena) Park - @COL
FD - 13.04 DK - 9.75

Jose Urena has burned us more than once this season. That kind of thing is going to happen when some dude outpitches his expected ERA by nearly a run and a half, but that's fine. We're still willing to take measured shots at him, especially in Coors Field, where that sinker he relies on will likely lose a good bit of its effectiveness. So these prices on Reynolds seem kind of out of whack. I mean, Urena's 50% ground ball rate is on the high side, but it's not extreme or anything, and he's still giving up 1.2 HRs/9 vs. R while getting half his games in spacious Marlins Park. And Reynolds' numbers don't give us any indication that he's at a disadvantage here: his .368 wOBA and .240 ISO vs. RHP this season are both second on the team only to Charlie Blackmon (who will cost you a heck of a lot more, by the way).

Consider: Edwin Encarnacion

Second Base

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4300 DK 5300
Opponent - TEX (Hamels) Park - @TEX
FD - 13.03 DK - 10.93

Altuve has somehow improved on last year's breakout season, and enters Tuesday with an MVP-like stat line: .348/.412/.555 with 24 HRs and 32 SBs. For well-rounded offense production, you couldn't ask for more. Now put that guy in one of the best hitter's parks in baseball and give him the platoon advantage, and forget the name of the pitcher he's facing, and focus instead on the 4.84 xFIP Cole Hamels is allowing this season and we doubt anybody would have any misgivings. The one issue is the price. Is this where you want to spend up? Altuve is certainly viable -- he's one of the best offensive players in baseball -- and he's a little cheaper than Jose Ramirez, his rival atop the 2B projections tonight, but ...

Jonathan SchoopJonathan Schoop FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - PIT (Williams) Park - @PIT
FD - 10.8 DK - 8.22

... while Schoop is a tier (or two) below Altuve, the Orioles' 25-year-old might be the smarter play from a value perspective. He's improved steadily since getting summoned to the big-league squad in 2014, and he's more than fulfilling his promise in 2017 with 32 HRs, 100 RBIs and a .299 batting average. At these modest prices, those numbers are borderline obscene. Schoop has been better against lefties, as you'd expect, but he's always done fine against righties (.198 career ISO), so we're happy to take the value opportunity and overlook Trevor Williams' decent numbers in the split this season (.301 wOBA allowed).

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Shortstop

Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 4400 DK 5600
Opponent - MIN (Colon) Park - @CLE
FD - 13.28 DK - 10.66

If you're like me, you're probably still trying to wrap your head around the fact that Lindor -- who never hit more than 11 HRs in a minor-league season -- is sitting on 33 bombs in 2017. Just go with it. It became apparent pretty early this season that the 23-year-old five-tooler was selling out for power, and his on-base numbers suffered because of it. In the second half, however, it's all come together. He's got 19 HRs and is slashing .307/.372/.582 since the break, and while he's been better from the right side on the year, the splits are pretty close to neutral over the last two-plus months. Now consider the fact that he's facing Bartolo Colon (.385 wOBA allowed vs. L) and you can see why we're willing to pay these prices.

Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD 2600 DK 4000
Opponent - SD (Lamet) Park - @LAD
FD - 5.48 DK - 4.22

That FanDuel price is just too low, guys. I know Seager has been scuffling a bit lately, and he's actually been better against lefties this season, but wow. Seager, who has a career .381 wOBA vs. RHP, is just $100 more than Ryan Goins (career .265 wOBA). We've got to enforce here. Lamet is giving up a .364 wOBA and .233 ISO vs. L this season, and Seager is sitting in the No. 2 hole of one of the NL's best offense.

Third Base

Nolan ArenadoNolan Arenado FD 4800 DK 5400
Opponent - MIA (Urena) Park - @COL
FD - 15.74 DK - 12.03

If you want to save some salary on an elite third baseman and go with Manny Machado here, we'd have no problem with that, but the projection system is all in on Arenado tonight. As mentioned earlier, we're still not Urena believers -- that 5.23 xFIP is bound to catch up with him sooner or later, and with the Rockies projected for nearly 6.5 runs based on the opening line, tonight might be a good time to bet on it happening. And if Colorado is rattling the bats, you can expect Arenado to be in the middle of it. He's got a .226 ISO vs. RHP this season, and sitting in the heart of the order, he should have ample opportunities for run production.

Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 2600 DK 4200
Opponent - DET (Sanchez) Park - @KC
FD - 12.77 DK - 9.65

Another FanDuel price play here, because there's no reason I can fathom that a dude closing in on 40 HRs should be priced like a part-timer against Anibal Sanchez (.231 ISO vs. L). Moustakas owns a .275 ISO vs. RHP this season, and even though Kauffman Stadium saps power, he's holding a .220 ISO in the split at home. Your other choices in this price range include Pablo Sandoval, so, uh, case closed.

Consider: Manny Machado

Outfield

Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton FD 5200 DK 5700
Opponent - COL (Anderson) Park - @COL
FD - 16.64 DK - 12.5

Now it's time for some real (projected) carnage. Stanton in Colorado vs. a lefty who gives up a .275 ISO vs. R is a near perfect storm. I mean, sure it's baseball, and guarantees don't exist. Stanton could charge four straight just shy of the the wall in dead center, take a golden sombrero, or hit six home runs (sure, why not). But we're dealing in probabilities here, and chances are about as good as they get that Stanton is gonna get into one tonight. He's got a .473 wOBA and .440 ISO vs. LHP this season, and that's while playing half his games in a cavernous home park. If you want to flex your powers of creativity, imagine what those numbers might look like with 81 games in Coors Field.

J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 4900 DK 5400
Opponent - SF (Moore) Park - @ARI
FD - 13.29 DK - 10.11

Ok. Let's just take a minute and talk about J.D. Martinez, because while everybody understands that he's good, I don't think what he's doing this year has been fully appreciated. He's got 43 home runs in 2017 (third most in baseball), but because he's had only 471 PAs, he hasn't even crossed the threshold of a qualified hitter. 43 bombs in 114 games. You know what that pace equates to over 162 games? 61 home runs. Yeah, that's what J.D. Martinez is doing this year. His numbers vs. LHP should come with a NSFW tag: .371/.462/.865. That's Bonds territory, so just keep that in mind if the price tag makes you hesitate.

Jay BruceJay Bruce FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - MIN (Colon) Park - @CLE
FD - 12.72 DK - 9.65

Yeah, he hasn't been great lately, but facing Bartolo Colon can fix a lot. Bruce is still holding down a .365 wOBA and .273 ISO vs. this season. Meanwhile, Colon is yielding a .243 ISO vs. LHP, has given up 16 runs in his last 11 IP, and the Indians have one of the highest implied totals on the board tonight. That puts Bruce, sitting the No. 5 slot in the order, in prime real estate.

ONE SENTIENT ASTROS OUTFIELDER

Prices vary

Who knows who the Astros are going to throw out there at this point. Their division crown is long since secured, and unless they feel like trying to chase down the Indians' two-game lead for best record in the AL, there's nothing left to play for in the regular season. So check the lineups, and see who fits. George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez would get top billing, but I'd even consider Carlos Beltran (min-priced) or Derek Fisher (nearly min-priced) in an LvL at this cost, because apparently FanDuel holds Cole Hamels in higher regard than our algorithm does. He's an average arm with a below average K rate at this point and every Astros OF we see is coming at a bargain relative to their talent (even if Beltran is a hollow shell at this point). Springer's our top choice if you're not going full punt, because even though he's slumped in the second half, we're willing to gamble on his .400+ wOBA vs. LHP in an extremely hitter-friendly park.

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4 Visitor Comments

  1. On large slates in bigger tournaments do u recommend paying down for pitching and spending more on bats? I just seem to fair better when i take a chance on pitching.

  2. This won’t be a satisfying answer, but it I think it depends. You’ve got to consider the overall expected offensive production slate-wide, how high is the ceiling for the top pitchers relative to the rest of the field, are there any cheap stacks who could go off and thereby allow you to still spend up a little more for pitching, etc, etc. In some ways it’s a really simple game, in some ways it’s really complex.

    But bottom line is there’s less variance on a game-to-game basis for pitchers, so that’s why it’s industry standard to pay up for them in cash games. In GPPs, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all-slates strategy. I’m not a max-entry guy, but building multiple lineups around a core of bats and mixing and matching a small handful of SPs has worked well for me.

  3. im starting bartolo colon and crossing my fingers this guys is 44 dollars are you kidding me he is a mmlb pitcher and can get you 25 points with ease to get any batter you want its a chance that deserves to be talked about honestly 44 dollars

  4. In a small field tournament like 67 people is it smart to fade or not fade the top pitchers? Who would you suggest sale or Ray or none of the above?

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