Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/5/18
The baseball season is in full swing as Thursday brings us to the one week mark. Today, we get another full day of action with a six-game early slate on both and three-game main slate on DraftKings and four-game main slate on FanDuel. There is also a potential pitchers duel at 1:05 p.m. ET and if you want exposure to that one you will have to get in on the all-day slate on FanDuel. Let's jump in and take a look at some of the top plays at each position.
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Price will take the hill in the Red Sox home opener on Thursday afternoon and will face the same Rays team he dominated last Friday. He went seven innings and threw just 76 pitches allowing four hits and striking out five picking up his first win of the season. It is a fantastic sign after an injury-riddled 2017 season where he made just 11 starts but positive was that he still continued to strike guys out at a 9.2 K/9 clip. He should be able to continue the hot start today against a Rays team that we will be talking about a lot this season and not in a good way. They struck out at a 25% clip last season(25.9% vs. lefties) and that trend has continued into the 2018 season as they currently sit with the third-highest K rate through the first week of the season(26.6%). Considering DraftKings has left out the Nationals/Mets and Orioles/Yankees game on the early slate, Price is my top pitcher this afternoon.
All-Day Slate(FD Only)
If you are playing the all-day slate on FanDuel today, you can get some exposure to an excellent projected pitchers duel in the Mets/Nationals game. My money is on the home team who will be throwing Stephen Strasburg on the bump for his second start of the season. The Nats are currently -150 favorites in a game with a low 7.0 over/under and Stras is coming off a tremendous first start where he allowed just three hits and one earned run(solo shot) in 6.1 innings while striking out seven Reds hitters. The Mets have started out hot winning four of their first five games but have yet to face a pitcher of Strasburg's caliber and their lineup, outside of Cespedes, is not that scary. Looking at the projection system, he is our highest ranked pitcher today and safe in all formats.
The three-game main slate tonight isn't the most attractive from a pitching standpoint so let's ride with the Robbie Ray who tops the raw points projections. The Diamondbacks are currently a small dog on the road in St. Louis but I would expect that to change by gameday(writing this night before). He got beat up in his first start giving up six earned runs to the Rockies but the good news is that the K upside was there as he struck out eight in just five innings of work after posting an elite 12.1 K/9 rate and 15.3% swinging strike rate in 28 starts last season. The Cardinals offense has been decent to start the season(.340 wOBA, 11 home runs) but the good news for Ray's upside is that they have whiffed a ton and currently sit with a 26% K rate. With an overall lack of safety at the position, I would tread lightly in cash games to begin with and think Ray comes with the most upside of any pitcher and is an excellent GPP play.
Consistency was definitely not one of Joey Gallo's strong suits last year as he posted a very poor .209 average but he broke out in a big way as he crushed 41 home runs, drove in 80 runs, and scored another 85 for the Rangers. He also did this while primarily hitting in the bottom half of the order. The Rangers must have seen something in the offseason as they have been hitting him out of the two-hole this season and it has been paying off as he has recorded at least one hit in four of his first six games with two home runs, four RBI, and three runs scored. Today, he gets a plus matchup vs. an inexperienced pitcher in Daniel Mengden who has posted a career 5.37 ERA/4.56 xFIP in 22 big league starts. Gallo's price is still in that second tier on both sites and as long as he remains at the top of the order, we should continue to use him in all formats.
Also Consider: Jose Abreu(CWS)
With Goldy, Rizzo, and Votto all struggling to start the season, it makes it a fairly easy choice to pivot to Bell on this small slate tonight. He comes in with a hit in all five games to start the season and hit his first homer yesterday and he now gets a juicy matchup against Homer Bailey who is coming off a season where he posted a 6.43 ERA and 13.1% HR/FB rate. He was decent in his first start holding the Nationals to four hits and one earned run but walked(3) as many as he struck out(3) which will eventually catch up to any pitcher. PNC Park is not the greatest hitters park but the price and matchup are very intriguing making him a safe choice in all formats on this small slate.
I will preface by saying that I much prefer Brian Dozier on DraftKings at a big discount and facing a lefty in James Paxton who was terrible in his first start but on FanDuel I will take Cano all day with his extreme consistency. He has posted a .280 or greater average in nine straight seasons and hit 20 or more home runs in eight of those nine seasons with the outlier being his first season in Seattle. He is still seeking his first home run of the 2018 season but went into Wednesday night with a hit in all four games(7 for 14) with three doubles, two RBI, and five runs scored. The matchup is a good one as he will face Kyle Gibson of the Twins who is coming off an atrocious season where he posted a 5.07 ERA and gave up 24 home runs in 29 starts(18.3% HR/FB rate). He shut out the Orioles in his first start but keep in mind the O's are currently bottom dwellers when looking at almost all offensive numbers.
I am going to stick with the narrative that Homer Bailey is just not a good pitcher and roll out Josh Harrison at second base tonight. After two games he has been moved up the leadoff spot for the Pirates and if you have been around DFSR long enough, you know how much emphasis we put on batting order when projecting hitters. He is currently 2 for 5 on Wednesday night which now gives him hits in three of his first five games with two multi-hit efforts and seven runs scored. As long as he remains at the top of the order, he is my top second basemen tonight.
Andrus is coming off a career year where he hit 20 home runs but that is most likely an outlier as it was the first time in his career he hit over 10 home runs. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be rostering him in DFS, especially in cash games, as he has been a very consistent option with right around a .300 average combined over the last two years with a .344 wOBA and 111 wRC+. He has also started 2018 on fire with hits in five straight games including three multi-hit efforts and four runs scored. Like I mentioned above with Gallo, the Rangers get a plus matchup vs. a fairly inexperienced pitcher in Daniel Mengden who gave up seven hits and five earned runs in his first start of the season and sits with a career 5.37 ERA in 22 starts. Fire up Andrus in all formats today.
Also Consider: Trevor Story(COL)
Speaking of consistent options, I am going right back to the well with DeJong who I wrote up Tuesday. He definitely didn't disappoint with three hits including his third home run of the season and with a hit on Wednesday night, extended his season-opening hit streak to six games with five RBI and five runs scored. The only knock on DeJong is that he is hitting down in the seven-hole for the Cardinals which downgrades his overall projection a tad with the batting order multiplier but I am willing to disregard that tonight and roll with him until he cools down.
Also Consider: Addison Russell(CHC)
While the Rockies have yet to play a game in Coors Field this season they are one of five teams to hit double-digit home runs. Today they a face a lefty and you can't talk lefty hitting without mentioning Nolan Arenado as he led the league in 2017 with a ridiculous .534 wOBA, 220 wRC+, and 1.313 OPS. He will face rookie Joey Lucchesi who was called up from Double-A to fill in for some injured starters and while he showed a ton of promise in the minors with a high K rate, he struggled in his first start striking out just one. He has an unorthodox delivery comparable to Clayton Kershaw but it is going to take some time to hone it in the big leagues and it is a terrible matchup for him against the Rockies. The price is high and there is enough value on the slate that we can roll with Arenado in all formats.
Also Consider: Matt Chapman(OAK)
It's going to be tough to pay all the way up for Kris Bryant on this small but if you can definitely do it as, like Arenado, he crushes left-handed pitching. After Bryant, however, the options are limited but one guy that stands out is Eugenio Suarez who may not be at the level of Bryant and Arenado when facing southpaws but wasn't too shabby himself as he posted a .383 wOBA and 135 wRC+ in 2017 and his one home run this season was also off a lefty. He will also get a bit of a boost if he gets moved back up near the top of the lineup. Keep an eye on the lineups prior to lineup lock.
While the Mariners are down the list a bit in implied runs on the early slate, I think they make excellent targets today vs. Kyle Gibson. Like I mentioned with Cano, he is coming off back to back season with a 5.07 ERA and a 14.5% and 18.3% HR/FB rate. Adding to that, he also gave up harder contact(37.4%) against right-handed batters and the M's outfield has two of them that have started the season extremely consistent. They have very different skill sets as Dee Gordon leads off and is a speed/run-scoring threat while Haniger hits in the middle of the order and can provide power as he showed in his first full(ish) season in the majors with 16 home runs in 96 games with a .209 ISO and 129 wRC+. Both hitters have started the season with at least one hit in all five of the Mariners games and get a great opportunity to extend those streaks today. Play them as one-offs or as a part of a Mariners stack in all formats.
Also Consider: Khris Davis(OAK)
He got the day off yesterday against Lefty Alex Wood but should be back up at the top of the order for the Diamondbacks today as they open a series vs. the Cardinals. Peralta was moved into the leadoff role halfway through last season and hasn't looked back since and has started the 2018 season with hits in four of his five starts with for .304/.385/.435 slash line and will continue to get a ton of opportunity to score runs with productive hitters in A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, and Jake Lamb hitting behind him.
Also Consider: Dexter Fowler(STL)
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- David_Price_on_August_17,_2016: By Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons