Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/16/18

Monday in baseball comes at us after a crazy day of postponed games the likes of which we've never seen before. The Red Sox Patriot's Day game has already been canceled for Monday and the Yankees' game isn't on the main slate. But we will still find the value and work out some of the better plays on the day.

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Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 9400 DK 11500
Opponent - WSH (A.J. Cole) Park - NYM
FD - 38.71 DK - 21.02
We miss the best pitching option on the day in Luis Severino because the Yankee game starts at 6:35 and isn’t on the main slate. So we are left to sort out the rest of the pieces for safety in cash games. deGrom hasn’t maintained the same level of K’s we saw from him last year, but 2017 could end being an outlier on that front. That being said, he’s still striking out a batter an inning and keeping the xFIP in the low 3’s. This isn’t a fantastic matchup, but there’s a dirty of high-quality arms on this slate (they were all scheduled to pitch on Sunday). Washington has a daunting top of the order, highlighted by Bryce Harper. But deGrom is a -171 favorite, the highest on the main slate of games. It’s a bit of a stretch on DraftKings, but the FanDuel pricing leaves plenty of room for bats.

Aaron NolaAaron Nola FD 8800 DK 10400
Opponent - ATL (Julio Teheran) Park - ATL
FD - 34.95 DK - 18.51
Nola hasn’t been able to sustain the kind of strikeout numbers he flashed in his first two seasons in the majors. He’s putting down less than 6.5 batters per nine in his first three starts of the season. The innings have been there, but he simply isn’t missing bats. I’m drumming it up to small sample size and encouraged that his most recent game against the Red (8IP, 6Ks) was his best of the young season. Atlanta doesn’t K a ton as a team and have been solid on offense this season, but Nola’s pedigree wins out here. The Phillies are -128 favorites which doesn’t leave a lot of breathing room when projecting a win, but Nola should be able to work through the bottom half of the Braves’ order.

Jaime GarciaJaime Garcia FD 6500 DK 7100
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TOR
FD - 29.99 DK - 14.6
If we are looking to go cheaper on DraftKings SP2, then Garcia does allow for some flexibility when it comes to rostering the bigger upside bats. He’s been excellent to start the season, striking out 12 batters in his first 11 1/3 innings. I don’t expect those numbers to continue over the course of the season considering he’s been much more an 8K/9 guy over the last couple of seasons. Though I do like that he’s utilizing his slider more than in the past. The Royals are sticking out 27% of the time against lefties on the young season and don’t have a formidable group of bats, especially from the righty platoon. Garcia is a -170 favorite which really helps in this price tier and I wouldn’t have an issue pairing him on DraftKings with one of the guys listed above.

First Base/Catcher

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3800 DK 4800
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TOR
FD - 12.24 DK - 9.15
The Angels and Royals getting randomly (and frustratingly) postponed on Sunday makes for the Blue Jays gain on Monday considering Eric Skoglund gets pushed back a day in the rotation. Most teams would revel in the opportunity to skip this guy’s start, but the Royals don’t have such a luxury. We’ll get more into his “skill set” later one, but suffice to say, he’s bad. This is Smoak’s killer platoon, considering he spent all of last season smoking lefties to a 160 wRC+ and .977 OPS. It continues career trend for the switch-hitter. Even at the inflated DraftKings’ price, he’s still a great player in one of the best matchups on the day.

Ian DesmondIan Desmond FD 2600 DK 3700
Opponent - PIT (Steven Brault) Park - PIT
FD - 10.25 DK - 7.87
Even outside of the friendly confines of Coors Field, there are times when we can considering playing the Rockies. When Steven Brault is on the bump being one of those times. The lefty struggles to miss bats (career 6.89 K/9) and the command is atrocious (4.22 BB/9). Desmond’s big issue is the strikeout, but that’s mitigated some in this kind of matchup. Again, we understand this game isn’t in Denver, but Desmond is a good value on FanDuel where he’s priced in the lower tier. He’s a career .778 OPS guy against lefties with the K% six percentage points lower in that split.

Strongly consider Wilson Ramos at catcher against Martin Perez. The latter has been as bad as ever this season, striking out less than four batters per nine, walking more guys than he’s striking out and rocking a career 4.5 xFIP. I really like this spot for the Rays on the cheap and C.J. Cron also works into the mix.

Second Base

DJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu FD 3800 DK 4300
Opponent - PIT (Steven Brault) Park - PIT
FD - 10.07 DK - 7.87
Like I mentioned with Ian Desmond, there are going to be times we are fine rostering Rockies’ bats outside of Coors. Lemahieu has moved to the leadoff spot with Nolan Arenado suspended after the brawl against the Padres. That moved Blackmon down the three hole and DJ has taken over the top spot. He’s a contact hitter through and through which profiles well in this matchup against a no-K arm like Brault. Understanding that PNC Park is very much a pitcher’s park we can still roster Lemahieu even at slightly elevated price points. He’s slightly better in the split against lefties for his career and in only 72 plate appearances this season is already halfway to his 2017 home run total.

Devon TravisDevon Travis FD 2200 DK 3000
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TOR
FD - 11.1 DK - 8.57
Can we just get him in the lineup against the lefty on Monday? Is this too much to ask? Although as long as I’m asking I’ll also plead to get him toward the top of the order now that the Blue Jays are down a righty bat in Josh Donaldson. Travis has been as bad as a hitter can be this season and I really don’t even want to post his 2018 stats because they will make your eyes bleed. I do believe it’s mostly a sample size issue as he’s a career mid .700’s OPS guy. He’s also now coming at near the minimums and I’d buy him in this matchup at a very weak second base position.

Consider Jonathan Villar against Luis Castillo


Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - PIT (Steven Brault) Park - PIT
FD - 11.43 DK - 8.61
Three straight positions, three straight Rockies away from Coors. What a time to be alive! Story projects to hit cleanup on Monday with Arenado out of the lineup and this matchup against Brault is a plus one. Story has major strikeout issues in his young career with the 35% K rate against lefties a particularly troubling number. But he walks more in this split (12%) and has a career .991 OPS against lefties. Some of that is BABIP-driven, but not to the point where we are dealing with outlier numbers. Dude can hit lefties and I like him enough in this matchup on a day where starting pitching won’t kill our salary caps.

Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 3500 DK 3000
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - OAK
FD - 11.01 DK - 8.39
God bless the A’s who’ve stuck with Semien in the two hole even with the 2018 31% K rate and no real hitting to show for it. But there he is, day and day out, hitting at the top of the lineup. We’ll take it. I do think some of the power numbers will start coming back around Reynaldo Lopez is such a gas can that we can consider stacking the A’s in this matchup. Lopez has 104 innings of a 5+ xFIP (don’t let this year’s 0.69 ERA fool you, he stinks). Semien is much better against lefties for his career, so this doesn’t line up as a plus platoon matchup, but Lopez’s struggles mitigate that concern. As long as Semien is near the top of the lineup we are good to go on these prices.

Strongly consider Jose Peraza on the cheap if he's hitting in the second spot

Third Base

Travis ShawTravis Shaw FD 3600 DK 3400
Opponent - CIN (Luis Castillo) Park - MIL
FD - 10.96 DK - 8.26
The hot corner is a weaker position on this slate so we need to poke around for some of the value. I don’t always like targeting guys against pitchers who do have K upside, but Castillo’s struggled to bring the swings and misses around this season even though he is walking fewer batters. Shaw has the advantage of a plus power ballpark in Miller Field and is coming off a .860 OPS season in 2017. The 31 home runs won’t likely get put on repeat, but he does have power upside and Castillo has long ball issues (2.25 HR/9 on the young season). Again, third base isn’t brimming with value plays but Shaw’s mid tier pricing is palpable because we aren’t going to pay a ton for pitching.

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 3100 DK 3100
Opponent - TB (Blake Snell) Park - TB
FD - 9.93 DK - 7.58
Blake Snell has flashed some of the K-upside we've seen in the minors, but dude is also still flashing that BB-stuff he's become known for in the majors. He just can't keep it around the plate on a consistent basis and that's a problem when facing major league bats. Beltre is a tough strikeout (14% for his career) and will get patient with wild arms. He walks close to 10% of the time and is coming off back-to-back .900 OPS seasons. He's a strong cash game play even on a Rangers' offense struggling for runs.

Matt DuffyMatt Duffy FD 2800 DK 3200
Opponent - TEX (Martin Perez) Park - TB
FD - 9.18 DK - 7.14
This is the old “when a bad hitter faces a bad pitcher someone needs to win” scenario. Duffy isn’t all that strong of a bat (understatement) but Martin Perez isn’t a soft-tossing arm without much K stuff. Duffy has hit in and around the middle of the order for the Rays who could be without Kevin Kiermaier on Monday. I’m mostly looking for Duffy to post anywhere from the five hole and up. If that’s the case then I’m fine running him as a below average bat in a plus spot.


Steve PearceSteve Pearce FD 2700 DK 3100
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TOR
FD - 11.69 DK - 8.85
As many bats as I can get against Skoglund then all the better. Dude can't strike anyone out (less than 6 per nine), allows a 42% hard contact rate for his career and just generally sucks. Pearce projects to hit leadoff in this matchup and has started this season mashing. He already has three home runs for his career owns a .843 OPS against lefties. The price is way too low if he's hitting at the top of the lineup in this matchup and I suspect if that's the case he'll be one of the chalkier bats going on Monday.
Consider Randal Grichuk as well if he's in the lineup against the lefty.

Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - CIN (Luis Castillo) Park - MIL
FD - 11.23 DK - 8.71
As mentioned with Travis Shaw, this is still a fine spot to target some Milwaukee bats even against a live arm like Castillo's. Cain is tough to strikeout and has a serviceable mid .700's OPS against righties for his career. It's the guy's worse split for sure, but he's coming in the lower tier on FanDuel. That's a spot we like to buy as long as he continues to hit leadoff or in the two hole. He also projects to swipe a bag or two (26 SBs last season, 4 already this year) and that’s a big boost on the upside, especially on FanDuel. I really like the cash game value even if I’m not enamored with the matchup.
Strongly consider Ryan Braun as well to complete this Milwaukee stack

Michael ConfortoMichael Conforto FD 4000 DK 4600
Opponent - WSH (Jeremy Hellickson) Park - NYM
FD - 11.69 DK - 8.76
Jay BruceJay Bruce FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - WSH (Jeremy Hellickson) Park - NYM
FD - 11.14 DK - 8.37
This is the longest I've ever gone in a picks article without mentioning Jeremy Hellickson when he's taking the mound. Hellickson is a particular brand of bad and is coming off his worst season. He spent 2017 with a 5.51 xFIP, while striking out 5.5 batters per nine, and allowing close to two home runs per nine. These aren't the kind of numbers that get you another major league gig, and yet here we are. Conforto is a strong cash game play considering his patience at the plate (20% walk rate this season) and has the power to provide upside. He's coming off a .930 OPS season.

Bruce has a similar profile with an above average walk rate and power in the platoon against righty arms. Stacking these two in cash games and GPPs has a high floor and awesome upside.


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