Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/17/18

Major league Tuesday brings us a full day of action with 16 games. The Blue Jays and Royals will play a doubleheader, while MIA/NYY and BAL/DET will comprise a micro early slate. With 13 games on the main, we've got plenty to pore through to find the top value plays of the day. Let's go through position by position to see our projection system's top plays.

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Corey KluberCorey Kluber FD 11400 DK 12100
Opponent - MIN (Jake Odorizzi) Park - MIN
FD - 44.16 DK - 24.45
We'll open up tonight's picks with one of my favorite arms to lock in every five days or so, Corey Kluber. I wrote up Kluber in our pitchers/stacks article on Saturday before the Indians game against the Jays was postponed. Here's a little snippet of what I wrote about Kluber then:

Corey Kluber ended 2017 with the lowest xFIP among all qualified pitchers in the game (2.52). After a subpar start to the season, the Indians placed Kluber on the DL, and he returned a new man, and possibly with a bionic arm. He ended the season with 18 wins, five complete games, three shutouts, a 0.869 WHIP and 11.71 K/9. He's picking up this season right where he left off. Through three starts CK has thrown 23 innings, allowing four earned runs, on 11 hits while striking out 10.57 batters per nine.

Nothing has changed. The Indians have had three days off, and Kluber's been inactive since last Monday against the Tigers. The tribe are still huge favorites (-197) against a Twins team that are slightly above average with a .324 team wOBA against RHP while striking out 24.9% of the time against the split. Kluber's my favorite arm on the slate and it isn't even close.

Zack WheelerZack Wheeler FD 6300 DK 7700
Opponent - WSH (Gio Gonzalez) Park - NYM
FD - 29.35 DK - 15
Zack Wheeler will take the hill for the Mets tonight in a game that is basically a pick'em. The opening line from Vegas has both Washington and New York at -104. With odds like that why pay up for Gio Gonzalez when we can get Wheeler for significantly less as an SP2 on DraftKings, or a solid GPP option on FanDuel? Wheeler threw a gem in his only appearance of the season, a seven-inning, seven strikeout game against the Marlins in which he gave up just one run on two hits. Wheeler has been a solid arm for the Mets in his first three seasons, posting a 3.87 xFIP, with solid K upside and just over one walk per nine innings pitched. Now, of course, there's a world of difference between the Marlins and the Nationals. Washington has this guy Bryce Harper, perhaps you've heard of him? If Wheeler can keep him in check, he should be able to limit the damage against a Nationals team with a .323 team wOBA that strikes out 21.5% of the time.

Consider: Masahiro Tanaka in the early/all day slates.

First Base/Catcher

Wilson RamosWilson Ramos FD 2000 DK 2800
Opponent - TEX (Matt Moore) Park - TB
FD - 9.75 DK - 7.48
C.J. CronC.J. Cron FD 2600 DK 2800
Opponent - TEX (Matt Moore) Park - TB
FD - 9.46 DK - 7.22
Last night Doug suggested you consider these guys against Martin Perez who has been terrible this season to put it nicely. Well the pair are once again in play as Tampa looks to be one of the top stacks of the day in our early projections. Tonight they draw Matt Moore, who has been equally as bad as Perez. Moore is sporting a 6.48 xFIP through his first three games, walking nearly as many batters per nine as he's striking out, and a 44.7 hard hit percentage. Ramos hit lefties to the tune of a .335 wOBA in 2017, while Cron held a .267 ISO and .331 wOBA against the split last season with the Angels. Hitting in the heart of an order that should put up a ton of runs tonight the pair are an excellent way to start a Tampa stack.

Russell MartinRussell Martin FD 2200 DK 3100
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - TOR
FD - 10.5 DK - 7.85
Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3800 DK 4500
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - TOR
FD - 12.54 DK - 9.38
So, now it seems even dome stadiums aren't impervious to the elements. The Royals, who had their game on Sunday hosting the Angels postponed headed north to Toronto yesterday for a game against the Blue Jays (coming off of their own pair of postponements) in the Rogers Centre. Mother nature felt the teams needed another day of rest and falling ice creating dangerous conditions in and around the domed stadium led to yet another postponement. They'll make it up today with Danny Duffy to take the hill for the Royals. Duffy finally put together a decent outing against the Mariners in his last start after falling into trouble early on, but his 2018 numbers are still on par with 2017 which was not good. He's got solid K stuff, but the 4.97 xFIP and 40% hard-hit percentage make a prime target for the Blue Jays bats. Russell Martin sports a career .349 wOBA against southpaws, while Justin Smoak hit them for a 160 wRC+ and .977 OPS last season. Both are excellent plays against Duffy.

Wilmer FloresWilmer Flores FD 2700 DK 3400
Opponent - WSH (Gio Gonzalez) Park - NYM
FD - 10.5 DK - 8.05
It's not often we target Gio Gonzalez. He's got a career 3.76 xFIP, strikes out nearly a batter per inning, and knows how to keep the ball in the yard. We can, however, make an exception with Wilmer Flores who hits in the top of the Mets order and who sports a price tag on the bargain side of the spectrum. Flores, who has never been a guy known for his power, hit his second home run in less than a week against the Brewers on Sunday. He's got 2018 off to a healthy start, hitting with a .347 wOBA, .320 ISO, and .806 OPS. He's showing discipline at the plate, walking 10.7% of the time, while striking out just 10.7% of the time. You can't ask for much better for the price, and you can certainly make the argument to target Gio in this spot.

Second Base

Jonathan VillarJonathan Villar FD 2700 DK 3000
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - MIL
FD - 10.01 DK - 7.71
Jonathan Villar spent much of the first few weeks of the season hitting in the middle of the Brewers order which didn't do us any favors for fantasy value. In three of his last four starts he's been moved to the leadoff spot, which has helped his value quite a bit. Although the numbers are down this season, there's reason to be optimistic that Villar turns things around if Milwaukee keeps him at the top of the order ahead of guys like Braun and Thames. He sees a favorable match-up tonight against Sal Romano. The Brewers are a team we're going to examine several times today, and Villar can be used in a stack if he drops back down in the order, but can also make a standalone cash play batting lead-off.

Jason KipnisJason Kipnis FD 3400 DK 3100
Opponent - MIN (Jake Odorizzi) Park - MIN
FD - 10.54 DK - 8.05
Jason Kipnis and the Indians open their series against the Twins who send Jake Odorizzi to the hill tonight. Odorizzi has put together some quality starts in the young season, despite some control issues. In his last two games he's walked more batters than he has struck out and despite his 2.20 ERA, he's sporting a 4.97 xFIP. Kipnis meanwhile was just starting to open up before the weather shut the Indians down for the weekend. Before the two postponements, Kipnis went 5-14 in his last three games. He has a career .345 wOBA and .797 OPS against RHP for his career. As mid-tiered price options go, Kipnis is among the best on the day.

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4500 DK 4800
Opponent - SEA (Ariel Miranda) Park - SEA
FD - 13.2 DK - 10.21
Second base is quite the embarrassment of riches today. You can't go wrong no matter how you spend. If you need value, you've got Villar, if you don't need to skimp you can lock in Kipnis. If you've got the funds to spend up, then Jose Altuve is your guy. Altuve is picking up this season where he left off in 2017. He's ranked top ten in the position in wOBA (.353), and wRC+ (131). He's got a .783 OPS and .75 BB/K ratio. The Mariners will counter Altuve and the Astros with Ariel Miranda making his first start of the season. Miranda sucked last year; his 5.41 xFIP was one of the worst in all of the majors. He walked 2.25 more batters per nine than he K'ed, and he allowed 2.08 HR/9. Altuve isn't a power hitter by any stretch which limits his upside, though if he's going to hit one out tonight is the perfect night. I'll still limit him to cash games or maybe as part of a mini Astros stack.



Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD 3600 DK 4200
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 12.06 DK - 9.17
Bryan Mitchell spent much of his career in the Yankees bullpen. In four seasons in the Bronx, Mitchell started nine games of the 48 he appeared in. The Padres think they can make a starter out of Mitchell, so far, they've been dead wrong. Mitchell has made three starts so far this season in San Diego, he's allowed eight runs in 13 innings, while walking 14 and striking out three. This matchup comes at the right time for Corey Seager, who's off to a quiet start with a .241 wOBA and 0.55 ISO. Over his career Seager has been a force against RHP (.377 wOBA, .889 OPS, .197 ISO). If Seager is going to turn things around, there's no time like the present. This matchup is screaming upside and Seager is an excellent play in all formats.

Adeiny HechavarriaAdeiny Hechavarria FD 2000 DK 2700
Opponent - TEX (Matt Moore) Park - TB
FD - 7.42 DK - 5.85
With news of Kevin Kiermaier needing thumb surgery, the Rays are shaking up their lineup a bit. Adeiny Hechavarria made a huge jump last night to the two hole after spending the early part of the season in the bottom of the order. If the Rays keep him batting second, he's a superb value option and an excellent part of a Tampa stack. This play is less about Hechavarria and more about his spot in the order and the match-up. If he stays in the top of the order against a sub-par lefty with a career 4.60 xFIP, and 30.9 hard hit percentage then it's hard to argue against these prices.

Strongly consider Marcus Semien against Miguel Gonzalez.

Third Base

Travis ShawTravis Shaw FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - MIL
FD - 11.21 DK - 8.45
Travis Shaw is an excellent way to find some value at the hot corner if it's needed against the right hander Sal Romano. Romano is allowing a .336 wOBA to left handed hitters, with a 35.9 hard hit percentage, while walking nearly 12% on the left side. This could provide a boost for Shaw who has only gone yard twice this season, but who ended last season with an .890 OPS and 31 home runs. He's opened the season with a .322 wOBA and .752 OPS, if he could just work on his patience (0.18 BB/K ratio this season) he'd be mighty dangerous at the plate.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD 4000 DK 4100
Opponent - SEA (Ariel Miranda) Park - SEA
FD - 12.93 DK - 9.84
I don't know that paying up at third is necessary, with some nice value plays to consider, but if you have the funds, you can certainly look to Alex Bregman against Ariel Miranda. We discussed Miranda when we covered Altuve earlier, and nothing has changed. He still sucks. He probably walked two batters and gave up a home run in the time it took you to read this. He's that bad, and he's going to have a long night working his way through this Astros lineup. Bregman eats lefties for breakfast. He's got a career .371 wOBA, 137 wRC+, and .880 OPS against the split. Again, I don't think we need to pay up at the position, but if you choose to, it's nice to know you can do so with confidence.

Matt DuffyMatt Duffy FD 2700 DK 3100
Opponent - TEX (Matt Moore) Park - TB
FD - 9.28 DK - 7.22
As we established earlier, Kevin Kiermaier will be out for 8-12 weeks following thumb surgery. With that news, Danny Duffy moved to the lead-off spot in the Rays lineup last night after hovering in the 5-6 spot all season. Duffy's not the most impressive name on the Rays Roster (which is saying something) but hitting lead-off adds a bit of appeal at these prices especially going up against Matt Moore. We've already looked at Ramos, Cron, and Hechavarria. All Duffy needs to do is find his way on base and let them do the rest.


Steve PearceSteve Pearce FD 2700 DK 3100
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - TOR
FD - 11.99 DK - 9.07
Teoscar HernandezTeoscar Hernandez FD 2700 DK 2600
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - TOR
FD - 11.41 DK - 8.7
We looked at a pair of Jays earlier, now we're going to discusss the one-two punch at the top of their order. Pearce should be hitting leadoff against the left-hander Duffy. Dating back to the start of last season, Pearce has a .332 wOBA and a .265 ISO against southpaws. Hernandez made his debut with the Jays last Friday after being called up from AAA and made an immediate impact. He went 2-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and swiped a bag for good measure. Duffy's kind of terrible against the right side of the plate. He's allowing a .373 wOBA to open up this season and his career numbers aren't much better. The Blue Jays should do big damage tonight and make for a top team stack on the slate.

Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 2800 DK 3800
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - MIL
FD - 11.49 DK - 8.91
Doug covered a lot of the Brewer bats last night against Luis Castillo. They see a much better matchup tonight against Sal Romano making his twentieth career start over what is starting out to be a rough major league career, which is why you're seeing them here yet again. Romano comes in with a career 4.68 xFIP and so far this season he's walking more batters than he's striking out (-2.8 K-BB%). He's allowing 1.76 HR/9, and that could lead to big trouble in a park like Miller. Lorenzo Cain leads off for Milwaukee and comes to us in the lower pricing tier on both sites. Cain's a value bat in a prime matchup. The floor is high, and the ceiling can't be seen. I'll be sure to have plenty of exposure in all formats tonight.

Matt JoyceMatt Joyce FD 2800 DK 3100
Opponent - CHW (Miguel Gonzalez) Park - OAK
FD - 11.16 DK - 8.34
We'll close things out in Oakland with Matt Joyce against the White Sox Miguel Gonzalez. Gonzalez has lasted just 9.1 IP through his first two starts allowing 9 ER, 16 hits, four free passes, and four strikeouts. It's par for the course for a guy with a 4.70 career xFIP. He's going to struggle against the lefties in this Oakland lineup like Joyce, who has a career .338 wOBA, and .776 OPS. Joyce has been impressive at the plate to open the season. In 58 plate appearances, he's reached base 22 times, and he's showing much more discipline with a 1.38 BB/K ratio. If you get to that last OF sport and need to get out cheap, Joyce is the perfect way to go.

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to drop any questions or comments below, and good luck out there tonight. Cheers!


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1 Visitor Comment

  1. FYI. Duffy only made it one at bat yesterday before being pulled with a tight hamstring.

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