Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/19/18
Welcome back baseball fans. Thursday brings us another full day of action with three early games(two on FanDuel) and a five-game main slate. There is also a Yankees/Blue Jays game sandwiched in the middle and to get some exposure you will have to play the all-day slate on FanDuel. For the purpose of this article, we will be looking solely at the five games this evening so let's jump in and take a look at a few of the top plays.
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Greinke has had a couple rough starts on the road giving up five and four earned runs to the Cardinals and Dodgers but he returns home tonight where he has been surprisingly better. He shut down the Rockies in his first start allowing just one earned run while striking out nine and looking at a larger sample, he posted a 2.87 ERA at home with a 10.16 K/9 rate(3.65 ERA, 8.76 K/9 on road). On top of the splits, he also gets a terrific matchup vs. the Giants who sit near the bottom of the league in hitting with a .280 wOBA, 78 wRC+, and best of all a 24.9% strikeout rate. All things considered, Greinke is the top pitcher on the main slate and safe in all formats.
If you are looking to go a little more balanced on the main slate, consider Chase Anderson of the Brewers. He isn't going to provide the same strikeout upside as Grienke but has been solid outside of the start vs. the Cardinals allowing two or fewer earned runs in the other three starts. He gets a big boost in his projection tonight as the Brewers open as huge -200 favorite at home to the Marlins who have been arguably one of the worst offenses in baseball with a .276 wOBA, 75 wRC+, 23.7% K rate, and are one of just three teams without double-digit home runs as a team. That is good news as Anderson has left some balls up in the zone this season giving up four home runs already. He makes a nice SP2 on DraftKings on this small slate or GPP pitcher at a discount on FanDuel if you plan on loading up the bats.
Early Slate Consideration: Charlie Morton(HOU) vs. SEA
Overall Goldy has been inconsistent to open the season as he is hitting just .232 and striking out at a 25% rate but there are signs of life, however. He has been getting on base like a boss with a .386 OBP and has been destroying left-handed pitching as well with eight hits in 21 at-bats including three of his four home runs. More good news as he will face a struggling Ty Blach of the Giants who has walked(9) as many batters as he has struck out(9) through four starts and has been considerably worse against right-handed batters giving up a .362 wOBA(.270 to LH). He has yet to give up a home run this season but tonight could very well be the first. Lock and load Goldy in all formats.
If you are looking to save some salary and pivot to a lower-owned option in GPP's consider the Pirates offense and Josh Bell who hits in the cleanup spot. He has yet to find his power swing with just one home run on the season but is still making hard contact(31.4%) and showed us last season he can produce as he hit 26 home runs with 90 RBI. The matchup vs. Jake Arrieta will definitely help keep the ownership down tonight but the good news is that he hasn't been great to start the season striking out just six batters and walking four through two starts while giving up two earned runs in each.
The Braves have been somewhat of a surprise to start the season as they sit with a Top 5 offense over the first three weeks of the season. Leading the way has been 21-year-old Ozzie Albies who has been impressive in his second season in the big leagues as he entered Wednesday night with a .310/.338/.662 slash line and is flashing power he never really showed in the minors as he already has five long balls. While there is likely no way he is a 20 home run hitter, he has extra-base potential with eight doubles and has scored 16 runs and will continue to get those opportunities hitting in the two-hole. Tonight, he will face Matt Harvey who is not the "Dark Knight" we were all used to prior to the injuries and has been crushed his last two times out giving up eight earned runs including three long balls. All things considered, Albies is a great target in all formats.
When looking for a salary relief/value play we don't necessarily need to hit a home run(for lack of a better phrase) but rather we are looking for opportunity and that is exactly what Ketel Marte offers. He has been a staple at the top of the Diamondbacks lineup in the two-hole and went into Wednesday night showing some consistency with at least one hit in 10 of his last 11 games. On top of that, he has been crushing left-handed pitching with a .392 wOBA including three doubles and two triples. From a PTS/$ perspective, Marte is a great play in all formats at a position that is pretty thin on this small slate and as a bonus, you can also use him as a shortstop on DraftKings.
The first thing to note here is that the shortstop position is a wasteland tonight on this five-game main slate. The other thing to note is the positional labels for these two Angels players as both are considered shortstops on FanDuel while Simmons is a shortstop on DraftKings and Cozart is second and third base eligible. Cozart is my favorite play of the two as he has more power and drives in more runs and has also been hitting much higher in the lineup throughout the season despite hitting fifth last game. Simmons, on the other hand, has been more consistent to start the season with an impressive .313 average and .370 on-base percentage and comes in the mid $3K range on both sites. The matchup isn't the greatest against Eduardo Rodriguez but beggars can't be choosers at this position tonight.
Third base isn't much better tonight as there are no superstars but the one play that stands out from a value perspective is Todd Frazier of the Mets. After posting back to back seasons with averages of .225 and .212, he has to be thrilled with his start to the 2018 season as he went into Wednesday night with a .283 average and elite .420 on-base percentage. The power hasn't quite caught up to where we expect it but it will come as he is hitting the ball extremely hard(42% hard contact) and he has been producing as he sits second behind Cespedes with 11 RBI on the team. The Braves just announced they will spot start Lucas Sims on Thursday and he really struggled in 2017 with a 5.62 ERA/5.15 xFIP while walking over 3.5 batters per nine over 10 starts(14 appearances). Get the Toddfather into your lineups in all formats tonight.
I wrote about Greinke as my top pitcher on the main slate tonight but with Longo's price on both sites, I think we can take the risk especially if you are fading Greinke in GPP formats. He came over in the offseason after spending 10 years with the Rays and while he got off to a slow start with his new team he has been heating up lately. He comes in with hits in five of his last six games including four multi-hit efforts, three doubles, and two home runs. It is also promising that after a career where he was more dominant vs. southpaws he was much better against righties last season with a .322 wOBA/102 wRC+(.8/79 vs. LH). He definitely isn't a cash game play for me tonight but I will have some exposure in GPP formats where I am hedging against Greinke.
Even on a small slate, there is a ton of value at other positions to allow us to get one or even two superstars into our lineups. As of now, it is neck and neck in the system between Betts and Trout in the outfield as the two top offenses in baseball faceoff tonight. I am leaning Mike Trout who is arguably the best player in baseball and contributes in all stat categories besides pitching. He is off to a hot start and on pace, once again, to contend for MVP(won it in 2014 & 2016) and comes in with hits in five straight and eight of his last nine games with four home runs and eight RBI and is currently sitting with a career-high 46% hard contact rate. Start your lineups tonight with Trout or Goldschmidt and fill in around them and walk away a winner.
If you are fading Trout and Betts with their high price tags and going more balanced in the outfield consider the Mets tandem of Conforto and Nimmo. Conforto is best used on FanDuel where he comes in under $4K and while he hasn't yet broken out in 2018 he has been consistent with hits in six of his eight starts and has been hitting leadoff most nights. He is coming off a huge season where he cranked out 27 home runs with a .279/.384/.555 slash line and it won't be long before he gets back to that level as he is currently getting on base at a .429 clip with a 140 wRC+ through 11 games. Nimmo has been getting limited playing time once again this season but when he does start, he has hit at the top of the lineup and in 27 plate appearances has a .481 on-base percentage with .714 slugging % thanks to triples in each of his last two starts while adding a home run and three runs scored. The Mets get a nice matchup where they should be able to put runs against a Lucas Sims who is making a spot start on Thursday.
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- Paul Goldschmidt: AP Photo/Matt York