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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/21/2018
Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/21/18

Saturday in the Major League sees split slate action, with six early games, and nine on the main slate. We'll focus primarily on the main slate while giving you some of our projection systems better plays to consider in the early set as well. Let's go position by position to break down the top options of the day.

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Pitcher

Chris SaleChris Sale FD 11500 DK 12000
Opponent - OAK (Sean Manaea) Park - OAK
FD - 44.53 DK - 25.06
We'll open things up tonight with Chris Sale in Oakland where the Sox continue their weekend series with the A's. Despite having just one win under his belt to open the season Sale has still been his dominant self. He's surrendered three earned runs in four starts and is striking out 12.68 batters per nine. As we approach the end of the opening month of the season, he's rocking a top five xFIP of 2.25 picking up right where he left off last season. The Athletics have an above average .325 team wOBA against southpaws, but they strikeout 23.2% of the time against the split while walking just 6.6% of the time. The one concern, if you can call it that, with Sale is that he hasn't gone more than six innings through his first four starts, though when he does go deep, he's going to pay off huge. Primarily Sale is my lock for cash games with the K upside providing safety even in just a five or six inning night, with potential for huge GPP upside as well.

Stephen StrasburgStephen Strasburg FD 9800 DK 10500
Opponent - LAD (Hyun-Jin Ryu) Park - LAD
FD - 39.27 DK - 21.53
If you just can't quite make the funds work in your favor to get Sale, you can always take the savings on Stephen Strasburg. Stras hasn't been as dominant at the dish as Sale has been to open the season. He's run into trouble on a couple of occasions, but when he's locked in, he's got as much upside. Coming off a season where he finished in the top ten in K/9 (10.47) and xFIP (3.27) we know Strasburg has the right stuff, but he's only put together two quality starts through his first four of this year with a concerning 8.89 K/9. Some positive regression is due, and it could begin tonight against an average Dodgers offense with a .309 team wOBA and 20.6 K%. The struggles against the Mets and Rockies give me a little concern in cash games, but as a GPP pivot, Stras has a ceiling close enough to Sale while allowing salary relief for some stronger bats as well.

Garrett RichardsGarrett Richards FD 8400 DK 7700
Opponent - SF (Derek Holland) Park - LAA
FD - 33.54 DK - 17.28
As an SP2 on DraftKings, or as a value target on FanDuel Garrett Richards is in a great spot tonight against the Giants. The Angels are -197 favorites in this game which is the best line on the main slate. Richards has yet to make it out of the sixth inning through four starts this season, due to some control issues. Regardless he's limiting the damage, allowing two runs or less in his last three starts, while striking out 10.8 per nine, which is three full batters more than his career total. While some regression may be due, don't expect it tonight against the Giants who strikeout 25% of the time and sport a pitiful .281 combined team wOBA. Richards is a high floor, high ceiling play and can easily be considered in all formats.

Early slate: Jordan Montgomery Vs. TOR & Mike Clevinger Vs. BAL

First Base/Catcher

Evan GattisEvan Gattis FD 2700 DK 3600
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - CHW
FD - 10.47 DK - 7.91
Evan Gattis received the night off last night as the Astros opened their series with the White Sox, following a productive four games against the Mariners during which he went 4 for 14 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. He should be back in the lineup tonight against the right-hander Lucas Giolito making his fifteenth career start. Giolito pitches to contact which should benefit Gattis who comes into the game with a .364 BABIP and .630 OPS against RHP through the start of the season. As value plays go, Gattis provides us a way to gain exposure to the potent Houston offense without an extreme salary commitment.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4100 DK 5000
Opponent - COL (Tyler Anderson) Park - COL
FD - 14.68 DK - 10.95
So, there's a game in Coors Field tonight, and while I promise not to overrun the article with plays from the game, I'd be remiss not to at least point out the top plays. Anthony Rizzo is back after spending some time on the DL earlier in the month. He'll step to the dish tonight against the Rockies Tyler Anderson. Anderson has made three of his four starts on the road this season and managed to limit the Padres to just two runs in his lone start at home. Anderson's got decent numbers, especially for a guy who makes most of his starts in Coors, but we can still target him with Rizzo, who hits LHP with a career .345 wOBA and .787 OPS. You can always consider a Coors stack, but if you're simply looking for a standalone play from the game Rizzo is among the top of the bunch in our MLB projection system.

Early slate: Edwin Encarnacion Vs. BAL (Chris Tillman) & Victor Martinez Vs. KC (Danny Duffy)

Second Base

Starlin CastroStarlin Castro FD 2800 DK 3600
Opponent - MIL (Brent Suter) Park - MIL
FD - 8.85 DK - 6.89
The Marlins are not the Yankees, but even in this weak Miami lineup Starlin Castro continues to put up solid fantasy production. The former Bronx bomber is still looking for his first home run of the season and picks up a huge boost in park factor this weekend in Miller, one of last seasons top ten hitters parks. Brent Suter, who now in his third season, carries a career 4.23 xFIP and no K upside is a favorable matchup for Castro who has always performed better against southpaws. His .334 wOBA and .768 OPS against the split hitting in the top of the order at these prices make for a strong cash game play, that easily allows us to pay up for the top arms on the slate.

Ian KinslerIan Kinsler FD 3900 DK 4300
Opponent - SF (Derek Holland) Park - LAA
FD - 12.26 DK - 9.41
If you do have the funds to spend up at the position, however, consider Ian Kinsler. The former Tiger played in just six games heading into this weekend's series against the Giants courtesy of some time on the DL, but he has produced in all but one of those, going 8 for 23 with a home run, two RBI, three runs scored, and two swiped bags. Kinsler, now in his thirteenth season has always loved hitting lefties, as evidenced by his .377 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and .877 OPS against the split. The Angels have the highest run projections outside of Coors Field, and with Kinsler leading off ahead of guys like Trout, Upton, and Pujols only good things can happen.

Ketel MarteKetel Marte FD 3100 DK 3500
Opponent - SD (Clayton Richard) Park - ARI
FD - 9.68 DK - 7.58
You'll want to check the lineups on this one. Ketel Marte had a firm hold on the two hole in the Arizona lineup all season; then last night was bumped down to the five spot following a 1 for 13 stretch over the three-game series against the Giants earlier this week. If the move is permanent, then Marte loses some appeal as he stands to see fewer at-bats, and the run production could drop off as well, which is a big hit to a player who has crossed the plate eight times this season. If Marte continues batting fifth, I'll roll with the two guys above. If he returns to the two hole, then he's right back in the conversation.

Early slate: Jason Kipnis Vs. BAL (Chris Tillman)

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Shortstop

Jean SeguraJean Segura FD 3000 DK 3700
Opponent - TEX (Bartolo Colon) Park - TEX
FD - 11.05 DK - 8.67
Bartolo Colon flirted with perfection last Sunday, allowing just one run on one hit and a walk in 7.2 IP against the powerful Houston offense. Don't let that scare you off though. I for one plan to throw every bat I can find at the 44-year-old right-hander, starting with Jean Segura. Segura, with a career .317 wOBA and .731 OPS against RHP has cooled off a bit after a hot start to the season, with just two hits in his last five games heading into the weekend, but hitting second in one of my favorite stacks of the night in the low-mid pricing tier we find one of the top projections at the position. Sunday's bid at perfection aside, Colon comes into tonight with 530 starts under his belt, a career 4.15 xFIP, no K upside, and a 44.7% hard-hit rate, after posting a career-high 35.8% last season. I'm all about the Mariners stack tonight and it starts with Segura.

Addison RussellAddison Russell FD 3400 DK 3800
Opponent - COL (Tyler Anderson) Park - COL
FD - 11.39 DK - 8.62
We looked at Anthony Rizzo earlier, Addison Russell is another top play out of Coors to consider in both tournaments and cash games. Russell doesn't see the same inflation in price of many of the other Coors players, primarily because he hits in the bottom of the Chicago order. However, when a team is projected for 5+ runs in a game, even the bottom of the order guys are going to see plenty of at-bats and plenty of opportunities to produce. Russell came into last night's series opener with hits in three straight games and is walking 14.1% of the time to open up the season. Russell holds one of the top raw point projections at a position that tends to be a throwaway and is an excellent option in all formats.

Zack CozartZack Cozart FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - SF (Derek Holland) Park - LAA
FD - 10.95 DK - 8.36
Zack Cozart is quite similar to Addison Russell, as he sits in a powerful lineup projected to put up a ton of runs tonight, but he hits in the bottom of the order, so the price allows us exposure without a hefty salary commitment. Both Cozart and Russell's prices across the industry are similar, and they project for similar point totals. Cozart is off to a strong start with his new team, sporting a .312 wOBA, and .713 OPS. Derek Holland has struggled against the right side of the dish through his career with a .347 wOBA allowed. When I'm not stacking Mariners, I'll probably split my exposure evenly between Russell and Cozart.

Early slate: J.P. Crawford Vs. PIT (Steven Brault)

Third Base

Kyle SeagerKyle Seager FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - TEX (Bartolo Colon) Park - TEX
FD - 11.33 DK - 8.56
Back to the Mariners we go to pick on Bartolo Colon some more. Kyle Seager is reasonably priced across the industry, and projects for the top points per dollar at the position tonight. Seager opened up the series last night going 2 for 5 with an RBI. It was a nice turn around after a four-game skid against the Astros ended Seager's five game hit streak. The left-handed hitting Seager will look to start a new streak tonight against Colon. Over his career, Seager has been dominant against the split, with a .349wOBA 125 wRC+, and .810 OPS. Batting fifth in the order, Seager is a key piece to have in a Mariners GPP stack, and also a strong standalone cash play given the cost and the matchup.

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 3300 DK 3300
Opponent - SEA (James Paxton) Park - TEX
FD - 10.72 DK - 8.18
We've targeted Bartolo Colon a couple of times already, and we will target him again. That doesn't mean we can't look to the opposing dugout for some value. Adrian Beltre is now in his twenty-first season in the majors and is showing no signs of slowing down. He ended 2017 with a .384 wOBA, the fourth highest of his career. He's opening up this season with a .300/363/414 slash line and .777 OPS. James Paxton has looked sharp through his last three starts after a rough opening to the season against the Indians, but for $3,300 on both sites, the Rangers cleanup hitter is a strong value play given the matchup.

Early slate: Matt Carpenter Vs. STL (Homer Bailey)

Outfield

Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 3000 DK 4600
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - MIL
FD - 13.04 DK - 9.91
In the outfield, we've got a trio of players, all in excellent matchups. We'll start out with Ryan Braun facing off against Jose Urena. Urena leaves behind his pitcher-friendly home park for Miller Park, which favors the hitters. With a career 5.09 xFIP, 1.74 K/BB, and 31.9% hard-hit rate, Urena is a pitcher we can target anywhere, but a favorable park adds to the appeal. Ryan Braun is opening up 2018 with a .306 wOBA, .250 ISO and five home runs already (two in the past two games). In his last three games, he's 5 for 10 with three extra-base hits, five RBI, and three runs scored. He's hitting everything thrown at him, literally, and should be able to do some serious damage on Urena. Braun's priced perfectly for cash games with plenty of upside to use him in tournaments as well.

Nelson CruzNelson Cruz FD 3300 DK 4300
Opponent - TEX (Bartolo Colon) Park - TEX
FD - 12.67 DK - 9.51
We've already covered Jean Segura and Kyle Seager. We're going to round out out Mariners coverage with Nelson Cruz. Cruz has played in seven straight games since coming off of the DL last week, and though the Mariners may want to rest him at some point, it's hard to imagine taking the bat out of his hand right now. He was 2 for four last night, giving him four hits in his last five games, including two doubles and a home run. Though his numbers are better against southpaws, it's hard to ignore the .357 wOBA, 122 wRC+, .239 ISO and .836 OPS against RHP over his career, while Colon has struggled with the right side of the plate over his whole career. It's an excellent spot for the Mariners cleanup hitter who has plenty of potential upside on these prices and is an excellent play everywhere.

Jay BruceJay Bruce FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - ATL (Julio Teheran) Park - ATL
FD - 10.74 DK - 8.07
We'll close out with Jay Bruce in SunTrust Park for a game against Julio Teheran and the Braves. On the surface, it would seem Bruce doesn't see the same easy matchup that Braun and Cruz do. Teheran has been off to an impressive start to the 2018 campaign. He's coming off his best start yet, a six-inning outing against the Phillies in which he surrendered one run and picked up nine strikeouts. Throughout his career, however, Teheran has struggled with left-handed batters, and that's where Bruce comes in. Teheran has allowed a .343 wOBA to the left side o the dish, with a 4.88 xFIP, while only striking out 16.9% on the left side. Bruce meanwhile has dominated right-handed pitching in his career with a .348 wOBA, 116 wRC+, and .821 OPS. It's an excellent matchup for the New York cleanup hitter and a perfect way to round out our outfield for minimal salary commitment.

Early slate: Brett Gardner Vs. TOR (Marcus Stroman) & Dexter Fowler Vs. CIN (Homer Bailey)

Thanks for reading and good luck out there today. As always, feel free to leave any questions, or comments below. Cheers!

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