Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 4/24/18
Welcome back baseball fans. Tuesday brings us a weird slate for fantasy with four late afternoon games followed by an 11-game main slate. If you are wanting some exposure to the four early games you will have to play over on FanDuel and because of that, I will be concentrating on the main slate for the article below. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section or hit me up in the DFSR chatroom. Let's get started.
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Tonight is a bit of a tricky one, at least from a cash game perspective, as each of the top options comes with his own risk. Let's start with Charlie Morton who has been tremendous to start the season striking out 33 batters in just four starts(11.88 K/9) with an elite 15.9% swinging strike rate and this coming off his first season with the Astros where he posted a career-high 10.00 K/9 rate. He has won three of those starts while also posting a .72 ERA which has been backed up by a 2.33 xFIP. The risk comes with the matchup vs. the Angels who are Top 5 in most offensive categories and are striking out under 20% for the season. All things considered, however, he has the least risk of the top options with the highest floor and arguably the most upside which puts him at the top of the raw points projections tonight and safe in all formats.
The risk with Maeda is the fact the Dodgers are sketchy with pitch limits and his injury history. The good news is that he has been healthy to start the season and has thrown 90+ pitches in two of his three starts, striking out 10 in each of those but has yet to make it through six innings. He will be hard to ignore tonight with limited options on the board with the Dodgers opening as huge -260 favorites at home to a depleted Marlins offense that ranks dead last in wOBA(.275) and second last in wRC+(74) to start with the season. Also, helping bump the upside for Maeda is the fact the Marlins are worse against right-handed pitching in all categories including their 25% K rate. Considering the matchup and price, Maeda can be used in all formats.
If you are looking for a value option as an SP2 on DraftKings or cheaper GPP option on FanDuel, consider Tanner Roark who is in the low $8K range on both sites. He has just one win on the season but has gone at least five innings in each of his four starts allowing two or fewer earned runs and striking out at least six in three of those. The Nationals open as slight -120 favorites which is quite surprising as they travel to San Francisco to face a Giants team that ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories and is currently striking out at a 25.8% rate vs. right-handed pitching. Roark gives us some safety and upside at a value price which puts him near the top of the PTS/$ rankings and safe in all formats tonight.
Starting the night off at first base is a DFSR favorite in Ryan Zimmerman. He has struggled overall to start the season with a sub .200 average but a ton of his at-bats have come against right-handed pitching. The goods news tonight is that he will be facing a lefty in Ty Blach who has been less than impressive himself with a 4.10 ERA/4.52 xFIP and has a walk rate that matches the K rate through five starts. Zimmerman continues to take advantage of southpaws with a .376 wOBA/138 wRC+ this season after posting an elite .425 wOBA/162 wRC last season. Zimmerman is a nice PTS/$ value play at first base tonight, especially on FanDuel under $3K.
While I would rather take the value in Zimmerman vs. a lefty in cash games, I will definitely have my fair share of Thames in GPP formats. After a breakout season in 2017 where he hit 31 home runs, he already has seven early this season and while he is priced up a bit on both sites, has a great matchup to add to that total. Ian Kennedy finished the 2017 season giving up at least one home in 10 straight games and finished with a 15.7% HR/FB rate and after two home runless games to start the season has given up three in his last two starts and sits with a 42% hard contact rate against.
Lemahieu sits second in salary right behind Jose Altuve tonight but hits the trifecta playing at home in Coors, hitting leadoff for a powerful Rockies team, and faces a lefty making his major league debut. LeMahieu is no more than an average hitter vs. right-handed pitchers but excels against southpaws with a .461 wOBA and 181 wRC+ and if you are worried about the small 35 at-bat sample size consider he posted a .406 wOBA and 136 wRC+ over the course of a full 2017 season. There is definitely enough value across the board to pay up for multiple Rockies tonight in all formats.
If you are fading LeMahieu or Coors altogether, second base is a great spot to punt allowing you to load up at other positions. Enter Jurickson Profar who comes with a sub $3K price tag on both sites and while he won't provide you with that huge upside game he has been consistent with hits in five straight and eight of his last nine games with four multi-hit efforts. He has also spent some time in the two-hole for the Rangers and gets a nice projection boost if back there tonight vs. Andrew Triggs who sports a 5.82 ERA and 4.27 xFIP through four starts.
Seager is coming off a night off in the first game of the series and should step back into his role as the #2 hitter tonight vs. the Marlins. After back to back seasons with 20+ home runs, 70+ RBI, and 85+ runs scored Seager has struggled to open the 2018 season but there are signs he will soon snap out and shift into cruise control. First of all, he is striking out less than 15% of the time(career low) and running a BABIP(.273) that is 78 points lower than his career mark(.351). No better matchup to get back on track than against a struggling pitcher and tonight he faces Dillon Peters who has given up 15 earned runs in his last three starts and sits with a 6.98 ERA/5.36 xFIP on the season while giving up 41.5% hard contact. All things considered, Seager is a great play in all formats as he sits in the second tier of salary at the position on both sites.
I prefer Seager on FanDuel at a $200 discount but on DraftKings Semien is definitely worth considering despite the tougher matchup. He continues to be underpriced night after night despite being very consistent at the plate with hits in 19 of his first 24 games with three home runs, 13 RBI, and 20 runs scored. He also gets that DFSR boost hitting at the top of the lineup of a team in the A's who currently ranks inside the Top 5 in almost all offensive categories. On top of all that, he has also raked against southpaws this season posting .411 wOBA and 162 wRC+. He is safe in all formats.
He impressed in a late-season call-up in 2017 posting a .344/.344/.750 slash line with four home runs in 12 games played and has picked up where he left off as he now begins his first full season with the Padres. He has been primarily hitting out of the three and four hole to start the season has posted an elite .355/.444/.774 slash line with seven home runs, 16 RBI and 13 runs scored. He seems slightly underpriced considering the Padres will be playing game two of a series in Coors Field and will be facing a lefty in Kyle Freeland who has struggled mightily with a 5.85 ERA/4.72 xFIP and has already given up five home runs in just four starts. Be sure to check Villanueva's status during the day as he was scratched on Monday night but the good news is that he was still available as a pinch hitter. If he is back in the lineup, he is a great play in all formats.
From a value standpoint, I will once again be rolling with Jeimer Candelario who is impressing the Tigers in his first full season. He came over in a trade last season after the Cubs just couldn't make room for him in the big leagues with Anthony Rizzo at first and Kris Bryant at third. Through 20 games this season, he posted a .277/.355/.494 slash line and shown some pop with three home runs while hitting in the two-hole. More good news for the switch-hitting third basemen as he has been much more effective from the left side as he has a .400 wOBA and 152 wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching.
If you plan on fading the Coors game you may want to consider the Red Sox tonight. If just choosing one player it is most definitely Mookie Betts who has started off on an MVP-like pace leading the league with a .366 average to go with a .459 on-base percentage and .732 slugging percentage. The Jays J.A. Happ has shown a ton of K upside this season but shouldn't affect Betts a whole lot as he is currently striking out less than 10% on the season(career-high). For GPP upside, I love pairing the safety in Betts with his outfield partner J.D. Martinez who destroys left-handed pitching(.369 wOBA/129 wRC+ in 2018 & .531 wOBA/235 wRC+ in 2017). While not quite as impressive of a start as Betts, Martinez has still been good to start the season with a .307/.333/.560 slash line with four home runs and 15 RBI.
After spending nearly three weeks on the disabled list, Wil Myers has returned to the Padres lineup and appears to be fully healthy. He is coming off a four-hit effort last night where the Padres took it to the Rockies in game one of the series in Coors Field and he now has eight hits in 14 at-bats since rejoining the team. The power hasn't been there yet but it won't be far behind as he enters tonight with a hard contact rate north of 55% and it very well could be tonight as he faces Kyle Freeland who has given up five long balls in four starts and pitches in the best hitters park in the big leagues. The price has been adjusted on DraftKings as he approaches $5K making him a GPP only play but on FanDuel he can be considered in all formats where he remains in the mid $3K range.
When looking at the pricing differences, Hernandez is the opposite of Myers as he is priced up more on FanDuel but is a terrific value play over on DraftKings. Since being called up by the Blue Jays in mid-April, he has produced at a high level with a .343/.395/.743 slash line and has earned his spot as the #2 hitter in the lineup. Sure, he is going to strike out at times(23.7%) but he also provides some pop in his bat with three home runs in his eight starts with 10 RBI. He is versatile and can move around the outfield which is only going to give him even more opportunities moving forward. Until his price comes up or Gibbons decides to move him down the lineup, he can be considered in all formats as a terrific salary relief option to help fit in other top plays throughout your lineup.