Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/3/18
Welcome back to another busy day in fantasy baseball. In this article, I will be concentrating solely on the six-game early slate which has plenty options so let's dig in and take a look at some of the top plays at each position. For plays on the main slate, be sure to join us in the DFSR chatroom this afternoon.
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Thursday starts off with a smaller six-game slate and while the options are fairly limited, one name that stands out above the rest is Patrick Corbin. He is off to a fantastic start to the 2018 season going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.99 xFIP. He is prone to giving up some home runs(21.7% HR/FB rate) but hasn't been hurt by them as he has done a fantastic job limited baserunners with a .75 WHIP. Not only has he provided safety, which is needed as the price has reached a high level on both sites, but he has also given us huge upside with a 12.38 K/9 rate and 16.6% swinging strike rate. Today he will face the Dodgers who do sit Top 10 in runs scored but have struggled much more against left-handed pitchers as they rank 24th in wOBA(.295), 23rd in wRC+(88), and 25th in ISO(.130) so far this season. All things considered, he is my top pitcher on the slate and safe in all formats.
McCullers comes at a big discount today but also comes with a ton more risk facing a Yankees team that leads the league in runs scored. The good news, however, is that they have been struggling mightily over the last week with a .228 wOBA, 78 wRC+ and after striking out 29 times in the first two games of this series, they sit with a league-leading 32% K rate(last 7 days via FanGraphs). McCullers definitely fits the bill of a pitcher that can help add to that total as he has posted am elite 11.65 K/9 rate and 14.1% swinging strike rate on the season. Outside of the one start where he got crushed by the Twins giving up eight earned runs, he has been excellent giving up two or fewer in each of the other five starts and sits with a 3.71 ERA and much better 2.69 xFIP. The discount definitely makes up for the risk and on a small slate, he can even be considered a cash game play and is an elite GPP play.
It's like clockwork with Encarnacion at the start of the season. He struggles early on then starts to heat up in May as the temperature rises. This year is no different as he struggled mightily early on hitting just .160 in March and April combined but woke up when the calendar flipped going 2 for 5 on Tuesday and then followed that up going 3 for 5 on Wednesday with three home runs and six RBI. He now gets a matchup vs. his old team as the Blue Jays come to town to open a series and will throw newly acquired Jaime Garcia to the mound. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason but unfortunately, it hasn't gone too well as he has given up at least one home run in each of his six starts to go along with a 43.8% hard contact rate against. I am not expecting another three home run game(would be nice) but EE should be able to put up some fantasy points in this matchup making him a great play in all formats.
If you are looking to save a few dollars tonight, Matt Adams makes an excellent PTS/$ value play, especially on FanDuel where he tops the ranks in that respect. He has really started to heat up lately after a slow start and went into Wednesday night's game with hits in each of his last three starts going 9 for 17 with three home runs. He has bounced around the lineup all season but has now spent each of the last two games in the three-hole and if he is back there again today against Trevor Williams, he is a great play in all formats.
Catcher to Consider: Salvador Perez(KC)
Main Slate Consideration: Logan Morrison(MIN)
After an impressive debut last year after being called up in early Augst(.286/.354/.456), Albies has been even better as he enters his first full season with the Braves. Through 28 games(132 plate appearances), he is slashing .289/.336/.628 with nine home runs, 20 RBI, and a league-leading 30 runs scored. He has to be even more thrilled that Ronald Acuna was called up and has been moved up to the two-hole as those two are the future of the Braves. Today, they get an excellent matchup vs. Jason Vargas who is coming off a terrible season debut where he gave up nine hits and nine earned runs(two long balls) over just 3.2 innings pitched. Albies price has moved up into the Altuve range but he is quickly becoming a must play in the right matchups, one of which is today.
For value, I am going to go with another Nats hitter who has been consistent lately. His patience at the plate is non-existent (3.6% BB rate) but he has been providing value as he comes in with hits in nine of his last 10 games including four doubles and two home runs while getting time near the top to middle of the order. Williams has been tough on right-handed bats to start the season but is running a very unsustainable .222 BABIP and overall xFIP(5.03) that is nearly three whole runs higher than his ERA(2.29) pointing to some big-time regression coming his way.
Main Slate Consideration: Zack Cozart(LAA)
Francisco Lindor FD 4400 DK 5100
Opponent - TOR (Jaime Garcia) Park - CLE
FD - 13.36 DK - 10.24
The shortstop position is a little thin on this six-game early slate so I will go right to the top to start things off as the switch-hitting Lindor leads the way from a raw points projection standpoint. Like his teammate Encarnacion, he got off to a slow start but has been coming on lately with hits in five if his last six games including four multi-hit efforts and picked up his fifth home run of the season yesterday as the Indians routed the Rangers. Looking at Lindor's splits he continues to be way more productive against left-handed pitching with a .349 wOBA/117 wRC+ this season(.376 wOBA/134 wRC+ in 2017). He is the top shortstop in all formats today.
With shortstop being a thin position, we will have to turn to a bottom of the order hitter for value. Enter Nick Ahmed who went into Wednesday night red-hot with hits in six straight and seven of his last eight games for the Diamondbacks with three doubles, three home runs, and eight RBI. For his efforts lately, he was moved up to the two hole in the lineup and presents even more value if there again on Thursday as FanDuel and DraftKings have yet to account for the transition leaving him in the mid $3K range on both sites. The matchup may not look appealing but Alex Wood has been less than impressive through six starts striking out under eight batters per nine while giving up over 32% hard contact.
Main Slate Consideration: Jean Segura(SEA)
While I do like Jose Ramirez of the Indians at third base, he has been dealing with a groin strain and I also thought it would be nice to touch on another game. Enter Mike Moustakas who has been leading the Royals in almost every offensive category including home runs(8), RBI(19), runs scored(18) and is second in average(.299), wOBA(.382) and wRC+(140) to Jorge Soler. As a lefty, he is just average vs. southpaw pitching but has crushed righties to the tune of a .440 wOBA/179 wRC and gets a great matchup against one tonight. After starting out the season shutting out the White Sox over six innings, Fiers has struggled giving up 10 earned runs in his last three starts including four home runs. The price is right to get Moustakas in your lineup in all formats today.
I prefer the Moose on FanDuel at a discount but if you need to save a few bucks on DraftKings give some consideration to Todd Frazier. He doesn't hit for a high average but contributes in many other ways as he is currently getting on base at an elite rate(.398 OBP) and scored 17 runs to go with his 17 RBI. Teheran shut down the Mets in their last meeting but overall, he has struggled with a 4.50 ERA/4.81 xFIP and is walking just under five batters per nine and has already allowed six home runs. The Mets are currently slight favorites and have one of the highest implied run totals on the slate and while I don't think we need to go here in cash games, the ToddFather makes a high upside GPP play at a projected low ownership.
Main Slate Consideration: Eduardo Escobar(MIN)
Pollock has been on an absolute tear over the past two weeks slashing .333/.396/.833 and with seven home runs, now sits tied with some big names for the major league lead. He has been the heart of a Diamondbacks offense that ranks Top 10 in almost every offensive category and with Ahmed, Peralta, and Goldy hitting in front of him he will continue to get opportunities to drive in runs and fill our fantasy lineups with points. Like I mentioned with Ahmed, Wood isn't the greatest pitcher to target against but he is currently struggling so get on him before he heats up for the Dodgers.
Ronald Acuna FD 3800 DK 4300
Opponent - NYM (Jason Vargas) Park - NYM
FD - 10.71 DK - 8.36
After somewhat struggling to start the season in Triple-A, Ronald Acuna was called up to the big leagues and has made a huge impact. Going into Wednesday night, he had recorded at least one hit in five of his first six games while showing some tremendous extra-base power with five doubles and a home run. He has recently been moved up to the two hole behind Ozzie Albies and while both went 0 for 5 yesterday, today is another day and the new dynamic duo gets a great matchup to get back on the scoresheet vs. Jason Vargas who got blown up in his season debut and really isn't that great to begin with as he is coming off a season where he recorded a 4.16 ERA and 4.94 xFIP.
The price is coming up but until Pillar cools off I will continue to roll him out in all formats as long as he stays under $4K. He comes into today's doubleheader with hits in seven straight and 19 of his last 22 games and now sits with an impressive .315/.361/.574 slash line for the Jays. He has even made his way up to the five-hole in the lineup which adds some extra value and while the matchup isn't the greatest, there is chance Carrasco is still hampered by the back tightness he has been dealing with lately. His best value is on DraftKings where finding a sub $4K outfielder can sometimes be challenging.
Main Slate Consideration: Nelson Cruz(SEA)