Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/5/18

It's Cinco de Mayo, a big day if you're a fan of silly memes featuring wash basins full of condiments, or of imbibing in copious amounts of tequila. I'll take the latter. It's also Saturday in the major leagues, and we have a ten game main slate with five in the afternoon. We'll focus primarily on the night set while giving you some plays to consider in the early slate as well. Let's get to it.

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Kenta MaedaKenta Maeda FD 8600 DK 11400
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 34.99 DK - 18.77
Pitching today is bereft of any real aces on the main slate. The two best options are Greinke and Morton, who as fate would have it go head to head in the desert tonight. So, picking through what's left we still have a handful of solid options to consider, and bonus, none of them are break-the-bank kind of guys so we can go a little crazier with our bats tonight. We'll kick things off with the Dodgers, who will celebrate Cinco de Mayo by joining the Padres for their "home" series in Mexico. They are -202 favorites and sending Kenta Maeda to the mound. Looking at the game logs, Maeda may scare some folks off, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals some of his early-season struggles have just come down to bad luck. He had a stellar start to the season, fanning ten in five shutout innings against the Giants. His next start was nearly two weeks later, and he was pulled in the third after five runs crossed the plate (just two earned). In his three most recent outings, he's sandwiched two games where he surrendered four runs apiece around a one run, seven K gem against the Marlins. Despite being one of the teams to hit up Maeda for four runs, the Padres offense is still quite terrible, and they did whiff ten times in that game. San Diego has a bottom five team wOBA of .295, and their lefty-heavy lineup strikeout a whopping 27.4% of the time against RHP. On the surface, Maeda may seem a bit risky, but he is easily one of the safest pitchers on the slate and a fantastic play in all formats given the K upside.

Eduardo RodriguezEduardo Rodriguez FD 7300 DK 8800
Opponent - TEX (Cole Hamels) Park - TEX
FD - 31.56 DK - 16.65
If Maeda scares you off, or you feel you want to go a bit cheaper on the hill, then show some love to Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez may be a long way off from Chris Sale and Rick Porcello, but the Boston southpaw is very fairly priced and presents a strong option on the hill today against the Rangers in Texas. The Rangers will throw a righty heave lineup at him, which plays in his favor. Per Fangraphs.com Rodriguez has limited right-handed hitters to a .305 wOBA for his career. Let's not overlook the K upside here either. Through five starts, Rodriguez is striking out over a batter per inning, on pace with the career-high 9.83 K/9 he posted through 24 starts in 2017. Vegas projects Boston to have one of the highest run totals of the night, and with a -150 opening line, Rodriguez is one of the more promising options likely to walk away with a W. At these prices, Rodriguez is a strong option for both cash and tournament lines.

Jameson TaillonJameson Taillon FD 8300 DK 7400
Opponent - MIL (Jhoulys Chacin) Park - MIL
FD - 31.79 DK - 16.51
One final option to consider on the hill tonight is Jameson Taillon of the Pirates. Pittsburgh is in Milwaukee tonight continuing their series with the Brewers. Taillon had come off of a pair of ugly outings against the Phillies and Tigers (12 ER, 6 K, 14 hits, in 5.1 IP combined), then he turned things around against one of the better offenses in the game. He limited the Nationals to just three ER in six innings. The xFIP through his first six starts is a run lower than the ERA tells us some positive regression is due and despite the troubles. He's still striking out an impressive 8.24/9 while limiting free passes to two or less in all but one start. Despite having names like Cain, Yelich, and Braun (who is expected to return today) in the lineup, Milwaukee is off to a rather disappointing start to the campaign. Now just over a month into the season, the Brewers are sporting a paltry .302 collective wOBA and strikeout 23.4% of the time against RHP. The Pirates are mere -115 favorites, and I wouldn't risk it with Taillon on FanDuel, but with the DraftKing's price, you can certainly consider him for your SP2 with either of the two guys above.

Early Slate consider: Tanner Roark (WAS)

First Base/Catcher

Yasmani GrandalYasmani Grandal FD 3400 DK 3800
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 11.63 DK - 8.69
Cody BellingerCody Bellinger FD 3600 DK 4200
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 13.74 DK - 10.27
The Dodgers are heavy favorites for a win today in Mexico against the Padres. Part of that is due to L.A. pitcher Kenta Maeda, who we just spoke about, expected to limit the Padres to one of the lowest run totals of the night. Part of it is also due to the Dodgers expected to tee off on Bryan Mitchell, for one of the night's highest run totals. The former Yankee is 0-3 through his first six starts with the Padres, sporting an ERA over six, and an xFIP not much better. Look for the three, four punch of the Dodgers lineup, Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger to contribute a lot to the cause on the Dodgers side. Grandal leads L.A. with a .396 wOBA to open the season, and along with Bellinger and two others has four home runs. Grandal and Bellinger combined have 37 RBI, ranked first and second on the team respectively. Bellinger has reached base safely in three straight and four of his last five coming into last night's series opener, and the lefty crushes RHP with a career .383 wOBA against the split. A Dodgers stack against Mitchell is a smart way to go tonight, and it begins with these two.

Josh BellJosh Bell FD 2500 DK 3300
Opponent - MIL (Jhoulys Chacin) Park - MIL
FD - 10.63 DK - 8.07
If it's value you're looking for at first, then look no further than Josh Bell. Bell presents one of the top points per dollar plays at the position in out MLB projection system tonight, and is near minimum pricing across the industry. He's an exceptional bargain on FanDuel but can be considered everywhere, especially considering the value we have on the hill tonight. Bell and the Pirates are in Milwaukee, a reasonably favorable hitters park, and he steps into the box tonight against Jhoulys Chacin. Despite his 2-1 record, Chacin has been terrible to open the season, with a 5.34 xFIP and 39.7% hard-hit rate.

Early slate catcher consider: Russell Martin (TOR)

Early slate first base consider: Lucas Duda (KC)

Second Base

Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 3300 DK 4300
Opponent - CHW (Hector Santiago) Park - CHW
FD - 13.96 DK - 10.51
Second base is one of the best positions on the slate tonight. Albies, Nunez, Lowrie, are all in good spots, and worth considering, but I'm going to look at a pair of guys that are much cheaper while presenting just as much upside as any of those top tier guys. First up we have Brian Dozier of the Twins. Dozier is reasonably priced, and projects as one of the top points per dollar plays at the position on FanDuel. Dozier had hit a tough stretch, going 1 for his last 21, coming into Friday, sending his wOBA below the .300 mark. He ended the night Friday with a 3-5 performance, including a triple and home run to open the series against the White Sox. It goes to show you can't let a rough stretch scare you off a guy who has career numbers like .335 wOBA, .200 ISO, .776 OPS in daily fantasy baseball. The matchup is everything in these situations, and the matchup tonight is once again a positive one, Chicago will counter the Twins with Hector Santiago, whose xFIP is nearly two runs higher than his ERA. Santiago has made just one other start this season, after spending much of April in the bullpen. He lasted just 4.2 innings and allowed two ER on eight baserunners. Last night may have been just the jolt Dozier needed to shake things up, and he could keep things hot once again tonight against Santiago.

Ian KinslerIan Kinsler FD 3300 DK 3400
Opponent - SEA (Marco Gonzales) Park - SEA
FD - 10.77 DK - 8.27
Ian Kinsler is the same price as Dozier on FanDuel, and our projection system is telling us to play Dozier based off the raw point projections. But on DraftKings, Kinsler helps us save nearly a grand in salary, and still projects for a strong return on investment. After spending some time on the DL early on, Kinsler has been hot to start the season and is currently riding a six-game on-base streak into Friday night. He'll step into the box against Marco Gonzales tonight. Gonzales is off to a strong start to the 2018 campaign with a 2.76 xFIP and 6.20 K/BB ratio. He has however struggled through his career against the right side of the dish, allowing right-handed hitters to post a .382 wOBA with a 38.1% hard-hit rate, while Kinsler's always been a lefty basher with a .376 wOBA, 204 ISO, and .874 OPS against the split. I'll take Dozier for the same price on FanDuel, but will take full advantage of Kinsler's discounted price on DraftKings.

Early slate consider: Matt Carpenter (STL)



Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 3600 DK 4000
Opponent - NYM (Steven Matz) Park - NYM
FD - 10.96 DK - 8.25
There's not a lot to love about shortstop tonight. A lot of the usual higher priced plays we tend to look at are on the earlier set. So after dark, we have some reasonably priced mid-tiered plays to consider. We'll start with Trevor Story of the Rockies away from Coors in New York for a weekend series with the Mets. Left-hander Steven Matz will take the hill for New York tonight. Now in his fourth season, Matz isn't turning into the ace the Mets would have hoped he'd be. While he's striking out nearly 11 batters per nine through his first five starts, that's not going to be sustainable for the duration of the season, and though the xFIP is a full run lower than the 4.98 ERA, he's struggling mightily with the long ball (2.08 HR/9, 35.1% hard-hit rate). Story, whose .341 wOBA is top ten at the position, crushes lefties with a .412 wOBA and 142 wRC+ for his career against the split. Story is my favorite play at the position tonight in an exceptional matchup.

Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 3400 DK 4000
Opponent - BAL (Kevin Gausman) Park - OAK
FD - 11.07 DK - 8.44
I got some guff on here last season for targeting Kevin Gausman, told he was better than I was giving him credit for and shouldn't be taken for granted. He finished the season with a 4.68 ERA, career-high 4.33 xFIP, 1.4 HR/9, and 2.52 K/BB ratio. So who's the bad guy here? This season, Gausman is sporting a similar xFIP, while surrendering over 2 HR/9through his first six starts, so I most certainly will continue to target him, especially against the Athletics, who sport the fourth best team wOBA (.333) in the majors, with a 178 ISO and 39 long balls. Marcus Semien, who has a .267/.322/.405 slash line with a .316 wOBA, has historically been better against southpaws, but the numbers off RHP are solid enough to consider as a reasonably priced value play at a position where there is a lot to pay up for, but not necessarily worth paying up. I'll stick with Story on DK for the same price, but if you need to save a couple hundred on FanDuel, Semien is a smart way to do so.

Early slate consider: Trea Turner (WAS)

Third Base

Rafael DeversRafael Devers FD 3800 DK 4200
Opponent - TEX (Cole Hamels) Park - TEX
FD - 12.57 DK - 9.62
Rafael Devers struggled to open up the first month of the season, but has come on in just the past week or so. Devers made 58 appearances last season, posting a .344 wOBA, 111 wRC+, .198 ISO, and .819 OPS. The numbers are on the rise this season, thanks to his reaching base in six of the last seven games, with three multi-hit efforts, including a two home run night to open the series last night. Tonight he'll face Cole Hamels, who now in his thirteenth season is not the pitcher he once was. He ended last season with a career-high 4.83 xFIP and 36% hard-hit rate. That number is up to 48.2 through his first seven starts this season, with 1.82 HR/9 surrendered. Hamels has fairly even splits through his career, while Devers has crushed lefties through the start of his career with a .406 wOBA.

Eugenio SuarezEugenio Suarez FD 4000 DK 4800
Opponent - MIA (Caleb Smith) Park - CIN
FD - 11.66 DK - 8.81
Needless to say, the Reds are not getting this season off to the start they had hoped for coming out of spring training. Their eight wins are tied with the Orioles for fewest in baseball, and there isn't much to get excited about in Cincinnati right now. From a daily fantasy perspective, however, we can still look to the Reds in the right matchup, and today certainly fits the bill. The Marlins, who are equally terrible, come to town and will send Caleb Smith to the hill for his ninth career start. Don't let the Scherzeresque 12.87 K/9 fool you with Smith. Despite throwing some solid heat, and posting a 33.9% K rate, Smith is unlikely to sustain those numbers through a full season, and he has certainly struggled with his control early on, as evidenced by his 13.2% BB rate. Suarez, who homered last night in the series opener, is six for his last 15 with two doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI and six walks in his last five games. Smith may come out throwing heat, but Suarez is swinging a powerful bat right now and could easily extinguish the flame early on.

Early slate consider: Mike Moustakas (KC)


Matt KempMatt Kemp FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 11.27 DK - 8.57
Joc PedersonJoc Pederson FD 2200 DK 4000
Opponent - SD (Bryan Mitchell) Park - SD
FD - 11.03 DK - 8.21
We've already covered a pair of Dodgers earlier with Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal, now let's look at another pair in the outfield. Matt Kemp is back in L.A. after spending some time with the Braves, and tonight's opponent the Padres and is picking up right where he left off. His .375 wOBA is on pace for his best since 2014, his last season with the Dodgers. He's also sporting a .205 ISO and .874 OPS and like Bellinger and Grandal, leads the team with four home runs. If stacking Dodgers, we can round out with Joc Pederson and his .360 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and 17.3 BB%. Mitchell has been equally bad against both sides of the plate through his career, so hitting him with two through five of the Dodgers order should lead to big things tonight.

Matt JoyceMatt Joyce FD 2300 DK 3000
Opponent - BAL (Kevin Gausman) Park - OAK
FD - 10.59 DK - 7.91
We looked at Marcus Semien earlier against Kevin Gausman. Now, let's talk a moment about Matt Joyce. Joyce ended his first year in Oakland with a .343 wOBA, .230 ISO, and .808 OPS. He's continuing the trend strong into 2018. He's opened the campaign with a .323 wOBA, and though the power numbers are down, he's more than making up for it with his patience at the plate as his 18.1 BB% is among the top ten at the position. He should be looking at a big night against Gausman, who struggles against lefties, allowing a .369 wOBA against the split, while posting a 1.38 K/BB ratio.

Adam DuvallAdam Duvall FD 2800 DK 3900
Opponent - MIA (Caleb Smith) Park - CIN
FD - 11.09 DK - 8.36
We'll close things out back in Cincinnati with another Red against Caleb Smith. Adam Duvall may feel like a much riskier play than his teammate Eugenio Suarez who we covered earlier, but he comes at a significant discount in cost and presents just as much upside against the young Miami southpaw. Like Suarez, Duvall homered last night in game one of the series. Though he can go cold for stretches at a time, this was Duvall's second base hit in a row to leave the park, and his sixth in a row to go for extras bases. This makes Duvall an excellent GPP play, though for the price, you can certainly take a chance on him in cash games as well with little risk.

Early slate consider: Brett Gardner (NYY), Aaron Judge (NYY), Marcell Ozuna (STL)

As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments below and keep an eye out for the pitchers/stacks article coming along shortly. Good luck out there tonight. Cheers!


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2 Visitor Comments

  1. What do u think about Cahill at SP on FanDuel?

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