Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

05/09/2018
Chris Durell

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/10/18

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Pitcher

Walker BuehlerWalker Buehler FD 8600 DK 10500
Opponent - CIN (Tyler Mahle) Park - LAD
FD - 32.93 DK - 17.88

The options are somewhat limited tonight but one pitcher that stands out is Walker Buehler. Starting the season he was the Dodgers top prospect and #13 on Baseball America's Top 100 list and since being called up in late April, he has been terrific. Through three starts, he has allowed just two earned runs in 16 innings while flashing some big upside with 16 strikeouts(10.69 K/9) and sits with an impressive 1.13 ERA and supporting 2.80 xFIP/3.27 SIERA. The one area of concern is the walks(7) but the good news is that the Reds have been much worse against right-handed pitching this season ranking 26th in wOBA(.300), 25th in wRC+(86), and 28th in ISO(.121) while walking under 10% of the time. The price has taken a huge jump but with limited options and the fact the Dodgers are big favorites(-200), I think we can consider Buehler a top play in all formats.

Miles MikolasMiles Mikolas FD 8500 DK 10200
Opponent - SD (Jordan Lyles) Park - SD
FD - 32.69 DK - 17.1

Mikolas is a bit of an underdog/feel-good story early in the season. After being drafted by the Padres back in 2009 he spent most of his first five seasons in the minor leagues with a few cups of coffee in the big leagues before being dealt to the Pirates who turned around in short order and dealt him to the Rangers. After a short stint for the Rangers, he went to Japan where he spent three seasons impressing with a 2.18 ERA and .99 WHIP before getting another shot with the Cardinals this offseason. After giving up four earned runs in his first two starts this season, he has been terrific going seven innings in each of his last four starts giving up just four total earned runs(1.29 ERA). He isn't going to flash a ton of upside with a 6.98 K/9 and 8.6% swinging strike rate but he does get a fantastic matchup vs. the Padres who rank near the bottom in almost all statistical categories including their league-worst 27.1% strikeout rate.

First Base/Catcher

Cody BellingerCody Bellinger FD 3700 DK 4200
Opponent - CIN (Tyler Mahle) Park - LAD
FD - 12.48 DK - 9.33

He is coming off a tremendous rookie season where he flashed big-time power with 37 home runs and while that power isn't quite at the same level yet, he has been more consistent when looking at the average. He has been one of the hottest hitters at the position over the past 14 days with a .319/.389/.511 slash line and the good news when analyzing the power is that the hard contact(39.4%) is still in line with his rookie year. The matchup vs. Tyler Mahle should also help as he has already given up nine home runs over seven starts(23.7% HR/FB rate) with six of them to left-handed batters. With a discounted price(relative to others at the position) and top matchup, Bellinger is a great play in all formats.

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3100 DK 3500
Opponent - SEA (Mike Leake) Park - TOR
FD - 12.5 DK - 9.35

Smoak spent some time on the paternity leave list last week and is now back in the cleanup spot for the Jays and provides some salary relief at the position. Like Bellinger, he isn't quite on the same level as last season quite yet when looking at the power but the good news is that he is still driving in(18) and scoring(16) runs while getting on base at a .358 clip. He is a switch hitter that has been more consistent from the right side but when it comes to power, he thrives from the left side as 31 of his 38 long balls came against right-handed pitching last season and three of his four early this season. In a plus matchup vs. Mike Leake today, he can be considered in all formats.

Catcher Consideration: Salvador Perez(KC)

Second Base

Whit MerrifieldWhit Merrifield FD 3600 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Chris Tillman) Park - BAL
FD - 11.15 DK - 8.73

Outside of D.J. Lemahieu is who is leading off for the Rockies in Coors, it is Whit Merrifield who sits at the top of the raw projections tonight. A lot of that has to do with the matchup vs. gas can Christ Tillman who has posted a 9.24 ERA and 6.12 xFIP on the season but Merrifield has also been a nice value on his own. Despite a struggling Royals offense that sits near the bottom of the league in almost all offensive categories, Merrifield has scored 18 runs with 11 RBI and has also added the speed element with seven stolen bases. He has hit sixth in the lineup over the last two days which would make him GPP only but is a lock if back in the leadoff spot again tonight.

Jonathan SchoopJonathan Schoop FD 2900 DK 3500
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - BAL
FD - 10.76 DK - 8.22

Second base is a great spot to spend down and tonight is one of the night's you may need to do so with minimal value at the pitcher position. Enter Jonathan Schoop who has made his way back from an oblique strain that landed him on the 10-day DL and he has picked up hits in back to back games since returning while hitting out of the cleanup spot for the Orioles. The matchup doesn't jump off the page as Ian Kennedy has posted 2.92 ERA to start the season but he is prone to giving up home runs as he has given up 30+ in each of the last three seasons and is giving up just over 40% hard contact this season. Schoop's best value comes on FanDuel as he comes in under $3K tonight.

Also Consider: Ozzie Albies(ATL) if you have the salary to pay up at the position

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Shortstop

Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3700 DK 4500
Opponent - NYY (CC Sabathia) Park - NYY
FD - 9.98 DK - 7.68

Bogaerts isn't going to break the bank tonight and while he is still finding his way since returning from an ankle injury, he is one of the more consistent options at the position. He isn't going to provide a ton of power but went into Wednesday with a .316/.345/.557 slash line and that will only go up after picking up three more hits in last night's game. He will face C.C. Sabathia who has posted an impressive 1.39 ERA on the season but regression is soon coming as he is working with a BABIP that is 82 points lower than his career number and an xFIP(4.43) that is over three runs higher than that ERA. Let's just hope that regression works in our favor tonight.

Paul DeJongPaul DeJong FD 3600 DK 4000
Opponent - SD (Jordan Lyles) Park - SD
FD - 8.84 DK - 6.74

If you need that extra savings on DrafKings, consider Paul DeJong who comes at a $500 discount from Xander. The only concern is that he has been slumping with just three hits in his last 29 at-bats but he does provide us with power upside and he gets a nice matchup as well against Jordan Lyles who will be making a spot start on Thursday. It will be his first start since the Padres give him a shot down the stretch last year and in those five starts, he allowed 24 earned runs(five home runs) for a 9.39 ERA. DeJong has spent the majority of the season near the bottom of the order leaving him as a high-upside GPP play but if he is back in teh two-hole like he was on Tuesday he can be considered in cash games as well.

Also Consider: Chris Taylor(LAD)

Third Base

Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 4100 DK 4500
Opponent - BAL (Chris Tillman) Park - BAL
FD - 11.99 DK - 9.1

I cannot go any further without continuing to pick on Chris Tillman. Like I mentioned above, he has been downright awful so far this season with a 9.24 ERA and if you are worried about the sample size consider he posted a 7.84 ERA in 24 games(19 starts) last season as well. He is also currently giving up a career-high 42.3% hard contact rate and is getting absolutely torched by left-handed bats(.417 average/.517 wOBA against). That is great news for the Moose who has been the Royals most productive hitter this season with a .300/.333/.586 slash line with 10 home runs, 28 RBI, and 23 runs scored. While I don't think Tillman will go all Dylan Bundy on us, the potential is there as he is a much worse pitcher overall.

Travis ShawTravis Shaw FD 4100 DK 4600
Opponent - COL (German Marquez) Park - COL
FD - 11.86 DK - 8.94

For cash games, the decision at third is simple with Moustakas who has been way more consistent but for GPP's at the same price point, I think we need to consider Travis Shaw as well. He has just a .230 average on the season but what he does provide is upside with seven home runs and he gets a great matchup in Coors tonight vs. a pitcher who should probably call in sick when the Rockies are at home as he sits with a 10.64 ERA at home with a .408 wOBA against. The floor is low but the ceiling is sky high and if stacking Brewers, don't leave him out hitting in the cleanup spot.

Also Consider: Anthony Rendon(WSH)

Outfield

Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 5000 DK 5500
Opponent - MIL (Jhoulys Chacin) Park - COL
FD - 16.78 DK - 12.87

If we are paying up in the outfield tonight there is no better place to start than in Coors Field with the home team. Charlie Blackmon has been terrific to start the season slashing .284/.394/.595 and sits Top 5 in home runs with 11 and surprisingly has been better on the road but that could change in this matchup tonight. He will face Jhoulys Chacin of the Brewers who like last season, has struggled against left-handed bats. He has held righties under a .200 average with a .252 wOBA against while lefties have tagged him for a .333 average, .418 wOBA and 40% hard contact. This is a great spot for the Rockies bats to wake up after back to back duds and while I don't think we need to go here for cash games with the limited value pitchers, I do think he makes an excellent high-upside GPP play on his own or as a part of a team stack.

Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 3700 DK 4600
Opponent - COL (German Marquez) Park - COL
FD - 13.26 DK - 10.08
Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 3600 DK 4600
Opponent - COL (German Marquez) Park - COL
FD - 12.23 DK - 9.48

We will stick in teh same game and while the balls haven't exactly been flying out of Coors early in the season(18th in HR factor via ESPN), it is starting to heat up so things may be about to change. On top of that, the Brewers get an elite matchup vs. German Marquez who has some glaring splits as he has been terrific on the road(1.96 ERA/.272 wOBA against) but terrible at home(10.64 ERA/.408 wOBA against). The reason I will be focusing on Cain and Braun tonight is because of another split from Marquez as he has shut down left-handed bats(.278 wOBA) while being getting beat up by righties(.373 wOBA) so far. Cain has had just an average start with his new team hitting just .267 with four home runs but he is getting on base at a high rate(.378 OBP) and has scored 19 runs to this point. He has also been getting a bit unlucky running a BABIP(.304) that is 38 points lower than his career number. For Braun, the start to the season has been even more disappointing as he is slashing just .243/.283/.450 but has flashed the power we have come to expect with five home runs and 19 RBI. No better place for a hitter to get back on track than in Coors. Fire both these hitters up in all formats.

Kevin PillarKevin Pillar FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - SEA (Mike Leake) Park - TOR
FD - 9.62 DK - 7.5

You are probably starting to think I am quite the Jays homer and, well, I wouldn't be lying if I said I have a Kevin Pillar jersey in my closet. Allegiances aside, however, Pillar is having a breakout year so far slashing .309/.356/.537 and has been rewarded with a bump up to the five-hole in the lineup. Going into Wednesday night's action, he had been extremely consistent with hits in 11 of his last 13 games including six multi-hit efforts and tonight the Jays get a terrific matchup. They will face Mile Leake who has been pretty bad all year but since giving up just two earned runs in each  of his first two starts has been even worse giving up 23 earned runs over his last five games(7.76 REA, 4.45 xFIP) with five home runs(15.6% HR/FB rate) and a 37.6% hard contact rate. The best part is that he comes with a value price and can be considered in all formats, especially on FanDuel under $3K.

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image sources

  • 1024px-Coors_Field,_Denver,_Colorado,_US: By color line (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

3 Visitor Comments

  1. Thanks for the write up as always. Granted I only play Draft Kings but I continue to be a bit perplexed with your recommendations based purely on numbers. Shouldn’t a value play be minimum 2 points per dollar? In other words projected points divided by salary. Your DeJong recommendation is a good example today.

    Also how is Merrifield the top raw projection play of the day at 8.73?

  2. Our projection system is currently showing Merrifield as the #2 projected second basemen from a raw points perspective and he is 2.11 PTS/$ on that scale as well.

    I mention DeJong as a GPP play if near bottom of the order as he has power upside but a nice play if back near top of order.

  3. Our picks are not always based around PTS/$ value, sometimes they are based on raw points, and sometimes it is a movement in the batting order, or upside matchup, or others factors.

    Thanks for reading.

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