Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/12/18
Welcome friends to DFSR's Saturday in the majors. We've got a game in Coors, Homer Bailey (who lives up to his name), and hooray, hooray, it's James Shields day! Plus Strasburg in the desert, Thor in south Philly, and more. With so much to break down, what are we still doing here? Let's get into the trenches and check out today's top picks!
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Stephen Strasburg FD 10000 DK 13900
Opponent - ARI (Undecided) Park - ARI
FD - 41.54 DK - 22.81
It's one of the safest bets in town that every five days or so we will open the article with Stephen Strasburg. The man has been solid to start the season, continuing from where he left off last year with his K/9, BB/9, and xFIP all hovering around the same point where they ended in 2017. Sure, on a couple of occasions he's been rattled, this same Diamondbacks team took him for five earned runs at the end of April, and traveling from D.C. to the dessert does him no favors regarding park factor. But Arizona, as a team, possesses the sixth lowest wOBA in the majors against RHP while striking out the sixth most. Even at home, they're sporting just a .301 wOBA and have only hit 16 home runs in the cozy confines of Chase Field. Stras is without question the top option on the early slate. Our MLB projection system has him leading all starting pitchers today in raw points, and among the top of the heap in points per dollar. Consider Strasburg with confidence in all formats.
Chris Archer FD 8800 DK 9400
Opponent - BAL (Undecided) Park - BAL
FD - 32.15 DK - 17.47
If you don't want to pay up for Stras, or need a strong SP2 option to pair along with him, then look to Chris Archer against a struggling Orioles' lineup. Since getting lit up by the Phillies in mid-April, Archer has put together four straight strong efforts, going 5+ innings in each, while striking out 5+ batters, and putting together three quality starts allowing two runs or less. Despite the ERA still sitting over 5, the xFIP is down to a modest 3.58, and the K/9 is just below 10.0. He may be able to tip that number over ten today against an Orioles team striking out 25.1% of the time against RHP. Their .295 team wOBA is third lowest in baseball. If you're looking to go a little higher on the bats today, Archer is a solid pivot that frees up some added salary on the hill.
Noah Syndergaard FD 10000 DK 11500
Opponent - PHI (Zach Eflin) Park - PHI
FD - 38.21 DK - 21.37
On the main slate, we can look for Thor to bring the hammer to Citizens Bank Park, where the Mets continue their weekend series with the Phillies. Philadelphia has put some runs on the board this season, but they have struggled mightily against RHP. They strikeout a whopping 26.7% against the split and their .316 wOBA against the split is average. Noah Syndergaard meanwhile comes to the hill with the sixth lowest xFIP in the game (2.97) and is striking out nearly 10.5 batters per nine. The Phillies are projected for just 3.6 runs tonight, one of the lowest totals on the slate, with the Mets, favored at a modest -150 opening line. Thor should cruise through the Phillies lineup with little trouble and is an excellent way to go on the main slate in cash and tournaments.
Michael Wacha FD 8300 DK 8000
Opponent - SD (Tyson Ross) Park - SD
FD - 29.98 DK - 15.21
Only one team strikes out against right-handers more than Philly, and that's the Padres. For $8K on DraftKings, Michael Wacha is a great way to go for your SP2 spot, or as a strong tournament play on FanDuel. San Diego is striking out 27.1% of the time against RHP which should boost Wacha who has a modest 7.41 K/9. There's some risk here, as both teams are projected to score among the lowest run totals of the night, and the Cards are mere -115 favorites. If he can bring the heat against the swing first Padres in pitcher-friendly PetCo, he can easily crush value.
Anthony Rizzo FD 4300 DK 4600
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHC
FD - 12.87 DK - 9.6
Finally! James Shields day falls on a Saturday. I don't get many opportunities to celebrate this highly regarded holiday, but I do enjoy it when it rolls around. Oh, and this one is extra special because it comes against the Cubbies. The Cubs come into the day with the seventh best wOBA in baseball against RHP. First baseman Anthony Rizzo opened the season with a .220 WOBA but has come around in May with a .472 through the first week and a half. Rizzo has been looking good at the dish as of late, with base hits in six of his last seven starts, and two home runs in that span. Shields meanwhile, now in his thirteenth season is just terrible. The xFIP, which has been over 5.00 for the past two seasons is sitting at 5.49. He's walking near as many as he's striking out, and the only redeeming thing I can say in his favor is that he's been successful early on this year in keeping the ball in the yard (0.64 HR/9). That could be challenged today against this Cubs lineup with Rizzo hitting cleanup.
Consider Russell Martin (TOR) as a catcher on the early slate.
Cody Bellinger FD 3300 DK 4600
Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - LAD
FD - 12.47 DK - 9.32
Yasmani Grandal FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - LAD
FD - 10.59 DK - 7.91
On the main slate we're going to look to the Dodgers both at first base and behind the plate. The three-four punch of the L.A lineup sees a fantastic matchup tonight against the Reds. Cincinnati will trot Homer Bailey, who truly lives up to his name, to the hill. Through eight starts Bailey has yet to pick up a win this season, while allowing 2.28 HR/9, with a 5.29 xFIP and a whopping 44% hard-hit rate. It's going to be free baseball night to the fans sitting in the outfield stands tonight in the city of angels. Some of those balls could very well come off the bat of Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal. Grandal has the second best wOBA at the position (.377) and his five home runs are behind only Gary Sanchez and Yadier Molina. Bellinger is off to an equally impressive start to the season (.331 wOBA, 113 wRC+, 4 HR, .772 OPS). You're going to see several Dodgers here today due to the matchup. These two are projecting exceptionally high in our system.
Howie Kendrick FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - ARI (Undecided) Park - ARI
FD - 9.09 DK - 7.07
Howie Kendrick took a spot on the bench last night for the Nats second game in this four-game weekend series. He should return to the lineup today, back in the heart of the order. If you lock Strasburg in as your SP, we need to find some value spots to pick up some cheap bats, and Kendrick fits the bill nicely. He's opened the season with a .336 wOBA and .336 BABIP. His .180 ISO is 50 points higher than his career average, and his OPS is approaching the .800 mark. The Diamondbacks have yet to announce a starter as of this writing, but for the price, we can take a shot on Howie K. across the industry regardless of the matchup.
Chase Utley FD 2500 DK 3200
Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - LAD
FD - 9.51 DK - 7.27
Chase Utley jumped to the leadoff spot last night against the Reds. If he remains in the top of the order against the Right-hander Bailey, he's a top value play at the position. Now in his sixteenth season, Utley isn't exactly an everyday player. Among second basemen with 90+ PA's this season, however, he sports the twelfth best wOBA (.339), and though he doesn't have the same pop in his bat, his OPS is approaching .800, and he has a .328 BABIP. We've already established that Homer Bailey has no right standing on a major league pitchers mound if the Dodgers opt to keep Chase in the number one spot, then the man is a tremendous value play on the main slate.
Tim Anderson FD 3100 DK 3500
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 6.78 DK - 5.35
Sure, it's James Shields day in Chicago, but that doesn't mean we can't look to the White Sox for some bats as well. The Cubs will counter Shields in the crosstown matchup with Jon Lester. Lester's been serviceable to open the campaign with a 2.82 ERA, but the xFIP is nearly two full runs higher, and for the second straight year he's on pace for an HR/9 over 1.00. Tim Anderson has been excellent against southpaws in his career with a .356 wOBA .170 ISO and .837 OPS. There are times he can go out there and never make it out of the box, though that's much less likely with a lefty on the hill. Anderson also presents the potential for stolen base upside with 10 already on the season. All in all, I feel pretty safe locking in Anderson in a strong matchup, with a favorable split as a lower priced alternative at the position.
Andrelton Simmons FD 3500 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN (Kyle Gibson) Park - LAA
FD - 8.71 DK - 6.78
On the main slate, I'm going to have near 100% exposure to Andrelton Simmons at shortstop. Simmons has been one of the safest plays in the game this season; his .400 wOBA is second to only Manny Machado at the position. While never much of a power hitter in his career, Simmons knows how to make his way on base, and then makes things happen once on the base path. He's currently riding a 12 game hitting streak, with nine extra-base hits in that stretch. He'll look to keep the streak alive against Kyle Gibson. Despite the somewhat impressive start to this season (5 ER allowed through 17.2 IP in his last three starts), Gibson is still the same pitcher who sports a career 4.63 ERA and 4.19 xFIP. Regression is due, and the Angels are projected for one of the higher run totals outside of Coors tonight. Consider Simmons everywhere.
Jeimer Candelario FD 3900 DK 3700
Opponent - SEA (Felix Hernandez) Park - DET
FD - 9.59 DK - 7.3
Jeimer Candelario is still wet behind his ears, having played in less than a hundred games since making his debut with the Cubs back in 2016, but he is certainly on the path to making a big name for himself. The young switch-hitter is sporting a .381 wOBA, fifth best among qualified third basemen, same for his .889 OPS. His splits are almost even, though he does see a slight edge against RHP which will serve him well today against Felix Hernandez, who hasn't exactly been the king for a few seasons now, as he continues to post career highs across the board. His ERA is over 5.00 for the first time in his career, and his 4.75 xFIP is nearly 1.5 runs more than his career average. His hard contact percentage is up as well, to a career-high 34.1%. You could pay up for Bryant, Ramirez, or the Moose, but our system feels you can get just as much bang for your buck with Candelario on a sub $4K price tag.
Alex Bregman FD 3300 DK 4000
Opponent - TEX (Doug Fister) Park - HOU
FD - 11.76 DK - 8.96
Similarly, on the main slate, you can pay up for the Coors bats, but our system is seeing just as much return on Alex Bregman against Doug Fister. Fister has been bouncing all over the place the last few seasons and has most recently landed in Arlington with the Rangers. Although he has typically been better against right-handed hitters for his career, Fister has struggled through his first several starts of 2018, allowing a .454 wOBA against the split with nearly half of the right-handed hitters he's faced finding their way on base. After an impressive sophomore season, Bregman's numbers are down a bit this season, but still solid overall. He's carrying a .343 wOBA, 117 wRC+, .768 OPS into today's matchup. The $4K tag on DraftKings doesn't leave much room for upside, but Bregman's a strong cash play across the industry, with GPP appeal on FanDuel to boot.
J.D. Martinez FD 4500 DK 5200
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - TOR
FD - 14.15 DK - 10.61
The Red Sox are north of the border for a set against the Blue Jays. Today Toronto will run Marco Estrada out to the hill for his eighth start of the season. So far it's been a rough campaign for the veteran right-hander. Estrada is posting career highs in xFIP, ERA (both over 5.00 for the first time in his career), with 2.13 HR/9 surrendered, and a 34.5% hard-hit rate. Things get worse for him when there's a right-hander in the box. Enter J.D. Martinez. Martinez, who's riding a sixteen game on-base streak, has the fifth best wOBA among all outfielders (.429), a ridiculous 1.018 OPS, .275 ISO, and the power is starting to kick up a notch as four of his nine home runs have come in the last nine games. Martinez is showing no signs of slowing down and is a terrific option for the matchup even for the top tiered price.
Brett Gardner FD 3400 DK 3600
Opponent - OAK (Andrew Triggs) Park - NYY
FD - 11.93 DK - 9.13
A solid value play in the outfield on the early slate would be Brett Gardner. Any Yankee in the mid $3K range is a value, their leadoff hitter for that price is a perfect opportunity play. At 5.3 runs the Yankees are the highest projected offense of the early slate, and it all starts with Gardner. Gardner doesn't have the power of a Judge, or a Stanton, but when hitting ahead of those guys, he doesn't need it. All he needs to do is get on base and let them do the rest, and seeing as he's scored five runs in just the last three games, that plan is working just fine. Andrew Triggs hasn't been terrible to start out his career, but even an average pitcher can fall victim to this Yankees offense. Triggs hard-hit rate is up over 10% compared to last year which can land him in big trouble early on in the Bronx. The Yankees are an excellent offense to target, but hard to fit in with Strasburg in our pitcher's spot. Gardner allows us the best of both worlds.
Lorenzo Cain FD 4300 DK 4800
Opponent - COL (Kyle Freeland) Park - COL
FD - 13.02 DK - 10.1
Can you believe we made it this far without a single mention of Coors Field? Well, that changes now. I'd never forgive myself if I didn't recommend Lorenzo Cain against Kyle Freeland. The Brewers leadoff hitter has been a lefty basher through his whole career. This season he is hitting southpaws to the tune of a .521 wOBA, fourth best among outfielders. For his career, Cain has a .363 wOBA against the split with a .850 OPS. The Rockies young left-hander, now in his second season has 35 starts under his belt and has certainly struggled with a 4.56 xFIP, and just over a home run surrendered per nine innings pitched. If you play just one player from the Coors game, make it Cain. He's a terrific play in all formats and should be in line for a great game against Freeland.
Joc Pederson FD 2500 DK 4000
Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - LAD
FD - 11.47 DK - 8.54
We're going to wrap things up with the Dodgers who we've looked at several times already against Homer Bailey. Joc Pederson, like Chase Utley, has jumped to the top of the L.A. order, batting second in his last two games. Also like Utley, this makes him a superb value, especially on FanDuel where he is sitting at near minimum pricing. Even on DraftKings, Pederson makes an excellent option in both cash games and tournaments against the Reds Homer Bailey. Pederson had an offseason in 2017 dealing with injury, though his numbers are back on the upswing this year with his .wOBA .020 points higher and his OPS approaching back to .800 territory. The one concern is with the long ball. Pederson has only gone yard once heading into last night's contest, but if anyone can help him turn that around it's Bailey. If you're looking for value in the outfield, then Pederson is an excellent play in all formats.
As always, thank you for reading, feel free to drop any questions below. I'll try and pop in through the day to answer what I can and be on the lookout for the pitchers/stacks article coming along shortly with more options for your GPP needs. Cheers!