featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

    Austyn Varney

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

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    Max ScherzerMax Scherzer FD 11600 DK 14000
    Opponent - LAD (Ross Stripling) Park - WSH
    FD - 47.96 DK - 26.86

    Welcome to Friday baseball! We have a jam-packed 15 game slate on our hands with a whole lot to look at. Per the usual, Max Scherzer is the top dog when on the mound. He’s always going to cost you an arm and leg and make you sacrifice more than any other arm. At the same time, he’s more consistent and has more upside than anyone. Tonight, he faces a watered down Dodgers lineup hat hasn’t been very good. On the season, they rank 12th against righties with a .319 team wOBA and 22% strikeout rate. Certainly nothing that scares you away from Scherzer, who’s sporting a 13.9 K/9 and 1.75 xFIP. I’ve long been a Kershaw truther, but I’m finally taking Scherzer if given the choice between the two. As for tonight, it’s just a matter of price. If you can afford him, there’s not much of a debate.

    Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 10000 DK 9800
    Opponent - ARI (Zack Godley) Park - NYM
    FD - 39.44 DK - 21.33

    If you can’t or don’t want to pay all the way up for whatever reason, we have a great pivot just below Scherzer. Outside of leaving last game for medical reason, Jacob DeGrom has been great and very consistent. In his 7 prior starts, he reached 6 innings in five of them and struck out 8+ in three. Tonight, he’s on 6 days of rest and facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets will host the D-Backs in Citi Field, where DeGrom much prefers pitching. He’s been a lot worse against lefties historically, but has sported a sub .250 combined wOBA in the season. The Diamondbacks team is pretty strong up front, but they rank 29th against righties with a pitiful .289 wOBA and 25% strikeout rate. DeGrom doesn’t have the same upside in most nights as Scherzer, but he could end up going 8+ innings if the Diamondbacks come out swinging early. Let’s find someone a bit cheaper.

    Ivan NovaIvan Nova FD 8300 DK 6400
    Opponent - SD (Tyson Ross) Park - SD
    FD - 32.79 DK - 16.44
    Ross StriplingRoss Stripling FD 6000 DK 4200
    Opponent - WSH (Max Scherzer) Park - WSH
    FD - 25.52 DK - 12.59
    If you are looking for some cheaper options for starting pitcher two or a possible pivot on FanDuel these two guys are interesting spots. Nova has a fantastic matchup against the Padres who rank among the worst in the league against righty pitching. They strike out 27% of the time, sport a .287 team wOBA and just generally stink. Theie 3.6 implied runs are the 5th-lowest of the slate which is important considering how cheap Nova is on DraftKings. He doesn't light the world on fire with seven Ks per nine, but limits the walks to under two and the 3.84 xFIP is more than a run lower than the actual ERA.

    Meanwhile, Stripling is essentially free on DraftKings at $4200. For a guy striking out about a batter an inning, you will almost never see a pitcher this cheap. The matchup stinks against the Nationals who have a tough top of the order. And he's a big time +185 underdog. But again, that price is so, so tempting.


    First Base/Catcher

    Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 0 DK 4600
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 12.47 DK - 9.45

    The Cubs are going to be a team we are all over on this slate. Even twice here at C/1B. There are a few pitchers to target here, but Homer Bailey is the worst and we know how lethal this Cubs offense is. We will dive into Homer Bailey more as we move along, but he’s allowed 3 or more earned runs in each of his last 5 starts. None of which against an offense this strong. We’ll look at Willson Contreras first, who has been great against righties. He’s sported a .370 wOBA against them so far in ‘18 and has hit for plenty of power. Great American Ballpark is an extremely friendly ballpark for hitters and the Cubs are fully expected to take advantage. Contreras is the first of many.

    Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4200 DK 5000
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 14.88 DK - 11.09

    When you’re looking at the Cubs lineup, the top bat in the order against a righty is Rizzo and against a lefty is Bryant. Tonight, they face a righty in Homer Bailey that has been putrid against both lefties and righties. While a .403 wOBA against lefties may be a bit inflated, he sat around .356 last season, so maybe not. He’s easily one of the worst pitchers in the league with a 30%+ hard contact rate against both sides of the plate and sub 20% K rate. As for Anthony Rizzo, you know what you’re getting. Since the start of ‘17, Rizzo has held a .407 wOBA against righties. That number will only go up in this hitter-friendly ballpark. Rizzo is my favorite bat on the entire slate and one I’ll have 100% exposure to or damn near it. Homer Bailey is going to have a hard time with the Cubbies and Rizzo is the beating heart of it all.

    Jose AbreuJose Abreu FD 0 DK 4300
    Opponent - TEX (Undecided) Park - CHW
    FD - 11.81 DK - 9.01

    If neither of the Cubs float your boat, the other Chicago first baseman is an option. The White Sox aren’t in as good of a match-up as he Cubs, but it’s close. They just have a much harder lineup to target against lefties. One guy we can absolutely look at is Jose Abreu, who’s one of the cleaner hitters in baseball. In 2017, Abreu held a .428 wOBA against lefties and belted 30+ homers. As for his opponent, Matt Moore, he’s been horrible. A 5.77 xFIP and .431 combined wOBA through 40 innings should be plenty of information. He’s one of the leagues' worst lefties and has shown no signs of improvement. Jose Abreu is an elite play in all formats and deserves a ton of attention in this lineup.

    Second Base

    Javier BaezJavier Baez FD 0 DK 4600
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 11.76 DK - 8.98

    If the Cubs run out their base lineup, Baez will be at 2B and Russell at SS. There’s always a chance we see Ben Zobrist and you can throw him right in there if in the starting lineup. He’s consistent and always so cheap on both sites. As for Baez, he’s been one of the best middle infielders in baseball. He’s pumped righties to the tune of a .388 wOBA and has 7 of his 10 homers against them. Tonight, he faces off with Homer Bailey. The same guy who’s allowed a 2.33 HR/9 since the start of the season. He’s just as bad against righties as he is lefties and should ultimately just struggle mightily with this Cubs lineup. Baez will get countless opportunities and is worth playing if you have the funds. The Cubbies are easily the top stack of the slate.

    Ian KinslerIan Kinsler FD 0 DK 3300
    Opponent - TB (Blake Snell) Park - LAA
    FD - 11.43 DK - 8.78

    If you're looking to pay down a bit, I'm a fan of targeting this Angels lineup. At second base, we get an affordable way to target this lineup with Ian Kinsler. Kinsler has always been a lefty masher and he's still the same hitter here in '18. He gets to hit in front of Mike Trout and Justin Upton, so sees a ton of pitches and gets driven in almost every time he's on base. He posted a .374 wOBA against lefties in 2017 and hit 22 total homers. He gets to face off with a lefty in Blake Snell tonight that's had some struggles with righties. He's given up 7 homers to them in just 35 innings this year. He's a bright youngster, but has some work to do before being considered a high-end starter. The Angels are a great offense against lefties and Kinsler is one of few I like.



    Trevor StoryTrevor Story FD 3800 DK 4100
    Opponent - SF (Derek Holland) Park - SF
    FD - 12.01 DK - 9.04

    Shortstop is a pretty interesting position. There are a lot of different ways to go, but Trevor Story still stands out to me as the top option. I know he's in San Francisco and it's about the farthest thing you can get from Coors Field, but that's fine. He has the power to hit it out anywhere and doesn't just rely on the HR ball. Story is ridiculous against lefties, sporting a .434 wOBA this season and a .420 in 2017. Tonight, the Rockies see Derek Holland. Holland hasn't been utterly atrocious this season, but he's held a .342 wOBA against righties after a .408 in 2017. The number in 2017 is closer to the truth, according to the .255 BABIP and 46% hard contact rate. It's hard not to like the right-handed Rockies tonight, even in a tough ballpark.

    Jurickson ProfarJurickson Profar FD 2700 DK 3300
    Opponent - CHW (Carson Fulmer) Park - CHW
    FD - 10.12 DK - 7.77

    We haven’t touched on the Rangers yet, but that’s because all of the weapons come in the outfield. That’s outside of Jurickson Profar, who’s found himself nice and snug in the 3 hole. He hasn’t been spectacular, but is playing the game he always has and is a consistent base knocker and base stealer with 10-20 HR power. Tonight, he gets a match-up with Carson Fulmer, who’s one of the nights biggest gas cans. If a 6+ xFIP isn’t bad enough on the season, a .378 wOBA against lefties and .408 wOBA against righties should be. It’s obviously a small sample size, but there’s nothing telling us anything different. Vegas expects the Rangers to put up about 5 runs and Profar figures to be involved. His price is fair on both sites and I’m a fan in all formats.

    Third Base

    Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 0 DK 5600
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 15.11 DK - 11.31

    I know we’re touching on a lot of Cubs, but that’s what you gotta do when they’re in Cincinnati and facing off with a putrid Homer Bailey. Bailey has taken a steep fall down at age 32 and is giving up a .340+ wOBA to both sides of the plate. Kris Bryant has been one of the best hitters in baseball against lefties but has maintained a strong .390 wOBA against righties with a strong power record. If you’re going to stack the Cubs, you don’t leave Kris Bryant off the squad. He’s going to do damage against not only Bailey but the putrid Reds bullpen and company. I like Rizzo just a bit more against a righty, but both are firmly in play in cash and tournaments and could go pretty low owned if the masses are paying up at pitcher.

    Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 4100 DK 4500
    Opponent - OAK (Brett Anderson) Park - TOR
    FD - 15.17 DK - 11.3

    Third base is a spot i'm paying up at. If you don't like Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson is just as good of an option. Some may argue even better. He's always been a lefty masher and faces a guy in Brett Anderson tonight that should absolutely not be in the majors. I guess a .351 wOBA against righties in 2017 wasn't enough, so he's been given another chance and now at a .415 against them. As for Josh Donaldson, he's held a .400 wOBA against righties in each of the last few years. The Rogers Centre is a top 10 park for home runs and the Jays are expected to get to Brett Anderson without much trouble here. Both Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson are in 10/10 spots and you can't go wrong with either. I will personally have more Bryant with the Cubs stacks, but Donaldson may be a better stand alone option in cash games.


    Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 0 DK 4400
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 11.99 DK - 8.9
    Albert Almora Jr.Albert Almora Jr. FD 0 DK 3500
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - CIN
    FD - 9.08 DK - 7.06

    The projected lineup we’re looking at has Albert Almora leading off and Kyle Schwarber in the 6 hole. Things could obviously change with the Cubs lineup and you’ll need to adjust with it. If things go according to plan, Almora is an elite value and Schwarber is going to see 2 or 3 RBI opportunities with an extremely bad righty on the mound. Almora is better against lefties, but has more SB upside against righties and has still posted a .300+ wOBA. As for Schwarber, he’s been well over a .400 wOBA against righties and has as much pop as anyone on the slate. The Cubs are obviously our favorite offense of the night and I’ll be doing whatever I can to fit them all. Homer Bailey is atrocious and you’re doing it wrong if you ignore the Cubs tonight.

    Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3000 DK 3600
    Opponent - CHW (Carson Fulmer) Park - CHW
    FD - 11.72 DK - 8.86
    Nomar MazaraNomar Mazara FD 3500 DK 4200
    Opponent - CHW (Carson Fulmer) Park - CHW
    FD - 10.86 DK - 8.26
    Joey GalloJoey Gallo FD 3400 DK 4000
    Opponent - CHW (Carson Fulmer) Park - CHW
    FD - 11.73 DK - 8.61
    Delino DeShieldsDelino DeShields FD 0 DK 3800
    Opponent - CHW (Carson Fulmer) Park - CHW
    FD - 11.37 DK - 8.8

    If the Cubs duo doesn’t do it for you, maybe you’re a fan of these Rangers. Depending on what 3 find the outfield, they are all in play. Let’s start with the match-up. Carson Fulmer is a cardboard cutout righty with the 4 basic pitches and 1 above average fastball. He’s been absolutely atrocious in every step of the way so far and is now facing an even more lethal offense in a hitter-friendly ballpark. The current projected lineup has Deshields, Mazara, Choo, and Gallo all finding the order. It seems extreme, but all of these guys are very much in play. They all hit righties extremely well and Deshields gets a lot of SB upside against them. Gallo is the book or bust play you reserve for tourneys, with Choo and Mazara safe for cash. DeShields is a bit of a wild card and just relies on getting to first base with an empty second. The Rangers are a top offense on this slate and deserve to be played against a lifeless Carson Fulmer.

    Mike TroutMike Trout FD 0 DK 5700
    Opponent - TB (Blake Snell) Park - LAA
    FD - 14.64 DK - 10.85
    Justin UptonJustin Upton FD 0 DK 4600
    Opponent - TB (Blake Snell) Park - LAA
    FD - 12 DK - 9

    Just another rock-solid duo in the outfield. Both of these guys are more than elite against lefties and face off with Blake Snell tonight, who's had his fair share of struggles. Snell is eventually going to be a guy we let be, but he's allowed 7 homers in 30 innings to righties and held a .330 wOBA over the past two seasons. I obviously don't need to tell you anything about Mike Trout, but he's a pretty good hitter if you didn't know. A .488 wOBA against lefties surprises nobody and will likely be the number he settles around for his career. We're watching one of the best ever. As for Justin Upton, he sported a .472 wOBA against lefties in 2017 and has a ton of power. He'll get back to his game soon. Hopefully tonight. Both Trout and Upton are elite plays against Snell and I really don't mind this stack in large field tournaments. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment below with any questions or comments!


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