Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/19/18

Hello friends, and welcome to another edition of Saturday MLB picks. We've got a handful of early games, but we're going to direct most of our focus on the main slate of eleven games. We've got some solid arms on the mound, let's go position by position and see if we can't find some value in the bats to pair along with them.

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Luis SeverinoLuis Severino FD 10500 DK 12600
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - KC
FD - 39.13 DK - 21.32
Keep the aspirin nearby as pitching is a real headache heading into today. The early slate's a total mess, and on the main slate, we have some strong options, but they're going to cost you a pretty penny. Case in point Luis Severino, who is the most expensive arm on both sites, but is also easily the safest cash game play of the night. The Yankees are in Kansas City for the weekend and will send Severino to the hill today as a -247 favorite against a Royals team projected for a mere 3.3 runs. Severino has been a complete stud this season limiting opponents to two runs or less in all but two starts and currently sits with the sixth best xFIP in the majors and nearly 11 K's per nine. The Royals are a mediocre offense at best, with a bottom ten wOBA against RHP. I don't know that I'd go there in tournaments, as the Royals have displayed quite an impressive level of patience at the plate, striking out just 16.2% of the time against the split, but as a cash game play, Severino is definitely in the conversation.

James PaxtonJames Paxton FD 9400 DK 12200
Opponent - DET (Mike Fiers) Park - SEA
FD - 42.95 DK - 23.41
If you don't want to spend all the way up for Sev, then we have an excellent pivot in the form of James Paxton. Again, we have a pitcher against the team with the lowest K% against the split. The Tigers strikeout 16.8% of the time against southpaws, so the upside could be limited, but Seattle, like the Yanks, sees a strong opening line (-235), while Detroit projects for a paltry 2.9 runs. Paxton followed up his no-no earlier this month with a game against the Tigers in Detroit, going six strong with just three earned runs surrendered, and four strikeouts. Tonight he's coming in as a top arm with the highest raw projected points on the slate tonight against the Tigers, with a nice park factor upgrade as the action moves to his home turf. Both Paxton and Severino are top arms in strong spots against weak offenses tonight, there may not be much in the way of upside, but it's hard to go wrong with either in cash contests.

Sean NewcombSean Newcomb FD 9200 DK 11500
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - ATL
FD - 36.32 DK - 18.72
Still a costly play, but coming in cheaper than the two guys above with a bit more upside potential is Sean Newcomb. Newcomb and the Braves host the Marlins tonight in SunTrust park. Over his last three starts, Newcomb has thrown 19 shutout innings of five-hit baseball with eight walks and 20 K's. He dominated the Marlins last Sunday in Miami, and Vegas is expecting more of the same tonight. Atlanta is a -180 favorite with Miami projected for 3.6 runs. The Marlins strikeout 20.6% of the time against lefties and their .283 wOBA is the worst in the game. They have nobody in the lineup to fear, and Newcomb should mow his way through the order easily. As the cheapest arm of the bunch, Newcomb is a play I'm comfortable with locking in both in cash games and tournaments.

Early slate consideration: I said earlier pitching was terrible on the early slate, but I suppose you could go with Chris Stratton against the Rockies who have the sixth worst wOBA on the road, and strikeout 24.6% of the time. Corey Kluber is coming a little cheaper that usual on DraftKings, but it's a terrible matchup against the Astros. 

First Base/Catcher

Gary SanchezGary Sanchez FD 3900 DK 4500
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - KC
FD - 12.68 DK - 9.53
We have already established the Yankees are the biggest favorites on the slate, while that's due in part to Luis Severino going against a weak K.C. lineup, it's also due to the powerhouse Yankees going against Danny Duffy. The Royals southpaw, now in his eighth season has been getting beat up pretty bad this season. Through his first nine starts, he's posting career highs in just about every statistic that matters. His 5.25 xFIP is the eighth highest in the majors this season, and he's allowing over two HR/9. He's going to have his hands full against the Yankees lineup, starting with backstop Gary Sanchez. Going back to the start of 2017, Sanchez has the best wOBA among qualified catchers, and his .262 ISO is nearly 80 points higher than the next guy. Offensively, there's not a catcher in the game that comes close. Sanchez is going to eat more salary on DarftKings where a catcher is a requirement, but he's well worth it. On FanDuel, where a catcher is optional, Sanchez is an excellent value option for the price and is worthy of consideration.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4100 DK 4900
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - CIN
FD - 14.88 DK - 11.09
You're going to see a lot of Yankees spotlighted tonight, but you'll see much love going the Cubbies way as well. The Cubs will play a doubleheader with the Reds today, with Sal Romano looking likely to pitch the nightcap for Cincy. Romano has had 25 chances to prove he's got the stuff to be a major league pitcher and to date, he has yet to do so. Rizzo is a costly play, but like Sanchez the matchup is ideal and it's hard to ignore the potential here. Going back to the start of last season, Rizzo is sporting a .365 wOBA, .222 ISO, and is walking near as much as he strikes out. It'll be hard to pay up for pitching and to lock in some of these bats in such strong matchups, but we just may need to find a way.

Albert PujolsAlbert Pujols FD 2500 DK 3400
Opponent - TB (Ryan Yarbrough) Park - LAA
FD - 10.3 DK - 7.84
With all of the expensive arms we're considering on the hill today, we can't spend up as much as we might like on our bats, and will need to find some strong value plays to loosen things up a bit. We can do that easily at first base with Albert Pujols as the Angels continue their home series against the Rays. Tampa will send Ryan Yarbrough to the mound tonight. Yarbrough has appeared in ten games to date, mostly as a reliever. This will be his fourth start in the majors. In a limited sample size, we see that Yarbrough has good strikeout stuff, that he brought up from AAA, but has struggled some against the big league bats. He's carrying a 3.93 ERA with his xFIP nearly a full run higher. Pujols has seen his numbers drop off some over the past few seasons, as should be expected, but he still manages to perform at the plate and currently sits with a .296 wOBA with his OPS closing in on .700 and has reached base in 11 of his last 13 games heading into last night. Our MLB projection system loves Pujols from a points per dollar perspective tonight against the rookie, and if you're looking for value, Pujols is among the top plays on the day.

Early slate consider: Jonathan Lucroy & Matt Olson (OAK)

Second Base

Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 3700 DK 4100
Opponent - MIL (Freddy Peralta) Park - MIN
FD - 12.04 DK - 9.06
Freddy Peralta not only turned a lot of heads in his debut against the Rockies in Coors Field last weekend, but he also turned away a lot of Colorado batters, striking out 13 in 5.2 IP, allowing just three base runners and walking away with an impressive win in his major league debut. Time will tell if the young right-hander can maintain this type of production, but Vegas isn't buying into it. The opening lines see the Twins as slight favorites and projecting for 4.5 runs tonight against the Brewers. This gives us a chance to lock Brian Dozier as a mid-tiered price play at second base. Though his numbers are down compared to his career totals, Dozier has still been solid to open the season with a .313 wOBA and .722 OPS. Dozier's been in a bit of a slump lately with just one base hit in his last four games, but that could scare some people off and provide us with some separation in tournaments, making Dozier an excellent play in all formats.

Ian KinslerIan Kinsler FD 2300 DK 3100
Opponent - TB (Ryan Yarbrough) Park - LAA
FD - 11.55 DK - 8.82
We looked to the Angels for value at first base and will do so once again at second. Like Pujols, Ian Kinsler has been around the game for a while, and his numbers are on the decline in his first season with the Angels, but that allows us to lock him in on the cheap tonight against a young pitcher still adjusting to life in the majors. Kinsler has always been better against lefties, but his .331 career wOBA off of RHP is impressive enough to consider as well. Anaheim projects for one of the higher run totals of the night at 5.0 and provide much-needed salary relief compared to those top tiered studs on the Yankees and Cubs.

Dee GordonDee Gordon FD 2900 DK 3600
Opponent - DET (Mike Fiers) Park - SEA
FD - 10.53 DK - 8.45
Always an excellent GPP option with stolen base upside, Dee Gordon is one of the top points per dollar plays in our system tonight hitting leadoff for the Mariners against Mike Fiers and the Tigers. Gordon hasn't lost a step with his change of venue this season moving from Miami to Seattle. His .316 wOBA and .723 OPS are on pace with his numbers last season in Miami and are well above his career totals. His 15 stolen bags are second in the majors, and though he's struggled at the plate with just two hits in his last five games, he'll have a great matchup tonight against Fiers. Fiers has struggled through his first seven starts with the Tigers, posting a 4.75 xFIP, with a .310 BABIP and a career-low 6.10 K/9. I prefer the two guys above as cash game plays, but for a tournament pivot, Gordon is an excellent way to go.

Early slate consider: Cesar Hernandez (PHI)



Didi GregoriusDidi Gregorius FD 3800 DK 4000
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - KC
FD - 12.32 DK - 9.49
Back to the Yankees we go, with Didi Gregorius at shortstop. Don't let the .255 average fool you, Gregorius is tearing things up this season posting career highs in wOBA (.365), ISO (.282), and OPS (.880). Gregorius dropped to the five-hole for the series against the Nationals, but was back to batting third last night in the series opener. Obviously, if he stays higher in the order it certainly favors him, but we can consider Didi regardless of where he falls in the starting lineup. Gregorius is one of the less expensive ways to gain exposure to the Yanks that we will look at tonight.

Jurickson ProfarJurickson Profar FD 2700 DK 3300
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - CHW
FD - 10.12 DK - 7.77
Shortstop is always a great spot to look for some value. Gregorius is certainly a strong value play compared to some of the other plays we've looked at, but if you want to punt the position, you can go to Jurickson Profar of the Rangers, who are in Chi-town this weekend for a set with the White Sox. Profar has been seeing the ball pretty well lately, with base hits in nine of his last 11 games, including a multi-hit effort last night, helping to bring his wOBA back up over the .300 mark for the season. Tonight he'll step into the box against Lucas Giolito. Giolito is making his twentieth career start stretched out over the last three seasons. In the time he's proven to be a subpar arm with a 5.67 career xFIP, who walks near as many batters as he K's. Value is going to be key for our bats today, and in a prime matchup, Profar looks to be a superb value option.

Early slate consider: Marcus Semien (OAK)

Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4900 DK 5500
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - CIN
FD - 15.11 DK - 11.31
If you didn't go with Anthony Rizzo at first, then maybe you have some additional funds to spend up on Kris Bryant in the hot corner. Bryant, who has reached base safely in 15 of his last sixteen games, has been quite impressive through the first quarter of the season, with a .430 wOBA, and 1.024 OPS, both the top at the position, a .294 ISO, and 13.1 BB%. Romano, who has a 5.09 xFIP, with a .333 wOBA allowed against right-handed hitters will have his hands full with this Cubs lineup, and the top of the order should have no trouble making big things happen tonight.

Rafael DeversRafael Devers FD 3000 DK 3600
Opponent - BAL (Dylan Bundy) Park - BOS
FD - 11.44 DK - 8.75
Rafael Devers hasn't quite lived up to expectations this season, his wOBA is down nearly 50 points from last season, and his OPS is over 100 points lower. That said, Devers hits in the heart of a Red Sox lineup expected to do some damage against Dylan Bundy and the Orioles. Bundy is now nine starts into his third full season in the majors and hasn't shown us anything to scare us off of targeting him. Our system has him projected as one of the worst pitchers on the slate, and locking in Devers who has reached base safely in seven of his last ten games with two multi-hit efforts and a home run in that time is an excellent way to target him for minimal salary commitment.

Early slate consider: Matt Carpenter (STL), Josh Donaldson (TOR)


Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton FD 5000 DK 5200
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - KC
FD - 17.01 DK - 12.57
Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 2800 DK 3500
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - KC
FD - 12.95 DK - 9.8
We've looked at a couple of Yankees bats already, as well as their starting pitcher, and we're going to throw a couple more at you here to consider in a New York stack if you decide to go that way. Giancarlo Stanton is one of the more expensive bats out there, and rightfully so, but pairing him with Aaron Hicks certainly helps to balance things out, and if you go with Paxton over Severino on the hill, then you open the door for a little more wiggle room in a Bronx bombers stack. There's not much I can tell you about Stanton that you don't already know, he's added a lethal piece to an already dangerous Yankees lineup, providing a .366 wOBA, 130 wRC+, .860 OPS, and ten home runs through the first 41 games. While Hicks may not provide the same kind of power, he brings a .317 career wOBA, .158 ISO, and .726 OPS against the split, with minimal salary commitment for access to the heart of one of the strongest orders in the game. We've already established it's going to be a rough one for Danny Duffy today, stacking Yankees is an optimal way to go in both cash games and tournaments.

Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3200 DK 3500
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - CHW
FD - 11.72 DK - 8.86
Among outfielders, Shin-Soo Choo projects as one of the top raw point projections in our system tonight, as well as a strong points per dollar play, sitting in the lower-mid $3K range on both sites. Choo is coming off of a 2-5 performance last night with a home run, 4 RBI, and two runs scored. It's his second multi-hit effort in a row and his sixth this month. As hot as Shin-soo has been, don't look for the flame to go out tonight against Lucas Giolito. Choo sports a career .382 wOBA against the split, with an OPS approaching .900, a .198 ISO, and nearly 13% walk rate. Giolito's allowing a WOBA over .400 against left-handed hitters, with a 33.9% hard-hit rate. It could be another big night at the dish for Choo, make sure to have yourself some exposure.

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 2600 DK 3600
Opponent - CIN (Sal Romano) Park - CIN
FD - 12.47 DK - 9.46
We'll close out with one more trip to Great American Ballpark where the Reds will host the Cubs. We continue to buy low on Zobrist, and I for one intend to take advantage of the pricing until the sites see fit to correct, particularly in a matchup as good as this. The wOBA sits a .331 with the OPS over .700 and a 108 wRC+. The only concern with Zobrist at this point in the season is in the power numbers. While never a big home run hitter at this point we would expect more than one HR and a .096 ISO from BenZo, but for the price we don't need dingers, we simply need him to get onto the basepath, which should come easily against Romano tonight.

Early slate consider: Dexter Fowler (STL), Khris Davis & Matt Joyce (OAK)

Thanks for reading everyone. Feel free to post any questions below, and I'll try to pop in through the day to answer what I can and keep an eye out for the pitchers/stacks article with some more GPP options to consider, coming a little later in the day. As always, good luck out there tonight. Cheers!


1 Visitor Comment

  1. Fyi…..Jake Arrieta is a washed up bum. I think him and E Gattis are GREAT! Today is a new day. Good luck.

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