Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/25/18
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Welcome to MLB Friday! We have a jam-packed 14 game slate on our hands with a ton to look at across the board. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Max Scherzer will head the night as our top pitcher. He’s a top option against any team, but especially the Marlins. They are easily one of the more lackluster offenses in baseball and provide no sort of power punch. Against righties, they rank 29th in baseball with a .279 wOBA. They nicely back that up with 24.1% K rate and putrid .113 ISO. Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball right and striking out over 13 batters per 9 innings. The Marlins are implied to score just 2.45 runs tonight and Scherzer is the clear top dog. The problem lies in the price. If you can afford him with a lineup you’re happy with, don’t second guess it.
You might have to pay down a bit if you plan on paying up for more than a bat or two. James Paxton is going to give you huge upside and a solid floor at a much lower price tag. Paxton has been an inning-eater this season and has struck out more batters than ever before on a per inning basis. He’s gone 9 innings in two of his last three games and has proven to be a workhorse with an iron arm. He draws a match-up tonight with a Twins squad that hasn’t been putting it together as of late. They are league average against lefties, but strikeout 25% of the time and rank 21st with a .154 ISO. Paxton is lethal when keeping the ball in the park and the Twins don’t have any righty to be all that scared of. It’s hard to expect another 8+ innings, but 7 innings and 7 strikeouts seems like a fair expectation and more than enough production for the price. He’s no Max Scherzer, but still a spend up pitcher in an solid spot worth paying up for in all formats.
Ross Stripling FD 6700 DK 7200
Opponent - SD (Clayton Richard) Park - LAD
FD - 30.97 DK - 15.48
If you need to pay down a considerable amount, Ross Stripling is probably your guy. He’s been excellent in each of the last two starts, facing off with the Reds and Nationals. He went a combined 11.1 innings, striking out 16 and giving up 3 runs. The strikeouts are legitimate and will continue. His pitch count will never be too high, but I expect the Dodgers to let him reach 90-100 tonight. The price is still fairly low on both sites and the risk is as well against a lowly Padres team. While slightly better than the Marlins we just touched on, the Padres rank 26th with a .284 wOBA and crazy 26.4% K rate. Stripling is a great savings option and an elite SP2 in cash games on DK. Let’s get to the bats!
I try not to touch on Coors Field too much, so here’s a good way to get it out of the way. If you do need to pay up at catcher, it’s Salvador Perez or Gary Sanchez for me. Perez is my favorite of the two with all things considered. On to Wolters, who’ll be in the bottom of the lineup against Sal Ramano in Coors Field. Romano is a bad pitcher and it’s one of the main reasons the Rockies are expected to score over 6.5 runs. They’re also in Coors Field and facing a bullpen that ranks in the bottom 5. Wolters figures to get some RBI opportunities tonight and isn’t the worst hitter around. His price is fair on both sites and you get pretty cheap exposure to Coors Field and the highest implied run total on the board. As for the rest of the Rockies, Blackmon is one of the best plays on the entire slate and Arenado and Parra are elite as well.
Joey Votto FD 4500 DK 4800
Opponent - COL (Jon Gray) Park - COL
FD - 13.2 DK - 9.85
First base is typically stacked, but it’s not the case today. I’m not saying here aren’t many options, but nobody stands out like crazy. We do have Joey Votto in Coors Field against a righty, so I say we look there as the top cash game option. Jon Gray is definitely a good pitcher, but it’s often a bit exaggerated. He’s given up a terrible .369 wOBA to lefties this year and has struggled in Coors Field. Joey Votto is one of the best hitters in baseball and sported a .433 wOBA against righties in 2017. The Reds are expected to score 4.33 runs and Votto will be in the middle of it all. You can target anyone in Coors Field, but Votto is the clear top option at a somewhat weak 1B position.
Carlos Santana FD 3700 DK 3900
Opponent - TOR (Sam Gaviglio) Park - PHI
FD - 10.83 DK - 8.07
Carlos Santana is a guy that usually falls outside the elite category at first, but tonight is bare and the Phillies have a solid match-up with Sam Gaviglio. Gaviglio gave up a .356 wOBA to lefties in 2017 and his peripherals suggested even worse. He gave up a whopping 16 homers in under 75 innings. Carlos Santana, a switch-hitter, is better against righties. He posted a .360 wOBA against right-handers in 2017 and is still the same hitter. The Phillies aren’t a lineup we love to target, but you have to pay attention when they’re expected to put up close to 5 runs. Gaviglio is a bad pitcher and Santana should capitalize at a solid price tag. If you need to pay down, I like Tyler Austin and Ryan Rua where eligible.
Merrifield is a guy you’ll often find slotted into my 2B slot in cash games. Especially against lefties. He’s always hit them well and sits a top a Royals lineup that seems to always manufacture at least a few runs. Merrifield is as versatile as it gets at 2B for the price and can give you FP from so many different angles. Against lefties, Whit has sported a .507 wOBA. I know it’s unsustainable, but he’s been insane this year and his BABIP suggests the wOBA only falls to around .395. Still very good for a mid-priced 2B against Mike Minor. Minor is atrocious against righties, allowing a .384 wOBA so far with 8 homers in 41 innings. The Royals are a solid offense to target tonight and Merrifield should be involved in a run or two.
Joey Wendle FD 2400 DK 3000
Opponent - BAL (David Hess) Park - TB
FD - 9.27 DK - 7.23
Joey Wendle is never going to light anything on fire, but he’s a simple punt play. A damn good one at that with Scherzer on the mound. He’s expected to be hitting 3rd and faces off with a lackluster O’s arm in David Hess. He’s been bad against both sides of the plate and the Rays are expected to put up a healthy 4.69 runs. I can’t tell you why Joseph Wendle is in any lineup, let alone hitting 3rd, but it’s the hand we’re being dealt and I don’t really mind a hit and a run at close to min-price.
Jurickson Profar FD 3800 DK 3700
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TEX
FD - 9.31 DK - 7.15
Shortstop is typically pretty barren, but I’d expect a few more options with so many games on the table. Our favorite of the bunch is Jurickson Profar, who’ll face off with Eric Skoglund. Skoglund is one of the worst pitchers on the board and it’s why the Rangers currently have an implied run total well over 5. Against righties, Skoglund has managed to allowed a .385 wOBA with peripherals that fully support it. You can target any of these righties in the Rangers lineup without any hesitation. Profar is a switch-hitter that prefers hitting from the left side. He’s quickly asserted himself into the order and has shown why he was a top MLB prospect for what seemed like a decade. He has a bit of power and certainly SB upside to match it. The price is fair and I see him with a tad bit more upside than Chris Taylor. Eric Skoglund is a bad pitcher and I’ll be doing my best to get right-handed exposure from this order. Profar is cheap enough on both sites and gives you upside and safety at a weaker position.
Chris Taylor FD 3800 DK 3900
Opponent - SD (Clayton Richard) Park - LAD
FD - 10.71 DK - 8.26
If Jurickson Profar doesn’t fit your mood for whatever reason, Chris Taylor is an excellent cash game play. We haven’t touched on the Los Angeles Dodgers just yet, but they’re more than in play against a lowly lefty in Clayton Richard. He’s given up a .377 wOBA to right-handers since the start of 2017 and hasn’t looked good this season. They don’t have much of an explosive offense, but a guy like Chris Taylor should lead off and make some noise. He’s sported a .355 wOBA against lefties and hit 21 total homers in ‘17. His price is fair on both sites and he gives you exposure to an offense that’s projected to score nearly 5 runs. I like Profar just a bit more, but Taylor seems like a reasonable option here.
When facing off with Julio Teheran, you want to target the lefties. His splits aren’t as severe as they once were, but he gave up a .340 wOBA and 17 homers to lefties in 2017. He now faces off with a Red Sox team that ranks in the top 5 against righties in every category. You can go with Betts or Martinez, but these other guys deserve attention as well. Rafael Devers is a damn good lefty and will have an RBI opportunity or three tonight vs Teheran and lackluster bullpen friends. Devers has posted a .343 wOBA since entering the league and has been a lot better in Fenway Park. Julio Teheran is expected to struggle mightily with the Sox and Devers should get in on at least one or two of those many expected runs.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa FD 3100 DK 3500
Opponent - KC (Eric Skoglund) Park - TEX
FD - 9.58 DK - 7.5
Isiah Kiner-Falefa is now the Rangers 3 hitter and a guy we need to pay retention to on a nightly basis. Tonight, the Rangers are one of the top offenses on the entire slate and Kiner-Falefa is one of the top values on the day. He’s held just a .320 combined wOBA on the season, but has been excellent over the last couple weeks and is doing more than just slapping singles around. He’s driving the ball and even has 2 homers in just a short amount of time. The Rangers obviously see something here and have him as their primary bat vs lefties. Eric Skoglund is terrible against righties (.385 wOBA) and I fully expect the Rangers to match Vegas run expectation tonight. Kiner-Falefa is too cheap and almost a lock in cash games on a site like FanDuel. That’s if it wasn’t for Devers and Justin Turner, who you have to have a little exposure to at least.
Giancarlo Stanton FD 5100 DK 5000
Opponent - LAA (Andrew Heaney) Park - NYY
FD - 17.98 DK - 13.28
Giancarlo Stanton against a lefty is my favorite hitter match-up in all of baseball. Dating back to 2015, Stanton has demolished lefties and he’s not going to stop anytime soon. In 2017, he held a .480 wOBA against lefties and has upped it to a .564 in ‘18. The protection in the lineup has seriously paid off and Stanton is teeing off on southpaws. Tonight, he faces off with an ex-teammate in Andrew Heaney. Heaney is a decent youngster and we don’t want to target him in most cases, but the Yankees are a lethal lineup and he’s had some trouble with righty power. Stanton is a top play on the entire slate and you can toss Hicks and Judge in there as well as cash game considerations.
I love picking on Mike Minor tonight. I know the Rangers have a higher implied team total, but I like the lineup construction of the Royals a lot more for a stack. Check out the pitchers and stacks article for a deeper dive on that. In the outfield, Jorge Soler will hit 2nd and be one of the more expensive pieces of this Royals squad. Rightfully so. Once a strikeout machine with limited balance, Soler is striking the ball to all fields and posting a ludicrous .468 wOBA against lefties. Tonight, he sees a pretty terrible one in Mike Minor. The same Mike Minor who’s allowed a .384 wOBA to righties thus far and hasn’t faced many good ones. The Royals are a team I love tonight and Soler is a must if you’re stacking. He’s also an elite stand alone play.
We'll close things off with another Red Sox bat. We have only looked at Rafael Devers up to this point, but you can play any of them. Julio Teheran is a lot worse against lefties, but Betts and Martinez are in play as well. As for Andrew Benintendi, he's sported a .388 wOBA against righties so far in 2018. Teheran has allowed a .340 wOBA against righties and has a huge HR problem. Benintendi seems to get involved every game and I expect him be in the heart of it all tonight. Teheran isn't a bad pitcher, but the Red Sox are expected to score 5.5 runs tonight and that's not something to overlook. Good luck tonight and feel free to comment down below with any questions!
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg