featured Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

    Doug Norrie

    Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 5/28/18

    Memorial Day brings us a full day's worth of games. It's not your average Monday and is a good way to get in a full sweat of baseball while also enjoying the BBQ. Let's take a look at some of the day's value plays.

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    Trevor CahillTrevor Cahill FD 8100 DK 7300
    Opponent - TB (Chris Archer) Park - OAK
    FD - 35.62 DK - 17.89
    After coming out of the gate with a K level far above anything he’d done in his career, Cahill has settled back into something like a strikeout an inning guy. The last couple of games have been far less than that, but I do suspect Cahill finishes with something close to his current averages. This isn’t the perfect matchup to boost those K numbers considering the Rays strike out less than league average against righties. But they don’t have a ton of power in the lineup either and come in with one of the lower implied run lines on the day at only 3.5. That’s some Vegas trust in Cahill here who comes in as a -130 favorite mostly because the matchup against Archer does depress some of the win expectation. I’m not too concerned with Cahill striking out only four batters in his last 12 innings. Boston was a tough matchup and Seattle strikes out the 4th least in the league against righties. Look for a bounce-back game against the Rays in this one and he makes for a solid cash game play at depressed prices.

    Chris ArcherChris Archer FD 8700 DK 9500
    Opponent - OAK (Trevor Cahill) Park - OAK
    FD - 33.43 DK - 18.07
    Archer sees the DraftKings price climb nearly $3K from last game coming off a six-inning, six strikeout performance against the Red Sox last week. He isn’t producing the same kind of swing and miss stuff we’ve seen in the past with his zone contact percentage climbing some this season. He’s also not getting as much chase out of the zone swings this season which (among other things) has led to a somewhat drastic dip in strikeout stuff. He went from a 29% strikeout rate in 2017 to just 22% this season. There’s some concern the elite K numbers won’t return for Archer, but the prices do somewhat reflect this new reality. The A’s strikeout more than league average against righties on the season and I do think we could see a similar outcome as Archer’s last start. He’s coming in as an underdog against Cahill, but not the kind of number we should run away from. I don’t even mind him for cash games considering the salaries and could even pair him with Cahill on DraftKings if I’m looking for higher floor outcomes.

    Marco GonzalesMarco Gonzales FD 7400 DK 6900
    Opponent - TEX (Doug Fister) Park - SEA
    FD - 31.73 DK - 16.48
    The thing about the Rangers is they strikeout, a ton. On the season they K about 27% of the time against lefties and there’s nothing about their lineup that suggests the number will come down any time soon. Gonzalez has been something of a surprise this season, posting a K rate north of eight strikeouts per nine with an xFIP about three-quarters a run lower than the ERA (3.21 compared to 4.05). He’s been able to limit the walks to under 5% (an elite number for more than 50 innings pitched) and you don’t need to worry about the Rangers getting all patient at the plate out of nowhere. He’s a -165 favorite (one of the highest on the day) which helps those win points going into the matchup. I love the prices on both sites, but especially his DraftKings salary as a SP2 option.

    On the very early slate consider David Price who looked fantastic in his last game. He gets a righty-heavy lineup in the Jays’ but is still coming relatively cheap.

    First Base/Catcher

    Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3500 DK 4000
    Opponent - CHW (Dylan Covey) Park - CLE
    FD - 13.53 DK - 10.02
    Yonder AlonsoYonder Alonso FD 2700 DK 3800
    Opponent - CHW (Dylan Covey) Park - CLE
    FD - 11.4 DK - 8.6
    Last game, Dylan Covey went out and struck out eight Orioles in seven innings for the best start of his career. Do think this is the kind of thing he maintains going forward? Me neither. Vegas has the Indians with one of the highest run lines of the day at 5.25 runs and it’s tough to think Covey is anything better than the 5.22 xFIP guy he’s been through the first 80+ innings of his career. Both E5 and Alonso are solid against righties. Both have near identical splits against righties over the last season plus. E5 has a .871 OPS while Alonso is at .872. Both have the same .369 wOBA and each walk a little more than 12% of the time. They should hit 4-5 in the order and make for a great place to stack on FanDuel where you can play both.

    Marwin GonzalezMarwin Gonzalez FD 2200 DK 3200
    Opponent - NYY (Domingo German) Park - NYY
    FD - 9.49 DK - 7.26
    He doesn’t hit near the top of the order, but Gonzalez is coming so very cheap all around. He’s just around the minimum on FanDuel and the DraftKings price is circling the bottom of the drain as well. No doubt the numbers are terrible on the 2018 season, following a 2017 campaign that saw him with a .900 OPS and 23 home runs in a breakout campaign. Now he’s sitting at an OPS just a little over .600 and is tough to play on a day-to-day basis. He’s running a little bad in the BABIP (25 points lower than last season) and especially bad on the HR/FB rate (9%, down from 18% last season). His batted ball profile looks nearly identical to last season with the hard contact rate right in the 42% range. There should be some positive regression on Gonzalez’s rate stats for the rest of the season and his lower numbers sure do look like a lot of run bad. I think we are buying on the low side with a lot of upside considering the rest of the lineup’s firepower and the expectation that his numbers come back around.

    Strongly consider Ian Desmond against the lefty on the evening slate. Also, though he’s struggled against righties this season, you have to like the spot for Paul Goldschmidt against Homer Bailey.

    At catcher, consider Victor Martinez against Skaggs. It's also not the worse thing to roster Alex Avila against Homer Bailey

    Second Base

    Ketel MarteKetel Marte FD 2200 DK 2800
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - ARI
    FD - 9.1 DK - 7.12
    Understand that second base really sucks on Monday. There’s really no other way to put it. The position makes shortstop actually chocked full of talent by comparison. I’m assuming that Marte slots into the 5-6 spot in the lineup and that’s almost reason enough to play the guy. Homer Bailey is one of the worst arms going in the majors and the fact that Marte just gets to hit against the guy makes the latter relevant in cash games.

    Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4000 DK 4800
    Opponent - NYY (Domingo German) Park - NYY
    FD - 12.65 DK - 9.78
    Like shortstop, this might be the spot to pay up for considering we don’t need to go nuts on pitching. Even righty-on-righty Altuve is among the best in the league in this split. Over his last 700 plate appearances, the guy it about as good as it gets in this split. He’s got a .933 OPS, .398 wOBA and it so tough to put down on strikes. He’s just one of the best hitter in the game. At such a weak position, this is one of the spots where we can overpay based on lack of other options. I’m fine taking that strategy with Altuve who has such a high floor considering the way he scores points.

    Consider the Red Sox guys in Eduardo Nunez and Dustin Pedroia who are still coming rather cheap.



    Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 4100 DK 4900
    Opponent - CHW (Dylan Covey) Park - CLE
    FD - 13.68 DK - 10.48
    Like I said with Encarnacion and Alonso, I think this is a great spot for the Indians and think Lindor will be something tantamount to chalk on the afternoon slate. He’s putting together another excellent season with a .911 OPS even though the strikeouts are up nearly 6% year over year. He’s *getting by* on a .254 ISO and elevated HR/FB rate. But he’s still a great hitter against what amounts to a very below average major league arm. Because we aren’t going to pay a ton for pitching it’s realistic to consider just paying premiums on nearly every position player. Shortstop has such positional scarcity that it often makes sense to pay all the way up here unless you can completely punt. Linder is the top play and likely one of the highest owned players on the slate.

    Jedd GyorkoJedd Gyorko FD 2900 DK 3400
    Opponent - MIL (Brent Suter) Park - MIL
    FD - 9.78 DK - 7.4
    It isn’t a huge sample size, but over the last couple of seasons, Gyorko is one of the very best hitters in the game against lefty pitching. Through his last 137 plate appearances, he has a ridiculous .436 wOBA and 1.064 OPS in that split. It’s tough for lefties to strike him out at only 12% and he has a near identical 11% walk rate. Honestly, Gyorko should be hitting near the top of the lineup against lefties considering his recent returns, but even in the 6-7 hole, he’s a clear bargain at these prices. Brent Suter is a league average pitcher so it isn’t an overwhelmingly exciting spot, but the Gyorko’s gains against lefties win out here.

    For the evening slate, for sure play Trevor Story against the lefty Suarez

    Third Base

    Kyle SeagerKyle Seager FD 3000 DK 3500
    Opponent - TEX (Doug Fister) Park - SEA
    FD - 11.31 DK - 8.55
    On the one hand, he’s been very bad this season. On the other hand, he gets to face off against Doug Fister. Fister hasn’t been awful this season from an xFIP standpoint (4.41) but strikes out less than seven batters per nine and is getting roasted on home runs. Seeger is still an above average bat against righties over the last couple of seasons with an uninspiring (but serviceable) .750 OPS and .317 wOBA. Basically, we are buying very low on a middle of the order bat against a below average arm. He’s a better value on DraftKings in the mid $3K range and helps round out lineups at a weaker position.

    Zack CozartZack Cozart FD 2900 DK 3200
    Opponent - DET (Matthew Boyd) Park - DET
    FD - 10.9 DK - 8.32
    If he’s in the leadoff spot on Monday then this is a pretty easy play all around. First off, just about anyone in the world hitting in front of Mike Trout is an insane scoring advantage over the long term. It helps that Cozart has been elite against lefty pitching over the last couple of seasons. In his last 164 plate appearances, Cozart has an incredible .935 OPS and 142 wRC+. He’s very tough to strike out at only 13% against southpaws and walks 11% of the time. On DraftKings he’s near must play at this price and the FanDuel price is too low as well assuming he’s in the top spot in the lineup. Don’t be fooled by Boyd’s 3.29 ERA with the xFIP more than 1.5 runs higher at 4.83. The Angels are projected at right around five runs, one of the highest on the early slate of games.

    For the evening, consider Eduardo Escobar against Junis. I also don’t mind punting with David Freese against Mike Montgomery if the former is hitting in the middle of the lineup.


    Mike TroutMike Trout FD 5400 DK 5800
    Opponent - DET (Matthew Boyd) Park - DET
    FD - 15.62 DK - 11.58
    I mean, what can we possibly say about the guy at this point? The numbers are simply ridiculous. As if we needed more evidence that he’s the best player in the game, dude just starts out the season with a league-leading 17 home runs and (kind of) unreal 21% walk rate. All of the rest of the numbers rate out just around the top of the league. All of the superlative apply here and it doesn’t take anything close to analytics to figure out that he’s a play on just about any slate. Of course, on a day that doesn’t require paying all that much for pitching, it makes sense to just roster Trout against a lefty. He crushes this split like he crushes everything else.

    Marcell OzunaMarcell Ozuna FD 3200 DK 3200
    Opponent - MIL (Brent Suter) Park - MIL
    FD - 12.18 DK - 9.25
    Ozuna remains underpriced after a brutal early season run of bad luck that saw the HR/FB rate drop off a cliff even with the batted ball profile well in line with the rest of his career. Ozuna hasn’t seen outsized scoring nights simply because the long balls haven’t been there. But like we’ve said before, that’s bound for some regression in the long term and we are still buying very low on his upside. Ozone’s actually been better against righties over the last season-plus, but over his career, he has a .832 OPS and 125 wRC+ in this split. This seems like a fairly easy call all things considered.

    Nelson CruzNelson Cruz FD 3300 DK 4200
    Opponent - TEX (Doug Fister) Park - SEA
    FD - 12.62 DK - 9.46
    We aren’t typically buying Cruz against righties (dude crushes southpaws) but this is one of those exceptions where the matchup and price to supersede the splits. Cruz has actually been well above average against righties over the last season plus with a .904 OPS and .379 wOBA. These are elite numbers and mean we don’t need to pigeonhole him into a play only when lefties are on the mound. He’s coming very cheap on FanDuel considering the overall run line and makes for a solid cash game play.

    David PeraltaDavid Peralta FD 3000 DK 3600
    Opponent - CIN (Homer Bailey) Park - ARI
    FD - 10.91 DK - 8.42
    The opening line on this game strikes me as a little low at only 8.5 though the runs are coming in on the Arizona side at -155. Peralta owns the leadoff spot for the Diamondbacks and is in a great spot against Homer Bailey who’s been one of the worst arms in the league this season. The latter sports a 5.31 xFIP and can’t strike out more than six batters per nine. Peralta’s .833 OPS and .355 wOBA against righties over the last two seasons is enough to buy at these prices and I suspect we see some line movement over the course of the day.


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