Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 6/21/18
Welcome back baseball fans. Thursday starts off with three games in the afternoon but for the purpose of this article, we will be directing our attention to the seven-game main slate that starts at 7:05 p.m. ET. Let's dig in and take a look at some of the top plays at each position.
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The price keeps rising for but for good reason as Max continues to dominate and is the clear number one option in the system tonight by a longshot. Through 15 starts, he has provided a very high floor holding opponents to two or fewer earned runs 14 times(2.06 ERA, 2.46 xFIP) and also given us elite upside recording double-digit K's 10 times for a ridiculous 13.59 K/9 and 17.7% swinging strike rate. He couldn't as for a better matchup tonight either as he will face an Orioles team that sits dead last in runs scored(255) overall and 28th in wOBA(.290) and wRC+(82) against right-handed pitching with a 24.8% strikeout rate. Considering the other options or lack thereof combined with the matchup, Scherzer is the play in all formats tonight. Fade at your own risk!
Godley is the perfect example of a risk vs. reward play as he has allowed four or more earned runs in six starts while holding opponents to two or fewer in each of his other eight starts. The biggest issue this season has been the walks as he sits with a 4.42 BB/9 and while the ground ball rate is above 50%, he has also struggled with the long ball having already given up 11 on the season(17.2% HR/Fb rate). The good news here is that he has flashed big upside lately with seven or more K's in three of his last four starts winning each of them. The Vegas line is currently a pickem here but the Pirates are just an average offense and the price is in the right spot to pair Godley with Scherzer on DraftKings as your SP2 in all formats.
For the most part, we are going to have to avoid the top tier players at each position if rostering Scherzer and his golden price tag tonight. This has me digging for some value and almost no one better at the first base position than Jose Abreu. He has been the model of consistency since entering the league with four straight 25+ home run, 100+ RBI seasons and is on pace to hit those numbers again in 2018 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI through the first 70 games. The average(.282) and on-base percentage(.336) are sitting at career lows at the moment but still respectable numbers making him a target in not only GPP formats but cash games as well.
Safety is not a word we will associate with Morales this season as he is hitting just .225 but on a slate with a Maxed price Scherzer(see what I did there) it makes sense to consider him as a punt play to tie it all together. The good news for Morales is that he comes in red-hot with hits in eight straight games where he has started and recorded double-digit hits in six of those games. The Jays have also been using him as their cleanup hitter later which is quite an upgrade in protection considering he was buried down in the bottom of the lineup.
Catcher Consideration: Yadier Molina(STL)
Early Slate Consideration: Ian Desmond(COL)
The Athletics are one of my top teams to target tonight as they have the second-highest implied run total as they get an elite matchup against Lucas Giolito. He is quickly making people forget about his status as a top prospect from a few years back as he enters tonight with a terrible 7.19 ERA, 6.62 xFIP while walking(45) more batters than he has struck out(40) this season. He also presents a ton of upside when targeting against as he has allowed seven home runs in his last five starts. Lowrie is a great starting point for the A's as he hits in the three-hole and is second on the team with 45 RBI on the season. More good news as the A's come cheap enough where we can stack a few of them together in cash games and load up in GPP formats.
It seems the theme of this article has become load up on Max Scherzer and find value throughout the rest of our lineups. The only issue with this approach on most night is that the value comes with some risk and a perfect example is Ian Kinsler who comes in hitting .225 on the season and while he doesn't strikeout much(8.3%), he also doesn't walk much either(8.3%) which limits the overall floor. The good news is that he has been providing a ton of power from the leadoff spot with seven home runs in June and gets to hit in front of arguably the best player in baseball, Mike Trout. The Angels get an above average matchup tonight vs. Aaron Sanchez who has struggled in 2018 walking over five batters per nine and sits with a 4.35 ERA and 4.88 xFIP.
Early Slate Consideration: Asdrubal Cabrera(NYM)
I talked about loading up on A's tonight above with Lowrie and the middle infield is where I will be starting. Semien doesn't come with near as much safety as Lowrie with a .255/.309/.379 slash line but he has been productive hitting in the leadoff spot and has already scored 42 runs this season while also adding 28 RBI. The good news is that he not only gets one of the best matchups of the night vs. gas can Giolito but he also enters the night with hits in four straight and nine of his last 11 games.
The Padres are never at the top of my list of targets on any night but tonight is one I like plucking one or two out for value to help fit Max into my lineups. One that stands out is Freddy Galvis who comes at punt prices on both sites and has been fairly consistent lately with hits in four straight and six of his last seven games with three doubles and a home run. On paper, the matchup looks terrible but since returning from injury, MadBum has not been anywhere near himself allowing nine earned runs(three home runs) over his first three starts with just nine K's and five walks. Until he starts looking like himself again I will keep targeting against him in the right situations.
Early Slate Consideration: Trevor Story(COL)
Rendon isn't doing anything that stands out this season with a .277 average but he has been getting on base consistently(.351 OBP) while hitting at the top of the lineup for the Nationals. He also comes in red-hot with multi-hit efforts in four straight and five of his last six games with extra-base hits. Most importantly, however, Rendon and the Nats get a terrific matchup vs. Kevin Gausman who has been getting hit hard all season with a 4.48 ERA and has struggled much more vs. righties as he is giving up a .376 wOBA and 37% hard contact in that split. With a price tag under $4K on both sites, Rendon is in play in all formats.
The Jays are not my top team to target for cash games but with so many teams in great spots tonight, I think they make a nice under the radar stack. Like Morales, Solarte hasn't been the most consistent bat in the lineup with a .269/.314/.482 slash line but he has provided a ton of upside with 15 home runs and 43 RBI and has been red hot lately. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .341 while getting on base at a .371 clip and has added four doubles and three home runs for a 1.031 OPS. He is a switch hitter with pretty even splits but has been slightly better against lefties which helps in a slightly below average matchup as Skaggs has been very serviceable this season which shoudl help with his and all the Jays ownership.
Early Slate Consideration: Wilmer Flores(NYM)
I haven't touched on the Cubs yet in the article but it would be a good idea to get some exposure tonight as they have the second-highest implied runs of the entire day and highest on the main slate. While Rizzo and Bryant are clearly the top options when looking at raw points projections for them they will be tough to fit in tonight if using Scherzer as your main pitcher. For me, I will be turning to their projected 1/2 hitters in Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. While Zobrist appeared to be in heavy decline last season, he has bounced back nicely in 2018 and is running a very respectable .280 average with near-elite .377 on-base percentage. Heyward was moved up into the two-hole in last May and since that move, he has performed quite well hitting .281 with 10 RBI and seven runs scored. Neither player comes with much upside but both come at value prices, especially on FanDuel and can be targeted in all formats against a struggled Matt Harvey and his 5.92 ERA, 4.57 xFIP.
Let's take one more opportunity to talk about the A's in this terrific matchup before closing out the article. I don't usually like rostering bottom of the batting order guys in cash games but will consider it tonight for a couple reasons starting with the PTS/$ value he provides, especially on FanDuel at $2500. Then there is the matchup against Lucas Giolito who I would target almost anyone against as he has been terrible walking more batters than he is striking out and sits with a 7.19 ERA and 6.62 xFIP. Despite some down numbers overall this season, Piscotty has been terrific in the month of June as he comes into tonight with a .294/.362/.471 slash line with .833 OPS. The discounted price really helps get Scherzer into your lineups comfortably with some upside bats at other positions.
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg