Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/1/18

My oh my, can you believe it's July?! The season is at the midway point, the All-Star break is but days away, the trade deadline looms, and before you know it we'll be calling every game a must win for those teams on the brink. For now, however, we've got another fun-filled Sunday slate of action with plenty to break down for our daily fantasy purposes, so what are we still doing here? On to the picks!

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Ross StriplingRoss Stripling FD 9100 DK 9700
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - LAD
FD - 42 DK - 22.6
There's no real shortage of solid arms on today's slate, which is a good problem to have. Don't fret, there are still some gas cans to take advantage of with our bats, but we've got several strong options to consider on the bump as well. Stripling leads the way with the top points per dollar projection and second highest raw point projections among starting pitchers at home against the Rockies. Stripling, who moved to the starting rotation over several appearances out of the pen has been a solid arm for the Dodgers, posting a 2.75 xFIP (only four qualified pitchers are sitting on a lower number), with a K/9 over 10 and a mere 1.40 BB/9. Today he takes the Rockies out of Coors Field, which is a significant boost when facing Colorado. Despite their top ten team wOBA this season, the Rockies sit twenty-second overall on the road this year while striking out 23.6% of the time against the split. Everything plays in Stripling's favor this afternoon, as the Dodgers open as -201 favorites, and for a sub $10K price tag on both sites feel free to utilize him everywhere.

James PaxtonJames Paxton FD 9800 DK 12100
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - SEA
FD - 43.35 DK - 23.57
The only pitcher with a higher raw points projection in our MLB projection system than Stripling is James Paxton. Paxton comes to the hill today with a 3.02 xFIP and striking out the sixth most batter per nine in the majors. He's run into some hiccups along the way, admittedly against some of the most lethal offenses in the game, (BOS, NYY), but today there is little concern as he faces off against the Royals. He's at home in Safeco, which year after year ranks among the top pitcher's parks in baseball, against an offense that is subpar against southpaws (.299 wOBA, 87 wRC+). Paxton is pricier than Stripling, but the matchup is favorable with Seattle opening as huge -249 favorites and the Royals projecting for less than three runs. The one knock is that K.C. strikes out less than anyone in the league, though that number does rise a bit against lefties. While I'll stick with Stripling in tournaments, I'll likely split my cash game exposure among the pair here.

Zack GodleyZack Godley FD 8100 DK 7500
Opponent - SF (Derek Holland) Park - ARI
FD - 32.82 DK - 16.92
In that SP2 slot on DraftKing's, I'll be looking long and hard at Zack Godley for a mere $7500. He faces the Giants today, who may not be terrible, but are the textbook definition of mediocre. San Fran has a .315 wOBA, and 100 wRC+ against RHP while striking out at a top ten clip against the split. The Diamondbacks aren't overwhelming favorites like the two guys above, this game opened with Arizona as -121 favorites but we don't need to demand the same level of perfection at these prices. Some people may be scared off by Godley's last game against the Giants. They took him out of the game in under four innings in that game, putting seven ER on the board. It is worth noting that in the other five of Godley's last six starts he limited the damage to two earned runs each time out, going as deep as the seventh inning. There is some risk for sure, but that's why I'll limit Godley to tournaments on FanDuel while pairing him with one of the safer plays above on DraftKings.

Strongly consider Charlie Morton (HOU). He's quite expensive, but it's a great matchup against the Rays, and there's significant value in the bats today that it shouldn't be too difficult to work him in.

First Base/Catcher

Jose AbreuJose Abreu FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - TEX (Cole Hamels) Park - TEX
FD - 11.41 DK - 8.7
Cole Hamels is having a bit of a resurgence after a terrible 2017 campaign, which is good news for the Rangers who are likely going to shop the former World Series MVP southpaw around with the deadline approaching. After putting up a career-high ERA last season with an equally bad xFIP, he's got both numbers more in line with his career totals as we hit the halfway point of 2018. He's also back to striking out nearly a batter per inning. He still struggles from time to time and has been rocked for four runs or more in three of his last six outings. That makes this a perfect time to lock Jose Abreu in the top of the White Sox order against the southpaw, in the middle pricing tier. Abreu, who has been excellent against both right and left-handed pitching, has fared slightly better against lefties in his career with a .383 wOBA and .907 OPS. We're going to look at this game much more from the Rangers side in just a bit, but this is the one spot where I'm quite comfortable targeting Hamels given Abreu's price across the industry.

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 2900 DK 3600
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - TOR
FD - 12.08 DK - 9.04
On the value side of things at first base, we can consider Justin Smoak at home against Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers. Vegas likes the Jays for five runs against Zimmermann who is making his third start after missing about a month with a shoulder issue, and getting Smoak at these prices in the cleanup spot is daily fantasy gold. Smoak, who has a .344 wOBA, an ISO approaching .200, and career high .360 OBP, homered in each of the first two games of this series and had slightly more favorable numbers against RHP in his career. I like Abreu, but if the funding calls for it, I'm more than comfortable dropping down the pricing scale to Smoak here.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 3800 DK 4800
Opponent - MIN (Lance Lynn) Park - CHC
FD - 12.88 DK - 9.6
Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 2900 DK 3800
Opponent - MIN (Lance Lynn) Park - CHC
FD - 10.42 DK - 7.9
The Cubs wrap up their series against the Twins in Wrigley today. Minnesota will send Lance Lynn to the hill, and while I wanted to spotlight Wilson Contreras as an option behind the plate I'd be wrong to overlook Anthony Rizzo against the right-hander while I'm at it. Rizzo had a rough start to the campaign, posting a .219 wOBA through the first month, but quickly turned things around and is currently .330 as we approach the break. Rizzo is a stud against RHP with a career .373 wOBA, .873 OPS, and .228 ISO against the split. He'll cost more than the two guys above, but if you've got the salary to spare then have at it.

Meanwhile on DraftKings where a catcher is a requirement, look to Rizzo's teammate Wilson Contreras. Contreras leads all qualified catchers with a .344 wOBA, and .791 OPS. Sure he's better with a lefty on the hill, but his reverse splits are enough to warrant consideration in this spot. With an OPS over .800 and a .349 wOBA against righties, I'm all in for the price.


Second Base

Jurickson ProfarJurickson Profar FD 3300 DK 4200
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - TEX
FD - 10.54 DK - 8.09
I told you we were going to see a lot of Rangers today, and we'll start off with Jurickson Profar. Profar isn't the splashiest name on the slate, but he is quietly putting together the best season of his career, after four partial seasons, Profar has appeared in 75 games and is putting up a career-high in wOBA, wRC+, OBP, and OPS, and has already hit more home runs than he has in seasons past. He's moderately priced, and sees a matchup against an absolutely terrible RHP. He's been on base in 13 of his last 14 games and is a bargain in all formats today.

Dee GordonDee Gordon FD 3600 DK 4000
Opponent - KC (Brad Keller) Park - SEA
FD - 10.71 DK - 8.6
If I find myself with a little extra salary on FanDuel or need to save some on DraftKings, I'll likely swing to Dee Gordon. Gordon started his first season in Seattle with a lot of electricity, but it has since fizzled out. He still brings plenty of excitement on the basepath, currently ranked third overall in stolen bases. It's for that reason Gordon is always an option in tournaments. I'll take a look in cash as well today as he faces Brad Keller, a rookie RHP who despite a 2.25 ERA in 26 appearances (five starts) has a 4.11 xFIP with near as many walks per nine as K's. Gordon has always been better in the split through his career, so he's a strong tournament play today, that I'll likely consider in some of my cash lines as well.

Strongly consider Starlin Castro (MIA) coming so very cheap against the lefty Matz.



Elvis AndrusElvis Andrus FD 3500 DK 3900
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - TEX
FD - 12.51 DK - 9.73
Elvis Andrus, who returned from an extended stint on the DL just two weeks ago, has been producing strong returns from a fantasy perspective. He's currently 0-3 in Saturday's game as I write this, but he went into that game having been on base in seven of his nine first games back including back to back multi-hit efforts. The Texas shortstop has faired better against southpaws in his career, but the difference in the splits is negligible, and the RHP he's facing today is Reynaldo Lopez who doesn't discriminate. He's equally terrible to both sides of the plate, walking nearly four batters per nine, and surrendering four home runs in his last three starts. Lopez has the second highest xFIP in the majors and we can happily target him from all sides of the plate. Andrus is a complete bargain and is an excellent option hitting in the top of the order of the lineup projecting for the highest run line of the day.

Manny MachadoManny Machado FD 4400 DK 5200
Opponent - LAA (Deck McGuire) Park - BAL
FD - 13.72 DK - 10.43
Manny Machado is one of my favorite ways to spend up today. The Baltimore shortstop is among the top projections in our system both for raw points and points per dollar. The Orioles are hosting the Angels in the final game of the weekend series, and Anaheim will send Deck McGuire to the mound. McGuire is making his third career start. He started twice for the Reds last year and made a handful of relief appearances for Toronto before being designated for assignment and winding up with the Angels. In the limited appearances, we have to work with on McGuire we see he is not very good at the whole pitching thing. A career 4.33 ERA eclipsed by a 5.57 xFIP, with a 45.5% hard-hit rate is not the type of numbers you'll see from a quality major league pitcher. Baltimore has the second highest projected run total of the day according to our friends in Vegas, and it could be a big day for Machado in the top of the order. Consider him everywhere you can afford him.

If salary is a concern, Nick Ahmed (ARI) is a tremendous value play against the lefty Derek Holland.

Third Base

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 3500 DK 3800
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - TEX
FD - 11.77 DK - 9.06
Adrian Beltre is like that little pink bunny in the commercials that just keeps going. Can you believe that when this guy made his major league debut, Y2K, 9/11, and daily fantasy sports on our phones were all something none of us ever could have imagined? Yet, here we are in 2018 and Beltre is still posting a .346 wOBA, slashing .306/.369/.441 with a .361 BABIP now in his twenty-first season. Sure, the power days are long gone, but he continues to show there's still something there, and even against the right-hander, a split he holds a career .346 wOBA against he's an excellent play at the hot corner without breaking the bank.

Justin TurnerJustin Turner FD 3600 DK 4000
Opponent - COL (Chad Bettis) Park - LAD
FD - 12.02 DK - 9.13
Don't let the 5-1 record fool you. Chad Bettis has been terrible this year for the Rockies. His 4.42 xFIP is the twentieth highest in baseball, and the rest of the numbers justify it being every bit as bad as it seems. Bettis is walking nearly four batters per nine, striking out just over six per, and has a 34.6% hard-hit rate. The numbers are just as bad on the road as they are at home too, so don't fool yourself with the "Oh, he throws most of his games in Coors" mindset. Bettis is just plain bad. So even though Dodgers stadium may favor the pitcher, we can still target Bettis here just as we would at Coors, without the inflated price tag on a player like Justin Turner. Turner has a .344 wOBA with a 120 wRC+ this season and has favorable reverse splits. It's an excellent spot and Turner is one of the better ways to spend up in all formats today.

Consider Travis Shaw (MIL) in Great American Ballpark against what's left of Matt Harvey.


Nomar MazaraNomar Mazara FD 3300 DK 4700
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - TEX
FD - 12.25 DK - 9.32
Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3800 DK 5300
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - TEX
FD - 13.32 DK - 10.03
Choo sat out Saturday's game with a sore quad, so you'll definitely want to be sure to check lineups before locking him in today, as he could easily sit out again with the off day tomorrow providing some extended rest. If he does sit out again, that's a damn shame because he has been stellar this season, ranked top ten among outfielders in wOBA, wRC+, and OPS. He also crushes RHP, so the matchup is perfect. If he plays we absolutely have to consider him. Either way we can still consider Nomar Mazara, who may not have numbers on par with his teammate, but for the discounted price is still a tremendous play with a .353 wOBA, .205 ISO, and .826 OPS. Mazara is another strong lefty with excellent splits who will thrive in the matchup against Lopez and his 5.55 xFIP.

Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - TOR
FD - 12.17 DK - 9.1
Generally, I like to try and find at least one value play in my trio of outfielders, and many times this season, the value play has been the Grandyman. Granderson had a few days of rest with the Jays facing a string of lefties but should be right back in his usual leadoff spot with right-handed Zimmermann starting today. Granderson has been a tremendous asset for the Jays this season, and his .359 wOBA is at it's highest point since his 2011 season with the Yanks, same with his .826 OPS. The home runs have fallen off, though he has hit three in his last 14 AB's. Zimmermann has had his troubles with left-handed batters throughout his career, and it's an excellent spot to lock in Granderson as a top value play.

Tommy PhamTommy Pham FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - ATL (Mike Foltynewicz) Park - STL
FD - 11.96 DK - 9
Tommy Pham started out the season like a beast but has fallen off since. The wOBA went from .417 in MAR/APR to .241 in June. The silver lining, of course, is we get a player with tremendous potential, hitting in the top of the order, at a bargain price. The matchup against Folty isn't ideal. Just .001 point separates Pham's splits, but Folty is stronger against right-handed hitters by a good margin. That said I like the Cardinals outfielder as a sneaky value play with upside, who is cheap enough to consider in cash games without too much salary risk. He's due for some serious regression, and we definitely want to have a piece of the action when it happens.

If you've got the salary to spend like that, then strongly consider Bryce Harper (WAS) and Giancarlo Stanton (NYY) in the upper echelon.

Thank you, friends, for stopping by and reading, as always good luck out there today. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below. Cheers!


3 Visitor Comments

  1. So you have basically no pitching recommendations for the main slate? Good job

  2. maybe thats a hint not to play it….

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