Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

07/07/2018
James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/8/18

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Pitcher

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke FD 10100 DK 10200
Opponent - SD (Clayton Richard) Park - ARI
FD - 40.63 DK - 21.77
On a day without an ace's ace to play, Greinke seems like a pretty reasonable consolation prize. We've gotten 300 very consistent innings from Greinke over the last two seasons, settling any concerns about a decline coming after his underwhelming 2016 campaign. Greinke is striking out slightly fewer batters per inning this season (but he's still over 1 batter per inning), but he's also reduced his already microscopic walk rate below 2 as well. He's giving up slightly more home runs this season, but his 3.38 xFIP is just .04 below last year's figure. On a slate like this, numbers like those are what passes for an ace. The match-up only makes the case even stronger. The Padres are dead last in the majors in terms of wOBA against right handed pitching this season, and they are striking out at the second highest rate against them. Granted Arizona is a friendlier place to hit than San Diego, but we still effectively have a dream spot here. I like Greinke in any format and on both major sites.

Madison BumgarnerMadison Bumgarner FD 8100 DK 11100
Opponent - STL (Jack Flaherty) Park - SF
FD - 38.2 DK - 20.39
Dallas KeuchelDallas Keuchel FD 8900 DK 9200
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - HOU
FD - 38.13 DK - 19.44
The theme here is likely pretty obvious - former aces that have lost a step or two. Let's start with Bumgarner.

He looked a little rough in his first 3 starts after his rehab assignment this year, striking out just 9 in 17 and a third innings, but there is reason to believe there are still shreds of the old Madbum. He struck out 16 in two starts at home against San Diego and Colorado before having an understandably underwhelming start in Coors, and at this point, it's tough to know what the truth about him is going forward. Me? I'm somewhat a buyer here. The strikeouts were down last year, but his control was excellent, and I think expecting him to get back to 8.5 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 is a pretty reasonable benchmark. That makes him a slightly poor man's Greinke at almost $2,000 less on FanDuel. The Cardinals are a better match-up than you might think here. They have a league average wOBA against lefties, but are striking out at the 7th highest rate in the majors, and putting them in one of the toughest hitters' parks in baseball shouldn't help matters for them. I think Bumgarner is a very interesting play today.

As for Keuchel, he's more of a DraftKings play, but still one worth taking a look at. He's never going to post the eye-popping strikeout numbers that you're hoping for in a fantasy pitcher, but his ridiculous ground-ball rates mean his floor is higher than most pitchers. He's a huge favorite (-315!) against Lucas Giolito and the White Sox today, and you have to love his chances for the win for your cash game purposes. The White Sox are almost as bad against lefties as the Padres are against righties - they strike out at the league's highest rate with the league's 10th lowest wOBA. Keuchel might actually have more upside than people think.

Also considered: If you're really an upside hound, do you believe in Jack Flaherty? I don't believe in the 10+ K/9, but he's improved in every conceivable way, and we've seen stranger things from guys who are called up early. He'll be a popular GPP play, though, so I don't know much separation you get there.

First Base/Catcher

Victor MartinezVictor Martinez FD 2100 DK 3000
Opponent - TEX (Austin Bibens-Dirkx) Park - DET
FD - 9.73 DK - 7.47
Catcher looks pretty grim today, and when that's the case, you can usually find me trying to escape the position cheaply. Austin Bibens-Dirkx might have some potential, but he hasn't exactly shown it just yet. With a 6.5 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 I'm already skeptical, and when you throw in a ton of hard contact (a .332 BABIP allowed that doesn't even look lucky) and just a 33% ground ball rate, the Tigers could be in for another big day. We've written in many times, but yes, V-Mart's best days are behind him, and yes, it's probably still fine to play him if he's batting 4th or 5th against a terrible pitcher. Martinez is cheap and has a reasonably high floor thanks to his approach, and that's enough for me.

Joe MauerJoe Mauer FD 2600 DK 3500
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - MIN
FD - 11.2 DK - 8.59
Speaking of high floor relatively exciting options, do you guys remember Joe Mauer?? Well, our lineup optimizer does, mostly because of his dirt cheap prices and still-solid approach at the plate. Mauer's .091 ISO (!!) provides next to no upside, but his 1:1 BB/K ratio means it's tough for him to be too awful out of the leadoff slot. You can also make a compelling case that he's running very bad on BABIP - he posted a .349 figure last season and has a .340 BABIP for his career, but is standing at just .294 so far this year. Alex Cobb, meanwhile, is performing even worse than he was during the last two year's decline. His strikeouts per 9 are at a career low (6.09), and his 1.55 HR/9 allowed is almost .6 ahead of his career numbers. I think the Twins are a great stack, and Mauer can be a good part of that.

Mitch MorelandMitch Moreland FD 3200 DK 4400
Opponent - KC (Jake Junis) Park - KC
FD - 12.92 DK - 9.72
Moreland brings a nice balance of floor and upside here. He's having another classically solid season, and his .908 OPS against right handed pitching is actually pretty darned high floor these prices. Today he'll be up against Jakob Junis, a 25 year old righty that looks like he'll round into a decent major league pitcher, but who isn't there quite yet. His K/BB ratio is actually pretty decent, but through 200 innings in the majors he's allowed an eye-popping 1.76 home runs per 9 innings pitched. His 2.12 HR/9 in 2018 is the very worst in all the majors. As you have probably guessed, the Red Sox have one of the highest implied totals on the day. Moreland is a great part of any Red Sox stack primarily because of his low price and reasonable upside.

Also considered: Anthony Rizzo and Edwin Encarnacion, if you're chasing some upside.

Second Base

Alen HansonAlen Hanson FD 2400 DK 3500
Opponent - STL (Jack Flaherty) Park - SF
FD - 9.57 DK - 7.53
This is a little bit of a gulper, but follow me for a quick second. As you'll see in a second, second base is somewhat terrifying today. It's mostly cheap guys who bat 8th, or overpriced guys with questionable match-ups. Hanson is at least a cheap guy who should be batting toward the top of the lineup who has a questionable match-up! Hanson has actually just been crazy good against right handed pitching this season, putting up a 1.003 OPS on the back of an absurd .333 ISO. Some of that is BABIP driven, but nonetheless, at near minimum prices you're going to play him if he's at the top of the lineup.

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4700 DK 5200
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - HOU
FD - 14.49 DK - 11.21
Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 3800 DK 4000
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - MIN
FD - 11.72 DK - 8.85
Here are a couple of those too-expensive high upside options. I actually don't mind either of them here if you can happen to afford it, and both should be heavily considered as part of a stack for their various teams. Giolito might be the worst pitcher in the majors this year, with a 1:1 K:BB ratio through 87 innings pitched. I've literally never seen anything like his 6.40 xFIP through that many innings, and Vegas sees the Astros straight pummeling him today. I've already given you the case against Cobb, which should give you most of Dozier's case as well. I'm not sure if I like him in a righty-righty spot here for cash, but the upside is undeniable.

Also considered: Whit Merrifield, one of the captains of the "unexciting but playable" All-Star team.

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Shortstop

Chris TaylorChris Taylor FD 3100 DK 7200
Opponent - LAA (Andrew Heaney) Park - LAA
FD - 10.85 DK - 8.36
This play depends upon Taylor leading off against the left handed Heaney, but if he does, it should be a chalk play here. Heaney is a fine pitcher, and the park isn't exactly good, but Taylor's price is depressed thanks to his batting around 7th in the order against right handed pitching. Putting him in the leadoff spot means quite a good deal more opportunity, and that makes him a great play on his own at such a shallow position. Taylor is also just flat out solid against lefties. He's struck out 20 times and walked 14 times in 108 plate appearances against south paws this season, and his .830 OPS against them is more than respectable.

Trea TurnerTrea Turner FD 4100 DK 5200
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - WSH
FD - 13.54 DK - 10.56
Turner kind of falls in the same category as Altuve and Dozier - a somewhat unexciting and pretty expensive upside play that should likely be a part of your team stacks, in this case as a part of a Nationals stack. Turner is a bit better against lefties, but his decent power and excellent speed give him upside against basically anyone. Richards is an excellent target for your big tournament stacks thanks to his incredible inconsistency. The Marlins' righty is averaging fewer than 5 innings per start this season, and his 3.74 BB/9 and 4.44 xFIP paint a pretty clear picture of a crappy pitcher.

Also considered: Didi Gregorius.

Third Base

Eduardo EscobarEduardo Escobar FD 3100 DK 4600
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - MIN
FD - 12.54 DK - 9.61
Another Twin! Twin twins. Escobar is another obvious inclusion in a Twins stack, but he's also a solid cash game play as well. The switch-hitting Escobar is a huge platoon guy, posting an OPS nearly .300 points better against northpaws this season. The biggest difference in his performance comes in the way of power. His .300 ISO against right handed pitching is truly elite, where his .125 ISO against lefties is pretty bad. Going up against Cobb should be a nice high upside spot, but the price is so low on FanDuel he just makes a good value play as well.

Yangervis SolarteYangervis Solarte FD 3000 DK 4000
Opponent - NYY (Domingo German) Park - TOR
FD - 9.84 DK - 7.52
Anthony RendonAnthony Rendon FD 3900 DK 4700
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - WSH
FD - 12.64 DK - 9.53
Third base is pretty thin today, and I can't say I'm overly excited about either of these plays. Rendon is a low upside part of a Washington stack (understanding that that doesn't make a whole lot of sense), and Solarte is a high upside play that has a terribly low floor as well. I am very hesitant to stack teams against a guy like German simply because of his ability to K himself out of a potential big inning, but his lack of command (as evidenced by his 3.15 BB/9) and his tendency to give up the long ball (as evidenced by his 1.70 HR/9 allowed) mean that he can go boom at any moment. Solarte's 16 homers are evidence that he can provide considerable punch on a cheap filler's salary, and the fact that he's batting 3rd on most days in Toronto means he should have plenty of opportunity to put a ball in the air today. He could also just be terrible. Buyer beware!

Other unexciting cash game filler: Kyle Seager, Adrian Beltre.

Outfield

Josh ReddickJosh Reddick FD 2800 DK 4200
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - HOU
FD - 11.14 DK - 8.53
George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 3800 DK 4900
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - HOU
FD - 15.05 DK - 11.32
We've nodded to Giolito as a great guy to stack against today, and what better way to do it than at a value? We've been rocking Josh Reddick in plus platoon spots since the beginning of his career, and I don't plan on stopping just yet. His approach has been amazing against righties this season, striking out 24 times against 23 walks this year. The power hasn't been there like it normally is, but that's why he's so cheap here. Springer is also cheap thanks to a ridiculously low .275 BABIP this year, but that actually means we can afford him in a spot we should have no business doing so. These guys are excellent cash game plays with big tournament upside.

Andrew BenintendiAndrew Benintendi FD 3700 DK 4800
Opponent - KC (Jake Junis) Park - KC
FD - 13.99 DK - 10.58
I always feel like I'm getting away with something when I can play Red Sox players in cash games, and knock on wood, it looks like today could be one of those days. Benintendi has been flat out excellent against right handed pitching this year, posting an .899 OPS with 10 homers and 13 steals in 292 plate appearances against them this season. We've already told you about Junis, and grabbing Benintendi in the two hole (giggle) looks like a solid option for any format.

Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD 4400 DK 5200
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - WSH
FD - 14.35 DK - 10.69
Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton FD 4500 DK 5100
Opponent - TOR (Ryan Borucki) Park - TOR
FD - 15.96 DK - 11.86
Aaron JudgeAaron Judge FD 4700 DK 5400
Opponent - TOR (Ryan Borucki) Park - TOR
FD - 16.27 DK - 12.04
With all of this cheap pitching, you're going to have the opportunity to spend up somewhere. And, oh baby, do we have some enticing options. Harper against a bad righty is always going to grab my attention at just a $4,400 price tag, and he should have high big tournament ownership here. As for Stanton and Judge, I'll forgive you if you aren't familiar with the works of Ryan Borucki. Borucki is a middling left handed pitcher with modest success in AAA ball, which isn't exactly a promising track record when going up against right handed batters of this stature. The Yankees implied total actually looks low to me here, so you might be able to grab them in a great spot with less than huge ownership for big tourneys.

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