Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

07/08/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/9/18

Fully recovered from your weekend? Ready to start the week off right with an 11-game evening slate on FanDuel and DraftKings. Don't get a case of the Mondays here with some solid expensive pitching plus the Red Sox looking to do damage at home against Mike Minor and the Rangers.

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Pitcher

Gerrit ColeGerrit Cole FD 11100 DK 13100
Opponent - OAK (Frankie Montas) Park - HOU
FD - 45.32 DK - 24.53
After posting double-digit strikeout games in five of his first seven starts this season, Cole hasn’t topped eight K’s in any of his last ten games. I’m not overly concerned with the performance, but am just not as bullish as the early season strikeouts maybe suggested. It also is *concerning* that his last four starts have come against below-average offenses in the Rangers, Rays (twice) and Royals and he topped six innings in only one of those starts. The walks are up in the short term as teams start to see more of Cole’s new pitching repertoire (more sliders and curveballs, fewer fastballs and changeups). He’s the biggest money line favorite on the day at -250 which does help his overall projection considering the A’s are a top-third offense in the league against righty pitching. He’s not overly expensive on FanDuel, but the decision on DraftKings is a little closer. Pitching offers some weirdness today considering he and Nola are priced in the upper tier, Kershaw could still be on a pitch count and the middle tier guys aren’t all that exciting. I’m still buying on Cole’s strikeout upside with the understanding that he probably settles in at a K-rate something like 11 per nine.

Aaron NolaAaron Nola FD 10100 DK 13100
Opponent - NYM (Corey Oswalt) Park - NYM
FD - 39.01 DK - 20.84
Nola’s season is going quite the opposite of Cole’s so far. The latter started off struggling to strike out batters at the same rates we saw in 2017, but he’s been excellent over his last three starts averaging 6.86 innings, 7.33 K’s and 1.33 runs in that span. On Monday he’ll get an excellent matchup against the Mets who are in the bottom third of the league against righty pitching this season and strike out 22% of the time. At the time of this post, books were showing Phillies as a -125 road favorite, but I think there’s confusion over which game of the doubleheader we are looking at. Nola will almost assuredly close as a bigger favorite against Corey Oswalt in the evening game. He’s an excellent cash game target because of the matchup and peripherals of course, but also because the guy just goes deep into games. In his 18 starts, he’s topped six innings 15 times and seven innings 8 times. This kind of profile just offers such a solid cash game floor. Update: Nola and the Phillies aren't on the main slate of games for Monday. So this pick is something of a wash. Will add another pitcher shortly. 

Eduardo RodriguezEduardo Rodriguez FD 8000 DK 8400
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 35.33 DK - 18.85
We offered two of the more expensive pitchers on the slate (leaving off Kershaw because of the aforementioned pitch count concerns) but Rodriguez comes in as something of a value against the Rangers on Monday. He’s a -215 opening line favorite against Texas who strike out 23% of the time against lefty pitching this season. E-Rod continues improving on the mound, working a second-straight season at a 25% K rate while reducing the walks each of the last three seasons. He has a sub 4.00 xFIP while averaging more than 5.5 innings per start. In the past, higher walk rates and running long counts led to shorter outings. That hasn’t really been an issue this season. I’ll take him in the middle salary tier and think he makes an excellent SP2 option on DraftKings if you are pairing him with one of the guys above.

There’s a small case to be made for Kyle Hendricks and Chase Anderson because of the parks and matchups on Monday. Neither has been all that good, but facing the Giants in San Fran and Marlins in Miami respectively does reduce the scoring opportunities.

First Base/Catcher

Josh BellJosh Bell FD 2600 DK 3500
Opponent - WSH (Jefry Rodriguez) Park - PIT
FD - 11.68 DK - 8.87
At least for the time being, Bell is the Pirates’ new leadoff hitter. He moved into the role late last week and kept the spot over the weekend. It remains to be seen if they consider him the long-term answer but for now, I’m fine buying low on a guy with greatly increased plate appearance expectation. He profiles ok for this role with an 11% walk rate while striking out less than 20% of the time against righties over the last couple of seasons. It’s also a great matchup against Jefry Rodriguez who has walked eight batters in his first 14 major league innings. Again, the big value on Bell right now is moving so far up in the order that getting him at such cheap prices makes him a play even at a first base position that’s typically loaded with big upside talent.

Steve PearceSteve Pearce FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 12.09 DK - 9.15
Pearce came over from the Blue Jays and has found himself hitting around the middle of the Red Sox order. The price has come up significantly from when he was a min-play punt after returning from injury, but even in the lower middle tier, I’ll take him in this offense. He’s better against lefty pitching and I suppose there’s some chance they even move him up in the order if Boston decides to stack righties to start the game. He’s quietly been excellent this season with a .892 OPS in 104 plate appearances while cutting down his strikeouts from a career 20% rate to only 15% this season. It’s going to get old reading about Red Sox at every position on Monday, but that’s where we find a lot of value simply because they are coming in at such a high implied total.

At catcher, it’s nice to have Francisco Cervelli back in the mix for the Pirates. He should, once again, hit fifth in the lineup for the Buckos and offers a nice play for cash games on DraftKings. Also, Andrew Knapp randomly hit leadoff for the Phillies on Sunday. I’m not expecting that to repeat, but if it did then he’d be a clear play at only $3400.

 

Second Base

Brian DozierBrian Dozier FD 3800 DK 4000
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - MIN
FD - 12.01 DK - 9.07
Dozier likely slots somewhere between the third and fifth hole on Monday when the Twins face the lefty Danny Duffy. The former has crushed this split over the last couple of seasons with a .925 OPS and .390 wOBA in his last 258 plate appearances against lefty pitching. His overall season numbers are down in 2018 with his price kept in check because he’s significantly worse against righty pitching as an everyday player. He’s never been a robust BABIP guy, but this season has been bad even for him, sitting at .246 and working to cut into the OPS. His hard contact rate is right in line with previous seasons and the power has still been there (12 home runs on the season). If he’s hitting in the middle of the order against the lefty then I think this is a pretty easy play.

Eduardo NunezEduardo Nunez FD 2600 DK 3700
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 10.37 DK - 8.09
Dude’s been flat-out bad this season with an OPS around .650 and just a lot of struggles across the board. But there are a couple of things he has going for him on Monday. First off, the Red Sox have, by far, the best-implied run line on the board at 5.71 against the lefty Mike Minor. Even bad hitters (and Nunez has definitely been that) are helped by playing on good teams because their turn in the order comes around just that much more often. Nunez has also shown a little power (six home runs) and some speed (four stolen bases) which help bad some of the fantasy baseline. He’s coming cheap for his team’s situation and could be a cash play even hitting near the bottom of the order.

The Giants moved Steven Duggar into the leadoff spot for Sunday. But if they revert back to previous days’ lineups, then Alen Hanson would be a fantastic punt play if he hit first again.

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Shortstop

Jorge PolancoJorge Polanco FD 2900 DK 3800
Opponent - KC (Danny Duffy) Park - MIN
FD - 11.24 DK - 8.69
The Twins have moved him all over the order since he came back from his PED suspension a few games ago. He’s hit just about everywhere from first to fifth (leadoff on Sunday). Honestly, any one of those slots would have him as a great cash game play on Monday. The nature of shortstop usually means we are choosing between paying a premium on the very expensive guys (Turner, Didi, Lindor) or completely punting the position with a bottom of the order schlub. Polanco falls right in between. He’s not a tremendous offensive talent, but if the Twins are going to hit him at the top of the order then he is way too cheap on both sites. This is the worse side of his split, so we’ll have to wait for the Minny order to come out, but keep an eye on this situation. If he’s in the top five then you can basically lock him in at shortstop.

Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 4100 DK 5000
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 13.12 DK - 10.09
Much like the case made for Nunez (and below when we get to Devers and then the outfield guys) the Red Sox are in such an advantageous spot against Mike Minor. With an implied run line 10% higher than the next closest team, we are going to want to prioritize the Boston bats. Xander’s actually been a reverse platoon guy over the last two seasons, though not by a wide margin. He has a .791 OPS against righties in that span compared to a .764 OPS against lefties. Minor is a low-K pitcher who has allowed a 42% hard contact rate this season. That’s trouble for a guy who does, in fact, allow a lot of contact (7 K/9, 2 BB/9) and he could be in for a world of hurting against a Red Sox team that doesn’t give you many easy passes in the lineup. I prefer the PTs/$ expectation on Polanco more than Xander simply because the former is so much cheaper and that is going to matter a lot if you roster one of the expensive arms.

If Brad Miller is near the top of the lineup for the Brewers on Monday then he would come in as an excellent shortstop value on FanDuel. He’s a 1B/2B on DraftKings.

 

Third Base

Colin MoranColin Moran FD 2400 DK 3100
Opponent - WSH (Jefry Rodriguez) Park - PIT
FD - 9.49 DK - 7.23
Moran makes for a very solid cheap option on Monday considering where the Pirates have been hitting him in the lineup. He’s been their cleanup hitter over the last week as Pittsburgh reworks some things. Moran isn’t a huge power guy, but he’s been decent this season with eight home runs in 205 plate appearances against righties. He’s tough to K, going down on strikes only 15% of the time in this split with an 8% walk rate. As was the case with Josh Bell, this could line up well against Rodriguez who’s had control issues to start this season. Moran is coming at near the minimums on both sites which really matters if spending up for pitching. I see him as one of the best values around if he can stick in that four spot in the order.

Rafael DeversRafael Devers FD 2900 DK 4400
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 12.42 DK - 9.5
Through his first two seasons, Devers comes in as basically a platoon neutral hitter with mid .700’s OPS against both sides of the split. When you factor BABIP into the mix, he likely will rate out as better against righties when it’s all said and done but I’ll take him at sub $3K on FanDuel any day of the week when the Red Sox are staring down the barrel at this many runs. I suspect Devers hits sixth in the order against the lefty on Monday. You have to like that he’s increased his hard contact rate year-over-year, though I would like to see him keep the strikeouts a bit more in check. I like the FanDuel price much more and will likely go the much cheaper route with Moran on DraftKings.

I hate the park, but wouldn’t totally mind spending up a little for Travis Shaw against Urena.

 

Outfield

Mookie BettsMookie Betts FD 5000 DK 6100
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 16.96 DK - 12.81
J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 4900 DK 5800
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - BOS
FD - 16.66 DK - 12.5
Betts and JD are reasons 1 and 1A why you might want to seriously consider going cheap at pitching today, especially in GPPs. From a cash game perspective, it’s tough to prioritize big bats over solid starting pitching because the latter has a such a lower standard deviation, making them (often) much, much safer plays relative to the money. But Betts and Martinez make things at least interesting in the discussion for Monday. Betts is putting together an MVP-like season, trailing only Mike Trout and Jose Ramirez in WAR despite having about 70 fewer plate appearances than those dudes. He’s already hit 22 home runs, stole 16 bases and is walking more than he’s striking out (12.5% to 12.2%). It’s all gravy for this guy and he’s been among the best hitters in the league against lefty pitching over the last two seasons, posting a 1K OPS while walking 15% of the time (and striking out only 9%). These numbers are simply absurd.

And then there’s Martinez who ranks third in the league against lefties over the last two seasons, trailing only Arenado and Stanton in OPS. J.D. has a crazy 1.168 OPS, .472 wOBA in this split and even the average fan understands just how dominant he is in this split. He isn’t on the same power pace as last season, though I think that was going to be tough to replicate anyway. Instead, he’s been merely great with 27 home runs (most in the league) with a .433 wOBA. Again, these two guys are so, so damn good that it’s going to be a tough fade if you spend up for Cole or Nola.

Corey DickersonCorey Dickerson FD 2500 DK 3900
Opponent - WSH (Jefry Rodriguez) Park - PIT
FD - 10.79 DK - 8.27
Dickerson hit third on Sunday and if that continued he’d be just another example of cheap Pirates’ value on a day where we really could use the salary relief. This could also be Gregory Polanco at around the same prices on FanDuel (Dickerson is a better deal on DraftKings). Dickerson has been decent this season with a .803 OPS, six home runs, and four stolen bases while getting jostled around the Pittsburgh lineup. He doesn’t take many walks (4% of the time this season) but has also been a very tough guy to put down on strikes (13% K rate this season, the lowest of his career by a country mile). He’s just making much more contact both in and out of the zone (especially the former), leading to the best on-base percentage of his career even though the BABIP is generally in line with last season.

Strongly consider George Springer who is still coming much too cheap on FanDuel. I also don’t mind the prices on Adam Eaton if he’s hitting leadoff against Nova.

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