Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Monday 7/23/18

The weekend might be over, but another week of MLB action is just starting. Monday brings us a couple of front-line aces, some dudes vying for the distinction and a bunch of offenses facing untested arms. It's going to be interesting. Let's wade through some of the decisions for Monday's MLB action.

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Luis SeverinoLuis Severino FD 11400 DK 13200
Opponent - TB (Hunter Wood) Park - TB
FD - 45.26 DK - 25
At this point, Severino is on the short list of Cy Young candidates in the American League. I don’t think he gets there simply because Sale, and to a lesser extent, Bauer have been damn great as well. But to even be among that class is an accomplishment in and of itself. He’s striking out batters at a 29% clip while also inducing ground balls 45% of the time. He was a little better in that department last season, but it’s still a combination of skills that will yield consistently positive results. There’s no early line on this game (posting late Sunday evening) but one has to assume a healthy money line for Sev (I’m guessing -250 or better) with an implied Tampa run line something below 3.5. He gets one of the best pitchers’ parks in baseball with the Rays as a below average team against righty pitching. Just about every factor lines up in Severino’s favor on Monday and the only thing holding him back as an autoplay is the hefty price tag.

Ross StriplingRoss Stripling FD 9600 DK 10200
Opponent - PHI (Zach Eflin) Park - PHI
FD - 39.57 DK - 21.43
Don’t look now, but Stripling has emerged as one of the best starting pitchers in the game since he converted fully out of the bullpen back in early May. Since May 12th, Stripling is averaging 5.83 innings per start at 10.5 K’s per 9. And oh man, the control. In that timeframe, he has an absurd (which is a complete understatement) 17:1 K:BB ratio. You just don’t see these kinds of numbers out of a starter. It’s not a fluke. Sure, he’s running hot on LOB% (90%) but even with some regression built in the xFIP is only 2.78. He’s an elite starter and one who is still very much underpriced considering his output. The Phillies strike out the second most in the league against righties this season at 25.7% and Stripling’s sub $10K tag on FanDuel just seems like a pricing error. He’s a close decision on DraftKings, but I do still see him as a better point per dollar play there than Severino.

Patrick CorbinPatrick Corbin FD 8700 DK 11200
Opponent - CHC (Luke Farrell) Park - CHC
FD - 38.69 DK - 20.58
If you ever want to begin sniffing out *value* without the help of a projection system, start by just comparing DraftKings and FanDuel pricing and see who might have made a *mistake*. Corbin is an example. On DraftKings he is the third most expensive pitcher. On FanDuel? He’s the fifth-most. Maybe that doesn’t strike you as a huge difference. Look at it another way. On DraftKings, he is 15% cheaper than Severino. On FanDuel, he’s 24% cheaper. Long story short, he’s too cheap on FanDuel. As I wrote in some of our All-Star Break content about K% risers Corbin is showing massive gains thanks to a new repertoire of pitches. He’s putting down hitters at a 30% clip while keeping the walks in check. The Cubs are a good offense against lefties, but I’m still seeing Corbin as a fantastic upside GPP play because of the strikeouts. Let’s see which way the wind in Wrigley is blowing on Monday. If it’s anything close to blowing in then fire up Corbin for tournaments.

Monday offers a bunch of interesting pitching choices. The guys above stand out to me as two great cash game plays and a solid GPP upside guy. But there’s a lot to like about some of the other arms as well. Zack Wheeler gets the Padres who strike out the most in the league against righties and just generally stink. He’s coming very cheap on DraftKings and couple easily slot in as a cash game SP2 play. Update: Jacob deGrom has been confirmed the starter for the Mets. He instantly jumps to near the top of the pitching food chain today. 

First Base/Catcher

Kendrys MoralesKendrys Morales FD 2600 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN (Adalberto Mejia) Park - TOR
FD - 12.13 DK - 9.18
He was a chalk main slate cash game play on Sunday because of the cheaper price tag in a plus matchup against Andrew Cashner. They have arguably an even better matchup against Mejia on Monday. The Twins’ lefty has never really flashed anything like true major league stuff in his 104 career innings and Morales is sitting on the much better side of his platoon split against southpaws. Over the last two seasons, the latter has a .875 OPS and .370 wOBA in this split to go with a 133 wRC+. He should slot into the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup with the Blue Jays coming in at over five implied runs. He’s a value on both sites and really helps if you are trying to spend up on one of the more expensive pitchers.

Joey VottoJoey Votto FD 3800 DK 4600
Opponent - STL (Daniel Poncedeleon) Park - CIN
FD - 13.66 DK - 10.2
Votto’s power numbers are way down this season with only nine home runs in his 426 plate appearances. That, of course, puts him way, way off the 30 dingers he put up basically the three previous seasons. It’s not a contact rate issue with his 40% hard contact rate the highest of his career. It’s more of a Hr/FB problem which is a number that can regress quite quickly in the right conditions. This could be one of those nights. The Cardinals are running out my favorite last name in baseball Daniel Poncedeleon for his first major league start. Votto is a rookie pitcher’s nightmare with a walk rate higher than his strikeout rate. He’s one of the most patient hitters in the game and just doesn’t take bad cuts (look up his pop up numbers some time, they are staggering). Because of the lack of home runs, his price is still down across the industry. I’m buying all the way.

Strongly consider Yonder Alonso who is still cheap on FanDuel for a guy hitting in the middle of the Cleveland lineup.

At catcher, Russell Martin against the lefty Mejia should be in a great spot. He’s coming very cheap on DraftKings at only $3200. The numbers against lefties have been brutal over the last couple of seasons, but he still has a 16% walk rate in this split.

And Tucker Barnhart is always in play on DK at catcher if he’s hitting second in the lineup.


Second Base

Whit MerrifieldWhit Merrifield FD 3600 DK 4700
Opponent - DET (Francisco Liriano) Park - KC
FD - 11.72 DK - 9.17
The Royals’ offense is one of the worst in baseball, though it’s hard to fault Merrifield for the struggles. Dude is set in the leadoff spot and brings in a .804 OPS with a 9% walk rate. He’s not going to reach the 19 home runs from last season (only five this season) but he does have 17 stolen bases and keeps the strikeouts low (17%). He’s tuned up lefty pitching to a .911 OPS over the last two seasons with a .386 wOBA. Those are some of the best numbers in the game against lefties in that time frame. He’s really only held back by how bad the rest of the Kansas City lineup is on paper (and in real life) because it limits his trips to the plate.

Niko GoodrumNiko Goodrum FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 10.4 DK - 8.06
We don’t often talk about the Tigers as cash game plays because, well, they’re the Tigers. But on Monday they get to face Heath Fillmyer who is walking more batters than he’s striking out this season (in 15 innings) with a 5.35 xFIP. Detroit hasn’t faced a righty arm since before the All-Star Break, but when they did Goodrum hit second in the lineup. He has multi-position eligibility on DraftKings (2B/OF) and has something of a power/ speed combo going for him. In 284 plate appearances this season he has nine home runs and seven stolen bases. Dude K’s a ton (almost 30% of the time) but that isn’t part of Fillmyer’s game so I’m less worried about it in this matchup. The Tigers have a few guys coming on the cheap Monday who could make for solid plays if the lineup shakes out right.



Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - TEX (Cole Hamels) Park - TEX
FD - 12.59 DK - 9.68
As a hitter, Marcus Semien is just kind of *meh* but unlike many of his shortstop peers, he’s hitting near the top of the order in many of Oakland’s games. Against lefties, he’s nearly always in either the leadoff or two slot in the lineup and at his prices that puts him firmly in play for cash games. He gets a major park upgrade moving to Texas for the series with Globe Life playing as one of the best power pads in the league. Semien has actually been better against righties over the last couple of seasons, but BABIP tells a lot of the story there. It’s full 30 points lower in his lefty platoon. He draws walks at a 10% clip against lefties and Cole Hamels rates out right around a league average pitcher these days.

Elvis AndrusElvis Andrus FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - OAK (Brett Anderson) Park - TEX
FD - 12.31 DK - 9.5
Andrus will come in as the opposing shortstop to Semien on Monday and is also worth a strong look in cash games right in the same price tier. We will likely see Andrus in either the second or third slot in the lineup against the lefty Brett Anderson who owns a garbage 11% K rate and 4.93 xFIP. Andrus makes a lot of contact in about 81% of his plate appearances against lefties and has a .812 OPS against southpaws over the last two seasons. His 2018 hard contact rate is the best of his career while his Hr/FB rate is the lowest of his last three seasons (BABIP is down as well). That’s part of the reason we are seeing mid-tier prices on the Ranger shortstop. There’s a reason this game has the highest over/under of the day (11) and we could see a lot of ownership between these two teams.

Consider Jose Peraza if he’s hitting leadoff again on Monday.


Third Base

Adrian BeltreAdrian Beltre FD 2500 DK 3900
Opponent - OAK (Brett Anderson) Park - TEX
FD - 12.73 DK - 9.79
Jurickson ProfarJurickson Profar FD 3100 DK 4500
Opponent - OAK (Brett Anderson) Park - TEX
FD - 10.31 DK - 7.92
This slate is chalked full of mid-tier value which could make rostering one of the expensive hitters a little tougher. Beltre got the day off on Sunday but should be right back in the lineup on Monday against Anderson. As long as he’s hitting cleanup, he makes for one of the very best values on the slate, especially on FanDuel where he’s coming way too cheap. In fact, he’s one of the very best points/ $ plays of the whole day as long as the lineup shakes out right. Beltre might be getting up there in years, but it hasn’t shown against lefties. Over his last 156 plate appearances in that split, he has a .977 OPS and .412 wOBA. Those are among the best numbers in the game for that time frame made even more amazing seeing as how he’s in his age 39 year. He’s been in and out of the lineup with injuries this season, keeping the price down but I see him as an easy play for Monday.

Also, consider Jurickson Profar who’s a 3B on FanDuel but SS on DraftKings.

Eduardo EscobarEduardo Escobar FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - TOR (Luis Santos) Park - TOR
FD - 12.21 DK - 9.36
He offers multi-position flexibility on DraftKings (3B/SS) and is somewhat quietly putting together his best hitting season in the majors at the age of 29. Escobar has a .839 OPS with 14 home runs and an improved 8% walk rate. He’s been much better against righties over the last couple of seasons with a .349 wOBA and 118 wRC+ in his last 584 plate appearances. Santos is making his first start of the season after working out of the bullpen so far, meaning we might only get him for a couple of innings before things turn over to the Toronto relievers. Either way, Escobar will find himself near the top of the order for the Twins and is for one of the better offensive third basemen in the league.



Leonys MartinLeonys Martin FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 10.87 DK - 8.32
Nicholas CastellanosNicholas Castellanos FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 11.98 DK - 9.17
Like I mentioned with Goodrum, we will likely have to wait for the Tigers’ lineup to suss out the team’s value plays, but Martin and Castellanos should hit first and third respectively in this matchup. Martin’s struggled with injury issues this season, but like Goodrum also has something of a power/speed combo when healthy (Like Goodrum he also has nine home runs and seven stolen bases.) He doesn’t take a ton of walks but we are less worried about the strikeout in this matchup.

Meanwhile, this is the worse side of Castellanos split for sure, but I’m willing to go there in the reverse platoon because the matchup looks good on paper. It’s not like the Tiger outfielder is a complete no-show against righties seeing as how he still has a .776 OPS and 105 wRC+ over the last couple of seasons in that split. Castellanos is a little behind his home run output from last season but actually has a career-best .869 OPS.

Randal GrichukRandal Grichuk FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - MIN (Adalberto Mejia) Park - TOR
FD - 12.13 DK - 9.16
The Blue Jays have messed around some with their order this season, but Grichuk appears a guy on the move up the lineup. He hit leadoff the last time the Blue Jays faced a lefty (July 15th against the Red Sox) though that’s no guarantee. Either way, he’s still a very good DraftKings play at these prices even if he hits outside of the top four. He’s actually been better against righties over the course of his career, but some of that is explained away by dramatically different BABIPs in the two splits. He’s not a guy I would avoid in the lefty-righty matchup and Grichuk has shown off some power already this season with 12 home runs. He’s for sure a guy I’m waiting on the Toronto order for, but if near the top of the lineup I’m close to locking him for cash games in this matchup.

Strongly consider Teoscar Hernandez here as well. His big issue is the strikeout, but that expectation is greatly reduced against a pitcher like Mejia.

Kole CalhounKole Calhoun FD 2500 DK 3600
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - LAA
FD - 11.32 DK - 8.6
If you are rostering one of the expensive pitchers then you are going to need a punt play or two to make the salary work. Calhoun is a guy in the discussion for the bottom pricing tier if (and only if) he’s hitting leadoff again for the Angels. They’ve had him in that spot against righties lately and it would be one of the better points per dollar options if there again against Giolito. The latter is one of the very worst regular starters in all of baseball with a 6.20 xFIP thanks to a 13% walk rate (and only 13% K rate). As far as major league pitchers go, the guy is flat out terrible. Calhoun isn’t any great shakes himself, which you need to keep in mind. But plate appearance expectation is a real thing in this kind of matchup even for the worst hitters.


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