Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/24/18
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We have some tough decisions to make tonight and it starts with the Phillies and Dodgers game with Aaron Nola and Kenta Maeda going head to head. Nola and the Phillies are slight favorites on the road and Nola has been the more consistent of the two on the season averaging 6.5 innings for start with a very impressive 2.30 ERA and 3.22 xFIP. He is also striking out just over a batter per inning with an above average 11.5% swinging strike rate. The only issue I see here is that the Dodgers have the better lineup that just received a big upgrade with the Manny Machado trade.
Maeda went into the All-Star break red-hot holding opponents to two or fewer earned runs in four straight starts while striking out nine batters in each. Overall he has not gone as deep into games(5.4 IP/start) as Nola but in those last four starts, he has averaged 6.3 innings per start. He has also flashed more upside than Nola overall with an 11.22 K/9 and an elite 14.2% swinging strike rate. He also gets the better matchup against a Phillies team that ranks in the bottom half of the league in hitting vs. righties with a very high 2.7% K rate.
For cash games, I am currently leaning Maeda, especially on FanDuel at a $1,500 discount, and will be playing both of them in GPP formats. Check back closer to lock for any changes in the comments, DFSR chatroom, or my DFS MLB cheatsheet.
The value range also gives us some decisions, especially when looking at SP2 on DraftKings. Both Wheeler and Tanaka are in good spots vs. weak offenses but I lean Wheeler's direction as he has been going deeper into games lately averaging 6.3 innings per start over his last 10. It also helps that Wheeler gets a matchup vs. a Padres team that ranks 27th in Runs scored for the season and dead last vs. right-handed pitching with a .287 wOBA, 80 wRC+, and 25.9% strikeout rate. From a PTS/$ perspective, Tanaka gets the slight edge on FanDuel at a $200 discount but it's Wheeler who gets the edge on DraftKings at a sub $8K price tag making him my top option as SP2 tonight.
Rizzo was DFSR owner James Davis' pick for biggest first-half bust in our mid-season awards and for good reason as he hit just .246 with a disappointing .748 OPS. He must have read the article as he appears to be on the upswing as he went into Monday night with hits in four of his first five games since the All-Star break with three multi-hit efforts. More good news as he is only striking out 12% of the time and sits with a decent .365 OBP and has been hitting leadoff giving him more projected at-bats. Clay Buchholz has been decent in his first season with the D-Backs but is working with a .236 BABIP(51 points lower than career mark) and an xFIP(4.11) that is over a run and a half higher than his ERA(2.56). Rizzo is setup for another big game and is a nice choice in all formats tonight.
Greg Bird FD 3100 DK 3700
Opponent - TB (Undecided) Park - TB
FD - 9.73 DK - 7.24
If you are looking to save some salary at the position, consider Greg Bird who has also been on a roll lately. He has hits in all but two games in the month of July and is averaging 10.8 DraftKings/14.9 FanDuel points per game in his last 10 starts thanks to three doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBI. What helps keep his price down in the value range is the fact he hits almost primarily out of the seven-hole for the Yankees in a loaded lineup. No starter has been announced yet but luckily for Bird and the Yanks, it won't be Blake Snell who is on the DL.
Catcher Consideration: Salvador Perez(KC)
Jose Altuve is clearly the top projected play at the second base position tonight in an elite matchup in Coors Field against a lefty but it will be difficult to fit him into cash lineup with a top pitcher at his price. Enter Brian Dozier who comes a nice discount on both sites and is our second-highest projected player at the position. He is a player that shows up a lot in our optimized lineups, especially against left-handed pitching as it is clearly his best split and tonight he faces Ryan Borucki who appears to be hitting a wall giving up 40%+ hard contact in each of his last two starts and has walked 10 batters in four starts(3.91 BB/9). Take advantage of the plus matchup and roll out Dozier in all formats.
Schoop is not player who can be labeled "consistent" as he comes into tonight with an ugly .231 average and .264 on-base percentage. What I do like, however, is that he has started to heat up with hits in seven straight and 17 of his last 18 games and makes a possible low-owned, high-upside GPP plays. It is a mystery what we are going to see from Drew Pomeranz as he makes his return to the Red Sox rotation after missing nearly two months but if it's anything like his pre-injury form(6.81 ERA, 5.03 xFIP, 14.6% HR/FB rate), Schoop and the Orioles have a shot at putting up some runs tonight.
Also consider Rougned Odor(TEX) who has been out of the two-hole for the Rangers and comes in with hits in five straight and 10 of his last 11 starts
You can really never go wrong targeting against Homer Bailey and his presence on the mound alone has the Cards as one of four teams with double-digit implied runs tonight. Stacking them makes perfect sense in GPP formats to go away from the Coors game and there is also some cash game intrigue and it starts with Paul DeJong who comes at a fair price on both sites. The average(.254) has fallen off from his rookie campaign but the on-base percentage(.330) has come up a bit and more than anything, he is getting the opportunity hitting near the top of the order. The other thing that really stands out is his reverse splits as he has struggled against lefties(.191 average, .283 wOBA, 76 wRC+) but done very well against righties with a .344 wOBA and 116 wRC+. Given the price and the matchup, he is a great play in all formats tonight.
Xander Bogaerts FD 4000 DK 5300
Opponent - BAL (Yefrey Ramirez) Park - BAL
FD - 12.03 DK - 9.25
We have come this far and have yet to mention a Red Sox player. Well, as much as I love playing their outfield trio of Betts, Benintendi, and Martinez, it is a lot of salary to stomach so I will turn to Bogaerts who hits behind those big hitters and has been quietly performing very well this season. He enters tonight with a .283/.351/.533 slash line and has been hitting with more power this season sitting with a career-high .249 ISO and .884 OPS which has resulted in 16 home runs and 64 RBI. If you are spending up at the position tonight, Bogaerts is a viable option in all formats with a high floor and ceiling.
Also consider: Elvis Andrus(TEX)
There are two options at the top in elite spots tonight and I might just have to split them down the middle as I am finding hard to pick one over the other. First of all, we have Alex Bregman who tore it up in the first half with a .228/.389/.539 slash line with 20 home runs, 64 RBI, and 67 runs scored. On top of that, he absolutely ripped left-handed pitching to the tune of a .423 wOBA, 176 wRC+, and 1.004 OPS and will face Tyler Anderson in Coors Field tonight where the Astros have the highest implied run line. The other option is Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals who comes into tonight with hits in eight straight and 11 of his last 12 games including a stretch where he hit a home run in six straight games(8 total). His slow start has been wiped away as he is now sitting with a .277/.386/.589 slash line with 25 longs balls, 53 RBI, and 65 runs scored. He also gets a plus matchup against Homer Bailey who has been a dumpster fire all season giving up 15 home runs in 12 starts(18.3% HR/FB rate) and sits with an ugly 6.68 ERA and 5.30 xFIP. Both of these third basemen are excellent GPP plays with huge upside and can also be considered in cash games if you are using a stars and scrubs approach.
If you are loading up at other position and looking for a value at third base, consider Matt Chapman as the Athletics have the highest implied run projection outside of Coors tonight. A lot of that has to do with the matchup as they will face Mike Minor who has been good in spots but overall hasn't been great with a 4.89 ERA, 4.71 xFIP and has given up 16 home runs in 18 starts. The biggest thing is his splits as he has been good against lefties giving up a .292 wOBA and 35.6% hard contact but struggled against righties with .346 wOBA and 41.8% hard contact rate. For Chapman, he comes in with hits in four of his last five games with three multi-hit efforts and for the season has eight of his 10 home runs against lefties. He is often overlooked as well hitting down in the order helping out in GPP formats.
Also consider Eugenio Suarez(CIN) who has been money against left-handed pitching(.482 wOBA, 205 wRC+, 1.156 OPS) and faces a young pitcher making his first major league start and has a 5.22 xFIP in 15 relief appearances
Springer has come out of the All-Star on fire with hits in all three games including a double, home run, and six runs batted in while scoring an average of 15.7 DraftKings/22.2 FanDuel points per game. He and the Astros now head into Coors Field and like I mentioned above, sit in a terrific spot to open the series as the highest projected scoring team on the slate. Tyler Anderson has been good lately, even at home, but has blowup potential with a low 38% groundball rate and 13% HR/FB rate. Springer has seen his numbers come back down to Earth after a huge 2017 season but he still shows big splits against lefties with a .294 average, .376 wOBA, and 144 wRC+. He deserves consideration in all formats tonight.
From a PTS/$ perspective, one of the top plays of the night is Shin-Soo Choo who has been consistent all season and enters tonight with a .288 average and elite .400 on-base percentage. He hits leadoff for the Rangers and not only does he provide some safety for cash games but he has also flashed upside as a power hitter once again in 2018 as he sits with 18 home runs and a career-high .893 OPS. After sitting in a great spot last night and letting almost everyone done(props to those who faded the Rangers), Choo and the Rangers should benefit from recency bias and come in under-owned tonight. Jump back on that train and roster Choo in all formats.
On the other side of the diamond, we have another A's player who gives us some much-needed value, especially on FanDuel. He picked up two more hits in a 15-3 route of the Rangers last night and now has hits in seven straight games and is hitting .345 in July with a .457 on-base percentage. He has bounced around the lineup and obviously has much great value if back in the two-hole but is still a nice GPP play if not as he crushes left-handed pitching to the tune of a .372 wOBA, 140 wRC+, and .866 OPS on the season.