Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 7/31/18
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After being roughed up a bit in his first start out of the All-Star break, Trevor Bauer got back to CY Yong candidate form last Wednesday as he held the Pirates to just two hits and no earned runs over seven innings while striking out 10. It lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.32 on the season backed up by a 3.06 xFIP and 3.14 SIERA and he is also sitting with a career-high 11.73 K/9 and 13.2% swinging strike rate. He and the Indians open as -151 favorites against the Twins who have been better against right-handed pitchers but recently lost one of their best hitters, Eduardo Escobar, to a trade with Arizona. He comes with a huge price tag but is easily the #1 option Tuesday and a great play in all formats.
If you are looking to go a little more balanced and get some upgrades with your bats, there is a ton to like about Tanaka tonight. He and the Yankees open as -320 favorites at home vs. an Orioles team that lost their best hitter, Manny Machado, to a trade over the All-Star break and even with him ranked in the bottom five overall in runs scored. They have been even worse against right-handed pitching with a .300 wOBA, 87 wRC+, and 24% K rate and are also one of the worst road teams in the league. For Tanaka, he is coming off his best start of the season after a complete game shutout of the Rays where he struck out nine lowering his ERA to 4.09 and he also has a 3.58 xFIP to back it up. All things considered, I think we can consider him in cash games and most definitely in GPP formats.
The SP2 options on DraftKings are less than intriguing tonight but one that stands out as a good PTS/$ value is Danny Duffy. He got touched up for seven earned runs last start but that was against the Tigers who have been money against southpaws this season. That has most certainly not been the case for the White Sox this season as they rank 27th in wOBA(.295) and wRC+(85) against lefties with a 25.9% K rate. The other thing that stands out with Duffy is the home/road splits. Kauffman Stadium has not been kind to him this season as he has a 6.48 ERA but on the road sits with an above average 3.54 ERA and has scored 40+ FanDuel/23+ DraftKings points in each of his last five road games.
Freeman comes in as our highest projected player at the position when looking at raw points. The Braves are at home at -170 favorites despite a rookie pitcher making his major league debut which tells us a lot about the matchup. They will face Dan Straily who has been up and down this season but overall sits with a 4.07 ERA and even worse 4.87 xFIP and also gives up a ton of power allowing a 40%+ hard contact rate to both sides of the plate and has already given up 15 home runs in 16 starts(16.5% HR/FB). If we are going to target the Braves it makes sense to start with their best hitter as Freeman entered Monday night with a .313/.398/.525 slash line with 17 home runs, 66 RBI, and 63 runs scored.
Greg Bird FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - BAL (Yefrey Ramirez) Park - NYY
FD - 12.86 DK - 9.53
The Yankees lead all team in the implied run projections tonight and if you are looking to save a little salary at the position, especially in cash games, Greg Bird is most definitely in play. He gets a bit of a downgrade as he hits down in the bottom half of the lineup but has been consistent lately with hits in 16 of his last 18 games in July good with four doubles, four home runs and 17 RBI which is good for a .308/.377/.554 slash line. Bird and the Yankees will face young Yefry Ramirez who has yet to show he can go deep into games and has struggled against the powerhouse teams in the AL East as he has given up five home runs in three starts vs. the Red Sox and Yankees. Bird is a terrific one-off play in cash games and a great addition to a very high upside Yankee stack in GPP's.
Unless you are planning on paying up for Ozzie Albies, the second base position is pretty thin tonight at first glance. Jed Lowrie has struggled in July hitting just .197 but there are some positives to pull from it as he has been very patient at the plate walking 19% of the time giving him a .374 OBP for the month. Lowrie has already set a career-high with 17 home runs this season and gets an excellent matchup to add to that total tonight facing Sam Gaviglio who had given up 12 long balls in 13 starts with the Jays(17.6% HR/FB) and has a 4.82 ERA in those starts. Lowrie is a switch hitter with pretty equal splits when looking at the average but has shown much more power from the left-hand side of the plate as he enters tonight with a .372 wOBA, 139 wRC+, and .868 OPS in the split. I will likely go a different direction in cash games but will have plenty of exposure to Lowrie and the A's in GPP formats.
Neil Walker FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - BAL (Yefrey Ramirez) Park - NYY
FD - 11.32 DK - 8.57
I mentioned above with Bird that the Yankees are #1 in implied runs tonight and another value we can draw from their lineup tonight is Neil Walker. Like Bird, he gets a bit of a downgrade due to his position in the batting order but I am willing to overlook that tonight considering the matchup vs. Yefry Ramirez and how hot he has been lately. He comes into tonight's game with hits in nine of his last 10 games including four multi-hit efforts including three doubles, a home run, and eight RBI. It is close between he and Lowrie on DraftKings at just $300 in salary difference but I side with Walker on FanDuel at a much bigger discount which helps us get to Trevor Bauer on the mound tonight.
Also Consider: Javier Baez(CHC)
There is really nothing exciting about Elvis Andrus's game s the upside is limited but what he does provide us with is some safety at a position that lacks it overall unless you wanna pay big bucks. He has been very consistent lately as he went into Monday night with hits in 10 straight games and has scored a run in seven of his last eight. He has been hitting either second or third in the lineup all season and while Godley has flashed some upside this season he has also gotten into trouble at times walking 4.5 batters per nine and sits with 4.73 ERA. I will be avoiding him in GPP formats with the capped upside but think the floor is definitely there to warrant a spot in cash games.
Adalberto Mondesi FD 2800 DK 4100
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 8.12 DK - 6.33
The price has gotten high enough on DraftKings where I would rather just roll Andrus or pay up for Lindor but on FanDuel Mondesi makes an excellent value play in the sub $3K range. He gets a plus matchup against James Shields and after struggles in his first two seasons, is trying to prove he belongs hitting .281 in his first 26 games in 2018. He has also been much better against righties with a .313 average, .345 wOBA, and .807 OPS. The only knock against him has been the spot at the bottom of the batting order but he was promoted last game being moved up to the two-hole and if there again is a near lock, at least on FanDuel.
Also Consider: Nick Ahmed(ARI)
I will continue to pick on Sam Gaviglio of the Jays tonight as he enters this matchup with a 4.82 ERA as a starter this season and has already given up 12 home runs(17.6% HR/FB). Chapman has made big strides in his second season in the big leagues raising his average by almost 40 points and by cutting down on the strikeouts(22.9%) has raised his on-base percentage to .363 thus far. He has been hitting in the bottom half of the lineup all season but with a hot bat lately(hits in five straight and eight of his last nine games), has got an upgrade and has now been hitting second. If he remains there tonight he is a top play at the third base position in all formats.
Escobar has a new home as the Twins sent him to Arizona in a trade late last week which provides a nice boost to the Diamondbacks offense and added value to our DFS lineups. He enters tonight with hits in his first two games with his new team and should be able to extend that streak tonight in a terrific matchup against Bartolo Colon who enters with a 5.02 ERA. There is also a ton of upside here as well as Colon has given up 23 home runs in 19 starts(16.5% HR/FB) and Escobar is a switch hitter who has destroyed right-handed pitching to the tune of a .382 wOBA, 141 wRC+, and .922 OPS this season.
Also Consider: Mike Moustakas(MIL)
I love the spot tonight for the Phillies as they go up against Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox. He struggled early in the season with 6.81 ERA before being placed on the DL for nearly two months and then struggled once again in his return allowing four runs(two home runs) to the Orioles. Control has been his biggest issue this season as he has walked at least two batters in each of his nine starts(4.97 BB/9) and he has also allowed nine home runs in those starts(17.3% HR/FB). The Phillies rank in the bottom half of the league overall against southpaws but do have a couple hitters who stand out starting with Hoskins who leads the team with a .341 wOBA and 113 wRC+ in the split(numbers will rise after Monday night as he is currently 2 for 2 against David Price). I don't think we need to make him a priority in cash games but he makes an excellent upside GPP play tonight.
Aaron Hicks FD 3500 DK 4700
Opponent - BAL (Yefrey Ramirez) Park - BAL
FD - 11.88 DK - 8.99
On DraftKings, there is only a $200 gap between Stanton and Hicks meaning it's a pick your poison situation but on FanDuel I will side with Hicks, at least in cash games, for an $800 discount. With Aaron Judge out of the lineup, he is getting some added opportunity hitting near the top of the lineup and making the most of it with multiple hits in three straight starts. While his average overall is lower than Stanton's, he does provide a bit of safety he strikes out 10% less and has a slightly higher OBP(.359) on the season. The upside is also there as he has already set a career-high with 17 home runs an is just five RBI short of another career-high in that area. I talked about the matchup above and will have lots of exposure ot the pinstripes tonight in all formats.
Rosell Herrera FD 2400 DK 3500
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 8.05 DK - 6.13
If you are planning on loading up on Trevor Bauer at starting pitcher tonight you will need some value plays to make it happen. Enter Rosell Herrera who comes cheap on both sites and comes in red hot with hits in six of his last seven games including three straight multi-hit efforts. While the Royals offense overall is uninspiring they do get a plus matchup tonight against James Shields who comes in with a 4.53 ERA and 5.05 xFIP. The Royals should be able to put up some runs tonight and if they do Herrera should be right in the middle of it and provides excellent PTS/$ value for all formats.
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- Freddie Freeman: AP Images