Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Jerry Vanderwoude

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 8/11/18

Saturday's Major League schedule brings us split slate action with a four-game appetizer in the afternoon, before the main course of ten games starts at 7:05 ET. Our MLB projection system has been busy cooking up some top picks to satisfy your daily fantasy appetites, so let's order up a sampler platter position by position.

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Robbie RayRobbie Ray FD 8700 DK 9000
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CIN
FD - 32.1 DK - 17.47
There isn't a whole lot of anything to love on the mound for the afternoon slate, so I have absolutely no qualms spending up for Robbie Ray, especially when spending up caps off at just $9K on DraftKings. Ray's season has suffered thanks to nearly two months spent on the DL, limiting him to just over 70 IP through 14 starts, but he has made the most out of each and every trip to the hill he has made. He's striking out a crazy 11.99 batters per nine, only three pitchers can best that number. The xFIP has been concerning, sitting at it's highest point in three seasons, but at 3.74 it still sits a full run better than his ERA. The matchup against the Reds isn't exactly a sure thing, the Diamondbacks open as -138 favorites, and the Reds are a top ten team against southpaws this season. Great American Ballpark has been just below average as pitchers parks go over the last three seasons, but still presents a significant upgrade from Chase Field. Ray may not scream safety, but he's far and away the best arm on the early slate, he's affordable, and he's got tons of upside potential. With that, I'll play him in all formats on the early set.

Charlie MortonCharlie Morton FD 10000 DK 11500
Opponent - SEA (Wade LeBlanc) Park - HOU
FD - 40.16 DK - 21.44
For the second straight season, Charlie Morton continues to prove himself one of the more dominant arms in the majors. Going back to the start of 2017, Morton is 26-9 with a 3.24 ERA, 3.39 xFIP, 28.4K%, and a wOBA against of .293. His numbers in all of those categories are up this year over last. If he were in the National League, I'd call him a legitimate contender for the Cy Young, but the competition in the AL is far more formidable. He's limited opponents to two earned runs or less in seven of his last ten starts, and today is a strong -192 favorite at home against the Mariners. Seattle to their merit is an average offense, with a .315 team wOBA. In the right matchup, they can do some damage. Tonight, they do not see the right matchup. Morton is expected to easily keep the Seattle bats in check, limiting them to one of the lower run projections on the day. Our MLB projection system loves Morton as one of the top raw points projected plays of the day and he's in play in all formats.

Aaron NolaAaron Nola FD 10500 DK 9800
Opponent - SD (Walker Lockett) Park - SD
FD - 39.58 DK - 21.47
I had to do a doubletake when I saw that FanDuel had Aaron Nola priced higher than Charlie Morton. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Nola, and have even gone as far as to put him in the conversation for Cy Young this year, but I'm not so sure about this one. Nola's K numbers have dropped over a full batter per nine this year. His xFIP has held steady, and his ERA is one of the best around. He also has the luxury of traveling into PetCo Park, to face one of the most lackluster offenses major league baseball has to offer. The Padres hold a paltry .288 wOBA against RHP this season while striking out a league-leading 25.7% of the time in the split. I just don't know that the price leaves any room for error. I'll go Morton all day in tournaments on FanDuel while using Nola in cash based on the matchup alone. On DraftKings, where Nola has a much more attractive sub $10K price tag, I'll happily pair them up.

Strongly consider Trevor Bauer (CLE). Our system likes him for the highest raw points projection today against the White Sox, so if your bats allow for it, then have at it.

First Base/Catcher

Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman FD 3400 DK 4600
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 12.86 DK - 9.72
We're going to take a look at this game from all sides before all is said and done today. We've got two of the top offenses in the game going head to head, while sending their bottom of the rotation pitchers to the bump. Jon Lester has seen better days. Don't let that 12-4 record fool you. His xFIP is at it's highest point since his 2007 campaign in Boston, while his K% is near a career low level. Vegas favors the Cubs in this one, but only ever-so-slightly. There is plenty to like about the Washington lineup in this game, starting with Ryan Zimmerman in the five hole. Zimm missed two months on the DL, but he's nearly a full month back now and looking like his old self. He went 7-for-12 with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI in the Nationals series against the Braves earlier this week, and has reached base safely in 10 of 12 games since being reactivated. Play him everywhere.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4100 DK 4500
Opponent - WSH (Tanner Roark) Park - CHC
FD - 13.64 DK - 10.24
Willson ContrerasWillson Contreras FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - WSH (Tanner Roark) Park - CHC
FD - 10.78 DK - 8.17
You thought I was kidding when I said all sides? No, my friend, I was quite serious, and to prove it we have a pair of Cubbies to discuss. At first base, we've got Anthony Rizzo hitting leadoff, who may have lost something in the power department with just 17 home runs at this point in the season, but still posts a top ten wOBA at the position (.343), with a .264/.359/.443 slash line and an .802 OPS. Behind the dish, we can look to Willson Contreras, whose .352 wOBA ranks third overall among qualified catchers. While he takes a hit in the reverse split, his .351 career wOBA against RHP is nothing to shy away from. He also hits sixth in the Chicago lineup, which is actually higher in the order than many of the other options behind the dish on the slate. We haven't even gotten into Tanner Roark yet, but we will. I'll take Zimmerman on FanDuel for significant savings over Rizzo, but pairing up these Cubbies on DraftKings is quite the appealing option to consider.

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3500 DK 4200
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 12.87 DK - 9.54
A happy James Shields Day to one and all!! This holiday that comes along once every five days or so, is even more special today, as we see one of the worst pitchers in the game attempt to take on one of the most dominant offenses around. Before you Shields loyalists start chiming in down in the comments section, let me save you the trouble. The guy has the third-highest xFIP in the majors (coincidentally the two guys higher sit in his rotation), a staggering 5.00. HIs ERA sits at 4.50. He's walking nearly four batters per nine while striking out just over seven. His hard rate sits at 33.3%. James Shields 2018 may be better than James Shields of seasons past, but he still stinks. That's why the Indians project for 5.6 implied runs, more than even the Rockies in Coors. Enough about Shields though, let's talk about the tribe. We'll start off with Edwin Encarnacion, Double E isn't putting up the same numbers he did in his Cleveland debut last season, but he still brings solid results at the end of the day. With a .332 wOBA, 107 wRC+, and .777 OPS, Encarnacion is a big part of Cleveland's rankings as a top three team in wOBA, home runs, and OPS. We're going to celebrate Shields day a few more times today, but Encarnacion is an excellent way to get the Holiday started right.

Buster PoseyBuster Posey FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - SF
FD - 11.64 DK - 8.97
If you're on DraftKings where you have to have a catcher, or on FanDuel, and need a cheap flex option, consider Buster Posey. Ten seasons in Posey continues to prove one of the best hitting backstops in the game with a .333 wOBA, 10.0% walk rate, and a .761 OPS. Posey has reached base safely in eight of his last ten games with five multi-hit efforts in that stretch. It's not his favorable split, but even in the reverse platoon, Posey holds a .348 wOBA, and Trevor Williams is far from intimidating on the mound. Considering the price, Posey is one of the top options at the position on the main slate.


Second Base

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3700 DK 5100
Opponent - WSH (Tanner Roark) Park - CHC
FD - 11.52 DK - 8.74
Ben Zobrist returned to the Cubs lineup yesterday, after dealing with a minor hip issue earlier in the week. The Cubs veteran second baseman/outfielder has been outstanding this season, his .373 wOBA is behind only teammate Javier Baez at the position, and is Zobrist's best since his 2009 season in Tampa. While his big number, high upside days may be behind him Zobrist is still proving to be a top cash game play with a .313/.398/.467 slash line, .864 OPS, and 12.5% BB%. The switch-hitter hits lefties and righties similarly and sees a strong matchup today against Tanner Roark. Roark has really fallen off, with a career-high 4.34 xFIP backing up his 4.21 ERA while striking out only 20.4% of the batters he faces.

Jason KipnisJason Kipnis FD 2800 DK 3700
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 9.8 DK - 7.49
As dominant as the Cleveland Indians offense has been in 2018, Jason Kipnis continues to struggle. His wOBA sits below .300, nearing a career-low mark, and his OPS is below the .700 mark for just the second time ever. Still, he's coming to us priced in the bargain bin, and once again, it's James Shields on the mound today. In spite of the struggles, Kipnis does have some favorable peripherals to consider here. His 10.5% BB% is at the highest point in five seasons, and the left-handed hitting Kipnis has always fared better against the right-handed pitching. With a .340 wOBA and .734 OPS against the split in his career, we don't need to ask a whole lot from Kipnis to get the job done in cash, and as proven by his scoring double-digit FanDuel points three times in just the past week, the upside knows no limit.

Marwin GonzalezMarwin Gonzalez FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - SEA (Wade LeBlanc) Park - HOU
FD - 10.05 DK - 7.69
Marwin Gonzalez has been virtually unstoppable at the plate down the stretch, and that's wonderful news for the Astros who have been decimated by injuries in recent weeks. With the loss of Carlos Correa, who returned last night, but looks as though he needs to shake off the rust, Jose Altuve, and most recently George Springer, Gonzalez current string of eight games in the last ten with a base hit, including four multi-hit efforts is coming at a perfect time. On the season, Gonzalez has a .308 wOBA, .706 OPS, and ten home runs, but has turned things up a notch in August, with a .506 wOBA, .333/.438/.815 slash line, and 1.252 OPS in the month. He's priced entirely too cheap for his current rate of production and is in play in all formats.



Trea TurnerTrea Turner FD 3800 DK 4900
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 13.07 DK - 10.19
We can't talk about the Nationals and leave out their table setter, shortstop Trea Turner. Turner is an all-around threat, leading the majors with 31 stolen bases, while also hitting 14 home runs. He's added nearly 3% to his walk rate over last year, while posting a .329 wOBA. Turner has been on base in six straight and nine of his last eleven. He's should be at least $200 more on FanDuel, and absolutely has to be considered against Jon Lester. Given the limited options on the early slate, consider Turner everywhere.

Alex BregmanAlex Bregman FD 3700 DK 4600
Opponent - SEA (Wade LeBlanc) Park - HOU
FD - 12.49 DK - 9.51
Alex Bregman is the last man standing in the Astros lineup, and like Marwin Gonzalez above has managed to push through and keep the Astros alive in spite of the recent bout of injuries with his stellar performance at the plate this season. Bregman's .384 wOBA is the leader in Houston and ranked fifth overall among third basemen. His 22 home runs are already a career high with a month and a half left to play, and he's posting career highs in OPS (.895), BB% (12.7), and ISO (.239). Ten seasons in Wade LeBlanc is what he is, with a 4.33 xFIP, 1.35 HR/9, and 32.1% hard-hit rate. Bregman loves the lefties, and this is a perfect matchup for the third year Astro.


Third Base

Anthony RendonAnthony Rendon FD 3900 DK 4600
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 13.14 DK - 9.9
Since 2013, Anthony Rendon has made a career of crushing southpaws. Against the split, Rendon holds a career .379 wOBA, .309/.386/.504 slash line, and an OPS inching towards the .900 mark. Now we bring Jon Lester into the picture, with his 4.79 xFIP, 33.7% hard-hit rate, and 1.31 HR/9 surrendered and we have the makings of a big day for the Nationals third baseman. Hitting top of the Washington order in a hitters haven like Wrigley in this matchup, Rendon is kind of a no-brainer on the short four-game early slate.

Miguel SanoMiguel Sano FD 2400 DK 4300
Opponent - DET (Francisco Liriano) Park - DET
FD - 11.4 DK - 8.48
Miguel Sano started out the season terribly, and before long was sent packing down to Triple-A to sort things out. The Twins recalled Sano in late July after trading Eduardo Escobar to Arizona, and he has certainly looked much improved in his limited time back in the bigs. Since being recalled, Sano is hitting .275 with a .357 wOBA, .820 OPS, and a 13% walk rate. He's hit safely in seven of twelve games and hit his first home run since May on Wednesday. Today he'll face Francisco Liriano, who has been terrible this season with an xFIP just under 5.00, 1.29 HR/9, and a 13.2 BB%. We're still buying low on Sano, and I'll continue to until the production falls back off, or the sites start to correct for the recent performance.

Jose RamirezJose Ramirez FD 5000 DK 5800
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 13.69 DK - 10.35
We've saved the best for last for James Shields day. Indians third baseman, Jose Ramirez is breaking through big this season. His thirty-three home runs sit just two shy of J.D. Martinez major league-leading mark, while he's ranked top five in the majors in wOBA (.425), ISO (.323), walk percentage (15.6%), and stolen bases (27). It's an MVP caliber season for the switch-hitting Ramirez who sees the favorable matchup against the right-handed Shields, a split he holds a career .369 wOBA against while walking 10.2% of the time with 75% of his home runs coming off of right-handed pitching. Ramirez doesn't come cheap, but there's no denying he's the top play of the day against Shields.



Kyle SchwarberKyle Schwarber FD 3600 DK 4100
Opponent - WSH (Tanner Roark) Park - CHC
FD - 11.73 DK - 8.7
We've covered this game from one side or the other at each position, and we'll close out our coverage in the outfield with Kyle Schwarber against Tanner Roark. In spite of his struggles this season, Roark has limited the hard-hit rate to just 27%, and following some long ball trouble in June, has only allowed three balls to leave the park in his last seven starts. Today, however, he steps into Wrigley Field and will have to face off with this guy. Kyle Schwarber steps to the plate today with a .228 ISO and 20 home runs. He's slashing .243/.362/.471 and his OPS sits at .833, while he's walking a remarkable 15.6% of the time. He's a huge upside potential GPP guy who can be considered in cash for the price, especially given the matchup.

Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - TB (Undecided) Park - TOR
FD - 10.95 DK - 8.19
Curtis Granderson took to the bench last night with left-hander Blake Snell throwing for the Rays. Today, Tampa will likely throw a bullpen game with Ryne Stanek getting the start but likely only going the first two innings, so look for the Grandyman to return to his spot leading things off for Toronto. The price has crept up a bit on Granderson lately as he's hovered around the $3K mark on FanDuel, and $4K on DraftKings, but I feel we're still buying cheap on a reliable leadoff guy who walks twelve percent of the time, boasts a .328 wOBA, and has reached base in eight of his last twelve. Fourteen seasons in Granderson may not have the upside he once had, but he certainly does enough to make an appealing cash game play.

Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - SF
FD - 12.59 DK - 9.5
Steven DuggarSteven Duggar FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - SF
FD - 10.58 DK - 8.15
Let's double-dip Giants outfielders on the main slate. First, we have Andrew McCutchen. The veteran outfielder spent nine seasons in Pittsburgh before moving his game out west to the bay, signing with San Francisco in the offseason. He's brought some pop (12 home runs) and flare (nine stolen bases) to the Giants offense posting a .336 wOBA, .768 OPS, and walking nearly 12% of the time. He'll face his old team who come to town this weekend for a series in AT&T Park. Pittsburgh will send Trevor Williams to the hill to counter McCutchen and the rest of the Giants offense. Williams is proving nothing short of unremarkable with a career 4.63 xFIP, 6.21 K/9, 3.10 K/9, and a 29.7% hard-hit rate. In addition to McCutchen, Williams will have to try and find an answer for Steven Duggar. Duggar has 23 major league games under his belt now, with hits in 14 of those 23 including seven multi-hit efforts. Pairing these two Giants outfielders up is a great way to go that won't break the bank and presents the potential for plenty of upside in a strong matchup.

Shohei OhtaniShohei Ohtani FD 3100 DK 4500
Opponent - OAK (Edwin Jackson) Park - LAA
FD - 11.48 DK - 8.67
We'll close things out in Anaheim where Shohei Ohtani and the Angels continue their weekend series hosting the Athletics. Oakland will run Edwin Jackson to the hill tonight. Jackson, a journeyman now in his sixteenth season, has made eight starts for the A's and even though he has a 2.87 ERA, his xFIP sits nearly two runs higher, over 4.00 for the fifth straight year. Ohtani has turned some heads in his rookie campaign, with a .376 wOBA, .273/.351/.535 slash line, .263 ISO, and .887 OPS. The left-handed hitting Ohtani's numbers jump significantly in the split. Against right-handers, Ohtani's wOBA is over .400 with an OPS over 1.000. The price doesn't match the opportunity for this matchup, and anytime Ohtani steps in the box against an RHP, we have to stop and consider him in the top of the order for $3K on FanDuel, and even for $4.5K on DraftKings, there's a strong case in his favor.

Thanks for reading, as always best of luck out there tonight. Cheers!


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1 Visitor Comment

  1. xFIP is a borderline garbage metric – Shields has been a league average pitcher for 4+ months and 150 innings. This “Yay for Shields day!” narrative is lazy and hasn’t been a thing for basically a year now. lol. Still like the article on a daily basis… but sometimes with these pitchers you choose to attack. You all have a way of bending the narrative.

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