Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 8/16/18
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We got a doozy tonight with a collection of less than appealing pitching options on the main slate which is likely the worst of the season. If I was forced to pick one pitcher who has the most safety(relative to the other options) it would be Buchholz. Never thought I would actually write those words but here are we are. He is actually having his best season since 2013 when he was with the Red Sox as he has held opponents to two or fewer earned runs in nine of his 11 starts and sits with a 2.67 ERA on the season. There is likely a little regression coming as the xFIP(4.09) is about a run and a half higher than that ERA but I don't think it comes tonight as he gets an elite matchup vs. a Padres team who ranks 29th in wOBA(.289) and wRC+(82) against right-handed pitching with a dreadful 25.9% K rate. I will be playing mostly GPP tonight and limiting my exposure in cash games but Buchholz is the pitcher I will turn to in those formats.
On a normal slate where we have more pitching options, I would likely not even consider Gray in this matchup against the Braves but here we are. He hasn't been very very consistent when looking at the record of 9-7 and ERA of 4.81 but when we dig a little deeper we can see that he is a much better pitcher than that. To start with, his xFIP(3.09) is nearly two runs lower than the ERA and he has been hit hard with a fairly unsustainable BABIP of .337 which pitching in Coors sometimes can skew a bit. What he does provide on a consistent basis is a ton of upside as he sits with a 10.46 K/9 and elite 13.8% swinging strike rate. The matchup does have some upside as the Braves have been worse against righties sitting outside the Top 10 in wOBA and wRC+ and very well could be without one of their best hitters in Ronald Acuna Jr. tonight after he was hit with a pitch in last night's game vs. the Marlins. All in all, I think Gray makes a decent option in all formats considering the other available options on the slate.
The Jays currently sit #1 in implied runs tonight as they get a terrific matchup against Glenn Sparkman. You probably said the same thing as me when you read that name. Who is Glenn Sparkman? Well, he was drafted by the Royals back in 2013 and after five seasons reaching only AA he was traded to the Jays where he spent all of a half season before going back to the Royals. His first eight appearances this season have come out of the bullpen where he has struggled to a 5.06 ERA and 4.47 xFIP while giving up 37.7% hard contact. For the Jays, I start with Smoak who has been very consistent since the All-Star break with a .308 average and .376 on-base percentage. He is a switch hitter who has been better against righties with a .386 wOBA, 146 wRC+, and .260 ISO. At these prices, he is a great play in all formats.
With a lack of high priced pitching tonight, there is an excellent opportunity to get multiple big bats in our lineups. At first base, I am looking at Matt Carpenter who has put his early season struggles in the rearview and since May 1 has put together an elite .307/.412/.672 slash line with 31 home runs, 58 RBI, and 70 runs scored while primarily hitting leadoff for the Cardinals. The matchup may not look all that great as Roark has been better as of late but is no more than an average arm and sits with an ERA and xFIP that sit over 4.00 for the season. Given the state of the pitching, it shouldn't be an issue to fit Carpenter in all formats.
**Update - Carp left last night's game after being hit with a pitch in the right hand and is day to day. I would pivot to Paul Goldschmidt in this spot tonight in the same price range.**
The Rangers have been the hottest team in baseball in the second half with a league-leading 41 home runs and 162 runs scored and are my top team to target on tonight's main slate. It starts with Rougned Odor who has bounced back in a huge way in 2018 raising his average(.271) over 60 points from last season and his OBP(.351) almost 100 points. He is doing all this while maintaining the power stroke with a near 15% HR/FB rate and 43% hard contact rate. Because of the consistency he has shown, the Rangers have moved him up in the lineup as he has been a staple in the #2 hole making him a great target in all formats.
Logan Forsythe FD 2300 DK 3500
Opponent - DET (Francisco Liriano) Park - MIN
FD - 10.24 DK - 7.76
If you are looking to go the value route at the position consider Logan Forsythe. After hitting .207 with the Dodgers over the first four months of the season, they traded him to the Twins for Brian Dozier. Since the trade, he has found new life in his bat with hits in 10 if his first 11 starts and is even getting time near the top of the lineup. He has struggled against lefties in a small sample this season but is coming off a season where he has dominated lefties to the tune of a .381 wOBA, 138 wRC+, and .161 ISO and has been better in the split over the course of his career. He is a nice salary relief option in all formats and would see his value go way up if he is hitting in the top four of the lineup.
Also Consider: Josh Harrison(PIT)
Dejong's number overall(.244/.322/.448) don't jump off the page whatsoever but he has been very consistent lately with hits in eight straight including four home runs and he has also scored a run in nine of his last 10 games. I talked about Roark above with Carpenter and the good news for DeJong is that he has reverse splits and has been much better against right-handed pitchers with a .344 wOBA, 117 wRC+, and .215 ISO. He is often overlooked hitting down in the five/six hole for the Cardinals but makes a nice addition to lineups in all formats right now.
The Twins sit narrowly behind the Jays in implied runs tonight and I will continue to pick on Francisco Liriano in this spot. At first glance you may be thinking "but he has been good lately" but I don't buy that he will sustain it whatsoever as he is walking over five batters per nine on the season and sits with a 4.42 ERA and even worse 4.97 xFIP. Since being called up in early July, Polanco has been solid hitting .286 for the Twins with a .355 on-base percentage and while he has been slightly worse against lefties in his career, I am not too worried as we are talking about Liriano who has been terrible against righties and I don't expect him to be in the game long anyhow. Fire up Polanco in all formats tonight.
Also Consider: Trea Turner(WSH)
The Diamondbacks go from a hitters paradise in Texas and Cincinnati to a not so friendly hitters environment in San Diego tonight but are in a good spot to put up some runs. At third base, I am looking at Eduardo Escobar who made his way to Diamondbacks via trade from Minnesota at the deadline. He hasn't stood out in his first 15 games with just two home runs and 11 RBI while hitting .273 but provides some safety with a .334 OBP on the season and a ton of upside, especially against right-handed pitching where he has tallied a .376 wOBA, 137 wRC+, and .292 ISO. He faces rookie pitcher, Jacob Nix, who was good in his debut going six innings and giving up just four hits and no runs to the Phillies but over his minor league career he hasn't struck out more than eight per nine since rookie ball. The Diamondbacks are a mid-pack team when looking at implied runs but I would not be surprised to see them end up near the top making Escobar a nice option in all formats.
The price is a little rich for my blood on DraftKings leaving him as a GPP only play tonight but on FanDuel under $3K, I am willing to plug him in all formats tonight considering his better recent play. He comes in with hits in five of his last six and 10 of his last 14 games with five doubles, two home runs, and 10 runs scored. That is good news for the Twins and their fans as it has been an awful season overall as he is hitting just .221 with a sub .300 OBP, easily his worst season as a pro. I already talked about the matchup vs. Francisco Liriano and will be trying to fit as many Twins as possible tonight, especially on FanDuel where they are much cheaper.
Also Consider: David Bote(CHC)
Like I mentioned with Odor, the Rangers have been the hottest team in baseball in the second half which brings me to their outfield. As of writing this, the Angels haven't announced a starter just yet but it appears to be Despaigne who could get the spot start and he is sporting a 5.31 ERA/4.09 xFIP out of the pen. For safety in cash games, I will lean Choo for a couple of reasons starting with the fact he hits in the leadoff spot and enters the night with an elite 14.6% walk rate and .393 on-base percentage. He also makes sense in GPP formats as well as he has once again posted 20 home runs in a season(4 of last 5 full seasons). Speaking of GPP, we have Joey Gallo who will never be called safe with a .200 average and .312 OBP but has a ton of pop in his bat with a 31 home runs and a 46.6% hard contact rate. He hits down in the order but can easily win you a GPP tonight.
This pick is more about the Jays as a whole as they are projected to be the highest scoring team of the night. Granderson pops up as he hits leadoff and should get a ton of opportunity to get on base and score runs. While the average has gone down and the K rate(29%) has gone up over time he has been able to sustain a decent .332 on-base percentage and still has some pop in his bat. I will be mostly using him in GPP's tonight but I could defintely make a case for him in cash.
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- Paul Goldschmidt: AP Photo/Matt York