Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 8/21/18
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Snell was placed on the disabled list after the All-Star break with left shoulder fatigue and since returning in August has been pitching well and showing no signs of stopping. He was limited to 59 and 47 pitches in his first two starts back but was stretched out to 76 in his last start so we will likely see a full workload or close to it on Tuesday night. Over those three starts(14 IP), he has limited the White Sox, Jays, and Yankees to just five hits and one earned run total while striking out 15 and walking just three. For the season, he sits with a very impressive 2.10 ERA and 3.54 xFIP while also flashing upside with a 28.5% K rate and 13.5% swinging strike rate. He now gets a very good matchup against a Royals team that ranks 28th in wOBA(.289) and 29th in wRC+(79) against left-handed pitching with a 23.3% K rate. Unless there is news of a limited pitch count tonight you can fire up Snell in all formats.
Outside of one bad start vs. the Rangers two starts ago(six earned runs allowed), Tanaka has been great in the second half holding opponents to just three earned runs in his other four starts with 32 strikeouts. He has been prone to blowup games giving up four or more earned runs in six starts this season but sits with an xFIP(3.57) that is a half run better than his ERA(4.03) and he has struck out over a batter per inning(9.24 K/9) with an elite 13.6% swinging strike rate. Tonight he and the Yankees go on the road to Miami in arguably the best matchup for a pitcher on the slate. The Marlins have scored the least amount of runs(97) in the second half and rank 28th in wOBA(.294) and 27th in wRC+(83) vs. right-handed pitching with a 22.5% K rate. All things considered, Tanaka is one of the top options on the mound tonight and safe in all formats.
Dipping down into the value/punt range tonight, Junior Guerra is in play against a Reds team that is without arguably their best hitter in Joey Votto who is on the DL. That leaves them with a pretty weak projected lineup outside of Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. For Guerra, he is definitely capable of a blowup game(hence the price) but despite a few of them still sits with a decent 3.73 ERA/4.39 xFIP on the season. He doesn't have elite K stuff but is striking out just one per inning with an average 10% swinging strike rate. If he can avoid the walks he should be able to easily hit value at these prices and makes a nice SP2 option on DraftKings and punt GPP play on FanDuel as a -185 favorite.
The Athletics have been one of the hottest teams in baseball in the second half and have climbed to within one game of the American League West Division behind the Astros. Almost everyone in the lineup has contributed in classic A's fashion including Matt Olson who has been playing his best baseball over the last couple weeks with a .314/.360/.529 slash line since July 29 and has provided a nice power boost on the season with 23 home runs, just one off his career best. There is currently no line set but Oakland will likely have one of the highest implied run lines as they face off against Ariel Jurado who has really struggled allowing 12 earned runs in his last two starts, including five home runs. Despite hitting down in the lineup, Olson is in play in all formats tonight.
The Jays give us a couple options at the position and on FanDuel, they come at completely different price points. They are projected to be one of the highest scoring offenses tonight and for good reason as they will face off against Dylan Bundy who, outside of one start, has been a dumpster fire in the second half with a 7.31 ERA, 5.09 xFIP and he has allowed 10 home runs in those five starts(22.7% HR/FB rate). Smoak is having, by his standards, a down season hitting just .257 but has been the more consistent option of the two over the past few years. Both guys are switch hitters and have been better from the left side as Smoak has a .377 wOBA, .139 wRC+, and .246 ISO vs. righties while Morales has a .346 wOBA, 188 wRC+, and .186 ISO vs. righties. Right now I am leaning Smoak on DraftKings where we only get to choose one of them and if not going with both on FanDuel, I would lean Morales at a huge discount.
Let's take a trip to Coors Field where the Rockies are opening a series against the Padres tonight. Understandably, they are the highest projected offense on the slate as they are much better at home and I will look to LeMahieu in most of my lineups as he hits right up near the top of the lineup. He also comes in hot with hits in seven straight and 12 of his last 13 games and has killed left-handed pitching to the tune of a .376 wOBA and 121 wRC+on the season. The matchup vs. Robbie Erlin isn't elite, by any means, as he has been good since jumping back into the rotation with just five earned runs allowed in those three starts but has just nine strikeouts in that time while allowing 35% hard contact. The price is at a point on DraftKings where I will likely only have exposure in GPP formats but on FanDuel he sits in the mid $3K range hitting between Blackmon and Arenado and is a great play in all formats.
The middle infield slots are the place I will normally turn to for value and if planning on going that route tonight, Joey Wendle is near the top of my list from a PTS/$ perspective. He has hit out of almost every lineup spot this season so it will be important to check that before locking him in but he has been consistent lately with hits in 17 of his last 21 games(.342 average) with seven doubles and has only struck out 11% of the time. He isn't going to give us big upside but that hot streak pushes his average up to .291 for the season while he has been getting on base at a .339 rate. Sparkman will be making his second career start tonight and while he was serviceable in start #1, he doesn't strike many out and walks over 3.5 per nine which could get him in trouble.
Also Consider: Jed Lowrie(OAK)
If you have the salary and want to spend up at the position Trevor Story is the play tonight. He has always had the power swing since coming into the league but the big difference this season from his previous two is that he has finally brought his K rate below 30% which has helped him get to a career-high .294 average and .350 on-base percentage. One thing that hasn't changed are his splits as he is once again absolutely crushing left-handed pitching to the tune of a .431 wOBA, 157 wRC+, .314 ISO, and whopping 1.035 OPS. Given the home park, matchup, splits, and newfound floor for fantasy, Story is a viable option in all formats......if you can afford him.
For value at the position, I will be looking to Marcus Semien tonight who has seen his price drift down a bit from earlier in the season. It is obviously due to him moving down into the seven hole for the most part but that hasn't affected his game as he has been much better in the second half with a .295 average and .378 on-base percentage over the last 27 games and he is currently 3 for 3 on Monday night. The A's have been one of the hottest teams in the league lately and get another plus matchup on Tuesday against Ariel Jurado putting Semien squarely in the conversation as a top play in all formats from a PTS/$ perspective.
I will be jumping all over the Brewers tonight who currently sit with the second highest implied run line behind the Rockies in Coors Field. They will face off against Sal Romano who struggled in his rookie season in 2017 and has been even worse in 2018 as he enters tonight with a 5.31 ERA/4.74 xFIP through 23 starts while giving up 21 home runs(1.7% HR/FB rate). I like the top of the Brewers lineup overall but will be targeting the lefties for the most part as Romano has some glaring splits allowing a .387 wOBA to lefties(.293 to righties) with 42% hard contact(30% to righties). Moustakas has been consistent since joining the Brew Crew with a .290/.367/.449 slash line and as a switch hitter has been much better against righties with a .344 wOBA, 116 wRC+, and .230 ISO. Fire up the Moose in all formats.
I have yet to touch on the Diamondbacks tonight but let's not overlook them on this slate as they are a Top 5 team when looking at implied runs. They get a fantastic matchup against Felix Pena who has been a career minor leaguer, for the most part, before getting his biggest opportunity out of the pen last season for the Cubs but posted a less than thrilling 5.24 ERA and 5.34 xFIP. He is getting an opportunity to start for the Angels in 2018 and has been slightly better but is still sitting with an ERA(4.02) and xFIP(4.19) over 4.00 through 10 starts. For Escobar, he has been terrific since the trade from the Twins with a .310/.366/.521 slash line and has been much better against righties with a .373 wOBA, 135 wRC+, and .903 OPS. Like Moustakas, Escobar is a great play in all formats.
Back to a Brewers lefty to kick off the outfield tonight. Yelich has mostly hit leadoff in his first season as a Brewer and is arguably having his best season as a pro as he enters the night with a solid .310/.373/.518 slash line with 19 home runs and 84 runs scored. He has been even better in the second half with a .356/.397/.678 slash line and entered Monday night with a six-game hit streak. Like I mentioned with Moose, the Brewers have the second highest implied runs tonight and if they are going to score 5+ runs, Yelich will most likely be right in the middle. If you are paying up in the outfield for cash games, Yelich is a great choice and a Brewers stack is also at the top of my list in GPP formats.
The Cubs have really struggled over the last couple weeks but are in a great spot tonight and command our attention. I don't think we need to go crazy with them but picking some value out may be the best way to go. Enter Jason Heyward who has been hitting second in the lineup and has been one of the more consistent options during this downtime with a .305 average and .359 on-base percentage in August. More good news as the Cubs will face Jordan Zimmerman who is no more than an average arm who has struggled lately giving up four or more earned runs in four of his last six starts. All things considered, Heyward is a good play in all formats but especially on FanDuel in the sub $3K range.
I believe this is the first time this season I have recommended multiple Rays bats in an article but here we are folks. The matchup is the main reason as they get to face Glenn Sparkman entering his second career start and after just four innings last game, I am not expecting him to go deep into the game. That plays into the hands of the Rays as the Royals have the worst bullpen in the league with a 5.23 ERA and 15% HR/FB rate. Mallex has some things going for him as well as he has been hitting out of the leadoff spot since August 5th and has hits in 10 of 13 games since the promotion. He has little to no upside but as been very solid overall as well with .298 average and .370 on-base percentage. The price is going up but he has a high floor tonight making him an excellent cash game play.
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