Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

08/21/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 8/22/18

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Pitcher

Early

Freddy PeraltaFreddy Peralta FD 7900 DK 7500
Opponent - CIN (Robert Stephenson) Park - MIL
FD - 38.85 DK - 19.91
Peralta enters Wednesday as the second-biggest money line favorite at -225 (Colorado is -230) and it makes a lot of sense. The Reds’ lineup gets a huge downgrade losing Votto to the DL. They were right around average against righties on the season with him and get markedly worse without their best hitter in the lineup. Peralta has big-time K upside, striking out more than 11 batters per nine on the season. His issue is the walks where he’s allowing free passes 14% of the time. That’s something less of a concern against this Reds’ order who don’t have a ton of patience. On the season, the walks have knocked down Peralta’s innings per game, and cause a bunch of volatility in his starts (his game log reads something like every other game he goes quality innings). He’s cheap on both sites and our projection system loves the money line odds and matchup.

Strongly consider Kyle Gibson against the White Sox.

Main
Noah SyndergaardNoah Syndergaard FD 9800 DK 10200
Opponent - SF (Casey Kelly) Park - NYM
FD - 39.2 DK - 21.95
It says a lot about the opponent when the Mets, 54-70 record, are -160 home favorites to start a day. But that’s the case with the pitching discrepancy in this game between Syndergaard and Casey Kelly. The pitching hasn’t been the issue for New York this season considering they have this bad a record with -44 run differential despite scoring the 12th most runs in the NL. Thor is putting together another excellent season despite spending some time on the DL. The 5:1 K:BB ratio is elite and he’s shown laser control with less than two walks per nine. The Giants are among the worst offenses in baseball this season, ranked 26th in the league against righty pitching while striking out 24% of the time in that split. Zack Wheeler manhandled them two nights ago and Thor is set up for success on Wednesday as well.

Lance LynnLance Lynn FD 7500 DK 8000
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - MIA
FD - 34.91 DK - 17.45
I was a little concerned with Lynn’s pitch count in his first game as a Yankee, but since then he’s gone 107, 99 and 99 in the last three games striking out 22 batters in 16.2 innings and allowing six total earned runs (five last game against the Blue Jays). Things look rather easy on Wednesday against the Marlins who rate out as the 28th ranked team in wOBA against righties this season. They stink and the ballpark only helps Lynn’s case here with Marlins Park rating as one of the best pitcher pads in baseball. Lynn is a fairly heavy groundball pitcher (50% this season) and should be able to limit the already weak Marlins’ lineup. He’s a -205 road favorite and will likely see heavy ownership in the SP2 slot on DraftKings.

First Base/Catcher

Early
Kendrys MoralesKendrys Morales FD 3000 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (David Hess) Park - TOR
FD - 11.31 DK - 8.56
For all the shaking around of their lineup this season, the Blue Jays seem to have settled into something they can stick within the short term (famous last words and all) which has Morales in the cleanup slot. That’s great news for the early slate of games where he’ll take on one of the very worst regular starters around in David Hess. The latter is complete garbage with a 6.06 xFIP in 65 innings this season. Over the last couple of seasons, Morales is better against lefty pitching, but Hess is so bad it makes up for any difference in the platoon splits on the hitter’s side. Toronto comes in with the second-highest non-Coors implied run line on the day and it’s for a very good reason. Justin Smoak is also in play on FanDuel where you can roster the two of these guys together because of the UTIL position.

Strongly consider Yuli Gurriel against the lefty Marco Gonzales.

Main
Greg BirdGreg Bird FD 3300 DK 3900
Opponent - MIA (Trevor Richards) Park - MIA
FD - 10.57 DK - 7.83
Let’s try and save a buck or two at first on the evening slate, shall we? The Yankees come in at 4.62 implied runs against Trevor Richards with the ballpark dinging them down on the power side. Marlins Park plays terrible for home runs all around, causing some of the implied runs to dip in projections. But I still think we can consider rostering Bird, especially on DraftKings where he’s coming very cheap. He should be back in the fifth spot with Didi Gregorius on the 10-day DL starting yesterday. Bird’s been a moderate disappointment this season, but this is still a guy with 11 home runs in only 274 plate appearances to go with a 10% walk rate. He still very much has upside and I love that we’re getting him cheaper on DK moving up in the order against a below average arm in Richards.

Consider Anthony Rizzo against Francisco Liriano

 

Second Base

Early
Devon TravisDevon Travis FD 2500 DK 3800
Opponent - BAL (David Hess) Park - TOR
FD - 12.16 DK - 9.39
Hope you like Blue Jays because they are going to be all over the early picks for this slate. Like I said above for Morales, Hess is just so bad. He’s striking out only 5.5 batters per nine with a 1.4:1 K:BB ratio. Travis is much to write home about against righty pitching, but he’s coming near punt prices on FanDuel and very cheap on DraftKings for a guy (seemingly) locked into the top of the Toronto lineup. Again, they’ve really swapped things around at times this season, but seem quasi-set on what they’ve been throwing out there lately. Travis makes for a cost/ opportunity play in a game where the Blue Jays could put up a lot of runs.

Main
DJ LeMahieuDJ LeMahieu FD 3400 DK 4800
Opponent - SD (Jacob Nix) Park - COL
FD - 13.64 DK - 10.65
Because it doesn’t look like pitching is going to cost an arm and a leg on Wednesday, stacking the Rockies at their current price points looks eminently doable. Lemahieu should hit second in the lineup against Jacob Nix and Colorado comes in with the (by far) highest implied run total of the day at 6.43. We will get to Nix more a little further down in the article, but do say his short time in the majors has been bad would be an understatement. Lemahieu is much better against lefty pitching over the last couple of seasons, but the implied runs win out here considering how high he’ll likely hit in the order.

Strongly consider Ben Zobrist if he’s near the top of the order against the lefty

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Shortstop

Early
Marcus SemienMarcus Semien FD 3200 DK 4500
Opponent - TEX (Mike Minor) Park - OAK
FD - 11.53 DK - 8.85
It feels like forever since I wrote about Semien but that’s mostly because there was a stretch a month or so ago when it felt like I wrote him up every single day. But they’ve since moved him out of the leadoff role against righties so we need until a lefty takes the mound against the A’s. He’s picked it up against lefties and the OPS is up to .755 in that split over the last couple of seasons with a .325 wOBA. He walks 10% of the time and strikes out less than average at 20%. Mike Minor is slightly worse than average this season with a weaker strikeout rate (though he doesn’t walk a ton of batters). The A’s have a healthy 5.13 implied run line coming in, one of the highest on the early slate of games. Semien, if he’s leading off makes for a strong shortstop play in the middle tier.

Main
Amed RosarioAmed Rosario FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - SF (Casey Kelly) Park - NYM
FD - 9.21 DK - 7.21
Imagine being a Mets' fan. A guy like Rosario hitting leadoff for your team would be cause for alarm, but in Mets world, it's perfectly normal. He's not a very good hitter, but we can find value on guys slotted into the leadoff role against a guy like Casey Kelly. Kelly was once a prospect but those days are long gone and don't be fooled by the sub-2 ERA in ten innings this season. This is a guy with 72 major league innings of 4.75 xFIP stuff and a 5.57 K/9 rate. He stinks. Rosario doesn't do a whole lot, but shortstop on the main slate appears rather thin. I'll take some increased Mets plate appearance expectation because of the matchup and buy on him at lower middle tier prices.

 

Third Base

Early
Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 3600 DK 4300
Opponent - CIN (Robert Stephenson) Park - MIL
FD - 12.98 DK - 9.86
Robert Stephenson hasn’t had the best run in his time spent in the major leagues over the last three seasons. In 127 innings he has a 5.33 xFIP and 1.5:1 K:BB rate thanks to an abysmal 5.73 BB/9 clip. These numbers are troubling and yet he’ll take the mound with the start for the Reds on Wednesday. Their loss is the Brewers’ gain and Moustakas could see solid ownership on the early slate. Moose doesn’t have the power numbers he put up in 2017 even though his hard contact rate (42%) is 10% higher than last season. He ran hot on Hr/FB last year and hasn’t been able to repeat it. That being said, this is a guy still hitting righties well (.837 OPS over last two seasons) and is very tough to strike out in that split (17%). I’m loving the matchup against Stephenson who, for all the world, just doesn’t look anywhere close to a major league pitcher.

Consider Matt Chapman against the lefty Minor

Main
Todd FrazierTodd Frazier FD 2900 DK 4200
Opponent - SF (Casey Kelly) Park - NYM
FD - 9.82 DK - 7.35
I’m definitely trying to throw a couple of cheaper bats your way for the evening slate of games because stacking Rockies does seem like it’s going to be something of a priority in cash games. Frazier got the night off on Tuesday and should be right back in the lineup on Wednesday against Kelly. We went through some of the latter’s deficiencies, in that he mostly can’t strike anyone out and doesn’t seem like all that competent a major league arm. Frazier has been fine enough against righties over the last couple of seasons with a .745 OPS and excellent 13% walk rate in that split. The numbers are down this season of course, but so is the price and I think we are okay buying at his salaries in this matchup against Kelly. Sure, you can roster all the way up for Nolan Arenado but there are only so many Colorado bats to play before you run out of salary.

 

Outfield

Early
Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 3200 DK 4400
Opponent - BAL (David Hess) Park - TOR
FD - 12.92 DK - 9.67
Nothing new about this theme with the Blue Jays. We’ve been on the entire top of the lineup in the short term and they’ve paid dividends. Let’s hope the good times keep rolling on Monday against Hess. He’s definitely reaching the end of his career (age 37 season) but the guy still manages to get on base (12%) walk rate and there’s just a bit of pop left in that bat (11 home runs). Sure, the numbers are down from what he’d done in previous seasons, but he still sports a 39% hard contact rate. The strikeouts are catching up to him (28%) which is what’s causing a dip in some of his other rate stats, but that’s much less of a concern against a guy like Hess.

Consider stacking the A's OF of Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty and Mark Canha against Mike Minor. The latter two are much better against lefty pitching and Davis has tremendous power in any matchup.

Main
Charlie BlackmonCharlie Blackmon FD 4200 DK 5400
Opponent - SD (Jacob Nix) Park - COL
FD - 16.02 DK - 12.32
Carlos GonzalezCarlos Gonzalez FD 3800 DK 5300
Opponent - SD (Jacob Nix) Park - COL
FD - 14.75 DK - 11.18
On FanDuel, you are looking at a possible scenario of being able to roster both of these guys in cash even if you go with someone like Thor at under $10K. On DraftKings, it’s a little closer where these guys are obviously priced well into the upper tier. Blackmon had a career year in 2017 that he hasn’t been able to replicate this season. His 2018 is more in line with 2016 which is looking for all the world like his normal range of outcomes. That’s still fine at these prices in Coors. He’s probably running a little bad on the BABIP (down 25 points off his career average) even though the hard contact rate is in line with his career averages.

Meanwhile, Carlos Gonzalez is having something of an OPS bounce-back, getting the number close to .850 thanks to some more per-plate appearance power. He’s dealt with some injuries, but his raw stats are looking a lot more like 2016. And then there’s Jacob Nix who could really struggle in this game. His minor league strikeout numbers are underwhelming at best and his short run in the majors has been a disaster. There’s a reason the Rockies have such a high run line coming into the game and will be popular stacks on the evening slate.

Strongly consider Albert Almora as a punt play if he's hitting leadoff against the lefty Liriano

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image sources

  • Noah Syndergaard: By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Noah Syndergaard) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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