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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/02/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/3/18

Happy Labor Day folks. While this day represents the end of summer for some people, it also means we get a full slate of Monday baseball action for both FanDuel and DraftKings. There's no better way to take away the sting of the summer having slipped behind us. Let's get into some of the plays and you can set aside the day to watch some games.

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Pitcher

Max ScherzerMax Scherzer FD 11500 DK 12200
Opponent - STL (Jack Flaherty) Park - WSH
FD - 46.16 DK - 25.98
The dude is just a machine and is far and away the best overall pitcher on Monday’s slate. Hell, might just be the best overall pitcher in baseball at this point. Scherzer’s 12 K/9 rate and 5.5:1 K:BB ratio are beyond elite and no other pitcher on the early slate is within 10 projected fantasy points. So we aren’t really debating that he’s the best arm, but rather if he makes for the best value considering the upper tier salaries. As a -172 home favorite against the Cardinals, I think we can go there on both sites and try to find some cheaper bats along the margins. There are enough weaker arms going elsewhere that finding a punt bat or two shouldn’t be a big deal. The Cardinals are actually below average against righties this season. They have one great bat in Carpenter at the top of the lineup, but not a ton else in the way lefty power. This isn’t a snap call on Scherzer as it usually is when he takes the mound, but considering the steep dropoff in talent after him, I think we pay up for cash games.

Vince VelasquezVince Velasquez FD 6600 DK 7400
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - MIA
FD - 36.38 DK - 19.18
After three rough starts in a row in which he totaled 10.2 innings, striking out seven and walking just as many, Velasquez bounced back (somewhat) against the Blue Jays a week ago. He went five innings, striking out six and allowed only two earned runs. Velasquez has a 26% strikeout rate, the second-best of his career, but the 10% walk rate is still an issue and is one of the reasons he’s averaging only a shade over five innings per start this season. A disturbing trend for the Phillies righty is just how volatile some of his starts are in that he’s failed to reach five innings in about 1/3 of his starts. But when he’s *on*, the stuff is elite and it’s hard to look past the matchup on Monday. The Marlins are the third-worst offense in the league against righties this season and come in with the second-lowest implied run line on the early slate (3.6). The big thing to hone in on here is just how cheap Velasquez is coming. The standard deviation on his IP/G is driving the salary lower on both sites and on a day light on pitching I think we can easily slot him in as a SP2 on DraftKings.

As for the evening slate, Alex Wood against the Mets looks like a strong cash play on both sites. His win expectation takes a ding because DeGrom is on the mound, but the Mets are such a trash offense and Wood is affordable on both sites.

First Base/Catcher

Mitch MorelandMitch Moreland FD 2900 DK 4300
Opponent - ATL (Touki Toussaint) Park - ATL
FD - 11.19 DK - 8.42
Moreland returned to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday after sitting out the better part of a week with a knee issue. He drew a walk but was pinch-hit for late in the game with the lefty Hector Santiago on the mound. I suspect we see Moreland right back in the middle of the Red Sox order on Monday against the righty Toussaint. The latter is something of a prospect with very solid minor league peripherals. But these are the Red Sox we’re talking about and Vegas still has them coming in at 4.7 implied runs. Moreland is a decent hitter (.778 OPS) who has the great benefit of hitting around Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez and the rest of the Boston order. He’s coming very cheap on FanDuel and could make for a way to start saving in order to fit Scherzer.

Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana FD 3100 DK 4100
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - MIA
FD - 9.85 DK - 7.31
We aren’t likely to see a return to the 34 home run power pace he displayed in 2016, but Santana still does a lot of things well at the plate. First off, he walks more than he strikes out this season (16% to 14%) which is incredibly rare at this level. It’s reflected in the .350 OBP despite a BABIP 40 points lower than his career average. Some of that is thanks to the shift, but he’s still been running bad in that category considering the hard contact rate is better than his career average. As a switch-hitter, he’s been slightly better against righties over the last couple of seasons with a .800 OPS and .344 wOBA. I don’t like the park for power, but I do like the Phillies matching up against Jose Urena.

At catcher on DraftKings, consider whichever Red Sox guy is behind the dish, Sandy Leon or Blake Swihart. Matt Wieters is also coming very cheap.

 

Second Base

Logan ForsytheLogan Forsythe FD 2300 DK 3200
Opponent - HOU (Dallas Keuchel) Park - HOU
FD - 8.57 DK - 6.49
The Twins aren’t projected for a lot of runs against Dallas Keuchel but I’m still fine considering Forsythe because second base is such an utterly weak position for the early games. He’s decent against lefties over the last couple of seasons with an excellent 13% walk rate, .323 wOBA, and .722 OPS. Those numbers look fine considering he’s coming at near minimum prices and will likely hit either leadoff or second for Minnesota. Look, Keuchel doesn’t strike many batters out, though has a solid 3.70 xFIP and generates a lot of groundballs. But I’m looking to get away from second base on the cheap.

Niko GoodrumNiko Goodrum FD 2700 DK 3800
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 8.92 DK - 6.92
Goodrum represents another cheap option in a plus matchup against Reynaldo Lopez. The former has a decent amount of pop in his bat with 15 home runs in 423 plate appearances this season. The biggest issue for Goodrum is the 28% strikeout rate, but that’s much less of an issue against Reynaldo Lopez (one of the very worst regular starters in the league) who strikes out batters only 17% of the time with a 10% walk rate. Guaranteed Rate Field plays as one of the better power parks in the league which could boost some of the home run expectation here for Goodrum. He has some speed as well with 10 stolen bases on the season, giving him a solid fantasy floor considering the matchup.

For the evening slate of games, considerLourdes Gurriel and David Fletcher who should both be near the top of their respective team’s lineups against weaker arms.

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Shortstop

Carlos CorreaCarlos Correa FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - MIN (Kohl Stewart) Park - HOU
FD - 13.62 DK - 10.26
I’ve said this a couple of times this season, but it bears repeating, Correa’s 2017 season is looking very much like an outlier considering the .362 BABIP and 22% Hr/FB rate. But this is still a middle-of-the-order bat in a high-powered offense at a premium position like shortstop. His current prices reflect the season he’s having with a .757 OPS and I do think it’s reasonable to assume he’s running a little low on the BABIP (30 points below his career average) 15.4% Hr/FB (career is 20%). This is a long way to say I think we are buying low on Correa against Kohl Stewart in a game with the Astros coming in at 5.2 implied runs. Stewart doesn’t have much of a major league track record but really only flashed any K potential at one stop in the minors. Again, being anchored in Correa’s 2017 isn’t the right way to think about his current value. He’s still very much a play here at these prices.

Asdrubal CabreraAsdrubal Cabrera FD 2700 DK 3900
Opponent - MIA (Jose Urena) Park - MIA
FD - 10.17 DK - 7.74
The Phillies are sometimes tough to get a handle on the night before a game because they will tend to switch the middle of their order around some. Cabrera has moved between cleanup and the sixth slot depending on the day when they face righties. I think anywhere in and around the middle of the lineup puts him in contention at shortstop on the early slate. The Phillies face Jose Urena who strikes out less than seven batters per nine with a career 4.82 xFIP. The park isn’t doing the Phillies any favors here with Marlins Park greatly depressing power all around, but Cabrera is a very good offensive shortstop with a .767 OPS this season thanks to 21 home runs (two off his career-high). If he’s in the middle of the lineup I don’t mind pivoting off of Correa for some of the savings.

On the evening slate, you can consider Elvis Andrus.

 

Third Base

Jeimer CandelarioJeimer Candelario FD 2900 DK 3700
Opponent - CHW (Reynaldo Lopez) Park - CHW
FD - 9.81 DK - 7.47
Candelario appears *firmly* planted in the leadoff spot for the Tigers which has him in a nice spot on Monday. He’ll take on Reynaldo Lopez who owns the second-worst xFIP (5.44) among qualified starters (his teammate Lucas Giolito is the worst). The Tigers come in with a lower implied total because they are the Tigers, but the switch-hitting Candelario is coming cheap and has a solid 10% walk rate to go with 16 home runs this season. He is better against lefties, so he gets dinged there facing Lopez, but he’s had BABIP issues in that split which don’t make the platoon difference as stark.

Colin MoranColin Moran FD 2000 DK 3600
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - PIT
FD - 9.32 DK - 7.1
Sure, he hits lower in the order but qualifies as a possible punt play, cash bat on Monday. His numbers are solid enough for the price with a .721 OPS, 8% walk rate and hints of power in the bat. Matt Harvey has some quality starts in the short term (outside of the last one in which he got rocked by the Brewers) but his season-long numbers show an average arm with a lower, 7.2 K/9 rate. He generates groundballs, but the Pirates do have one of the higher implied run lines on the early slate of games. If we are looking at plays with an eye on rostering an expensive pitcher, then I think you can stomach a play like Moran.

And for the evening I don’t mind either Eduardo Escobar or Adrian Beltre

 

Outfield

George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 3700 DK 4000
Opponent - MIN (Kohl Stewart) Park - HOU
FD - 13.28 DK - 10.02
Springer, much like his teammate Correa, is having a *down* year compared to his 2017 numbers. The OPS is about 50 points lower than his career averages, having to do some with the BABIP running lower and a Hr/FB rate down 5% despite similar hard contact and batted ball numbers to seasons past. Sure, he’s dealt with some injuries, but it sure seems like luck hasn’t been on his side this season. It’s led to major price dips on both sites and he’s especially a bargain on DraftKings. It’s tough to advocate paying top dollar for bats on the early slate if looking to roster Scherzer, but I think the Astros are enough in the middle tier that they might just be the offense to splurge on some. I’m not worried at all about Springer’s numbers this season and think we could even see some positive regression over the final month or so.

Billy HamiltonBilly Hamilton FD 2500 DK 3700
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - PIT
FD - 9.7 DK - 7.63
When the Reds were dealing with some injury issues, they moved Hamilton out of the nine spot and into the leadoff role. But as they’ve gotten healthier, it appears they’re going to stick with him setting the table (so to speak). His biggest (and really only) fantasy asset is the ability to steal bases (50+ a year until this season) which does provide solid upside assuming he can get on base (no easy feat for Hamilton). The plate appearance expectation is a big boost hitting leadoff and Trevor Williams is a below average arm with a 4.78 xFIP, 6.21 K/9 and 2:1 K:BB ratio. The park doesn’t help the Reds from a power perspective, but that isn’t Hamilton’s game anyway. Confirm he’s hitting leadoff and then I think you can play him in cash games at these prices.

Avisail GarciaAvisail Garcia FD 2700 DK 4100
Opponent - DET (Michael Fulmer) Park - CHW
FD - 10.78 DK - 8.28
Daniel PalkaDaniel Palka FD 2900 DK 4100
Opponent - DET (Michael Fulmer) Park - CHW
FD - 10.1 DK - 7.59
With Jose Abreu on the DL, Garcia and Palka have become cheap, middle of the order bats for the White Sox. Both are strikeout machines but that’s less of a concern in the matchup against Michael Fulmer who K’s less than 7.5 batters per nine. They are essentially two true outcome hitters, striking out a lot but also putting up solid power numbers. If given full season’s worth of run we’d really be talking about 30 HR guys with 2018 ISOs both over .200. They make for high risk plays because you need the power to manifest. Neither draws walks or gets on base all that often. But that’s built into their respective prices considering both are coming rather cheap. The White Sox do come into the game at 4.7 implied runs, an enticing number considering the team is cheap across the board.

For the evening slate, consider A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza against the lefty Mitchell. I also don’t mind pairing Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun

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2 Visitor Comments

  1. Typically enjoy the commentary but the dumb, dumb, dumb comments about Scherzer make the entire analysis suspect. Not sure if you’re a Nats fan or there’s some other reasons for the hyperbole but it’s so overboard, it’s silly.

    • Thanks for reading. Legit wondering what part of the writeup rated out as triple “dumb” or hyperbole. He has the third-best K/9 in baseball, 4th best SP WAR, 4th-most wins (dumb stat but speaks to the ML odds), and averages 6.7 IP per start. Don’t have to be a Nats’ fan (which I’m not) to appreciate those numbers. Interested to hear what part of that analysis is over the top even in the slightest.

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