Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/6/18
Well, it appears those in charge of the MLB schedule really wanted to see the opening night in the NFL as there are only four games today and just three on the main slate when looking at DraftKings. With that said, I am going to do things a bit different today and go game by game breaking down the pitching matchups and some of the top bats in each game for the three-game main slate. Let's get started.
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Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
The first game of the night has the Cubs visiting the Nationals to kick off(sorry it's night one of the NFL) a four-game series. The Nats are early -120 favorites at home and although Strasburg has the edge in raw points projections the decision is very close when breaking down the pitchers. Strasburg returned from the DL in late August and after struggling in his first start, has been better lately allowing just two earned runs in each of his last two starts. The overall ERA(4.09) is not great but consider that xFIP(3.11) is nearly a run lower. Hendricks comes at a discount in this matchup and has been very consistent lately holding opponents to a combined three earned runs in his last three starts while averaging 6.7 innings per start giving him a 3.77 ERA and supporting 3.89 xFIP on the season. I don't know that I like either pitcher for cash games as both offenses rank inside the Top 10 against right-handed pitching for the season.
Looking at the bats for the Nationals, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper have been hot lately with .380 and .368 wOBA's respectively over the last 14 days but the power has been lacking as they have combined for just three home runs in that span. Despite hitting near the bottom of the order, I like Wilmer Difo as a value play as he has been hot as well with hits in five straight and eight of his last 10 games with three home runs(lol) and eight runs scored. The Cubs will likely be the lower owned team in this matchup against Strasburg but do have a ton of upside in a contrarian GPP lineup. Daniel Murphy has been hitting in the leadoff spot since joining the Cubs and has been decent with a .283 average and has added some power with four home runs. Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez are the other key bats I would focus on if targeting the Cubs as both have been red-hot lately with .526 and .447 wOBA's over the last 14 days and both hitters have five home runs in that time. For value, you can turn to Ben Zobrist who has been hitting in the cleanup spot and has a .306 average on the season.
Cleveland Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The next game up on the main slate is the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays. The road Indians open as a -155 favorite as Shane Beiber will take to the ball in the opener. The 23-year-old rookie has struggled recently giving up 14 earned runs over his last four starts pushing his season ERA up to 4.66 but it hasn't been as bad as it looks. He sits with a high .368 BABIP and has an xFIP(3.38) that is over a run better than the ERA. The other good news for Bieber(not Justin) is that he doesn't walk many batters(1.59 BB/9) and has flashed nice K upside striking out over a batter per inning with an 11.3% swinging strike rate. At the time of writing this there are conflicting reports on who is starting(Gaviglio or Estrada) but either way I am avoiding that situation as both pitchers have struggled pretty much all season.
If you are playing cash games, the Indians are definitely the top target tonight whether it's Estrada or Gaviglio on the mound. Estrada has given up a whopping 23 earned runs in his last five starts for a 8.75 ERA/6.74 xFIP and he also provides a boost of power for the Indians bats giving up nine home runs in that span as well. Gaviglio has been a bit better lately but has still given up 15 earned runs in his last five starts for a 4.82 ERA/3.59 xFIP and has given up a home run n four of those five games and has a 17% HR/FB rate on the season. It will be hard to fit all the top bats(Lindor, Ramirez, Brantley, Encarnacion) in your lineup on a small slate given the high prices but I also like going down the lineup and plugging in some value plays like Melky Cabrera, Yonder Alonso, and Greg Allen.
The Jays offense is currently taking it to the Rays on Wednesday night but haven't been very consistent all season leaving them as a GPP only play for the most part. They do, however, have some value bats starting with Billy McKinney who came over in the J.A. Happ trade from the Yankees and has spend some time in the leadoff spot. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has also flashed at times this season as he went 11 straight games with multiple hits before getting injured but finally appears to be getting his timing back. If you are going contrarian and stacking the Jays in GPP formats, be sure to get one or both(on FanDuel) of Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales in your lineup as both come with a ton of power upside.
Atlanta Braves vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The final game of the night has the biggest impact on the playoffs as the Braves currently sit atop the National League East standings while the Diamondbacks are just 1.5 games out of the National League West and two games out of the Wildcard. This game has the lowest total of the night(7.5) and features two pitchers who both come in with ERA's under 3.00 for the season. It has been an incredible bounce-back for Anibal Sanchez who posted a 6.41 ERA in 2017 and 5.87 in 2016. The biggest change for him has been the development of his cutter that he is now throwing just over 22% of the time. I can see his ownership being quite high tonight because of how well he has pitched this season combined with the lack of offense the Diamondbacks have provided as they sit dead last in wOBA(.261) and wRC+(54) over the last 14 days. Zack Greinke also makes a ton of sense as he has struck out a batter per inning overall and also has some glaring splits with a 2.16 ERA at home while limiting opponents to just a .256 wOBA. The biggest issue for Greinke will be navigating through the top of the lineup for the Braves that includes up and coming superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. and perennial All-Star, Freddie Freeman. There is most definitely a case to be made for either pitcher tonight and in some cases, paired together on DraftKings.
Both offenses have talent throughout the roster making them targets in GPP formats but for cash games, I would limit my exposure in this matchup with arguably the top two pitchers on the slate going head to head.
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- Nationals Braves Baseball: (AP Photo/John Bazemore)