Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/8/18
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Welcome to Saturday baseball! I know football is back and all, but baseball season is coming down to the wire and it’s almost October. There’s no better time to be involved. We’ll kick things off in the early slate, where our selection of arms isn't nearly as plentiful as we see later on. We'll focus on Jack Flaherty, who's asserted himself as another steady young Cards gem that has now pushed his K/9 over 10. His wOBA has leveled at 3.48 and the only concern you’re left with is the near 3.5 BB/9. With that being said, he faces a Tigers squad that ranks second-worst in the league at taking walks (6.9%). You can combine that with a .296 wOBA against righties and you get a stellar match-up for Flaherty. Expect him to return to the 40+ FanDuel points we’re used to with five of his last six reaching 45+. He’s going to be popular, but this is a case where I’m willing to eat the chalk at pitcher and differentiate elsewhere. Let’s get to the main slate, where the arms juice up quite a bit.
Max Scherzer is listed as the probable starter on this slate, but it could end up being Joe Ross that takes the mound. The Cubs and Nats are playing a double-header today and it looks like Scherzer May start the early game. Either way, he’s the top option on the board every time he takes the mound. Tonight, he faces off with a Cubs lineup that’s more than apt to strikeout. Sure, they’re lethal, but Scherzer on his A game can shutout any lineup in baseball. He’s posted a .247 combined wOBA on the season backed up by a measly 12.08 K/9. The Cubs are susceptible to the K, ranking 6th in strikeout rate vs right-handers. Now, this is all assuming Scherzer takes the mound. If it ends up as Joe Ross, the Cubs turn into a team you may want exposure to instead.
It’s certainly tough to get excited about Zach Eflin, but it might help to see the match-up and price tag. The Mets are 25th in baseball against righties and have only been trending downwards as of late. They strikeout at a 23% clip and don’t offer much power in the way of a solid outing. Eflin is a good young pitcher who’s posted a 4.04 xFIP and a 8.67 K/9. He does have severe splits and is much worse against lefties. The Mets should have 4 lefties and 5 righties, which gives Eflin a good shot at damage control. Citi Field is a pitchers ballpark and the Mets hold just a 3.86 implied run total. Eflin isn’t going to touch anywhere near Scherzer or Syndergaard, but he’s affordable, in a strong match-up, and shouldn’t be too highly owned at all. if you have the funds, I recommend paying for Max Scherzer or Noah Syndergaard.
Yan Gomes FD 2800 DK 3200
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - TOR
FD - 8.83 DK - 6.67
Yonder Alonso FD 3700 DK 3700
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - TOR
FD - 11.17 DK - 8.43
Edwin Encarnacion FD 3900 DK 4500
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - TOR
FD - 13.32 DK - 9.88
The Indians are an offense you’ll want to pay attention to on this early slate. You want to pay attention to the Indians on any slate, but they have serious blow-up potential in this one. Sean Reid-Foley is going to pick up some strikeouts, but he gives up a ton of home runs, even more hard contact, and certainly isn’t major league ready. He gave up 1.5 HR/9 in AA last year, so the HR frenzy isn’t out of nowhere. He’s been much worse against lefties in his short MLB stint, but hasn’t held such drastic splits dating into the minors. The Indians powerful 1B duo hasn't lived up to the expectation this season, but it's obvious the power is still there and they can both hit two homers in any game. Encarnacion (.347 wOBA vs R) and Alonso (.331 wOBA vs R) certainly hold precedent over Gomes, but he’s worth the look on DK where you need a catcher. The Indians are a team I'll consider stacking in a lot of my tournaments.
First base is not what we're used to tonight. Of course, we have power options (Goldy, Freeman), but they're expensive and we'll be looking to pay up elsewhere. We'll instead look at a couple savings options in offenses that are expected to put up big numbers. Joe Mauer will be leading off for the Twins, who hold an 5.25 implied team total. That's the highest on the board outside of Coors Field. You can pencil in five at-bats for a guy who's posted a .336 wOBA against righties since last season. The Twins will face off with Jorge Lopez, who is one of our favorite guys to target in baseball. His wOBA is a bit inflated, with a 5.25 xFIP against lefties forecasting some impending doom. Vegas agrees and I'll make sure I have exposure to a Twins team that should put up early and often runs. Mauer seems to always find himself involved in putting up runs.
Jose Fernandez FD 2300 DK 2900
Opponent - CHW (James Shields) Park - CHW
FD - 0.09 DK - 0.07
If you're looking for a cheap first baseman, Jose Fernandez is a guy I'll have some exposure to in both cash games and tournaments. In 19 games since being called up, he's hitting .290 and has a lot of hidden power that hasn't been released. He hit 15+ homers in each of the last two seasons and has been much better against right-handers. Tonight, he'll be hitting 6th or 7th against the dumpster fire that is James Shields. Shields is only getting worse and there's really no point of him still pitching. So far in 2018, he's held a 5.03 xFIP and a terrible 36% hard contact rate. Fernandez is going to have a few RBI opportunities and Shields will be moving from pitcher-friendly L.A. to the hitter-friendly confines of U.S. Cellular Field. Fernandez isn't exciting, but neither is Mauer and the % owned should be very low.
The Oakland Athletics come in as our top offense outside of Coors Field on the early slate. With the highest implied team total on the board and facing a bad lefty, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Yohander Mendez will once again fill in for Bartolo Colon, who’s nursing an injury. Mendez was “good” against Minnesota over 6 innings, but his peripherals disagree. His xFIP is well over 5.5 against both sides of the plate and a 12.5% hard contact rate is far from sustainable. Mendez isn’t necessarily ready for the majors, either, sporting a 4.93 xFIP and 2.01 HR/9 in AAA this season. The A’s should do plenty of damage and Lowrie will be sitting in the middle of it all. He’s better against righties, but will likely split at-bats with the bullpen and will have plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and get driven in himself. Second base is a tough position early in the day and Lowrie gives you exposure to an offense that should have no problem putting up 4+ runs.
We'll sometimes just ignore Coors Field as they are very obvious, but there isn't enough else on this slate to ignore this Dodgers squad. In Coors Field, the offense is extremely lethal. Better yet, they see a lefty with home runs problems. They'll face off with Kyle Freeland, who's actually not that bad. He just has the unfortunate luck of playing for the Rockies, so half o his games come in Coors Field. He's allowed a 4.48 xFIP to opposing righties and a 1.5+ HR/9 in Coors Field. Brian Dozier hasn't been amazing this year, but that's saying a lot when he still has 20 home runs. He's always had insane power for a second baseman and Coors Field will highlight that. His price is fair on both sites and I haven't had a tough time fitting him in. If you need to pay down, we have a solid way to go.
Logan Forsythe FD 2300 DK 3100
Opponent - KC (Jorge Lopez) Park - MIN
FD - 11.23 DK - 8.51
You'd like to play Logan Forsythe against a lefty, but I'll take him all day in the cleanup spot with an implied team total so high. He'll be sandwiched between Rosario and Cave, who are 2 outfielders we'll look at later. The price is solid on both sites and all you really need is for him to get on-base and make something happen. If he can do it twice, he will demolish value. He's close to minimum price on both sites, so he'll not only help you save money, but you also get a cleanup hitter on the night's top offense. I'm personally not a huge fan of targeting Forsythe against righties either, but this just comes down to opportunity and price. Pay up for Dozier if you have the funds or settle for a cheap cleanup hitter in a coveted lineup.
We’ll stay in Oakland and move to the leadoff spot with Marcus Semien. He’s turned his season around in the second half and has been driving the ball consistently night in and night out. His wOBA has now risen to .355 against left-handers with a solid 10.5% HR/FB rate. Reid-Foley is the perfect guy for Semien to face. A lefty with HR issues that likes to throw the ball low in the zone. Semien is much cheaper than a lot of the more popular SS on the board and shouldn’t come in any higher than 25% in either format. The power upside is there and so is the safety with the A’s holding the highest implied total on the slate. Semien is the only SS I have found myself looking at on this early slate.
My favorite bat on this slate is Manny Machado. Machado has been one of the best hitters in baseball against any type of pitcher, but has especially mashed lefties to the tune of a .392 wOBA and 40% hard contact rate. Tonight, he gets to head into Coors Field and face a lefty that has problems giving up homers. The Dodgers are expected to score 5.36 runs by Vegas, which is the highest on the entire slate. Kyle Freeland is nothing to be scared of with a 4.48 xFIP and Machado will surely take advantage at least a time or two. The price is high, but you can spend up on both sites as there is plenty of value to find at this point in the year. He has a combined 6 hits in his last 3 games and will look to continue the dominance tonight.
Suarez is a guy we’ve been targeting against lefties for a few years now. He was somewhat struggling to start this season and I reminded everyone to just keep plugging him in there against southpaws. His wOBA is now at a ridiculous .459 against them with an equally impressive 57.1% hard contact rate. Robbie Erlin is a prototypical left-handed arm that struggles with righty power. He’s been better this year with a sub .300 wOBA against, but is heading into Great American Ballpark and facing one of the most lethal bats in baseball against lefties. The Reds aren’t great as a whole, but Suarez is my clear favorite 3B in all formats.
Definitely check on the status of Sano, as he has missed each of the last two games with a leg injury. He was supposed to return last night, so I'd expect him to find himself back in the lineup tonight. If he does, the price is just far too low. He's not the guy we've become used to over the past few seasons, but the power is still there and he's hitting righties better than lefties. There are a lot of third base options to pay up for, but you don't need me to tell you those guys are good options. Sano will fly a little bit under the radar and always has 2-HR upside. Vegas thinks the Twins put up 5+ runs tonight and I'm willing to hop on board. Make sure Sano is back in the lineup and healthy before deploying him in all formats. If Sano happens to miss another game, my favorite pivot in the same price range is David Freese in Coors Field vs a lefty.
If you're able to spend up a bit, Mike Moustakas is in a great spot against Chris Stratton. Moustakas got the night off against the lefty in Derek Holland, so will be ready to do some damage tonight. Since being traded to the Brewers, Moustakas has asserted himself as a force in the lineup. Against righties, he's hit 20 homers and holds a .347 wOBA. This Brewers offense can be one of the more explosive in all of baseball and Moustakas has done nothing but help that. Tonight, they face off with Chris Stratton. He's had his flashes of brilliance, but has leveled off into a pretty terrible pitcher. Outside of striking out just over 6 batters per 9 innings, he's allowing a .348 wOBA against lefties. He's also moving from AT&T Park to Miller Park, which is not nearly as friendly to the long-ball. Moustakas is a solid option in all formats if you have the funds.
There are always a lot of different ways to go in the outfield, but I’d figure we should keep it in Oakland with our top offense of the afternoon games. Yohander Mendez is going to struggle as a fill-in starter and I don’t see him last very not at all. The Rangers have a depleted bullpen and I could easily see the A’s just doing a ton of damage inning after inning. Both Piscotty and Davis mash lefties and have been swinging the bat better than they have all season long. Their prices have risen on both FD and DK, but thatwill hopefully just keep ownership down. The A’s hold an implied team total over 5 for a reason and I’d make sure you have plenty of exposure in all formats.
If you're paying down at pitcher, you can fit both Machado and Trout. If you're paying up, go for Calhoun. Against James Shields, I'm just not willing to ignore these guys. Shields is easily one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball and should be picked on as much as we can while he's still in the majors. We know who Mike Trout is, but a nice reminder about the .439 wOBA is always fun. Calhoun hasn't been great this year, but has posted a .327 wOBA since the break and will be hitting leadoff against the righty. You can also go Shohei Ohtani, but something in my brain tells me not to play a guy that's considering Tommy John surgery. Maybe just me. Anyway, the Angels are one of the top teams to stack on this main slate and I'll make sure I don't go without exposure to James Shields.
We obviously like the Twins tonight, so we might as well cap it off with a couple of the guys that will fill out the meat of the order. Both Rosario and Cave are lefties that have hit righties well this year and have immense power. Cave has a bit more and has held a .356 wOBA since the start of the season. He's a bit more boom or bust, but that's fine against Jorge Lopez, who gives up a ton of homers. As for Rosario, he's more consistent and a guy you can plug into your cash games with ease. Jorge Lopez has held a 5.5+ xFIP and 2+ HR/9 on the season and gives up a ton of hard contact. On FanDuel, play Cave. On DraftKings, play Rosario. Good luck tonight!
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- Max Scherzer: AP Photo - Eric Risberg