Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/10/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/10/18

Happy Monday everyone! Here's to hoping no one has too heavy a football hangover because we're rolling back another MLB slate. There are some *early* 6PM EST games which actually have some interesting plays on both the mound and at the plate. But for this piece, we'll focus mostly on the Main slate of games. If you want access to our full set of projections, but sign up below.

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Pitcher

Jacob deGromJacob deGrom FD 11800 DK 13500
Opponent - MIA (Jeff Brigham) Park - MIA
FD - 38.04 DK - 21.01
Hopefully, you were mostly focused on football yesterday and didn’t have time to notice deGrom’s start get scratched well after lock because of the extensive rain delay. It was an enormous bad beat though the weather concerns at least put out some caution in rostering him on Sunday. He’ll instead take the mound on Monday in a much, much better matchup against the Marlins. They third-to-last in team wOBA against righties on the season and strike out 23% of the time in that split. deGrom is one of the best pitchers in the game with 11 K’s per nine and a 5:1 K:BB ratio. His biggest knock is that he plays on the Mets, who stink. He’s just a -150 home favorite against a brutal Marlins team. It speaks more to the Mets offense than anything. The lack of win expectation does make running him in cash games a little dicey because of the price. But he does top out as the best big-money arm.

Sean NewcombSean Newcomb FD 6900 DK 7300
Opponent - SF (Dereck Rodriguez) Park - SF
FD - 31.74 DK - 16.02
Newcomb’s been something of an enigma this season, turning in some amazing starts but then in others having you watching through your fingers as he racks up walks along with big pitch counts and struggles to make it through five innings. He’s set up for a good game on Monday against a Giants’ team that’s basically playing with its farm system after trading Andrew McCutchen, losing Buster Posey to injury and swapping around the deck chairs on the Titanic of their batting order. The Giants rank 26th against lefty pitching this season with a .292 wOBA and 23% K rate and that’s over the season when they were at *full strength* much of the time. They’re certainly much worse now. Newcomb enters as a modest -125 road favorite with the Giants at 3.5 implied runs (the park really helps Newcomb here). He does possess K potential (8.5 per nine) with the biggest flaw in his game being the walks (4.5 per nine).

J.A. HappJ.A. Happ FD 10400 DK 9300
Opponent - MIN (Kyle Gibson) Park - MIN
FD - 34.75 DK - 18.45
Because Verlander and the Astros are on the early, 6:!0 PM EST, slate, the pitching on the main set of games is pretty damn thin. No pitcher opens at better than a -150 favorite and that’s Happ (admittedly, the Kluber/ Cleveland line wasn’t in at the time of this writing). He’s averaged about a strikeout per inning since coming over the Yankees at the trade deadline with a 3.13 ERA. He’s had five *quality starts* In his seven Yankee games with the lone big hiccup the disaster outing against the Tigers where he got bombed. I like his chances against the Twins here who rank 23rd against lefties and strikeout 23% of the time in that split for the season. They have very light hitting bats at the top of the order, a strikeout machine in Sano and are just generally fielding half a triple-A team at this point.

Couple of other notes: Like I just mentioned, there’s no early line on Corey Kluber. There’s a very good chance he opens as the strongest cash game play of the slate even at his inflated price. For me to feel comfortable it would probably have to be something like -200 with a 7.5 or over/ under to justify his price. If he opens at something like that I’ll update the article to reflect his status. But like I said, he’s very expensive.

There’s actually also a case for German Marquez at his prices even in Coors. He’s been excellent this season and the ballpark is, of course, keeping the price down.

First Base/Catcher

Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana FD 2900 DK 4400
Opponent - WSH (Erick Fedde) Park - WSH
FD - 11.02 DK - 8.18
Justin BourJustin Bour FD 3100 DK 3900
Opponent - WSH (Erick Fedde) Park - WSH
FD - 10.96 DK - 8.26
The Phillies moved Santana and Bour into the two spots in the lineup behind, pushing Cesar Hernandez down toward the bottom of the order. If they continue to roll with this lineup then both of these guys are underpriced and on FanDuel (with the Flex) there’s a chance to play both on Monday. Both are patient at the plate in that each has a 12%+ walk rate over the last two seasons against righty pitching. Both have over 20 home runs on the season with OPS numbers in the mid-.700s. Erick Fedde is merely an average pitcher and the Phillies come in around 4.5 implied runs at home. The totals, across the board, are coming in low on the offensive side of things for Monday with the game in Coors the only one with teams over five implied runs on the main slate. If the batting order sticks then both of these guys are solid cash game plays with upside at their prices.

Ryan O'HearnRyan O'Hearn FD 3300 DK 4100
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - KC
FD - 8.69 DK - 6.59
O’Hearn isn’t exactly coming cheap at this point, making the very best of his first 105 plate appearances with nine home runs and a .972 OPS. There’s a hell of a lot of luck in the power with the 33% Hr/FB rate coming in at something like completely unsustainable. From that perspective, we are probably buying high on the guy. He didn’t put up anything like these power numbers at any stop in the minors so it’s unrealistic to think he turned into a crazy power hitter overnight. And yet, I still think he’s worth the look on Monday because of the matchup with Giolito. We’ll get to the latter later in this write-up, but suffice to stay, for a major league pitcher, he stinks. Even though the power is a bit lucky, O’Hearn still has an 11% walk rate and he’s shown patience at every stop. He should be in the middle of the lineup on Monday and is very much worth a look in cash games.

At catcher on DraftKings, strongly consider Salvador Perez against Giolito. You can also play Erik Kratz if he’s in the lineup against Lester or Willson Contreras against Wade MIley.

 

Second Base

Whit MerrifieldWhit Merrifield FD 3600 DK 4500
Opponent - CHW (Lucas Giolito) Park - CHW
FD - 10.98 DK - 8.59
The Royals come in with yet another great matchup against Lucas Giolito, he of the 5.49 xFIP and completely garbage peripherals. Merrifield is one of the lone bright spots in the Royals’ lineup this season. He’s hit 11 home runs and stolen 31 bases with an .803 OPS. The .368 OBP plus the speed make him a rather ideal leadoff hitter and he’s really only held back by the rest of his teammates who are, just in general, pretty terrible at hitting. It’s not an overpay considering the matchup and Merrifield’s slot in the order. There are a couple of Royals' bats to like on Monday which really is an indictment on Giolito's numbers more than anything else.

Yoan MoncadaYoan Moncada FD 3200 DK 3500
Opponent - KC (Jake Junis) Park - KC
FD - 10.43 DK - 7.84
The White Sox moved Moncada back up to the leadoff slot the last time they faced a righty (two games ago) and here's to hoping he sticks there in the short term. It would be a big boost in plate appearance expectation for a guy coming oh so cheap on DraftKings. Even with the sub-.700 OPS, Moncada still has plenty of fantasy upside because of the power (17 home runs) and speed (11 stolen bases). He walks 10% of the time but the real issue for him is the strikeout which he's done in 1/3 of his plate appearances this season. That could be something of a problem against Junis who puts down batters at just a hair under a K an inning. But I'm mostly buying here on the shift in lineup order for the White Sox and willing to live with the potential downside of a multiple strikeout game from Moncada.

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Shortstop

Addison RussellAddison Russell FD 2100 DK 3100
Opponent - MIL (Wade Miley) Park - MIL
FD - 8.2 DK - 6.21
He’s a bottom of the order hitter for the Cubs, but is coming at complete punt prices at this point, making him worth a look in cash games. He’s really struggled this season with an OPS in the mid-.600’s and is recently off a DL stint because of a finger issue. The Hr/FB ratio is way down at 5%, half of his career number despite only a modest dip in hard contact rate. I do think he’s run bad in the power department. He’s not a masher by any means, but the five home runs are easily the lowest of his career. He’s been very good over the last couple of seasons against lefties with a .784 OPS, 11% walk rate and .335 wOBA. He strikes out less than 20% of the time in the split and the Cubs do rate to put up some runs with the Wrigley wind only blowing in slightly.

Hernan PerezHernan Perez FD 2500 DK 3600
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 8.64 DK - 6.74
Jonathan SchoopJonathan Schoop FD 2700 DK 3700
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 9.04 DK - 6.91
We’ll have to see how the Brewers’ lineup shakes out on Monday, but both/ either of these guys would rate as a play against Lester even out of the six/seven slots in the lineup. Lester has been a below average pitcher this season, sporting 4.58 xFIP and career-low 7.18 K/9 rate. He’s also walking more than three batters per nine as batters continue to stay patient with his balls out of the zone. Perez has a .787 OPS against lefties over the last couple of seasons thanks to solid power in the split. He makes contact 77% of the time against righties and that’s well in the cards today because of the matchup with Lester.
Schoop’s been even better with an .818 OPS against southpaws over his last 312 plate appearances in that platoon. The 116 ISO rates well for power and the conditions in Wrigley (wind wise) don’t stand to damper the power upside all that much.

 

Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4000 DK 4300
Opponent - MIL (Wade Miley) Park - CHC
FD - 12.41 DK - 9.28
The Cubs moved Bryant down in the lineup on Saturday but got him right back up in the second slot for the Sunday game (that was eventually canceled). It stands to reason he’ll find himself near the top again on Monday against the lefty Miley. Bryant has struggled with injury issues this season, and yet his OPS is still in the mid-.800’s with the batted ball profile relatively similar to what he did last season. This is a guy with a 1.028 OPS over the last couple of seasons against lefties (232 plate appearances) and you have to be bullish on him at these prices against the lefty Miley. He hasn’t done much since coming off the DL, keeping his price low in the short term. It’s a great time to buy and I suspect he’s one of the highest owned players on the slate if he’s around the top of the order.

Yolmer SanchezYolmer Sanchez FD 3100 DK 3600
Opponent - KC (Jake Junis) Park - KC
FD - 9.4 DK - 7.31
Yolmer Sanchez would be a guy I'd pair with Moncada on this slate because they're likely to hit 1-2 in the lineup against Junis. The latter has an average 4.19 xFIP even with the K:BB peripherals rating out as better than average. Sanchez has the OPS scraping just a shade over .700 and chips in enough along the fantasy margins that he doesn't rate to completely zero you on Monday. More than anything, at a weaker position I'd be willing to play him on the plate appearance *upside* because of his slot in the order (assuming he hits second). He doesn't strike out a ton (20%) and does have some speed (13 stolen bases) if he can get on.

 

Outfield

Rhys HoskinsRhys Hoskins FD 3400 DK 4300
Opponent - WSH (Erick Fedde) Park - WSH
FD - 11.48 DK - 8.53
Hoskins isn’t putting up quite the OPS numbers we saw in his torrid 2017 rookie call up, but that isn’t the day this guy isn’t still a very good hitter. He has 30 home runs on the season with an .859 OPS. He takes walks 13% of the time and still has a .248 ISO. He’s actually been much better against righties in his first two seasons with a .929 OPS in that platoon and .390 wOBA which is 40 points higher than his lefty split. It stands to reason we see those numbers regress closer to each other as his career moves forward, but he’s at worst a platoon-neutral guy and at best would rather play against righties. I think we are buying somewhat low on him for both sites considering the matchup. He should be either in the third or cleanup spot against Fedde.

Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 3700 DK 4700
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 11.36 DK - 8.81
Ryan BraunRyan Braun FD 3200 DK 4000
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - CHC
FD - 10.27 DK - 7.8
Like I mentioned with Schoop/ Perez, Jon Lester just isn’t the pitcher of old these days and you can easily stack hitters against him on a shorter slate like this one. Cain has been one of the better hitters in the league against lefties over the last couple of seasons with a .916 OPS and .392 wOBA over his last 286 plate appearances in that split. He actually walks (11.5%) more than he strikes out (10.8%) against southpaws, a plate approach which could cause real problems for Lester on Monday. Cain has some power (10 home runs this season) but makes up for it fantasy-wise with the speed (26 stolen bases). His .399 OBP in 2018 is an elite number and gives him such a high cash game floor.

Meanwhile, Braun isn’t the pre-PEDs player of old, but he can still get the job done at these prices. He’s much better against lefties in the short term with an .878 OPS over his last 240 plate appearances and also like Cain, walks (12.5%) more than he strikes out (10.8% - eerily similar numbers).

Albert Almora Jr.Albert Almora Jr. FD 2300 DK 3600
Opponent - MIL (Wade Miley) Park - CHC
FD - 10.28 DK - 7.99
The Cubs’ lineup is always a tricky thing to get a handle on simply because they switch things around so often. Just when you think Player A is getting the nod in the leadoff slot, they throw Player B in there. But the last time they faced a lefty, Almora was in the leadoff slot and if he’s there again on Monday then we are looking at a tremendous value. Over the last two seasons against southpaws (249 plate appearances), Almora has an .860 OPS and .370 wOBA. Those number easily get the job done against the lefty Miley if the former is in the leadoff spot. We don’t have an early line on the Cubs because of the wind information needing to wait, but Almora would clearly be the value play if he’s setting the table for the Cubs.

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