Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/13/18
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We have a small six-game main slate tonight but it is not short of pitching at the top. I will start with Clayton Kershaw who has yet to allow more than two earned runs in a start in nine second-half starts and while he has only struck out 56 batters(8.17 K/9), he as only walked four(.58 BB/9). That dominance has helped him lower his season ERA to 2.42 and is supported but a 3.07 xFIP and 3.29 SIERA. It's a bit tougher of a matchup tonight considering the Cardinals have been hot the last 14 days(2nd in runs scored) and have been better against left-handed pitching but Kershaw and the Dodgers are -185 favorites and I will take an elite pitcher over a good offense any day. He is the top pitcher when looking at raw points projections and a great play in all formats.
If you want to go a more balanced route and upgrade your bats, Eduardo Rodriguez is a close second in raw points projections and a better play than Kershaw from a PTS/$ perspective. He got beat up in his last start vs. a very good Astros team but had been en fuego before that allowing just one earned run in his previous four starts with 28 strikeouts. For the season, he sits with a 3.64 ERA/3.82 xFIP which are both career-bests and he has also provided big upside with a 26% K rate and 11% swinging strike rate. The Red Sox are the biggest favorites of the night at -265 facing a Blue Jays team that is giving a ton of opportunities to their young players. All things considered, ERod is in play in all formats.
The first base position is a bit of a wasteland on this six-game slate so I will go with a guy who maybe isn't as safe but has a ton of upside, especially in this matchup. Matt Olson is hitting just .239 on the season the season and strikes out 24.7% of the time but he has been much better against righties with a .343 wOBA, 120 wRC+, and .244 ISO(.302, 91, .126 vs. lefties). He came through again last night with his 26th home run and 72nd RBI of the season and has a great opportunity to add to that against Dyland Bundy who has given up at least one home run in 11 straight starts(19 total). Not only is he a great GPP option but given the lack of other options at the position, I think he can also be considered in cash games in this matchup.
While Moreland hasn't been the model of consistency, opportunity is everything and he gets just that hitting fifth behind Betts, Benintendi, Martinez, and Bogaerts. Making it easier to swallow is the matchup against struggling Sam Gaviglio of the Jays who has given up 16 earned runs over his last four starts and his 18.1% HR/FB and 39% hard contact rate to lefties feeds right into Moreland's strength and upside. Same story as with Olson, on a full slate I would reserve them to GPP only but given the options, he is in play in all formats tonight.
The Royals are in a great spot tonight at home vs. rookie Stephen Gonsalves who has had a tough time in the majors. Through his first 12.1 innings(four starts), he has allowed 16 earned runs and struck out just six while walking 13 batters and given up a whopping 48% hard contact rate. My exposure to the Royals starts with their leadoff hitter, Whit Merrifield, who has been very consistent all season with a .303 average and .366 on-base percentage and he has been much better against left-handed pitching with a .362 average, .403 wOBA, 157 wRC+, and .946 OPS. He is safe in all formats.
The Mets aren't at the top of my list on this slate facing Sandy Alcantara who has been impressive in his first two starts allowing just one earned over 12 innings. What stands out, however, is that he has only struck out eight while walking seven which would explain an xFIP(5.73) that is five runs higher than the ERA(0.75). The top bat for the Mets that I will be targeting is rookie, Jeff McNeil, who has been quite impresive since being called up in the second half with a .331/.392/.477 slash line 45 games. The only downfall to his success is that the price has reached a season-high on both sites but that should leave him lower owned than the likes of Merrifield and Lowrie making him an excellent GPP pivot.
I will go back to the Royals at the shortstop position and if you are playing Merrifield it makes sense to pair him with Mondesi who has been hitting second for about a week now. He went into Wednesday night red hot with hits in nine of his last 12 games including seven multi-hit efforts with two doubles, a triple, and three home runs. I already talked about the struggles Gonsalves is having in his young career and the lack of strikeouts helps Mondesi a ton as he has struck out at a 26% rate this season keeping his on-base percentage below .300 for the season. Given the small slate and terrific matchup for the Royals, I think we can consider Mondesi in cash games and he is a great stacking option with Merrifield in GPP formats.
This game is tied for the highest total(9.5) of the slate with a chance to be the highest scoring game and that is the main reason I love the spot for Mondesi's counterpart, Jorge Polanco. He comes at a discount from Mondesi if you are looking to go more balanced and has been slightly better in the second half hitting .287 with four home runs, 25 RBI, and 21 runs scored. He and the Twins will face Heath Fillmyer who has struggled down the stretch giving up 19 earned runs in his last five starts with five home runs while averaging just over 4.5 innings per start. The short outings are even better news for the Twins as the Royals have the second-worst bullpen ERA(5.16) in the league and the worst HR/FB rate(15%). Provided Polanco is back near the top of the lineup, he is a great play in all formats.
Also Consider: Xander Bogaerts(BOS) if you can afford him
Even on a small slate, the Dodgers could be lower owned tonight as Austin Gomber has been very effective in his rookie season. He was called up in June and started in the bullpen allowing just six earned runs in his first 15 appearances that earned him a promotion to start. Since jumping into the rotation full-time at the start of August he has only allowed 12 earned runs in 39 innings(7 starts) but what stands out to me is that he is having control issues walking over 3.5 per nine and sits with an xFIP(4.76) two runs higher than his ERA(2.77) in that time. For Turner, he is expensive but makes a ton of sense in this matchup as he has not only been consistent with a .310/.406/.525 slash line but he also crushes lefties to the tune of a .431 wOBA, 177 wRC+, .219 ISO, and 1.015 OPS. Make room for Turner in all formats tonight.
If you are going heavy on Clayton Kershaw tonight you are going to need a value play or two to make it work. Enter Kyle Seager who remains cheap and it makes sense as he is hitting just .216 on the season which makes it tough to roster him in cash games but he makes it up with his power as he has 21 home runs and 73 RBI on the season. He will face Matt Shoemaker who has mad two starts since returning from the disabled list from a forearm injury and after impressing in his first start holding the Rangers to two hits and no earned runs he gave up seven hits and three earned runs in his last start vs. the White Sox and between the two has given up over 40% hard contact. The opportunity is there for the Mariners to score some runs and given the low price and the upside, Seager is a nice target in GPP formats.
Also Consider: Matt Chapman(OAK)
The Red Sox lead all teams in implied runs tonight and while I think you can make a case for any of their three outfielders, I will side with Benintendi who is the cheapest of the three, at least for cash games. His production numbers are very similar to last season as he sits with 16 home runs, 80 RBI, and 99 runs scored but he has become slightly more patient at the plate and it has resulted in a .293 average and .372 on-base percentage. The Red Sox get arguably the best matchup on the slate as they face Sam Gaviglio who has given up 16 earned runs over his last four starts and he also gives up a ton of power with five home runs in that time pushing his season HR/FB rate up to 18.1%. If you can fit multiple Red Sox outfielders in your lineups most definitely do it but for it's Benny in cash, especially on FanDuel where he is under $4K tonight.
The other outfield I will be focusing on tonight will be the Oakland Athletics. They also get an elite matchup tonight against Dylan Bundy who is having a season to forget as he sits with a 5.58 ERA after giving up four or more earned runs in five of his last six starts(7+ three times) and has given up at least one home run in 11 straight starts. For cash games, it starts with Ramon Laureano for me as he has been hitting in the leadoff spot lately and has been consistent all season with a .277 average and .355 on-base percentage which will only get better once he harnesses the swing and misses(28%). I am willing to suck that up in this matchup where the A's should be able to put up runs. Piscotty hits down in the lineup and hasn't been as consistent overall but it has been a different story lately as he enters tonight with a 13-game hit streak that includes four doubles, five home runs, and 17 RBI. The higher price and place in the lineup have downgraded for cash but the upside has him as a top GPP play in the outfield tonight.
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- NLDS Mets Dodgers Baseball: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)