Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/14/18

We're entering the home stretch of the baseball season with September call-ups, pennant races and teams with different motivations working to set a (sometimes) murky MLB landscape. But we've got you covered with some value plays for both FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Masahiro TanakaMasahiro Tanaka FD 10200 DK 11600
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - NYY
FD - 39.28 DK - 21.25
I think this is the first time all year that (when I’ve written the picks) I’ve left off Scherzer on a day where he’s pitching. He’s seemed like (or close to) the cash game lock on so many slates. But the upper tier price point and matchup against an Atlanta team that’s tough to strike out has me really looking elsewhere for Friday. Enter Tanaka facing the Blue Jays and Marco Estrada. The former opens as a huge -265 home favorite against a Toronto team that’s mixing and matching prospects and call-ups along with their *core* guys at this point in the season. Tanaka looks good on paper from a cash game perspective. In addition to the best win expectation numbers on the slate, you also get a guy striking out more than a batter an inning with solid peripherals (4.5:1 K:BB). He averages right around six innings per start with quality starts in four of his last five outings and has a high floor if the pitch count gets above 100.

Zach EflinZach Eflin FD 7200 DK 6900
Opponent - MIA (Wei-Yin Chen) Park - PHI
FD - 39.05 DK - 20.41
There are a few middle-tier arms taking the mound in good spots on Friday which do have me feeling okay getting away from Max in cash. It will allow us to spend up a little more on the bats for a big Friday slate. Eflin draws a dream matchup against the Marlins who are basically a AAA team at this point. They rank 28th in wOBA against righties this season while striking out 23% of the time in that split. Eflin is a -165 home favorite against a Wei-Yin Chen and a Miami offense that struggles to put runs across the plate. The 8.45 K/9 is serviceable at this price point and his command is good, allowing less than 2.5 BB/9 on the season. His 4.08 xFIP is nearly a half run lower than the ERA and he has struggled with some LOB% stuff this season. I’m not overly worried about that and one can assume the ERA will continue to correct. Here I’m fine buying on an above average pitcher with one of the best matchups you can get in the majors.

Jose BerriosJose Berrios FD 8500 DK 9000
Opponent - KC (Jorge Lopez) Park - KC
FD - 36.4 DK - 19.19
The Royals don’t strike out a ton against righties (20%) but they make up for it in the matchup by just being a group that lacks much (if any) in the way of power. They rank 24th in wOBA against righties (third-worst in the AL) and have so little punch anywhere in the lineup. Berrios strikes out more than a batter an inning and is efficient on the mound, averaging exactly six innings per start on the season. He’s a modest -131 road favorite against the Royals but coming at very advantageous price points on both sites. I do prefer the two guys above on FanDuel, but would easily play Berrios as a DK SP2 on this Friday slate.

Strongly consider Tyler Anderson against the Giants in San Francisco

First Base/Catcher

Edwin EncarnacionEdwin Encarnacion FD 3700 DK 4300
Opponent - DET (Matthew Boyd) Park - CLE
FD - 13.28 DK - 9.85
One of the reasons I don’t mind going on the cheaper side for pitching on Friday is an expensive offense like the Indians is in a smash spot against Matt Boyd. The latter has ok-ish strikeout numbers (8.33 / 9) but he’s allowing a 37% hard contact rate and a 4.85 xFIP against versus righties this season. Encarnacion is having a very E5-like season in the power department (30 home runs) even if the OPS has dipped to under .800. Some of that is a reduction on his walk rate (10% down from 15% last season) and a lower BABIP (.244). You have to still love the upside considering the Indians have the second-highest opening implied run total on the day.

Anthony RizzoAnthony Rizzo FD 4000 DK 5000
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CHC
FD - 12.8 DK - 9.61
The Cubs have been a team, all season long, who’ve messed around with their order and played mix-and-match depending on the pitching matchup. On Thursday they moved Rizzo to the top of the order into the leadoff spot. If that sticks for Friday as well then we are looking at a nice value play even at his elevated price point. Rizzo is an elite on-base guy, walking 10% of the time and rarely striking out (12%) this season. His power numbers and OPS are down some from last year thanks to a slight dip in both flyballs and home run/ flyball rate. But he’s been among the league’s best over the second half of the season with a 1.013 OPS, .422 wOBA and .255 ISO. With the matchup against Matt Harvey (very low K stuff over the last two seasons), it’s easy to make the case for Rizzo in cash.

At catcher on DraftKings, consider Willson Contreras. If Wilson Ramos is in the middle of the lineup against Chen then he’d also be a guy worth paying up for.


Second Base

Jose RamirezJose Ramirez FD 4600 DK 5300
Opponent - DET (Matthew Boyd) Park - CLE
FD - 14.45 DK - 10.92
FanDuel moved him over to 2B and he’s still looking at 2B/3B eligibility on DraftKings. He’s expensive for sure but represents another reason to spend down some at pitching on Friday. It’s not news at this point, but Ramirez is having a transcendent year. His 7.9 WAR is third-best in the league and the .402 wOBA ranks 6th. He’s third in home runs (38) and walks 15% of the time (only 11% K rate). He’s among the very best and has hit lefties to a .905 OPS over the last two seasons. That’s worse than his righty split, but whatever. I’m working to get as many Cleveland bats into lineups as possible on Friday with Ramirez at or near the top of the list.

Daniel MurphyDaniel Murphy FD 3700 DK 3900
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CHC
FD - 11.98 DK - 9.15
He’s more a middle-tier play than Ramirez which could work out if you need to spend up at other positions. And the $3900 DraftKings’ price looks like a positive steal at this point. The Cubs moved him down to the third slot in the order on Friday after slotting into the leadoff spot for the last couple of weeks. He struggled after coming off the DL with the Nats, but the OPS is back up into the mid-.700s thanks to a .835 number over the second half of the season (a lot of it with the Cubs). He makes a lot of contact (11% K%, 5.5% BB%) which works well against Harvey’s pitcher profile. Again, this is a much better price on DraftKings, but I see him as a crazy bargain there.



Jorge PolancoJorge Polanco FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - KC (Jorge Lopez) Park - KC
FD - 10.14 DK - 7.79
The Twins stink. That much is understood. But sometimes there’s value even in the trash pile this time of year. Polanco did move into the leadoff slot on Thursday and doesn’t stand to hit worse than third in the order for this lineup. He gets a great matchup against Jorge Lopez who has some truly awful peripherals this year (1.7:1 K:BB) with a 4.56 xFIP even though he has plenty of relief appearances. Polanco has a respectable .733 OPS even though the power is nonexistent. But at these prices, and in this matchup, I’m fine playing him on both sites and do think the DraftKings is a nice value.

Didi GregoriusDidi Gregorius FD 3800 DK 5200
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - NYY
FD - 12.49 DK - 9.62
Didi is now back firmly in the Yankees’ lineup though they have moved him down to the fifth spot. That’s still a fine placement in an offense that can put up a lot of runs on any given night. He was on pace for the best power season of his career before getting hurt and still has an outside chance of reaching 25 home runs (his high from last year, he has 23). He’s significantly better against righties over the last couple of seasons with the .842 OPS nearly 140 points higher than what he does against lefties. Marco Estrada’s been a travesty this season with a 5.73 xFIP and brutal 2:1 K:BB ratio. I like the FanDuel price much better than what we are getting on DraftKings.


Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 3800 DK 4500
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CHC
FD - 13.42 DK - 10.04
This early in the projection process, we are usually waiting for the Cubs’ over/under to come in because we simply don’t know the wind direction in Wrigley. But short of gale-force winds the Cubs are looking at a pretty high implied run line against Matt Harvey. I know the latter has been slightly better since coming over from the Mets near the trade deadline, but a patient team like the Cubs can put his pitcher profile to the test. Bryant’s injury issues have killed some of his numbers this season, but the K% and BB% numbers are still in line with years past as well as the 33% hard contact rate. He’s run a little bad in the Hr/FB rate, knocking down some of his power output. I still think we are buying low on his power upside going forward if he’s fully healthy.

Yolmer SanchezYolmer Sanchez FD 2900 DK 4000
Opponent - BAL (Luis Ortiz) Park - BAL
FD - 9.54 DK - 7.42
Sanchez is mostly a price play at this point considering he’s hitting second in the lineup against a (very) below replacement level pitcher in Ortiz who struggled to put anything together in the minors and I can’t imagine is able to get much done in the majors. Look, Sanchez isn’t much of a major league hitter but the White Sox insist on hitting him second and there’s value in that lineup placement at this point in the year. I like the FanDuel pricing if you’re looking to pay up at other positions and third base (especially on FanDuel) is looking real thin at the position.



Rhys HoskinsRhys Hoskins FD 3600 DK 4900
Opponent - MIA (Wei-Yin Chen) Park - PHI
FD - 12.62 DK - 9.37
Jose BautistaJose Bautista FD 2100 DK 3600
Opponent - MIA (Wei-Yin Chen) Park - PHI
FD - 11.05 DK - 8.21
The last time the Nationals played a lefty (back on 9/7 against Matz and the Mets) these guys hit second and fourth respectively. The Phillies have played a lot of lineup shenanigans this season, so there’s no guarantee it works out that way again. But if so, then we’d be looking at a very nice top of the lineup stack (along with Carlos Santana at first base if he hit leadoff again). Over the last two seasons (200 plate appearances) against lefties, Hoskins has an insane 20% walk rate and very solid .351 wOBA. He’ll be in a great spot against Wei-Yin Chen who brings in a sub-20% K rate while walking more than three batters per nine. He’s been great at home, but rough on the road leading to a 4.72 xFIP on the season.

For an old man, there’s stuff to like about Jose Bautista. Besides that he could come as a punt play bat in the middle of the Phillies’ order, this is a dude who’s walked 15% of the time against lefties over the last two seasons (19% this year, limited PAs) and run very bad in BABIP (.204) this year despite a 39% hard contact rate in that split. I dare say there’s still a good hitter in there. He’d be an easy punt play if hitting cleanup again on Friday.

Eddie RosarioEddie Rosario FD 3400 DK 4700
Opponent - KC (Jorge Lopez) Park - KC
FD - 11.75 DK - 8.9
Rosario is one of the few actual good hitters left in the Twins’ lineup after they jettisoned some of the other major league bats at the trade deadline. Rosario has a .802 OPS on the season and gets something of a boost on his price point in this matchup because he’s (way) better against righties but plays every day so the price comes down on the struggles against lefties. He has an .878 OPS over the last two seasons in the righty split and a .367 wOBA. He’s tough to strikeout at only 17% and has a 130 wRC+ in that span. As mentioned before, Jorge Lopez is one of the worst arms going on Friday and I do like the top of the Twins’ order.

Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - NYY
FD - 12.97 DK - 9.83
McCutchen is locked into the Yankees’ leadoff spot and his price doesn’t appear to have fully corrected on that current placement. Sure, he’s been better against lefties over his career, but he does take walks 12% of the time against righties over the last season with a .331 wOBA, making him a strong leadoff hitter. It’s also worth noting that Marco Estrada has been getting rocked by righty bats this season with a crazy-terrible .943 OPS and .395 wOBA against (this is just atrocious) in that split. It puts all of the Yankees’ bats in play on Friday and even the righties who enjoy better lefty platoons can get a bump.


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