Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/15/2018
Austyn Varney

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/15/18

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Pitcher

Early

Jon LesterJon Lester FD 8500 DK 9400
Opponent - CIN (Cody Reed) Park - CHC
FD - 32.22 DK - 16.68

Welcome to Saturday baseball! With football in full swing, a lot of the attention has been drawn away, but the money is still there to be won. We have two slates of games on our hands today and both deliver a very different arsenal of weapons. The top three pitchers on the early slate (Clevinger, Porcello, Lester) will all draw interest, so ownership shouldn’t be an issue like it is on most slates. Porcello and Clevinger are both good options, but Porcello has a 5-6 inning cap and Clevinger is a lot more expensive than you’d like to pay. Instead, we’ll look at Jon Lester, who’s plenty cheaper and has been pitching great as of late. He faces a Reds team he’s dominated plenty of times in the past and continue to struggle as much as ever. They’re a lot better against lefties with guys like Suarez but the rest of the core guys prefer right-handers. The Cubs are pushing for the playoffs and you know there’s nobody who would rather be on the mound. Expect 6 innings, 6 strikeouts, and a win. When you consider the discount as well, I’ll take Lester in all formats for the early slate.

Main

German MarquezGerman Marquez FD 10600 DK 12000
Opponent - SF (Madison Bumgarner) Park - SF
FD - 38.36 DK - 20.07

I know it feels weird to pay $10k+ for German Marquez, and especially against a cheaper Madison Bumgarner, but that’s the world we live in. Marquez and the Rockies are currently favored vs the Giants, who are 4th worst in baseball against righties with a team .285 wOBA. They also strikeout at a top 5 clip at nearly 25%. You combine that with a pitcher on a hot plate and a ballpark that can hold nearly anything and you get a very safe option in German Marquez. Dealing of late, Marquez is currently holding a 10.29 K/9 and a 3.21 xFIP. Hes going to cost you a pretty penny, but could very well be worth it in the long run. In cash games, Marquez will be my guy.

Vince VelasquezVince Velasquez FD 6400 DK 8200
Opponent - MIA (Elieser Hernandez) Park - PHI
FD - 34.9 DK - 18.3

There are a couple decent options in the middle, but none compare to Marquez, so I just keep figuring out ways to pay up a bit for him. On the other side of the spectrum, however, we have an ultra cheap Vince Velasquez. He ha struggled as of late, but we know what Velasquez is capable of and we know this match-up is as good as it gets. Against righties, the Marlins sport a team .289 wOBA, all the while striking out at a huge clip. They’ve given up on the season and couldn’t care less about any result at this point. Don’t expect the old Vince Velasquez to resurface, but I do see him going a solid 5 or 6 innings and getting the win. At his low price tag, that’s more than enough.

First Base/Catcher

Early

Gary SanchezGary Sanchez FD 3200 DK 4100
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - NYY
FD - 13.08 DK - 9.83

The bats on this early slate should get you excited. With 3 or 4 gas cans on the mound, runs shouldn’t be the hardest to come by. The Yankees take on one of them in Sean Reid-Foley. Reid-Foley has been absolutely pitiful, giving up five homers and a .386 wOBA through just 20 innings. The sample size isn’t large enough yet, but he’s shown no signs of being any good at this level. The Yanks are projected to put up nearly 6 runs and should have fun in the process. Sanchez has hit righties for more power than lefties and will be in the perfect spot to drive in some runs. The Yankees are typically expensive, but Sanchez can be found at a discount and offers the same upside as ever.

Main

Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - MIA (Elieser Hernandez) Park - PHI
FD - 10.61 DK - 7.87

If you’re looking to pay way up, Goldy, Aguilar, and Abreu are all done. I just don’t love the prices with other pricey options later on. Instead, we’ll go into the mid-range and focus on Carlos Santana. Santana has been great as of late and has been a big part of the Phillies offensive success. He’s held a .348 wOBA since the start of this season and is almost at .400 for just last month. Tonight, the Phillies face off with Elieser Hernandez, who’s absolutely terrible. We will get to him some more later, but just know a 5+ xFIP is one of the easier stats on the eyes. Santana will be hitting 3rd or 4th in the order and be given more than enough opportunity to drive in some runs and get driven in himself. He’s fairly priced on both sites and gives you a perfect balance between too expensive and plenty of upside.

Second Base

Early

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3100 DK 4300
Opponent - CIN (Cody Reed) Park - CHC
FD - 10.91 DK - 8.27
Javier BaezJavier Baez FD 4000 DK 5400
Opponent - CIN (Cody Reed) Park - CHC
FD - 14.4 DK - 10.95

Lester isn’t the only Cub we like tonight. With Cody Reed on the opposite side of things, the righties should be able to have success. Since the start of the season, righties have held a .365 wOBA against Reed. He’s better than he once was, but is still a home run prone lefty in a fantastic ballpark for power. Both Zobrist and Baez are in play, but it’s obvious where you want both. In cash games, Zobrist is going to be cheaper and will certainly be involved in the offense. On the more expensive side, Baez is mashing everything he sees and could be worth a shot at an homer. They both prefer lefties and have shown strong discipline this season. The Cubs are facing a gas can in Cody Reed and will do damage in short order, so make sure your exposure is there.

Main

Whit MerrifieldWhit Merrifield FD 3800 DK 4500
Opponent - MIN (Chase De Jong) Park - KC
FD - 10.94 DK - 8.57

We haven’t seen much Chase De Jong in the majors yet, but I think it’s fair to say we can attack him. Even in the minors, De Jong posted 4.64 xFIP and a pitiful 5.77 xFIP. Oh ya, that was AA. He’s now in the majors and should get bullied by a few offenses sooner than later. He may get by on being an unknown to some, but Merrifield is not that type. He’s been on fire as of late and provides a spark the Royals desperately need. He’s stolen 5 bases in his last 4 games and has added 5 hits. His price is fair on both sites and the match-up won’t get much better. He’s in position once again to grab a couple hits and swipe a few bases. If you can fit him, there aren’t many better cash game plays on any slate.

Shortstop

Early

Xander BogaertsXander Bogaerts FD 3700 DK 5100
Opponent - NYM (Undecided) Park - BOS
FD - 12.14 DK - 9.34

We haven’t looked at the Red Sox yet, but they are in as good of a spot as any on this early slate. They’re facing off with Corey Oswalt, who’s been terrible since entering the majors. In just over 50 innings, he’s allowed a .382 wOBA to righties all while holding a measly 5.77 K/9. Oswalt is going to get beat up tonight and you’ll want exposure to the Red Sox. Xander Bogaerts has been awesome as of late and has finally turned his power into homers this year. He’s one of the top SS in the game and deserves every bit of attention he gets. Corey Oswalt and the Mets bullpen are terrible, so expect the Red Sox to get some payback for yesterday.

Main

Adalberto MondesiAdalberto Mondesi FD 3300 DK 4600
Opponent - MIN (Chase De Jong) Park - KC
FD - 9.2 DK - 7.17

There isn't anyone that stands out here, but we have plenty of solid SS options. Out favorite is Adalberto Mondesi, who has been absolutely stellar as of late. He's been a huge prospect and has more than paid off his expected production. He'll see Chase De Jong tonight, who we just touched on. He's allowed a 5.77 xFIP to both sides of the plate and has shown no signs of getting any better. He threw 4 shutout innings, but gave up a 55% hard contact rate, so I'm not sure that's anything to pay attention to. Mondesi, a switch-hitter, is better against righties and has a bit more power against them. His price is fair on FanDuel and you can play him in all formats. If you need to go cheaper, I'm a fan of Polanco.

Jorge PolancoJorge Polanco FD 3000 DK 3900
Opponent - KC (Ian Kennedy) Park - KC
FD - 9.7 DK - 7.45

We'll stay in the same game here and look to pick on Ian Kennedy, who isn't great in his own right. So far in 2018, he's allowed a 4.68 xFIP and a .345 wOBA. He's only getting worse and has allowed more homers this year than ever before. Jorge Polanco has been swinging the bat quite well and has now held a .358 wOBA against right-handers. He has immense power for the SS position and gives you a nice discount from the pricey Adalberto Mondesi. His price is fair, the match-up is solid and the lineup is expected to put up 4.5+ runs. He's sitting in the middle of the order and will have plenty of runs to drive in.

Third Base

Early

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 3800 DK 4600
Opponent - CIN (Cody Reed) Park - CHC
FD - 14.68 DK - 10.99

Third base gives us a few options. If you’re not interested in playing Jon Lester, Eugenio Suarez is one of the best hitters in baseball against southpaws. You also have Miguel Andujar, who’s expensive but in a phenomenal match-up. Instead, let's look at Kris Bryant. Bryant hasn’t had the year we’ve hoped for, but he seems to be turning it around. He’s hitting line drive after line drive and putting this offense back on the map. Cody Reed is a sub-par left-handed that won’t last longer than 4 or 5 innings. Bryant is relatively affordable at his position and won’t need to go crazy to pay off value.

Main

Travis ShawTravis Shaw FD 3700 DK 4200
Opponent - PIT (Ivan Nova) Park - MIL
FD - 11.29 DK - 8.48
Mike MoustakasMike Moustakas FD 3700 DK 4100
Opponent - PIT (Ivan Nova) Park - MIL
FD - 11.55 DK - 8.77

If you’ve been playing daily fantasy baseball for more than a year or two, you’re very aware of Ivan Nova and his splits. Since day 1, Nova has struggled mightily against lefties. Now 8 years later, they remain. In 70 innings in 2018, Nova has allowed a .347 wOBA and has given up 12 HR. He now faces one of the more dangerous lineups in baseball with the Brewers. Against righties, both Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas are firmly in play. They have both held a .350+ wOBA and should put solid wood on the ball against Nova. Moustakas has been hitting lower in the lineup, but I actually like that as it drives his ownership down quite a bit and gives him a few extra RBI opportunities. All in all, Shaw and Moustakas are both very much in play against the same ol’ Ivan Nova we’ve become used to.

Outfield

Early

Mookie BettsMookie Betts FD 4600 DK 5900
Opponent - NYM (Undecided) Park - BOS
FD - 16.02 DK - 12.07
J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD 4400 DK 5600
Opponent - NYM (Undecided) Park - BOS
FD - 15.25 DK - 11.41
Andrew BenintendiAndrew Benintendi FD 3600 DK 5500
Opponent - NYM (Undecided) Park - BOS
FD - 13.06 DK - 9.88

I’ll be looking to spend up as much as I possibly can in the outfield. With the Red Sox, Yankees, and Cubs all in great hitting spots, the options are plentiful. Our favorite of the bunch is Boston, sporting the dynamic trio of Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Andrew Benintendi. You can play any or all of those guys at the same time. Martinez and Mookie are obviously a bit more expensive, but worth it. Benintendi gives you a little bit of savings and has just as much upside on any given night. They face off with Corey Oswalt, who we’ve talked about already. He’s absolutely pitiful against both sides of the plate and strikes nobody out. Against a Red Sox team that thrives on putting the ball in play, that’s not at all a recipe for success. I’ll have a ton of Red Sox exposure in my cash games.

Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 3900 DK 4500
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - NYY
FD - 13.61 DK - 10.22
Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton FD 4400 DK 4800
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - NYY
FD - 15.73 DK - 11.68
Andrew McCutchenAndrew McCutchen FD 3400 DK 4200
Opponent - TOR (Sean Reid-Foley) Park - NYY
FD - 13.28 DK - 10.06

The Yankees give us a very similar situation with Stanton, Hicks, and McCutchen. It seems like a cop out to mention all 3, but who would I ignore? They are all in tremendous spots and it would surprise nobody to see them put up 20 fantasy points. Again, Sean Reid-Foley is not a good young pitcher and the Yankees should capitalize. He's given up a terrible .386 wOBA and has allowed 5 homers in just 20 innings. Expect runs early and often from the New York side. If I had to pick an outfield, I would probably go with the Yankees for the sole reason of discount. With that being said, you can't really go wrong with the upper tier of OF.

Main

Christian YelichChristian Yelich FD 4300 DK 5600
Opponent - PIT (Ivan Nova) Park - MIL
FD - 12.47 DK - 9.51
Lorenzo CainLorenzo Cain FD 3900 DK 4500
Opponent - PIT (Ivan Nova) Park - MIL
FD - 11.21 DK - 8.69

Let’s stay in Milwaukee and take a look at a couple of these outfielders. Their top dog is obviously Christian Yelich, who deserves to be in the MVP discussion. He’s brutalized righties so far this season, posting a .402 wOBA to go along with 22 homers. He’s one of he leagues premier bats and is here to stay for 10+ years. Tonight, he’s facing off with Ivan Nova. We know Nova struggles against lefties and will in turn have trouble with this match-up. If you don’t want to pay up for Yelich, Lorenzo Cain is a bit cheaper and will be involved. He’s not nearly on the same level as Yelich for me, but he has power and will get 5 at-bats.

Avisail GarciaAvisail Garcia FD 2800 DK 4500
Opponent - BAL (Yefry Ramirez) Park - BAL
FD - 10.15 DK - 7.79

We haven't touched on the White Sox yet, but we do have to pay attention to them against Yefry Ramirez. In 50 innings of work, he's given up a 5.27 xFIP with a solid 8 K/9. He's given up a .347 wOBA to both sides of the plate and should be rocked by a subpar White Sox lineup. Garcia has been on fire as of late and has posted a .327 wOBA since the all-star break. He's hit 17 homers on the year and deserves to be in your lineup tonight. He's not too expensive and has 2 home run upside against a bad righty in the hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Good luck tonight!

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image sources

  • Giancarlo Stanton: (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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