Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/19/18

Let's get set for a full-day's worth of Wednesday MLB action. Though there are some early games on the schedule, we'll focus here on the main slate for FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Walker BuehlerWalker Buehler FD 9400 DK 11300
Opponent - COL (Tyler Anderson) Park - COL
FD - 37.52 DK - 19.82
Buehler’s been fantastic over his last three starts, striking out 25 batters in his last 20.3 innings capped off by an 8IP, 0ER, 9K performance against St. Louis last Friday. The most encouraging part has been the longer leash on his pitch counts. He’s gone over 100 in two of his last three starts. Considering this is a high-leverage game for the Dodgers and their playoff chances, expect to see Buehler go as far as he can if pitching well. Considering the Rockies play half of their games in Coors, they’ve been terrible against righties this season striking out 23% of the time with a .313 wOBA in that split. They get real rough in the lower half of the lineup and Buehler has major strikeout upside in this matchup. He’s very expensive on DraftKings, but considering some of the question marks around other arms, it likely makes sense to pay a premium. This late in the season it’s tough to find games that actually matter. This is one of them and Buehler as a -200 home favorite could be the chalk cash pitcher.

Chris ArcherChris Archer FD 7800 DK 7700
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 36.2 DK - 19.47
Archer comes in as the second-best money line win favorite on the evening slate as a -200 home favorite against the Royals. I’ll hand it to Kansas City, they’ve stuck with pretty much this same trash lineup over the course of the season so we have a pretty good idea of their expectation (hint: it’s low). They rank 23rd in wOBA against righties and strike out about 21% of the time in that split. After some rough outings, Archer has struck out 19 batters in his last 17 innings while only walking six. BABIP has bit him at times in the short term, but the control is at least encouraging if he’s going to limit the free passes. Pittsburgh is a pitcher’s park and the Royals come in at only 3.3 implied runs.

Of course, strongly consider Carlos Carrasco here. I’m always just a little skeptical of teams with nothing to play for and headed to the playoffs taxing their starting pitchers all that much. But he has the highest overall projection of the day against a brutal White Sox team that strikes out a ton.

Robbie Erlin at just $4600 on DraftKings could be the most popular SP2 option there because of how much money he frees up for bats. He went six innings last time out and faces an awful Giants’ team in a great pitcher’s park. Vegas has him at -125 with a 7.5 o/u which is enough faith in him at these prices.

First Base/Catcher

Josh BellJosh Bell FD 3300 DK 4300
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 10.94 DK - 8.31
With the Pirates having some injury issues in the short term, they’ve moved Bell into the third slot in the lineup. He’ll draw one of the more advantageous pitching matchups around with Heath Fillmyer on the mound for the Royals. We’ll get to some of his awful peripherals a little later, but suffice to say he’s pretty damn bad. Bell has a higher floor here with a 13% walk rate and only 18% K rate. That’s a good profile against a guy like Fillmyer who offers free passes and doesn’t strike anyone out. Bell isn’t flashing the same kind of power as last season with only 10 home runs (26 last season) though that was starting to look like an outlier season with the Hr/FB rate. This is still a very patient hitter (.357 OBP) coming in the middle price tier.

Justin SmoakJustin Smoak FD 3200 DK 4500
Opponent - BAL (Luis Ortiz) Park - BAL
FD - 12.5 DK - 9.35
Right now Luis Ortiz is the listed starter for the Orioles, but even if it changes does it really matter? Baltimore just has a loser train of arms hitting the mound game after game so I’m not overly concerned with them deciding to change something. Assuming that’s the matchup, Smoak has hit righties well over the last couple of seasons with an .868 OPS and .366 wOBA. The Jays will likely come in at one of the higher implied totals of the day (or should at least push toward five when the line updates). Smoak slots into the third spot in the lineup even with the Blue Jays shaking things up in the short term. He walks at a steady rate (13%) and has maintained some of the power (24 HRs) he put up last season.

At catcher on DraftKings, consider Erik Kratz against Matt Harvey or Austin Barnes against the lefty Tyler Anderson.


Second Base

Jonathan VillarJonathan Villar FD 3200 DK 4600
Opponent - TOR (Marco Estrada) Park - TOR
FD - 11.85 DK - 9.12
The Orioles have Villar basically locked into the second slot in the lineup for the time being (because they stink) and that plate appearance expectation is fine enough for his prices considering they are in something of a plus matchup against Marco Estrada on Wednesday. Estrada has had an awful season with a career-worst 5.78 xFIP and 2:1 K:BB ratio. Villar strikes out a lot (27%) but that issue becomes less problematic against a guy like Estrada and the former does has fantasy upside with 14 home runs and 29 stolen bases on the season. For a switch-hitter, he’s been something close to platoon neutral from his career. Estrada is worse against righty hitters, so if Villar bats from the left side I suppose there’s a slight advantage, but not much of one.

Travis ShawTravis Shaw FD 4200 DK 4300
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CIN
FD - 11.9 DK - 8.93
Shaw is expensive, but we are light on second base options for the main slate of games. The Brewers have a 5.1 implied run line at home against Matt Harvey and Shaw makes for a nice cash game play because of his patience (13% walk rate) and power (29 home runs on the season). He’s running 70 points lower in BABIP compared to last year which is the only thing keeping the OPS down off his 2017 career highs. For sure, this is something like an overpay for Shaw on FanDuel, though I do see him as a value on DraftKings.



Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD 4700 DK 5700
Opponent - CHW (Dylan Covey) Park - CHW
FD - 12.95 DK - 9.92
The Indians have things locked up right now, so you might not see full games out of their position players which could be somewhat problematic as we close out the season. After a brief stint in the bullpen, Covey got back to doing what he does best, getting bombed, in his last start against the Royals. He allowed six runs (five earned) through 4.3 innings. There’s a reason the Indians come in with the highest implied run total on the day at 5.6. We won’t be able to spend up for all of their bats, but Lindor is a worth paying for. He’s put together his best season yet with 35 home runs and an .880 OPS. He’s been better against lefties over the last two seasons, but that platoon difference isn’t dissuading me from making him a play on Wednesday.

Lourdes GurrielLourdes Gurriel FD 2900 DK 3900
Opponent - BAL (Luis Ortiz) Park - BAL
FD - 11.02 DK - 8.5
This follows a lot of the same line of thinking as Smoak in that the Blue Jays come in with one of the better matchups on the slate. Gurriel does seem rather locked into the second slot in the lineup and for these prices you can live with some of the warts. He doesn’t show any patience at the place (4% BB rate) but has flashed some power with eight home runs in his first 237 plate appearances. The real win for Gurriel is being able to hit so high up in the lineup at lower price points. For that kind of plate appearance expectation, you can live the with volatility in his approach.


Third Base

David FreeseDavid Freese FD 2300 DK 4300
Opponent - COL (Tyler Anderson) Park - COL
FD - 8.9 DK - 6.78
Facing Tyler Anderson doesn’t make for a fantastic matchup because the Rockies’ lefty has posted some solid strikeout numbers (8.6 per nine) and a not-terrible 4.17 xFIP despite pitching half his games in Coors Field. But the Dodgers come in with a mid-4’s implied run line and Freese is coming near the minimums on FanDuel. He’s been hitting cleanup against lefties and has an .837 OPS and .362 wOBA in that split over the last two seasons. He walks 13% of the time in that platoon and of course, the real advantage for a guy like Freese here is getting to hit after Justin Turner and Manny Machado. Freese isn’t quite the deal on DraftKings where he’s priced in the middle tier, but on FanDuel I’m able to stomach the reduced Dodgers’ implied total.

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4300 DK 5000
Opponent - ARI (Robbie Ray) Park - ARI
FD - 11.69 DK - 8.75
It’s tough to slot hitters in against guys like Ray who have huge strikeout potential (11.76 per nine on the season) but Bryant makes for an interesting foil here because of his patience at the plate in this split. Over the last two seasons, the Cubs’ third baseman has walked 16% of the time in this split with a 1.027 OPS and .424 wOBA. The walks are the real key though with Ray struggling (sometimes a lot) with his control. The D-Backs’ lefty walks close to five batters per nine and that could be a real issue against an ultra-patient Cubs’ order. Bryant should his second here and I wouldn’t be shocked if Ray struggled to go long in this game.



Starling MarteStarling Marte FD 3500 DK 4900
Opponent - KC (Heath Fillmyer) Park - KC
FD - 11.08 DK - 8.63
We are going to want to get some Pirates into play on Wednesday for sure and Marte makes for a nice stack with Bell. The former has been excellent against righties over the last couple of seasons with an .800 OPS and .343 wOBA. Fillmyer comes in with a dreadful 1.4:1 K:BB ratio and strikes out less than six batters per nine. Marte meanwhile is having his best power season yet with 19 home runs (tying his previous high in 70 fewer plate appearances) while also racking up 32 stolen bases. He’s not exactly cheap, but I also don’t think we are going to have to spend through the nose at pitcher either.

Curtis GrandersonCurtis Granderson FD 3600 DK 4800
Opponent - CIN (Matt Harvey) Park - CIN
FD - 11.91 DK - 8.91
The Brewers seem to like what they have batting the Grandyman leadoff when they face righty pitching and moving Yelich and Cain into the 2/3 slots in the lineup. Matt Harvey has pitched well in his last two outings, striking out 16 in 12 innings, and there’s no doubt about him being much better since joining the Reds. But Vegas still likes the Brewers for more than five implied runs in this game and Granderson would make for a solid value as long as he’s setting the table. The guy has a 14% walk rate and .816 OPS against righties over the last couple of seasons, making the on-base expectation solid for cash games.

Billy McKinneyBilly McKinney FD 2800 DK 3800
Opponent - BAL (Luis Ortiz) Park - BAL
FD - 10.17 DK - 7.75
McKinney looks like he’ll be the Blue Jays’ leadoff hitter for the remainder of the season and really his price hasn’t come up accordingly with that opportunity. McKinney’s been above average since being called up with an .818 OPS in his first 100 plate appearances while getting on base 34% of the time. He projects for some power, though really the fantasy upside here is wrapped up in the plate appearance expectation. Ortiz isn’t anything like a prospect and the Blue Jays do project for runs in a hitter’s park in Camden Yards.


image sources

  • Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco (59): By Keith Allison on Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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