Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

09/22/2018
James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/23/18

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Pitcher

Blake SnellBlake Snell FD 11700 DK 12700
Opponent - TOR (Ryan Borucki) Park - TOR
FD - 39.65 DK - 21.17
The most surprising pitching performance of the season? You probably won't get too much debate there. Snell went from being a punchline in these articles last season to being a headline, which will happen when you add more than 2 strikeouts per 9 innings while subtracting a whole walk per 9 as well. He's the first pitcher of the season to reach 20 wins, and did so in just 29 starts. He is threatening to end the season with a sub 2 ERA, for goodness' sake. Yes, some of this is a result of some good luck. His .237 BABIP allowed is probably not sustainable, and his 87.7% left on base percentage is the very highest in the league among qualified pitchers. Still, though, he's an excellent pitcher, and you have to give the man his due. The match-up today is also better than it might look. They Jays have 9th worst wOBA in the majors vs. LHP, and while they can be a tough team to strikeout, Snell has so much K upside that it should make up the difference. Look for high ownership for Snell in all formats.

J.A. HappJ.A. Happ FD 9800 DK 10200
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - NYY
FD - 42.2 DK - 22.69
Happ has arguably been an even bigger surprise than Snell this season. He hasn't improved by quite as much, but the man has added a strikeout per 9 innings while also reducing his walkrate, and notably, he also did so in his age 35 season. His tendency to give up the homer will prevent him from reaching true ace status, but the man is beyond solid and has worked out as a solid cash game play in the right match-ups all season long. The Orioles, in case you missed it, are absolutely in the "right match-up" category. The Orioles are remarkably tied with the Marlins for dead last in the majors in terms of wOBA vs. left handed pitching in spite of the fact that they get to run a DH far more often than the fish do. Happ probably doesn't have the floor Snell does thanks to the home run balls, but he's still a very reasonable option.

Charlie MortonCharlie Morton FD 7600 DK 10000
Opponent - LAA (Tyler Skaggs) Park - HOU
FD - 38.93 DK - 20.93
DFS players have become understandably gun-shy to run Charlie Morton, but we gave it a go on reduced prices against Arizona and were happy with the result. After a 4 game stretch where he didn't go more than 5 innings, Morton completed 6 against the D-Backs, and even more importantly, didn't walk a single batter for the first time since May 12th. The fact is that Morton's xFIP has still improved upon last year's number, and so has his K/9. It's important to not get distracted by clustering effects in baseball, and I think we are best served to set aside a four game sample and look more closely at the entire season. You're getting Morton at reduced prices in a league average match-up against the Angels, and he looks like a great value on FanDuel for your big tournaments.

First Base/Catcher

Gary SanchezGary Sanchez FD 3200 DK 4300
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - NYY
FD - 13.18 DK - 9.91
The first of many Yankees today, I assume. Sanchez is actually not feeling like an amazing play. The season long line isn't amazing, and it's going to be worse against right handed pitchers. Still, if you raise his ridiculously unlucky .195 BABIP to his previously established .305 levels he's having a .800+ OPS season and no one is even talking about him. What's really driving this recommendation is that catcher, as usual, is simply disgusting. If Sanchez is batting 6th or so it will be hard to get better value than grabbing a good hitter on one of the teams with the highest implied totals on the day. We'll get into Cobb's credentials on the next Yankee, because we've already said enough!

Ryan ZimmermanRyan Zimmerman FD 3000 DK 4400
Opponent - NYM (Steven Matz) Park - WSH
FD - 12.36 DK - 9.34
I've been recommending Zimmerman in positive platoon spots all season, and by and large, it's worked out. His splits against righties have dragged down his season line dramatically, but he's been a true maniac against southpaws. He has walked as often as he has struck out, and has posted a 1.130 OPS with 5 homers in 82 plate appearances against them. Matz has been better this season, but he is still nowhere near 2016 form, and still represents a slightly better than league average match-up. Zimmerman is also just a huge value play on FD, but seems like a great value in all formats.

The rest: First base is actually surprising shallow today. My second favorite option - Mitch Moreland - isn't available on DraftKings thanks to playing at 7 pm. After that you have guys like Rizzo in a reverse platoon spot, or Olson at a slightly too expensive price, and it doesn't get better from there. There are obviously a bunch of different directions you can take this position for big tournaments, but it's hard to imagine pivoting off Zim for cash.

Second Base

Brian Dozier FD 3400 DK 4100
Opponent - SD (Joey Lucchesi) Park - LAD
FD - 10.94 DK - 8.26
Speaking of tough positions, oy. A lot of people are down on Dozier for unfair reasons, even if there are reasons to be down on him for fair reasons. Dozier's .243 BABIP is unsustainably unlucky, even if he's never been a BABIP all-star. Dozier hasn't been quite the same platoon guy that he's been in the past, but most of that is luck driven this season as well. He's still walking 14% of the time against lefties while striking out 20% of the time, and that sound approach should be yielding much better results here. He's still a big time power threat, and is on the cheap side thanks to his bad luck. Lucchesi is not a bad pitcher, but he'll be worse away from him home park, and the platoon advantage is enough to justify the price here.

Jose AltuveJose Altuve FD 4100 DK 4600
Opponent - LAA (Tyler Skaggs) Park - HOU
FD - 13.11 DK - 10.14
If you don't want to go the value route, there's always High Floor Jose Altuve. He hasn't lived up to the power/speed combo that we saw last season, but he's still basically a poor man's version of himself, which is still pretty damned good. He's also an underrated platoon guy, even if it hasn't worked out that way this season. For his career he's about .100 OPS points better against lefties, and he's obviously not at any risk to get pulled if a righty comes in. Skaggs is a good pitcher, but going from Anaheim to Houston isn't good on pitchers of any stripe. I'm not sure this is where you want to pay up for upside, but if you can afford it it seems like a decent cash game option.

Also considered: Niko Goodrum. I said it was a weird position.

Shortstop

Elvis AndrusElvis Andrus FD 3000 DK 3500
Opponent - SEA (Wade LeBlanc) Park - TEX
FD - 11.92 DK - 9.21
It took a while to get to any Rangers, which is sort of a surprise given the match-up here. I've written about Andrus in less than flattering terms before, and not much has changed since then. If you're playing him you're just doing it because he's in an excellent spot in a positive platoon situation. Today is one of those. Andrus has a perfectly acceptable .730 OPS against left handed pitching, and he's dirt cheap in the AL's best hitter's park. LeBlanc is overrated based on his run-hot ERA, and a guy who struggles with the long ball isn't going to feel any more comfortable heading over to Texas.

Didi GregoriusDidi Gregorius FD 3900 DK 5400
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - NYY
FD - 13.64 DK - 10.5
Javier BaezJavier Baez FD 4100 DK 5600
Opponent - CHW (Carlos Rodon) Park - CHW
FD - 13.76 DK - 10.46
A couple expensive options to suit your fancy as well. Didi and Baez are both great hitters in perfect platoon spots against bad pitchers. Cobb has gotten worse by every available metric this season. He's striking out fewer batters, walking more batters, and giving up more home runs. A return to goodness seems out of the question at this point, and Vegas has the Yanks feasting here. As for Rodon, he's one of the luckiest pitchers on the season when you compare his 3.22 ERA to his 5.31 xFIP. His .231 BABIP allowed is nowhere near his established levels, and you can expect a top 2 hitter at the position in Baez to have a field day here. I love both of these guys in any format, and think both are easily worth their prices.

Third Base

Kris BryantKris Bryant FD 4000 DK 4600
Opponent - CHW (Carlos Rodon) Park - CHW
FD - 13.02 DK - 9.74
Early in his career it looked like Bryant would be something like platoon neutral, but that's no longer the case. His 1.107 OPS against lefty is almost .400 points higher than his numbers against righties, and he has as many home runs against lefties in 94 plate appearances than he has against righties in 337. As I wrote above, Rodon is perpetually on the verge of turning back into a pumpkin, and our projection system has that beginning today.

David FreeseDavid Freese FD 2300 DK 4400
Opponent - SD (Joey Lucchesi) Park - LAD
FD - 9.58 DK - 7.3
This is only a play if Freese winds up batting in the middle of the order against the lefty, but if he does, you can expect him to be one of the higher owned players on the slate. His price is broken on FanDuel, and he's just been downright solid against pitchers of all handedness this season. For his career Freese has been a lefty killing specialist, with an .841 OPS against lefties that's nearly .100 points higher than his numbers against righties. The DK price is too rich for my blood, on FD the price is just a mistake.

Outfield

Aaron JudgeAaron Judge FD 4200 DK 5300
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - NYY
FD - 17.11 DK - 12.66
Aaron HicksAaron Hicks FD 3300 DK 4800
Opponent - BAL (Alex Cobb) Park - NYY
FD - 13.12 DK - 9.86
You can make a case for every Yankee today as far as our lineup optimizer is concerned, but if you're in a position to pick between Yankees outfielders our system would have you prioritizing these two. Judge has been right back to his old ones since returning to the lineup, ripping homers, walking, and striking out. Going against a pitcher with a 6 K/9 will be a game-changer for him, as strikeout heavy guys go way up in value when going up against a pitcher without strikeout stuff. Hicks, meanwhile, is just better against righties than he is against lefties, which gives him the nod over McCutchen for me.

Ben ZobristBen Zobrist FD 3000 DK 4100
Opponent - CHW (Carlos Rodon) Park - CHW
FD - 11.23 DK - 8.52
Zobrist has been batting 5th on the regular, but is still priced like a dude who bats 7th. The switch hitter has been relatively platoon neutral throughout his career, but is about .030 points better against lefties over a huge sample. Whatever power Zobrist had has long since left him, but the .383 OBP tells you most of what you need to know about his floor. Not a great tournament play, but I love him for double ups and 50/50s.

Shin-Soo ChooShin-Soo Choo FD 3600 DK 4200
Opponent - SEA (Wade LeBlanc) Park - TEX
FD - 12.98 DK - 9.77
George SpringerGeorge Springer FD 3800 DK 4600
Opponent - LAA (Tyler Skaggs) Park - HOU
FD - 13.43 DK - 10.13
Two guys you can play for sort of opposite reasons today. You're playing Choo if you want him at the top of a lineup that's slated to score a lot of runs, but you're understanding that the upside will be limited in a lefty/lefty match-up. With Springer you're recognizing that the downside is real, but that the upside in a positive platoon match-up is through the roof for a guy who has recovered from his midseason swoon to post a .408 OBP in September so far. Still, either should be fine depending on your needs and the salaries available.

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image sources

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

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