Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy MLB Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - 9/25/18
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The odds of Max winning the NL CY Young award has dropped lately but like Lloyd says in Dumb and Dumber "So you're telling me there's a chance". It will really come down to what the voters deem more important but for me as a fantasy MVP, it is an easy choice. Max leads the National League with 17 wins, a 12.22 K/9 rate, 34.6% K rate, and 16.1% swinging strike rate while sitting third in ERA(2.57) and xFIP(3.06). Then as we talk about tonight, he gets a very good matchup as the Nats are -325 home favorites against the Marlins who have scored the 6th fewest runs this season and rank 28th against right-handed pitching with a .292 wOBA, 85 wRC+ and 22.8% K rate. What makes the pick easier is the amount of value available down the stretch to help make it work in all formats.
If you are looking for a discount to fit more bats without giving up too much upside, consider Walker Buehler. Outside of one start in Coors Field a couple weeks ago, Buehler has been elite since the end of July holding opponents to two or fewer earned runs in nine of his last 10 starts for a 1.58 ERA/2.72 xFIP. He has also flashed a ton of upside in that time striking out over 11 per nine with a 13% swinging strike rate and has averaged 43.8 FanDuel/25.5 DraftKings points per game. The matchup may not appear to be as good but the Diamondbacks are all but eliminated from the playoffs and over the last 14 days rank in the bottom five in wOBA(.300), wRC+(80), and have struck out at 24.2% K rate. The Dodgers are -200 favorites and Buehler is in play in all formats.
Not a whole lot was expected from James when he was drafted in the 34th round in 2014 but sometimes that becomes motivation for a player to prove everyone wrong. That appears to be the case for James who wowed scouts between AA and AAA this season as he racked up 171 strikeouts in just 114.1 innings and lowered his WHIP to 1.12 after two straight minor-league seasons over 1.40 between High-A and AA. That earned him a September call-up and he quickly impressed striking out nine Angels in his first start and then after two appearances out of the bullpen he made another start allowing just four hits and no runs to the Mariners with seven strikeouts while earning his first win at the major league level. He will now make another spot start on Tuesday and will face a Jays team that is pretty much throwing out a minor league lineup and have struggled over the last 14 days with a .287 wOBA, 79 wR+C, and 24.8% K rate. He makes an excellent SP2 option on DraftKings and high-upside GPP play on FanDuel.
The Astros are one of four teams who are projected to score four or more runs tonight in a plus matchup against Sam Gaviglio and the Blue Jays. Gaviglio has allowed just two earned runs in each of his last two starts but I am not buying it as he has struck out just three batters and for the season sits with a 5.18 ERA and has given up 20 home runs in 22 starts for an ugly 17% HR/FB rate. Gurriel is a contact hitter who strikes out just 11% of the time and while his season has been streaky at times, he is finishing strong in September with hits in all but two games for a .352/.382/.620 slash line. All things considered, Gurriel is my top PTS/$ play at the position and safe in all formats in this matchup.
Mauer has been very consistent down the stretch with hits in eight of his last 10 games and while he doesn't provide a ton of upside, he does give you some stability in your cash game lineups. He hits in the leadoff spot and while the Twins haven't been a top offense this season they do get a nice matchup tonight against rookie Spencer Turnbull who struggled in his first career start striking out just two and giving up six earned runs to these Twins six days ago. He makes a nice one-off value play for cash games or as a part of a top of the order Twins stack in GPP formats.
Catcher Consideration: Yadier Molina(STL)
Let's take a trip into Coors tonight for a game with the highest total of the night. I will start with the away team as the Rockies will be spot starting Chad Bettis tonight who has posted a 5.42 ERA/4.70 xFIP as a starter this season. More bad news for him, good news for the Phillies is that in those 19 starts he has given up 17 home runs for a 16.5% HR/FB rate. Hernandez is not likely to be the one who hits the home run as his upside is limited but he has been consistent lately as he went into Monday night with hits in 12 of his last 15 games for an average of 11.9 FanDuel/9.1 DraftKings points per game from the leadoff spot. The price is a little high for my liking on DraftKings leaving him as a GPP only play but on FanDuel in the mid $3K range, he is in play in all formats.
On the other side of the field, we have Hernandez's counterpart in DJ LeMahieu. From a raw points perspective, Blackmon and Arenado obviously rank higher but are way more expensive which has me leaning LeMahieu who hits right in the middle of the two and comes at a fairly sizeable discount. The matchup may not seem that spectacular tonight but Velasquez has struggled lately allowing three or more earned runs(15 total) in four straight starts with three of those coming against the Marlins(x2) and Mets. As for LeMahieu, he comes in red hot in September with hits in four straight and 16 of 20 games including 10 multi-hit efforts. Fire him up in all formats if you can afford him.
Also Consider: Josh Harrison(PIT)
If you are looking to pay up at the position consider Trea Turner who has been scorching hot lately as he comes into tonight with a 12 game hit streak in which he has averaged 16.5 FanDuel/12.7 DraftKings points per game. He has dropped a bit of the power he flashed in the first half of the season(11 home runs) and brought his average back to life(.282 in the second half) and overall is having one of his best seasons in the big leagues with a career-high 18 home runs, 68 RBI, and 101 runs scored and he adds even more upside with 43 stolen bases. Tonight he and the Nats face Jeff Brigham who has struggled a bit as a rookie giving up eight earned runs in 12 innings and while he has struck out 10, he has also walked nine. This is a good spot for the Nats to put up runs and Turner has a high floor and ceiling making him a target in all formats.
Paul DeJong FD 3500 DK 4400
Opponent - MIL (Gio Gonzalez) Park - MIL
FD - 10.8 DK - 8.23
Depending on what pitcher(s) you are rolling out tonight you may want to save some salary and go with a more balanced lineup. Enter Paul DeJong who is $700 cheaper on FanDuel and $1,000 cheaper on DraftKings. Like Turner, he has also been red-hot with hits in eight straight and 15 of his last 16 games for an average of 11.6 FanDuel/8.8 DraftKings points per game. He has also been moved back up to the three-hole which gives him an added boost in at-bat expectation. The only knock tonight is that he has been much better against right-handed pitching but I am willing to take that risk against Gio Gonzalez tonight provided how hot DeJong has been lately.
Also Consider: Jorge Polanco(MIN)
I am going right back to the Nationals at third base as they get one of the best matchups of the night. They are one of only a couple teams with over five implied runs as they face Jeff Brigham who has struggled with control(9 walks) in his first three starts. This means that previously mentioned Trea Turner should be able to get on base giving opportunities for the middle of the lineup to drive him and others in. The offense that the Nationals are delivering lately is too little too late for their playoff hopes but for us in fantasy, it is more than welcome. Like Turner, Rendon has been hot down the stretch with a .360/.451/.651 slash line in September with five home runs, 21 RBI, and 21 runs scored.
This play could come a bit under the radar as this game has one of the lowest totals(7) of the night. I mean I get it as both teams offenses are pretty terrible but I am not completely buying it. One reason is the matchup against Chris Stratton who has flashed some upside(CG against Rockies) but has also given up four or more earned runs in two of his last three starts and eight times on the season for a 4.88 ERA. He has also given up some power with 18 home runs and has given up a 44% hard contact rate to righties. That bodes well for Wil Myers who has hits in five straight games including three multi-hit efforts. With his lack of overall consistency on the season, I would likely reserve him to GPP formats but there is a case to be made for cash games as well with his PTS/$ value.
Also Consider: Matt Chapman(OAK)
Mike Trout FD 5000 DK 5800
Opponent - TEX (Yovani Gallardo) Park - LAA
FD - 15.64 DK - 11.61
If it wasn't for the Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez tearing it up in Boston, Mike Trout would be well on his way to a third MVP award of his career. For the season, he has an elite .316/.460/.636 slash line and went into Monday night with home runs in five of his last six games. The only knock on him this season is the lack of RBI(77) but that has much more to do with the talent around him than his skill level. Tonight, he gets an elite matchup against dumpster fire Yovani Gallardo who enters this game with a 6.59 ERA/5.26 xFIP and has given up at least one home run in four straight starts and has been much worse against righties giving up a .413 wOBA on the season. If you are paying up for one bat tonight, make it Trout.
Anytime there is a game in Coors, you can always get a bit of an ownership discount going in another direction. Tonight that is the Astros for me who are facing Sam Gaviglio who has only struck out three batters over his last two starts and is striking out under 20% for the season. On top of that, he enters the night with a 5.18 ERA and 17% HR/FB rate which is a recipe for disaster against a team like the Astros. In the outfield, I will be targeting George Springer who hits leadoff and has rebounded after a poor first half hitting .309 with a .380 on-base percentage since the All-Star break. I will try and get as many Astros in my lineup as possible in all formats starting with Springer and Gurriel.
The Twins are currently neck and neck with the Rockies in implied runs tonight and that says something considering that game is in Coors Field. It has everything to do with the matchup against rookie Spencer Turnbull who they beat up on last week when he made his major league debut scoring six earned runs over four innings. Like Joe Mauer who I already mentioned, Grossman doesn't provide a ton of upside with just five home runs on the season but he is getting a ton of opportunities hitting in the cleanup spot and has been consistent lately with hits in 12 of his last 15 games. He is in play in all formats, especially on FanDuel in the sub $3K range.