Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Austyn Varney

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks - Monday 4/1/19

Monday's baseball action brings us a few games spread throughout the day and then an evening slate. We've got you covered with a breakdown of everything you need to know for the day to get you started on FanDuel and DraftKings.

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Touching on the early slate


Mike ClevingerMike Clevinger FD 10000 DK 8700
Opponent - CHW (Ivan Nova) Park - CLE
FD - 38.91 DK - 20.91
Clevinger is really the only legitimate cash game option on this early slate. Chris Archer, Adam Wainwright, and Ivan Nova all have a chance to have solid games, but none are facing a team with a 3.15 projected total. He's one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, finishing 2018 with more than a strikeout per inning while averaging 6.25 innings per start. Now he gets to face off against one of the most K-happy lineups in baseball who also project to rank in the bottom five against right-handed pitching.

He's a -174 favorite at home, giving him the best win odds of the early slate. If you must go elsewhere, Archer is interesting against the Cardinals. His strikeout pitch has been working throughout the spring and we will see if it works against the Cards here. He’s always one of the most volatile pitchers and can give it all up in a matter of minutes.

Wainwright and Nova aren’t on my list, though neither are bad pitchers by any means. They’re just the weakest links on this slate and we have to target hitters on the other side as well. Personally, I’ll do my best to get 100% Clevinger. I feel he’s far safer than the field and I’m comfortable making up that salary elsewhere.


Jose RamirezJose Ramirez FD 4400 DK 5300
Opponent - CHW (Ivan Nova) Park - CLE
FD - 12.75 DK - 9.65
Carlos SantanaCarlos Santana FD 3500 DK 4400
Opponent - CHW (Ivan Nova) Park - CLE
FD - 10.36 DK - 7.73
Tyler NaquinTyler Naquin FD 2200 DK 3900
Opponent - CHW (Ivan Nova) Park - CLE
FD - 8.29 DK - 6.38
None of these four pitchers are gas cans, but there are definitely some spots to target. The first of which is left-handers against Ivan Nova. Since the beginning of 2017, Nova has allowed a .360 wOBA and 5.12 xFIP to opposing lefties. He also only strikes out 4.5 batters per 9 innings and has a HR/9 rate close to 2. He is known to make mistakes up in the zone and these Indians hitters will make them pay. Ramirez is the top hitter on the slate and should be universally owned. Naquin is going to be the top value play if he's hitting near the top of the lineup and I don't see how he doesn't end up in everyone's cash game. There are going to be a lot of popular plays with just two games, so you'll have to get different from the crowd in just a couple of spots.

Corey DickersonCorey Dickerson FD 3500 DK 4200
Opponent - STL (Adam Wainwright) Park - PIT
FD - 9.52 DK - 7.37
Adam FrazierAdam Frazier FD 2700 DK 4000
Opponent - STL (Adam Wainwright) Park - PIT
FD - 9.31 DK - 7.22
Josh BellJosh Bell FD 2800 DK 3900
Opponent - STL (Adam Wainwright) Park - PIT
FD - 8.99 DK - 6.82
If Wainwright is pitching on a main slate, I don't think I end up with any batters against him. He's not a bad pitcher and will often finesse his way to 5 or 6 decent innings. With only two games, however, you'll have to target Waino quite a bit. He's been a below average pitcher for three straight years now and ended up with a combined .342 wOBA since 2017. The Pirates have the second-highest projected total on the slate and Corey Dickerson is my favorite hitter on the team. Adam Frazier should be leading off and has a ton of upside for a solid price. Josh Bell is a switch-hitter who prefers hitting against righties and is affordable across the slate. Mike Clevinger is pretty expensive, so we'll have to save in a few other spots than Tyler Naquin.

Main Slate


Julio UriasJulio Urias FD 7200 DK 8700
Opponent - SF (Drew Pomeranz) Park - LAD
FD - 34.06 DK - 17.88
The San Francisco Giants are going to finish right there with the Marlins and Orioles for the worst lineup in baseball. Against lefties, I think the Giants may take the crappy cake. Already a left-handed heavy lineup, Longoria and Posey are their two lone bright spots and neither are on the right side of their career. The rest of the order will be filled with guys like Duggar, Belt, Panik, and Parra. A whole bunch of contact lefties that can strikeout and don’t offer much power upside vs LHP.

Since coming in the majors, Urias has been up and down. Most of that can be blamed on injuries as he’s been dinged up since entering the league and finally had surgery on his left shoulder. He’s supposedly been a lot better ever since and pitched great during the spring. I wouldn’t take a flier if the match-up wasn’t so good, because I do see the Dodgers limiting Urias to 5 or 6 innings. I just think the innings are relatively effortless and a win shouldn’t be tough either if he get can through five. He’s fairly priced across the board and doesn’t make for a bad play in either format. At -200, he has the best win odds of the main slate.

Matt StrahmMatt Strahm FD 6400 DK 9200
Opponent - ARI (Merrill Kelly) Park - ARI
FD - 32.95 DK - 17.44
Matt Strahm is an interesting pitcher that is going to be one of the more fun developments to watch in San Diego. We saw Chris Paddack strikeout seven in five innings on Sunday and this young staff could do damage this seaosn. Strahm is transitioning between a starter and reliever, so may face a 5 or 6 innings cap, but those innings may be tremendous. Strahm entered spring training fighting for a job. He proceeded to go nine scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts. Strahm was mostly a reliever last season, but in his four starts Strahm struck out 16 batters in 11 innings. He secured his spot in the rotation for this season and gives the Padres something to talk about on the pitching end.

On Monday, he gets to face off with the Diamondbacks in pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Without the bats of Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, this lineup is just a shell of its former self. Adam Jones and Wilmer Flores are platoon specialists and nothing to be worried about if not protected. The rest of the order is laughable and Strahm shouldn’t have a tough time at least reaching value at his affordable price tag. This is a slate without a single concrete pitcher, so my favorite may be taking Strahm and playing whatever bats I want. The Diamondbacks have the second-lowest projected run total on the slate (3.4) and Strahm makes for a solid cash game option.

Steven MatzSteven Matz FD 8200 DK 8300
Opponent - MIA (Caleb Smith) Park - MIA
FD - 32.77 DK - 17.25
If you’re looking to pay up, Steven Matz is worth considering. As someone who first hand witnessed him get shelled by the Marlins in spring, he didn’t look good. That being said, we know he can switch it on out of nowhere and if he’s on his game, this Marlins lineup is no match. Matz has an upper tier arsenal, striking out close to a batter an inning in his 30 starts in 2018. His issues come with command and then making a mistake with runners on base. It helps here that he gets a very weak Marlins squad that ranked 29th in wOB against lefty pitching in 2018 and didn't make any meaningful additions to their lineup. Matz won't break the bank on either slate and carries a higher fantasy floor because of the peripherals and matchup.

Team Cash Stacks

Houston AstrosHouston Astros

Park - TEX
Opposing Pitcher - TEX (Drew Smyly)
Vegas Implied Run Total - 5.25

Potential Players to Stack

George Springer (FD $4400 DK $4800)
Alex Bregman (FD $4300 DK $5000)
Jose Altuve (FD $4400 DK $5200)
Carlos Correa (FD $3400 DK $4800)

Drew Smyly hasn’t pitched since 2016 after undergoing, you guessed it, Tommy John surgery. He was great in ‘16, but it’s three years later and his first test will be the right-handed mashing Houston Astros. Even if Smyly is 80% of his former self (he won’t be), this Astros team is still a match-up made in hell. They will toss out 7-8 righties and Michael Brantley.

The Astros have actually struggled to start the season, going 1-3 in their first series. The one win and only time they scored over 5 runs? Against Blake Snell, a lefty. One of the best in the entire league. They’ve been waiting a week for another and now it’ll come in the form of rehabbing Drew Smyly. The usual suspects at the top are the elite three with Bregman, Altuve, Correa, and Springer. You can also go way off the board and ignore one of the more popular three options. Correa and Springer can fail while the rest of the team succeeds. I’m not stacking the ‘Stros without Altuve. They go as he goes.

Toronto Blue JaysToronto Blue Jays

Park - TOR
Opposing Pitcher - BAL (David Hess)
Vegas Implied Run Total - 5.15

Potential Players to Stack

Justin Smoak (FD $3600 DK $4200)
Randal Grichuk (FD $2900 DK $4500)
Brandon Drury (FD $2200 DK $3600)
Teoscar Hernandez (FD $3000 DK $4200)

David Hess was originally scheduled to make his first appearance of the season tonight. He instead came on in relief a few nights ago and pitched two scoreless innings. That all but confirms this will be a bullpen game for a team that used its best arms out of the pen last game and has used up 12 bullpen innings in it's last two games.

This Orioles pitching is a special type of terrible and it’s going to catch up to them before long. The Blue Jays are a young and powerful team, but fly under the radar and should dictate more than 5 or 10% ownership as a group. Hess sported a .350 wOBA allowed to both sides of the plate and gave up 22 long balls in just over 100 innings.

The Blue Jays havea 5.2 Vegas implied run line and are possibly my favorite under the radar stack. They were chalky plays on Sunday but underperformed which could lead to lower ownership on Monday.

As a switch-hitter and overall stud, Justin Smoak is the top hitter. He’s surrounded by Grichuk, Drury, Hernandez, and Gurriel. All are viable ways to miss and match around Smoak. They’re cheap across the industry and have as high of a ceiling as anyone.

Los Angeles DodgersLos Angeles Dodgers

Park - LAD
Opposing Pitcher - SF (Drew Pomeranz)
Vegas Implied Run Total - 4.76

Potential Players to Stack

Justin Turner (FD $4000 DK $4200)
Kike Hernandez (FD $3300 DK $4000)
A.J. Pollock (FD $3500 DK $4300)
David Freese (FD $2100 DK $3700)

Pomeranz is nowhere near the pitcher he once was. He's deceitfully bad against lefties and just obviously bad against righties. In 2018, he allowed a .401 wOBA and 12 homers in just 57 innings. A 5+ xFIP against both sides of the plate certainly doesn’t help the cause, either. He was smacked around to a 35% hard contact rate and hasn’t show any signs of regressing to any mean. He looked pretty solid against spring training bats, but so did a few of the other guys the Dodgers have brutalized.

They’ll toss out a right-handed heavy lineup and you’ll have to like it in tournaments or you'll be on a very scary island. Depending on who finds the order, Turner, Hernandez, Freese, and Pollock are the favorites. They’re closely followed by Bellinger and Taylor. The Dodgers will fill this lineup with potential and I don’t think Pomeranz finds his way out of the fifth inning. You can fire away lefties with hopes that the Giants bring out some right-handed bullpen arms.

Additional Values

Mike TroutMike Trout FD 4900 DK 5600
Opponent - SEA (Felix Hernandez) Park - SEA
FD - 14.85 DK - 11.09
If you need one guy to pay up for, it's still Mike Trout for me. I think you can make a case for Martinez or Betts against Aaron Brooks, but I prefer Trout. Let's get the storyline out of the way first. Trout has owned Felix Hernandez over the course of his career, going 31 for 83 with 8 home runs. Hernandez is now older than he ever has been, so we can only assume this is the weakest form of King Felix that Trout has faced. Trout is seeing the ball as clear as ever and I'll be doing my best to fit him into each and every one of my lineups.

Rafael DeversRafael Devers FD 3100 DK 4500
Opponent - OAK (Aaron Brooks) Park - OAK
FD - 10.9 DK - 8.28
Devers is going to be slotted between Betts and Martinez, and is a whole $1k cheaper than both. He smacked 21 homers in 2018 and underperformed his .324 wOBA. His 35% hard contact rate and 38% pull rate, he's going to start driving closer to that .400 wOBA number. There are a ton of bats on this slate, but I think Devers may go overlooked and he could be a slate breaker.


2 Visitor Comments

  1. Guys the Toronto Blue AGAIN! They have pla6ed 4 home games against the Detroit Tigers and have scored a total of 12 runs and you have written them up every day. Not sure if you have bumped your heads or you just don’t like money………. I am waiting for April Fools! 157 more days of Justin Smoak and Brandon Drury is going to be brutal.

    • It’s tough to ignore a team getting solid matchups everyday. I do agree that this Jays team is not the Jays of old. So expecting them to put up big numbers like they used to may just be dreaming. But even the Astros have put up some stinkers in the past couple of games. Baseball is a fail sport…just how it goes some times.

      If anything tonight I’d focus on the lefties McKinney, Smoak, and Rowdy Roddy Teliz. Mostly because Hess has struggled against LHB’s his entire career.

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