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Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

07/19/2019
James Davis

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Saturday 7/20/19

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Pitchers

Clayton KershawClayton Kershaw FD - P 10800 DK - SP 11000
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - LAD
FD - 41.89 DK - 22.88
Your clear cut high floor option for Saturday night. Kershaw is the biggest favorite on the slate at -310, and he'll be up against the second worst offense against left handed pitching in the Miami Marlins. The Fish are a league average team when it comes to striking out, but they are so bad at scoring runs that you just have to deal with it. While Kershaw isn't the world beater he was in the earlier stages of his career, this late model is still plenty effective. He's pairing pin point control (1.54 BB/9) with an adequate 8.40 K/9, and has a career high 52.1% ground ball rate. Kershaw is plenty affordable on both sites, and is simply a terrific option.

Luis CastilloLuis Castillo FD - P 10500 DK - 11200
Opponent - STL (Miles Mikolas) Park - CIN
FD - 35.22 DK - 19.33
After Kershaw things get a little bit dicier. You almost have to grab a volatile option wherever you look, so why not grab the highest upside on the slate while you're at it? While it's true that Castillo's 4.50 BB/9 isn't ace level, his 10.77 K/9 is. His 55.9% groundball rate helps erase a lot of those walks, and his 3.72 xFIP still paints the picture of a plenty effective pitcher. Castillo is only a -135 favorite, but the Cardinals are a bottom 7 team in the league vs. righties this season, and I'd guess Castillo is the best bet for a 10 strikeout game on this slate.

Griffin CanningGriffin Canning FD - P 6900 DK - SP 8700
Opponent - SEA (Undecided) Park - SEA
FD - 31.79 DK - 16.57

So you need a pitcher two, you say? Griffin Canning is a slightly better bet than most rookie pitchers in that he entered the league as a top 100 prospect on FanGraphs, and he looks like a credible strikeout per inning guy. He's only going a hair over 5 innings per start right now, but the big time K stuff can help get you enough points to make up the difference. Canning isn't a control master with slightly more than 3 BB/9, but his biggest risk factor is the long ball, with his 35.6% walk rate leading to a 1.76 HR/9 so far this season. The Mariners are a league average match-up with a top 7 K rate, and I'm fine running Canning as a cheaper pitcher two option.

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Catcher/First Base

J.T. RealmutoJ.T. Realmuto FD - C 3000 DK - C 4100
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - PIT
FD - 11.42 DK - 8.76
If you must play a catcher, why not Realmuto? He's cheap, and is still a top five fantasy catcher this season in spite of being worse than many expected. Trevor Williams is a great target to stack against for DFS purposes as well, checking all three boxes we're looking for when it comes to searching for upside: a low K rate, a low walk rate, and a low ground ball rate. Realmuto is a great way to get a high floor at a rough position.

Joc PedersonJoc Pederson FD - 1B 2900 DK - 1B/OF 4200
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - LAD
FD - 13.94 DK - 10.44

With Pederson now qualifying at first base on FanDuel, he immediately enters the discussion as the premier cheap option with upside at the position when he's facing a righty. With a comical .529 OPS point split between when he's facing a righty or a lefty Pederson is always a risk to get pulled early if the opposing team decides to throw a LOOGY at him, but that happens less often than you might think. Alcantara looks like a league average pitcher with his 3.94 ERA, but he's actually much worse than that if you look more closely. The 6.37 K/9 and 4.11 BB/9 aren't going to yield a sub 4 ERA pitcher long term, and I love grabbing the Dodgers here.

Freddie FreemanFreddie Freeman FD - 1B 4000 DK - 1B 4900
Opponent - WSH (Anibal Sanchez) Park - ATL
FD - 14.09 DK - 10.68

Speaking of pitchers who can't possibly sustain their ERA, we have Anibal Sanchez. His 5.09 xFIP is 1.38 points ahead of his ERA, and he's skating by almost entirely on a .267 BABIP that is .030 points below his established levels and a home run rate far below what you'd expect for a guy who is only generating groundballs 34.3% of the time. Freeman, meanwhile, is just marching along in another season of his excellent prime, and is still the same .950-.985 OPS guy he's been for four years. If you can afford him, he's an excellent bet against Anibal Sanchez.

Second Base

Max MuncyMax Muncy FD - 2B 3800 DK - 1B/2B 4700
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - LAD
FD - 12.64 DK - 9.41

Muncy has been one of the premier options at second base for a while, as his .900 OPS out of a terrible position is often too good to ignore. With an OPS .050 points higher against righties this season (in spite of some bad BABIP luck against them) Muncy is a great option to beat up on Alcantara here. The only question will be whether you can really afford to pay up here given some relatively high floor options at cheaper price points.

Cesar HernandezCesar Hernandez FD - 2B 2500 DK - 2B 3500
Opponent - PIT (Trevor Williams) Park - PIT
FD - 9.57 DK - 7.4
Ozzie AlbiesOzzie Albies FD - 2B 3200 DK - 2B 4200
Opponent - WSH (Anibal Sanchez) Park - ATL
FD - 11.46 DK - 8.87

Two solid cheap options that will likely be batting sixth in games with high totals against bad pitchers. They're both switch hitters as well! Our system gives the slight nod to Hernandez here for a couple reasons. The first is the cheaper price point, and the second is that he is slightly better against right handed pitchers whereas Albies is significantly worse against them. All in all it's tough to go too wrong with either, and I think you can make a decision based on available salary and if you want to stack them with any other guys in your lineup.

Shortstop

Francisco LindorFrancisco Lindor FD - SS 4000 DK - SS 4600
Opponent - KC (Jake Junis) Park - CLE
FD - 15.66 DK - 11.94
I love Lindor today, even if I'm not sure you can afford him. The switch hitting superstar has been slightly better against lefties for his career, but he's blistering righties for an .892 OPS and 12 of his 15 home runs this year. Junis, meanwhile, is just a slightly worse version of the already mediocre pitcher he was last year, as he's added a full walk per nine innings while not getting better elsewhere. His 4.58 xFIP portrays him as a below league average innings eater, and Lindor should have his way here.

Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD - SS 2900 DK - SS 3800
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - LAD
FD - 11.58 DK - 8.83

The Dodgers train rolls on. Our system has loved Seager as an undervalued option for quite some time, and this game is no exception. We already gave you the dirt on Alcantara, so let's focus on Seager. He's run his OPS up to a more than solid .800 after a blistering hot June that saw him put up a 1.140 OPS. He's also a dramatic platoon guy as well, with a .919 OPS against righties and a .579 OPS against lefties. I think he's close to a must for cash games given the upside and the low price point.

Third Base

Colin MoranColin Moran FD - 3B 2600 DK - 3B 3800
Opponent - PHI (Zach Eflin) Park - PIT
FD - 10.86 DK - 8.35
We're going to be slumming a little bit at third base today, but I'm actually a pretty big fan of Colin Moran. The Pirates' 26 year old third baseman was FanGraphs' 53rd overall prospect coming into 2018, and he posted an OBP heavy .747 OPS that left fantasy owners largely disappointed. While it's true that he won't ever be a 40 homer guy, Moran still possesses an .800 OPS and bats fifth, which is a combination that is simply worth more than $3k on FanDuel. Eflin is a decent young pitcher, but he's taken a step back this year, shedding 1.2 K/9 while adding .4 HR/9. I think the Pirates are a sneaky good stack here.

Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD - 3B 3500 DK - 3B 4900
Opponent - WSH (Anibal Sanchez) Park - ATL
FD - 12.74 DK - 9.52

I'm pretty attached to the idea of playing Moran here, but Donaldson is a good consolation prize even if it's a higher price point. His .264 ISO is back near his peak Blue Jays numbers, and he's probably running a little bad on the batting average as well. He'll be batting clean-up once again, and as he's matured Donaldson has gotten a lot less reliant on crushing lefties for his gaudy numbers. His .920 OPS against righties this year is excellent, and that trend should continue against Sanchez.

Outfield

J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez FD - OF 3900 DK - OF 4700
Opponent - BAL (Thomas Eshelman) Park - BAL
FD - 17.98 DK - 13.5
Mookie BettsMookie Betts FD - OF 4700 DK - OF 5300
Opponent - BAL (Thomas Eshelman) Park - BAL
FD - 19.12 DK - 14.55
It's taken us a while to get to any Red Sox, and that's primarily due to our system having a little bit of sticker shock at the prices. The talent of the entire offense is undeniable, but the pricing makes it tough for cash games. We'll touch briefly on the match-up here, in case you aren't familiar with the works of Thomas Eshelman. The 25 year old righty had a 5.99 xFIP with the Orioles in AAA in 24.1 innings, which made them think he would be a good choice for the Major League roster. Since getting called up he's managed a sub 5 xFIP, but the profile of sub 6 K/9, sub 2 BB/9 and sub 40% ground ball rate makes him another prime target to stack against.

Nelson CruzNelson Cruz FD - OF 3900 DK - OF 4500
Opponent - OAK (Brett Anderson) Park - MIN
FD - 14.24 DK - 10.71
We used to write Nelson Cruz up every time he faced a lefty, and now we're doing it a little more sparingly. He'll certainly be showing up here when he faces guys like Brett Anderson, though. His 4.53 K/9 is the lowest among qualified starters this season by more than a whole K/9, which is a pretty astounding feat. His 52.9% ground ball rate is still solid, but nothing like the 60%+ numbers he was capable of in his prime. The Twins should be putting a beating on him here, and a heavy platoon guy like Cruz should be featured front and center.

Ronald AcunaRonald Acuna FD - OF 4000 DK - OF 5100
Opponent - WSH (Anibal Sanchez) Park - ATL
FD - 14.53 DK - 11.13
More Braves for you to invest in! Acuna is one of the best young bats in the game, and he'll be bringing his 30/30 talent to bear against Anibal Sanchez. A great pay-up option that actually saves you a little bit compared to some other superstars. A bargain without sacrificing any of the upside? Sign me up.

Jesse WinkerJesse Winker FD - OF 2900 DK - OF 3600
Opponent - STL (Miles Mikolas) Park - CIN
FD - 11.11 DK - 8.45

Realistically you won't be able to pay up everywhere, and our system is very high on grabbing the Reds against Mikolas here. Winker isn't the all-world on base machine he looked like he might be last year, but he's still got an excellent approach for a 25 year old, and he will be batting lead ff against Mikolas here. For his part, Mikolas has gone almost full pumpkin this year, showing slight declines in every category while not having a lot of margin for error on his already shaky peripherals. His 4.17 xFIP paints the picture of a slightly below league average pitcher here, and the low K rate and BB rate make him an excellent target to stack against as well.

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