Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Chris Durell

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Wednesday 7/24/19

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Justin VerlanderJustin Verlander FD - P 11000 DK - SP 12100
Opponent - OAK (Chris Bassitt) Park - HOU
FD - 45.42 DK - 26.26
Vince VelasquezVince Velasquez FD - P 6400 DK - SP 6200
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - DET
FD - 25.14 DK - 12.93

It isn't the most desirable slate for pitching and the gap in talent is huge at the top so I will be riding with former Cy Young/MVP winner, Justin Verlander. While it has been eight years since those awards, he has since finished runner-up in the Cy Young three more times and since coming to Houston has been one of the elite arms in the league. He comes into tonight with a 2.99 ERA(fourth-best in AL) and supporting 3.63 xFIP but where he really stands out is with his slate-high 32% K rate and 15.7% swinging-strike rate. The A's have been league average in terms of wRC+(100) against righties but this is no ordinary righty and JV showed this when he faced the A's back in June going eight innings, limiting the A's to four hits, one earned run, and struck out eight batters. Verlander is easily my top pitcher in all formats on both slates despite having to value shop at other positions.

For a value SP2, I will be looking to pair Verlander with Vince Velasquez. Despite having a rough start to his season(4.87 ERA, 4.74 xFIP), he has struck out over 26% of batters and faces a Tigers team near dead last in all offensive categories including a K rate just over 26%.

Shane BieberShane Bieber FD - P 10100 DK - SP 10500
Opponent - TOR (Marcus Stroman) Park - TOR
FD - 37.13 DK - 20.38

On the main slate, we have two plus options at the top of the salary in Shane "don't call me Justin" Bieber and Noah "Thor " Syndergaard and while I will have exposure to both tonight, I lean Bieber in cash games. He is #1 in my model tonight and second in raw points behind Verlander on the entire day. He is coming off one of his worst starts of the season against the Royals but has rebounded beautifully this season when giving up 4+ earned runs as he has followed each of those four starts with 9, 15, 7,  and 12 strikeout performances. Overall, he enters Wednesday night with a tidy 3.69 ERA and even better 3.14 xFIP which is fourth-best among all qualified starters in baseball and now faces a rebuilding Jays team that has been well below average against righties this season(.301 wOBA, 86 wRC+, 24% K rate).  All things considered, he is my top pitcher in all formats.

Also Consider: Noah Syndergaard(NYM) as a GPP pivot



Catcher/First Base

Danny SantanaDanny Santana FD - 1B 3400 DK - 2B/OF 5000
Opponent - SEA (Mike Leake) Park - SEA
FD - 10.19 DK - 7.81

Keep in mind here that Santana is listed 2B/OF on DraftKings but I am not really recommending him there anyway. What stands out here is the price differential as he is just $3,400 on FanDuel while over $5K on DraftKings and while it's a small sample size he has been terrific since the All-Star break with hits in seven of nine starts with six multi-hit efforts. Miek Leake has been up and down all season and is coming off a complete-game shutout of the Angels but the Rangers have had his number with 21 hits and 14 earned runs in two previous starts this season. Fire up Santana on FanDuel in all formats.

Also Consider: Trey Mancini(BAL)

Joc PedersonJoc Pederson FD - 1B 3600 DK - 1B/OF 4600
Opponent - LAA (Jaime Barria) Park - LAD
FD - 14.35 DK - 10.75

The Dodgers are easily my top team to target on the main slate for a couple of reasons starting with their monster 5.6 implied run line. The park is not great but they get a terrific matchup against Jaime Barria and while his 7.60 ERA is due to drop, the 4.70 is not great and what I like the most is that he sits with a slate high(by a mile) 1.64 WHIP. Pederson doesn't provide a ton of safety with a .240/.329/.528 slash line but is still somewhat underpriced on FanDuel considering his opportunity at the top of the Dodgers lineup and provides a ton of upside with 23 home runs on the season. I will have a ton of Dodgers, starting with Pederson, in all formats.

Also Consider: Carlos Santana(CLE) on DraftKings where his price has dropped to $4,100(13th most expensive on the slate)

Second Base

Cesar HernandezCesar Hernandez FD - 2B 2500 DK - 2B 3500
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - DET
FD - 10.25 DK - 7.93
Brad MillerBrad Miller FD - 3B 2500 DK - 2B/3B 3600
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - DET
FD - 10.45 DK - 7.85

The Phillies top the implied run projections on the early slate(5.7) and also provide us with some much-needed salary relief. It starts with the matchup against Jordan Zimmerman who has been terrible lately allowing six or more earned runs in three straight starts pushing his ERA up to 7.51 on the season and the xFIP(5.39) is not that much better, all things considered. He doesn't give up a ton of home runs but neither of these guys is targeted for their power. Cesar is a switch hitter who has much better splits against righties with a .299 average, .341 wOBA, and 110 wRC+(.230 avg, 235 wOBA, 40 wRC+ vs. LH) and went into Tuesday's game with hits in four straight and 11 of his last 13 starts(big bump if hitting leadoff). Miller provides little to no upside but has been a decent punt averaging 6.0 DK/8.4 FD points per game over his last five and correlates nicely in the bottom half of the lineup is he and Cesar are hitting back to back.

Also Consider: Eduardo Escobar(ARI) if paying up or Robel Garcia(CHC) if looking for another value play
Kolten WongKolten Wong FD - 2B 2400 DK - 2B 3600
Opponent - PIT (Jordan Lyles) Park - PIT
FD - 8.74 DK - 6.75

I am going to carry over the middle-infield value strategy to the main slate and roll with Kolten Wong. I like targeting him and Dexter Fowler as top values when facing righties who really struggle against left-handed bats and Lyles smashes that profile. He has struggled to a 4.91 ERA/4.32 xFIP overall but has been so bad against lefties with a 5.11 xFIP and giving up a .408 wOBA, .591 SLG, and over two home runs per nine. Take the value in all formats and load up elsewhere.

Also Consider: Jonathan Schoop(MIN) as a GPP play with upside vs. a lefty prone to the home run


Jonathan VillarJonathan Villar FD - SS 3200 DK - 2B/SS 4500
Opponent - ARI (Taylor Clarke) Park - ARI
FD - 10.61 DK - 8.28

I really try to avoid the Orioles at all costs against right-handed pitching but Villar checks too many boxes today. He is one of the few O's with stronger splits against righties as he entered Tuesday night with a .327 wOBA and 103 wRC+ in the split and while that is barely above average, it matches up well tonight. He faces Taylor Clarke who has been knocked around in his rookie season as he enters with a 6.50 ERA, 6.01 xFIP and has given up 11 home runs in 10 starts(17.7% HR/FB rate). Hitting out of the leadoff spot, Villar is my top PTS/$ paly at the position on the early slate.

Also Consider: Elvis Andrus(TEX)

Shortstop is tricky tonight and will require some lineups to come out before any concrete decision can be made. With that said, Francisco Lindor(CLE) stands out at the top as he has been much better against righties(.36 wOBA, 126 wRC+, .246 ISO) and his teammate, Mike Freeman, makes a decent punt on FanDuel if he gets another start. I don't love the matchup as Stroman is an elite ground ball pitcher but the pickings are slim. Dansby Swanson(ATL) stands out much more on FanDuel in the top tier at a $1,000 less than Lindor and hits second in a powerful Braves lineup facing a pitcher in Brad Keller who is prone to the blowup game now and then(4.93 xFIP). Corey Seager(LAD) stands out as a top PTS/$ option as he has heated up since returning after the ASB with hits in six of his last seven starts.

Third Base

Donovan SolanoDonovan Solano FD - 3B 2500 DK - 2B/SS 3600
Opponent - CHC (Jon Lester) Park - SF
FD - 9.26 DK - 7.09

I am not a fan of paying up at third base on the early slate as the top guys have less than intriguing matchups so I will just go all the way down and punt. Solano is one of the top PTS/$ plays, at least on FanDuel, which makes me feel better and adding to that feeling is the fact he entered Tuesday with hits in eight of his last nine games. I am not overthinking it here. If we are paying up for Verlander on the early slate we need a few punts to make it work so let's ride with one who has been decent lately.

Also Consider: Yuli Gurriel(HOU) as my favorite PTS/$ option in the top tier
Tommy EdmanTommy Edman FD - 3B 2700 DK - 2B/3B 4500
Opponent - PIT (Jordan Lyles) Park - PIT
FD - 10.78 DK - 8.26

With all the injuries to the Cardinals, utility player, Tommy Edman, has gotten a ton of playing time and while the price has caught up on DraftKings, he is still a terrific value on Fanduel. He doesn't walk(2.2%) really at all which keeps his OBP(.293) in the "cover your eyes" territory but he is getting a ton of opportunity hitting leadoff in front of a finally heating up(?) Paul Goldschmidt. More good news as he has been better lately with hits in five of his last six games going into Tuesday night. The decision is tougher on DraftKings but at his price on FanDuel, he is in play in all formats.

Also Consider: Miguel Sano(MIN) as a high upside GPP play or Colin Moran(PIT) as a value play


Bryce HarperBryce Harper FD - OF 4100 DK - OF 4500
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - DET
FD - 14.95 DK - 11.09

I talked about the plus matchup against Zimmerman above and the other Phillies bat I am locking in on today is Bryce Harper. I get he has been underwhelming once again with a .258 average and career-high 26.5% K rate but he has been much better as of late with a .306/.395/.528 slash line since the All-Star break that includes five multi-hit efforts. He is also coming a bit on the low end of his salary trend, especially on DraftKings where he is one of the top PTS/$ plays in the system. I will have exposure in all formats.

Also Consider: Domingo Santana(SEA) as a GPP pivot with strong splits against lefties or Nomar Mazara(TEX) as a value play

A.J. PollockA.J. Pollock FD - OF 3700 DK - OF 4400
Opponent - LAA (Jaime Barria) Park - LAD
FD - 12.26 DK - 9.37
Alex VerdugoAlex Verdugo FD - OF 3000 DK - OF 4200
Opponent - LAA (Jaime Barria) Park - LAD
FD - 11.59 DK - 8.96

The Dodgers are my top team to target tonight and have two very affordable options in the outfield. It starts with A.J. Pollock who saw his season shortened by 2.5 months due to injury but has been terrific since returning with hits in six of nine games(.406/.459/.813 slash line) since the All-Star break with five of those multi-hit efforts and the power is back as well as he has four home runs in that time. Verdugo comes quite a bit cheaper on FanDuel and also gets a boost hitting second in the lineup behind Pederson and in front of Turner, Bellinger, and Muncy. Both players are top plays in all formats.

Also Consider: Dexter Fowler(STL) as a value play against Jordan Lyles who struggles against lefties


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