Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Chris Durell

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday 8/22/19

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Gerrit ColeGerrit Cole FD - P 12200 DK - SP 12000
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - HOU
FD - 54.97 DK - 31.25

Paying up for pitching is a little easier today and that is good news as we are loaded with aces on the bump. My top play of all of them is easily Gerrit Cole who checks every single box imaginable starting with the Astros opening as a massive -475 favorite. That is is in large part due to the matchup against a Tigers team that has scored a league-low 136 runs in the second half with an ugly .293 wOBA, 80 wRC+, and 27% K rate. For Cole, he trails only Charlie Morton and teammate Justin Verlander in ERA(2.81) in the American League and his 2.82 xFIP leads all qualified starters in baseball. Not only has he produced a sky-high floor holding opponents to two or fewer earned runs in five straight and 13 of his last 14 starts but he also has arguably the highest upside in baseball with a 36.8% K rate and 15.6% swinging-strike rate. If you have the salary and can sacrifice the bats tonight, Cole is my top pitcher in all formats.

Mike SorokaMike Soroka FD - P 9300 DK - SP 10000
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - ATL
FD - 34.21 DK - 18.12

While Soroka might not have anywhere near the same upside(19.7% K rate) as Cole, he comes at a huge discount and also has an elite matchup. The Braves open as -265 favorites at home vs. the Marlins who are neck and neck with the Tigers as the worst offense in baseball and rank last or second last against right-handed pitching with a .283 wOBA, 75 wRC+, .124 ISO, and 25% K rate. For Soroka, he has had a few blips on the radar in his rookie season but still offers a fairly high floor(for the price) averaging over six innings per start this season with and enters tonight with a very impressive 2.41 ERA and while it is a bit run-hot the xFIP(3.91) is still in a good spot as he just doesn't walk many batters overall(6.1%). All things considered, Soroka should be considered a top option on this slate from a PTS/$ perspective and is in play in all formats.
Aaron CivaleAaron Civale FD - P 8500 DK - SP 6200
Opponent - NYM (Noah Syndergaard) Park - NYM
FD - 28.21 DK - 14.78

We have a huge price differential on Aaron Civale tonight which puts him firmly on the SP2 radar on DraftKings tonight. Since being recalled at the start of August, he has allowed just four earned runs across three starts which include back to back road starts against Top 3 offenses in Boston and Minnesota. At his price on DraftKings, we are looking for a floor of about 12 points(2x) and he has hit that in all four starts this season even in Boston when he allowed eight hits with just four K's. Getting the win is going to be tough going up against Noah Syndergaard but he should be able to do more than enough to pay off his price tonight and is our top PTS/$ value on DraftKings.



Catcher/First Base

Yuli GurrielYuli Gurriel FD - 1B 3600 DK - 1B/3B 5100
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - HOU
FD - 11.54 DK - 8.94

The Astros currently sit with the highest implied runs on the slate and will be a core team to target tonight. They are expensive across the board but one player who stands out right off the top is Gurriel who is still in the mid $3K range on FanDuel and near the top of our PTS/$ rankings tonight. He has been consistent all season but even better in the second half where he has posted an elite .374/.413/.705 slash line with 11 home runs and 38 RBI over 35 games. In previous years we targeted him against lefty pitching but he has been much better against righties this season with a .378 wOBA, 142 wRC+, and .924 OPS. He is a core play for me on FanDuel and if using him on DraftKings in GPP formats, he is also eligible at third base.
Yan GomesYan Gomes FD - C 2900 DK - C 3200
Opponent - PIT (Steven Brault) Park - PIT
FD - 9.65 DK - 7.36
Kurt SuzukiKurt Suzuki FD - C 2500 DK - C 4400
Opponent - PIT (Steven Brault) Park - PIT
FD - 10.07 DK - 7.71

At catcher, I will be turning to whichever Nationals catcher gets the start as they both have strong splits against left-handed pitching.

Suzuki - .436 wOBA, 169 wRC+, .369 ISO
Gomes - .397 wOBA, 143 wRC+, .235 ISO

Both players have also been solid in the short term with three-game hitting streaks and face Steven Brault who has been running hot on the ERA(4.06) considering he sits with a 5.12 xFIP and also gives team a ton of opportunities to score with a 1.42 WHIP. Whoever gets the start will be my top catcher on DraftKings and both can be considered GPP plays on FanDuel as a part of a Nationals stack.

Also Consider: Howie Kendrick(WSH) on FanDuel as he not only has strong splits vs. lefties but is also underpriced in the sub $3K range

Second Base

Ozzie AlbiesOzzie Albies FD - 2B 3300 DK - 2B 4600
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - ATL
FD - 13.88 DK - 10.74

Jose Altuve is way out in front in terms of raw points projections but comes with a hefty price tag pushing me in another direction, at least in cash games. The first place I will turn is Ozzie Albies and while he has cooled down a bit over the last couple of weeks he gets a ton of opportunities hitting second behind Acuna and in front of Freeman and the Braves are one of just three teams with an implied run projection of six or more. Albies is second behind Altuve in raw points and also second to my next write-up in PTS/$ value and safe in all formats.
Nick SolakNick Solak FD - 2B 2400 DK - 2B 3600
Opponent - CHW (Ross Detwiler) Park - CHW
FD - 10.69 DK - 8.18

The former Yankees 2nd round pick, Nick Solak has made a fairly quick trip to majors despite it being his third in team three years. The Rangers called him up on Tuesday and he started his career with a hit in both games including his first home run in the second game and followed that up with two doubles yesterday. If he is back in the lineup on Thursday like projected, he is our top PTS/$ play at the position against a struggling Ross Detwiler(6.10 ERA/5.05 xFIP) and in play in all formats allowing us to pay up at other key positions.

Also Consider: Eric Sogard(TB) as a GPP pivot from Altuve and Albies as a part of a Rays stack


Elvis AndrusElvis Andrus FD - SS 3100 DK - SS 4300
Opponent - CHW (Ross Detwiler) Park - CHW
FD - 12.29 DK - 9.57

At shortstop, I am drawn to the mid-tier of pricing and it starts with Elvis Andrus of the Rangers. First of all, this game has the highest total(10.5) of the night as the Rangers will be facing Ross Detwiler who owns a 6.10 ERA/5.05 xFIP while bouncing around between the bullpen and rotation. For Andrus, he hasn't been great this season but he hasn't been bad either hitting .282 overall and comes in with hits in seven of his last eight games. I am not in love with this pick but Andrus is better against lefties and hits near the top of the order on a team projected for close to six runs tonight. He is best used in cash games or as a part of a full Texas stack in GPP.
Corey SeagerCorey Seager FD - SS 3400 DK - SS 4500
Opponent - TOR (Jacob Waguespack) Park - LAD
FD - 12.37 DK - 9.42

The Dodgers have taken the first two games and while the final game of the series has just a 9.0 over/under the Dodgers still sit Top 5 in implied runs(5.6) making them an excellent target again tonight. Jacob Waguespack has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise to the Jays but has overperformed seeing as his xFIP(5.05) is almost a full run higher than his ERA(4.20) through nine appearances(six starts). Seager comes to us in that second tier of pricing at one of the tougher positions to fill tonight and he also comes in with hits in eight of his last nine games including back to back multi-hit efforts against the Blue Jays. Seager is in play in all formats.

Also Consider: Trea Turner(WSH) if you have the salary to pay up

Third Base

Justin TurnerJustin Turner FD 3400 DK 4700
Opponent - TOR (Jacob Waguespack) Park - TOR
FD - 13.01 DK - 9.89
Josh DonaldsonJosh Donaldson FD 3500 DK 4700
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - MIA
FD - 13.09 DK - 9.78

The system has these two projected almost exactly the same today and they are the same price on both sites si stake your pick. Let's start with Justin Turner who has been consistent all season with a .296/.381/.508 slash line and comes into this matchup with the Jays on a tear with not only hits in six of his last eight games but five of those games were of the multi-hit variety and he also added five long balls in that time. Turner also matches up well against Waguespack who is a reverse splits pitcher while Turner has been much better against righties this season with a .383 wOBA, 140 wRC+, and 49% hard contact rate. Donaldson has been equally consistent with his in 18 of his last 21 games and while the average(.267) is nothing to write home about he does get on base at an elite rate(.384 OBP) and has gotten back to the power numbers(29 HR) that we saw in his time with Toronto. Both players are safe in all formats and on FanDuel you could even consider running both of them.


Tommy PhamTommy Pham FD - OF 3900 DK - OF 5000
Opponent - BAL (Asher Wojciechowski) Park - BAL
FD - 13.88 DK - 10.56
Austin MeadowsAustin Meadows FD - OF 3700 DK - OF 4800
Opponent - BAL (Asher Wojciechowski) Park - BAL
FD - 13.3 DK - 10.26

The Rays have themselves sitting in the second wildcard spot as they will start a four-game series against Orioles who have, by far, the worst pitching staff in baseball. This is great news for their playoff chances but better news for our DFS lineups as they are a very affordable team to stack. I am going to focus my Tampa Bay builds on these two outfielders as they have both been very consistent entering the night each with a .350+ wOBA and 120+ wrC+. Pham is coming off an 0 for 3 yesterday against the Mariners but still managed a walk, two stolen bases, and a run showing us his high floor. For cash games, if you are choosing just one, I lean Meadows who is cheaper on both sites and Wojciechowski has been much worse against lefties with a .368 wOBA, .583 SLG, and 2.86 HR/9 against.
Michael BrantleyMichael Brantley FD - OF 4000 DK - OF 5300
Opponent - DET (Jordan Zimmermann) Park - HOU
FD - 13.98 DK - 10.76

I mentioned the Astros being our top projected offense tonight and in their loaded outfield, I will be targeting Brantley the most fora couple reasons starting with the fact he comes the cheapest of the three. He has also been red-hot lately as he entered Wednesday's game with a 14-game hitting streak which includes nine multi-hit efforts and 17 runs scored. We also want to be targeting left-handed bats against Zimmermann as he is giving up an ugly .386 wOBA, .526 SLG, and 44% hard contact in the split. Brantley is in play in all formats.
Matt JoyceMatt Joyce FD - OF 2100 DK - OF 4000
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - ATL
FD - 10.89 DK - 8.34
Rafael OrtegaRafael Ortega FD - OF 2500 DK - OF 3700
Opponent - MIA (Sandy Alcantara) Park - ATL
FD - 9.62 DK - 7.49

The Braves outfield depth has taken a huge hit lately with injuries to Markakis, Inciarte, and Riley and that has opened up opportunities for Matt Joyce and Rafael Ortega who both come cheap tonight, especially on FanDuel. Let's start with Joyce who has hit 6th in the order in each of his last two starts and enters the night with hits in five straight starts. While I trust Joyce and his .371 OBP in cash games, I would reserve Ortega as a GPP only play if you need the savings and are looking for correlation in their batting order.



3 Visitor Comments

  1. Great article! Filled with a ton of Value plays. This is the type of information I’m looking for. I am a tournament and gpp player and I’m always looking for sneaky value. Thanks for the info and please keep this up. Good luck

    • Thanks for the feedback, Big Al. I will continue this sort of format when I do the article Weds/Thurs moving forward. Make sure to grab a copy of my cheatsheet as well which has all my top core, GPP, and value plays.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Ok Chris. Where can i find the cheat sheet on a daily basis?

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