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DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday, 4/8/21
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This is my first MLB DFS article of the season, and I can't tell you happy I am to be back! The first week has been beyond crazy, and I'm glad that we have a week of numbers to help analyze this slate. This happens to be a weird one, though, with just nine games in total spread throughout the day. We usually try to focus on the main slate, but with only two games at night, we're going to offer up plays throughout the day. With that in mind, let's get into it!
If you don't think Berrios is the best play on the board here, you need to examine your DFS strategy. In his first start of the season, the 26-year-old threw six no-hit innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. More importantly, he struck out 12 batters en route to 64 FanDuel points. What really adds to Berrios' value here is that he's at home, generating a 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 12.1 K/9 rates at home last season. It's hard to understand why he had such drastic splits, but it's clear that he loves sleeping in his own bed! All of that makes him hard to fade, and we absolutely love this matchup too. The Mariners are currently hitting .193 as a team while posting a gross 31.4 percent K rate. That has Berrios and the Twins entering this matchup as a -190 favorite as well.
Citi Field has turned bad pitchers into solid ones and average pitchers into great ones, becoming the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball. That makes me feel like Walker could be on the cusp of a breakout season because this youngster has flashed moments of brilliance throughout his career. In 11 starts last season, TW pitched to a 2.70 ERA and 1.16 WHIP while striking out 50 batters across 53 innings. That's why the Mets decided to sign this guy, and he threw four scoreless innings in his final spring training start, facing the minimum 12 batters. That form makes him really hard to fade in a matchup like this, with the Marlins ranked 22nd in both runs scored and wOBA while owning one of the worst offenses in baseball last season.
Lance Lynn has been a pleasant surprise the last two years, and he should have no problem dominating a weak Royals lineup.
This guy isn't recognized as one of the best power hitters in our game, but he's just that. That's truly evident in his advanced statistics last season, leading the Twins with a 95.2 MPH exit velocity and a 10.7 barrels per plate appearance rate. Those numbers top the ridiculous things that Nelson Cruz did, showing just how much raw power he possesses. That's led to an absurd .255 career ISO, and we obviously love that he faces a lefty here. Since 2018, Sano has a .555 SLG, and .871 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor and the lack of K stuff from Gonzales makes Sano all the more intriguing.
Trusting stats this early is risky, but Gurriel is simply one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now. Through six games played, Yuli has a .536 OBP and 1.126 OPS. Those numbers are obviously unsustainable, but Gurriel has proven to be a streaky player in the past, and we want to ride him while his bat is scorching. The thing that really makes him enticing here is that he gets to face a lefty, though. Since the beginning of last season, Yuli is hitting over .300 against southpaws and has an OPS just shy of 1.000 against them. That makes him hard to fade against an unknown pitcher like Irvin, who allowed four runs in 4.1 innings against this lineup just last week.
José Altuve FD - 2B 3800 DK - 2B 4700
Opponent - OAK (Cole Irvin) Park - HOU
FD - 14.17 DK - 10.84
Altuve had a terrible 2020 season, but a .320 BA and a .414 OBP in the opening week of 2021 would indicate that the shortened season was a major fluke for the perennial All-Star candidate. This guy is usually $4K on FanDuel and $5K on DraftKings, making him a solid value in the early going. One thing that he's done throughout his career is kill southpaws. In fact, Jose has a .317 BA, .586 SLG, and .965 OPS against lefties since 2019. That's a massive 207 PA sample size, and it's scary for a guy like Irvin, who really struggled in his first game out. That makes him hard to fade, with second base being the weakest position on this slate.
I was stunned to see this price. While Wong has struggled in his first week with the Brewers, he's still the leadoff hitter in a spectacular spot. Some people might see Wainwright's name and see his shocking statistics from last season, but that's the true outlier. Since 2016, Waino has a 4.50 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Those terrible numbers are really worrisome from a 39-year-old, especially with Adam allowing six runs across 2.2 innings in his first start of his season. That makes us love Wong atop this Brewers lineup, with Kolten posting a .366 OBP against right-handers since 2018.
Depending on who starts, Jeff McNeil could be a nice value against the Marlins.
The Red Sox are undoubtedly the best stack of the day, so we have to love their most consistent hitter. That happens to be Bogey, batting in the heart of this lineup that's projected for more than five runs. It's easy to understand why they have such a high projection, with Matt Harvey being one of the worst pitchers in the league over the last five years. In fact, the former Mets standout has a 5.79 ERA and 1.50 WHIP since 2016. Those numbers make it hard to believe that he still has a job, and it should allow Bogey to go off here, getting on base six times over the last two days while posting some of the best numbers in the AL over the last three seasons.
Bo was actually a Top-50 pick in most season-long formats this year, and that's a good indicator of the jump people expect him to take. He's one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball, and he proved it with .307 AVG, .549 SLG, and .896 OPS since his call-up. That makes these price tags hard to understand, especially with Bichette having the ability to swipe some bags as well. What we love is that he found his home run stroke on Tuesday, smashing two dingers in one of the best games of the season. That's bad news for a guy like Griffin Canning, with the Angels righty owning an ugly 1.37 WHIP last season.
Carlos Correa gets the platoon advantage against Irvin and has looked good in this series.
We've discussed a lot about how we want to stack against Irvin, and Bregman is actually the best play of the bunch. We say that because he's one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now, hitting .429 while providing a .762 SLG and 1.240 OPS. Those are obviously some of the best numbers in the Majors, and it's scary to think how much he's abused southpaws throughout his career. Since 2019, Bregman has a .352 BA, .444 OBP, .727 SLG, and 1.170 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor. All of that makes him worth it no matter the price, especially with his .636 OBP against lefties in limited at-bats so far this year.
We obviously love the Red Sox against Matt Harvey, and Devers is probably our favorite play of the bunch. The main reason is that he's one of the only guys who get to hit from the left side. Lefties have bombarded Harvey in his terrible five-year downfall, and it's guys like Devers who have killed his career. Since his call-up, Rafael has a .367 OBP, .591 SLG, and .959 OPS, with the platoon advantage in his favor. Those are some scary numbers against a gas can like Harvey, and it means that he's about $1,000 too cheap on FanDuel with that silly sub-$3K price tag.
Eduardo Escobar gets to hit in Coors Field and is definitely in play in the heart of the D'Backs order.
If you don't already know, Blackmon has made a career of killing right-handers at home. That's been the case with many guys who call Coors Field home, with Charlie hitting .346 at home since 2019 while providing an OPS just south of 1.000. His numbers against right-handers are better throughout his career, too, and he should assume his regular spot as the cleanup for a team that's projected for nearly six runs. That alone makes him hard to fade, and it's not like Merrill Kelly is going to pitch well in Coors Field. He allowed eight baserunners across four innings in his debut and has never flashed ace stuff at any point in his journeyman career.
We're going to keep this one simple. Despite struggling last year, J.D. is one of the best hitters in baseball. He's shown early on just how flukey his 2020 season was, providing a .476 AVG, 1.000 SLG, and 1.522 OPS in the opening week of the season. Those are obviously unsustainable averages, but it proves that last year was the outlier in an otherwise stellar career. We have to love that against Harvey, with the right-hander accruing an 11.57 ERA and 2.74 WHIP last season. This is by far the easiest play on the board, and you'll have to swallow the chalk if you want to use him.
It was unclear who the A's leadoff hitter would be this season, but it appears that Canha has locked up that spot. It might seem like a strange move on the surface, but it's Billy Beane's tricks at its finest. We say that because he had a .387 OBP last season and a .396 OBP the year prior. If you know anything about Moneyball, Beane wants you to get on base! That's why Canha has found himself in this favorable spot in the order, and as long as that remains the case, he should be $500 more on each site. It's not like he's just walking either, providing a .876 OPS since 2018 as well.