Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Thursday, 4/22
Yesterday was insane with 15 MLB games and 12 NBA matchups, but this slate is much lighter. We have just eight games for the day, with five games making up the night slate. That's a rather small ledger for MLB, and it leaves us with some lackluster pitching options. With that said, we have one of the best aces in the Majors taking the mound, so let's kick things off with him!
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If you think Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher in Los Angeles, you need to examine your thoughts. This kid is a downright ace, pitching to a 2.98 ERA and 1.00 WHIP since 2018. That's an amazing 374-inning sample size, striking out 420 batters in that time. That happens to be one of the best K rates in that span among starters, making him the easiest option on an otherwise weak slate. San Diego has a good offense on paper, but they really haven't gotten it going yet. They currently sit 19th in runs scored, and their two-best hitters happen to hit from the right side, which gives the advantage to Buehler. In six career starts against San Diego, Buehler has a 1.62 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 11.3 K/9 rates if you needed any more incentive.
This is certainly a risky pick, but this is the nature of this slate. We have a solid pitcher facing a bad offense in an extreme pitcher's park. That's good enough for me to use Sanchez, with the talented youngster showing some serious flashes in his first few starts. In fact, the right-hander has a 2.45 ERA and 1.23 WHIP through three starts this year, and it appears this wonderful ballpark is doing him some good. He's shown moments of brilliance in the past, and a change of environment could be just what the doctor ordered. We love this matchup, too, with Miami missing Starling Marte while ranked 24th in hard-hit rate and 26th in exit velocity. All of that looks even better with San Fran being a -140 favorite here with a game total sitting at just eight runs.
Alonso has become one of the best power hitters in the game, and he seems like the clear option at the first base here. We say that because Big Pete has a .551 SLG and .898 OPS since being called up by the Mets three years ago. That raw power is hard to overlook when home runs power DFS success, and there might be no better bet for a dinger on this slate. What adds to his intrigue is the matchup with Trevor Williams. The former Pirates pitcher has a 5.56 ERA and 1.47 WHIP since the beginning of 2019, which was the regression we've been waiting for when you look at his ugly advanced statistics.
We usually offer up two first basemen and include a catcher as a throw-in, but we're going to give Contreras a full write-up here. The main reason for that is because the first base position is an absolute nightmare on this slate, and Contreras is the clear-cut top option at catcher. We say that because he's been the best backstop in fantasy so far this year, generating a .390 OBP, .574 SLG, and .964 OPS through 15 games. That doesn't even include a solid performance on Wednesday, which is scary since he gets to face a lefty here. Since 2019, WC has a .523 SLG and .886 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor.
When it's a six-game slate, it's always safe to go with the Dodgers no matter who they're facing. The simple fact is, this is probably the best offense in baseball which is on full display when you see that they're projected for over five runs here. A big reason for that is because they're facing an unknown Ryan Weathers, with the southpaw never pitching above A-Ball before this season. That's quite the jump, and one has to believe his early-season success is due for some negative regression. That makes Taylor really attractive because he always bats in the heart of this order against left-handers. Since 2019, Taylor has a .495 SLG and .845 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor.
McNeil has been horrific in the first three weeks of the season, but it lowered his price way too much. We're still talking about one of the best pure hitters in baseball, with McNeil never hitting below .311 in any of his three seasons while providing a .501 SLG and .884 OPS in that span. That makes him quietly one of the most consistent hitters in the game, and it's just a matter of time before he returns to that. Getting to hit from the left side against Williams is a good way to get him going, with McNeil owning a .930 OPS against right-handers in that same span.
Javier Báez FD - SS 3900 DK - SS 4600
Opponent - NYM (Joey Lucchesi) Park - CHC
FD - 10.57 DK - 8.06
Baez just had a monster night on Wednesday, hitting a dinger while scoring three runs and collecting four RBI. That sort of gem is a good indicator of how amazing this guy can be, with Javy having two homers and eight RBI over his last four games in total. The biggest reason we want to use him here is the matchup, though, with Baez blistering southpaws throughout his career. In fact, Javy has a .570 SLG and .892 OPS against left-handers since 2019.
Trying to find a second shortstop on this slate was tough so let's go with our highest-projected player at the position. That happens to be Bogey, with the Red Sox righty hitting another homer on Wednesday. That brings his numbers to a .385 BA, .439 OBP, .557 SLG, and .996 OPS. Those are obviously some of the best numbers in MLB, and it's a wonder why he's only $3,000 on FanDuel behind numbers like those. What makes it even more bizarre is the fact that he has a majestic matchup, facing Justin Dunn, who's got a 1.39 WHIP for his career. That means this bludgeoning Boston lineup should be projected for 5-6 runs, with Bogaerts right in the heart of the order.
If you want to stack the Bo Sox, Bogaerts and Devers are going to be your guys. We already discussed how this is one of the highest projected lineups on the board, and Devers is likely to be the best option on the team. We say that because he's the best lefty hitter on this club, killing right-handers throughout his career. generating a .315 BA, .599 SLG, and .968 OPS against them since 2019. Those are some of the best splits on this slate, and we're certainly not worried about him facing Dunn.
Calling anyone an MVP candidate at this point of the season is silly, but if we went down that road, Turner would have to be one of the frontrunners in the NL. This dude is just mashing, accruing a .381 AVG, .444 OBP, .730 SLG, and 1.174 OPS through 16 games played. That's a truly amazing 16-game stretch, and it makes him hard to avoid, no matter the price. What makes him even more enticing here is the matchup. Not only is Weathers is unknown arm, but it also gives Turner the platoon advantage from the right side. Since 2019, JT had a .376 OBP and .947 OPS against left-handed pitching.
Dom Smith has always been a great hitter, and it's just been a matter of getting him into the lineup. The Mets have been trying to do everything to do just that, with Dom playing in 12 games already this year. The thing that really makes him scary is the damage he does against right-handed pitching. Since 2019, Smith has a .294 AVG, .351 OBP, .571 SLG, and .922 OPS with the platoon advantage in his favor. Those are amazing numbers from a guy who's just $2,700 on FanDuel, and he should definitely be able to build off of that against a struggling pitcher like Williams.
While we do like Sanchez, this is one guy that really worries me. Dickerson was actually one of my favorite players when he played for the Rockies a few years back. A big reason is that he absolutely obliterates right-handed pitching. Since 2019, Corey is hitting .298 against right-handers while providing a .495 SLG. Those numbers are actually right on par with his career averages, and it's a wonder why these DFS sites keep him so cheap. Sanchez has always struggled with tough lefties, too, and he's going to have to face Dickerson a few times atop this Marlins lineup. Not to mention, Dickerson is hitting .350 over his last 11 games played.
AJ Pollock FD - OF 2100 DK - OF 3200
Opponent - SD (Ryan Weathers) Park - LAD
FD - 10.57 DK - 7.98
Let's cap off our Dodgers stack with Pollock. This is probably the most egregious pricing of the bunch, with Pollock being about $1,000 too cheap on both sites. I mean, $2100 on FanDuel and $3,200 on DraftKings is criminal! Since 2019, Pollock is hitting .322 against southpaws while compiling a .598 SLG and .961 OPS. Those absurd numbers have come in years where he is "struggling," making this pricing all the more shocking. We also love that Pollock generally bats in the heart of the order when facing a lefty, and he might be leadoff or second with Taylor.