Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Doug Norrie

DraftKings and FanDuel MLB Picks for Sunday 7/18/21 - Main slate

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Zack WheelerZack Wheeler FD - P 11000 DK - SP 9500
Opponent - MIA (Undecided) Park - PHI
FD - 38.59 DK - 21.08

Wheeler is having a total breakout of a season, spiking the strikeouts to career numbers and turning into one of the best pitchers in the league. He’s K-ing batters close to 31% of the time and shown elite control with a 5.5:1 K:BB ratio. The Marlins rank as the third-worst offense in the league this season, striking out more than 26% of the time. Even at elevated prices, Wheeler will likely be the chalk on this slate and it makes sense.

Hyun-Jin RyuHyun-Jin Ryu FD - DK - SP 7600
Opponent - TEX (Kolby Allard) Park - TOR
FD - 0 DK - 18.98

Ryu isn’t going to dial up the strikeouts much based on the way he is pitching this season. He is K-ing fewer than 7.5 batters per nine which is a drop off from his numbers over the last few seasons. But he still induces ground balls about 50% of the time and limits the walks. The Rangers rank 24th on offense this season and strike out more than 24% of the time. Plus, Ryu comes in as a -235 home favorite, the best win odds on the slate. He’s not available on FanDuel, but run him on DraftKings.

Catcher/First Base

Darin RufDarin Ruf FD - OF 2900 DK - 1B 5000
Opponent - STL (Wade LeBlanc) Park - STL
FD - 11.44 DK - 8.65

Ruf is having an awesome season with a .952 OPS through his 144 plate appearances. He’s totaled up nine home runs already and is walking an elite 17% of the time. And he’s done real damage against lefties for his career with a 157 wRC+, .401 wOBA and .952 OPS in that split. Those are some of the best numbers you will see. Against a very weak arm in Wade leBlanc this is a great spot for Ruf if he’s hitting in the middle of the lineup.

If Buster Posey is back in the lineup then he would be looking like a cash game play as well.

Jeimer CandelarioJeimer Candelario FD - 1B 2700 DK - 3B 4000
Opponent - MIN (J.A. Happ) Park - DET
FD - 10.51 DK - 7.94

I think we can go cheaper at 1B on this slate with some middle-of-the-order bats coming really cheap. Candelario should be hitting in the middle of the order against Happ who has been one of the worst pitchers in the league at this point. The latter has a 5.20 xFIP and striking out fewer than 7.5 batters per nine. Candelario is having some real issues on the power side this season with the slugging dropping down to .377 and the hard contact rate is down. That’s something of a league-wide issue though. I like the FanDuel price more than DraftKings.

Second Base

Ozzie AlbiesOzzie Albies FD - 2B 3700 DK - 2B 4900
Opponent - TB (Rich Hill) Park - ATL
FD - 11.7 DK - 8.95

We need to target Albies against lefties at this point, plain and simple. Over his career the youngster has a 149 wRC+ with a .951 OPS against southpaws. Those are elite numbers for the switch-hitting Albies who is locked into a middle of the order role for the Braves. He’s so tough to strikeout when facing lefties at 14% and there’s good reason to believe he’s going have the ball in play a lot against Hill.

Luis ArraezLuis Arraez FD - 2B 2500 DK - 2B/3B 3500
Opponent - DET (Wily Peralta) Park - DET
FD - 11.47 DK - 9.01

Arraez continues to hit leadoff for the Twins which, given his price points, puts him firmly into the cash game discussion on this slate. He’s been significantly better against righties for his short career with a 128 wRC+ and .842 OPS in that split. He puts the ball into play about 85% of the time in that platoon, an unreal number made even better by a low-K arm like Peralta. The splits difference plus the matchup against the weakest arm on the slate make Arraez a good play here.


Dansby SwansonDansby Swanson FD - SS 3300 DK - SS 4400
Opponent - TB (Rich Hill) Park - ATL
FD - 11.99 DK - 9.1

With the Braves dealing with some injury issues, Swanson has been able to move up in the order and hit second on Saturday. Against the lefty Hill, he should be there again on Sunday. Swanson is a high-K, low-walk bat, but has managed a mid-700s OPS on the season and will top his best power numbers with 16 home runs already. Against an aging Rich hill, this a good value on Swanson.

Wander Franco (FD $2500 DK $4900) hitting in the middle of the order for the Rays is a good price on FanDuel. The 20-year-old switch-hitter hasn’t had a ton of major league returns, but he’s a prospect through and through and one has to believe it comes around here.

Third Base

Austin RileyAustin Riley FD - 3B 3100 DK - 3B 4500
Opponent - TB (Rich Hill) Park - ATL
FD - 10.92 DK - 8.23

Riley is another guy who has moved up some in the Braves lineup and should be hitting around fifth in this matchup against Hill. Riley is having an excellent season with a career-best .840 OPS thanks to the 15 home runs and 10% walk rate. He is much better against lefties with a 115 wRC+ which is about 15 points higher than what he does against righties.

Strongly consider Josh Donaldson (FD $3100 DK $5300) who sat out on Saturday but should be back for Sunday. If that’s the case then the FanDuel price is a total joke on this slate. There is no issue with strikeout concerns against Peralta.


Nelson CruzNelson Cruz FD - OF 3700 DK - OF 5800
Opponent - DET (Wily Peralta) Park - DET
FD - 13.28 DK - 9.94

Trevor LarnachTrevor Larnach FD - OF 2600 DK - OF 3800
Opponent - DET (Wily Peralta) Park - DET
FD - 10.52 DK - 8.12

Alex KirilloffAlex Kirilloff FD - OF 2800 DK - 1B/OF 3500
Opponent - DET (Wily Peralta) Park - DET
FD - 11.05 DK - 8.56

Cruz is entering his age 42 season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He has a .930 OPS on the season with 18 home runs already. He’s also, somehow, cut down his strikeout rate to 18% which would mark the lower number of his career. He’s still mashing and that’s making the FanDuel price palatable.

Larnach should be bitting second for the Twins against the Tiger and Peralta and is another one who stands to tee off against the righty. Like Arraez, he is much better against righties for his short career, with a .362 wOBA and .820 OPS in that split. His biggest issue is striking out too much, but that is greatly mitigated against a guy with a 16% K rate on the season.

Meanwhile, Kiriloff should hit around fifth in this matchup and has significant upside at his prices on both sites. He has shown flashes of power with eight home runs already this season and is tougher to strike out. Again, not an issue at all with Peralta on the mound, but worth mentioning. The mid-700s OPS is fine enough for what you are paying and he helps to set a Twins stack.




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