Pitching pushed us off the tracks just a bit with our DraftKings MLB picks on Wednesday. Zack Greinke and Jimmy Nelson were far from the reason your daily fantasy baseball lineup came up short, but they also didn’t boost you in GPP tournaments, either. Those arms were just “meh” when all was said and done, but the hitting was what really came up short last night.
We got off on the wrong foot with both Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Lucroy getting scratched. We didn’t have many whiffs other than that, but we also didn’t have many guys pan out as expected. Paul Goldschmidt (1 hit, 1 walk, 2 runs) was fine, while Brian Dozier (1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 1 run) chipped in with some solid production. Evan Longoria wasn’t useless, either, (1 hit, 1 run, 1 steal), while Aledmys Diaz at least got on the scoreboard with a hit and run. Chris Young was borderline useless, while Michael Saunders didn’t do anything.
It wasn’t the best lineup, but it at least allows for easy improvement with tonight’s DraftKings MLB picks. Let’s dive into our ideal lineup:
SP: Lance McCullers Jr. – Houston Astros ($11.2k)
McCullers doesn’t need much of an argument. He’s without a doubt the top pitcher on the main slate, as he offers elite K upside and gets a weak Royals offense in a park that suppresses home runs. He’s allowed five runs over his last two starts, but he also has 16 strikeouts during that stretch and possesses the most safety/upside of any arm tonight.
We can give the likes of Jon Lester, David Price or Michael Pineda a cursory glance, but the risk with those guys doesn’t really meet the reward we can get with McCullers.
SP: Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Rays ($7.9k)
We could stack two quality pitchers together on DK, but it’d be a reliable pairing based on name alone. I don’t see a huge gap between risky guys like Pineda/Lester/Price and Odorizzi, who excels at home (2.90 ERA) and gets a bad White Sox team.
Chicago specifically has issues against right-handed pitching and Odorizzi does a great job at managing games and has a decent K rate. He does give up some hard contact, but he’s in a solid park and the matchup doesn’t get a whole lot better. He’s not to be trusted as a SP1 necessarily, but he’s a good price and should be fine enough to operate as a strong SP2 tonight.
C: Mike Zunino – Seattle Mariners ($3.5k)
Zunino is the second catcher we plugged today in our FanDuel MLB picks. He’s been slaying lately, fares well against righties and is even coming off of a two-HR night. We can’t bank on that again tonight, but he’s again got a favorable matchup with Kyle Gibson coming to town. I don’t want to pay up for Gary Sanchez with David Price coming to Yankee Stadium, so we’re looking at Zunino or Tyler Flowers here. Zunino is cheaper on DK, so he makes plenty of sense here.
1B: Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates ($4.1k)
Update: Bell is not starting tonight. Matt Adams is a terrific backup plan.
The Pirates feel like a sneaky stack tonight against the beatable Edinson Volquez, who comes in as a road underdog. Volquez has flashed some K upside at times in his age-33 season, and is fresh off of a huge 10 K outing where he no-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks in a CG shutout. That’s beyond impressive, but this is a volatile arm we’re dealing with here and he hasn’t been so stable on the road (0-5, 5.12 ERA).
Odds are Volquez comes back to earth in this one and his issues against lefties could pop up. That certainly is why we like Bell, who has crushed the Marlins in three games this year (13.3 fantasy points per game) and could give Volquez problems if he bats from the left side. He does his best work against righties, so that makes sense and could help make him a great 1B target.
2B: Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins ($3.9k)
Dozier is or favorite 2B across both sites, as he’s got a discounted price tag and offers plenty of pop in a plus matchup with Christian Bergman. Bergman gets killed by righties and can serve up the long ball, so this is a perfect spot to try Dozier. We’re not shooting for a full Minnesota stack on DK, but we’re certainly not against it. Dozier is our favorite Twins play tonight based on price and matchup, for what it’s worth. Bell’s power could easily be on display here, as he hits righties well and owns a solid .190 ISO against right-handed hurlers.
3B: David Freese – Pittsburgh Pirates ($3.7k)
PNC Park is not usually the best spot for an offensive explosion, but I love Pittsburgh tonight against Volquez. Freese is another stellar option and is way more efficient than Bell, who normally relies on the long ball to pay off. We certainly want to consider using Bell’s power to our advantage, but Freese has respectable splits against righties and is on a tear right now with 7 hits across his last three games.
I’m playing the hot run and matchup here more than anything else, plus if Freese can simply get on base I think he can score a couple of runs tonight. This isn’t an elite play, but Freese gives us mild savings and is part of a stack I like on this slate.
SS: Trea Turner – Washington Nationals ($5.4k)
Shortstop looks like a pretty good position to aim high at tonight, as there are not a ton of cheap options to fall in love with. I prefer Turner over Carlos Correa, as Trea is knee-deep in a great run and offers so much upside, whether it be getting knocks, homers or steals. Correa is really just as good, but Turner is slightly cheaper and he’s playing in arguably the better park for run production.
OF: Josh Reddick – Houston Astros ($3.8k)
Reddick has some of the most playable splits on this slate, as the lefty destroys right-handed pitching and he gets a very nice matchup against the hittable Jason Hammel. I don’t love the park factor here, but Reddick has enough power to get us a long ball and is efficient enough in this matchup to deliver even without going deep. This is also probably the most cost effective way to roster an Astro right now, so I’m not sure I can completely fade Reddick in this spot.
OF: John Jaso – Pittsburgh Pirates ($3.1k)
Jaso is another viable Pirates option that we can freely use individually or part of a sneaky stack. Jaso has been very efficient lately, registering multi-hit games in 3 of his last 4 outings. He doesn’t have the power you want, but he comes at a good price and has positive splits against right-handed pitching. His recent form suggests we can hope for 1-2 hits and maybe a score, while if any power is included that’ll be just gravy.
OF: Ben Gamel – Seattle Mariners ($3.4k)
Gamel caps things off with another closing hitter, as the Mariners have just as nice of a spot as the Twins. Kyle Gibson is not a scary pitcher and Gamel is another guy that has been very reliable lately, hitting safely in each of his last 10 games. His streak will snap eventually, but he has positive splits (0.344 wOBA) versus righties and also has hit the best when at home. Gamel has been fun to use all year and with the Mariners down Jean Segura they’re going to continue to need extra hitting. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him oblige with a dong in this one.
That does it for our look at some of the top daily fantasy baseball players to target at DK tonight. Whether you use this exact roster or mix and match our picks with your own, we wish you luck in your DraftKings MLB contests!