After a nice run, my MLB DFS picks hit a wall on Thursday night. Jose Berrios (64 fantasy points!) was the right call at pitcher, but I just didn’t have the bats to contend.
Weather scared me off of the Yankees/Sox game to get things rolling, while my Twins stack just didn’t perform up to expectations.
Giancarlo Stanton (15), Brandon Belt (9), Miguel Sano (6), Brian Dozier (15.9) and Eddie Rosario (6) weren’t crippling, but Max Kepler (3), Franchy Cordero (0) and Trea Turner (0) just didn’t do me any favors.
I did touch on Brandon Crawford (9) and Justin Upton (12.2) as well. If you went with Crawford over Turner (which was my initial call) you were +9 fantasy points, while Upton would have been a solid bat.
It was a pretty quiet night for offense (no team on the main slate topped 7 runs) and I just wasn’t on crazy bats like Howie Kendrick (homered) or D.J. LeMahieu (double dong). Mike Trout was one of the few studs that actually panned out, too.
Last night was forgettable, but Berrios was the right call at pitcher and I still handed you seven bats that put up 6+ fantasy points. Hopefully you pivoted in enough spots to find a way to cash. Either way, it’s back to the grind on a massive 13-game main slate at FanDuel on Friday night:
SP: Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros ($10k)
Cole is the top pitcher on the board tonight and despite this being a huge MLB DFS slate, it’s really not close. Zack Greinke offers some value as a potentially elite pivot and I don’t mind Mike Clevinger at ($8.3k), but I’m not really interested in anyone but Cole here.
Slates like these are incredibly problematic. They’ll trick you into throwing multiple teams with all kinds of different stacks into tournaments. Everything will feel good early in the day and then it’ll all go up in flames with guys like Luke Maile and Chase Utley randomly double-donging.
I’m not saying you can’t win, but everything needs to go right to nail a GPP-winner. I’d suggest limiting the competition with small single entry GPPs tonight and I’d also refrain from straying too far away from Cole.
Cole has been unstoppable through two starts with Houston, firing in 11 Ks in both games and allowing just one thus far. He’ll be at home in a pitcher’s park against a very capable Rangers offense, but one that also whiffs at a ridiculous 26.6% rate.
There is power to fear here, but Cole should be fine at home. Vegas agrees, making the Astros big -240 favorites at Bovada.
The beauty here is Cole is a stud right now and he’s coming in at a solid discount. Greinke provides a better value in theory, but I trust Cole way more. I’m not getting cute tonight. Cole’s the guy.
C/1B: Evan Gattis – Houston Astros ($2.6k)
I will want some value on this slate and I like Gattis and his .207 ISO against southpaws. Cole Hamels is still a guy we can pick on, while Gattis has wrecked him (9 for 24, 3 HR) in his career.
Hamels isn’t a bad pitcher, but he gives up a good amount of hard contact and is significantly worse in that regard against right-handed bats.
The Astros have quite a few of those, so this could be a good time to hope back on one of the best offenses in baseball. I’m not calling for a 4-man stack, but some cheap exposure to this matchup might not be a bad idea.
2B: Jonathan Schoop – Baltimore Orioles ($3.2k)
FanDuel is really forcing you to pick your spots tonight, as 2B and several other positions are very expensive up top. I don’t mind paying down, though, as Schoop offers very nice value in a hitter’s park against Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez isn’t a guy I love to target, but Fenway Park is tough on pitchers and Schoop carries fun splits (.402 wOBA, .297 ISO) against southpaws into this showdown. Schoop has had a little bit of success in this matchup, but I like his splits, the park and the fact that Eduardo gives up a ton of hard contact (43% fly ball rate, 30% hard hit rate) to right-handed bats.
Schoop isn’t in amazing form right now, but he’s probably due for a long ball and the matchup favors him tonight.
3B: Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals ($3.5k)
I also like Rafael Devers in this spot, but you’re getting a masher in Rendon at quite the discount. I know the Nats were awful last night, but they’re still a dangerous offense and I doubt they turn up lame again versus a beatable arm in Kyle Freeland.
Freeland’s K rate drops by a monstrous 16% when facing righties, while he still has the contact (31% hard hit rate) you can pick on. Rendon helps out here, too, as he’s got gaudy splits (.449 wOBA, .320 ISO) against left-handed pitching.
I’m not totally opposed to a full Nats stack, but on such a huge slate I really think picking your spots is the way to go. Rendon is my favorite Nat tonight, with Ryan Zimmerman being a close second.
SS: Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.7k)
If you’re not going to use Zack Greinke, it makes sense to target him a bit. He has simply been a different pitcher on the road over the past year and he also has not fared well against his former Dodgers squad.
That does not mean I want a full Dodgers stack or that Greinke can’t deliver a gem. He’s still an elite arm and “revenge” is always in play. However, Seager does his best work against righties and I can’t ignore his BvsP (6 for 11, 2 HR) in limited work versus Greinke.
I’m not using him for that alone, though.
I really don’t want to pay too much for SS on this slate and if you’re going to target Greinke, it’s from the left side of the plate. Greinke strikes batters out at an elite rate no matter which side of the plate they’re on, but he coughs up more hard contact +3% to lefties and struggled more against them in 2017.
The matchup isn’t amazing, but you get an elite SS hammer that should be pretty contrarian. I’m all for that.
OF: Hunter Renfroe – San Diego Padres ($2.6k)
Renfroe brings his sick splits (.439 wOBA, .358 ISO) to the table when Ty Blach comes to town. I’m always game for Renfroe for two reasons; he brings serious power to the table and he’s cheap. When he’s facing a southpaw, he’s extremely tough to pass up.
Blach is not an elite strikeout pitcher and he gets hit harder against right-handed bats. Yeah, I’m all over Renfroe tonight.
OF: Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers ($2.8k)
Braun has not been good lately, which is the main reason his price tag has plummeted. It only takes one long ball to change that, though, and tonight he faces a beatable arm in Steven Matz.
Matz is actually pretty talented, but he gives up good contact (35% hard hit rate, 35% fly ball rate) to right-handed bats. Braun is in a mild slump, but he crushes southpaws (.358 wOBA, .253 ISO) and normally isn’t a strikeout fiend (9%). If he can come into this one focused, I think he can have a good game with a solid matchup in front of him.
Not feeling Braun? Consider Carlos Gomez. He’s just $200 more to get in the outfield and he brings nasty splits (.232 ISO) against Vincent Velasquez tonight.
OF: Nicholas Castellanos – Detroit Tigers ($3.2k)
You could also just slide Gomez in here, but Castellanos is one of my favorite bats tonight. He always wields a powerful stick, but you’ll really want to use him anytime he takes on a beatable southpaw. His sick splits (.388 wOBA, .307 ISO) could be on full display tonight, as he combats Yankees lefty, Jordan Montgomery.
Montgomery is a talented pitcher, but he gives up a dangerous 42% fly ball to righties and he is not usually quite as sharp on the road. I’m willing to ride Castellano’s splits here and hope Montgomery (who got donged 21 times last year) gets taken out of the park.
After all, Castellanos has been seeing the ball well this year (.286 BA) but has yet to dong. Tonight’s the night!
Util: Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.3k)
You can slide Rafael Devers or Carlos Gomez here as well, but I’ll take the crazy discount on an elite bat to wrap this slate up.
Bellinger has been pretty quiet out of the gates, but everyone knows his elite power and his ability (.385 wOBA, .327 ISO) to murder right-handed pitchers. Greinke tends to struggle slightly more on the road and against lefty bats, while he simply hasn’t waxed the Dodgers like you’d think he would.
The sample size is small, but I don’t mind tossing in Bellinger’s BvsP in this spot (3 for 9, 1 HR). I think there’s enough collectively to back Bellinger as part of a fun three-man stack to close out the slate.
I also really like the Red Sox in general tonight. I mentioned Rafael Devers and I also am into the usual supects like J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. Chris Tillman is a walking dumpster fire, so they’ll be rather popular and for good reason.
I see that, but a number of stacks are in play tonight against some suspect pitching.
Instead of chasing any one stack, I’m just picking my spots tonight and building a viable offense around the top arm. If Cole falters, it’s whatever. He should wreck and I think these bats can do enough to give you a shot to climb the ladder in tourneys if/when he does.
Whether you roll with my daily fantasy baseball picks or not, I wish you luck in tonight’s FanDuel contests!