It was another strong night for my FanDuel MLB DFS picks on Thursday. I nailed my pitcher with Robbie Ray proving to be both contrarian (18% owned) and elite (52 fantasy points). That was an elite pivot off of the popular Masahiro Tanaka (50%), who managed just 35 fantasy points.
I compounded my GPP edge by stacking four Orioles bats against Tanaka. That didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped, as Manny Machado (0) and Jonathan Schoop (6.2) ended up being my two worst bats on the night. That stance did get me Trey Mancini (16) and Adam Jones (28.2), however.
While that was a bold strategy, it got me two solid bats that ended up being contrarian, which ended up being a pretty big deal on a bad night for hitting across the board.
My other hitting picks were rock solid. Ryan Braun (15), Willson Contreras (18.2), Adam Duvall (18.7) and Kris Bryant (9.5) were all good to great. I didn’t have a second monster bat to join Jones, but it’s really hard to complain when the hitting was so atrocious.
Looking back, I actually could have had an even better team due to my love for Javier Baez. The first thing I said in the 2B section was how much I liked the Cub and he went off (28.4).
Had I pivoted from Schoop to him I would have had a score of 185 in my tournament and I would have been just 10 points from winning $20,000. Suddenly I’m one Machado dong away from winning all of the money.
This goes to show how good my team was last night, but also how perfectly you need to nail things to win a MLB DFS tourney.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t always just take my FanDuel MLB DFS lineup and run with it. Make sure you agree with my plays if you’re going to use them and always consider mixing in my picks with your own to target your optimal lineup.
I’m back at it again on Friday, where you’ll be greeted by a fun seven-game slate. I am not going back to an Orioles stack for tonight’s lineup, but they once again look like an attractive option.
With that, let’s dive into my favorite daily fantasy baseball picks for Friday night:
SP: Lance McCullers Jr. – Houston Astros ($8.6k)
There have been some really terrible pitching slates early on this season and tonight’s is another bad one. Kenta Maeda ($9k) is the top pitcher at FD, but his game probably won’t see the light of day due to a ton of rain in California.
That takes one viable pitcher off the board, while I do think mild cases can be made for Kyle Hendricks ($8.2k), Kevin Gausman ($7.2k) and Luis Castillo ($7.1k).
Hendricks is the safest of that trio, as the Brewers have been striking out like crazy lately. He’s on the road against a lot of power in a hitter’s park, though, so I certainly have my reservations. Ditto for Gausman, who is at Yankee Stadium against one of the nastiest lineups in baseball.
I don’t at all trust Gausman here, but I think he could be stingier than people think. A Yanks one-off or two would be fine, but I don’t think I’ll be stacking against Gausman on this slate.
Castillo has monster K upside, so he’s on the table here as well.
The only issue is the Pirates don’t whiff much, this game is set up to get a lot of rain and heavy winds could be blowing out in this one. I doubt the Pirates wreck him and the K upside is appealing, but I’m not completely sold.
All roads lead me to McCullers. He was a beast (10 Ks) in his season opener and will be at home against the hapless Padres. San Diego is a bad road team without one of their best power hitters in Wil Myers, while Lance has proven to be pretty tough to beat at home over the course of his young career.
This is the chalky play, but I’ll gladly eat it on this slate.
If you want an elite pivot, it’s Castillo by a mile. Just pay attention to the weather updates, as a rain delay or harsh winds could sour my stance.
C/1B: Matt Olson – Oakland Athletics ($3.6k)
I have been on Olson a bit this year and so far he hasn’t worked out. He is an absolute masher, however, and eventually he’ll come through. I have no qualms with going back to the well tonight, as Olson has a great matchup against a beatable arm in Parker Bridwell.
Olson carries elite splits (.439 wOBA, .434 ISO) against right-handed hurlers and Bridwell gives up a lot of hard contact to lefty bats. I’ll put two and two together and take another stab at Olson going yard (maybe twice).
2B: Rougned Odor – Texas Rangers ($2.4k)
Odor is one of the least reliable bats in all of baseball, but this Rangers vs. Jays game is going to be off the charts (Total of 10.5 per Bovada). That obviously doesn’t mean he’s a lock to sound off, but he’s at home in a dangerous park for hitting and will face an extreme fly ball pitcher in Marco Estrada.
I personally don’t want to get too much exposure to Rangers bats against Estrada, just because he actually can be pretty good at times. However, Odor is dirt cheap and I only need him to go yard once to pay off.
Estrada has been tough on lefty bats so I surprisingly prefer right-handed Rangers bats, but Odor has donged him before. Here’s to hoping he can do it again tonight.
3B: Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays ($4.6k)
Kris Bryant ($4.2k) could end up being an elite pivot off of Josh Donaldson, but he carries nasty splits (.434 wOBA, .393 ISO) against southpaws in a game that the top sports betting sites figure to be quite high-scoring.
I tend to agree, as Matt Moore is not a great pitcher and he gives up a 44% fly ball rate to right-handed bats. Donaldson has always been a guy I have a difficult time getting on the right side of, but he’s in an awesome park with elite splits against an average arm. I’ll pay up for him to be a stud and hope he delivers.
SS: Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles ($3.8k)
This is the classic “where was that last night???” play. Machado failed me last night and has been off to a really slow start, but he is beyond due to go yard and will be in a great park against a beatable pitcher in C.C. Sabathia.
Machado is always worth a one-off flier and while I’m not super into picking on Sabathia tonight, I think he can get the best of him. He certainly has in the past (18 for 51, 3 HR) and he also boasts nice splits (.356 wOBA, .263 ISO) against southpaws.
Stacking Baltimore again tonight really isn’t that bad of an idea, but I’ll just grab the one guy that really screams out to me from their lineup.
OF: Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels ($4.8)
It only takes one long ball for Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge to pay off, but both of those guys also strike out a ton and are a little less reliable than a guy like Trout. If they’re all basically the same price, I’ll fade the chalky Yanks and hope Trout flies under the radar.
This may be a hot take, but I’m not overly enamored with the Yanks tonight. Gausman can easily get blasted, but he has a solid K rate and I have a feeling he keeps them relatively in check.
That, or maybe he works his way around the top Yankees mashers and gets burned by other New York bats.
Either way, Trout is the most efficient masher there is and you can get him at (probably) lower ownership at home against a beatable arm. With the Dodgers/Giants game almost certainly headed for a PPD, he also gives you an elite hammer in the last game of the night.
OF: Steve Pearce – Toronto Blue Jays ($2.2k)
I’m getting a cheap power bat with nice splits (.228 ISO) against southpaws in Pearce. He is not overly efficient or reliable, so you’re hunting for a home run here as he takes on a volatile lefty in Matt Moore.
This is an explosive game in a really bad park for pitching, while Moore doesn’t always make batters miss and tends to serve up a ton of contact. All of that makes Pearce look attractive on paper, while a solid 5 for 16 career line against Moore doesn’t hurt him one bit. Throw in this dirt cheap price tag, and this should be a popular (but possibly necessary) money-saving punt.
OF: Shin-soo Choo – Texas Rangers ($2.6k)
I am fully aware that attacking Marco Estrada with lefty bats isn’t ideal, but this is still a guy that gives up a ton of hard contact and will be on the road in a deadly park for pitchers. I’m willing to take two stabs at dongs here, with the first being Odor and Choo being the second.
If this game goes off like Vegas suggests it will, you absolutely will want a few hands on deck.
Choo qualifies as a viable shot, as he’s donged in each of his last two games and is off to a really nice start (.296 BA) early on in the year. Even if he doesn’t go deep, just getting on base a couple of times and getting donged in could make him worth your trouble.
Util: Kendrys Morales – Toronto Blue Jays ($2.4k)
You are going to want to make sure Morales is even starting tonight, but considering his gaudy splits against southpaws (.420 wOBA, .236 ISO), it certainly would make sense for Toronto to force him into the lineup.
Morales is the king of one-offs, but as you can see, I’m not bashful about targeting what very well may be the top game of the night.
Morales is a nasty masher who has actually donged Matt Moore in the past. Considering the price, his power, the splits and the matchup, I love him as a cheap power bat to wrap things up.
It all starts with McCullers up top. He looks like the top arm against the Padres at home and from there I’ll pick my spots around what hopefully is a rewarding Rangers vs. Jays game.
I will probably create a hedge team stacking the Yanks and fading this Texas/Toronto game, too, but I otherwise love it and think this lineup as a whole gives you the upside of a GPP-winner.
Love or hate my MLB DFS picks? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Either way, good luck in your FanDuel contests tonight!