Last night was another solid run for my MLB DFS picks, as I entered yesterday’s FanDuel lineup into a single entry tourney and had no trouble cashing.
Had you used that same squad elsewhere you also should have cashed, while mixing some of my daily fantasy baseball picks with your own could have allowed for a big GPP-winner.
I didn’t climb quite that high on Friday, as I was not on the Pittsburgh Pirates at all (14 runs!) and a few of my bats disappointed.
I still had a lot of strong MLB DFS picks. Lance McCullers Jr. (30) was not as good as I’d hoped at home against the Padres, but the main slate had really bad pitching. Marco Estrada was somehow the best arm, but he didn’t beat LMJ by much.
My hitting was pretty great across the board. Manny Machado (52!) was a brilliant play after he completely burned me the day before, while Shin-soo Choo (31) and Matt Olson (24) both went yard and worked out nicely. Every other bat I used registered at least six fantasy points and a score of 185 helped me place.
Mike Trout of all people (6.2) was a sorry sack in a crazy shootout between the Halos and A’s, while my cheap Toronto bats weren’t as good as I thought they could be.
It was still a very strong team overall and I’ll head into the weekend with confidence I can build more winners.
There is a really fun early slate already going on, but my focus will be on the five-game main slate at FanDuel. Let’s get to it:
SP: Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros ($9.1k)
I don’t see any way around Cole, who dropped a 60-burger in his Astros debut and is far and away the most talented arm on this slate. I do think there is merit in fading him in an effort to gain a massive edge on the field in tourneys, but good luck finding the guy that wrecks beyond him.
Chad Kuhl, Sal Romano and maybe Marcus Stroman are your next best bets, but none of these guys excite me. Kuhl is facing a powerful Reds lineup, Romano is going up against this insane Pirates offense and Stroman is in Texas against the Rangers.
I think the Pirates will cool down a bit today, but none of this sounds appealing to me.
Instead, I’ll eat the chalk and ride with Cole, who gets a weak Padres lineup that is still going to be without top masher, Wil Myers. San Diego has six projected batters tonight with K rates above 21% and the power they do have should be limited by both Cole’s talent and this park.
Obviously everyone wants to cram Coors bats into their roster (and I do as well) but I’m making pitcher a priority tonight. I can still get the Coors bats I covet and I think there is value hitting to be had elsewhere anyways.
C/1B: Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds ($3.7k)
My first run through the main slate got me Freddie Freeman in this spot, but he’s $5.1k and I have to think any Coors bat is at risk of garnering really high ownership. I love Freeman even when he’s not at Coors Field, but I can get a guy who is really just as explosive for $1.4k less.
Votto has gotten off to a really slow start and is in a pitcher’s park, but he mashes right-handed pitching (.428 wOBA, .252 ISO) and Chad Kuhl is not an elite arm. BvsP data shouldn’t ever be where you stop your research, but it’s worth noting Votto has had no trouble (3 for 4, 1 HR) in this matchup.
He’s way too good to stay grounded for this long, so tonight is as good a time as any to hop on him.
2B: Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves ($3.7k)
I may not be totally up for paying for Freddie Freeman and some of the other inflated Coors bats, but that doesn’t mean I want zero exposure to this game. Atlanta has been red hot to get 2018 going and talented young bat Ozzie Albies has flashed elite upside.
Albies donged yesterday at Coors Field and he’s again a threat to do so against Chad Bettis, who isn’t trash but is far from elite.
Bettis is better against lefty bats in general, but Albies can bat from either side of the plate and this is the best park for power. I’ll take my chances with a considerable discount.
3B: Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers ($2.8k)
Speaking of discounts, I can get some aging power via Beltre and fade some chalky studs like Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado in the process.
Don’t get me wrong, I love both of those mashers, but they can’t go nuts every day. If I want to get some Coors bats and a good pitcher without sacrificing the integrity of my entire roster, I think locating elite value is pretty key.
Beltre allows for that, as he’s a capable hitter in an awesome park and will be facing a guy in Marcus Stroman that is not known for being an elite strikeout arm. Stroman induces a lot of ground balls, but I’m not sure that is a huge concern against Beltre in this park.
Not only does Beltre sports solid splits (.360 wOBA, .212 ISO) in a hitter’s park, but he’s red hot (.303 BA) to start the year. Dong or not, he’s too cheap to bypass on this slate.
SS: Dansby Swanson – Atlanta Braves ($3k)
Swanson is scorching hot to get 2018 going, as he comes into tonight’s showdown with the Rockies batting a cool .370 on the year. He has historically been a very inefficiency player at the plate, but it’s worth noting the sample size isn’t huge and his talent could very well be finally shining through.
I’m all for taking a chance on him in such an explosive setting, especially since he just raked here (31.7 fantasy points) yesterday. Swanson gives you some righty exposure to Bettis (he struggles versus righties more) and the price is nice for a Coors bat. I know he’s not the upside bat you’ll want, but in Coors everyone is a threat to go yard.
OF: Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies ($3.3k)
Here’s a little more exposure to Coors, this time with a Rockies bat. Most Colorado players are too expensive for me to really get behind on this slate, but I love Cargo as a cheap bat in a great setting. He’ll face a beatable right in Anibal Sanchez and you have to like his splits (.355 wOBA, .180 ISO) in a plus matchup.
Gonzalez has been pretty erratic dating back to last year, but he still provides relatively cheap power in the best hitting ballpark in the majors. It doesn’t hurt that he has gone 3 for 10 (1 HR) against Sanchez and by far played his best ball (+120 batting average) at his home stadium a year ago.
Adding to the allure? Gonzalez donged yesterday as part of a 31-point fantasy explosion. Here’s to hoping he stays hot at home tonight.
OF: Preston Tucker – Atlanta Braves ($3.5k)
Here’s another Braves bat in an excellent spot. Tucker’s spot in the batting order hasn’t always been ideal, but I can’t ignore his power and absurd splits (.561 wOBA, .313 ISO) against righties. Environment and matchup both work for him here and I don’t mind paying up slightly to add another ATL bat in this spot.
OF: Jesse Winker – Cincinnati Reds ($2.3k)
I’ll take a dive at my last OF spot and if you’re following along you can try either Winker or Steve Pearce. Pearce didn’t work out great last night but he’s again in a great hitting environment and he crushes southpaws.
I have some hesitance in targeting Mike Minor just because he sports a solid strikeout rate, though, so for now I’ll roll with Winker. He flashed nice upside as a masher late last year and while he’s yet to dong in 2018, he’s batting a slick .312 and carries nice splits (.434 wOBA, .274 ISO) into a winnable matchup against the aforementioned Kuhl.
PNC Park isn’t the best place to load up on batters – let alone Reds – but I love Votto and don’t mind rolling the dice with Winker here. If you’re not on board, feel free to pivot to Pearce.
Util: Matt Olson – Oakland Athletics ($3.6k)
The last game of the night features one of my favorite gammers in Olson, who finally donged again last night and is a serious threat to go yard against the Angels to wrap up this slate. Olson continues to sport disgusting splits (.439 wOBA, .434 ISO) against right-handed pitching and he’ll take on the very beatable J.C. Ramirez.
Ramirez does not have an imposing K rate and struggles mostly against talented lefties (45% hard hit rate, 35% fly ball rate). I’ll dial up Olson again here with confidence.
If you want to get two hammers in the last game of the night, considering cutting your exposure to Coors and dropping to Steve Pearce ($2.2k). You’ll need to scramble for someone else in the OF priced at $2.1k or lower (I’m not seeing anyone at the moment), but that sure could be a fun two-man combo to end the night.
Then again, I tried to make it happen with Trout last night and that did not go as planned.
As things stand, I’ve got the best arm on the slate, I’ve got Coors exposure (4 bats) and a pretty balanced lineup with plenty of upside. I have to fade some great bats to get Cole and maintain some balance, but I think these moves are what’s best for my lineup as a whole.
Remember to put in the time to do your own research and if you don’t love my FanDuel lineup, mix and match your picks with mine as needed to come to your own optimal lineup. Regardless of what your daily fantasy baseball strategy is, I wish you luck tonight!