After a break over the weekend, I’m back to the MLB DFS picks drawing board with Monday’s 10-game slate at FanDuel. It’s an interesting one, as at least five elite arms hit the mound and you could argue a couple more are nearing that label.
It’s a dicey slate, though. Jacob deGrom and Madison Bumgarner are two guys in pretty difficult spots (facing Yankees and Dodgers, respectively), while Zack Greinke is on the road against a powerful Rangers lineup.
Where you go at pitcher is going to dictate everything tonight, while I’m wondering if targeting an elite arm in a bad spot could end up being contrarian (and GPP winning).
Let’s break things down a little more as I insert some of my favorite daily fantasy baseball picks en route to a team you can consider using in FanDuel tourneys:
SP: Andrew Heaney – Los Angeles Angels ($8.6k)
There are a lot of pitchers to consider paying up for tonight.
Unfortunately, I’m not too excited about paying for deGrom against the Yanks or MadBum on the road versus the Dodgers. Zack Greinke in a bad park against a potent Texas lineup is also scary, while Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been his elite self for much of 2018.
You can use any of these guys, but I won’t be going that route. Instead, I’ll get considerable savings with Heaney, who has loads of upside in a pitcher’s park against a bad Padres lineup.
San Diego gets Wil Myers back and sports some nasty power against southpaws, but they also whiff at a 23% rate against left-handed pitching. I really don’t hate the idea of a small Padres hedge stack just because Heaney can have trouble with righties, but on paper this is the best play on the board.
If you need to pay up, Luis Severino is my guy. He looked much better in his most recent start and will be at home against the lowly Mets. Yankee Stadium can be problematic, but the matchup is great.
Want to go cheaper than Heaney? Toronto’s Sean Reid-Foley is a talented rookie that will be making hi pro debut in Kauffman Stadium against the punchless Royals.
He is a big time salary saver, too, so if you love the idea of loading up on Indians or whoever else, he’s a fine cheap dive to consider. I love the Jays in that game tonight, so naturally I’m going to get a little exposure to him in other tournament lineups.
C/1B: Jose Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.9k)
The Cardinals are my favorite stack on the board tonight. A lot of people will consider paying up for the Tribe against Homer Bailey or Arizona against Bartolo Colon. Those stacks could be correct chalk, but due to the pitching styles of those arms, they also profile as potential traps.
I absolutely will have some exposure to both lineups and a super contrarian Yanks stack could also be fun. I like the spot St. Louis is in, though, as they have a low K rate and fare well against beatable left-handing pitching.
Tommy Milone certainly qualifies as that, as evidenced by his 7 allowed runs in his last start. Milone can go either way and he is in a pitcher-friendly park, but I’ll ride the wave here and trust the Cardinals. It starts with J-Mart, who doesn’t whiff much and makes contact (85%) more than any other Cards bat.
His power versus lefties hasn’t been amazing this year, but he flashed a crazy .433 ISO in these situations a year ago. I also can’t ignore Milone’s gross splits versus right-handed hitters. His 2018 numbers aren’t worth trusting, but they’re bad and a quick look at what he gave up in 2017 (.451 wOBA, .308 ISO) makes it official for me.
If you want a pivot here, I also like the Jays a bit against Brad Keller. Kendrys Morales ($2.7k) is nice, cheap exposure to that game and a full Toronto stack isn’t crazy, either.
2B: Ozzie Albies – Atlanta Braves ($3.9k)
Be careful with ATL bats tonight, as this will be game two of a double-header. There is also some weather associated with this game. That being said, I love Albies, who brings a sick .213 ISO up against Merandy Gonzalez, who to this point has given up loads of contact.
A full Braves stack isn’t out of the question, but I’m just snatching up the two best bats in this game. It starts with Albies and ends with Freddie Freeman for me.
Should the weather or DH negatively impact Albies, consider dropping down to Yoan Moncada ($3k). He’s pretty cheap and in a nice spot in a hitter’s park.
3B: Jedd Gyorko – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.9k)
I’ll keep the Cardinals love going with Gyorko, who is always worth firing up when he takes on a lefty (.428 wOBA, .271 ISO). All St. Louis righties are in play, but if you don’t go with a big stack here, at least consider the cheap Gyorko.
SS: Paul DeJong – St. Louis Cardinals ($3.6k)
There are a lot of options at SS tonight, but I’m probably taking one of three paths; pay up for Francisco Lindor ($5k), use DeJong here or make a dive with someone like Tim Anderson ($2.5k).
I prefer DeJong, who brings nice power against lefties (.309 ISO last year) and has been red hot with 12+ fantasy points in five straight contests.
OF: Michael Brantley – Cleveland Indians ($3.8k)
While I note Cleveland’s awesome matchup, they are very expensive. I think they could be a bit of a trap tonight, but I also don’t mind taking a shot at one of their bats. Brantley is a really nice price and is obviously in a great park with a nice matchup.
He’s a terrific one-off option, as he has solid power and knocks right-handed hurlers around at a .379 wOBA. He also rarely whiffs and makes great contact (leads the Tribe at 90%).
Homer Bailey gives up major contact to both sides of the plate, so feel free to find a way to pay up for Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor and even Yonder Alonso to complete the full four-man Cleveland stack.
OF: Daniel Palka – Chicago White Sox ($2.7k)
I think Chicago projects as a sneaky good stack tonight. They’ll be in a solid park in Detroit and get Artie Lewicki, who is best to target with lefties but gives up a +42% hard hit rate to just about everyone.
A full White Sox stack will be low-owned, but it understandably comes with a ton of risk. I’d stick to lefties and guys with nice power. Palka whiffs more than anyone in this lineup, but he also sports the best ISO (.277) against righties. He’s a solid roll off the dice for GPPs.
Also consider the aforementioned Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, Jose Abreua and Avisail Garcia. Just know it’s a risky play.
OF: Harrison Bader – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.4k)
You don’t have to fire up a full Cardinals stack, but they’re my favorite four-man stack tonight. You can consider other St. Louis bats, too, with Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna all standing out as viable options.
I’ll cap this stack with Bader, who crushes southpaws to the tune of a .228 ISO. That ranks third on the team behind Matt Carpenter and DeJong. Again, Carp is obviously in play, but Milone has been really tough on lefty bats. I will stick to the right side of the plate when it comes to the Cardinals tonight.
Util: Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves ($4.2k)
I’ll end things with my two-man Braves stack. You can use other Atlanta bats, but I’ll just roll with Freeman and his gaudy splits (.394 wOBA) against right-handed pitching. He has not donged as much as you’d like this year, but he’s still always a threat to do so.
He at least is extremely efficient and knows how to rack up walks. I’ll be hoping he dongs for the first time since July 30th, though.
This looks like a very interesting tourney lineup at first glance. There are enough games to stretch ownership out, while there is so much viable pitching that Heaney in an awesome spot actually could go overlooked a bit. I do still want a small Padres hedge stack somewhere in a GPP, but I really like Heaney in this spot.
From there, I am diving head first with the Cardinals. If you hate that stack, limit it to a small version, pivot to other St. Louis guys you prefer or just go after popular stacks like the D’Backs or Indians. As I mentioned, you can also consider a contrarian stack like the White Sox.
Whatever you do, hopefully my picks steer you in the right direction and you can win some cash at FanDuel tonight. Good luck and enjoy the games!