I was a bit off the mark with my daily fantasy baseball picks last night. I really expected a pitching duel with Luis Severino and Corey Kluber facing off at Progessive Field. Instead, the Yankees and Indians teamed up for 11 total runs, settling into second place in terms of total runs scored in any game on Thursday’s slate.
I wasn’t alone in that belief, but it was quite annoying to see it unfold that way, nonetheless.
My Dodgers stack didn’t meet expectations, either. L.A. didn’t even register their first hit until deep into the game, while a previously awful Tyson Ross held his own until the Dodgers tagged him for two runs in the seventh inning.
Ross Stripling (43 fantasy points) did work out in the pitching department, giving me yet another strong hurler for the third night in a row. My top bat was…Jordy Mercer? I actually liked his matchup going into last night, but he was mostly a throw-in. I certainly didn’t expect him to fire off for 32.2 fantasy points, nor pace my hitting.
Joc Pederson chipped in 15.5 fantasy points and Andrew Toles (9.7) was pretty good considering he was priced at the bare minimum at FanDuel. Ultimately, just one of my bats failed to get on the board, so it admittedly could have gone a lot worse.
Either way, my team didn’t cash and I probably didn’t help you win much, if anything.
It’s onward and upward come Friday night, where a massive 15-game slate puts all 30 MLB teams in play at FanDuel. Here are some of my favorite daily fantasy baseball picks to consider entering into tourneys:
SP: Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals ($8.8k)
This is a really weird slate for pitching. Noah Syndergaard is back but he faces a capable Nats offense and he will probably be at least somewhat limited after not pitching since May. You can also look to Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello and Dallas Keuchel, but they all come with risk in some manner.
MadBum seems appealing, but the Athletics are not an easy offense to tame. Porcello should slay the Jays, but they do have some pop and delivering a gem at Fenway Park is no easy task. Keuchel gets the Tigers, but they actually can wreck southpaws and he’s been shaky at times this year.
I think this is a good slate to take a dive at pitching, but I’ll just slide right under these top options and roll with Martinez.
His price isn’t ideal, but he’s at home in a pitcher’s park and the Reds traditionally do not fare well on the road. Cincinnati does have a slew of lefty bats that could get to Martinez, but he’s actually been a nightmare for left-handed power (.060 ISO!) in 2018.
Walks can be an issue, but Joey Votto and Jesse Winker are really the only Reds bats you need to worry about there.
I’m not saying this is without risk (at all), but Martinez has found his form again (37+ fantasy points in three straight starts) and offers nice K upside in a favorable matchup in his home park. There are worse tries to be had on this slate.
C/1B: Lucas Duda – Kansas City Royals ($2.4k)
It’s James Shields night and while he’s been way better than usual in 2018, I think 1-2 Royals can be tried on this slate. Duda is one of them, as he’s simply way too cheap given the matchup and his .194 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Duda’s power is actually even better than that, as he crushed righties in 2017 (.302!) but has missed some time this year due to injury. It’s worth noting that Shields has had some issues with the Royals and specifically Duda (2 dongs) in limited action. I don’t rely solely on BvsP, but everything aligns to give Duda a shot tonight.
2B: Max Muncy – Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.9k)
The Dodgers failed me last night but I’ll go right back to the well with Muncy. His ownership could be low on such a loaded slate and I don’t mind paying up a bit for his nasty .327 ISO against right-handed pitching.
Muncy and the rest of the L.A. bats will face Felix Pena, who has to this point done a lot better than anyone thought he would. I think things unravel a bit, seeing as he’s on the road and has some issues with lefties.
More specifically, Pena is much more hittable (.346 wOBA) from that side of the plate and also sees his K rate dip by an astronomical 21%. You can target Dodgers from either side given the contact he allows (+42% hard hit rate to all batters), but I prefer the lefties and love Muncy especially.
He’s been donging like crazy and gives you quite the elite late-game hammer to wrap things up.
3B: Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals ($3.3k)
I’ll use one more Royals bat and given Shields’ past propensity to light himself on fire, a full KC stack isn’t out of the question. Kansas City has been awful, though, so I won’t go much deeper than their two best lefty mashers.
Shields historically gives up a ton of contact and is a fly ball pitcher, so taking two stabs at some Royals power with a park upgrade in front of them seems logical. Shields has been tough on left-handers this year, but I’m not biting.
Moose mashes right-handed pitching (.262 ISO) and has shredded Shields up in the past. This is an easy call for me based on the talent, splits, price, park and overall matchup.
SS: Didi Gregorius – New York Yankees ($3.7k)
There are actually some pretty nice SS values tonight but my favorite by far is Didi, who donged last night and is on a tear right now with 12+ fantasy points in six of his last nine games. I’ll hop on him while he’s hot, while he happens to own a nice .251 ISO against right-handed pitching and will be operating in a nice park for offense.
I don’t want to stack Yankees against a talented young arm in Shane Bieber, but he has had some problems with contact. It’s been far more problematic against lefties (.422 wOBA, .236 ISO, 40% fly ball rate, 55% hard hit rate), so I’d probably limit my New York exposure to the left side of the plate.
Greg Bird and Brett Gardner are appealing, but Didi’s power is most attractive in this spot, plus I love the price tag.
OF: Nomar Mazara – Texas Rangers ($3.1k)
This battle between the Rangers and Orioles is another game with a fat 9.5 Total, so if you’re looking for some potentially contrarian pivots away from the chalky Coors Field, this is a good place to look. These offenses are obviously not consistent and very tough to trust, but the matchups are pretty great on paper.
That’s certainly the case for Mazara, who wields a powerful bat and will be taking on a pedestrian arm in Alex Cobb. Cobb has had a brutal 2018 run and is giving up contact to both sides of the plate, but I mildly prefer Texas lefties tonight.
OF: Mark Trumbo – Baltimore Orioles ($3.2k)
The Orioles are also in play, as they’re at home and have a litany of powerful righties to toss at southpaw, Cole Hamels. Hamels can still be tough at times, but he’s in a brutal park, gives up a lot of contact and is facing a lot of right-handed hitters in this one.
Considering Hamels can get lit up by righties (.346 wOBA, .233 ISO, 34% fly ball rate, 46% hard hit rate), I really don’t mind taking a crack or two at him. Danny Valencia, Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Trey Mancini are all in play here, but I’ll limit my exposure to Trumbo.
Trumbo has been pretty good over the last couple of months and he’s thrice donged Hamels in the past. He’s got a solid .183 ISO in this type of matchup this year and in 2017, too, so I have no qualms about taking a shot on him here.
A full O’s stack is pretty bold, but it’ll be low-owned and could actually work out. I just don’t know if I’ll get that crazy on such a huge daily fantasy baseball slate.
OF: Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.1k)
You can keep stacking Rangers and O’s as you please, but I’ll shift my focus to the Dodgers again. Pederson is too cheap given his power upside (.296 ISO) in this matchup, while L.A. tends to play way better at home in general.
He feels like a value pick on this slate and I don’t think this Pena guy can keep this up for much longer. A full Dodgers stack is firmly in play to close this slate out, while Yasmani Grandal, Cody Bellinger and Andrew Toles lead the way from the left side.
Util: Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies ($3.5k)
I’ll close things out with Hoskins, who faces a beatable lefty tonight and is simply way too cheap given his upside. He’s in a pitcher’s park tonight, but he destroys southpaws (.429 ISO last year) and it’s just a matter of time before he catches fire again.
Wei-Yin Chen has kept things together for the most part in 2018, but he still can get dinged up (.375 wOBA, .218 ISO, 42% fly ball rate) from the right side of the plate.
Overall, I like a lot of different offenses and it’s hard not to on such a wide open 15-game slate. I think you can pick your spots, but anyone from the Royals, Rangers, Orioles, Dodgers, Yankees and Indians is in play for me. There are obviously other plays to consider (Coors Field, anyone?), but those stand out as my favorite MLB DFS picks.
The trick will be getting pitching down tonight. If Thor is limited or rusty, he’s going to be pretty unplayable. With no clear cut stud pitcher to trust, where you go should dictate how you stack your bats and how your squad fares.
Hopefully you’re along for a winning ride with me tonight, but either way I hope I help you cash in some manner. Good luck and enjoy the games!