Last night was one of the worst daily fantasy baseball teams I’ve ever assembled. A massive portion of that is thanks to Rick Porcello, who was truly the only viable arm on a three-game main slate.
He was 50% owned, so much of the MLB DFS world agreed with me. In a pitcher’s park against a punchless Rays lineup, he fully cratered and finished with (gulp) five fantasy points.
It was brutal to see it all unfold, especially since I could have rolled with virtually any other arm last night and had better luck. Sometimes chalk is chalk for a reason and sometimes it murders your soul.
Porcello hurt me last night, but my bats didn’t really help ease the pain.
It was a forgettable slate, but that can be the rub of such a tiny slate to begin with. It’s onward and upward as we approach a big 14-game main slate to close out the regular work week.
SP: Ross Stripling – Los Angeles Dodgers ($6.7k)
There are a ton of elite pitching options available on this slate. Max Scherzer is the best overall play in a pitcher’s park against the Miami Marlins. He’s the most expensive arm, though, so if you want to load up on bats, it may make sense to pivot to a cheaper top shelf arm or just drop down with a value play.
Up top, Noah Syndergaard ($10.6k) is probably your next best bet, while James Paxton ($9.7k) screams value at home against a volatile Twins lineup. Corey Kluber ($11k) and Luis Severino ($10.3k) are also in play, but they have tough matchups.
I don’t love any of the other intermediate options, so my next two guys I’ll be considering are Jon Gray ($7k) against the Reds and Ross Stripling ($6.7k) versus the Padres.
Gray is a very talented pitcher with what looks to be a good matchup, but Coors Field is still Coors Field. This is an amazing GPP play, but I can understand your hesitance.
I like that play and will probably try it once tonight, but my preferred arm on this slate has to be Stripling.
A talented pitcher that simply hasn’t been used much as a starter, Stripling is finally stretched out this year and is fresh off a dominant outing (9 Ks, 1 ER) against a good Washington Nationals offense. He worked the Cincinnati Reds (7 Ks) the game prior and shutout the San Diego Padres the game before that.
Stripling is in a great spot tonight at home against the Padres. San Diego is still without two of their best power bats and sports a gross 27% strikeout rate against right-handed pitching. Anyone can face plant like Porcello did last night, but Stripling offers elite value on a huge slate.
The matchup is sublime and Stripling should garner low ownership with so many studs on the table. He’s a fine pick to help us load up on mashers tonight in GPPs at FanDuel.
I won’t talk you out of Mad Max and the other elite options tonight, but I want some elite bats and this value is too good to pass up.
C/1B: Justin Smoak – Toronto Blue Jays ($3.6k)
Smoak loses efficiency when he bats from the left side, but he donged 31 times in that spot in 2017 and obviously swings a powerful bat. That’s the play here, as his nasty .249 ISO could come in useful in a hitter’s park against a high contact pitcher like Zach Eflin.
Eflin has looked solid so far in 2018, but this is not an easy matchup for him tonight. His suspect .266 ISO against lefties over the past two years also makes him a target.
You can consider diving down for Curtis Granderson (.230 ISO) at the OF spot, too, while a full Jays stack is not the craziest thing tonight.
2B: Whit Merrifield – Kansas City Royals ($3.5k)
Merrifield sees a great park upgrade tonight in Texas and he’ll also be facing a contact arm in Mike Minor. Minor gets lit up be right-handed hitting (.209 ISO, 44% fly ball rate), while Whit produces a pretty sweet ISO himself (.237) versus southpaws.
I also like Asdrubal Cabrera and Yangervis Solarte in the same price range, but Merrifield feels like the best play by the numbers tonight.
3B: Hunter Dozier – Kansas City Royals ($2k)
I’ll try Dozier for the same reasons I’m using Merrifield. He’s in a great park for power, Minor gives up a ton of hard contact and he has shown the ability to hit lefties. He brings good power to the table and has yet to send one deep, too. Tonight could be the night and at this price he’s an amazing bargain buy.
SS: Jean Segura – Seattle Mariners ($2.6k)
This is a pure price play, as Segura is a quality SS who connects on 83% of his at bat. He does hit a ton of ground balls, but he also doesn’t whiff much and he’s decent enough to use against fellow righties. The matchup isn’t amazing, but he’s at home and is clearly dirt cheap.
I’m not demanding a dong here. If Segura can produce two hits, swipe a bag and manage to score, he’d return elite value with 15 fantasy points. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
OF: Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies ($3.6k)
Hoskins is just too cheap here. Citizens Bank Park is a terrific place for offense and Sam Gaviglio is an equal opportunity sad sack. He gives up a good amount of contact and coughs up a +.216 ISO to both sides of the plate.
I know the power numbers haven’t been there for Hoskins, but he’s at home against a very beatable pitcher and he’s been putting the ball in the air a ton this year. Eventually that’s going to work out for him. This matchup and this price are as good of a spot as any to bet on him paying off.
OF: Giancarlo Stanton – New York Yankees ($5.1k)
Stanton can struggle at home at times, but he’s still donged there six times in 2018. He’s also facing a lefty tonight, so he has to be on your radar thanks to his gaudy .461 ISO against southpaws.
It’s been even nastier (.531) this year, while Andrew Heaney (.366 wOBA, .302 ISO, 40% fly ball rate and 43% hard hit rate) historically has issues with right-handed power. You can also look at Aaron Judge and/or Gary Sanchez here, but if I need to pick one it’s Stanton by a mile.
OF: Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals ($5.3k)
I love Aaron Judge and Charlie Blackmon here tonight as well, so if you want to pay up over my utility guy, perhaps dropping to them is in the cards for you.
Harper is in a pitcher’s park and is not cheap, so I think he could come in at decreased ownership. I always love a masher who can get me two homers at 5-10% ownership and it’s possible Harper does that tonight.
Jose Urena is not an elite pitcher and he has most of his issues against left-handed hitting (.177 ISO, 38% fly ball rate, 36% hard hit rate). Harper could easily tag him tonight.
Util: Kurt Suzuki – Atlanta Braves ($2.6k)
I don’t usually go out of my way to pick on Eduardo Rodriguez, but if I do I’m using righty power. Rodriguez can make bats miss, but Fenway Park is a brutal place to throw in and Suzuki brings a nasty .357 ISO to the table versus southpaws.
Fenway gives way to righty power, so Suzuki could be an overlooked masher in this spot tonight.
Again, if you don’t love him, drop down from Harper and consider someone like Cody Bellinger ($3.1k) or Joey Gallo ($3.1k). They both look like elite value mashers on this slate and people hate using left-handed bats versus left-handed pitching.
Overall, I see the infatuation with Mad Max and the other stud arms, but I want bats tonight. Stripling is also in an awesome spot, so hopefully he can deliver a big outing and make this all come together nicely.
Either way, hopefully some of these MLB DFS picks help you out and you can find a way to profit tonight. Good luck!