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FanDuel MLB Picks – August 22nd

Our team didn’t crush it last night, as the smaller slate was not as explosive as we’d hoped. Two of our favorite value plays actually ended up being scratched, while the best arm on the board (Alex Wood) was pretty spare with just 28 fantasy points.

We did have a few hits, of course, as Jonathan Schoop went yard and a secondary option we mentioned (Nicky Delmonico) also homered. Just about everyone else we plugged at least put up a few points, but nobody else sounded off like we thought they might. Instead, we whiffed on an Adam Jones double-dong (which was painful since we loved Orioles last night), while we watched helplessly as Curtis Granderson chipped in a grand slam.

How fitting. Cole Hamels also ended up being one of the better pitching plays, which was truly annoying. It just wasn’t our night, overall, and something tells us that was the case for a lot of people playing daily fantasy baseball on Monday. We’re back to the grind tonight, however, as things open up significantly for our FanDuel MLB picks thanks to a monster main slate:

SP: Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies ($7k)

There are a ton of great pitching options available to us tonight, but nobody feels necessarily “safe”. Chris Archer gets a dangerous rival in the Jays, Carlos Carrasco gets the Sox, Masahiro Tanaka is on the road against the Tigers and Charlie Morton faces the Nats. There are a few other options we can look at and maybe these other guys will be fine. I just don’t see the value in spending at pitcher tonight.

Instead, I’m rolling with Gray, who is dirt cheap given his natural talent and upside. He’s also outside of Coors Field and gets a KC offense that lacks reliable pop and has also cooled down over the last few weeks. Gray has been super steady with 40 fantasy points in three of his last four starts, as well. There is some mild risk here, but Gray is a quality young pitcher in a good park against a less than stellar lineup. He should be fine and he allows us to stack up a litany of elite bats.

C: Alex Avila – Chicago Cubs ($2.8k)

Catcher is a death zone again, as some guys are way over-priced and others don’t look to be in great situations. Everything leads me to Avila, who kills righties and gets a killer matchup in Great American Ballpark against Homer Bailey. Avila crushes righties to the tune of a .234 ISO and .381 wOBA and all Cubs are in play in this matchup, so I’m all aboard as long as he starts.

1B: Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds ($4.5k)

I’m very much into the game at Great American Ballpark tonight, as we get extremely beatable pitching on either side. Votto is always a good play regardless of matchup, but he owns a .280 ISO against righties and gets John Lackey – a guy he’s taken for a ride two times before and could do so against tonight, as well.

Anthony Rizzo is the other obvious play up top at this position, while Chris Davis could be another option that saves us some cash.

2B: Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs ($3.2k)

I am not going to be shy about stacking Cubs here, especially if we can get them at a good price. Avila is obvious, while Happ and his sweet splits against righties (.273 ISO) also stand out. We can talk up Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant, too, but they are more obvious picks. I also like Jason Kipnis here, as he faces Doug Fister and is about the same price.

3B: Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians ($3.1k)

There are a lot of viable options at 3B (per usual), but I am digging Ramirez, as he’s at home against a very beatable arm in Doug Fister. We don’t get a ton of upside at Progressive Field, but Fister is not a great pitcher and Ramirez himself can do a lot for us. I also love the value here, as he’s in a mild rut but offers serious upside via his gaudy splits (.247 ISO, .391 wOBA) against right-handed pitching.

If I’m not going here I’m targeting Homer some more and paying up for Kris Bryant. That, or we can use Nolan Arenado against Danny Duffy. We know how menacing that guy is against lefties.

SS: Marwin Gonzalez – Houston Astros ($3.3k)

The Astros have been annoying a lot of us lately but they’re still stacked and I’m not going to shy away from a good hitter in a nice spot. That means I’m on Marwin, who is at his best against righties and gets a beatable one in Tanner Roark today. Roark is a solid pitcher but he can still be gotten to and he also has a tough time with lefty hitters. If Marwin is on that side of the plate, I like him a lot and we actually get him at a solid discount.

OF: Khris Davis – Oakland Athletics ($3.7k)

Ubaldo Jimenez has worse numbers against the left side of the plate, but Davis mashes righties and is in a great park tonight. I need a piece of him before he exits Camden Yards and I wouldn’t at all be shocked if he took Ubaldo long once or twice. His nasty splits (.304 ISO) have me pulling the trigger with zero restraint.

OF: J.D. Martinez – Arizona Diamondbacks ($3.9k)

Martinez feels cheap in this spot, as he faces on a very beatable lefty in Tommy Milone. That, and J.D.’s numbers against southpaws (.518 ISO, .564 wOBA) are to die for. I don’t need much of an argument to go here, as you can imagine.

OF: Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets ($3.6k)

I might try to switch things up somewhere so I can land Aaron Judge here ($3.8k), but I like Cespedes plenty. He has a somewhat tough matchup against Patrick Corbin, but he’s at home and wrecks lefties (.304 ISO). I also wouldn’t mind adding another Cub here, as Kyle Schwarber is $3.5k and has an awesome matchup in a great park, as we’ve discussed.

There are a lot of solid arms to take a shot on tonight, but I’m not too keen on the matchups. I’d rather stack bats and hope my cheap pitcher comes through. I think Gray can do that for us.

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