Another day of daily fantasy baseball action is in the books, as we had a rocky start to the week with our FanDuel MLB picks.
You would have been totally fine rolling with elite arms like Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer last night, but we dropped down to Aaron Nola, who actually excelled with 9 strikeouts with one earned run across seven strong innings against the Braves. That was the good.
Nola got us going in the right direction early, but the bats were not lively for us on Monday night. Trevor Story was a solid play (9 fantasy points), but Nelson Cruz (15 fantasy points) was sadly our best bat on the night. Mark Reynolds and Andrew McCutchen at least got on the board, but were otherwise disappointing.
Salvador Perez, Rafael Devers and Robinson Cano (0 fantasy points combined!) were useless spares, while Carlos Gonzalez got scratched at the last second. We whiffed on our Coors bats on the night and some guys with killer splits just flat out didn’t show up. That spoiled a strong pitching play, but on a shorter 10-game slate, not locating the right stack(s) can send you deep down the ranks.
We aim for a far better outing tonight, as we again look to piece together a MLB DFS winner at FanDuel:
SP: Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox ($10.9k)
Last night I didn’t want to pay for the elites and that worked out. I’m not sure we can do that tonight. Sale can be had at a mild discount and his ownership could be lower than usual after a brutal start in his last outing against the Indians. Sale gets a better matchup tonight against the Jays, who strike out way more. He’s racked up 24 strikeouts against Toronto in two starts in 2017 and he’s yet to allow this lineup a single run.
I bet he gives something up tonight, but Sale is without a doubt my top arm and I’ll be using him everywhere. I do have mild interest in Luke Weaver against a Milwaukee lineup that strikes out a lot, but he’s in Miller Park and they’ve been good lately. If I dive, that’s where I’m going. Otherwise, tonight is a Sale or bust kind of slate.
C: Evan Gattis – Houston Astros ($2.5k)
We’re going to have to save in a few spots if we’re paying for Sale, so punting catcher or going as deep as it makes sense is probably a good idea. We need to make sure Gattis starts, but I see no other reason to stray from him. He’s mashing southpaws in 2017 (.232 ISO) and he gets a shaky one in Martin Perez at home. Perez has specifically struggled against the right side of the plate, too, so I’m all aboard the Gattis train – especially at this low price tag.
I also like Alex Avila (per usual) against a shaky righty, so he’s certainly in play. A full punt is going to be in play here, depending on what opens up, as well.
1B: Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers ($3k)
Thames has in a bit of a funk right now, but he’s super streaky so that’s to be expected. That’s brought him down to a much more palatable price and we can take a shot at him tonight at home against a righty. I do like Luke Weaver’s upside and he’s been good against lefty bats, but Thames sports a ridiculous .281 ISO against right-handed pitching. He’s overdue for a long ball and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get it tonight at home.
Another cheap bat I like is Hanley Ramirez. Sale will need some run support and Han Ram might be able to help him out. Ramirez excels against lefties and gets a so-so matchup with a southpaw in Brett Anderson tonight.
2B: Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals ($3.1k)
Vance Worley has had a weird hold over the Nats but they’re too good to let that stretch to three games. They went nuts last night and Murphy (21 fantasy points) was a big part of it. He’s back in a mild groove and he remains way too cheap to pass up. There are several ways to go at 2B, but I see no reason to pass up this kind of value in a plus matchup.
3B: Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox ($3k)
We can get more value by going back to the well with Devers, who still has loads of power he can put to use each time out. He gets a beatable lefty in Brett Anderson, who specifically has had trouble against lefty hitters (.278 ISO and .545 wOBA allowed). It’s a small sample size across the board, but once we factor in Rafael’s nasty .296 ISO against southpaws, I find it hard to turn away.
I’m also into Travis Shaw in this spot, while 3B is among the most loaded (and expensive) positions. We probably can’t spend too much here if we want to use Sale, though, so locating value like Devers could be key.
SS: Marwin Gonzalez – Houston Astros ($3k)
Sometimes we just have to buy low on guys when they’re in funks and too cheap to ignore. That’s the case here with Gonzalez, who has not been good but is a great price at home against Martin Perez. We want to use Marwin against righties when possible, but he’s still strong against southpaws and could easily work out in this spot.
OF: Matt Adams – Atlanta Braves ($2.8k)
We’re saving some cash here as we grab some cheap power in a great park. Adams has a beautiful matchup at Citizens Bank Park against Mark Leiter Jr. Not only does he sport a sick .265 ISO against righties, but Leiter has endured his toughest times against lefty bats (.216 ISO). I like the chance for a long ball out of Adams in this one.
OF: Max Kepler – Minnesota Twins ($3.2k)
This is another calculated risk, as Kepler has not been in a groove at all lately. However, he’s not a bad price, has solid power and gets the usually terrible James Shields at home in a hitter’s park. Shields is allowing a staggering .319 ISO to lefty bats and Kepler has a fun .229 ISO to work with. Sold!
OF: Adam Duvall – Cincinnati Reds ($3.3k)
Obviously if something else opens up and we can punt to afford more reliable bats, we’ll have to consider it. I don’t mind ending this potential murderer’s row with Duvall, though. I prefer to use him against southpaws, but he actually has strong splits (.243 ISO) against righties. He’s also taking on a shaky young arm in Chris Flexen that is allowing a .242 ISO and .423 wOBA to the right side of the plate. Add it all up in a game at Great American Ballpark, and I’m fine with chasing Duvall’s power and upside here.