FanDuel MLB Picks – August 31st

Last night was a weird one for a few reasons. First, a ton of offenses went completely nuts. The Angels and Athletics combined for 18 runs in a pitcher’s park, the Cubs scored 17 on their own and the Twins chipped in 11. If you weren’t on those offenses (or the Rangers) or you did stack the Reds, you probably weren’t going anywhere.

I entered the big $4 GPP at FanDuel and placed in the green, but my 210 fantasy points barely got me $10. The top team had an insane 324 fantasy points, which suggests you needed some serious magic to get to the top of the mountain.

The good news is our calls that didn’t end up getting scratched would have helped you. Jose Berrios was a brilliant play (64 fantasy points), while Mike Trout poured in 46 fantasy points, Brian Dozier was plenty strong with 28.2 fantasy points. Those three could have carried most teams into the money, but we also got some production out of Andrew McCutchen (6.2), Jabari Blash (18) and Jose Reyes (15).

Seriously, we didn’t have many true misses on the night. The only thing holding Wednesday’s specific FanDuel picks back was late scratches, as Travis d’Arnaud, Justin Smoak and Josh Donaldson all hit the bench last night. If you used our other picks and pivoted to the right spots at C, 1B and 3B, you could have enjoyed a huge night.

Hopefully that was the case, but either way, we’re back to the grind on Thursday night with a super small 6-game slate. That simplifies things quite a bit, but also makes the margin for error razor thin. Let’s dive in and see who our favorite picks are for tonight’s MLB DFS slate at FanDuel:

SP: Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants ($9.8k)

I’m torn between two arms tonight, as Mad Bum looks to be in a solid spot at home, but Gio Gonzalez ($9.3k) is very tempting as he faces a Brewers lineup that strikes out a ton. Both of these guys have solid upside, but when we note that they are similarly priced, I find it very difficult to pivot off of Mad Bum. He might not get the win against a superior Cardinals team, but he’s at home and has seemingly gotten back to his old form.

There is a lot to like about Bumgarner here, as he has the better park, more K upside and a less potent matchup by the numbers. Milwaukee will probably succumb to Gio’s will, but Miller Park is always dangerous and the Brew Crew has loads of power. I like both arms tonight, but if we’re spending money on our arm, we want upside and safety. I think Mad Bum gets us that.

We can also consider punting pitcher on this slate. Kyle Hendricks ($8.5k) has an inflated price tag but has been solid and will be at home against the Braves. Michael Wacha is also in a good park for run prevention. Ultimately, though, the top two options are easy calls and they’re not even over $10k. We don’t need to dive at pitcher tonight.

C: J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins ($2.6k)

Gary Sanchez’s suspension looms but if he’s active, he remains the top catcher on the board tonight. If we’re not paying for him, we probably should just punt the position. Alex Avila is off the board against a southpaw, so I’m really just looking at Realmuto.

Realmuto is a good hitter and snapped back into form with three hits in his last start. He doesn’t have amazing power, but he can get on base and will face a pedestrian arm in Ben Lively. I don’t expect a dong here, but a couple of hits and runs would make him a great play. The bottom line is catcher is terrible on this slate, so you’re either spending on Gary or punting. If a cheaper option pops up, we need to consider it, but for now J.T. is a fine try and still saves us cash.

1B: Luke Voit – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.2k)

We have to take some deep dives to get the studs we want tonight. I have my eyes on Mad Bum and Giancarlo Stanton, so we’re in for a few flier plays. Voit is one of them, as he could be a fantastic one-off play against our pitcher tonight. Voit has solid power and Bumgarner almost always gives up at least one homer.

We can roll the dice here and hope Voit is one of the one/two Cards that get ahold of a long ball. He’s so cheap that a poor performance might not cripple us, but we’re aiming high here. We can also look at Jesus Aguilar and Kendrys Morales, but Voit is cheaper.

2B: Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals ($3.5k)

Murphy and the Nats see a nice park upgrade and face a beatable arm in righty, Zach Davies. Davies actually shut Washington down earlier this year, but he struggles at home and they have a pretty stacked lineup even without Bryce Harper. Murphy has strong splits against righties and should benefit from this park. He’s also back into a nice groove with 6+ fantasy points in each of his last five contests and 20+ in two straight.

Jonathan Schoop is the only other 2B option I’m drawn to, as he’s at home in Camden Yards against the beatable Marco Estraded. I’ll likely settle on one of these two guys, with Murphy’s value taking the lead. That being said, this position stinks tonight, so keep an eye out for a viable punt option.

3B: Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs ($4.3k)

Chicago isn’t scoring 17 runs again, but I don’t mind riding the hot hand. They’re still at home and they have a good matchup against a shaky lefty. Oh, and they wreck southpaws. Bryant has the splits to chase here, and while he’s mighty pricey, he’s red hot and should be worth it.

SS: Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs ($3.2k)

Baez stole home yet again last night, which provides further evidence that this kid is amazing. He also slashes southpaws (.299 ISO) and gets a beatable one at home tonight. He doesn’t always hit where we prefer in the order, but his splits, talent and price make him a solid get on tonight’s main slate.

I love Baez, but if we can help it, I’d like to land Trea Turner tonight. He’s crazy expensive ($4k), though, and we have bigger fish to fry. That being said, he is worth paying up for.

OF: Albert Almora Jr. – Chicago Cubs ($2.2k)

The Cubs are flat out wrecking these days, so anytime we can get cheap exposure to them and it makes sense, we need to pounce. Hopefully that’s the case with Almore, who usually finds his way into the lineup when Chicago takes on left-handing pitching. That’s the case tonight, as Almore brings his nasty splits (.398 wOBA) against southpaws to the table. It can’t hurt that the guy he’s facing – Sean Newcomb – has allowed a .204 ISO and 34% fly ball rate to the right side of the plate.

OF: Ezequiel Carrera – Toronto Blue Jays ($2k)

We need to save some money to end with the big fish, so I have no issues with taking one last dive. Carrera has not been great lately, but he’s actually been pretty efficient on the year and has been leading off for the Jays. He’ll be in a fun hitting environment tonight at Camden Yards, too, where he gets the shaky Jeremy Hellickson. Hellboy is coughing up a .235+ ISO to both sides of the plate, so I think Toronto gets to him, one way or another.

Carrera doesn’t need to homer here, but if he can get a couple of hits I think he’ll crush his current value.

OF: Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins ($5.2k)

Stanton is super expensive, but he has double-dong upside every time he approaches the plate and for some reason tends to really come alive at home at Marlins Park. He’s also facing a beatable pitcher in Ben Lively, who served up four long balls in his last start. Stanton is obviously raking in August, too, so on such a small slate, we can’t be the ones who fade him as he goes nuts again.

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Luke Hutson

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