FanDuel MLB Picks – July 26th

Last night was an utter disaster in daily fantasy baseball. I felt really good about a lot of our picks, yet we got burned left and right. A lot of weird stuff happened, though, as the Nationals couldn’t score a single run at home against Zach Davies, the Yankees and Reds combined for just six runs, Atlanta stifled Arizona at Chase Field and the Giants of all teams scored a ridiculous 11 runs.

In the end, if you didn’t have exposure to the Giants and Indians, you were in trouble. Our only great call was switching off of Seth Lugo late and paying up for Madison Bumgarner, who again wasn’t elite but recorded his first win of the year and notched 30 fantasy points. It was a weird and rather disgusting slate and feels like one to forget for good. It’s onward and upward as we again try to piece together a MLB DFS team that can be competitive at FanDuel:

SP: Mike Fiers – Houston Astros ($8.6k)

This is another shaky slate for pitching. Yu Darvish feels like the obvious play, but it’s not like he has it easy in a hitter’s park against a powerful Marlins lineup. Where else do we go, though? Carlos Martinez has been in weak form and gets a dangerous Rockies offense, Jake Arrieta can seemingly never be the same guy two games in a row, Aaron Nola feels useless at home against the Astros and virtually every option is either shaky, has a bad matchup or could have their strikeout upside curbed.

I seriously am tempted to just punt pitcher to the moon and use Dodgers reliever Brock Stewart. In all seriousness, there are three plays I’m largely considering; Mike Fiers against the Phillies, Steven Matz against the Padres or simply going chalk with Yu. Ultimately I’m probably riding Fiers, which feels like a scary proposition, but he’s been lighting it up (20 strikeouts in his last two starts) and the Phillies are not an efficient offense (29th in power against righties). They could always sound off at home in a hitter’s park, but on this slate we probably need to just target the matchup with the most upside and move on.

Fiers doesn’t always feel safe, but he’s been fantastic and is in about as good a spot as you can hope for. His price is somewhat inflated and the park is dicey, so hopefully those fears lower his ownership. Either way, he’s my favorite play by a mile.

C: Alex Avila – Detroit Tigers ($2.4k)

Anyone who reads our FanDuel MLB picks knows I’m a fan of Avila anytime he’s taking on a righty. He has been in a nasty rut (1 for his last 17) but he’ll snap out of it eventually and tonight he’s at home against a beatable righty in Ian Kennedy. He only has three hits on Kennedy in his career, but all three have gone for dongs. Avila is cheap, has some nice power, is at home and owns the splits edge here. He’s a dicey play due to his current slump, but at this price I’m not scared of using him in a GPP.

There is more safety with paying up for Willson Conteras, who has been crushing and gets James Shields. That’s my favorite cash game play at catcher, without a doubt. A full Cubs stack is very much in play tonight.

1B: Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs ($4.1k)

Rizzo kick starts a 3-man Cubs stack for us tonight. You can push it to for with Contreras or maybe Kris Bryant, but I certainly want Rizzo here. For one, I’m not overly into any other 1B options. He’s in a good park against a trash pitcher in James Shields and has great splits versus righties for his career. We want power against Shields and we get it in spades here with Rizzo.

There are always a lot of interesting options to consider at 1B, but tonight I’m not seeing a ton that stand out in terms of splits or pitcher matchup. That being said, Wil Myers ($3.1k) is awfully cheap and could be worth a look.

2B: Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians ($3.7k)

Jose Altuve and Daniel Murphy are the obvious plays at 2B tonight, but they have relatively tough assignments against Aaron Nola and Jimmy Nelson, respectively. I see no reason why we can’t drop down a little bit to Ramirez, who isn’t usually listed at this position. He offers efficiency and power here and also gets a very beatable arm in Ricky Nolasco. Cleveland players oddly never work for me, but I find it difficult to fade him in this spot.

3B: Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals ($3.5k)

I’m always interested in Moose when he’s taking on a beatable righty and tonight we find him with a park upgrade against Anibal Sanchez. Moustakas can win any matchup, but this is certainly one to target, as Sanchez owns a gnarly 5.90 ERA at home and has regressed a bit lately after a mild comeback. Sanchez is not a scary pitcher and while the career stats don’t favor Moose in this matchup, the splits and park do.

SS: Marcus Semien – Oakland Athletics ($2.7k)

I prefer to use Semien against a lefty when I can, but I still like his value here against Marco Estrada. Estrada is talented but has not been great in 2017 and specifically has had issues containing righty hitters (.375 OBP). Semien provides some power and upside, along with alluring value. We can also consider paying up for Marwin Gonzalez, but SS isn’t too attractive on the main slate. It’s a pretty good spot to pay down if we can.

OF: Ian Happ – Chicago Cubs ($2.8k)

I am certainly into the idea of targeting human gascan James Shields, especially if I can get solid value. Happ is a very hit or miss masher, but he provides serious power and this price is tough to pass up. He’s got a dream matchup in a solid park and he gets me cheap exposure to an offense I like on this slate. Sign me up. I could also pivot to Kyle Schwarber here, but I have a good feeling about Happ tonight.

OF: Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs ($2.7k)

You can pivot to Schwarber, but I don’t see a reason why we can’t just pair these guys up. James Shields is a fun pitcher to target and the Cubs are red hot as they push the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. The ball could be flying tonight, so we should get some exposure to this game, whether it be a full 4-man stack or just these two guys.

OF: Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels ($4.6k)

I don’t need much reason to play arguably the most talented player in baseball. Trout owns elite splits no matter which way you look at him, he and his Angels get a big park upgrade playing in Cleveland and if there’s a chance Carlos Carrasco will lower his ownership, all the better. The pitching matchup isn’t ideal, but Carrasco can be taken deep and Trout is in a nice groove (15+ fantasy points in 5 of his last 6).

Trout is a fun way to wrap this team up. Pitching is problematic tonight, but if Fiers can be just passable, I think a 3 or 4-man Cubs stack and some powerful bats around them could carry us into the green.

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Luke Hutson

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