We’re picking up where we left off on Friday, where we certainly had some hits with our FanDuel MLB picks, but ultimately fell short. Brad Peacock was a mitigated disaster (0 fantasy points!) against the Mike Trout-less Angels, no less, while the Nationals left us all wanting more (2 runs vs. Andrew Cashner at home!). Trea Turner burned us with 3 fantasy points, Daniel Murphy was meh with 9 fantasy points and Andrew Benintendi (6.2), Brett Gardner (9) and Eric Thames (9) were all just decent.
Jake Lamb (31.7) was a hit, Gary Sanchez was solid (15.4) and Ben Gamel (12.5) delivered. It wasn’t a great run, but perhaps if you went with a more reliable arm some of our bats could have mixed in to help you cash. We’ll leave last week in the rearview mirror, however, and look forward to a successful Monday night.
SP: Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals (11.4k)
Strasburg remains in elite form, as he’s allowed just five runs combined across his last four starts and has notched a staggering 41 strikeouts during that span. The guy is flat out dealing right now and tonight he draws a favorable tilt at home with the very beatable Atlanta Braves. Strasburg is the top cash play by far and probably is the best route to go in GPPs, too.
We got cute with Brad Peacock last time out and we’re not going that route tonight. Strasburg certainly trumps other elites like Yu Darvish (at Houston) and Jacob deGrom. New York’s ace has allowed 15 runs over his last two outings and gets the Cubs. Yeah, not thanks. We can consider Rick Porcello at home against the Phillies or hope Masahiro Tanaka bounces back in L.A. against the Halos, but if I’m not using Stras I think Kyle Freeland is my favorite play. The lefty faces a Pirates offense that isn’t scary and struggles against southpaws, while PNC Park is a good place to pitch. He also has been fantastic on the road.
C: Elias Diaz – Pittsburgh Pirates ($2.2k)
Obviously Gary Sanchez is the top catcher on a smaller slate and that’s probably where I’m going in cash games. It might not be a bad idea to work away from him in GPPs, though, as he’s really pricey ($4k) and could be due for a clunker after enjoying a hot run recently. If I’m not using Sanchez, I might just punt the position and there might not be a better catcher to do that with than Diaz.
We don’t know for sure how good he is against left-handed pitching, but his small sample size isn’t discouraging (0.385 OPS), while he’s also turned in 18+ fantasy points in two straight outings. Make sure he’s starting before you use him, but he has been hot and his price could let you get Strasburg and open up cash for the rest of your bats.
1B: Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles ($3.7k)
First Base isn’t a lot of fun tonight, as a lot of the cheaper options (Lucas Duda and Matt Adams specifically) are in ruts at the moment. We can consider Josh Bell, but I actually like Kyle Freeland and don’t want to load up on Pirates, of all offenses (watch, now they score 20 runs). That probably has me looking at an interesting value in Anthony Rizzo ($3.5k) or going chalky with Crush.
Rizzo could be great, but we should probably respect the fact that he draws a tough matchup on paper with Jacob deGrom. I don’t necessarily trust deGrom as my top fantasy arm, but I also don’t want to go out of my way to target him, either. Crush has a fine matchup at Chicago, where he gets Mike Pelfrey. He’s 3 of 9 lifetime against Big Pelf and enjoys favorable splits against right-handed pitching. I wish he were cheaper, but he remains one of the better 1B options to roll with tonight.
We can dive for Duda, Adams or Bell, too, while I still think Rizzo is a fine pivot here. Other top options like Joey Votto, Mark Reynolds and Matt Holliday are all in pitcher-friendly parks.
2B: Starlin Castro – New York Yankees ($3.3k)
Jose Altuve is mildly tempting tonight and Brian Dozier figures to be in a great spot against Yovani Gallardo, but I’m not sure I can get around the value presented by Castro. New York’s star 2B is on fire right now with a hit in six straight games, with four of those contests producing two hits. Castro has also slugged three homers in his last three games and might be too ablaze to ignore.
3B: Luis Valbuena – Los Angeles Angels ($2.4k)
We always need to make sure Valbuena is starting, but he should tonight as the Halos draw combustible righty, Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is so fragile right now that the Yankees delibterately pushed his start back so he wouldn’t have to face the Orioles. The contact Tanaka is allowing is absurd, while a guy that isn’t getting a ton of Ks draws a matchup with a lineup that strikes out at a very low rate.
The Halos lack pop with Mike Trout out of the lineup, but they could get some here with Valbuena. He turned in two solid performances against his former team when he faced the Astros over the weekend and he could keep it going here in this matchup. You’re really just saving money with some viable power here, but Valbuena is at his best against right-handed pitching and has also played his best ball at home this year. He could keep a modest three-game hitting streak rolling tonight and provide you major salary relief.
SS: Didi Gregorious – New York Yankees ($3.1k)
Every Yankee is on fire right now, it seems, and even with a less than ideal road date with Alex Meyer, I’m not sure we can shy too much away from New York options. Starlin Castro is one option with a good price we touched on, but Gregorious is probably way too cheap and at a position that lacks great options tonight.
Trea Turner ($4.4k) is just way too expensive, while Carlos Correa has a date with Yu Darvish. We can still use these guys, but we could also pay way down for a piece to this explosive Yankees puzzle. Gregorious hasn’t been “just a guy” lately, either, as New York’s shortstops is slaying to the tune of six multi-hit games over his last 8 contests. The matchup and park are not an ideal combo on the road, but the value is pretty sweet here.
OF: Andrew Benintendi – Boston Red Sox ($2.8k)
I just love Beni’s price right now. There is a lot to like here, as Benintendi brings raw power to the table in a hitter’s park, while he also mashes righties. He’s also been fairly reliable lately, hitting safely in 5 of his last 7 contests. He gets a beatable matchup against Jerad Eickhoff, too. The Phillies pitcher has been prone to hard contact all year and owns a weak 4.89 ERA on the road. Boston should get some runs tonight and I wouldn’t be shocked if Beni donged one in.
OF: Kole Calhoun – Los Angeles Angeles ($3k)
The Angels have remained inexpicably potent offensively, even without the elite services of superstar outfielder, Mike Trout. I don’t know if it can last, but they’re killing it and Masahiro Tanaka certainly is not. Many could argue this is a dream spot for Tanaka to get his mind right – and maybe it is – but the Halos are hot, at home and could also plug this as an awesome matchup for themselves.
That puts Calhoun into play, who has really picked it up since Trout went down. Calhoun always carries pop with his bat, but he specifically wrecks right-handed pitching and has been insanely efficient lately with a hit in 8 of his last 10 games. Even more impressive? A staggering seven of those outings produced two hits. Calhoun has the splits edge, is red hot, excels at home and gets a pitcher who seems to be in his own head. Fire him up with confidence.
OF: Ben Gamel – Seattle Mariners ($2.7k)
We can close out Monday’s FanDuel MLB picks the same way we did Friday’s – with the reliable Ben Gamel. He remains dirt cheap despite constantly paying off. He thrived in his last start (18 fantasy points) and has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. He hasn’t provided elite power in 2017, but he’s very efficient and has been a safe play. At this price you don’t need a dong, but if Gamel can get on base once or twice and score, he will easily return value.
That does it for Monday’s daily fantasy baseball picks. Hopefully some of these guys can mix into your ideal team and cash or win big in GPPs. We wish you luck tonight!