Monday’s FanDuel MLB DFS picks were off to a rough start before the games even started. With Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager both scratched, we were down two of our favorite value plays and ultimately were forced to use catcher and shortstop picks we didn’t love.
This is what can happen on a short 7-game slate, but part of daily fantasy baseball – and DFS in general – is adapting on the fly. Fortunately our pitching suggestion worked out just fine, as Dan Straily notched a strong 42 fantasy points. We got some help from a few bats, as well, as Aaron Judge went yard and Chris Davis (12.2), J.D. Martinez (9.5) offered respectable efforts.
Brian Dozier (0) was a total turd, Jake Lamb mustered just 3 fantasy points and David Peralta was actually on his way to a great game (9 fantasy points) before exiting early with a quad issue.
Overall, this wasn’t a winner. We had to make late switches at C and SS that didn’t work out, while Lamb and Dozier completely bombed. We paid for Martinez to continue his awesome tear, only to watch him produce modest results in the face of huge games from cheaper mashers like Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Braun and Mookie Betts.
The good news is fading Clayton Kershaw (24 fantasy points) was absolutely the right call. Unfortunately, we weren’t on a Red Sox/Orioles game that exploded, while the Athletics and Marlins also went nuts. It’s onward and upward for Tuesday, as we get back to a normal schedule and have a litany of directions we can go in:
SP: Zack Godley – Arizona Diamondbacks ($9.6k)
Max Scherzer can be had at a severe discount ($10.6k) tonight, but he has not looked good recently and feels like a trap. Hopefully his low price and the “rebound” narrative will get a lot of people on him and he’ll continue his struggles. I personally want Godley at hopefully low ownership as he heads to a nice park to face a bad Padres offense.
Unlike Mad Max (which is crazy to say), Godley has been both elite and reliable lately. Godley ripped through this very San Diego lineup (9 Ks) two starts ago and has now churned out 46+ fantasy points in three straight starts. On the year Godley has posted a respectable 3.32 ERA in this matchup (3 starts) and this is not a guy who gets blown up very often. The Ks should be there and logic doesn’t support the Padres jumping all over him in a win.
I love Godley here, but I note the appeal of a discounted Scherzer. He’s still a strong cash game play and if recency bias actually gets people off of Scherzer, that may be the spot to go. Paying attention to experts and chatter in forums could help decide that later tonight.
There are a lot of other pitching options on this slate. Aaron Nola, Yu Darvish, Jose Berrios, Chris Archer, Kevin Gausman, Mike Clevinger, Marcus Stroman, Johnny Cueto and Drew Pomeranz all have valid arguments backing them. They also all seem to carry either some considerable risk or too many obstacles. When it comes to value, safety and upside, Godley is my top pick. If I don’t use Godley, I’d probably move things around to pay up for Mad Max and hope his stinkfest ends.
C: Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays ($2.4k)
I really like Chris Iannetta ($2.6k) tonight, so if I can work my way up to him, I’ll consider it. I’m fine with Martin, though, as he offers value in a solid spot against Sam Gaviglio. We’ll get more into why we love this matchup on the pitching side, but Martin is by far at his best (.168 ISO, .346 wOBA) against right-handed pitchers. This feels like a great spot to use him, while saving and punting at catcher.
1B: Justin Smoak – Toronto Blue Jays ($3.2k)
I don’t want too much exposure to a volatile Toronto offense, but they have a really good matchup tonight against Sam Gaviglio, who gives up contact to both sides of the plate. Smoak also brings in a nice .275 ISO against right-handed hurlers, so I don’t mind taking a stab here at a discounted price.
2B: Ian Kinsler – Detroit Tigers ($3k)
Kinsler remains a solid price even though he’s hitting the ball well and at home against a young pitcher. I don’t love the idea of picking on Daniel Gossett, but if you’re going to do it, it’s with righties. Kinsler has respectable splits against fellow righties, but Gossett’s .245 ISO and .362 wOBA against right-handed bats is what catches my eye in this spot.
3B: Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays ($4.2k)
For the same reasons we want Smoak and need to consider all Jays, we’ll grab Donaldson. Not only does the man get a beatable arm in his way tonight, but his nasty splits (.275 ISO, .397 wOBA) provide the icing on the cake. Oh, and he’s been ablaze lately, smacking 5 home runs in his last three games. I’m not sure I can fade this guy right now.
SS: Paul DeJong – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.9k)
DeJong brings a lot of power to the table, so he’s going to be too cheap for me to pass up as he gets a huge park upgrade at Great American Ballpark. He’s a fine try pretty much anytime, and tonight he offers upside with his strong splits (.224 ISO, .343 wOBA) against fellow righties.
Jackson Stephens is the reason we’re interested here, however, as the 23-year old prepares to make just his second start ever. He actually showed well against the Cubs in this park back in July, but his second start could go in any direction. He also gave up 2 dongs in that start and in brief duty has struggled with a good amount of contact. His fly ball tendencies could be trouble in turn two in this park.
OF: J.D. Martinez – Arizona Diamondbacks ($4.8k)
We paid for J.D. last night and he didn’t blow up as we’d hoped, but tonight he faces a terrible lefty in Travis Wood. Martinez is forever in play against southpaws, as he absolutely destroys them (.518 ISO, .539 wOBA). That, and Wood has been abysmal, giving up 15 runs over his last two starts. A full Diamondbacks stack is clearly in play to close out the night, as well.
OF: Chad Pinder – Oakland Athletics ($2.7k)
Pinder is a nice value bat, as the Athletics have been on fire and he’s chipped in with four hits over his last two outings. He brings decent splits to the table against Chad Bell, who hasn’t been impressive as a starter. Bell gives up a healthy .214 ISO and .403 wOBA to right-handed hitters, while his K rate drops by 11% versus that side of the plate. I love the cheap exposure to a hot offense that puts the ball in play a ton.
OF: Ezequiel Carrera – Toronto Blue Jays ($2.2k)
We don’t always put full 4-man stacks in play in our daily fantasy baseball picks, but I’m all about the Jays tonight. That, and Carrera helps get me where I want to go on this slate. Carrera is a fine punt in his own right, too, as the outfielder can often bat high in the order and is actually fairly efficient.
Carrera is also in a solid groove at the moment (a hit in each of his last three games) and sports nice splits (.364 wOBA) against righties. Putting that against Gaviglio’s .247 ISO against righty bats makes this for a fun cheap play to wrap things up.