Thursday was never going to fire off as planned when it came to our FanDuel MLB picks. Madison Bumgarner was our favorite arm on a shaky slate and he got scratched due to an illness mere minutes before lineups locked. That sent many people into a tailspin and it drastically impacted our team in the end.
Giancarlo Stanton bombed in a great matchup, too, while most of the value bats we chased ended up being pretty unnecessary due to Bumgarner being ruled out. I personally dived for C.C. Sabathia (he was fantastic) and fortunately rostered Kendrys Morales (3 HR) last night, yet I still didn’t place in my single entry GPP. The luck, right?
Last night was weird and it ended a two-day run of smaller slates. We’re back to the big thing to close the week on Friday night and it’s troubling due to a Clayton Kershaw return. The Dodgers ace would normally be an easy play even at a price tag over $12k, but he’s not going to pitch a full game and that makes him off limits. Where we pivot at pitcher will directly impact our daily fantasy baseball build today, so we need to consider all options.
With that, let’s get to Friday’s top daily fantasy baseball picks:
SP: Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians ($8.5k)
This is a garbage slate for pitching, which is shocking even though there are a slew of elite options. Unfortunately, Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto can’t be trusted as they come off the DL and pretty much any other viable option has a brutal matchup.
Jimmy Nelson is in Miller Park against the Nationals, Sonny Gray is in Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox, and Dinelson Lamet gets the Dodgers. Gerrit Cole’s price feels inflated against a dangerous Reds lineup, Cole Hamels is basically just a name these days and there don’t appear to be any viable punt options.
We can go down some of these dicey roads, but I’d rather not. Instead, I’m looking at Mike Clevinger, Kevin Gausman ($8.7k) and Tanner Roark ($8.1k). Roark can be shaky and is in a tough park, but Milwaukee strikes out a ton. He’s certainly a viable GPP play and Gausman has wrecked the Jays. However, both of these guys are in really bad parks and Toronto and Milwaukee both looked quite lively last night.
All roads lead to Clevinger, who was sensational in his last start (9 Ks, 0 earned runs) against the Royals. He does see a negative park shift at Detroit, but the Tigers continue to unload mashers by trading away Justin Upton. That’s a little less bite for a Tigers lineup that has mustered one run in two previous showdowns with Cleveland’s young ace. Clevinger can be hit or miss, but he’s proven to be at his best on the road (5-3, 2.86 ERA), has owned the Tigers in 2017 and gets a better matchup against them tonight than he’s had all year.
Pitching is tough tonight, but I think Clevinger can get us through the madness.
C: Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals ($2.4k)
Perez has not been hitting well, but he’s gotten to be way too cheap. He sports strong power (.227 ISO) against right-handed pitching and faces a bad pitcher in a great park. He’s a gamble, but we lean towards GPP tournaments in our FanDuel picks so that’s fine with us.
Catcher actually looks great tonight. Paying up for Gary Sanchez is forever in play, Yasmani Grandal is in a solid spot and Buster Posey is too cheap. If we have the cash we can just roll Gary out there again, but we can save $1k with either Posey or Salvy. My pick is Perez just because everything looks good for him in this spot. I’m calling my shot here and think he sends one into the stands.
1B: Danny Valencia – Seattle Mariners ($2.6k)
There are always a slew of options to seriously consider at 1B. We can certainly pay up here, but I love the value in Valencia against a left-handed pitcher. Valencia sports solid splits (.219 ISO) against southpaws and will be at home. He helps us save a ton of cash, too, so hopefully we can get a cheap homer here.
I also don’t mind Eric Thames ($3k) at home against Tanner Roark. I don’t want to stack against Roark and Thames is as hit or miss as they come, but he does have power and Miller Park is a fun place to use bats from.
2B: Jonathan Schoop – Baltimore Orioles ($4.1k)
Baltimore is hot right now and they’re still playing at Camden Yards, so Schoop looks rather appealing. He has good splits against righties and faces a shaky one in Joe Biagini, too. I really don’t love spending this high at 2B, but the position is garbage tonight outside of the top options. If we can fit Brian Dozier into this spot for $200 more, we should consider it.
3B: Yandy Diaz – Cleveland Indians ($2.2k)
Diaz has been finding some work lately with The Tribe and is on a nice tear with 12+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 starts. He is a risky play, but he’s been batting fairly high in the order and is dirt cheap. I don’t mind punting here and using him against Buck Farmer. He and his Indians play twice today, though, so just be sure he’s active in game two and hopefully batting 6th or higher.
SS: Trea Turner – Washington Nationals ($4.1k)
Turner is not cheap, but he always feels like the top SS when he’s on the board and healthy. He faces a tough pitcher in Jimmy Nelson, but all this kid needs to do is get on base and he can work his magic. He’s produced 12+ fantasy points in his three games since returning from a wrist injury and went off for 30+ last night. I don’t see that happening, but he’s my favorite SS option tonight by a wide margin.
We can save a little with Trevor Story ($3.8k) in Coors if we want, as well. That’s not huge savings and I prefer to use him against southpaws, though.
OF: Carlos Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies ($3k)
Cheap Coors bat alert! CarGo does not have the power we’re used to seeing, but he does have a solid matchup by the numbers tonight and he’s in a great park. We’d prefer better exposure to this park and you really don’t need to be told to use batters from this game, but he’s cheap and should help us load up elsewhere.
OF: Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers ($3k)
Braun had been in a nasty funk but he is insanely cheap and has recorded a hit in three straight games. He may finally be turning things around and he gets a beatable matchup against Tanner Roark. Braun has major upside at Miller Park tonight and continues to be an insane value.
OF: J.D. Martinez – Arizona Diamondbacks ($5k)
You don’t need to be told to attack Coors but if you want to pay up for a slugger tonight, this is your guy. Not only is Martinez an efficient power bat in Coors, but he wrecks southpaws like few others can. Martinez brings a nasty .537 ISO against left-handed pitching to the table and that’s not something I can bypass in this park.