Last night was an interesting night for our daily fantasy baseball picks. Corey Kluber was the obvious choice at pitcher, but we though it’d be contrarian to roll with Clayton Kershaw at home against the Colorado Rockies. It was, but not in a good way. Instead of elite production, Kershaw gave up a homer to Nolan Arenado early and didn’t even make it to four innings.
Kershaw still got us 7 strikeouts in limited action, but he was ultimately a bust and that’s hard to type without shedding a tear.
While that was undoubtedly a bummer, we did have some success with our bats. Needless to say, if you pivoted to Kluber and used our hitting picks, you might have been in the green. A one-off on Kershaw via Nolan Arenado (38 fantasy points) was pure gold, while another one-off on Corey Kluber via Jose Abreue (homered) also worked out swimmingly.
Elsewhere, Giancarlo Stanton racked up 9 fantasy points, Jordan Luplow packed in 9 fantasy points despite striking out three times and Charlie Blackmon walked three times and totaled a solid 18 fantasy points on the night. Carlos Asuaje wasn’t terrible, either, as he chipped in 9 points to combine for our lowest-scoring bat on the night. Hector Sanchez was our only real gaffe, as he was scratched. Hopefully you found a winner at catcher and rolled with Kluber in the end.
Friday intensifies as we move from 7 games back to a full slate. Max Scherzer leads the pitching options in what should be a very interesting building process. Let’s get to it:
SP: Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals ($11.6k)
I don’t see a way around Mad Max today. He’s an obvious lock for cash games and you’re probably going to need him to win a big GPP. He’s had issues – whether it be his calf or neck – but he should be fine tonight and will be at home against the lowly Phillies. Scherzer is an elite DFS force when he’s in the zone and it’s hard to believe he won’t get there against a Phillies team that strikes out 23% of the time against right-handed hurlers.
If you want to fade Max, do it at your own peril. Chris Archer is on the board, but I’m not going there thanks to a forearm issue and a date with the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Patrick Corbin could be worth a look at $9.5k against the Padres, but Chase Field is a danger zone and this feels like a steep price to pay. It feels like we’re taking considerable risk anywhere else we go, as Jimmy Nelson is at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Masahiro Tanaka is in Texas against the Rangers and Yu Darvish gets a Rockies team that just blasted Kershaw last night.
Nothing sounds as safe and as alluring as Mad Max. The only interesting punts are Amir Garrett ($7k) against a watered down Mets lineup or Lucas Giolito against the Giants. Still, I’m playing it safe and building around Mad Max across the board tonight. If he busts, it’s a big bowl of whatever.
C: Chris Herrman – Arizona Diamondbacks ($2.3k)
Man, catcher is rough. Gary Sanchez is back from a suspension but he’s the most expensive option on the board and it’s not pretty after him. Ideally we can afford him, but if we’re getting Max this is probably going to be a spot to punt.
Mike Zunino ($2.5k) has some appeal, but if Herrman is out there I’m rolling him out against Jordan Lyles (.239 ISO, .408 wOBA against lefty bats). He’s not very stable, but this position is a nightmare tonight. We at least get solid splits and home run upside without spending much.
1B: Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers ($2.8k)
We need to save so I’m all for trying Thames if he’s back in the lineup against the beatable John Lackey tonight. The Brewers get a massive series with the Cubs and if Thames and co. can’t show up here, then when? Thames has been brutal since the All-Star break but Milwaukee has held him out over the last two games. Hopefully his mind is right and he can put his solid history vs. Lackey and stellar splits against righties (.280 ISO, .376 wOBA) to work for us here.
2B: Neil Walker – Milwaukee Brewers ($3.1k)
I am not against a small or full Brewers stack tonight. Milwaukee knows they need to win in this series for a shot at the NL Central and John Lackey is not a consistent arm at this stage of his career. He has most of his issues against lefty power, so if we’re on Thames, we should be on Walker, too.
Robinson Cano ($3.5k) might be worth paying up for against Ricky Nolasco if we can get there, as well.
3B: Jake Lamb – Arizona Diamondbacks ($3k)
Lamb is just way too cheap. With a Mad Max lineup we need to save and I’m not thinking twice here. Lamb gives us just as much upside as any other 3B option and he’s at home in a great park against a suspect arm. As we’ve noted, Jordan Lyles struggles the most against lefties and Lamb owns sick splits (.269 ISO, .388 wOBA) against righties. Fire him up.
SS: Paul DeJong – St. Louis Cardinals ($3k)
We get more value with DeJong, who will be at home against Trevor Williams. Williams has a tough time with righty power and DeJong owns solid splits against fellow righties (.228 ISO, .347 wOBA). I like to use him against southpaws, but the Cards dropped 8 runs on Williams last time they faced him and DeJong has donged him in the past. That’s good enough to get me on board at this cheap price.
I also wouldn’t mind working my way up to Carlos Correa, who hasn’t been great since returning from the DL but is just way too cheap at $3.4k.
OF: Harrison Bader – St. Louis Cardinals ($2.4k)
Bader is much preferred against left-handed pitching, but I would be more into his price than limited splits results, regardless. He has a winnable date with Trevor Williams at home and remains dirt cheap. He’s been red hot to start his career and also provides solid power. We’re not risking much to get some extra salary cap space.
OF: Adam Lind – Washington Nationals ($2.8k)
It’s better to use righties like Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon against Jake Thompson (staggering .302 ISO vs. righty bats) but I like Lind plenty fine. Thompson is still getting rocked from either side of the plate and Lind’s .213 ISO against right-handed pitchers could help us here. He’s been a reliable bat, is cheap and offers some pop, so there’s not much to hate.
Ryan Braun also remains too cheap and we need to consider him yet again. It’s best to attack Lackey with lefty power bats like Thames, Travis Shaw and Neil Walker, but Braun has worked Lackey in the past and can be had at a severe discount.
OF: Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners ($3.9k)
There are a lot of great options in this price range, with J.D. Martinez and George Springer both standing out. I like Nellie the most, though. He’s probably at his best against southpaws, but Ricky Nolasco is not a good pitcher and he has wrecked him in his career. Nolasco struggles the most against right-handed hitters, too, so Cruz is one of my favorite power bats tonight.