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FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo! MLB DFS Deep Dive – Friday 5/17Premium content

Dave Loughran

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Josh and Adam gives their best MLB Picks for Baseball DFS for tonight's 8-game slate on DraftKings and FanDuel, including Joc Pederson.

PITCHER

Jacob deGrom [R – NYM] is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and he’s facing the Marlins on Friday night. Need I say more? Seriously, not much analysis is needed here; deGrom owns an eye-popping 35.9 percent K-rate vs. right-handed hitters—Miami’s lineup is loaded with righties—and an equally stellar 15.7 percent swinging strike rate through his first eight starts. He has a miniscule 0.89 WHIP vs. same-handed bats, and is limiting them to a .259 wOBA across 117 batters faced. Meanwhile, the Marlins rank dead last in wOBA (.266), ISO (0.086) and wRC+ (68) vs. right-handed arms, and are striking out at the league’s third highest clip (25.3%).

deGrom has struggled mightily to hold runners this season, but once again, Miami ranks dead last in speed rating (2.3), so there isn’t a single advantage they’ll have tonight. He will be the chalkiest pitcher on DraftKings at $11,400, but Max Scherzer is right behind him. On FanDuel and Yahoo!, deGrom is significantly more expensive than Scherzer, but that only means his ownership will be lower than it deserves. Miami’s 2.6-run implied total is easily the lowest mark on Friday night, and deGrom is the heaviest favorite (-224 ML)on this 15-game slate.

Max Scherzer [R – WAS] was one of the league’s most unfortunate pitchers to start the season, but he has since seen those numbers begin to normalize. Scherzer is a 32.2 percent strikeout pitcher with a 15.7 percent swinging strike rate and massive 33.6 percent CSW rate. The Cubs are hitting righties well, ranking sixth in wRC+ (115) this season, but they’re also striking out at the eighth highest clip. Their 3.6-run implied total is the third lowest mark on Friday, and Scherzer is a -151 ML favorite at Nationals Park. He’s $1,200 less expensive than deGrom on FanDuel ($10,800) and $5 cheaper than the Mets’ ace right-hander on Yahoo! ($57). This, however, obviously means Scherzer is going to be very popular as a result. While I have no issues with rostering Scherzer at $11,000 on DraftKings, he isn’t only $400 below deGrom, who draws the best matchup in all of baseball.

Joey Lucchesi [L – SDP] gets a home matchup with the Pirates, who on the season rank 29th in wRC+ (75) and ISO (.095) vs. left-handed arms. Pittsburgh is striking out at a 25.7 percent clip vs. southpaws, while drawing walks only 5.6 percent of the time in 2019. Lucchesi’s numbers aren’t elite, but he’s still generating 13.9 percent swinging strikes vs. lefties and 11.2 percent swinging strikes vs. righties, while allowing only 32 percent hard contact in 2019. He’s a healthy -154 ML favorite inside the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, where the Pirates own the second lowest implied total (3.1) on Friday’s loaded slate.

Lucchesi is reasonably priced across the board (DK: $8,200, Y!: $37), but is especially cheap on FanDuel ($6,200). In tournaments, where you’re looking to pivot off the chalky high-end arms in an attempt to load up on hitters, Lucchesi could pay big dividends as the third lowest priced pitcher (not including Stanek and Leclerc) on FanDuel.

Martin Perez [L – MIN] has been excellent this season, and there’s no doubting the results are real. I first mentioned this more than a month ago when Perez was set to make his first start of the season after his first few appearances came out of the bullpen; the one-time top prospect was throwing more than two MPH harder than he had in previous seasons, and had developed a formidable cutter, which he’s been using more than 30 percent of the time. Perez is generating 10 percent whiffs on his four-seamer (95 MPH), 14.4 percent whiffs on his changeup and 16.1 percent misses on his cutter.

Perez’s 11.4 percent swinging strike rate is easily the highest of his career—he had never finished a season with double-digit swinging strikes—while his CSW rate is just shy of 30 percent. He’s striking righties out at 23.5 percent and is holding them to a .280/.128 wOBA/ISO across 166 batters faced.

Tonight’s meeting with Seattle is certainly not a cakewalk, but it comes inside the spacious T-Mobile Park, where the Mariners own a modest 4.2-run implied total. Perez will carry no ownership into tonight’s slate, and is an intriguing tournament option given his newfound ability to miss bats by the bunches.

NOTE: Seattle’s implied total has moved from 4.2 to 4.6 throughout the day, which doesn’t bode particularly well for Perez.

Aaron Sanchez [R – TOR] recorded a 30 percent whiff rate (62 percent whiffs/swing) on his curveball in each of his last two starts. Prior to his last two outings, Sanchez hadn’t generated 30 percent whiffs on the pitch since 2016. His curveball wasn’t the only pitch missing bats over the last two weeks, though, as his changeup induced an impressive 19 percent whiffs and 37 percent whiffs/swing. He utilized these pitches 29 and 20 percent of the time, respectively, over those starts, and racked up 16 percent swinging strikes overall. That’s very encouraging for a righty who has lived on forcing weak contact and ground balls throughout his career. He’s been throwing both pitches more against left-handed hitters, who have been his kryptonite for years now.

It’s hard to say if Sanchez can sustain a similar level of swing-and-miss stuff going forward, but he’ll draw an excellent opportunity to keep things rolling on Friday when the Blue Jays head to Chicago. The White Sox are striking out at a top five clip vs. RHP (25.2%), and while they do boast plenty of power, Sanchez has always done a solid job of keeping balls in the yard. I’m willing to roll the dice on Sanchez in tournaments, as he’s only $6,900 on DraftKings and low-end pitching doesn’t offer much despite the loaded slate. Sanchez coughed up five earned runs to Chicago last time out, but he also struck out 11 batters on the day.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jon Gray [R – COL] @ PH [GPP]; Frankie Montas [R – OAK] @ DET; Merrill Kelly [R – ARI] vs. SFG

CATCHER

Yadier Molina [R – STL] is priced up for a matchup with Adrian Sampson, but there’s no reason not to love him on Friday night. Molina bats sixth in the Cardinals’ order, so his first plate appearance should come against Sampson unless the top of the lineup gets to Jose Leclerc in the first. Sampson has been hammered by righties this season, allowing 2.61 HR/9 (6 HR across 97 BF), while striking them out at a putrid 12.4 percent. St. Louis boasts a slate-high 6.3-run implied total in Arlington.

Travis d’Arnaud [R – TB] isn’t a great hitter — most catchers aren’t. He will, however, draw a decent matchup with CC Sabathia, who is allowing 2.28 HR/9 to right-handed hitters and is striking them out at only 18.6 percent. Sabathia’s 8.9 percent swinging strike rate vs. RHH also means d’Arnaud should at least be able to put balls in play inside the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium. He’s $2,800 on DraftKings and minimum salary ($7) on Yahoo!.

Willians Astudillo [R – MIN] has struck out twice this season. TWICE. He’ll face a contact righty in Marco Gonzales who has generated only 7.7 percent swinging strikes and 18.6 percent strikeout vs. opposite-handed hitters. When looking for a catcher on any given night, it’s never a terrible idea to target someone like Astudillo, who we know will at least put every ball in play.

HONORABLE MENTION: Yan Gomes [R – WAS] vs. Hamels [LHP]

FIRST BASE

Paul Goldschmidt [R – STL] draws one of the best overall matchups on Friday night. Not only is Adrian Sampson allowing 2.61 HR/9 to righties, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been the worst pitch-framing catcher in all of baseball this season, meaning hitters have a distinct advantage and should get far more favorable counts. Even when Sampson is off the mound, Goldschmidt will be in the driver’s seat. St. Louis boasts a slate-high 6.3-run implied total at Globe Life Park, where temperatures will be approaching 85 degrees.

Max Muncy [L – LAD] hasn’t provided a ton of power vs. right-handed pitching this season, but there’s no reason to believe he isn’t still capable of producing in favorable matchups. Anthony DeSclafani is unsurprisingly allowing a .389 wOBA, .239 ISO and 1.59 HR/9 to lefties this season, while sporting an ugly 1.76 WHIP. The Dodgers own a robust 5.3-run total inside one of the most homer-friendly parks in baseball, and Muncy is heavily discounted on FanDuel ($2,800). He’s also fairly priced on Yahoo! ($16), but is tougher to roster at $5,000 on DraftKings.

HONORABLE MENTION: Freddie Freeman [L – ATL] vs. Chacin [RHP]; Brandon Belt [L – SFG] @ Kelly [RHP]; Chris Davis [L – BAL] @ Rodriguez [RHP]

SECOND BASE

Willie Calhoun [L – TEX] has been electric since being called up just three games back. In two starts with the Rangers, Calhoun is 6-for-12 with two home runs and five RBI. He should bat second again tonight against Miles Mikolas, who is ceding 1.93 HR/9 to lefties this season, while striking them out at only 17.2 percent. Texas boasts a 5.4-run implied total inside Coors Southwest, and Calhoun remains cheap across the board. He’s especially cheap on FanDuel ($2,100 -outfield eligible) and Yahoo! ($10), but remains a top option on DraftKings at $3,900.

Rougned Odor [L – TEX] is also a viable second base option at a dirt cheap price point on DraftKings ($3,500), FanDuel ($2,500) and Yahoo! ($10). Mikolas is inducing only 8.9 percent swinging strikes vs. lefties, and is allowing an unsightly .353/.228 xwOBA/xISO split this season.

Nicky Lopez [L – KC] remains extremely cheap (DK: $3,300, FD: $2,600) everywhere by Yahoo!, where he’s inexplicably priced at $21. Lopez hasn’t swiped any bases yet, and probably won’t tonight considering Matt Harvey does a great job of holding runners, but he’s hit three doubles in three starts and has struck out only once. Combine Lopez’s cheap price tag with a strong matchup against Harvey, who is allowing a .398/.290 wOBA/ISO and 2.16 HR/9 to lefties this season, and we’ve got a very solid discount second baseman with some upside.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jason Kipnis [L – CLE] vs. Bundy [RHP]; Brian Dozier [R – WAS] vs. Hamels [LHP]; Kolten Wong [L – STL] @ Sampson [RHP]

THIRD BASE

Matt Carpenter [L – STL] continues to offer great value at third base, especially on a night where St. Louis boasts a slate-high 6.3-run implied total inside Globe Life Park. Carpenter appears to be waking up of late, too, and should almost certainly see five plate appearances tonight. At $4,000 on DraftKings, $3,200 on FanDuel and $15 on Yahoo!, it’s no surprise Carpenter is garnering high ownership in such a stellar spot.

Matt Chapman [R – OAK] faces a contact southpaw in Daniel Norris, who is inducing a pathetic 7.3 percent swinging strikes and 17.6 percent K-rate vs. right-handed hitters this season. Norris does a decent job of preventing runs, but Chapman is also nasty against southpaws, having hit five home runs in only 42 plate appearances this season. Chapman boasts a silly .424/.472 wOBA/ISO split and a 171 wRC+ vs. lefties, while striking out at only 13 percent. Needless to say, he should have the advantage tonight against a league-average left-hander.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jose Ramirez [S – CLE] vs. Bundy [RHP]; Nolan Arenado [R – COL] @ Irvin [LHP]; Anthony Rendon [R – WAS] vs. Hamels [LHP]

SHORTSTOP

Francisco Lindor [S – CLE] and the Indians own a 5.1-run implied total against Dylan Bundy, who has allowed more home runs than any pitcher going on Friday’s slate. Bundy is generating a lot of swinging strikes, but can’t put hitters away, and is striking lefties out at a dismal 16.7 percent. This Indians team has performed much better at home over the years, and should have no trouble getting to Bundy tonight.

Trevor Story [R – COL] faces a rookie left-handed in Cole Irvin, who although he impressed in his Phillies debut (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K), only generated 6.5 percent swinging strikes on the night. You don’t want to pitch to contact against Trevor Story inside a bandbox like Citizens Bank Park. Story boasts as much power as anyone, and should have the advantage against this young southpaw. Philadelphia’s bullpen has also been out of sorts recently, which shouldn’t work against Story, either.

Corey Seager [L – LAD] provides nice value at the position in a matchup with Anthony DeSclafani. As earlier noted, DeSclafani’s struggles against left-handed hitters have extended into 2019, and he’ll have to face a slew of talented lefties on Friday. Seager’s season has been forgettable for the most part, but that’s only lowered his price tag on sites like FanDuel ($2,900) and Yahoo! ($13). The Dodgers own a nice 5.3-run implied total at home.

HONORABLE MENTION: Paul DeJong [R – STL] @ Sampson [RHP]; Marcus Semien [R – OAK] @ Norris [LHP]

OUTFIELD

Joc Pederson [L – LAD] should be Joc’d and loaded into lineups tonight against DeSclafani. Wow, that was bad. I’m not deleting it, though. Pederson, like most Dodgers bats, is underpriced on FanDuel, where he weighs in at only $3,100. Not only does Los Angeles own a top three total on Friday’s slate (5.3), but they face a righty in DeSclafani who over his last three seasons is allowing a .369 wOBA, .248 ISO and 2.0 HR/9 to lefties. Pederson, meanwhile, is producing an ungodly .419 wOBA, .444 ISO and 170 wRC+ vs. righties this season, having hit more home runs vs. RHP (13) than any hitter on Friday’s slate not named Christian Yelich (14). You know what to do. Even at a steep cost on DraftKings ($5,000) I’m not opposed to rostering Pederson tonight.

Joey Gallo [L – TEX] draws an ultra-juicy matchup with Miles Mikolas, who has hemorrhaged production to lefties in 2019. Mikolas is allowing 1.93 HR/9 and a .225 ISO to lefties, which striking them out only 17 percent of the time with 8.9 percent swinging strikes. You don’t want to pitch to contact against Joey Gallo, whose .404 ISO and 174 wRC+ with the platoon advantage are some of the best overall marks on Friday’s 15-game slate. Shin-Soo Choo [L – TEX] and Nomar Mazara [L – TEX] are both very much in play, too, as this game offers a wealth of fantasy value on both sides of the field.

Khris Davis [R – OAK] needs to be rostered on DraftKings until his salary begins to reflect his ceiling. Davis has multi-homer upside every time he steps on the field, and is facing a contact lefty in Daniel Norris tonight. Norris has done a solid job of limiting runs, but doesn’t miss bats and could run into a world of trouble tonight against Oakland’s righty-laden lineup. Davis is only $4,100 on DraftKings and $16 on Yahoo!, despite having hit more home runs vs. southpaws (6) than any hitter in baseball. Davis boasts a filthy .405/.439 wOBA/ISO and 159 wRC+ with the platoon advantage this season, with a 52 percent fly ball rate and 49 percent hard contact rate thus far.

Shohei Ohtani [L – LAA] is one of the best hitters in baseball, and he draws a strong enough matchup with Brad Keller at Angel Stadium, which has remarkably been the second most homer-friendly park in 2019. Ohtani has seen 284 career plate appearances vs. right-handed pitchers, and has smoked them to the tune of a .422 wOBA, .323 ISO and 174 wRC+. DraftKings has finally adjusted Ohtani’s price tag—he’s still in play at $4,700, though—but $3,600 on FanDuel is great value, along with his $18 price tag on Yahoo!. Keller has done an excellent job of limiting power, but I’ll go with the pure talent in Ohtani at a reasonable cost.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mike Trout [R – LAA] vs. Keller [RHP]; Cody Bellinger [L – LAD] vs. DeSclafani [RHP]; Marcell Ozuna [R – STL] @ Sampson [RHP]; Austin Riley [R – MIL] vs. Chacin [RHP]; Yasiel Puig [R – LAD] @ Hill [LHP]; Stephen Piscotty [R – OAK] @ Norris [LHP]; Ryan Braun [R – MIL] @ Fried [LHP]; Carlos Gonzalez [L – COL] vs. Bundy [RHP]

 

TOURNAMENT STACKS

St. Louis Cardinals @ Leclerc (PO)/Sampson (PLR) [RHP]

Texas Rangers vs. Mikolas [RHP]

L.A. Dodgers vs. DeSclafani [RHP]

Oakland Athletics @ Norris [LHP]

Nationals vs. Hamels [LHP]

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Gray [RHP]

L.A. Angels vs. Keller [RHP]

Cleveland Indians vs. Bundy [RHP]

Colorado Rockies @ Irvin [LHP]

Dave "Loughy" Loughran has been a fixture in the daily fantasy community since not long after its inception, quitting his career as a Drug and Alcohol therapist to become a full-time DFS analyst, player and media personality in 2014. Loughy is the host of "Awesemo Radio" on SiriusXM Fantasy, qualified for the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship, and was featured in the Washington Post and other publications for his success as a player. You can find him on Twitter at @Loughy_D where he'll likely be ranting about the miserable life of a Philadelphia sports fan, using "fella" in almost every tweet, or via email at support@awesemo.com.

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