MLB DFS Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings – 4/12/17

Welcome to another edition of ResearchFantasy’s MLB Breakdown. These picks are what I consider to be the best play of the day, relative to their price. One of the most important things we must consider in daily fantasy is how many points a player gets per dollar. It helps us identify value plays to pair with studs that we know will produce in order to maximize our potential points in lineups. I also try to identify plays that can be used in either cash games or tournaments. Typically, when I build my cash games, I am looking for players that have the best floor combined with good upside. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know!

Prices listed are FantasyDraft/FanDuel/DraftKings


John Lackey (19200/9000/9900) – I’m really curious to see how Lackey is treated in this game. I don’t think players love to target the Dodgers, but I don’t mind it. Lackey has upside here and even though he’s a little more expensive than I’d like, he’s still someone that is going to make it into a lot of my lineups tonight.

Steven Wright (15200/8800/7600) – Wright doesn’t have a ton of strikeout upside, which is why many players will eliminate him from their pitching options tonight. I won’t be in that pool. The Orioles haven’t been able to hit him, and even though it’s not a ton of at bats [somewhere between 65-90], he is a knuckleballer, so it could just be them struggling with the pitch. If that’s the case, they aren’t likely to have gotten better overnight, and I like his upside here. It doesn’t hurt that the opposing pitcher is Ubaldo Jiminez, which increases his chance of a win.

Vincent Velasquez (17700/8200/9200) – If you want to talk strikeout upside on this slate, then Velasquez is probably the guy to talk about. He’s got huge upside, but this Mets team is built to hit righties, and he’s struggled against lefties. I think a lot of players might not want to use him considering that the Mets are raking against the Phillies as I write this, but I really don’t mind at all. Clay Bucholz is a joke of a pitcher, and Velasquez simply isn’t.


Salvador Perez (7200/3100/3600) – Salvador Perez is showing his power stroke to start the year off, having four home runs off rip. Andrew Triggs typically allows softer contact and isn’t a fly ball pitcher to boot, but I think Salvy still has enough in his arsenal to fight and win against a pitcher like this.

Chris Iannetta (4800/2000/2400) – Iannetta is purely a punt play at the position, but he does carry some home run upside. This isn’t a great park for home runs, but it does favor righties. Matt Cain has inflated FB%, HR/FB % and HH% against righties, enough so that there is a good chance we could see one take him deep. Don’t be shocked if its Iannetta.


Kendrys Morales (7800/3000/3900) – Morales is one of my favorite plays on this slate. He’s cheap, and he gets a pitcher in Chase Anderson who is prone to getting batted around. Morales is absolutely ripping the ball to start the season, and with Anderson allowing such hard contact, I think Morales could be in for a good game tonight.

Eric Thames (6800/2500/3500) – Stroman isn’t a bad pitcher at all. In fact, this isn’t something we are even remotely considering outside of tournament lineups. Thames has shown good power so far, and even though Stroman isn’t a fly ball pitcher, that hard contact could turn into doubles down the line in a heart beat.


Robinson Cano (8400/3400/4400) – Mike Fiers isn’t a bad pitcher, and he’s someone that we can actually consider as well today too. Seattle really hasn’t gotten things going yet, and were hit with the injury bug and are without Jean Segura for the next ten days. Cano should be able to excel in a matchup like this, and makes a good play in cash or tournament lineups.

Dustin Pedroia (8400/3000/4300) – This entire article could be about Ubaldo Jiminez. He’s just not good. People will try to convince you he isn’t as bad as he is, but here’s the thing: he is. Sure, he is worse against lefties, but he is the type of pitcher who lets runners on base and then the trouble happens. Pedroia hasn’t been able to get things going this year, but I think tonight could be the night.


Jake Lamb (7200/3400/3700) – Let’s go back to picking on Matt Cain. It lines up interestingly tonight, as I think the lefties have a better chance of getting on base, while the righties have a better chance of going yard. Lamb is an excellent hitter and could flirt with All-Start status this year. He’s at a great price.

Travis Shaw (6400/3200/3300) – Shaw fits into the same mold that Eric Thames does in that, since Stroman doesn’t allow a ton of fly balls, home runs are not going to happen often. I think this is one of those death by paper cuts situations tonight, where the Brewers may score 4-5 runs just through singles and doubles.


Chris Owings (6300/3200/3700) – Owings is off to a tremendous start to the year, and his price is moving in weird directions. On FanDuel, he’s one of the pricier options, while on DraftKings, I had to search to find him. The Diamondbacks are going to make a popular stack against Matt Cain, or at least they should.

Xander Bogaerts (9200/3300/4200) – Bogaerts certainly didn’t look great in this game as of this writing, but tomorrow, and Ubaldo, are a different story. Bogaerts has hit Ubaldo well in the past, and this is just a great price to get him at this evening.


Giancarlo Stanton (9200/3600/4700) – We’re waiting, Giancarlo. You’d have to imagine it won’t be too long, and it does feel slightly wrong putting someone here because we want them to hit a home run. Jaime Garcia gives up a lot of hits, and a lot of them hard, to right handed bats, so there is some merit to putting Stanton here. Really, baseball isn’t so linear that a groundball pitcher won’t give up a home run, but Stanton is still in a good spot tonight.

Kole Calhoun (7600/3200/3900) – Calhoun has been very quite to start the year, but it’s hard to look the other way when A.J. Griffin is on the mound. He’s awful against left-handed bats, and even if Kalhoun can’t go deep, he should be a good bet to get on base a few times tonight.

Hunter Pence (7800/3100/4000) – We’ve picked on the Giants a lot in this article, but it’s also worth noting that Shelby Miller is pitching for the D-Backs. He isn’t a great pitcher, and Pence should be in good position tonight to put together a good game. His price is fair and he’s got a ton of upside.

Andrew Benintendi (8000/3100/4100) – We’ve mentioned a bunch of righties so far, but really, the best way to attack Jiminez will be from the left side of the plate. Benintendi is a guy who we think will contend for Rookie of the Year honors, though he hasn’t showed it too much yet. I think this is a nice bounce back for him.

Michael Saunders (7200/2500/3700) – I think Saunders is someone that will have very little attention payed to him tonight, but he’s a quality hitter going up against a pitcher who just didn’t look great in his first outing. Typically, things don’t get fixed after one outing, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see him struggle again tonight. Saunders has a ton of upside and will be one of my top tournament targets.

Slate Strategy

Venting Time: Look, we are all DFS players, whether you read or write about it, it all comes down to one thing: research. It is very frustrating when your hours of research results in poor results. I have no issues going on record saying that MLB DFS is without a doubt my least favorite of every sport offered [yes, I far prefer NASCAR and PGA to this]. Everything else makes sense and has reason – but not baseball. Baseball is organized chaos. You can disagree if you’d like, but there is far more rhyme and reason to the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, PGA, LOL, SOC, NHL and flipping a coin.

Alright, rant aside, this slate looks fun [I’m sure I’ve inspired you to believe that this is fun]. I like several of the pitching options on this slate, which I haven’t for a few days, so I’m hopeful that we’ll see some positive results here. Steven Wright really sticks out to me on DraftKings. I know a large contingent of people will say no to him because he can’t strike guys out, but I’ll take outs over runs even if that means sacrificing strikeouts. He didn’t have a great start to the year, but that isn’t this game.

In terms of hitters, I just don’t want to get excited, to be blunt and honest with you. I’ve just been burned so much over the last week with guys in great situations who couldn’t get it done. The Red Sox are in a great position, so I would strongly consider a hefty use of Ubaldo Jiminez, because I’m sure they will find a way to let us down too. Outside of Robinson Cano and Giancarlo Stanton, nothing really jumps out at me.


Top Stacks

Boston Red Sox [Pedroia/Benintendi/Moreland/Betts/Bogaerts]

Arizona Diamondbacks [Pollock/Owings/Goldschmidt/Lamb]

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