MLB DFS Lineup 4/19/19

P: Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals ($8,100)

Anibal Sanchez has a terrific matchup against the Miami Marlins.  This matchup is in Miami which is a pitchers paradise. The Marlins also feature one of the weakest lineups in baseball scoring just three runs in their last 4 games, while striking out an average of 9 times per game.

P: Jordan Lyles, Pittsburgh Pirates ($7,900)

Lyles is coming off one of his best games of the year striking out ten Cubs hitters over six innings on April 10th.  Lyles now gets a matchup with the San Fransisco Giants offense that ranks bottom three in runs per game and bottom ten in strikeouts per game. The Giants have seen Lyles as a team for over 100 at bats but only have one career home runs versus the Pirates righty.

C: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals ($3,700)

The Cardinals are a favorable potential stack tonight.  Guys like Goldschmidt, Ozuna, and Dejong should be on your radar but in this case I am going to bank on Molina.  Yadier has had a rare two day break after sitting out the last game of the Milwaukee series coinciding with the day off.  Molina has hitting Met’s starter Jason Vargas very well over his career going 5 for 11 off of the veteran lefty including an average exit velocity of 92.9. 

1B: Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros ($4,200)

The Astros in total are a good stack tonight along with the Cardinals as they face off in Texas against Drew Smyly.  Yuli smashes lefties over the last two seasons, in 2019 Gurriel is hitting .368. Gurriel is a low cost option at a prime position tonight.

2B: Gleybor Torres, New York Yankees ($4,300)

Gleybor hits better at home and will be sitting in the middle of the lineup for the Yankees against a homer prone Royals starter.

3B: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros ($4,600)

Bregman will join in on my mini Astros stack, a .548 slugging percentage over the last three years versus lefties should put him in a great position to succeed.

SS: Marcus Semien, Oakland Athletics ($4,200)

Semien has always been more known for his offense then defense, so far this season the offense has been showing.  Semien is also 4 for 7 in his career against Marcus Stroman. Good price for a good hitter.

OF: Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics ($4,700)

Khris Davis is going to hit a home run tonight.  That is all.  Have a great day.

OF: Tommy Pham, Tampa Bay Rays ($4,300)

It feels like the price for Tommy Pham is way to low here but that works for me.  Coming off a huge night with a homer and a stolen base.  When Pham gets going he can carry a slate.  Red Sox pitching has been giving up runs all year so Pham at just 4.3K is a great play.

OF: Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers ($3,900)

Castellanos has not had a torrid start to the season but coming off a game where he put up major points grab him before the price goes up.  Castellanos is 3 for 5 against White Sox starter Carlos Rodon and is a another pick from the bargain bin for this slate.

Russell Westbrook: Most overrated player in the NBA

The Oklahoma City Thunder could very well come back and win their first round series with the Portland Trailblazers but after two games of the series its clear to anyone that is watching the best point guard on the floor is not Mr. Triple Double Russell Westbrook.  In fact, he may not even be the second-best guard on the floor with the way that CJ McCollum has been playing.  It’s time for the world to realize that Westbrook is not a franchise player he is a loser that knows how to fill a stat sheet. 

Westbrook entered the league as the #4 pick out of UCLA.  He was paired along-side the previous year’s #2 pick Kevin Durant, the soon to be Oklahoma City Thunder thought they had their dynamic duo that could lead them to a championship.  What they really had was two talented players that were destined for an eventual clash.  Durant and Westbrook were young enough and talented enough to get past their differences to carry them to the NBA Finals in 2011-12.  After they made their run the Thunder disintegrated into a split personality.  Westbrook did what he does, he took over despite what was best for the team.  He was unable to understand what was going to take them to the next level.  Westbrook inability to mesh with Kevin Durant has to be blamed on his own personality.  Durant was able to assimilate himself into the star studded Warriors with minimal clashing. 

With Durant gone Westbrook was signed long term to be the official face of the franchise and he has run with it.  There is no argument that he is a future hall of fame player that can do almost anything athletically on a basketball court.  When it comes time to make a big play do your really see Russell Westbrook making the big shots?  Do you see him closing out games in the biggest moments.  He has the personality of a great player and the ego of one but lacks that ability mentally to be “the guy”. 

As I watched game two last night I kept wondering where this all-time great player was, this franchise cornerstone that made it acceptable for Kevin Durant and James Harden to leave. Since Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder are 3-10 in the playoffs while its “star” has been anything but.  Russell Westbrook has shot just 38% from the field and 28% from 3 during those 13 games and last night a true leader showed what it takes mentally to be great.  The Blazers team would do anything for Damion Lillard, they play with him and for him.  The Thunder had the momentum early getting out to a nine point lead, but as the lead began to crumble Westbrook began to crumble along with it.  When his team needed him most he disappeared.  Westbrook final stat numbers are always going to be strong.  He will get some points, rebounds, assists but he lacks the traits that make a player the best.  Russell is now 30 years old, he convinced Paul George to stay in OKC, he has time to turn it around but right now he is a stat player rather than a winning player.  Russell has a way to make you believe his is one of the best in the game, that is a mirage hidden behind a stat line. 

Oh and his personality really sucks. 

MLB DFS Lineup 4/15/19

Pitcher: Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians ($10,400)

Any time you have an ace coming off of a bad start is a great option. Bauer will face off against a Seattle offense that came off a tough three game stretch against the Houston Astros.  Bauer will come out with something to prove against a heavily right handed lineup. 

Pitcher: Matt Shoemaker, Toronto Blue Jays ($8,000)

Shoemaker is hot right now, roll with him until he’s not.

C: Curt Casali, Cincinnati Reds ($3,200)

Curt Casali wil be leading off against the returning Clayton Kershaw.  Normally you would always avoid Kershaw but in this case you can get a cheap catcher in a lead-off spot.  Casali had a .989 OPS in 2018 against left handed pitching.  At the price Casali is a bargain option that will allow you to play a pitcher like Treovr Bauer.

1B: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox ($4,300)

This is simple, Abreu is 3 for 3 against the Royals starter with a homer.  I like this game as a potential stack so you have to go with the White Sox best power bat.

2B: Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals ($4,600)

Merrifield has the power and speed that can always bring high upside against a struggling starter  Ervin Santana.

SS: Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies ($4,200)

Story versus a lefty is a strong option any day of the week.  His career numbers against Joey Lucchesi aren’t great in 10 career at bats but he brings a lot to the table for another great cost.

3B: Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins ($2,900)

Anderson has two straight games of 20 plus points.  He is currently at 2.9k which is another bargain for a guy that brings power upside to a lineup that is not great, sometimes the best bargains can bring the best upside.

OF: Randall Grichuck, Toronto Blue Jays ($4,300)

Righties crushed Martin Perez in 2018 to a clip of .966 OPS. Grichuk Is a great option for lineups especially against lefties.  I want exposure to the Blue Jays, I will start with Randall.

OF: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers ($4,300)

Joc Pederson loves swinging and he loves fastballs.  Going against Luis Castillo is a great matchup.

OF: Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals ($3,600)

Dozier is another player that will have a low cost but potential high reward. With over 8 fantasy points in each of his last 5 games and a favorable matchup with Ervin Santana he is a no brainer at just 3.6K.

Beasts of the East: Preview of Eastern Conference First Round

#1 Milwaukee Bucks versus #8 Detroit Pistons- Season Series 4-0 Bucks

Detroit took care of business on the final game of the season locking in their matchup with the East’s best Milwaukee Bucks. Detroit will make their first playoff appearance since the 2015-16 season, only the second time in the last ten seasons. 

This matchup will be tough for the Pistons as it showed in the regular season with Milwaukee sweeping the series.  Brook Lopez is a tough matchup for Andre Drummond because to his developed 3-point shooting.  Lopez will draw Drummond away from the basket on the defensive end which will open up offensive boards for Giannis and Khris Middleton.

To sum it up Giannis and company are a matchup nightmare across the board for the Pistons with a banged up Blake Griffin.  If Detroit is able to pull out a single game it should be considered a victory.

Prediction: Bucks in 4

#2 Toronto Raptors versus #7 Orlando Magic- Season Series 2-2

The Orlando Magic make their return to the playoffs for the first time in six years.  They will get a matchup with the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard.  The Magic are one of just seven teams that beat the Raptors twice this season.  Both Magic victories had small asteris’s next to them as Kawhi Leonard was out for a game and Kyle Lowry also missed one game.

Orlando and Toronto are both defensive minded teams that have premier players that lead the way.  Toronto’s mid-season acquisition of Marc Gasol could play a big factor in defending Magic Center Nikola Vucevic who has owned the Raptors this season 20.0 points (55% shooting, 45.5 % 3-point shooting), 15.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists.

The Magic have a punchers chance due to their defensive ability but they lack the guard play to win a major series, Terrance Ross has been their most consistent guard throughout the season but if he goes on one of his classic cold streak it will be too much offensive from the Raptors for Orlando to keep up.  Orlando will make it tough but Raptors have Kawhi Leonard this year and that means a win in the series.

Prediction: Raptors in 5

#3 Philadelphia 76ers versus #6 Brooklyn Nets- Season Series 2-2

When Philadelphia picked up Tobias Harris from the Clippers it seemed like the final piece that was needed to finish the puzzle.  That puzzle would be the Eastern Conference Championship.  Unfortunately for the 76ers their proposed “super team” starting lineup of Reddick-Embiid-Harris-Simmons- Butler has only played a total of ten games together this season. Heading into this series there are questions about the health of Embiid which could be disastrous for a team that has very high ambitions. 

The 76ers will have a tough series ahead of them facing a young Nets team that has nothing to lose, they have already exceeding most expectations up to this point.  D’Angelo Russell has shown the NBA why he was the #2 pick of the Lakers back in 2015.   The Nets are a tough team to figure out, they are the only team in the entire NBA with a winning record and a negative point differential.  The Nets are ahead of schedule but they still tend to be lazy on the defensive end and if Embiid is healthy they will have no answer for the big man.  Anyone in the DFS community knows what bigs can do to the Nets. 

The key though will be Jimmy Butler most likely matching up against D’Angelo Russell.  Butler will be able to handle the size Russell brings from the point and at the very least will slow down their offense.  The Nets will make games close because of their superior second unit lead buy Spencer Dinwiddie.  I will be watching this series to see some fireworks from both ends but if Embiid can play 76ers will take the series. 

Prediction: 76ers in 6 (If Embiid can’t play Nets in 6)

#4 Boston Celtics versus #5 Indiana Pacers- Season Series 3-1

The Celtics had an underwhelming 2018-19 regular season.  The clear favorite in the East seemed to go into funks every other week.  A change to the starting lineup has seemed to spark the Celtics though as Aaron Baynes replaced Marcus Morris providing more punch off the bench and more size in the starting lineup. 

The Pacers have been overachievers all year especially since the injury to Victor Oladipo. They have survived due to their defensive efforts allowing 108.0 points allowed per 100 possessions.  Indiana has also feasted on the lower level teams going 11-1 against non -playoff teams since the Oladipo Injury. 

The Pacer have played at a high level despite the loss of their star and team leader Oladipo.  They enter the playoffs with a lot of talented role players similar to the Celtics team of the previous season. Boston will come out to a 2-0 lead a home and ultimately win this series.  I would go with a sweep but the Pacers are good enough at home to feed off the crowd.

Prediction: Celtics in 5

The Return of Tre Jones

There was no player that took the loss to Michigan State harder than freshman point guard Tre Jones.  He was tasked with stopping Cassius Winston thus stopping the surging Michigan State Spartans.  On the last play Winston was able to escape the tenacious defense of Jones, forcing the young guard to watch as his man stole away a championship that seemed like destiny for the talented Blue Devils.  Jones officially announced that he is returning for his sophomore season.  The #29 ranked NBA prospect

Jones’s impact on next year’ Duke team could very well change the landscape of recruiting for not only 2019 but also 2020.  Reports that five-star recruit RJ Hampton is considering reclassification for the 2019 season so he can team up with Tre Jones can reshape the look of a team that will be filling major holes next season. When you lose 3 of your 5 starters and pretty much all of your offense it will be a transition to say the least.

If RJ Hampton does not reclassify and Mathew Hurt decides to play elsewhere Duke will still have a formidable starting lineup.

PG: Tre Jones

SG: Alex O’Connell

SF: Wendell Moore

PF: Javin Delaurier

C: Vernon Carey Jr.

With a bench that consists of Boogie Ellis, Marques Bolden, Joey Baker, Jordan Goldwire and Jack White the Blue Devils will have a mixture of young players and veterans.  Jones’s will need to develop his offensive game next season for Duke to be successful. He must improve on his 26% 3-point shooting but his command of the offense will be much more present next season with the losses of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.  Both of the latter were ball centric players that need it to be successful. Jones will now be tasked with running the Blue Devils.

The minutes of O’Connell will help the shooting percentages of the team, but I am excited to see the overall numbers increase that Jones will have with more time with the ball.  Jones will not be forced to just sit on the outside and wait for a kickout from Zion.  He will be the penetrator and the kicker.  Jones will find himself in a new role wear his skill will be able to accompany his already existing leadership skills.

Final Four Picks ATS

Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Michigan State Spartans -3

The Texas Tech Red Raiders blew up most brackets with their upset of Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.  They also blew up the Big 12.  The preseason #7 ranked team in the Big 12 has spent an entire season shattering expectations.  Texas Tech was able to overcome different styles of teams on their run to the Final Four trouncing an offensive minded Buffalo team, grinding a win versus defensive minded Michigan and showing its full repertoire taking down the #1 team in offensive efficiency in the country the Gonzaga Bulldogs.  Texas Tech’s bread and butter is and will be on the defensive end.  Texas Tech garners takeaways on 23.1 percent of opponent possessions, 11th in the nation. Tech will look to keep this low scoring and dirty.

Michigan State has seemed to find itself on the offensive end by utilizing the fast break. The Spartans were able to overcome two teams that athletically were superior by not allowing them to set their defenses. If Cassius Winston can control the ball Michigan State should be to impose its will on the break with Xavier Tillman attacking the rim.  There will be a lot of pressure on Winston to run the offense efficiently out of half court sets.  We know Michigan will be looking to run but the grind it out style of Texas Tech will look to take that away.  Tech also brings the 28th nationally ranked offensively efficient team which means they will not turn the ball over enough to allow the new “running” Spartans to take off.

This game will be a matchup between a coach on the rise and a coach that is cementing his legacy.  Chris Beard has done a remarkable job bringing the Red Raiders to this point.  Jarrett Culver will have to find his shot earl, if he doesn’t it will be up to Matt Mooney to start the offense from the outside. This game will be a hard hitting affair, usually I would lean to the veteran coach in this situation but I am going with Chris Beard.  Texas Tech has bought into what Beard is selling.  They will have no fear of Michigan State. The Red Raiders are going to shut down Winston and the fast break and pull out the victory. I may lean ML on this game but if you can take the points why not be safe.

Pick: Texas Tech +3

Auburn Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers -5.5

The Auburn Tigers came into the tournament hot but no one saw this coming from Bruce Pearl’s squad.  Defeating three of the blue blood of college basketball on their way to the final four.  The injury to Chumu Okeke could have derailed any team going into their elite eight matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats but they rallied behind his injury.  This Auburn team reminds me of the UConn title team of 2014.  Playing the part of Shabazz Napier is senior Jerad Harper while the part of Ryan Boatright being played by Bryce Brown. The Tigers are a veteran led team that goes ten deep to make sure they can keep up their frantic pace. If Auburn can come out and play their pace and jump out to an early lead it will be a problem for the defensive minded Virginia Cavaliers.

Virginia seems like a team of destiny after the debacle of last season. Their last second game tying shot from Mamdi Diakite over Purdue was something that we only see in movies.  The Cavaliers are battle tested through the season but have a tendancy to have some slow starts. If Virginia doesn’t come out and set the pace they will be overcome by the constant attack of Auburn.  Unlike the other final four matchup the Cavaliers will have to contend with multiple scorers in order to be successful, this game will be a battle of different styles that should be a chess matchup of two great coaches. 

Pick: Auburn +5.5 (Virginia wins by 4)

MLB DFS Picks April 2 2019

P: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, $11,800

Scherzer looked to be in mid-season form versus the New York Mets in his first start, striking out 12 over 7 2/3 inning pitched. His matchup with the Phillies looks to be tough but as a team the Phillies struck out 75 times in 211 career at-bats. Look for Scherzer to feed off of the home crowd for another stellar performance.

P: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers, $9,300

When healthy Ryu has been one of the most effective pitchers in all of baseball. The Giants are hitting .194 as a team while striking out 47 times.

C: Omar Narvaez, Seattle Mariners, $3,300

Narvaez was a preseason sleep at a very weak catching position. Narvaez brings some power potential in a lineup that has started the season red hot. His low cost makes him a great option in a pitcher loaded slate.

1B: Pete Alonso, New York Mets, $4,100

Alonso connected on his first career homerun last night, he will now be building on his momentum. With 7 hits in his first 17 career at bats. Ride the hot streak.

2B: Starlin Castro, Miami Marlins, $3,700

Castro will get a favorable matchup with Jason Vargas whom he has an exit velocity of 90MPH in 12 career at bats.

SS: Zack Cozart, Los Angeles Angels, $3,700

Cozart started the season slowly along with the rest of the Angels lineups. Soft tossing Marco Gonzalez is a solid matchup for Cozart whom in a small sample size of four at bats has two hits.

3B: Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays, $3,400

Yandy Diaz will most likely be batting leadoff against lefty Kyle Freeland. Diaz already has matched his career totals in homers with one. He should be in a prime spot to continue his hot hitting.

OF: Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies, $3,700

2019 has not been a great start for the entire Rockies lineup. Desmond though excelled in 2018 versus lefties leading to a OPS of .841.

OF: Mark Canha, Oakland Athletics, $3,500

Assuming Canha will start against the lefty Chris Sale he could be worth a look as another low cos outfielder. 13 of Canha’s 17 homers were hit against lefties in 2018. If he gets the start he should be a great asset.

OF: Odubel Herrara, Philadelphia Phillies, $3,500

I am never a fan of starting players versus your own starting pitcher but Herrara’s ‘s career numbers versus Scherzer can’t be ignored. Herrara is hitting .341 in 47 career at bats against the Nationals ace.

MLB Overreaction for each Division

NL East: Braves are not going to compete for the division.

Atlanta got swept over the weekend by the new look Philadelphia Phillies. The reigning NL East Champs have dealt with some injuries to their rotation to start the season including 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewciz and Kevin Gausman.  Atlanta was forced to start Bryce Wilson and #2 ranked prospect of 2018 Kyle Wright in 2 of 3 games in Philadelphia. Wright was able to show off some of the skills that made him a top prospect the Braves bats were held in check by Jake Arrietta Sunday night to cap off the series sweep.

The Braves had a tough matchup to start the season versus the revamped Phillies in a city that was already hyped because well its philly.  Atlanta’s offense will carry the load early as they wait for the injury bug to work out.

NL West: Padres will compete for the division.

San Diego was able to take 2 of 3 from the rebuilding San Francisco Giants in San Francisco making us all wonder maybe they are more than just a young team with some promise in the future.  Will Myers and Eric Hosmer went a combined 10 for 26 in the series, both will be heavily looked upon to provide protection for the newly acquired franchise player Manny Machado. 

Pitching was the story for San Diego as Eric Lauer, Joey Luchessi and rookie Chris Paddack combined for a 1.80 ERA in 16.1 combined innings.  If the Padres starting pitching can continue to perform they may have a shot to compete in a top heavy NL West. 

They did face the Giants though so I wouldn’t count on it.

NL Central: Cardinals need to sign Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel

Rabid wolverines..oops I mean Cardinals fans are not happy after a tough 1-3 start to the season. The Cardinals were supposed to have the best rotation in the NL Central but that is not how if worked out against the powerful Brewers lineup.  Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson combined of a 7.84 ERA over their first three starts. No what most thought but remember it is week one.

Now the bullpen.  The dream lineup of Alex Reyes, Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks were supposed to be the “big three” in the backend of the bullpen.  They combined to blow a 3-run lead on Sunday causing panic in within Cardinals nation. 

Overreacting by signing Keuchel and Kimbrel will backfire for a team that just needs to be patient and allow their young arms to develop in season.

AL East: The Orioles may not lose 100 games.

The Orioles took 2 of 3 from the New York Yankees in New York!  Obviously the Orioles are going to come out of nowhere and compete in the AL East.  Baltimore winning the opening series versus the Yankees is almost quarter of the wins most people expected them to have in 2019.

The Orioles started their season better than most thought.  Sadly they will come down to earth very quickly.

AL West: Mariners are the best in the west.

Anyone notice the Mariners are 5-1 after taking 3 of 4 from the world champion Boston Red Sox?  The Mariners made more moves in the offseason then a 12 year old playing MLB the show for the first time.  Literally moving on from their best starter, reliever and hitter from the 2018 season. Seattle quietly picked up a potential impact bat with Domingo Santana but their hot start isn’t going to last.  Seattle will do what they always do and stay in it enough to let their fans believe that they have a chance and then completely bomb in the end.

Seattle can hit and they will hit but they pitching will not be able to keep up for long.

AL Central: Indians are not going to hit

The returning Carlos Santana went 5 for 10 in the opening series versus the Minnesota Twins. Outside of Santana thought he Indians did not look great at the plate during their first series.  The rest of the Indians had a total of 7 hits the entire series.  The injury to Fransisco  Lindor will hurt the offense but the struggles of Jose Ramirez has fans very worried about the potential of this offense.

Cleveland fans can worry for now but eventually Ramirez will find his way and the supporting cast is there for a reason.  This team will hit, just have to be patient.