The Daily Diamond | Core Picks | 5.17.2018 Main Slate

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Last night we saw the Blue Jays go off against Zach Wheeler and the Mets, scoring 12 Runs behind a stellar JA Happ pitching performance. Bauer delivered for the Indians, twirling a gem against the battered Tigers – and Justin Verlander had no trouble shutting down the Angels in Anaheim. Tonight we have a nice 9-game slate on FanDuel – and as of right now, the weather appears to be of no concern. Regardless, be sure to monitor forecasts as well as starting lineups prior to lock. Have fun and good luck!

theDPA Core 5:

P | Vincent Velasquez| Philadelphia Phillies | $8,300
Opponent: St. Louis Cardinals

Vincent Velasquez is improving for the Phillies.

On a slate with very few high-end pitching options, I’ll be looking for a combination of both value and upside. Vince Velasquez currently has 31.2% K-rate rate against righties this season, and the Cardinals he faces tonight are projected to have 7 in their lineup. Velasquez has always had great stuff, but he’s had trouble with control throughout his young career. Still, he has looked better over his last couple starts – and he’s coming off a 55 point game in which he had 12 Ks against the Giants. He’s been a better pitcher on the road in 2018 (he pitches on the road tonight), as his ERA is a full 2 points better away from Philadelphia (3.98 vs. 6.01). His ERA of 5.05 is deceiving as his xFIP is just 3.84. I expect a positive regression this evening -against a Cardinals team that is 23rd in the MLB in Runs with just 171. There are 6 pitchers priced higher than him on this slate – but I think Velasquez has the upside to have the most raw points of them all. There is a bit of risk playing him in Cash – as he’s always been inconsistent, but a lack of options has me happy to roll out Velasquez here in all formats.

Also Consider: Chad Kuhl (PIT), Tyler Skaggs (LAA), Chris Archer (TB)

IF/1B| Justin Smoak | Toronto Blue Jays | $3,400
Opponent: Andrew Triggs | Oakland Athletics

Justin Smoak is heating up for the Blue Jays.

After starting out 2018 on absolute fire – Justin Smoak cooled off as we moved into May. He seems to be heating up again though, scoring 20+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 4 games. Tonight he faces Andrew Triggs of the Oakland Athletics – who is allowing a career high 40% hard contact rate in 2018. He allowed three home runs in his last start against the Yankees – and 5 total over his last three games. The Blue Jays have one of the highest projected totals on the slate at 4.85 Runs, and Smoak is my favorite play of the lot. He’s a great play in all formats – as a one-off or as a part of a stack.

IF/SS | Manny Machado | Baltimore Orioles| $4,900
Opponent: David Price | Boston Red Sox

Not much needs to be said about this next pick – Manny Machado has been putting up MVP-like numbers for the Orioles in a contract season. He already has 16 RBIs in the month of May – he’s tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 18, and he’s currently maintaining a ridiculous .342 BA through his first 161 official ABs this season. My favorite part about playing Machado here is his upside – as he’s managed to score 30+ points in 3 of his last 6 games. Tonight he faces David Price of the Red Sox, against whom he’s already had a lot of success. In 37 Career ABs against the Sox lefty – Machado has 4 HRs, 11 Hits, and a .419 wOBA. I probably won’t stack the Orioles in this spot – but as a one-off, Machado is my favorite bat on the slate – and our DPA Pick of the Day!!!
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Also Consider:  Josh Donaldson (TOR), Roughned Odor (TEX), Matt Olson (OAK), Chris Davis (BAL)

OF | Joey Gallo | Texas Rangers | $3,400
Opponent: James Shields | Chicago White Sox

One of my favorite pitchers to target against in DFS is James Shields, and this next pick allows us to do just that. Joey Gallo has as much power behind his swing as anyone else in the MLB. Currently 8th in the MLB with a 94.5 MPH exit velocity – Gallo has 2 HR upside tonight against the White Sox. Shields has given up at least 3 Runs in 6 of his 9 starts this season – and Gallo is currently tied with Machado (and others) for the MLB lead in HRs with 13. The Rangers have a high projected team total of 4.65 Runs, and Gallo is at a discounted $3,400 on FanDuel (compare to $4,300 on DK). At this price, he’s a great play in all formats.

OF | Shin-soo Choo | Texas Rangers| $3,000
Opponent: James Shields | Chicago White Sox

Shin-soo Choo will look to break-out against James Shields.

Staying in the Rangers outfield – I like the idea of rolling out Shin-soo Choo against Shields tonight in Chicago. All 5 of Choo’s HRs this season have come against right-handed pitching (Shields is a RHP). Last season, 21 of his 22 HRs came against righties. He has a 45.7% hard contact rate against RHP so far in 2018 – and I expect him to draw less ownership than Gallo or Nomar Mazara here because he hasn’t had a big DFS night in a while. In spite of that fact, Choo has Hits in 6 of his last 7 games – and I love his chances at a breakout night tonight against the mediocre Shields. He’s a solid play in all formats – and he correlates well with Gallo and/or Mazara as a part of a Rangers stack.

Also Consider: Nomar Mazara (TEX), Curtis Granderson (TOR), Khris Davis (OAK), Charlie Blackmon (COL)

Good luck and remember to monitor those bankrolls!!

Nick Marro is the DailyPlayAction resident MLB expert, and shares his player projections for MLB on FanDuel. Nick plays FanDuel himself, and although he expresses his opinions, he may implement other plays and strategies without notice.