FanDuel MLB: Sunday Picks

FanDuel MLB: Sunday Picks

This article is part of our FanDuel MLB series.

Fan Duel has a full 15-game slate Sunday, and there are a number of interesting ones to focus on. There are seven pitchers who are -130 favorites or better according to Vegas. That means there is clear chalk in almost half of the scheduled games. We also have only two games with a run total under eight, so 13 of these matchups are expected to yield a lot of runs. Only two games have run lines of 7.5 or less. That means we do have limited pitching prospects according to Vegas. Here are some of the plays I have my eye on for Sunday:

Starting Pitcher
Hector Santiago ($7,100)
Santiago has been very good in his last two starts, pitching 13 innings with 13 strikeouts and only 12 baserunners allowed. He pitched against this lineup last week and went seven strong innings of one-run ball on his way to a victory. He followed up that performance with another one run gem over six innings against a very tough Oakland lineup. He only allowed six baserunners that day and struck out eight. Texas has the fourth-lowest batting average in the league and they are in the bottom half for runs scored. The one drawback is they do not strike out a ton, but at Santiago's price, that's not a huge concern. He projects as a guy who should go seven innings with five strikeouts and fewer than two runs allowed. If he picks up the win, which he is expected to do as a -140 favorite, than he should return 14 points and be a great value play.

Stephen Vogt ($3,300)
While Vogt is now the third-most expensive catcher, his overall price is pretty cheap relative to guys at other positions who can produce like he can. This is especially true when he faces a right-handed pitcher and even more so when that pitcher struggles with left-handed bats. Vogt is planted in the 3-hole for the Athletics and is the rare player who averages more fantasy points per game then his cost per $1000. At 3.7 points per game and a cost per thousand of 3.3 ($3,300/$1,000), he is almost a must-start. The matchup is perfect for him, and he resides in the sweet spot of an order expected to score some runs. He has a high upside and a safe floor, which is all you can ask for from a catcher. He is one of the few catchers with good lineup placement, so take advantage and roll him out.

First Base
Carlos Santana ($3,400)
Santana hits almost .050 points higher against left-handed pitching and tomorrow he gets a weak lefty in the aptly named Kyle Lobstein. Lobstein struggles with right-handed power bats and Santana is literally the only one in the left-handed heavy Cleveland lineup. Santana only has three hits in his last 12 at-bats, but he has three RBI, four runs scored, five walks and a stolen base to go along with it. That is an average of 4.7 FanDuel points over his last four games. If he was able to repeat that again, he would return excellent value at only $3,400.

Second Base
Jimmy Paredes ($2,700)
Paredes is a young switch-hitting utility man for the Orioles. He has been hitting in the 3-hole recently and is producing some nice numbers. He gets another solid match up against Wade Miley and a price discount on top of it. He has homered in three of his last four games and hits in front of Adam Jones, so he will see pitches to hit. Teams have yet to figure out how to pitch to him. There's not a lot of 3-hole hitters who can be had for $2,700, plays a tough position to fill and are in a hitter friendly ballpark. He is on fire over the past week and checks off all the boxes. There is no reason not to look his way for salary relief and upside.

Jose Ramirez ($2,300)
Ramirez is a guy not many people will have, but he deserves to be on your radar. He hit left-handed pitching pretty well last year, posting a .291 batting average while reaching base safely in 27 of 83 plate appearances. He also tends to be higher paced in that lineup against left-handed pitching in order to break up the string of lefty bats who do play every day in Cleveland. If you want to fit in some of the stud bats elsewhere, you have to find a cheap guy or two who can produce for you if the goal is to win a tournament.

Third Base
Brock Holt ($2,400)
Holt is an absolute beast against right-handed pitching. When the Red Sox face a righty, he is usually on top of the order. Manager John Farrell has already said that Holt will be in the lineup Sunday, so I expect him to be leading off for the potent Red Sox attack. He already has 12 hits in 27 at-bats against right-handed pitching this season, and Bud Norris (Sunday's opposing starter) struggles against left-handed bats. Baltimore is also a hitter-friendly park, so there's a lot of things working in Holt's favor. He is another guy who provides some serious salary relief and should be used in both cash and GPP lineups.

Angel Pagan ($3,200)
Pagan is now batting third for the Giants. He gets a matchup against a young gas-can left-hander in Tyler Matzek to end the road trip at Coors Field. His price has not risen to reflect the venue or his new lineup placement. In fact he is $200 cheaper than he was for the first game of this series. He hits in front of Buster Posey and has great recent slash lines against left-handed pitching. Pagan will be batting from his preferred side, in Coors field, against a weak lefty, and for the team with the highest projected total on the day. For only $3,200, he is a bargain.

Mike Trout ($5,100)
Trout is arguably the best player in baseball. What is a tougher argument to make is how you do not consider him the best player in fantasy baseball. Trout is a high average guy, who hits for power, has the speed to take extra bases or steal them, and hits in a perfect lineup spot to drive in runs or be driven in himself. If you were too young to see Mickey Mantle play, it looked a lot like this guy from what people say. Trout gets to face Nick Martinez, who daily fantasy players remember targeting hitters against last year. So far he has been really good to start 2015, but Martinez still struggles with fly balls, as his low GO/AO ratio suggests. Eventually, regression will strike and his sub-1.00 ERA and WHIP will revert back toward the mean. All it would take for that to happen is a few of those long fly balls clearing the fence like they did last year and both of those numbers would balloon back up quickly. Advanced metrics show that Martinez has improved, but has also been a bit lucky. Trout is a good start that many will not pay up for against a pitcher with a home run profile like Martinez's.

Hanley Ramirez ($3,700)
Ramirez can hit any type of pitching, he is starting to heat up, and gets a date in a solid hitter's park at Camden Yards. Bud Norris goes opposite him for the Orioles, and he has not been good over the course of the last year and a half. In fact, he was another 2014 target-against favorite among the hardcore daily fantasy crowd while pitching in Houston. Ramirez has power and speed, but his main attribute is the lasers that come off his bat. He hits the ball so hard that he is denting walls in Fenway Park. Over his last five starts, he is 9-for-20 with 24.5 fantasy points. That is a 4.9 fantasy point per game average and would be well above the return you would want out of him for cash or GPPs. $3,700 is a fair price for his upside and he should be on everyone's radar.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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Benjamin Ricciardi
Benny is an award-winning sportswriter whose work has been seen all over the daily fantasy landscape. He is the 2014 FSWA winner for best baseball article of the year (web), the co-host of a baseball webcast called "The Curve" (@rotocurve), and a featured writer for DraftKings Playbook and the DFSReport. He believes, as a former athlete and self-proclaimed "NUMBER's GUY", he has the perfect mix of knowledge and know-how to help you win your fantasy matchups. You can follow him on twitter @BennyR11.
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