FanDuel Economics: MLB Picks May 6th

May 4, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) slides safely into third base during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

FanDuel Economics: MLB Picks May 6th

Welcome to FanDuel Economics! This is the MLB Friday, May 6 th Picks edition.  FanDuel Economics is a daily fantasy sports column focused on FanDuel player salaries and FanDuel points-per-game (PPG) trends. The purpose of this column is to evaluate player salary and PPG averages over a period of time to provide daily fantasy sports players with a vital tool in their lineup tool belt. Finding the best value options often leads to a big pay day!

On Friday, we’re back to a full slate of 15 MLB games.  The day starts with the first pitch in Chicago at 2:20pm ET where Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals will face off against John Lackey and the Chicago Cubs.  All other games start at or after 7:05pm.  Here’s what the FanDuel schedule options look like to start:
  • 2:20pm ET (All Day)
  • 7:05pm ET (Main)

Before we dive into the MLB value picks for today, a reminder.  The point analysis provided does not include some evening and late night game results, from the night before.  However, the salary analysis is as of today.

If you have any questions while filling out your MLB FanDuel lineups feel free to contact me, Matt Rogers.  Now, let’s take a look at today’s MLB value options:

Apr 30, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello (22) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Value Pitchers

Rick Porcello (7:05pm ET), 3rd in the starting rotation for the Boston Red Sox, is having an outstanding season.  Over five starts, Rick has 5 wins, a 2.76 ERA, only 6 walks, and 36 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.  Porcello has 6 or more strikeouts in every one of his outings.  Rick has been a cheap fantasy gem.  Surprisingly, Porcello’s salary only climbed to $8,100.  Rick is averaging 47.2 PPG this season, 6th among all starting major league pitchers.  So Porcello is carrying a high 5.8X FanDuel value into his start tonight against the New York Yankees, which is a bargain.  Noah Syndergaard, for example, is only averaging 45.2 PPG and you’re paying $3,100 more with Syndergaard’s $10,700 salary.  So, between the two, Porcello gives you more cash back to spend on hitters and the same high point value.

Vincent Velasquez (7:10pm ET) is having a similar season to Porcello.  Vincent is 5th in the Philadelphia Phillies rotation, but he he’s pitching like a top starting pitcher.  After five starts, Velasquez is 4-1 and has a 1.44 ERA.  In 31.1 innings, Vincent has 39 strikeouts, including a superb 16 strikeout game against the Padres.  Velasquez now has 48.8 PPG, 4th among all starting pitchers.  With a $8,800 salary tonight, Vincent is walking a notable 5.5X value to the mound tonight in Miami against the Marlins.

Drew Pomeranz (10:40pm ET) is a good pitcher on a terrible team.  After five starts, Pomeranz is 2-3, but has a low 2.48 ERA.  Drew also has 36 strikeouts in 29 innings.  Losing games while giving up only 1 or 2 earned runs means you’re getting little to no offense from your batting lineup.  That is one of the risks with Pomeranz, he isn’t likely to land the 12 point win value.  Also tonight, Pomeranz pitches against a very difficult Mets lineup in San Diego, where left handed hitters have an advantage so far this year.  However, it’s hard to ignore Drew’s 39 PPG average so far this year and very low $6,700 salary giving us a fantastic 5.8X value.  I would’ve had Pomeranz above Velasquez, but I’m worried about the risk of pitching against the Mets.

Apr 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (right) slides safely into second base on a stolen base attempt as Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (left) is unable to field the throw during the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Value Hitters – INF

When we look for value hitters, we typically focus on how many points each hitter is getting per $1,000 of salary you need to spend.  This ratio provides an understanding of how many points you’re getting for what you paid.  It’s important to consider other factors when evaluating this information, though, like how many games they played in the average PPG or how they do vs. RHP/LHP.  At the start of this season the values were all over the place.  There were several hitters in the 5x-9x range, which is incredible value, and several in the 1x-3x range which is pretty bad value.  Recently, the value range has started to level off as FanDuel adjusts salaries to players who are having hot/cold starts to the season.  Lately, anyone over a 5.0X value is top 25.

Jason Castro, C, (8:10pm ET) has a hot bat lately.  Castro had a home run on Tuesday and followed that up with another home run on Wednesday.  On Wednesday, Jason also had a double, 4 RBI’s, 3 runs, and 2 walks piling up 47.6 points against the Minnesota Twins. Over the last week, Castro is averaging 15.1 PPG.  Tonight Jason’s salary is a very cheap $2,700 giving us a bargain 5.6X value.  Castro has a great value heading into a home game against the Mariners tonight.

I recently wrote a 1B position analysis article so I won’t reiterate everything in the article.  However, one additional value option climbing the value board is Ryan Howard, 1B, (7:10pm ET).  Two home runs over two games in St. Louis against the Cardinals got him there.  Howard is a hit or miss play.  He has a lot of goose egg (0 point) games, but also 20+ games because of his power.  Ryan has a 11.6 PPG average over the last seven day.  Howard’s salary is a very low $2,400 because of his risk, but he could be worth a chance.

We discussed Brett Lawrie, 2B, (8:10pm ET) yesterday and he continues to be valuable.  Lawrie leads all second basemen with 16.9 PPG over the last week.  With a salary dropping $100, to $3,200, he’s a 5.3X value tonight.  Again, Brett is your best value option at second base.

Brandon Drury, 3B, (7:35pm ET) continues to roll this season for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Drury is hitting a .327 average with 5 home runs, 11 runs, and 11 RBI’s.  Over the last week, Drury is averaging 16 PPG, 4th among all third basemen.  Brandon’s salary is only $3,000 again tonight providing an attractive 5.3X value.  But, if you happen to have $300 more to spend, use it on Nick Castellanos, 3B, (7:10pm ET).  Castellanos is performing a little better with 16.8 PPG, but with a higher salary has a lower 4.9X value.  Either play is a solid bet.

If you’re tired of playing Jonathan Villar, SS, (7:10pm ET), take a flier on Alcides Escobar, SS, (7:10pm ET).  Alcides is piling on hits, walks, runs, and stealing some bases.  Over the last week, Escobar is averaging 12.8 PPG.  Alcides’ salary is only $2,700 tonight giving us a 4.7X value.  Villar has a little more power, but similar attributes to Escobar.  Either play is a good one, but Alcides gives you more cash to play on your other picks.

Apr 23, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Mallex Smith (17) signs autographs for fans before a game against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Value Hitters – OF

Ender Inciarte has been out of the Atlanta Braves lineup with a Hamstring injury.  So Mallex Smith (7:35pm ET), a 22 year old young prospect for the Braves, is taking advantage of his available playing time.  Smith is doing so well he may be earning playing time even when Inciarte is healthy.  On Tuesday, Smith hit his first major league home run off Matt Harvey.  And over the last week, Mallex averaged 14.8 PPG.  Given Smith’s inexperience his salary is still a very cheap $2,500 providing a 5.9X bargain value.

We highlighted Marcell Ozuna (7:10pm ET) last night, so I won’t go into detail.  With a 17.5 PPG weekly average and tonight’s $3,300 salary, Ozuna is a solid 5.3X value.

Jacoby Ellsbury (7:05pm ET) got hot toward the end of the series in Boston, then continued to stay hot in Baltimore.  Ellsbury is going to see Boston again tonight, but this time at home.  I don’t love his match-up against Rick Porcello, but he may be the one hot bat that gives Porcello some trouble.  Over the last week, Jacoby averaged 14 PPG.  Ellsbury’s salary is $3,100 tonight, climbing $100 this week.  But that still gives us a respectable 4.5X value, top seven among all outfielders.  Ellsbury is worth a pick, especially if you decide to fade Porcello.

To re-visit other recent value options for FanDuel MLB, view some of my other columns.

For additional FanDuel MLB analysis, take a look at my good friend and follow staff writer Brian Tulloch’s MLB Picks & Pivots column.  Also, Mike Marteny provides Draft Kings MLB Picks analysis.  Draft Kings uses a different point system and Mike does a great job of breaking down your options.  Both also provide great ‘stacking’ options which I like to discuss and use as well.

I wish you all well tonight FanDuelers!  Spend smartly and enjoy the return on your savings!