2016 Fantasy BaseballBrett TalleyFront Office

Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 4, 2016

Welcome back, baseball. And more importantly, welcome back MLB DFS. We’ve got a 12-game slate today to kick off the season (yesterday’s three-game slate hardly counts). With all the varying start times today, playing on DraftKings is a safer option because they allow late swaps. On FanDuel, your roster will lock long before all starting lineups are posted for the day. If you do play on FanDuel, lean toward guys that have been confirmed in early lineups or are near locks to be in the lineup later in the day.

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Monday’s slate. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections and rankings of the top plays at each position.

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Pitching Perspective

There are obviously a ton of aces pitching today, so you have to figure out which have the best matchup and the best price. Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer all have solid matchups today, at least based on how teams performed last year. Bumgarner will get the Brewers who had the fifth worst wOBA against LHP last year, Kershaw will get the Padres who had the eighth worst wOBA vs. LHP, and Scherzer will get the Braves who had the fourth worst wOBA vs. RHP. The Braves had the second lowest strikeout rate against righties last year, which makes Scherzer’s matchup less appealing. But both the Brewers and Padres ranked in the top ten of highest strikeout rates against lefties last year.

In terms of price, Bumgarner is priced extremely well on DK, and Kershaw is much more reasonably priced on FD. Kershaw is clearly the top option almost any time he pitches, especially against the Padres, but often he’ll be priced much higher than the next best options. That’s somewhat the case on DK today, but he’s priced relatively close to the other aces today on FD. And if you like Scherzer, he’s priced much more reasonably on FD as well.

Corey Kluber has a middling matchup against the Red Sox who were a bit above average against right-handers last year, and the Sox didn’t strike out much at all. But Kluber is priced quite well on DK, so he’s worth a look there. It’s definitely a loaded day for pitching, but 12 starters are more expensive than Kluber on DK, including guys like Drew Smyly and Raisel Iglesias. Cleveland is a slight underdog in that game, so perhaps Kluber is a better GPP option than cash. But he’s an option.

Speaking of Raisel Iglesiais, he and the Reds are the fifth biggest favorite of the day after Arizona (Greinke), Washington (Scherzer), Los Angeles (Kershaw) and San Francisco (Bumgarner). Iglesias posted a 26.3 percent strikeout rate, so he certainly has upside. And the matchup against Philadelphia mitigates some of his downside. He’s too expensive on DK, but he’s a nice value on FD.

Another solid FD value option is Garrett Richards. He’s also priced well enough on DK, but FD is the best spot to use him. He’ll face the Cubs who led the league in strikeout rate last year, so there’s definitely some upside there, especially with his price tag.

Back over on DK, value options include Sonny Gray and, if you really need to go cheap, Chris Tillman. Gray lacks some upside with only a decent strikeout rate, but he has an above average matchup against the White Sox. Tillman is downright terrifying to roster, but he’s very cheap on DK if you’re desperate for salary relief. He’ll face the Twins who were bottom 10 in wOBA against righties last year and top 10 in strikeout rate, so it’s not a bad matchup.

Stack Options

Tampa Bay Rays – I’d say there’s something about R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball that actually works against left-handers given that he’s been more effective against lefties than righties the last two years. But it certainly wasn’t the case in 2013 or 2012, so there’s likely just some small sample size issues going there. Ultimately, his 5.13 xFIP against left-handers last year is appetizing and makes Tampa an interesting stack option today. New acquisition Corey Dickerson could follow up on his homer from yesterday, and other lefties like Kevin Kiermaier, Logan Morrison and Brad Miller are appealing options as well. Right-handed regulars Evan Longoria, Desmond Jennings and Steven Souza are also worth a look if you want to go Rays-heavy with a stack.

Toronto Blue Jays – The chalk! Toronto managed five runs yesterday against Chris Archer, and tonight the task is much easier against Drew Smyly. The left-handed Smyly has dominated lefties in his career, but struggles when batters have the platoon advantage. And this is a Toronto team that led the league in basically every hitting category against left-handers last year. They’re priced aggressively on FD, but they’re very, very reasonably priced on DK. Any of their right-handers are in play there.

Washington Nationals – Julio Teheran has always struggled with left-handed hitters, but he was downright woeful against them last year. He allowed a 1.78 HR/9 to lefties, and he had a 4.65 BB/9 against them. Ben Revere, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy are Washington’s best lefties, and they should hit 1-3-5 in the lineup. Anthony Rendon out of the two-hole is a right-hander you could add to streamline the stack a bit. All three lefties are priced well on DK, but only Murphy is really priced well on FD, while Harper is quite pricey there.

Cincinnati Reds – Hellickson has a 1.20 HR/9 for his career, and both lefties and righties have about the same home run rate against him. He’s equal opportunity with the dingers. This one is in Cincinnati tonight, which was tied with Colorado last year for the highest home run park factor. Left-handers Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the best plays, and right-handers Brandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez are priced well. Those four should hit 2-3-4-5 in the lineup. You could even take it further down the lineup with Devin Mesoraco, Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton. Collectively the Reds are priced better on FD. Votto is priced better on DK, but the savings on other Reds on FD would probably help offset his cost more there.

Player Rankings

DraftKings

Catcher

  1. Hank Conger – $2,900
  2. Russell Martin – $3,300
  3. Matt Wieters – $3,900
  4. Devin Mesoraco – $3,200

First Base

  1. Chris Davis – $5,100
  2. Pedro Alvarez – $3,600
  3. Logan Morrisson – $3,200
  4. Paul Goldschmidt – $5,500
  5. Jose Abreu – $4,400

Second Base

  1. Daniel Murphy – $3,400
  2. Chase Utley – $2,900
  3. Brock Holt – $2,800
  4. Rougned Odor – $3,800
  5. Brandon Phillips – $3,800

Third Base

  1. Josh Donaldson – $4,200
  2. Kris Bryant – $4,500
  3. Tyler Saladino – $2,900
  4. Evan Longoria – $3,400
  5. Manny Machado – $5,000

Shortstop

  1. Brad Miller – $3,200
  2. Troy Tulowitzki – $3,600
  3. Carlos Correa – $4,100
  4. Corey Seager – $3,600
  5. Addisson Russell – $3,600

Outfield

  1. Bryce Harper – $4,500
  2. Corey Dickerson – $3,500
  3. Kevin Kiermaier – $3,300
  4. Carlos Gonzalez – $4,400
  5. Adam Duvall – $3,100
  6. Jose Bautista – $4,200
  7. Jay Bruce – $4,100
  8. Ben Revere – $3,600
  9. Desmond Jennings – $3,100

Starting Pitcher

  1. Madison Bumgarner – $9,200
  2. Corey Kluber – $8,600
  3. Sonny Gray – $8,600
  4. Clayton Kershaw – $12,900
  5. Chris Tillman – $6,100
  6. Zack Greinke – $9,000
  7. Garrett Richards – $8,500

FanDuel

Catcher

  1. Matt Wieters – $2,700
  2. Welington Castillo – $2,300
  3. Hank Conger – $2,200

First Base

  1. Chris Davis – $3,700
  2. Byung-ho Park – $2,600
  3. Pedro Alvarez – $2,800
  4. Logan Morrison – $2,300

Second Base

  1. Daniel Murphy – $2,800
  2. Jonathan Schoop – $2,400
  3. Brandon Phillips – $2,400
  4. Brian Dozier – $3,100

Third Base

  1. Trevor Plouffe – $2,500
  2. Eugenio Suarez – $2,400
  3. Kris Bryant – $4,100
  4. Luis Valbuena – $2,300

Shortstop

  1. Brad Miller – $2,200
  2. Addison Russell – $2,500
  3. Trevor Story – $2,500
  4. Troy Tulowitzki – $3,600

Outfield

  1. Jay Bruce – $2,700
  2. Kevin Kiermaier – $2,500
  3. Miguel Sano – $3,100
  4. Hunter Pence – $2,900
  5. Corey Dickerson – $3,300
  6. Adam Duvall – $2,000
  7. Byron Buxton – $2,400
  8. Denard Span – $3,100
  9. Carlos Gonzalez – $3,900

Starting Pitcher

  1. Clayton Kershaw – $11,000
  2. Max Scherzer – $10,500
  3. Garrett Richards – $7,100
  4. Raisel Iglesias – $6,400
  5. Madison Bumgarner – $10,600

Research Chart

Below you’ll find my research chart for the day. Projections are derived from ZiPS and adjusted for matchup and ballpark. The closer a color is to green the better and the closer a color is to red the worse. You can download the research chart here.

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