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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 14, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Tuesday’s 12-game evening slate on DraftKings starting at 7:05 EDT. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, and we have rankings of the top plays at each position.

Pitching Perspective

Here are our projections for today’s starters. You’ll see each starter’s salary, his opponent color coded to denote quality of matchup, the average number of fantasy points the starter is projected to score per game and how far above or below average his projection is compared to his salary in the value column. As for the colors, they rank as follows from good to bad: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy.

Pitching looks tough today. For most of the first week, I was able to find mid-price starters I felt comfortable with, and enough of those plays worked out well. Today there really aren’t any mid-price options. I don’t mean there aren’t any good ones. I mean there aren’t any at all as no pitchers are priced between $6,800 and $7,900. That’s going to push a lot of people toward the more expensive pitchers, but the options aren’t great up there.

Three of the seven expensive pitchers are facing the Tigers, Dodgers and Orioles, and those are matchups I’d rather avoid. Of the other four, I think Jose Quintana and Jake Arrieta are overpriced. So that leaves just Matt Harvey ($9,300, SP) and Carlos Carrasco ($8,800, SP). After Harvey’s debut and with a good matchup against the Phillies, I have to imagine his ownership percentage will be through the roof. He’s obviously so safe that you have to consider him in cash games, but I’d lean toward Carrasco in GPPs, though he should be fairly heavily owned himself.

On the lower end of the spectrum, I think I’m going with Odrisamer Despaigne ($6,400, SP). It’s too early for this to mean much, but his opponent, Arizona, has been about an average matchup for pitchers so far. If the game was in Arizona, I’d probably stay away, but since it’s in San Diego, I’m willing to roll the dice with Despaigne. I think his heavy groundball lean limits his downside in home starts when he’s not facing a tough offense.

If you want to go even cheaper, Daniel Norris ($5,600, SP) could be a tournament play. He’s got an average-ish matchup with Tampa Bay, and I’d really like him if this game was in Tampa instead of Toronto. At this price point, Norris has value potential because of his upside in the strikeout department. He posted some pretty healthy strikeout rates in the upper minors, and he struck out five in his first start of the season. It’s a bit dicey, but every pitcher you’ll ever roster for less than $6,000 will be a bit dicey.

Stack Options

Staying with Blue Jays, they’re the obvious stack of the day. Aside from the Angels-Rangers game which has a total of nine, the Vegas total of 8.5 of Blue Jays-Rays is tied for the second highest total of the day, and the Jays are a healthy favorite at home. The starter for the Rays, Matt Andriese, is the cheapest pitcher of the day, and so it follows that the Jays have some high price tags today. If you’re going to pay up for a stack, make it some combination of their top four, Jose Reyes ($5,100, SS), Dalton Pompey ($4,400, OF), Jose Bautista ($5,800, OF) and Edwin Encarnacion ($5,500, 1B). If you can’t bring yourself to pay up for Jays but like the matchup, Justin Smoak ($3,700, 1B) is actually fairly reasonably priced and could be a value option. If he and Encarnacion weren’t only eligible at 1B, I might be stacking Bautista, Encarnacion and Smoak.

Going back to that Angels-Rangers game, the Angels are also a pretty obvious stack in Texas against Nick Martinez. They’ll also cost you a chunk of change as the trio of Kole Calhoun ($4,900, OF), Mike Trout ($6,000, OF) and Albert Pujols ($5,200, 1B) will only save you $300 compared to Reyes/Bautista/Encarnacion. Calhoun has missed a couple of games with a calf strain, but word is he’ll back in the lineup tonight. If he’s not, don’t force a stack here and just roll with Trout/Pujols if you can make it fit.

If you’re looking for a little value in a stack, the Mets are your team at home against David Buchanan and the Phillies. Curtis Granderson ($4,000, OF), Lucas Duda ($4,400, 1B) and Daniel Murphy ($4,200, 2B) will all have the platoon advantage and should hit 1-3-5 in the lineup. To fill in a gap, I’d probably throw David Wright ($4,100, 3B) in along with them. Wright doesn’t project all that well against right-handed pitchers, but he’s not too expensive, and there aren’t a lot of great options at third base today. I also like Wilmer Flores ($3,800, SS), but he doesn’t really fit with the stack.

You can download our hitter projections here. These projections are not matchup adjusted, but each player’s projected wOBA against left and right handed pitching is included to help with matchup decisions. 

Player Rankings

Catcher

  1. Carlos Santana – $4,100 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Jason Castro – $3,900 – Houston Astros
  3. Miguel Montero – $3,700 – Chicago Cubs

First Base

  1. Edwin Encarnacion – $5,500 – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Albert Pujols – $5,200 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Lucas Duda – $4,400 – New York Mets
  4. Justin Smoak – $3,700 – Toronto Blue Jays

Second Base

  1. Daniel Murphy – $4,200 – New York Mets
  2. Neil Walker – $4,400 – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Tommy LaStella – $3,400 – Chicago Cubs

Third Base

  1. Manny Machado – $4,100 – Baltimore Orioles
  2. David Wright – $4,100 – New York Mets
  3. Pedro Alvarez – $4,300 – Pittsburgh Pirates

Shortstop

  1. Jose Reyes – $5,100 – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Erick Aybar – $4,400 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Wilmer Flores – $3,800 – New York Mets

Outfield

  1. Mike Trout – $6,000 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Jose Bautista – $5,800 – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. George Springer – $5,000 – Houston Astros
  4. Adam Jones – $4,600 – Baltimore Orioles
  5. Curtis Granderson  -$4,000 – New York Mets
  6. Andrew Lambo – $3,200 – Pittsburgh Pirates

Starting Pitcher

  1. Carlos Carrasco – $8,800 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Matt Harvey – $9,300 – New York Mets
  3. Odrisamer Despaigne – $6,400 – San Diego Padres
  4. Daniel Norris – $5,600 – Toronto Blue Jays

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