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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 15, 2015

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation as well as the best teams to use for stacks for Wednesday’s 15-game slate on DraftKings. There are four afternoon games and 11 evening games. 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.

This early in the season we’re still getting a lot of pitchers with a similar talent level grouped together on the same day. A lot of the aces are still starting on the same days, and then you have days like today where not a single pitcher is priced above $9,000 with only three priced above $8,000.

As for the specific names I like today, let me start with the cheapest one for a change. Chase Anderson ($5,900, SP) is way, way underpriced according to our model. And our model isn’t taking into account opponent yet, nor does it account for ballpark. The model is just an average of what each pitcher is projected to do on a per-game basis for the full season. But if we did adjust out projections (and we’ll start doing so for quality of opponent soon), Anderson’s projection would be even higher, and his value would be even better. With a good matchup against the Padres and it being in San Diego, Anderson is the value play of the day.

Moving back to the top end of the spectrum, the expensive pitcher I prefer today is Lance Lynn ($8,700, SP) at home against the Brewers. The Brewers offense has not gotten off to a good start, but, more importantly, they’re very right-handed heavy and Lynn is excellent against righties. Plus the game is in St. Louis which is pitcher-friendly park. Lynn is the safe play for cash games.

If I’m not going with Lynn/Anderson, the other name I’m considering is Brandon Morrow ($6,700, SP). I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him, but he has the fourth best projection of the day and only the 12th highest price tag. He’s opposite Anderson in the game in San Diego, so he too has the favor of a good ball park and decent matchup. He threw seven scoreless innings in his first start of the year allowing seven base runners with seven strikeouts. He has been good when healthy in the past, and that first start of the season at least opens the door to him possibly being good again. It’s a bit of a gamble with Morrow still, but I like that play in tournaments.

Also in the good matchup, good ball park, good price department are Brett Anderson ($6,700, SP) at home against Seattle and Tyler Matzek ($6,200, SP) on the road against the Giants. I trust these two even less than Morrow, and I don’t really see the point when I like Chase Anderson so much and he’s cheaper. But they grade out well, so they deserve a mention.

Stack Options

I named Toronto and Los Angeles as the obvious stacks yesterday, and they combined for a whopping four runs. Awesome. But it’s tough not to go back to the well today. They’re playing in hitter friendly parks against two of the five worst projected pitchers of the day, and their games have high totals in Vegas. Given the lack of expensive pitching options, paying up for a stack should be relatively easy.

The Angels feel like the slightly better play, so I’d recommend what was the first four in their order last night: Erick Aybar ($4,500, SS), Mike Trout ($6,000, OF), Albert Pujols ($5,200, 1B) and Matt Joyce ($4,200, OF). The same goes for Toronto with their top four: Jose Reyes ($5,000, SS), Dalton Pompey ($4,300, OF), Jose Bautista ($6,000, OF) and Edwin Encarnacion ($5,300, 1B).

Where I did have a little success yesterday was with my cheaper stack pick of the Mets. They didn’t go off or anything, but they did propel me to pretty easy cashes in cash games. So I’ll give you a cheaper stack I like from both the afternoon games and evening games.

In the afternoon, I like the Red Sox at home against the Nationals and Gio Gonzalez. Telling you which three of four players to stack is a little tough because a) the Sox haven’t faced a left-handed starter since Opening Day so the order is uncertain, and b) the status of Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval is uncertain as of this writing (my guess is they both sit today). For that reason, I’ll just list the Sox I like and let you check the lineup in the morning: Mike Napoli ($4,400, 1B), Hanley Ramirez ($4,800, SS/OF), Mookie Betts ($4,300, OF), Dustin Pedroia ($4,100, 2B) and Shane Victorino ($3,900, OF).

And then in the evening I also like Baltimore against the Yankees and Nate Eovaldi. There are a few ways you can go with that stack because I’m fine with five of the first six in their lineup so long as Chris Davis ($4,800, 1B/3B) and Adam Jones ($4,900, OF) are in the stack. The other options are Alejandro de Aza ($4,200, OF), Travis Snider ($4,100, OF) and Manny Machado ($4,400, 3B).

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 – $4,400 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Evan Gattis – $4,300 – Houston Astros
  3. Yasmani Grandal – $3,300 – Los Angeles Dodgers

First Base

  1. Edwin Encarnacion – $5,300 – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Albert Pujols – $5,200 – Los Angeles Angels
  3. Anthony Rizzo – $5,100 – Chicago Cubs
  4. Lucas Duda – $3,500 – New York Mets

Second Base

  1. Jose Altuve – $4,600 – Houston Astros
  2. Neil Walker – $3,900 – Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Dustin Pedroia – $4,100 – Boston Red Sox

Third Base

  1. Chris Davis – $4,800 – Baltimore Orioles
  2. Pablo Sandoval – $3,900 – Boston Red Sox
  3. Neil Walker – $3,900 – Pittsburgh Pirates
  4. Matt Carpenter – $4,300 – St. Louis Cardinals

Shortstop

  1. Hanley Ramirez – $4,800 – Boston Red Sox
  2. Jose Reyes – $5,000 – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Jed Lowrie – $4,000 – Houston Astros

Outfield

  1. Mike Trout – $6,300 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. George Springer – $4,900 – Houston Astros
  3. Jose Bautista – $6,000 – Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Adam Jones – $4,900 – Baltimore Orioles
  5. Jason Heyward – $4,500 – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. Gregory Polanco – $3,600 – Pittsburgh Pirates

Starting Pitcher

  1. Brandon Morrow – $6,700 – San Diego Padres
  2. Chase Anderson – $5,900 – Arizona Diamondbacks
  3. Lance Lynn – $8,700 – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Brett Anderson – $6,700 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Tyler Matzek – $6,200 – Colorado Rockies

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