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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 16, 2015

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

A short slate for Thursday’s late contests provide daily fantasy players with just four games to choose from. Out of the eight pitchers toeing the rubber, the two aces — Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels — demand more than $10,000 of your salary cap, but the other six will cost you less than $8,000 each.

According to our model, Bumgarner and Hamels are projected to be the highest scoring hurlers on the night — which makes sense given their respective salaries — but neither grade out to be good values. Vegas pegs the Giants as the biggest favorites of the night (-175) and their contest with the Diamondbacks has an over/under of just 6 runs, tied with the Nationals/Phillies for the lowest total of the slate.

Given that, if you want to go safe for cash games, a combination of Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister looks to be in play. Or you could run out Cole Hamels and Archie Bradley to stay in the $17K range for pitching to save enough for some more expensive bats. Bumgarner and Hamels are obviously an option, but that will make it tough to fill out your lineup with the top lumber.

Doug Fister ($7,700), Dillon Gee ($7,100) and Chris Archer ($7,500) grade out the best among options under $8K, but I’d probably roster Fister in cash and tournaments and only consider the other two for tournaments.

Stack Options

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. 

The Rays and Blue Jays square off again in Toronto this evening with a slate-high total of 8 runs, according to Vegas. With a nice amount of runs likely to cross the plate and our projection model’s love for the Jays’ offense tonight — the following four batters rank among the top ten — Toronto seems like a logical, but probably popular stack to run out there. Jose Bautista ($4,900), Edwin Encarnacion ($5,100), Josh Donaldson ($4,400) and Jose Reyes ($4,600), despite facing Chris Archer — one of the better arms in tonight’s games — are the four primary targets for cash games. Those in the BvP crowd may tell you to lay off Jose Bautista because he’s 2-for-21  with a .095/.200/.095 slash line in his career against Archer, so there are a couple of alternatives. Dalton Pompey’s price dropped to $3,800 after a fine night on the diamond, so he makes for a nice value play along with Justin Smoak at $3,400 if you want exposure to the Jays without having to pay up for the meat of their order.

In the same game, but for tournaments, I could get on board with some lefty bats on the Rays against right-hander Aaron Sanchez to get a slice of that run total. David DeJesus ($3,800), Kevin Keirmaier ($4,600) and switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera ($4,000) are some singletons that might make sense if you’re trying piece together your lineup, but a stack of the assumed top four in their lineup (DeJesus, Souza, Cabrera, Longoria and even Desmond Jennings if you stretch it to five) is what it would look like.

The Nationals’ foursome of Ian Desmond ($4,000), Jayson Werth ($4,300), Ryan Zimmerman ($4,100) and Bryce Harper ($4,000) grade out well against left-hander Cole Hamels. So if you’re going to trot out Doug Fister or avoid using Cole Hamels as a starter in a lineup, this stack seems like a fine option. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton ($4,800) and Christian Yelich ($4,100) also grade out well, so you could pair them up with Dee Gordon ($4,700) and Martin Prado ($3,300) against Dillon Gee of the Mets. And again, for the BvP crowd, Marcell Ozuna is 5-for-10 in his career against Dillon Gee, so he is also in play at $3,800, especially if Yelich is out again.

Player Rankings

Catcher

1. Buster Posey – $4,300 – San Francisco Giants
2. Wilson Ramos – $3,400 – Washington Nationals
3. Travis d’Arnaud – $3,700 – New York Mets
4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – $3,400 – Miami Marlins

First Base

1. Paul Goldschmidt – $4.600 – Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Edwin Encarnacion – $5,100 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Lucas Duda – $4,300 – New York Mets
4. Justin Smoak – $3,400 – Toronto Blue Jays

Second Base

1. Martin Prado – $3,300 – Miami Marlins
2. Devon Travis – $3,200 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Aaron Hill – $3,000 – Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Daniel Murphy – $3,900 – New York Mets

Third Base

1. Ryan Zimmerman – $4,100 – Washington Nationals
2. Josh Donaldson – $4,400 – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Evan Longoria – $4,500 – Tampa Bay Rays
4. Jake Lamb – $3,500 – Arizona Diamondbacks

Short Stop

1. Jose Reyes – $4,600 – Toronto Blue Jays
2. Ian Desmond – $4,000 – Washington Nationals
3. Matt Duffy – $3,000 – San Francisco Giants
4. Nick Ahmed – $2,300 – Arizona Diamondbacks (punt play)

Outfield

1. Giancarlo Stanton – $4,800 – Miami Marlins
2. Bryce Harper – $4,000 – Washington Nationals
3. Jose Bautista – $4,900 – Toronto Blue Jays
4. Christian Yelich – $4,100 0 Miami Marlins
5. Mark Trumbo – $3,600 – Arizona Diamondbacks
6. Steven Souza/Desmond Jennings – $4,500/$4,300 – Tampa Bay Rays
7. Ben Revere – $3,800 – Philadelphia Phillies

Starting Pitchers

1. Madison Bumgarner – $10,500 – San Francisco Giants
2. Doug Fister – $7,700 – Washington Nationals
3.  Archie Bradley – $6,400 – Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Cole Hamels – $10,000 – Philadelphia Phillies
5. Aaron Sanchez – $5,600 – Toronto Blue Jays

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