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Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy: April 7

Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation for Tuesday’s eight-game slate on DraftKings as well as the best teams to use for stacks. 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, some information about the quality of his opponent, 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.

With so many aces going on Opening Day, the quality of starters taking the mound today is nowhere near what it was yesterday. After 10 starters were going for $9,000 or more yesterday, only Jake Arrieta ($9,000, SP) crosses that threshold today.

The second most expensive starter is Zack Greinke ($8,800, SP) who has a very nice matchup with the Padres. As mentioned yesterday, the San Diego offense will be better this year, but they were a long way from average last year with offensive production that was 16 percent below league average against right-handers like Grienke. I have to imagine Greinke will be a very popular play on this short slate without many other stud pitchers going, so feel free to stay away from him in GPP, but I imagine it’ll be hard to fade him in cash games.

The pitcher opposite Greinke today is Tyson Ross ($7,900, SP). According to the projections, Ross is projected to score more fantasy points on average this year than any other pitcher going today. For now we’re not adjusting our projections for strength of opponent until we get more data this season, but if we were making that adjustment, Ross would take a pretty big hit. The Dodgers were 12 percent better than league average against right-handed pitching, and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to be above average in that respect. But, in a vacuum, Ross is arguably the best starter going today, and he’s only the sixth most expensive starter. If you’re looking for a GPP play, this is probably it.

Aside from Greinke, the other safe plays today are Lance Lynn ($8,300, SP) against Chicago and Mat Latos ($8,000, SP) against Atlanta. Of the two, I prefer Lynn. And if you’re looking to go cheap at pitcher, Matt Garza ($6,800, SP) against the Rockies is where I’d go. It’s possible everyone will be terrified of what the Rox did yesterday, so Garza may not see much ownership. But he has the sixth best projection of the day and a sub-7K price.

Stack Options

The pitching calls I made in yesterday’s post were fine enough save for my suggestion that you stay away from David Price, who was one out away from a complete game shutout. But damn did I bomb on hitters. Or at least my stack recommendations. Some of the hitters listed in yesterday’s positional rankings were plenty worth rostering, but my stack calls certainly did not work out. For that I apologize, but let’s give it another go.

And let’s go back to the well with the Brewers. After inexplicably getting blanked by Kyle Kendrick over seven innings yesterday, they’ll get another good matchup today against Jordan Lyles. If you’re looking for value, you won’t find it with Brewers, but if you want to spend money on a stack, this is a good spot to do it. With Ryan Braun likely out due to a muscle strain on his right side, Aramis Ramirez ($4,100, 3B) and Adam Lind ($4,400, 1B) probably move up to the 3/4 spots in the lineup. Those two along with Carlos Gomez ($5,400, OF) and Jonathan Lucroy ($4,400, C) are your guys for a big Brewers stack.

You can also go big with an Angels stack today against the Mariners and James Paxton. Mike Trout ($5,000, OF) is probably going to be owned everywhere today given that there’s not much money you can spend on pitching. Fading him in GPPs isn’t a terrible idea, but another way of differentiating is just going heavy on Angels in a GPP stack.

I’m not exactly sure what the Angels lineup is going to look like against lefties this year, but I’m almost positive Matt Joyce won’t be hitting cleanup as he did yesterday against a right-hander. My guess is Collin Cowgill replaces Joyce and, David Freese ($4,100, 3B), Erick Aybar ($3,500, SS) and C.J. Cron ($3,400, 1B) all move up a spot. That would mean Trout/Pujols/Freese/Aybar/Cron would hit right in a row.

Unfortunately, Pujols and Cron are both only eligible at 1B, so you could only go with the first four. The price on Freese is awful, so I’d only use him in this stack. But I may pay for him and use this stack because the Angels were 20 percent better than league average last year against left-handed pitchers.

The only other stack I might go with in GPPs is the Cubs against Lance Lynn. I know I recommended him above, but he has struggled with lefties in his career. He was more successful against them last year, but he was partly aided by some luck. For that reason, Dexter Fowler ($3,800, OF) and Anthony Rizzo ($4,600, 1B) are interesting toward the top of Chicago’s lineup. If Joe Maddon goes with his pitcher in the eight hole and a second baseman in the nine hole again, you could add either Tommy La Stella ($3,100, 2B) or Arismendy Alcantara ($3,600, 2B/OF) to make it a trio. But the wind is blowing in at Wrigley today, so I wouldn’t invest too heavily in that.

Here are out hitter projections for the day, which can be downloaded here.

Player Rankings

Catcher

  1. Jonathan Lucroy – $4,400 – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Miguel Montero – $3,300 – Chicago Cubs

First Base

  1. Albert Pujols – $4,200 – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Anthony Rizzo – $4,600 – Chicago Cubs
  3. Adam Lind – $4,400 – Milwaukee Brewers

Second Base

  1. Ben Zobrist – $3,900 – Oakland Athletics
  2. Arismendy Alcantara/Tommy La Stella – $3,600/$3,100 – Chicago Cubs*
  3. Kolten Wong – $3,800 – St. Louis Cardinals

*Whoever starts at second for the Cubbies

Third Base

  1. Manny Machado – $4,000 – Baltimore Orioles
  2. Matt Carpenter – $4,100 – St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Evan Longoria – $4,300 – Tampa Bay Rays

Shortstop

  1. Jimmy Rollins – $3,600 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – $3,600 – Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Erick Aybar – $3,500 – Los Angeles Angels

Outfield

  1. Mike Trout – $5,000 – Los Angeles Angels**
  2. Carlos Gonzalez – $4,800 – Colorado Rockies
  3. Jason Heyward – $4,300 – St. Louis Cardinals
  4. Dexter Fowler – $3,800 – Chicago Cubs
  5. Nelson Cruz – $4,100 – Seattle Mariners
  6. Billy Burns – $2,500 – Oakland Athletics

**I’m guessing Trout’s ownership percentage is through the roof tonight with not many expensive pitching options. Feel free to fade him in GPP to go contrarion.

Starting Pitcher

  1. Zack Greinke – $8,800 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. Lance Lynn – $8,300 – St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Matt Garza – $6,800 – Milwauke Brewers
  4. Tyson Ross – $7,900 – San Diego Padres

Bonus NHL DFS Rankings

I didn’t have time to do a full NHL write up last night, but I did go through my research process, so here are my player rankings for tonight’s nine-game NHL slate.

Mini-Stacks

  1. Filip Forsberg/James Neal – Nashville Predators
  2. Sean Monahan/Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  3. Sidney Crosby/David Perron – Pittsburgh Penguins
  4. Anders Lee/Kyle Okposo – New York Islanders
  5. Mike Fisher/Craig Smith – Nashville Predators
  6. Henrik Zetterberg/Gustav Nyquist – Detroit Red Wings
  7. Marian Gaborik/Anze Kopiatr – Los Angeles Kings

Defense

  1. Dennis Wideman – $6,300 – Calgary Flames
  2. Kris Russell – $5,200 – Calgary Flames
  3. Niklas Kronwall – $4,000 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Nick Leddy – $4,100 – New York Islanders
  5. Roman Josi – $6,500 – Nashville Predators
  6. Ryan Ellis – $3,900 – Nashville Predators
  7. Paul Martin – $3,200 – Pittsburgh Penguins

Goalies

  1. Jonas Hiller – $7,800 – Calgary Flames
  2. Andrew Hammond – $8,500 – Ottawa Senators
  3. Jimmy Howard – $7,100 – Detroit Red Wings
  4. Jaroslav Halak – $8,800 -New York Islanders
  5. Jonathan Quick – $8,300 – Los Angeles Kings

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