Below we’ve got a discussion of the starting pitching situation for Monday’s 14-game slate on DraftKings as well as the best teams from which to pick hitters. We’ve also got projections derived from Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, and we have rankings of the top plays at each position.

Today’s post is free for all, but going forward our daily fantasy posts will be available by subscription. Pricing will be $20 per month or $100 for the entire baseball season. If you’re not comfortable with the subscription commitment at first, each article will also be available for $1 per day as we’ve done previously with our daily fantasy hockey and daily fantasy basketball content. We will have a daily baseball strategy post every day of the season. Every. Single. Day. We hope you like what you see.

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.

Early in the season it’s hard to rely on any matchup data. Using offensive numbers from last season to determine the quality of a pitcher’s matchup has its problems, and we don’t have team-wide projections by which we can determine the quality of this year’s matchups. Honestly, we’ll have to wait about a month for matchup data to start getting reliable.

For that reason, the projections embedded above are not adjusted for matchup. That will change sooner rather than later, but for now, the emphasis should be on the pitcher’s projection with less concern for his matchup.

In terms of value, Corey Kluber ($9,800) looks to be a solid play today. He’s only the sixth most expensive pitcher of the day despite the fact that the projections have him being the fifth best pitcher in DK’s scoring system over the course of the full season. As you can see from the orange color coding of his opponent, the Astros are expected to score more runs than the average team this year. However, they were 20 percent worse against right-handed pitching as opposed to left-handed pitching last year, so with that kind of gap right-handers like Kluber should continue to be their weakness. Houston also struck out more than all but one other team last year, so Kluber has that working in his favor as well.

While we’re discussing high priced pitchers, Clayton Kershaw ($12,400) is worth the price if you can afford it. Yes, the Padres offense is going to be better than it was last year, but they’re still projected to score runs at a below average rate. Vegas unsurprisingly has this game with the lowest over/under of the day, and the Dodgers are unsurprisingly a big favorite. I won’t be paying up for Kershaw, but I don’t strongly object to doing so.

Among the high priced pitchers, the only one I would definitely avoid is David Price ($10,400). The Twins have a sneaky good offense, but mainly this is just about Price’s price (lol) being a little too high. Kluber and even Madison Bumgarner ($9,800) or Johnny Cueto ($9,600) are better options for a bit less money.

Moving into the mid-price pitchers, Julio Teheran ($8,800) is in a decent spot. Miami is projected to be a below average offense again this year, and they were worse against right-handed pitchers like Teheran last year. The game is in Miami, so the ball park is favorable, though Atlanta is arguably a more favorable park. Francisco Liriano ($8,300) is also a decent option in this price range.

If you’re looking to save some money on pitcher, I like the price on Dallas Keuchel ($6,900). The Indians were well above average against right-handed pitchers last year but a bit below average against lefties like Keuchel. I’d like Keuchel a little more if this game was in Cleveland and not Houston, but there aren’t many other values that catch my eye. Pricing on pitchers looks pretty solid to me on Opening Day. If you can’t get on board with Keuchel, the other cheapish option I like is Yordano Ventura ($7,600). If you’re using Kluber and want to go cheap with your second starter, Ventura might be a better choice than Keuchel since Keuchel and Kluber are facing each other.

Stack Options

Again, without any data from this season to rely on, picking hitters and stacks is tougher than it’s going to be in a month or so. But picking hitters is a little easier than picking pitchers because it’s much easier to know whether a team is facing a quality pitcher than it is to know whether a pitcher is facing a quality lineup at this point in the season.

Going back to the pitcher projections above, we can see that Kyle Kendrick is projected to be the least successful pitcher of the day by quite a wide margin. We can also see that his opponent, Milwaukee, is projected to score runs at an above average rate this year. Vegas unsurprisingly confirms this as a good matchup to pick on as it is one of just two games with a projected total of more than 7.5 runs.

The only other game with a Vegas total higher than 7.5 is Blue Jays at Yankees, so the Yanks are a team to look at as well. I’m also going to take a look at the Tigers and the Nats who are the biggest favorites of the day.

If you’ll look at the hitter projection chart embedded toward the bottom of this section, you’ll find a projection for pretty much every player currently on an active roster. These projections are adjusted to reflect whether the hitter is facing a right-handed or left-handed starting pitcher today. So don’t go looking at splits and adjusting these projections. That adjustment has already been made for you. In the column labeled ‘zDIFF’ you’ll see how far above or below average a player’s projection is compared to how far above or below average their price is. The higher that number, the better value the player represents today. You can also download the chart so you can sort it by team, position, projection or value.

Going back to the Brewers, you can see from the chart that the pricing model has factored in the matchup with Kendrick as most of the team has a below average value grade. The players likely to be in the lineup that come closest to being decent values are Ryan Braun ($4,800, OF), Adam Lind ($4,100, 1B) and Jean Segura ($3,800, SS). Braun and Lind are projected to hit 3/5 in the lineup, so they might be a mini-stack you can use. Gerardo Parra ($3,200, OF) would be a decent value play if he ends up in the lineup. But if you want to spend your money on the day’s best matchup, you’re stacking the 1/2/3 of Carlos Gomez ($5,000, OF), Jonathan Lucroy ($4,300, C) and Braun with Lind maybe thrown in from the five hole.

Moving on to the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury ($4,600, OF) and Mark Teixeira ($4,100, 1B) have the best projections and best values on the team. Unfortunately, those two are projected to hit 1/4 in the lineup, and I’m not wild about the 2/3 hitters. Call me crazy, but Alex Rodriguez ($3,900, 1B) grades out pretty well as does Chase Headley ($4,100, 3B). Brian McCann ($4,000, C) also has one of the better projections at his position today, so Tex, McCann, Headley and ARod could provide some stack options. Tex and ARod are both only eligible at first base, so you won’t be able to use all four together.

If you’ve got money to spend on a stack, the Tigers and Nats are probably where you’re going to do it in addition to the aforementioned Brewers.

Despite high price tags, the value is actually decent for Miguel Cabrera ($5,000, 1B), Ian Kinsler ($4,200, 2B) and Yoenis Cespedes ($4,400, OF). They’re projected to hit 2/3/6. To bridge the gap between 3/6, you’d have to use J.D. Martinez ($4,300, OF) in the five hole because cleanup hitter Victor Martinez ($4,400, 1B) is only eligible at first base, which is also the only position where Cabrera is eligible. As a result, Kinsler/Cabrera as a mini-stack may work out best.

And then finally, the middle of the Nats order grades out pretty well. I like the quartet of Bryce Harper ($4,200, OF), Ryan Zimmerman ($4,300, 1B), Ian Desmond ($4,300, SS) and Wilson Ramos ($3,700, C).

Player Rankings


  1. Brian McCann – $4,000 – New York Yankees
  2. Wilson Ramos – $3,700 – Washington Nationals
  3. Jonathan Lucroy – $4,300 – Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Christian Bethancourt – $2,900 – Atlanta Braves

First Base

  1. Miguel Cabrera – $5,000 – Detroit Tigers
  2. Ryan Zimmerman – $4,300 – Washington Nationals
  3. Adam Lind – $4,100 – Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Mark Teixeira – $4,100 – New York Yankees

Second Base

  1. Ian Kinsler – $4,200 – Detroit Tigers
  2. Robinson Cano – $4,500 – Seattle Mariners
  3. Jace Peterson – $3,100 – Atlanta Braves

Third Base

  1. Chase Headley – $4,100 – New York Yankees
  2. Nick Castellanos – $3,600 – Detroit Tigers
  3. Kyle Seager – $4,100 – Seattle Mariners


  1. Ian Desmond – $4,300 – Washington Nationals
  2. Jimmy Rollins – $3,800 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  3. Jean Segura – $3,800 – Milwaukee Brewers


  1. Jacoby Ellsbury – $4,600 – New York Yankees
  2. Ryan Braun – $4,800 – Milwaukee Brewers
  3. Yoenis Cespedes – $4,400 – Detroit Tigers
  4. Bryce Harper – $4,200 – Washington Nationals
  5. Christian Yelich – $4,200 – Miami Marlins
  6. Joc Pederson – $3,800 – Los Angeles Dodgers

Starting Pitcher

  1. Corey Kluber – $9,600 – Cleveland Indians
  2. Yordano Ventura – $7,600 – Kansas City Royals
  3. Dallas Keuchel – $6,900 – Houston Astros
  4. Clayton Kershaw – $12,400 – Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Julio Teheran – $8,800 – Atlanta Braves
  6. Francisco Liriano – $8,300 – Pittsburgh Pirates

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