It’s a bit of an unusual Monday, but it’s unusual in the best of ways. Typically Monday is an abbreviated slate, but we’re nearly at full capacity today, with just the Cubs and Indians taking the day off. DraftKings has contests available for all day and evening only, but I’m going to breakdown the whole kit and caboodle here for you today. If you want in on the all day slate, you’ll need to get your lineups in early, first pitch is at 12:10 pm EST in New York. We also have 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.

I don’t know how you stay away from Jacob deGrom in cash games today. The other top tier starters all face better than average offenses, while deGrom takes on the Phillies in the Mets home opener. They’ve yet again changed the outfield dimensions in Queens, but I’m not worried about it here. The Phillies were equally terrible against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers last season, where they carried a sub .300 wOBA in both scenarios. deGrom is a good bet to work deep into this game and get more than a strikeout per inning.

Adam Wainwright (vs. Milwaukee), Jon Lester (vs. Cincinnati), Gerrit Cole (vs. Detroit), and Jordan Zimmermann (@ Boston) all face offenses that I’d rather avoid. If you’re in a tournament and want to pivot from the likely highly-owned Wainwright and deGrom, then I’d go with Jon Lester. The Reds struggle against lefties, but last year’s numbers are skewed without a healthy Joey Votto in the lineup. If the wind is blowing in at Wrigley, it can play as one of the best pitchers parks in the league.

The next group of starters gives us with some decent value and upside. Matt Shoemaker provides some nice salary relief without feeling like you’re punting the position. He’s a great SP2 for cash games if you’re using one of the top guys mentioned above. It’s not an ideal environment in which to target pitchers, but Texas in April isn’t quite like Texas in July and August. For tournaments, pairing him with Anibal Sanchez (vs. Pittsburgh) or Brandon McCarthy (vs. Seattle) could free salary for your bats. If you enjoy a good sweat, then may I suggest Shelby Miller? In his season debut, the new Braves starter avoided the free passes that doomed him in 2014. He has the strikeout upside that we want in this spot, too, so he’s worth a look. I’d prefer Shoemaker though since the price difference is negligible.

I wouldn’t go much past this group. Andrew Cashner looked the part early in his first start against the Dodgers, and then got rocked. Anytime we can use a Padres pitcher at home we have to consider him, but Cashner is priced out of consideration here for me. Mat Latos spurned anyone that rostered him on Tuesday night against these same Braves, so if you’re looking to go against the grain than Latos is your flavor of the day. James Paxton is another player that I had my eye on today for SP2 consideration, but I assumed he’d be under $7,000 and he’s not. As good as the Dodgers are offensively, they’re fairly average against left-handed pitching.

Stack Options

The Angels, and specifically their right-handed bats, are the best bet for runs today. This is not news to the algorithm over at DraftKings because they’re priced like it. Something happened over the weekend to that algorithm and it’s definitely something to watch. It’s adjusting drastically from day to day depending on the quality of pitcher and situation. For instance, Mike Trout was the 13th highest priced outfielder at $5,000 yesterday, and has shot up to $6,600 today in his matchup against lefty Ross Detwiler. One could argue that there’s such predictive variance in baseball that it makes sense to pay up for the best matchups, but you still have to build an entire roster of players and that’s difficult to do with a $6,600 hitter. If you’re paying up though, go all the way and add Albert Pujols ($5,400) and David Freese ($4,200) to pair with Trout.

The Blue Jays make their 2015 debut in Toronto against the Rays and Jake Odorizzi. Rodgers Centre is a home run haven, and the flame-throwing Odorizzi has a bit of reverse split action going on early in his career. He struggled against right-handed hitters last year, and his fly ball tendencies are going to be trouble for him here today. All of the Jays are in play here.

If you want a bit of a contrarian stack, I like the Mets today. Aaron Harang benefited from a very friendly strike zone early in his last start against Boston, and I doubt that’s the case again here. The Mets have a few lefties that are interesting, starting with lead off man Curtis Granderson ($3,800), Daniel Murphy ($4,100) and Lucas Duda ($4,300).

San Francisco is a terrible hitters park and rarely a place that we want to look to when rostering hitters. With that said, there’s a lot of value in the Rockies hitters today because their salaries reflect the move out of Coors to start the week. They also face my lowest graded starter today, Chris Heston. If you’re building multiple lineups, I’d sprinkle in some Rockies.

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. Today we suggest you primarily stick to players on on the Angels, Blue Jays, Mets and Rockies.

Player Rankings

Catcher

  1. Russell Martin ($4,400)-Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Miguel Montero ($3,200)-Chicago Cubs
  3. Chris Iannetta ($4,100)-Los Angeles Angels
  4. Jonathan Lucroy ($3,900)-Milwaukee Brewers

First Base

  1. Edwin Encarnacion ($5,300)-Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Albert Pujols ($5,400)-Los Angeles Angels
  3. Lucas Duda ($4,200)-New York Mets
  4. Kendrys Morales ($4,000)-Kansas City Royals
  5. Anthony Rizzo ($4,800)-Chicago Cubs

Second Base

  1. Brian Dozier ($4,400)-Minnesota Twins
  2. Daniel Murphy ($4,100)-New York Mets
  3. Robinson Cano ($4,100)-Seattle Mariners
  4. Jace Peterson ($3,100)-Atlanta Braves

Third Base

  1. Miguel Cabrera ($4,900)-Detroit Tigers
  2. Josh Donaldson ($4,700)-Toronto Blue Jays
  3. David Freese ($4,100) Los Angeles Angels
  4. Nolan Arenado ($4,100) Colorado Rockies
  5. David Wright ($4,000)-New York Mets

 Shortstop

  1. Jose Reyes ($4,700)-Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Troy Tulowitzki ($4,800) Colorado Rockies
  3. Alcides Escobar ($4,100) Kansas City Royals
  4. Xander Bogaerts ($3,600) Boston Red Sox

 Outfield

  1. Mike Trout ($5,600)-Los Angeles Angels
  2. Jose Bautista ($5,200)-Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Charlie Blackmon ($4,000)-Colorado Rockies
  4. Curtis Granderson ($3,800)-New York Mets
  5. Alex Gordon ($4,700)-Kansas City Royals
  6. Yasiel Puig ($4,700)-Los Angeles Dodgers
  7. Brett Gardner ($4,700)-New York Yankees

 Starting Pitcher

  1. Jacob deGrom ($9,000)-New York Mets
  2. Matt Shoemaker ($7,200)-Los Angeles Angels
  3. Jon Lester ($9,300)-Chicago Cubs
  4. Anibal Sanchez ($8,200)-Detroit Tigers
  5. Brandon McCarthy ($8,100)-Los Angeles Dodgers
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