Welcome to our daily look at daily fantasy baseball. We’ll use DraftKings salaries to give you some tips and advice on the day’s action. We’ll focus on the seven-game night slate.
Remember to check lineups and weather as gametimes approach. We’ll publish this piece in the mornings, and a lot can happen during the day. If Dusty Baker decides to bench Bryce Harper at the last minute, don’t blame us!
I’ll plan to wager $6 per day on DraftKings - $5 on a cash lineup, $1 on a tournament version – and track my progress all season. If you’re a more serious player who doesn’t want to trust his or her bankroll on a guy who enters six bucks a day, I’ll understand.
Dustin Pedroia was a flop as our lock play, but some of the bargains (Toles, Dyson) were OK.
My cash lineup was very good, finishing 60th in a single-entry field of 2,298 thanks to Giancarlo Stanton’s two homers. The pair of tournament lineups didn’t win, with the Blue Jays’ stack being a complete disaster. Chase Anderson shutting them out for seven innings? Um, sure.
Season status: Plus $8.50
Steve MitchellSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
News & notes
Madison Bumgarner ($12,500) is by far the night’s biggest favorite at minus-190 over the Rockies, and that game has a projected run total of just 6.5 … A couple of games (O’s-Jays, Brewers-Reds) have projected totals of nine runs … The weather looks pretty good, with an outside chance of some late rain in Kansas City.
Let’s go with Marcus Semien. In four games as the A’s leadoff hitter, Semien ($3,600) has three stolen bases. He hits for power, has walked eight times already and owns a .350 career wOBA vs. LHP. He’s in the perfect spot against Jason Vargas.
Cash: Wilmer Flores ($3,300) is likely to bat cleanup against the homer-prone Wei-Yin Chen. Flores kills lefties, against whom he has 19 home runs in 299 career at bats. He fits at 2B/3B.
Tournaments: Flores again? If we want to mix it up, Greg Bird is a HR threat for $3,500 if he’s back in the Yankee lineup. Bird has missed some time with the flu, but was available off the bench on Wednesday.
Noah K. MurrayNoah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
The Orioles are tempting, but Francisco Liriano has historically been a groundballer who doesn’t allow many home runs. I'll pass.
You know the old saying about the unstoppable force versus the immovable object? The Brewers-Reds matchup is the opposite of that. The Brew Crew has whiffed in nearly 30 percent of its at-bats, while the 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo’s fastball averaged 83.1 mph in his first start since 2014, when he got pummeled for a couple of homers and six runs in four innings against the Cardinals.
Let's stack up the Brewers, whose top four should be Villar/Thames/Braun/Shaw. For all their flaws, they've been close to an average offense so far.
Benny SieuBenny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Guys to Avoid
The Rockies’ lefthanded hitters (Blackmon, CarGo) against Bumgarner in San Francisco.
Position Notes & Suggestions
Starting pitcher: How do you build a cash lineup without Bumgarner at $12.5K? You probably don’t … Jon Gray against the Posey-less Giants could rack up some Ks, but at $10,000 he doesn’t come cheaply … If you dare to wade into the O’s-Jays matchup, it should probably be with Francisco Liriano ($8,000) in tournaments. He’s better than last week’s terrible outing, right? … Wei-Yin Chen ($7,700) has held the Met hitters to a .647 OPS in 104 PA. He gives up a LOT of home runs, though … Luis Severino ($6,200) was shaky in his first start, but he whiffed six batters in five innings, and the Rays have struck out at a very high rate (26.3%) so far.
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto’s salary is up to $4,200 tonight … Baltimore’s Welington Castillo ($3,500) has a .363 career wOBA vs. LHP, and faces Liriano. He’ll probably bat sixth … Russell Martin ($3,800) and Sal Perez ($3,600) are probably the only other catchers we can expect in top-six lineup spots.
First base: It’s not rocket science to figure out that Joey Votto ($4,900) is clearly the best option here … Eric Thames ($4,000) should be in the two-hole against Arroyo … We mentioned Bird above. The biggest home-run threat just about every day is Yankee Stadium … Justin Bour ($3,300) gets no respect.
Second base: Villar is a solid chalk choice at $4,700 … Cincy’s Jose Peraza ($4,000) has stolen a base in each of his last three games, averaging 15.7 DK points … Is Tampa’s Brad Miller due for his first homer? It’ll cost you $4,100 to find out. He’s a tournament play … Now batting fifth due to Gary Sanchez’s absence, Starlin Castro ($3,600) is playable here and at SS … As noted above, Flores is a great choice … Jed Lowrie ($2,900) batted third for the A’s on Wednesday, and the price is right. Against a lefty, he could be in a good spot, or he could get dropped in the order in favor of Rajai Davis. Check the lineup before using Lowrie.
Third base: The preference here is for Josh Donaldson over Manny Machado if you’re spending … Mike Moustakas, still cheap at $3,400, and facing Jesse Hahn … Flores fits here, too … If you can wait out the Giants’ lineup, see if they get Aaron Hill ($2,200) into a good lineup slot. He batted second last week against a righty, so it’s possible. Don’t let too much of your strategy revolve around Hill, of course.
Shortstop: We mentioned Semien above … Castro fits here as well … Brandon Crawford ($3,500) batted cleanup for the Giants on Wednesday.
Outfield: Ryan Braun is the most likely to succeed, but also the most expensive at $5,100 … Adam Duvall ($4,400) has walked in each of his last four starts, and has three home runs so far. Maybe he’s improving … Mark Trumbo ($4,000) has struck out nine times in 24 plate appearances vs. Liriano, but still seems too cheap … Check the lineup spot of Rajai Davis ($3,900), who could be in a nice spot against Vargas … For BvP folks, Adam Jones ($3,900) has homered three times in 21 at bats vs. Liriano … Jacoby Ellsbury ($3,900) is in play leading off against Matt Andriese … With the O’s facing Liriano, speedy Craig Gentry ($3,700) should be back in the leadoff spot … Tampa’s Corey Dickerson ($3,700) should lead off vs. Severino … The lower-salaried options aren’t appealing here.
* UPDATE 4:25 p.m. ET: Realmuto isn't in the Marlins' lineup. In cash, I subbed Russell Martin for Realmuto, and used the leftover money to swap Billy Hamilton for Jacoby Ellsbury ... It's disappointing to see Bird batting sixth for the Yankees, but we'll leave the tournament lineup alone. If you want to switch, Brandon Belt would fit in Bird's place for an extra $100.