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. Today, 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.
Manny Machado didn’t do much as our lineup lock, and the bargain picks weren’t great. The Yankee stack wasn’t bad, but would have been better two-through-five (Headley AND Castro) than one-through-four. Some of the decent recommendations were Robert Gsellman (18.35 DK points) and Kike Hernandez (17). Jason Vargas, Jay Bruce and Amir Garrett were the cheap guys to own, though.
Our cash lineup just missed, while the tournament version snuck in for a tiny profit. Losing day overall.
Season status: Plus $10.50
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News & notes
Noah Syndergaard ($11,800) is the night’s biggest favorite at minus-200 over the Phillies in a game with a projected run total of 6.5 … The highest projected total is O’s-Reds at 9.5 (Miley-Feldman) … The weather looks pretty clear across the schedule.
Did everyone see Aaron Judge’s 9,000-foot homer? … Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez is day-to-day after getting hit in the right hand by a Clayton Kershaw pitch … Trey Mancini batted leadoff for the Orioles on Wednesday, and could return there against lefties since the alternative is Craig Gentry.
Below Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg, there’s a tier of starters I like in James Paxton ($9,600), Carlos Martinez ($9,000), Aaron Nola ($8,500) and Danny Duffy ($8,200). In addition to being the cheapest, Duffy faces a Rangers’ lineup that ranks 27th so far with a .255 wOBA vs. LHP, and 29th with a 29.3 percent strikeout rate against southpaws. Duffy has averaged 21.9 DK points in his first three starts, and should fare well against the Rangers. You can tinker in tournaments, but Duffy is my favorite cash game SP by quite a bit.
Peter AikenPeter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Cash: Jarrod Dyson ($3,100) leading off against someone named Valdez looks like a fit if you need to save a few bucks.
Tournaments: Not to jump on Ryan Zimmerman just because he hit a grand slam on Wednesday, but he’s only $3,300 and faces R.A. Dickey, against whom he’s whiffed just twice in 32 plate appearances. Maybe he just gets the bat on the ball against the knuckler? Zimmerman has been really good so far this season, with four homers and a 1.146 OPS.
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The Nats are obvious, they’re raking, and they’re absolutely affordable unless you use Syndergaard or Strasburg at SP. Heck, you could go Strasburg/Duffy and make it work.
If you want to pivot, the Mariners, Reds and Orioles are in play (I don’t like the D-backs – maybe a gut feeling). The Reds have been hammering lefties so far (.372 wOBA), making a Hamilton/Peraza/Votto/Duvall/Suarez group look good against Wade Miley.
USA TODAY SportsDavid Kohl
The Guy to Avoid
Don’t pay $5K for Ryan Braun against a sometimes-dominant starter like Martinez.
Kevin JairajKevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Position notes & suggestions
Starting pitcher: Syndergaard and Strasburg are close on the high end, but isn’t Thor pitching with a fake fingernail? … I think your cash game starters come from the Paxton/Martinez/Nola/Duffy group – they range from $9,600-$8,200. I’ll go with Paxton/Duffy due to opponents, but won’t argue with the others … If you want to dig deep in tournaments, consider San Diego lefty Clayton Richard ($5,300). He’s gotten knocked around in his last two starts, but induces tons of ground balls and faces a D-backs team that hits well but whiffs more than most.
Catcher: Slim pickings here. Salvador Perez ($3,900) bats high in the order and gets a subpar pitcher (Cashner) in a homer-friendly ballpark … Yadier Molina ($3,900) has a cupcake matchup against Zach Davies … Who else? Welington Castillo at the same price? Eh … Chris Iannetta ($2,700) hits LHP really well, but he’ll probably bat eighth.
First base: Paul Goldschmidt ($5,100) wrecks lefties (.431 career wOBA) … Freddie Freeman ($4,400) has reached base 20 times in 41 PA vs. Strasburg, with four home runs. I’d still stay away, though … Last season, I filled in writing DFS previews on Thursdays. I had a “Play of the Day” streak for about six weeks during which I called a homer every time. On at least two of those occasions, it was Matt Carpenter ($4,800). It’s Thursday, folks! … However, I prefer Wil Myers to Carpenter for $100 less … If you don’t buy into Duffy, Mike Napoli ($4,100) has a career .385 wOBA vs. LHP … It’ll cost you $3,800 to re-board the Eric Thames train vs. Carlos Martinez. I’ll skip this one … Zimmerman is the value play at $3,300.
Second base: Daniel Murphy ($4,500) vs. Dickey? Sure … I might rather use Robinson Cano ($4,400) against Cesar Valdez, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2010. One note about Valdez, though: His lengthy minor-league and Mexican League track records show low HR rates and high ground-ball rates. That doesn’t mean he’s good, but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll allow three bombs … Jose Peraza ($4,000) and his speed are in play against anyone, especially a guy like Miley … San Diego’s Yangervis Solarte ($3,700) is a decent hitter for a middle infielder, bats third or fourth and will face Patrick Corbin … I wouldn’t go deeper than Solarte in search of a cheap 2B.
Third base: Machado ($4,600) let us down yesterday. Can he rebound vs. Scott Feldman, against whom he’s five-for-11 with a homer? … Kyle Seager ($4,100) had two hits and four RBI on Wednesday. Maybe he’s snapping out of his customary slow start. He’ll face Valdez … Want a homer? Ryan Schimpf ($3,500) is the embodiment of all-or-nothing, and he’ll see Corbin … Predicting an R.A. Dickey shellacking always seems logical, but knuckleballers are unpredictable. Ah, who cares? Anthony Rendon ($3,800) comes at a good price against him … Mike Moustakas’ ($3,700) price is finally going up, but he’s still worth a look vs. Cashner … Cincy’s Eugenio Suarez ($3,700) has a .353 career wOBA vs. LHP … Many options at this position, but no good ones cheaper than Moustakas/Suarez.
Shortstop: Aledmys Diaz ($4,500) is expensive, and the most likely to homer … Arizona’s Chris Owings ($3,500) has been hitting second vs. LHP, and looks like the clear top value at this position … Asdrubal Cabrera ($3,600) isn’t bad, but he faces a much better pitcher in Nola … Want a flier? If the Nats give one of their regulars a night off, speedy SS Wilmer Difo ($2,600) could bat first or second. He’s been up there twice over the last seven games, so it’s not an extreme longshot. Gotta wait for the lineup, though.
Outfield: Bryce Harper ($5,000) has no homers with seven whiffs in 17 PA vs. Dickey. Do you feel lucky? … Mark Trumbo ($4,700) hasn’t homered since Opening Day, and faces Feldman … The O’s look pretty good, and Adam Jones ($4,500) has been hitting well … We’re all hoping for a 10-9 slugfest in Cincinnati, right? Adam Duvall ($4,200) is a solid play vs. Miley … A.J. Pollock ($4,100) has to be logically considered vs. Richard. Illogically, as noted above, I’m hesitating on the D-backs aside from Owings … Scorching-hot Mariners rookie Mitch Haniger ($3,600) is averaging 11 DK points per game, and faces Valdez … Padres’ leadoff hitter Manuel Margot ($3,600) is averaging a decent 7.8 DK ppg, and he’s only stolen one base … Jay Bruce ($3,500) faces a good pitcher in Nola, but he has six homers already … Jarrod Dyson ($3,100) is a good money-saver vs. Valdez … I’m not sure there’s anyone cheaper than Dyson who will actually play.
Getty ImagesDenis Poroy
Note: Added a second tournament lineup today - the Nats look great, but I didn't want all my eggs in that basket.