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 13-game night slate, skipping Pirates-Cubs and Phillies-Nats.
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.
Marcus Semien got a goose egg as our lock play. Ryan Braun and Eric Thames homered for our Brewers’ stack, but didn’t get much help. Bargain bet Wilmer Flores hit another home run off a lefty, against whom his career slugging percentage rose to 9.08 million.
Thursday’s tournament lineup was a traveshamockery, getting a combined 3.5 DK points from SPs Gray and Wei-Yin Chen. But the cash lineup rode Flores, Thames and Luis Severino (11 K, 34.5 DK points) to a top-half result. We’ll take it.
Season status: Plus $12.50
News & notes
Predictably, Clayton Kershaw ($13,500) and the Dodgers are the day’s biggest favorites at minus-220 over the D-backs. That game has a projected run total of six … Five games clock in with projected totals of nine runs … Be careful about using players from White Sox-Twins, as thunderstorms are in the Twin Cities’ forecast.
Josh Donaldson hurt his calf again? Don’t count on him tonight … Rockies SP Jon Gray left Thursday’s game early after aggravating a toe injury, and might miss a start …. Miguel Sano hit his third homer on Thursday, and owns a 1.252 slugging percentage. As Twins beat writer (and FOX Fantasy Expert League participant) Brandon Warne tweeted last night, “He’s a monster. Plain and simple.” … Note that Red Sox SP Eduardo Rodriguez has 13 Ks in 10 1/3 IP over two starts … The Marlins had to use probable Friday starter Adam Conley out of the bullpen on Thursday, so Edinson Volquez will take the hill tonight against the Mets … Speedy Rays OF Mallex Smith left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Lefty masher Nelson Cruz ($4,400, .394 career wOBA vs. LHP) has started the season slowly, with no homers in his first 10 games. But he has five hits in his last three outings, and faces Martin Perez, against whom he has a couple of homers in 10 at bats. He’s soooooo due.
Mike Moustakas ($3,200) is a close second here, considering the price. His price is too low, and he’s facing a terrible pitcher in JC Ramirez, who has allowed 22 home runs with a 5.14 ERA in 131 1/3 career innings.
Cash: The last time the Blue Jays faced a southpaw – Blake Snell on April 6 - Steve Pearce ($3,400) batted leadoff. Pearce has a .363 career wOBA vs. LHP, and had a ridiculous .428 mark last season. He can be used at 1B or 2B.
Tournaments: We’ve got a few choices here. Andrew Toles ($2,700) is once again underpriced for a leadoff man. He doesn’t run, but he hits well enough on a good team (and he works in cash lineups as well). Gorkys Hernandez ($2,600) has been leading off vs. LHP for the Giants. Finally, if the Giants bat Aaron Hill in a top-four slot, he offers very nice value at $2,100.
THE CANADIAN PRESSAP
The Royals and Mariners are solid options, but let’s go with the Reds against Brewer lefty Tommy Milone, who serves up lots of gopher balls. Hamilton/Peraza/Votto/Duvall and Eugenio Suarez (.352 career wOBA vs. LHP) are in play. The Reds are fifth in the majors in runs scored, and sixth in wOBA (.334).
Charles LeClaireCharles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Guys to Avoid
Anyone against Kershaw, of course. Also, Dee Gordon has whiffed seven times in nine at bats versus Thor.
Getty ImagesRob Foldy
Position Notes & Suggestions
Starting pitcher: I’m out on Kershaw in cash games, as his prohibitive salary makes it difficult to build a reliable lineup around him. However, there are some reasonably-priced hitting options out there if you’re game … Saving more than $2K by using Syndergaard ($11,400) against the Marlins seems more reasonable. Miami’s hitters have struck out 32 times in 90 plate appearances (35.6 percent) when facing him … Julio Teheran ($8,500) opens the Braves’ new ballpark against the weak-hitting Padres. He’s averaging 20.4 DK points in two starts … Felix Hernandez ($8,600) might not be the King anymore, but he’s not bad, and has a home matchup with the strikeout-prone Rangers (who are without Adrian Beltre) … Rockies’ starter Tyler Anderson ($7,400) can miss bats, keep the ball on the ground, and faces the Posey-less Giants in San Francisco … The cheap tournament play is Michael Wacha ($6,500), who allowed one run to the Reds in his first start. Sure, it was only one game, but Wacha’s average fastball velocity was way up at 94.8 mph, and he’ll face a whiff-prone Yankee squad that’s without Gary Sanchez. Yankee Stadium is a scary place for any pitcher, making Wacha a high-risk, high-reward option.
Catcher: Russell Martin ($3,600) vs. lefty Wade Miley is the obvious choice … Salvador Perez ($3,400) has four home runs already, and faces terrible Anaheim SP JC Ramirez … Yasmani Grandal ($3,300) is always a threat to go deep … Jonathan Lucroy ($3,500) needs to move up in the order, but we could say that about most catchers.
First base: Doesn’t Freddie Freeman ($4,600) need to christen SunTrust Park with a home run? … Edwin Encarnacion ($4,600) has been slumping, but looks appealing against Daniel Norris … Since I don’t get everyone’s fascination with Aaron Sanchez, I’m tempted to use Chris Davis ($4,000) … Ditto for Mark Trumbo ($3,900) … Pearce fits here, as noted above … Eric Thames ($4,000) homered Thursday, has hit in seven of eight games, and owns a 1.152 OPS. Facing Scott Feldman isn’t bad, either.
Second base: Better to save than spend here today … Jose Peraza ($3,900) has stolen bases in four straight games, and can be used alone or in a Reds’ stack … Jed Lowrie batting third for $2,700 is something for Kershaw owners to consider … Pearce fits here, as noted above.
Third base: If Sano ($4,200) and the Twins play, he’s in a nice spot against rookie Dylan Covey … I’m not a big BvP guy, but Kyle Seager ($4,000) has four home runs with a 1.271 OPS in 32 PA vs. Martin Perez … Mike Moustakas, still too cheap at $3,200 against a bad RHP in JC Ramirez … I don’t mind White Sox leadoff hitter Tyler Saladino ($3,600) at all.
Shortstop: Francisco Lindor ($4,700) is pricey, but a fine building block vs. Norris … With Donaldson’s status shaky, Troy Tulowitzki ($4,000) might bat fourth vs. LHP Wade Miley … Tim Anderson ($3,800) homered on Thursday while batting leadoff. He usually hits second … We’re OK with going back to the well on Semien ($3,200) after Thursday’s disappointment.
Outfield: Cruuuuuuuuuuz … Cincy’s Adam Duvall ($4,300) has three homers with a .986 OPS so far … Thames and Davis fit here, too … The Royals might be facing the worst pitcher on the board, making slumping leadoff hitter Alex Gordon ($3,800) an option … Mariners No. 2 hitter Mitch Haniger ($3,600) has homered three times in 10 games, and faces Perez … Toles and Gorkys Hernandez are noted above as bargain options … If you don’t use Teheran, consider Padres’ leadoff man Manny Margot ($3,100), who has three homers already.
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* I added an extra tournament lineup today because I wanted to try stacking both the Reds and Royals. I also played with a Kershaw/Syndergaard lineup for fun, but gave up quickly.