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.
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.
The Tigers-White Sox makeup game is not included in tonight’s DraftKings slate, so the first game is at 7:10 p.m. ET … Kenta Maeda ($9,600) is the day’s biggest pitching favorite at minus-230 over the horrible Padres. That game is projected for seven runs, as is Cubs-Cardinals (Arrieta-Wainwright) … The highest total on the board is 9.5 for Indians-Rangers (Carrasco-Perez).
Speedy rookie OF Manuel Margot was the Padres’ leadoff hitter on Monday, but might cede that role to Travis Jankowski when RHPs are on the mound … Evan Gattis was out of the Astros’ lineup, as Brian McCann caught while Carlos Beltran DH’d. Those old guys will need enough days off for Gattis to remain useful, but their playing time will be a daily mystery for DFS owners.
Byron Buxton batted third for the Twins, with Brian Dozier leading off and Robbie Grossman second … The Dodgers had Andrew Toles in the leadoff spot with Logan Forsythe fifth, but look for Toles to sit tonight against lefty Clayton Richard. Forsythe led off for most of spring training, and is likely to be back in that spot with Toles out.
Despite ranking third in salary at $9,600 behind Jake Arrieta and Johnny Cueto, Maeda is clearly the best SP on the board. He’s a pretty good pitcher who whiffed more than a batter per inning last season, and the Padres are soooooooo bad. Cash, tournaments … everywhere.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Cash: With the left-handed Perez on the mound for the Rangers, Brandon Guyer ($3,100) figures to lead off for the Indians. Guyer had a .437 wOBA vs. LHP last season, and is .378 career. Over the last three seasons, only five batters (Cruz, Trout, Altuve, Beltre, Napoli) have been better against southpaws.
(UPDATE: Guyer is batting sixth. Boooo.)
Tournaments: If the speedy Jankowski leads off for the Padres, he’ll be in play at $2,500, even against Maeda. Ditto for Matt Joyce ($2,300) if he bats second again for the A's. These are both based on price/lineup spot more than player.
The Dodgers and Indians are tempting. The problem is, the subpar pitchers they’re facing tend to keep the ball on the ground, and ideally you want your stacks to hit homers. You can use them – Indians first, Dodgers second - but the downside is apparent.
Let’s go with the Giants against the extremely hittable Patrick Corbin; they’re a minus-137 favorite in a game with a projected run total of nine. Denard Span doesn’t hit lefties well, but some or all of Posey/Belt/Pence/Nunez/Crawford make sense, and will be relatively inexpensive (all $4K or less). Hopefully, Nunez will lead off. Check the lineup if you can wait so you know where everyone is batting.
USA TODAY SportsNeville E. Guard
The Guys to Avoid
Nobody jumps off the page, but Astros OF George Springer has struck out 10 times in 21 plate appearances versus Hisashi Iwakuma.
Getty ImagesScott Halleran
Position Notes & Suggestions
Starting pitcher: Carlos Carrasco will face some whiff-happy Rangers, but he might not be ready to pitch deep into tonight’s start after being limited to 15 innings this spring … Some of the young Yankees (Bird, Judge) strike out a lot, putting Jake Odorizzi in play … Tonight’s biggest strikeout potential pitcher is Lance McCullers, but he averaged fewer than six innings per start last season. McCullers offers high reward in tournaments … The cheaper options aren’t good, but if you’re determined to pick one it should be Colorado’s Tyler Anderson ($5,900), whose strikeout/ground-ball combo looked good as a rookie. He faces the Brewers, who can score runs but whiff plenty.
Catcher: Buster Posey is in a great spot, and priced below Schwarber/Sanchez at $3,900 … Oakland’s Stephen Vogt ($2,900) hit an Opening Day homer while batting fifth … In extreme BvP news, Robinson Chirinos ($2,800) has two homers in nine plate appearances against Carrasco.
First base: Since I’m anti-Arrieta this season, Matt Carpenter looks pretty good at $3,700 … Carlos Santana ($4,300) is back in the leadoff spot against the left-handed Perez, and is still a strong play … C.J. Cron ($3,100) can save you money against LHP Sean Manaea … Despite what I said above about Greg Bird’s ($2,800) strikeouts, he bats third for the Yankees and is a homer threat. Tournaments only, though.
Second base: $4,400 is a very reasonable price for Jose Altuve … Adam Wainwright was very hittable last season. Ben Zobrist ($3,700) faces him tonight … Forsythe ($3,300) is a nice play if he leads off.
Third base: BvP isn't a law, but Evan Longoria ($4,000) is batting .403 with seven home runs and a 1.319 OPS vs. CC Sabathia … Jose Ramirez ($3,900) has some pop and good speed, and will occupy a good lineup spot versus Perez … Oakland No. 3 hitter Ryon Healy ($3,000) is once again cheap against a so-so starter.
Shortstop: Jonathan Villar ($4,000) had a .393 wOBA vs. LHP last season, and is always a stolen-base threat … Eduardo Nunez ($3,700) is a good play whether or not you use a Giants’ stack, IF he bats higher than sixth as he did on Sunday.
Outfield: Mike Trout, $4,800, anytime … Ryan Braun ($4,700) is a fine play against Anderson if you’ve got the cash … Hunter Pence ($4,000) has wrecked Corbin, batting .480 with four home runs and a 1.696 OPS in 27 PA … Let’s hope the Brewers move Keon Broxton ($3,600) up in the order against a southpaw … We already mentioned Guyer and Jankowski as money-saving options … A’s OF Matt Joyce is a rock-bottom $2,300, and if he bats second again he’s obviously someone to consider.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY SportsKen Blaze
UPDATE (4:41 p.m. ET): The cash lineup was created when we thought Guyer would bat leadoff instead of sixth. If you want a direct swap for Guyer, leadoff men Steven Souza and Brett Gardner are options that fit within the salary cap, as are Mitch Haniger, Matt Holliday and Willson Contreras. I'm going to leave Guyer in there on a hunch, but Souza would be my preferred alternative.