What´s better than heading into the weekend with some extra cash? Probably earning that cash by showing the world just how much you know about baseball. Welcome back to our daily Fanduel picks, where the first week of the season has served as another reminder of the randomness of baseball. As the samples get bigger and bigger, things are bound to become more interesting.
For today, again we have three different formats that define a full slate of 15 games, so it should be easier to build lineups and not running the risk of picking the same players as everyone else.
The Early Only format covers only 5 games, starting with the 3:05 ET contest between the Blue Jays and Orioles, and finishing with the 4:10 ET matchup between the Cubs and Rockies. The Late format has the rest of the afternoon games, locking at 7:05 ET with the rivalry game between the Red Sox and Yankees, all the way through Giants-Padres. Of course, there is an all-day format that covers all 15 games, including the overly tempting $250K Friday Grand Slam ($25 entry).
In a day in which practically all teams will be sending out their fourth or fifth starters, offense should not be as scarce as it has been to start the season. As always, we provide picks and tips, but never forget to conduct your own research and trust your instincts. And if you still haven´t tried FanDuel, remember that it´s just a click away!
Out of the 18 teams that played on Thursday, 11 of them scored 3 runs or fewer. However, we whiffed badly on the potential of Kendall Graveman, as he was annihilated by the Rangers on his way to negative points. At his price tag, it was not a complete disaster, but it still left us in a bad shape.
At least, we were right on counting the Tigers, Indians, and Red Sox as excellent stacking options. The Late only shift was overly successful, as rookie Daniel Norris won in his debut at Yankee Stadium, while Boston scored plenty, as did Toronto. As it will become clearer throughout the year, short slates can hold plenty of value if you hit the jackpot on the correct teams.
The forecasts are calling for another cold day on the East Coast, which should give the pitchers an overall edge. However, the only games with rainy conditions appear to be Toronto at Baltimore (which starts early, and thus has a smaller chance of being postponed), Washington at Philadelphia, and Mets at Atlanta.
The latter two should be closely monitored (especially in Late formats), as there is a greater risk of a rainout. It cannot be stressed enough just how much losing a player can hurt. If in doubt, always go for players that are in the starting lineup and playing in lower-risk weather, as every at-bat has the potential of making the difference.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
As mentioned before, pitting a bunch of low-tier starters against each other can be hard to predict, which leads us to a day of forecasted parity. The only favorites above -130 are two road teams that face lowly opponents; the Nationals at -150 over the Phillies, and the Dodgers are -140 over the Diamondbacks.
The thing that pops out about today is the big number of high over/unders. While the first few days of the season were filled with posted totals in the 6.5-7.5 range, today is full of totals in the 8.5 or above. Runs are expected to come by today, so now let´s try to find the best value plays for this Friday.
(Early Only = EO, Late = L, All Day = AD)
EO – Hector Noesi ($6,400)
The 10 available pitchers on the early slate are either bad hurlers, or facing potent offenses. So if the strategy is to maximize value by pursuing a win, Noesi seems like a good a bet as any other. His rival, the Twins, could only score 1 run over 3 games in Detroit, and are starting lefty Tommy Milone. Noesi has a positive career record against Minnesota, and his low price allows us to build a really nice offense.
Others to Consider: Zach McAllister ($5,700)
L – Tim Lincecum ($6,400)
Gio Gonzalez at Philly is by far the best option, but his price and the uncertain status of the weather don´t bode well for his chances. Enter Lincecum, who even in his most recent diminished form has made it a habit of dominating the Padres. In 29 career starts versus the Friars, Timmy is 18-6 with a 2.27 ERA. At Petco Park, he is 9-3, 2.56 ERA in 16 starts. Even with San Diego´s much improved lineup, this level of ownage cannot be denied.
Others to Consider: Gonzalez ($9,400), Drew Pomeranz ($6,800)
AD – Lincecum or Gonzalez
EO – Evan Gattis ($3,300)
There is a case to be made for all teams in the early slate, except the Twins, as a good stacking option. However, there are two games that stand out because they will be played in favorable sunny conditions: Astros at Rangers and Cubs at Rockies. In this case, you could build a lineup using players from these 4 teams exclusively. The Astros looked dreadful in their opening series, but now they face a lefty in Derek Holland, which should help their overflow of right-handed power, including Gattis.
Others to Consider: Miguel Montero ($3,100)
L – Christian Bethancourt ($2,600)
I like the Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, and Nationals (weather permitting) as today´s best stacking options for the afternoon. A tier below them, we have the Yankees and Angels as other safe options. In this case, getting a cheap catcher with upside makes sense to load up elsewhere. Bethancourt sat his last game, but he should get the start against lefty Jon Niese, and again hit fifth.
Others to Consider: Wilson Ramos ($3,100)
AD – Montero
EO – Jose Abreu ($4,500)
Facing a lefty in his home opener, Abreu looks like a premier option despite his slow start to the year. The combination of power and the good supporting cast around him justify the price tag.
Others to Consider: Anthony Rizzo ($4,700), Prince Fielder ($3,800)
L – Adrian Gonzalez ($5,300)
Five homers in three games, and now he heads to Arizona, where he´ll face the mediocre Chase Anderson. Adrian´s price is very high, but riding the hot hand may be the play here until he inevitably cools off. Even if the dingers disappear, he has always been a solid batting average guy who now has a complete offense around him.
Others to Consider: Matt Adams ($3,400), Mark Canha ($2,800)
AD – Gonzalez
EO – Devon Travis ($2,500)
The rookie has acquitted himself nicely in his early MLB experience, looking polished and patient. He now travels to another hitting-friendly park in Baltimore, and even as he is hitting in the bottom of the lineup, there is upside at this price.
Others to Consider: DJ LeMahieu ($3,100)
L – Howie Kendrick ($3,300)
The newly-minted Dodger has fit right in with his teammates, and can now be part of the best stacking option of the day. Just like with Adrian Gonzalez, getting the right pitcher at the right ballpark goes a long way.
Others to Consider: Ben Zobrist ($3,100), Joe Panik ($2,500)
EO – Noland Arenado ($4,300)
The Rockies, and benevolent Coors Field, are usually part of high-scoring affairs with tons of extra-base hits. Now they start their home season against lefty Travis Wood, giving Colorado´s best bats the platoon advantage. Ride Arenado´s hot start here.
Others to Consider: Adrian Beltre ($3,800), Luis Valbuena ($2,600)
L – Alex Rodriguez ($2,900)
You may hate him, but A-Rod has started the season as well as anyone who missed more than a year could expect. He hit his first homer of the season yesterday, and now he gets another lefty who is coming to his first season in the AL.
Others to Consider: David Wright ($3,300), Aramis Ramirez ($3,200)
AD – Arenado, by far
EO – Troy Tulowitzki ($5,100)
Tulo, at home. It doesn´t get much better than this, except that he is facing a lefty, and in sunny conditions with the motivation of a home opener. The savings at pitcher make this possible, even with a cheap outfield to follow.
Others to Consider: Starlin Castro ($4,100), Alexei Ramirez ($3,000)
L – Brandon Crawford ($2,800)
Any day now, Crawford is going to get really expensive. In the meantime, ride the hot hand as he continues to climb spots in the San Francisco lineup.
Others to Consider: Ian Desmond ($3,900)
AD – Realistically, Crawford; but if you can afford Tulo, it´s a no-brainer
EO – Adam Eaton ($2,900), Shin-Soo Choo ($2,900), Alejandro de Aza ($3,100)
After going for broke with power on the rest of the lineup, the early slate also gives us the chance round out the lineup with Speedy outfielders with serious upside. These three guys have the potential of stealing bases, hit for solid average, and the occasional burst of power. They all have favorable matchups, just keep a look on the weather conditions for Eaton and de Aza.
Others to Consider: Steve Pearce ($4,100), Jorge Soler ($3,700), Chris Carter ($3,100)
L – Mike Trout ($5,100), Ryan Braun ($4,000), Eric Young ($2,600)
The savings in other positions have allowed us to go big on the outfield, with Trout getting a home opener against lefty Jason Vargas, Braun returning to the lineup against a southpaw, and the speedy Young leading off for a Braves team that has nothing to lose. The power is there for Trout and Braun, while Young represents serious upside on his steals alone.
Others to Consider: Bryce Harper ($4,300), Yasiel Puig ($4,000), Sam Fuld ($2,800)
AD – Eaton, Soler, and Trout/Braun