Welcome back to a fresh week to cash in with FanDuel daily fantasy baseball. The first week of the season was mixed with the usual fluky results, dominating performances, and small-sample wackiness (hey, Clayton Kershaw's ERA is 5.84!). Now as we head into week 2, we have an almost full day of action, with two separate slates to form a roster. Everybody except the Indians and White Sox takes the field today, and so it is time to present the best plays for a busy MLB schedule.
The Early Only format locks at 1:10 ET with the Phillies @ Mets contest, and covers a total of 6 games, ending with the Rockies @ Giants game at 4:35 ET. This slate includes all six home teams in their respective home openers, which should present a boost for these squads. Take that into account when building your roster.
The Late format covers the other 8 games, out of which only the Toronto Blue Jays are having their home opener. The lock time is at 7:05 ET with the Orioles @ Yankees game. Of course, there is also an All-Day format that covers all 14 contests, so you can mix and match all kinds of lineups for the day. As the season moves along, Early Only formats will become scarcer, so take advantage of their quirks now that you still can.
For the Early Only format, all six games are forecasted to present perfect baseball weather, with all open-air stadiums benefitting from temperatures of at least 60 degrees. There shouldn't be any worries to complete all games normally, with the only delays coming from Opening Day-like ceremonies.
The Late format presents a different story, as we have two games with serious rain threats. Angels @ Rangers, which starts at 8:05 ET, is projected to have a rain probability of at least 50% from 7 to 10pm at least, so it seems to close to call. Before picking any Angel or Ranger, make sure that the skies have cleared at least a bit. Similarly, the Marlins @ Braves game appears to be a lock for postponement, or at least heavy delays - there is an expected chance of participation between 75-100% over the range of the game.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
Things are projected to be balanced for today, with only three teams listed as heavy favorites. The Mets at -175 over the Phillies, Cardinals at -170 over the Brewers, and Padres at -165 over the Diamondbacks are way ahead of the other 11 favored teams. The pitching matchups in these games seem very favorable, so we'll take into account when making our picks.
(EO= Early Only, L= Late, AD = All Day)
EO – Jacob deGrom ($8,900)
On name power alone, the early slate has more than a handful of quality options. There is Jordan Zimmermann, Adam Wainwright, Anibal Sanchez, and Gerrit Cole – however, they either face explosive offenses, pitch in tough ballparks, or both. On the other hand, the reigning Rookie of the Year, who took a tough loss on his season debut, gets to feast on the Phillies at home. Philadelphia went a respectable 3-3 versus Boston and Washington, but still could only score 16 runs over the six games. Last year, deGrom started twice against them, going 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA, and he also owns a 1.70 career home ERA, and a 1.59 ERA in day games.
Others to Consider: Wainwright ($9,600), Danny Duffy ($7,500)
L – Andrew Cashner ($8,000)
The late slate has a motley crew of all kinds of arms, which makes any potential selection a risk. If in doubt, go for the guy pitching at home inside the biggest ballpark in the league. Cashner is facing Arizona, who were decent enough to go 3-3 in the first week, and even hitting Clayton Kershaw really hard. However, that was all in their cozy home park, where extra-bases are the norm. Cashner owns a career 2.07 ERA in Petco Park, and has gone 3-2 against the Diamondbacks. At this price, he is a solid value pick that can produce big results.
Others to Consider: Scott Kazmir ($8,800), Shelby Miller ($8,200)
AD - deGrom
EO – Travis d'Arnaud ($3,000)
I like the Royals, Cardinals, Rockies, and Nationals as the premier stacking options for the early slate. With that in mind, going cheap for a catcher makes sense. The young d'Arnaud is fifth among FanDuel catchers in terms of points per game (with at least 5 games played), and gets enough at-bats to provide upside.
Others to Consider: Alex Avila ($3,100)
L – Derek Norris ($2,500)
My top picks for stacking in the afternoon are the Angels (weather permitting), Padres, Cubs, and probably the Yankee righties. Speaking of the Padres, they have Derek Norris as the fourth-best catcher in PPG with 3.2, and he is coming off a well-deserved off day. At this price, he is almost a must-have.
Others to Consider: Stephen Vogt ($2,600), Caleb Joseph ($2,300)
AD – Norris
EO – Eric Hosmer ($3,700)
At 6-0, the Royals have been the biggest surprise of the season. In that hot start, the most impressive part is that Kansas is scoring in bunches, with their 40 runs being the third-highest total in the league. Hosmer is set to finally produce the monster season he was projected for since he was a prospect, and it's time to ride the hot hand.
Others to Consider: Matt Adams ($3,300), Kendrys Morales ($3,000)
L – Albert Pujols ($3,800)
If Mother Nature allows the game to be played normally, Pujols looks like a great play here. It's hard to forget his 3 homers in a game in Texas' ballpark during the 2011 World Series, and during the regular season he has a .925 career OPS in Arlington. If the weather is iffy, go for a cheaper option with upside.
Others to Consider: Chris Davis ($3,600), Mark Canha ($3,000)
AD – Pujols, or Canha
EO – Daniel Murphy ($3,000)
The three best second basemen in the early slate are all facing tough pitchers, so we can go for a cheap option in this case. Murphy will never be more than a solid player, but in the home opener and against Aaron Harang, the Mets have a chance to produce a solid game offensively.
Others to Consider: DJ Lemahieu ($3,200)
L – Ben Zobrist ($3,200)
The A's are scoring runs in bunches, and that was in their spacious park. Now they head to Houston, where Zobrist owns a career .924 OPS. Zobrist continues to be severely underpriced, and you should take advantage.
Others to Consider: Howie Kendrick ($3,200), Devon Travis ($2,500)
AD – Zobrist, by far
EO – Matt Carpenter ($3,800)
Carpenter hit his first homer of the season on Sunday, and continues to be a steady presence in the Cardinals lineup. He now gets to lead off against Matt Garza, who looked dreadful in his season debut. Carpenter's potential to hit for average, score runs, and even steal bases bodes well for this matchup.
Others to Consider: David Wright ($3,700), Mike Moustakas ($2,900)
L – Alex Rodriguez ($3,000)
For all who expected Rodriguez to embarrass himself after all his lost time, he has been a revelation during the first week. Now he heads to face a lefty in Camden Yards, which continues to be a haven for righty power hitters. At this price, A-Rod may be a guilty pleasure and a bargain at the same time.
Others to Consider: Todd Frazier ($3,800), Brett Lawrie ($2,700)
AD - Carpenter
EO – Brandon Crawford ($2,600)
Crawford has cooled off after his hot start (a weekend at Petco will do that to you), but now he gets to play his first home game and against a middling pitcher. At his price, Crawford allows you to build a better balanced roster, and he can still provide with valuable points.
Others to Consider: Ian Desmond ($3,900)
L – Jimmy Rollins ($3,700)
Rollins has looked like his old self now playing in the West Coast, as he has stolen a few bases, hit for a high average and even making a couple of spectacular defensive plays. He returns home to face Seattle, and it seems like the perfect time to ride his momentum, even at his high price. Remember that stolen bases play a huge role in FanDuel, and with Rollins hitting leadoff, he is always a threat.
Others to Consider: Jed Lowrie ($2,800)
AD – Rollins
EO – Bryce Harper ($4,000), Matt Holliday ($3,500), Juan Lagares ($2,500)
With $10 million to play and round out the lineup, I always like to close it out with a balanced outfield. In this case, we have power in Harper and Holliday, playing in nice stacking options and in favorable matchups. The upside comes from Lagares, who is known mostly for his defense but can still be a decent bat. He also runs well and hits high in the lineup, so he can present stolen bases as a plus.
Others to Consider: Carlos Gonzalez ($4,600), Starling Marte ($3,800), Jason Heyward ($3,500)
L – Billy Hamilton ($4,200), Matt Kemp ($3,700), Dalton Pompey ($2,900)
Hamilton is facing Jon Lester, who is now infamous for never throwing pickoff attempts. Hamilton has started the season hot in terms of stolen bases, and also hit his first homer of the year on Sunday. Even if he manages to get on base only a couple of times against Lester, Billy could have a huge day. Pompey hits ninth, but he hits in a very well-rounded Toronto lineup that has given him enough chances to score and produce, while also being a threat on the bases. Kemp is our power base in the outfield, and he is also off to a nice start. Just like with the early slate, the balance of power and speed could be a big in the outfield.
Others to Consider: Justin Upton ($3,900), Jorge Soler ($3,900), Dexter Fowler ($3,400)
AD – Holliday, Hamilton, Kemp