So, how are you doing this week in FanDuel? Yesterday's picks were especially good, with a special nod to the early slate. Before we check back on how we did on Wednesday, let's talk a bit about Thursday. In the most extreme scheduling stance of the young season, we only have six games to be played today, with two near noon, and the other 4 in the afternoon.
While this means that we'll get a chance to sleep early for a change, it also means that our fantasy baseball options are limited. Certainly, you can try to find a perfect blend and play in the Early Only format for two contests, but most teams will be really similar and no more than a toss-up for the cash. Instead, we recommend either waiting for the afternoon games, or play the full slate of six games.
Our picks for today will focus on the whole day, as there should be more value in having as many options as possible.
Thursday April 16
Locks: 1:10 ET – Royals @ Twins
Our picks for the early Wednesday slate were not comprehensive, but they did recommend Dan Haren (14 points), and the righty trio of Nationals mashers, Desmond, Zimmerman, and Ramos, who combined for 18.75 points. With that base alone, you were left in great shape to win any kind of league. The rest of the stacking options we mentioned, like the Angels, Indians, and Red Sox were solid, as well.
The Late shift was a bit murkier, but the start was good with cheap Jon Niese delivering 13.3 points. The offense was stopped mostly, but taking Toronto as the best stacking option was the right call. Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista delivered monster games.
The short slate should feature nothing but domes and clear skies. Proceed without any worries today, as all games are bound to be completed and run smoothly.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner are far and away the biggest favorites for today, as they stand at -175 above the Diamondbacks. A step below we have the Cardinals and Nationals at -145 to beat Milwaukee and Philadelphia, respectively.
All over/under totals stand at 8.5 runs or below, so the projections call for a low-scoring day with plenty of pitching.
Pitcher – Doug Fister ($9,000)
Today we have Bumgarner trying to help the Giants break a 5-game skid, and he is certainly a fine option. For his career he has a 7-4 record with a 2.61 ERA versus Arizona, and has the motivation of proving he is San Francisco's stopper. On the other hand, Doug Fister is $1,500 cheaper, and gets to face the Phillies. As Jon Niese showed yesterday, even middling pitchers can carve that offense. Fister is certainly a notch above that, and has been brilliant at home during his time in Washington (8-3, 2.01 ERA in 13 starts). The only caveat is that the Nationals have struggled to score runs and face Cole Hamels, but I'd still side with Fister just for the favorable conditions he has overall.
Others to Consider: Bumgarner, Tom Milone ($6,800)
Catcher – Russell Martin ($2,900)
Today's premier stacking options should come from the Milwaukee-St. Louis game, the Marlins, and probably the Twins and Rays. Of course, the Blue Jays can put together many runs in a heartbeat at home, but they face Chris Archer. Anyway, remember that Thursdays are usually days in which a manager can give rest to his usual starting catcher, so going for certainty is a must here. In this case, the reverse applies, as Martin was rested yesterday and should get back on track as the starter. Despite his slow start, Martin is bound to get plenty of at-bats to snap out of his funk. At this price, he is worth a shot.
Others to Consider: Buster Posey ($4,300), Jarrod Saltalamacchia ($2,500)
First Base – Adam Lind ($3,700)
It is a very small sample, of course, but Lind has started the season by slugging .708 against right-handed pitchers. He has cooled off a bit during the second week of the season, but a game against John Lackey should help him get back in rhythm. Lind was brought to Milwaukee to mash righties, now he just needs the rest of the offense to step up, as well.
Others to Consider: Ryan Zimmerman ($3,500), Mike Morse ($3,400)
Second Base – Brian Dozier ($3,200)
In another case of an extreme platoon split, Dozier's career OPS is nearly 200 points higher against lefties than against righties. Also, he is one of the few Twins players that can claim he has figured out how to hit in spacious Target Field, which is also a plus for today. The sunny conditions in Minnesota, and the stolen-base upside of Dozier also make him a nice play for today, and almost a must on Early Only formats.
Others to Consider: Kolten Wong ($3,200)
Third Base – Trevor Plouffe ($2,500)
Much like Dozier, Plouffe is also kind of an extreme platoon guy, as his career OPS is nearly 130 points higher when he faces southpaws. He also has 11 homers against the Royals, which is by far his highest total against any opponent. If you have any reservations about targeting Minnesota righties for this game, also remember that KC's Jason Vargas owns a 4.99 ERA in Target Field, allowing 6 homers over 39.2 innings.
Shortstop – Johnny Peralta ($3,100)
The Cardinals may be boring in their year to year quest for competitiveness, and the start of the season has been more of the same. They stand at 4-3 with just a tick below 4 runs per game, but now they get to face the enigmatic Mike Fiers and the lousy Milwaukee bullpen, which should be a nice boost for the offense as a whole. On a day like today, you could simply punt on a shortstop, but the budget allows us to at least go with a familiar face.
Others to Consider: Danny Santana ($3,400), Tim Beckham ($2,200)
Outfield – Giancarlo Stanton ($5,000), Marcell Ozuna ($3,200), Juan Lagares ($2,400)
There are no big secrets here, as we are loading on top-heavy Miami outfielders and only filling in with a modest upside play. The reasoning goes that Stanton and Ozuna face Dillon Gee, who may be the absolute definition of a #4 pitcher. With Citi Field's fences again moved in, the potential for power continues to grow at the stadium.
Lagares is only a safe play considering he plays every day and doesn't embarrass himself with the bat. He has some upside via stolen bases, but even a couple of points would be welcome at his tiny price. With such a big budget for outfielder, though, you can always opt to go for a more balanced approach.
Others to Consider: Jayson Werth ($3,400), Kevin Kiermaier ($3,000), Ryan Braun ($3,800)