As Mets fans revel in their 124-win pace to start the season, we head into the third week of the year with a new opportunity to make some money in FanDuel. Monday gives us one of the most unique scheduling quirks of the season, as the Red Sox play their traditional Patriots Day game, starting at 11:05 ET. While there are some formats (mostly head-to-head) that will feature this early start time, the vast majority of leagues will follow a normal approach and start in the afternoon.
Monday has 8 games, with most of them taking place in the East Coast. Only 5 of the teams involved have winning records entering today, so it will be interesting how the day plays out.
Monday April 20th
Locks: 7:00 ET (Yankees @ Tigers)
The only game with a threat to be bothered by rain is Cubs at Pirates, which is forecasted to hover a 50% chance of light precipitation for most of the game. If you want to play it safe, the game could be avoided, though it may be best to check on it a few minutes before it starts.
Elsewhere, all games look safe to proceed normally. Just as a quick note, the game between the Yankees and Tigers should be especially windy, blowing from right to left, which could be a nice boost for the power righty bats in this game.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
The Mariners and Hisashi Iwakuma stand at -170 to beat the Astros, while the hot Royals are at -160 to beat Minnesota. All other games are mostly evenly matched, with only the Indians standing as the only road favorite for the day.
What is worth considering is that 5 of the 8 afternoon games have an over/under mark of 8 runs or above. Plenty of runs could show up today.
Pitcher – AJ Burnett ($7,000) * weather permitting
Monday doesn't have any eye-catching ace to be a logical choice from the get-go. If you trust small samples, maybe Trevor Bauer can continue to strike out 1.5 batters per inning, or maybe Edinson Volquez was a fine candidate to make it in the AL, after all. However, the pitcher I like for today owns a better track record and has started strongly, as Burnett is reliable and has the upside for bushels of K's.
He gets to face the Cubs, who are striking out as a team at a 23% rate, which is the fifth-worst mark in MLB. Burnett has 15 punch-outs in 12 innings, and has averaged 12 points per game despite not earning a win. Getting a start at home may be just what he needs. If the weather makes you uneasy, we can also go for Hisashi Iwakuma, who has had a rough start but has the talent to bounce back. He faces the Astros, who strike out more than anybody else, and the game is in Seattle, where the Japanese righty owns a career 2.88 ERA.
Others to Consider: Iwakuma ($8,300), Matt Shoemaker ($8,500)
Catcher – Derek Norris ($2,800)
Monday should be a nice day for power, and so we should take advantage. My favorite stacking options are Tiger righties, anyone playing at Coors, the Mariners, and Royals. With this in mind, we have the perennially-cheap Derek Norris playing in Colorado. However, stacking up heavily with Padres comes with an asterisk, as they face Jorge de la Rosa, who has actually been able to pitch consistently well at mile high, and owns a career 45-14 record in Colorado, with a respectable 3.98 ERA. Still, he is coming off the DL and could be a bit rusty. With this in mind, Norris is a nice gamble, as he has gone 4-for-6 against lefties so far.
Others to Consider: Salvador Perez ($3,700), Mike Zunino ($2,400)
First Base – Kendrys Morales ($2,700)
At 4.2 PPG, Morales is producing at a top-10 level among first basemen despite his bargain price, and now he gets to face the Twins, who are starting the middling Kyle Gibson. Even as Gibson has had success against the Royals in his young career, he has started the season with a 2+ WHIP, and a 6.10 ERA. As long as Kansas continues to hit this well, take advantage.
As a note, it may be tempting to add Miguel Cabrera in the friendly wind of Comerica, but he has gone 3 for 16 in his career against CC Sabathia.
Others to Consider: Eric Hosmer ($3,500), Yonder Alonso ($3,200)
Second Base – DJ LeMahieu ($3,700)
Only 8 eligible second basemen for today are averaging over 2 PPG, so it could be understandable to punt on the position and enjoy the savings. However, you could go for the moderately-priced LeMahieu, who is yet another hitter who has made it his specialty to take advantage of Coors. He owns a career .779 OPS at home, and while he is not a power threat, he has stolen 23 of his 30 career bases at home.
Others to Consider: Robinson Cano ($3,800), Jedd Gyorko ($2,700)
Third Base – Mike Moustakas ($3,100)
If you trust small samples, Moustakas has gotten five hits in ten career at-bats versus Kyle Gibson, and already produced more than 10 total FanDuel points in his three games this season against the Twins. However, if you have the budget, Nolan Arenado stands out among today's 3B candidates, as he gets to hit at home. Arenado is the best FanDuel third baseman so far, even as he has only enjoyed 3 games in Colorado to start the season.
Others to Consider: Arenado ($4,700), Alex Rodriguez ($3,700)
Shortstop – Troy Tulowitzki ($5,300)
If you choose to skip Arenado, we can have Tulo… or vice versa. I'm siding with the shortstop only because we can afford him and because he tends to be a much safer bet. He has only produced two negative-point games to start the year, and gets to face Odrisamer Despaigne, who sees his ERA drop to a bad 5.31 mark when he pitches away from Petco Park. Despite his prohibitive price, Tulo is the option to lead the way today.
Others to Consider: Jose Iglesias ($2,900) – he is 5 for 11 in his career vs Sabathia
Outfield – Carlos Gonzalez ($4,400), Rajai Davis ($3,300), Melky Cabrera ($2,700)
It would have been nice to fill out an outfield with more Rockies, or with powerful Tigers, but by adding Tulowitzki, it becomes nearly impossible. However, we can still get CarGo as the main source of power, and go with two high-upside players that come at a discount.
Davis has hit Sabathia decently for his career (5 for 18), and gets to hit at the very top of Detroit's lineup, where he has gotten the chance to extend rallies, score many runs, and tends to steal bases. His lack of power is offset by the other factors he brings to the table.
For the final spot, I debated between Melky and teammate Adam Eaton, as they are listed at the same price. In the end, I went with Cabrera as he poses a bigger power threat. Going with two no-power outfielders may not be the best play, and Melky is starting to heat up after a slow start. By the way, he has hit 7 homers and driven 24 runs in 37 career games at US Cellular Field.
Others to Consider: Corey Dickerson ($4,900), Nelson Cruz ($4,700), Wil Myers ($3,700)