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Daily Fantasy Baseball - FanDuel Picks April 21, 2015


Welcome to another day, another chance to make some money off your vast baseball knowledge. With 2+ weeks of MLB season in the books, we hope that you are quite familiar with how FanDuel works, and if you're not… well, what are you waiting for?

This Tuesday marks the first “normal” weekday schedule of the season, with nothing but afternoon/night games taking place between the league's 30 teams. This is always a challenge, but as we try to do every day, here are our best efforts to try to make some money and enjoy a full day of fantasy baseball.

Tuesday, April 21
Locks: 7:05 ET (Cardinals @ Nationals)

Yesterday's Recap

Monday was kind of a weird day in terms of pitching, as the top options came from names that may have been hard to trust at first. However, we did nicely with our offense in nearly all positions. The projected team had AJ Burnett as the starter, and he was only able to manage 6 points as his strikeouts vanished completely. Still, the offense bounced all the way to a combined 22.5 points that managed to get the team near 30 and in contention for some prizes.

Weather Considerations

Monday saw the Cubs at Pirates game begin with a half-hour rain delay (followed by a bizarre 25-minute stoppage due to a fan injury behind home plate), but the rain halted after that and never came back. Today threatens to have a similar damp mood around Pittsburgh, but not bad enough to warrant big worries. The other 14 stadiums promise to be either clear or have a roof to dispel any dark clouds, so you can proceed confidently.

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Biggest Money Line Favorites

With today being the first day with a full schedule, we also have the first day with no favorites above -150. And even then, the big overdogs may surprise you. The red-hot Mets stand at -150 over the Braves, which is the same line for the Royals over the Twins. Surprisingly, the Dbacks are -145 to beat the Rangers, while the shaky Indians are -140 road favorites to beat the White Sox. All in all, there are only 3 road favorites today.

The over/unders are evenly distributed around the league, with the game at Colorado standing out at a staggering 10, which may prove short considering how the Padres went off yesterday.

The Picks

Pitcher – Gio Gonzalez ($8,900)

27 of the 30 pitchers starting today have already made at least 2 starts to begin the season, so at least we can start drawing conclusions from what we've seen. The top two point-grabbers among them are Collin McHugh and Chris Archer, both of whom face tricky propositions in this tough day (McHugh faces the Mariners on the road, while Archer draws the Red Sox at home). Instead, there are some value options on the board and no clear-cut ace to trump them all.

Having said this, I really like Gio Gonzalez today. In 3 career starts versus the Cardinals, he is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA, which bodes well as he also has amassed a 2.87 ERA in his career at Nationals Park. His mound rival, Lance Lynn, has had a decent career versus the Nationals, but he also owns a career ERA north of 4 away from Busch Stadium. The Nats are slowly coming into their own, and any of their starting pitchers deserve consideration on a daily basis.

Others to Consider: Jon Niese ($8,100), Dan Haren ($7,600)

Catcher – Derek Norris ($3,000)

My biggest stacking options for the day are the Blue Jays, Astros, Rays, and everybody involved in Padres-Rockies (though remember that Nolan Arenado is injured). After his big game yesterday, Norris deserves a repeat nomination in another chance to bat at Coors. Even with better pitchers today in Brandon Morrow and Tyler Matzek, the ball should fly freely in Colorado.

Others to Consider: Russell Martin ($3,300)

First Base – Yonder Alonso ($3,200)

The caveat for Alonso is that in his previous 24 career games at Coors, he had only managed to drive in 3 runs. The rebuttal is that yesterday he matched that total to up his season slugging to .477. Alonso has always been regarded as a potential breakout bat, but now finally has the offense around him to at least produce counting numbers and see better pitches. At this price, a gamble in Colorado sounds more than reasonable.

Others to Consider: Justin Morneau ($4,000), Kendrys Morales ($2,700)

Second Base – Danny Espinosa ($2,300)

Two of our favorite cheap options at second, Devon Travis and Ben Zobrist, are currently injured and bound to miss a few games in the process. There aren't many sure bets outside the elite second basemen, and so going with a very cheap guy who will get the at-bats seems like a fine choice. Espinosa is in the lineup while Anthony Rendon is in the DL, so we can take advantage while building a more expensive roster elsewhere.

Others to Consider: DJ LeMahieu ($3,700), Daniel Murphy ($3,100)

Third Base – Josh Donaldson ($4,400)

In 11.1 career innings in Toronto, Baltimore starter Bud Norris has allowed 3 homers, and 5 extra-base hits overall. He has started this season by allowing 11 earned runs over 8 innings, and 8 of them came in a very brief outing against the Blue Jays. Now heading to Toronto, things could get ugly again for Norris, who gets to face the streaking Donaldson as he starts to get his power stroke. If not for the game at Coors, the Blue Jays would be the best stacking option for the day.

Others to Consider: Evan Longoria ($3,400), Luis Valbuena ($3,200)

Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera ($2,500)

As with 2B, going with a moderate upside player at shortstop can be the better play in order to seek for power at premium positions. Cabrera gets to face a lefty, and has hit mostly atop the Tampa lineup. While he may be a bit underwhelming, at this low price he is a good trade-off.

Others to Consider: Wilmer Flores ($2,700)

Outfield – Steve Souza ($4,000), Carlos Gonzalez ($3,800), Alejandro de Aza ($2,900)

The outfield approach of 2 ingredients of power and 1 of speed has worked out nicely in recent days, so it makes sense to give it another chance. Souza may be a mystery to some people, but he currently stands as the 12th-best outfielder in FanDuel, with a price tag that is still within reach of most teams. Facing erratic lefty Wade Miley today, he should get plenty of chances to produce.

We double down on Carlos Gonzalez, as he has to be the balance in Colorado's outfield. Corey Dickerson left yesterday's game with an apparent injury, but he could also be a solid option if he gets the start. Same goes for Charlie Blackmon. The message remains: as long as the Rockies are playing at home, they are almost an automatic stacking option.

Finally, we have de Aza, who faces a tougher pitcher in Mark Buehrle, but he gets to bat in Toronto. Serving as the leadoff man for a potent Baltimore offense, you could do worse than the speedster, as his potential to steal bases gives him a nice value at this price.

Others to Consider: Jose Bautista ($4,900), Matt Kemp ($4,300), George Springer ($3,500)

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