The greatest thing about baseball is that all can change in a single day. Yesterday, the Nationals were seriously looking at the chance of falling to 7-14 (a .333 winning percentage). Another disappointing pitching performance along with shoddy defense had them trailing 10-2 on the road entering the fifth inning. Slowly, they crept back but still started the ninth losing 12-10 and with the bottom of the order coming up. In what may be the most shocking homer of the young season, Dan Uggla (!!!) crushed a 3-run dinger that gave the Nats a lead they would sustain.
As much as a single 13-12 win in April may not be more than a blip in the schedule, the Nationals may look back at this day as the turning point in what is still supposed to be a very successful season. Similarly, daily fantasy baseball allows us to get a fresh start every day and forget some of the difficult days that are bound to come up from time to time.
Today we have a full slate of games that cover all of the afternoon and evening, but FanDuel is giving us two main formats that include only 12 contests to choose from. As usual, the shorter slate provides a ton of value to go top-heavy on a couple of teams, but the afternoon games also have their share of opportunities. As it happens in this kind of day, we give you our top picks for each format.
Wednesday, April 29
Early Only (4 games): Locks 12:35ET (Brewers @ Reds) – ends with 2:05ET (White Sox @ Orioles)
Late (8 games): Locks 7:10 ET (Nationals @ Braves)
Tuesday was a very successful day for our selected lineup, as the pitching was solid and the offense had a ton of bright spots. Michael Wacha had an ugly win versus the Phillies, but still had a decent 9.6 points to serve as a base. The Cardinals-based offense delivered on its promise, as Yadi Molina, Kolten Wong, and Matt Holliday combined for 13.25 points. The rest of the offense, highlighted by Joey Votto and Nelson Cruz, went for 21 points to round up an impressive 43.85 total for the day, which was enough to make money in all formats.
The early slate promises nothing but sunny skies, mild winds, and perfect baseball conditions. Don't hesitate to include any player you like and enjoy the games around lunchtime. However, remember that the game in Baltimore will be played in front of empty stands, which is at least something the players are not used to.
The afternoon games should be no different, outside of a very small chance of rain in Atlanta. Pick any player you want.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
Today we get some big mismatches again, as the Dodgers (-180), Cardinals (-175), and Yankees (-150) start as heavy home favorites. Also, the Mariners and King Felix are posted to be the biggest road favorite of the season so far, opening at -165 in Texas. That line may be a bit misleading, as Felix has never been comfortable in Arlington.
Over/unders are varied but leaning towards small numbers, with none above 9 runs. After yesterday's offensive explosion, we could see a low-scoring environment again.
(EO = Early Only, L = Late)
EO – Michael Pineda ($8,600): it is hard to choose between the 8 starting pitchers on the early games, as none of them are exactly a sure-fire option. Among them, Pineda stands out. He has won his last 3 starts, and owns a career positive record versus the Rays, and also on day games. He is a bit expensive, but has the biggest upside on the slate.
Others to Consider: Shane Greene ($8,300)
L – Carlos Martinez ($8,500): Martinez's limited experience as a starter may scare many off, but he has been more than solid to start the year (2-0, 1.35 ERA) and gets to face the low-punch Phillies. In the never-ending stream of arms in the Cardinals system, Martinez may be the new jewel.
Others to Consider: Zack Greinke ($10,000), Bartolo Colon ($8,400)
EO – Caleb Joseph ($2,700): even with the two days off, the White Sox-Orioles game shall remain the best stacking option for the early going. A step below, the Brewers-Reds game should also be high-scoring (the Reds are starting a rookie), and the Tigers could certainly score against the struggling Phil Hughes. For our early catcher, Caleb Joseph remains cheap, is hitting well, and is part of a nice stacking option.
Others to Consider: Martin Maldonado ($2,300)
L – Yasmani Grandal ($2,400): for the afternoon, I like the A's, Dodgers, and Pirates as the main stacking targets. Also, the Colorado-Arizona game has two starting pitchers with deceivingly low ERA's, and could also have its share of runs. With this in mind, Grandal should be back in the lineup after sitting on Tuesday, and he hits against Ryan Vogelsing, against whom he has 4 hits in 12 career at-bats.
Others to Consider: Stephen Vogt ($3,100)
EO – Joey Votto ($3,900): in 344 career day games, Joey Votto owns a .999 OPS, with 162 extra-base hits. After homering for us yesterday, he deserves an encore.
Others to Consider: Adam Lind ($3,300), Adam LaRoche ($2,700)
L – Matt Adams ($2,700): Adams produced one of his best games of the year yesterday, and gets to face smoke-and-mirrors Aaron Harang. Even as Adams is 0-for-5 in his career against Harang, that streak should end today.
Others to Consider: Justin Morneau ($3,400)
EO – Jimmy Paredes ($3,300): we have been waiting a couple of days to start Paredes, and finally today we get the chance. He has been on a tear lately, and even as he faces a tough pitcher in Jeff Samardzija, he is still a nice value pick.
Others to Consider: Ian Kinsler ($3,900)
L – Daniel Murphy ($3,100): Murphy is 6-for-14 in his career against Mat Latos, and has a .705 career OBP in Marlins Park. The Mets took a rare loss yesterday, but could be primed to return to form against the struggling Latos.
Others to Consider: Howie Kendrick ($3,300)
EO – Todd Frazier ($3,800): Frazier is probably the most consistent bat among third basemen in the early games, and he has a decent track record against Matt Garza. His power and speed combination bodes well on a daily basis.
Others to Consider: Alex Rodriguez ($3,600), Nick Castellanos ($2,400)
L – Eric Campbell ($2,700): serving as David Wright's replacement, Campbell has been more than serviceable as a starter for the Mets. He may not have much upside, but he is a decent presence in the lineup, and could be part of a decent stacking option against Mat Latos.
Others to Consider: Nolan Arenado ($3,700), Yasmany Tomas ($2,200)
EO – Hector Gomez ($2,200): options at shortstop are usually less than exciting, and even more so in a limited schedule. Gomez is starting now that the Brewers are nursing many injuries, and even as this is a clear punting pick, he should still get enough at-bats to at least get a chance to produce points.
Others to Consider: Jose Iglesias ($2,700)
L – Jimmy Rollins ($2,700): Rollins is 2-for-3 in his career against Ryan Vogelsong, and it is always nice to get a lead-off hitter in FanDuel. Rollins gets the benefit of a good all-around offense, and can also steal bases.
Others to Consider: Ian Desmond ($3,200)
EO – Adam Jones ($4,000), JD Martinez ($3,400), Jay Bruce ($3,100): the goal is clear here: power, power, and more power. In a short slate, getting even a single homer can do the trick to tip the scale. However, you can still mix and match with speedy outfielders who may grab the occasional steal. Bruce is 9-for-25 in his career against Matt Garza.
Others to Consider: Billy Hamilton ($3,700), Yoenis Cespedes ($3,200), Ryan Braun ($3,000)
L – Mike Trout ($5,400), Nelson Cruz ($4,900), Juan Lagares ($2,600): with all the money saved elsewhere, we can get really top-heavy in the outfield. Cruz and Trout are the top-2 outfielders in FanDuel, and Cruz gets to face another lefty in Arlington, while Trout is looking to rebound from his first negative-point performance in a week. Lagares is always a nice fallback option, and is 3-for-8 in his career versus Latos.
Others to Consider: Corey Dickerson ($4,600), Joc Pederson ($3,300), Starling Marte ($3,900)