Welcome back to our daily picks for FanDuel daily fantasy baseball. Thursday is kind of a tricky proposition, as you will be able to find leagues and head-to-head games in three different formats. There are 9 total games, covering two main windows throughout the day.
Early Only – covering the 6 games that start between 11:35ET and 2:35 ET (Pit@Cin to Tex @Oak).
Late – covering the 3 afternoon games (SF @ SD, Tor @ NYY, Bos @ Phi)
All Day – covers all 9 games, locks at 11:35ET
Given this tweak, today's picks will include quick selections for each format, as they all have different considerations and must be approached in a unique way.
The pitching bounced back nicely with Jordan Zimmermann making quick work of the weak Mets offense. His 13 points may have been a bit underwhelming, but they were still a nice foundation. The problem came with the offense, in a day in which only 5 of the 13 eligible FanDuel games went over their posted over/under total.
Health and lineup changes limited our selected front-line players, but some backups like Brandon Crawford and Carlos Gonzalez delivered big results. We hope that you had enough time to check the lineups before lock time and adjust accordingly. Given Zimmermann's solid game, just a bit of offense was needed to win in many formats.
There are only two games with serious rain threats: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, and Minnesota at Detroit. They are both part of the early slate, so they have time to make up for any delays.
However, Wednesday's game in Cincy was already delayed a couple of hours and the forecast is calling for stronger rain today, so be at least a bit wary, as this game marks the lock time for Early Only and All Day formats.
The Late format should have no problem getting all its games up and running.
Biggest Money Line Favorites
To close out some of the most lopsided series on opening week, we have the three biggest favorites. The Tigers at -160 over the Twins make sense, as Detroit has completely had its way with Minnesota to open the season. However, Oakland at -150 over Texas and Boston at -145 over Philadelphia have seen both teams on each series dominate the other one.
(Early Only = EO, Late = L, All Day = AD)
EO – Kendall Graveman ($5,000)
Who is this guy? Well, he is the biggest prospect the A's got in the Josh Donaldson deal. He is fresh off a strong Spring Training, and scouts love him. He opposes Nick Martinez and the Rangers, who don't have the best offense around. Graveman's cheap price opens up a wide array of possibilities to seek offense.
Others to Consider: Stephen Strasburg ($10,500), Shane Greene ($7,000)
L – Ian Kennedy ($8,300)
Despite the Giants starting the season hitting really well, a trip to spacious Petco Park may not help. Kennedy owns a career 9-4 mark with a 2.52 ERA versus the Giants, and now has a strong offense behind him.
Others to Consider: none, unless you want to take a gamble on rookie Daniel Norris.
AD: Strasburg or Graveman, depending on your strategy. Considering that runs are at a premium, Graveman may be a fantastic value.
EO – Francisco Cervelli ($2,500)
There are great stacking options in the early day, with the Indians, A's, Tigers, and White Sox looking good to score against lousy pitchers. Makes sense to again punt on the thin catcher position and instead go for the bigger premium bats.
Others to Consider: Yan Gomes ($3,300)
L – Russell Martin ($3,200)
Against lefty CC Sabathia, Martin will get his chances to deliver atop the Blue Jay lineup. He is hitting second, which is always great for a catcher. His price is nice, too.
Others to Consider: Brain McCann ($3,200)
AD – Martin
EO – Miguel Cabrera ($4,700)
Starting Kyle Gibson may not be what the Twins need to earn their first win of the year. Enter Miguel Cabrera, who has started somewhat cold and could use this favorable matchup to get going. He is expensive, but the savings at pitcher allow us to go big.
Others to Consider: Jose Abreu ($4,600), Adam LaRoche ($3,200)
L – Edwin Encarnacion ($4,700)
Another Blue Jay getting the platoon advantage, Encarnacion started the season with a big homerun in game 1. He is the only enticing option for the late games, but you could punt the position and go cheap.
Others to Consider: Yonder Alonso ($2,600), Darin Ruf ($2,400)
AD – Cabrera or LaRoche
EO – Ben Zobrist ($3,200)
The versatile Zobrist has fit right in with Oakland, and now gets a favorable matchup against Texas. Stacking A's is always a challenge because of all their time shares and options, but Zobrist is a fixture that comes at a cheap price.
L – Jedd Gyorko ($2,800)
The Giants are starting Tim Hudson, whose current ability is a huge mystery. Gyorko now hits lower in the order and is coming off a bad season, but his power gives him upside. At his price, he is worth a roll of the dice in this short slate.
Others to Consider: Dustin Pedroia ($3,700), Devon Travis ($2,500)
AD – Zobrist, by far
EO – Lonnie Chisenhall ($2,900)
He is cheap, hits in a good lineup, and is about to face a rookie on a hitter's park. Chisenhall has started the season slowly, but here is his chance to shine. Stacking Indians today looks like a great idea.
Others to Consider: Todd Frazier ($3,700 – weather permitting)
L – Danny Valencia ($2,400)
To complete the Blue Jays stack, we have Valencia, who still owns a roster spot because of his mythical ability to hit lefties. Even if he loses an at-bat late in the game when the relievers come along, his value is great in such a short slate.
Others to Consider: Josh Donaldson ($3,900), Pablo Sandoval ($3,000)
AD – Chisenhall
EO – Jose Iglesias ($2,700)
Continuing the Tigers trend, Iglesias is cheap and toolsy, which may come in handy in today's inevitable Detroit rallies. This move will also allow you to go for a really expensive and trustworthy outfield.
Others to Consider: Alexei Ramirez ($3,100)
L – Brandon Crawford ($2,800)
Ride the hot hand. Crawford has been a revelation in this opening week, and even in a tougher park and against a quality pitcher, his price is too enticing for the upside he possesses.
Others to Consider: Xander Bogaerts ($2,800)
AD – Crawford
EO – Andrew McCutchen ($5,000), Bryce Harper ($4,300), Yoenis Cespedes ($4,000)
When your starting pitcher has the same price as a position player, you have the chance of loading up like this. Going with three studs is a no-brainer in this case, as they all have power capabilities and have started the season hitting really well. Harper faces Matt Harvey, but we are yet to see how Harvey performs in a real game after a lengthy absence. McCutchen and Cespedes are facing weaker opponents, and should be part of solid efforts.
Just watch out for Pittsburgh's weather status before the game locks up.
Others to Consider: JD Martinez ($3,900), Billy Hamilton ($3,700)
L – Hanley Ramirez ($4,300), Wil Myers ($3,300), Carlos Beltran ($3,000)
The savings in other positions give us the chance to go for bigger names in the outfield, even with the limited options we have in the afternoon slate. Boston again has a favorable matchup, and Hanley should get chances to produce, while Myers makes his home debut for a San Diego lineup that hit well against better starters in Los Angeles. Beltran is a gamble, but the short porch at Yankee Stadium is always a possibility for high-octane games.
Others to Consider: Jacoby Ellsbury ($4,000), Mookie Betts ($3,500), Brett Gardner ($3,400)
AD – McCutchen, Hanley, Cespedes