MLB DFS Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings – 4/3/17

Welcome to another edition of ResearchFantasy’s MLB Breakdown. These picks are what I consider to be the best play of the day, relative to their price. One of the most important things we must consider in daily fantasy is how many points a player gets per dollar. It helps us identify value plays to pair with studs that we know will produce in order to maximize our potential points in lineups. I also try to identify plays that can be used in either cash games or tournaments. Typically, when I build my cash games, I am looking for players that have the best floor combined with good upside. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know!

Prices listed are FantasyDraft/FanDuel/DraftKings

PITCHERS

Clayton Kershaw (24900/12600/12800) – This almost needs no write up. I mean. Kershaw vs. was is likely going to be the worst offense in baseball again in a hitters park? Honestly, there just isn’t any reason to waste time writing why Kershaw is a good play. In cash games, play him. In tournaments, play him a lot. I don’t mind diversifying in tournaments a bit, but not in cash games. He should have a great start to things.

Justin Verlander (19600/10200/10200) – Verlander would be a guy I would pivot off of Kershaw for if he was just a bit cheaper. With their prices being relatively close, there just isn’t much of a reason to get cute. I think he’s got some pretty interesting upside, though, against a White Sox team that is young, and really doesn’t have guys I don’t think he can work around. I think he should be able to put up a nice number, and I’ll be using him a lot on two pitcher sites, and some in relief of Kershaw in my tournament lineups.

Jon Gray (15200/8200/7800) – Honestly, and I’m not afraid to admit it, but Gray is easily my favorite pitcher of the day. I never want to spend up for pitching if I have to anyway, so Gray provides us with a great option to pivot to in tournaments so we can fit in a few extra bats with the $4-5k (!!!) we save off of Kershaw. I think he’ll be my #2 pitcher in cash games on DraftKings, and I will have him an awful lot in tournaments. I understand Miller Park is a hitter’s park, but Gray showed good discipline in Coors in 2016 [most of the time] and I swear I can remember him shutting this very same Brewers team down in Miller once last year. The Brew Crew strikes out a lot and this sets up for being a high upside situation for Gray tonight.

CATCHER

Yasmani Grandal (6800/2800/3400) – One of my favorite targets today will be the Dodger lefties. Let me get this out of the way: I will probably accidentally say “tonight” a lot in this breakdown. Not too many of the slates [aside from weekends] are held during the weekdays for all the sports I write up, so I end up defaulting to that a lot and not catching myself. Anyway, Grandal is looking to build off a pretty solid 2016 campaign. He’s getting a pitcher in Jhoulys Chacin who gives up a ton of hard contact to left-handed bats, and Grandal is better from that side of the plate anyway. I’m expect him to put up a nice score and he really isn’t that expensive.

Wellington Castillo (7200/2700/3700) – Castillo was a really frustrating player in 2016, which does hurt me to say, because he did win me my first large scale MLB tournament. The reason he’s here is that the Blue Jays decided that Marco Estrada was going to open things up on opening night. Well, Castillo has a great history off of him, and Estrada has absurd high fly-ball tendencies. There is little doubt that this will result in some heartbreak, but Grandal is the guy getting all the hype right now, so Castillo could make for a great pivot.

FIRST BASE

Miguel Cabrera (8800/4000/4600) – There are a lot of options at the first base position tonight. I think Joey Votto could just as easily have been in here. I also like guys like Adam Lind, Lucas Duda and Chris Davis in tournaments. However, Miguel Cabrera is just too good to pass up. Jose Quintana is not a bad pitcher in real life, but he’s not going to get through this lineup unscathed. I think there is a very good chance that Cabrera will end up putting a big number on him today.

Tommy Joseph (7200/2100/3700) – Tommy Joseph is an interesting case. He’s the definition of a power hitter. He’s going to hit some home runs this year, but he’s going to hit extremely low in terms of average and put up plenty of duds this year. However, Scott Feldman is a laughable pitcher, especially on Opening Day. He gives up a lot of fly balls and gives up a ton of hard contact. This perfectly profiles with Joseph, who makes for a great tournament option today.

SECOND BASE

Daniel Murphy (8700/3500/4500) – In cash games on Monday, Daniel Murphy is the first guy going into my lineups. Edinson Volquez is not a good pitcher, and Daniel Murphy has a prowess for hitting “not good pitchers”. He’s really taken a lot of time to get his swing in order, which is why he had such an awesome season in 2016. I think he’s a guy you really want to have on Opening Day, and especially on FanDuel where he is so cheap, there’s no reason not to.

Jose Peraza (7200/3000/3700) – Peraza is one of the few plays on this list that doesn’t have something specific statistically jump out for their matchup. This is almost a situation where I don’t care about ISO or wOBA or HH% or anything like that. I actually think Jeremy Hellickson is an underrated pitcher – in spots. I don’t hate this matchup for him, and I may even have a few shares of him. I do think a guy like Peraza could get on base tonight, and that is what I’m looking for. I wanted to include some potential cheap speed tonight, and here he is. If he gets on base, Hellickson is going to have a hard time making him stand still.

THIRD BASE

Manny Machado (10000/3900/5100) – I mentioned a lot about the pitching matchup when talking about Wellington Castillo, but it’s tough for me to not grab some ownership of the Orioles on Opening Day, especially Manny Machado. Granted, we could end up with a situation where Estrada gives up a single long ball, and we are stuck with a bunch of decent outputs from the Orioles. I am going to have my fingers crossed that this isn’t the case. I think Machado overall has the best chance of stable success here, so he’ll be on a lot of my teams.

Mike Moustakas (6300/2500/3200) – I don’t think Moose Taco’s will be on very many radar’s on Opening Day. The Royals are a really unexciting team. They may in fact be the Memphis Grizzlies of the MLB. Ervin Santana struggles with batters hitting on the left side of the plate, so it makes sense for us to look at some options from the Royals on Monday. Moustakas has spent the last two seasons consistently injured, but I believe he could be a good low-owned option looking for an Opening Day Dong.

SHORTSTOP

Corey Seager (8400/3600/4400) – I haven’t got a chance to look at the prospective lineups for Opening Day, so I don’t know where the other lefties will be hitting, but to not make this breakdown too heavy on Dodgers, I’m going to stop after Seager. We know he’ll be hitting near the top of the order, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him finish the night with 5 at bats. I think he’s got good upside for a double-digit performance, and even though he’s expensive, he’s a guy I want where I can get him.

JaCoby Jones (5200/2000/2700) – If for some reason you just want to punt the position, I don’t hate the idea of using Jones tonight. The rookie will likely have some nerves, but I think he profiles at least decently against Quintana. You don’t need a monster game from him to pay off his salary. He’s probably going to be hitting from the bottom of the order, but this is a pretty potent lineup, and I did have some success in 2016 with using guys at the bottom of their order.

OUTFIELD

Charlie Blackmon (9900/4000/5000) – We haven’t touched on the Rockies yet, but not because they are not in Coors. This team can hit, and I think they’ll be able to give Jon Gray all the run support he will need tonight. He’s very expensive, but he’s one of the better hitters in the league. Junior Guerra has pretty big struggles with hitters from the left side of the plate, and guys like Story and Arenado can hit anyone, so I would really be interested in using them on Opening Day.

Bryce Harper (9900/4500/5100) – Harper is coming off what has to be considered a horrible 2016 campaign. I mean he started red hot and he just seemed to completely and totally fall apart. I’ve heard some rumblings that he worked with Murphy a bit in the offseason, as analytics and MLB Statcaster have really started to reach how the players are playing the game. If this is true and he’s more focused and in tune with what he has to do to turn things around this year, we could expect another MVP type season from him. He’s a lefty too, against a bad pitcher who is not good at all against lefties, so fire him up.

Jose Bautista (9300/3500/4700) – It’s amazing that we haven’t touched on too many Blue Jays yet, but they are still a potent lineup. I don’t love Bautista in cash games, but I think he has some upside in tournaments against Kevin Gausman. Gausman does give up enough hard contact that I think Bautista could grab ahold of one tonight and send it out of the park, and there is a chance he’ll be a little lower owned with so many good options on the board.

Christian Yelich (8000/3200/4200) – One guy I can pretty well guarantee will have low ownership tonight will be Christian Yelich – and I love him. He’s a great hitter, and I looked through the Statcast data and this Marlins team profiles well against Stephen Strasburg. Add to that, they’ve all had some pretty strong performances against him in the past. These guys are not cash game options at all, because Strasburg is a good enough pitcher to shut them down, but I really like the upside of using them in some of my tournament lineups tonight.

Andrew Benintendi (7200/2900/3700) – One of the most popular value plays today is going to be Andrew Benintendi. It’s going to be the cute pick, which happens a lot with top prospects as those who follow the minor’s try to lay their claim on being the first guy on him. Seriously though, past that, he’s a good hitter who likely will not be at this price for long. Gerit Cole had a touch 2016, and while I don’t think he’s a guy I’m going out of my way to target today, I’ll have some Benintendi just in case he does go off.

Slate Strategy

Let’s see, where do we start? Clayton Kershaw. My general strategy will probably be to use him in all my cash games, 50% of tournaments on FanDuel and 70% on FantasyDraft and DraftKings. I think he’s probably the best bet for steady production and has the best floor/ceiling combo. That’s why he’s so expensive.

I don’t like more than 5 pitchers tonight so my pitching spots will be highly condensed today. I think that will work out fine, as all my research points to these guys being very strong plays.

Like I said, I’ll be heavy on the left bats for the Dodgers. Joc Pederson is a great option for tournaments with his home run upside, though his floor is awful. Adrian Gonzalez isn’t a horrible option, as he could very well end up very low owned due to the position being stacked.

Really, I think this is just like any other day, except we don’t know as much about these teams as we will in June.

Top Stacks

Los Angeles Dodges Lefties [Grandal/Gonzalez/Seager/Pederson]

Washington Nationals [Murphy/Harper/Lind/Turner]

Colorado Rockies [Blackmon/Story/Arenado/Gonzalez]

New York Mets lefties [Granderson/Duda/Walker/Conforto/Bruce] – low owned

Miami Marlins [Yelich/Stanton/Ozuna/Bour] – contrarian

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