When looking at “bargains” on FanDuel, we'll typically focus on hitters who are $3,200 or lower. In general, we'll only highlight players at the top end of that scale if they have star potential.
MLB Opening Day includes 11 contests. The Astros-Yankees game has already been postponed. Even though they're spread throughout the day, FanDuel has grouped all the games into one mega-contest. It's not a big deal for Opening Day – we generally know who is going to start and what lineups should look like. Going forward, it's always best to know who is in the lineup and their role before rosters lock.
In addition to the postponed game, watch out for rain in Baltimore. I think they'll get it in based on the current report. Weather reports aren't always...reliable. It's freezing in Cleveland. If David Price and Corey Kluber are comfortable pitching in cold weather, they should dominate.
Please note, these player picks were organized early in the day. For MLB contests, always check lineups and weather closer to game time. Rain, wind, or unexpected managerial decisions could open up additional sources of value. Be sure to keep an eye on the MLB Headlines and Injuries desk.
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Onto the bargain plays...
1 – Raisel Iglesias – SP – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $6,400)
On the days when I compile this column, I'll usually start with a bargain pitcher. The top choice is glaringly obvious today. On a day when seven pitchers cost $10,000 or more, Iglesias offers a chance for similar production at two-thirds the price.
The Reds ace will face what's expected to be a tepid Phillies offense. Iglesias pitched well in his rookie campaign, flashing impressive stuff while working from two arm angles. His slider is particularly effective, leading to over a strikeout per inning.
There are drawbacks to picking him – he's capped at about 90 pitches today, and the Phillies aren't a high strikeout team. The Reds bullpen is scary ugly. Even if Iglesias leaves with a lead, there's a decent chance they'll blow it.
2 – Devin Mesoraco – C – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
The last time Mesoraco was healthy, he bashed 25 home runs in 440 plate appearances. In truth, he's still recovering from hip surgery. As a catcher, he'll need frequent rest to stay healthy. The good news is, he'll start Opening Day.
His power was on display during Spring Training – he hit two home runs in 18 official plate appearances. Great American Ballpark is a perfect setting for home run threats. Right-handed power is buffed 28 percent compared to a neutral park. He'll also face Jeremy Hellickson. The Phillies “ace” is one of the lesser pitchers of the day.
3 – Brandon Belt – 1B – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $3,000)
The Giants offer what should be a popular stacking opportunity today. Belt will either bat cleanup or fifth against Brewers starter Wily Peralta. The right-handed hurler has been slightly homer prone in recent seasons. Between hitter friendly Miller Park and Belt's own latent power, there's a decent chance for fireworks. The cold weather won't be a factor since the roof will be closed.
4 – Joe Panik – 2B – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
Back-to-back Giants. San Fran's two-hole isn't a typical DFS target. It's popular to use guys with multi-home run potential. Panik can occasionally lay into a fastball, but he's no regular power threat. Instead, picking Panik is a bet he'll bat five times with multiple hits and runs. Panik is a high contact guy who works the count well. He's a good fit against Peralta and the Brewers wonky bullpen.
5 – Anthony Rendon – 3B – Washington (FanDuel Price: $2,800)
Rendon might be back. The Nationals star declined precipitously in 2015. Injuries interrupted his season, and he hit for very little power when he was active. Rendon is a pure hitter with a patient approach and high contact rate. He'll bat second today against another rebound candidate - Julio Teheran.
Even if Teheran looks like his old self, he's still one of the weaker pitchers available today. The Braves also have a dumpster fire bullpen for Rendon to exploit. Look for five plate appearances.
6 – Zack Cozart – SS – Cincinnati (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
There's a general theme to some of these picks. Panik and Rendon bat second for their respective clubs. Cozart will lead off. Top of the order hitters offer DFS value because they accrue the most opportunities to score points. It doesn't hurt that Cozart is facing one of the weakest pitchers available today.
The Reds shortstop tapped into a better power stroke last season, hitting nine home runs in 214 plate appearances. Unfortunately, his season ended before we could learn if it was a small sample mirage. His average fly ball distance increased from 257 to 284 feet. However, other peripherals like hard hit rate remained consistent with past season.
Most importantly, he should prove to be an unpopular pick. It's often good to get a scarcely owned upside play into a GPP lineup.
7 – Adam Jones – OF – Baltimore (FanDuel Price: $3,100)
Jones is usually a good, volatile DFS play for the big tournaments. With his aggressive approach, he rarely walks and limits the strikeouts. This profile is much less desireable in a H2H contest. When looking for two home run threats, Jones is usually a decent target. Twins starter Ervin Santana likes to work around the zone. Jones should have no trouble putting balls in play. The Twins bullpen isn't particularly scary.
8 – Hunter Pence – OF – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $2,900)
No Giants stack is complete without an inexpensive Pence. He had some Achilles pain earlier this spring. Since returning to the lineup, he's been in pure mash mode. Pence checks off all the important boxes – he'll bat third or fourth, play in a power friendly park, and faces exploitable pitching. Not only is Peralta a shady ace, the Brewers bullpen looks feeble with Will Smith and Corey Kneble sidelined.
9 – Odubel Herrera – OF – Philadelphia (FanDuel Price: $2,500)
Iglesias may be a tidy bargain play today, but that doesn't mean you can't target an unpopular Phillies stack. Herrera is expected to bat second or third most games. The 24-year-old has sneaky home run power and could leave the tiny confines of Great American Ballpark. He's a risky play due to a high strikeout rate. If Iglesias is dealing, Herrera could be one of the guys he exploits.
10 – Byung-ho Park – 1B – Minnesota (FanDuel Price: $2,600)
How do you feel about completely unknown quantities? Park showed off his tantalizing power this spring while confirming he will strike out frequently. Orioles starter Chris Tillman makes his share of mistake pitches, and he ran into trouble with the long ball all spring long. A pick of Park will probably be an exercise in True Outcomes. Hope there's a home run waiting in there.