The season's first month is winding down, as we enter the last week of April. I know, it has flown by. And while it may feel like a lazy Monday night as far as baseball is concerned, as the sports world has it's eye on the NBA Playoffs, the upcoming NFL Draft, and even boxing, there is plenty of money to be made in daily fantasy baseball. FanDuel is rolling out a sweet $125,000 Grand Slam tournament, and I'll be throwing a few darts at it and encourage you to do the same.
Remember to always make sure to check the weather and lineups to confirm the players you roster are both in the starting lineup, and are not in severe danger of getting rained out.
David Price at Minnesota, $11,000 - Forgiveness and a short-term memory are things we stress in the daily fantasy world. Well, the Tiger ace had an outing last time out that had me reaching for my "Men In Black" inspired memory eraser, as he was absolutely pummeled by the Yankees (8ER in 2.1 IP). Needless to say, I lost pretty much all my contests that evening, but in DFS world all need to concern ourselves with is tonight, and tonight the Detroit hurler is well positioned for a rebound game. Vegas confirms this as they have enlisted the Tigers as a -152 favorite in a game with a paltry 7.5 over/under. The Twins have been subpar against LHPs on the short season, and Price himself fell one out short of tossing a complete game shutout versus Minnesota earlier in the season.
James Shields vs Houston, $8,100 - Picking on the Astros (especially with RHPs) is a DFS staple, and I'm eager to go back to that proverbial well once again tonight. Predictably, no team in baseball has struck out more often than Houston, and they have a right-handed heavy lineup. Additionally, with a game held in a NL ballpark, they will lose their DH, further weakening their already vulnerable lineup. As for Shields, he seems to be enjoying his early time in the NL, and really, what pitcher wouldn't love having spacious Petco Park as his home venue? The one tricky part here is that the new Padre will be opposed by Houston's Collin McHugh, a talented SP in his own right, which might make the all-important win a little trickier to earn. That said, I expect Shields to thrive and is worthy of consideration, as the dip in salary from David Price is significant enough to justify his roster spot.
Buster Posey at LA Dodgers, $3,500 - Stop me of you've heard this before, but are you aware that Buster Posey has raked southpaws throughout his career? I'm sure you have. But repeating it one more time isn't going to make it any less true. Posey hasn't exactly raked to start the season, nor is the hitting environment ideal tonight, but the price is not all that prohibitive so you can roster the All-Star with minimal opportunity cost this evening.
Victor Martinez at Minnesota, $3,400 - I wanted to give you a cheapie catcher (or a "punt" as we like to call it in the industry), but I just don't think it is all that necessary tonight. Prices are down a bit, and the drop-off from elite backstops to the guys that are stuck batting seventh or eighth just isn't enough for me to justify looking elsewhere (certainly not in your 50/50 games, while in tournaments anything goes). As for V-Mart, the switch-hitter is coming off a career year, one in which he absolutely annihilated opposing LHPs to the tune of 1.122 OPS. As you can see, straying from the elite catchers tonight can be a risky proposition.
Paul Goldschmidt vs Colorado, $4,500 - Rostering Goldy at home against a left-hander is "first day" material when you enroll DFS 101. Alright, so maybe such a course doesn't exist to my knowledge, but if it did, the lecture would be justified. The Diamondbacks’ slugger mashed left-handers last season as he posted an impressive 1.115 OPS. His stick becomes that much more dangerous when he does so at home in Chase Field, or Coors Light as it has been appropriately dubbed. As an additional perk, it's simply impossible to resist from dropping an Austin Powers inspired "I love gooooold" after a potential Goldy dong. If such a scenario plays out, I dare you to resist from doing it.
Adam Lind at Cincinnati, $3,000 - If you feeling a little skimpy when considering your first baseman, let me throw the Milwaukee slugger your way. His splits are awfully dramatic so I love his chances to get to opposing RHP pitcher Jason Marquis, who probably shouldn't be in the league. That said, he better get to Marquis, as the Reds boast one of the best lefty bullpen arms around in Aroldis Chapman, who Lind would have minimal chance getting to, if such a showdown occurred. This puts the Brewer in the GPP bin for me, but all it takes is one swing to justify anyone's roster spot, and the matchup is there for Lind to do so tonight.
Robinson Cano at Texas, $3,800 - This Seattle-Texas game has the highest over/under on the board, so it is advisable to have some shares of it. The Mariner second baseman is one of the most enticing options on the board as he'll have the L/R split in his favor, along with getting out of Safeco Field and into the hitter-friendly Ballpark in Arlington.
Dee Gordon vs NY Mets, $3,500 - The son of Tom has proven to be an excellent trade acquisition for the Marlins thus far. Gordon has done a fine job reaching base thus far this season (.407 OBP) and that is when his real value kicks in. The ability to swipe a bag is an underrated part of DFS, but drawing a walk, stealing second and third (not a preposterous scenario in Dee's case), along with scoring a run is worth the same amount of points as a solo homer.
Evan Longoria at NY Yankees, $3,200 - While we like to roster the Rays’ third baseman against lefties, there are several factors that put him in play this evening. Adam Warren is not to be feared no matter what arm he throws with. Additionally, the asking price is down and something about New York seems to bring out the best in Longo. In the last three seasons, he has hit more dongs against the Yankees than any other team (15), while hitting seven in Yankee Stadium, more than any other ballpark but his own.
Adrian Beltre vs Seattle, $3,100 - Oh look, another discount. I know he is getting up there in age, but I refuse to believe that Beltre's power is officially zapped. Taijuan Walker is a huge prospect, but he is by no means a finished product, as he has exhibited some blow-up potential in his short MLB tenure this far. One day Walker is a pitcher I likely will do my best to avoid once he perfects his craft, but today isn't that day.
Jhonny Peralta vs Philadelphia, $2,700 - By all means, pay up for Troy Tulowitzki. He is an elite bat at his position, and while he doesn't get to hit in Coors, a game in Arizona is pretty much the next best thing. That said, if you are paying down at the SS position, feel free to give Peralta a look. I know, why would I consider picking on Cole Hamels? Sure, he is one of the better arms on the slate, but chicks have really been digging the Phlly hurler thus far this season, as he has exhibited a propensity to give up the long ball. Hamels has yielded seven homers so far, all of which have been hit by right-handed sticks. What a coincidence, the man I've dubbed "The Silent H" just so happens to be a righty.
Asdrubal Cabrera at NY Yankees, $2,200 - Rostering players not named Troy Tulowitzki at the shortstop position is generally not all that fine. Cabrera should bat third for the Rays while getting to take his hacks versus a subpar pitcher in a positive hitting environment. That fulfills the basic requirements for punt consideration. Basically, you wouldn't necessarily be rostering Cabrera because you like him, but because he can be the path to squeezing in the expensive players you really want.
Nelson Cruz at Texas, $5,000 - Cruz gets to go back to the place where he built his power hitting reputation. The upgrade in ballpark is significant. This isn't to say that playing half his games in Seattle has suppressed his numbers thus far, as Cruz enters the game as MLB's leader in home runs (9) and RBI (20), but it certainly doesn't hurt either. Predicting home runs is by no means an exact science, but Cruz would qualify as a chalk play if asked to do so.
Seth Smith at Texas, $2,200 - One more Mariner for the road as I double down on highlighting them in the outfield. The left-hand swinging Smith has found himself landing in the two hole when facing opposing righties, as he is a plus hitter in such a circumstance. The threat of being pinch hit for is subdued significantly as, inexplicably, the Rangers simply don't have a lefty lurking in the bullpen. To summarize, we're getting a player at the site minimum, with a favorable L/R split, a presumably sweet lineup spot, a ballpark bump, as well he should draw 4-5 ABs, all for $2,200. OK, sign me up.
Alejandro De Aza Chicago White Sox, $2,400 - De Aza should hit leadoff and have the first opportunity to expose opposing pitcher Hector Noesi for the gas can that he is. The table setter can steal a bag if he reaches and you have to like the chances of someone like Adam Jones knocking him of he does so. The Orioles’ offense pounded out an excessive 18 runs last night, and while I don't expect that to repeat, I expect them to put a crooked number or two on the scoreboard.